The costs of belonging to the single market and customs union

In what passes for a debate about Brexit I have got used to the barrage of commentary that thinks it is wholly or mainly about trading arrangements, when it is really about how we are governed, to whom our government is accountable, who raises and spends the tax money and who makes the laws. Many people voted leave to take back control, to bring back self government.

The commentary also usually wrongly assumes that membership of the single market and customs union has been wholly benign, and that if we just leave we will be worse off. The facts of our past membership do not prove this supposition. As I have often pointed out, our growth rate was faster in the years before we joined, than after we joined. There was no benefit or acceleration of growth when they “completed” the single market.

More importantly, lop sided reductions in tariffs and barriers meant we lost a lot of industry to continental competition, but were given no parallel benefits to compete in areas where we were stronger. Our fishing industry was badly damaged by the CFP and we plunged from net exporter to net importers. Our farming industry saw its domestic market share eroded badly, aided by EU policies on beef and milk which did not help.

The EU argues that single market membership added just over 1% to our economy over the whole time we were in it – yet it is difficult to see from the actual growth figures any positive contribution. You clearly need to knock off from the figures the 5% loss of GDP compared to trend caused by membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which the EU study leaves out. You also need to take into account the £12 bn net a year contribution or cost, which is a drag of around 0.6% of GDP every year. If we spent that all at home instead that would give us a welcome boost.

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  1. Perry
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Your final sentence shows you don’t understand the very basics of trade. You would be well advised to read some Adam Smith before you show yourself up in this way.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Why so? The £12bn aid to the EU is a simple transfer from the U.K. to recipient countries. For many EU countries, the receipt of net transfers is a major component of GDP.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        There is no “aid” to the EU it is a membership fee. The dutch pay far more per capita and are very happy about that.It is a non-issue

        • Dioclese
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          If there was a membership fee then all countries would be paying it. You cannot describe countries who are net recipients as contributors.

          • jerry
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            @Dioclese; VAT (or equivalent) is applied in all EU member states, a proportion of VAT is collected by the member state on behalf of the EU, surely that is in effect a “membership fee” – no?

          • NickC
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, No. The EU does not separate out our membership fee from our (in)voluntary aid to them. It is one gross lump sum derived mainly from “traditional own resources”: EU tariffs on imports from outside the EU; a small proportion of VAT; a proportion of GNI (largest of the sources). From that gross amount the Thatcher rebate is deducted a year or more in arrears. Hence the gross amount must be stated to make sense of the EU’s calculations.

          • jerry
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            @NickC: VAT (or its equivalent) is still part of the fees that member countries pay to the EU, what is more it is part of the calculation that determine what Member States contribute to the EU’s budget.

            Otherwise VAT would be a wholly devolved issue which it plainly is not, if it existed at all, EU treaty law sets the tax and sets the minimum rate. This means here in the UK, for example, utility water & energy bills can not revert back to their previous zero rate (because when VAT was applied the UK gave up that derogation), nor can the government end the so called “Tampon Tax”.

            Your example of the Thatcher era rebate is utterly irrelevant, because it is a rebate, not a basic rule within the TEEC or its successor treaties..

        • Richard1
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          It isn’t labelled ‘aid’ but how is it different? There seems at least to be divided opinion in the Netherlands, although being in the euro extraction would be. Much more difficult.

        • Jagman84
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          Dutch politicians, maybe. I’d expect that the electorate is less enamoured.

        • NickC
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Rien, We aren’t the Dutch. It’s really none of our business if the Dutch want to be foolish and provide so much aid to the EU. Just as it’s none of yours that we want to Leave.

          Quite clearly cash aid to the EU of £10bn (or £12bn) is bad for our economy, but transferred to the EU magnifies the EU’s power as it doles out the aid to the grateful recipients.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          We’re told that it’s EU aid when it’s just part of our own money being returned to us with strings attached … and apparently the EU kindly helped us to get out budget deficit down last month.

        • Andy
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          My Dutch friends would take issue with your assertion of ‘very happy about that’. After our Referendum I went to a dinner party where there were a number of Dutch guests (all of whom I knew well) and the comment ‘Wish WE could have a Referendum’ was universally endorsed.

        • Bingo man
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Why does Latvia receive much of the membership fee? Is she one of the Treasurers of the club? Do you all have a raffle at Christmas for a giant bottle of wine and a cargo boat full of chocolates?

        • jut
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

          Wealth redistribution AKA Communism.

        • mancunius
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Not ecstatically happy, apparently. 56% of the population of the Netherlands want to leave the EU, and would vote to do so in a Dutch referendum.
          (Maurice de Hond opinion poll, March 2017).

        • getahead
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          It’s one of the major issues in why the referendum result was to leave the EU.

        • Richard
          Posted February 11, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          Belgium have a higher GDP per head than the UK, but are still a net recipient. No logic.

    • Woody
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      So your interpretation of AS is that we should spend our money in any other country but our own ? Doesn’t make any sense.

    • Wessexboy
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Have you read Adam Smith Perry? Where does he advise paying to trade?

      • Adam
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Trade with people that are best at producing what you want. Introducing a bias based on origin is simply bad economics

    • Mark Watson
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      You need to look up Johns’ background in industry before you accuse him of not understanding the basics of trade.

    • John Payne
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Your reply shows it is your lack of knowledge of trade. Maybe it suits your argument to by failing to comment on rest of a very good summary, and loss of our Sovereignty. Those who want to stay in single market and customs union are fighting to stay in a market where we have a constant trade deficit and pay for the privilege.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink


      Please enlighten us with your experience of trade . 76% of current GDP is internal spending . I dont recall Adam Smith writing about making payments in order to trade

      I dont think you’ve ever run a business

    • getahead
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps the EU should consider paying the UK £12 billion a year instead. After all the UK has a huge trade deficit with the EU.

    • Ellie Marshall
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Expain rather than criticise please

  2. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    “More importantly, lop sided reductions in tariffs and barriers meant we lost a lot of industry to continental competition”
    Not only tariffs, but non-tariff barriers. The fact that the German engineering and chemical industries after WW2 were graced with greater investment gave them a competitive advantage, which they used to dominate their markets. In turn, these behemoths suck in supplies and fund more R and D in a self-perpetuating growth cycle. The UK isn’t involved in this cycle in any such great and meaningful way. A few good creative outfits get bought and either used or included within the great scheme.. e.g. Mini, Oxford (Siemens) Magnet… These create UK employment, true, but they don’t add significantly to a cycle of ownership, business creativity and growth within the UK in the way this happens in Germany.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Yes but Germany does more to protect its skills and advantages. An apprenticeship has merit and has not been devalued there. Real and threatened barriers were put in place to stop Japan decimating their car industry. New build houses are far higher quality than here. If you need to see a dermatologist you go straight there, you don’t waste productive time going to see a GP first.

      • Bert Young
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Iain , Germany does have a good tradition in its apprenticeship system – something I wish we would emulate here , however , the success they have had has as much to do with the low cost of the Euro in world markets . If the DM was still their currency , German goods would be priced out !.

        • Andy
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          I believe Bernard Connolly did some calculation for optimal Euro value. He found that (using the USA Dollar as a yard stick) the optimal value for the Euro for Greece was 35 Cents, Spain 39 Cents but for Germany it was $2.35. Euro today in $1.23. That is the central problem of the Euro which cannot be squared.

          • acorn
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            Exactly Andy. The first item on the EU reform agenda should be getting rid of the Euro currency and the ECB that issues it.

            Germany is causing massive damage to other member states that have totally different cultures and attitudes to life; love and the pursuit of happiness.

            They have destroyed Greece and Italy will be next. There is nothing wrong with being part of a customs union or a single standards market; but, you don’t have to have a single currency to achieve that.

            The ASEAN trade group deliberately did not have a single currency on its agenda. It had witnessed the damage it has done in EU.

        • jerry
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          @Bert Young; Nonsense, German goods have always been priced into the market, even when one would think that the DM/Euro (or local economic conditions within the currency area) would work against them, people do not always buy on price -they buy on quality. Often paying a premium at the time, knowing that long term the cost will be cheaper. People and companies do this for everything from household white-goods, motor vehicles, machine tools to heavy engineering.

          • miami.mode
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            jerry….Germany was in recession in 2003 due to a fairly high euro exchange rate and as a consequence interest rates were held low by the ECB. These rates were too low for Spain and Ireland and were thus a major contributor to the problems these two nations experienced.

          • jerry
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            @miami.mode; “These rates were too low for Spain and Ireland and were thus a major contributor to the problems these two nations experienced.”

            No, any fault lay with irresponsible lenders, borrowers and (in the case of Spain in 2003) property speculators!

      • libertarian
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink


        German Apprenticeships
        In a report published in April 2014 the BMBF reveals that 530,714 new contracts were concluded between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013, a drop of 20,544 contracts (-3.7%) over the previous year. At the same time, 148,635 apprenticeship contracts, or 24.4% of the total, were prematurely dissolved in 2012.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      In Germany, post WW2, Erhard should get the credit for promoting it’s revival through free enterprise and the rise of the Mittelstand. Unlike the UK these businesses were not destroyed by punitive taxation. Their growth was also greatly helped by a favourable DM rate until the early to mid 1970s when currencies began to float. This advantage returned after the DM was replaced by the euro, enabling Germany to build its huge trade surpluses.

      • Original Richard
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        The German government also helped/helps its Mittelstand companies in bad times by paying for “research programmes” and “market reports” etc. to get around illegal EU subsidy regulations.

  3. Iain Gill
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Yes but in the real world people are at least as concerned about immigration.

    What does post brexit immigration look like?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      More or less the same except the immigrants will look different

      • Dioclese
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Except that there will be controls not free movement

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Hopefully they will be higher earners, more self sufficient, not a burden on the state and with far fewer criminals. Selected on merit for a change.

        Not the racist EU good everyone else bad system.

      • Jagman84
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        It will be based on our needs as a nation and not an unholy scramble like now.

      • NickC
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Rien, We (England) are full up. We are the most densely populated large country in Europe. That’s why your “friendly” threats to stop your food exports to the UK post-Brexit have any traction – we can’t grow enough of our own. And with friends like you, who needs enemies?

      • Chris
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        No, we will accept those immigrants that our economy needs and not be obliged to accept waves of mass immigration from any country of the EU. As long as the wage differential exists and the differences in benefits between member states, there will inevitably be movement of population to those areas offering more favourable wages and benefits. The UK was and is seen as a star destination. This movement of course aids one of the EU’s goals: the redistribution of wealth in the EU from richer to poorer areas, and the ironing out of the regional disparities of wealth and opportunities in the single “country” known as the EU (homogenisation/uniformity principle).

      • Deplorable
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Good. I like the ones best with intelligent written all over their faces

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      It looks like a policy area controlled by the UK government and Parliament.

  4. AdamC
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    All of this business about costs should have been argued out at the top table over the years..the fact that UK governments including conservatives over the years did not speak up on our behalf loudly enough has brought us to this unholy mess..figures like statistics can be bent by clever people any way you like to prove their point of view..but to my mind it all boils down to one thing you feel european or do you you dislike the idea of the european union community so much that you are going to throw our membership away for something as yet unknown..and that’s what it is..for my sake anyway i like being a EU citizen and have arranged it so i’m going to remain so..taking back control and other similar slogans just reminds me of a dog doing his business up againnst a lampost to mark out his territory and has no place in our fast moving thoughts

    • duncan
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      We held a referendum. Anyone who voted afforded the referendum legitimacy and voted in the belief that the result would be adhered to. A majority voted to leave the EU. I believe they call it democracy.

      Maybe you would prefer to live in a country in which democratic accountability is absent?

      I suspect that over 95% of all the nations around the world are independent and sovereign. From the US, China and Malaysia through to Australia, Cuba and Mongolia. And you prefer the EU? I would prefer to be among the 95% rather than the 5% of vassal states of the dictatorial EU…my thoughts

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        For most of us in the UK, democratic accountability is absent due to the electoral system which, in 2017, meant 68% of the votes cast contributed nothing to the outcome and were therefore a waste of time, a voice in the wind which the politicians can safely ignore (as they do).

        The EU referendum was an exercise where everybody’s vote counted equally. This should be the case every time we vote, yet it is not. On the 100th anniversary of some women being given the vote for the first time, it’s way past time for proper democratic accountability in the UK and the introduction a fair voting system, one where it doesn’t matter where you live or who you wish to vote for, you have a vote worth using, one which will be count in the result. We are #Hungry4Democracy.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          Journalists could give a rather more accurate account if they could just be bothered to check the wikipedia entry …

          “Until the 1832 Great Reform Act specified ‘male persons’, a few women had been able to vote in parliamentary elections through property ownership, although this was rare.[4] In local government elections, single women ratepayers received the right to vote in the Municipal Franchise Act 1869. This right was confirmed in the Local Government Act 1894 and extended to include some married women.[5][6][7] By 1900, more than 1 million single women were registered to vote in local government elections in England.[8]”

          And so forth.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          In that election the two parties who are fervent EU supporters the greens and Lib Dems faired poorly and over 80% of votes went to two parties who are in favour of leaving the EU

        • Timaction
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Totally agree. Everyone out here in the real world is saying the same. We want change from the established legacies who got us into the messes we currently have.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            The majority of voters it would seem don’t agree with you.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          Peter P

          Totally agree , our “democracy” is nothing of the sort. Scrap the HoL and one person one vote to elect a government , it really isn’t difficult

      • Dioclese
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        “Maybe you would prefer to live in a country in which democratic accountability is absent?”

        You already do. It’s called the EU…

      • James Snell
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Duncan..if you want to live in your own little world because of a referendum result well good for, personally i am in the AdamC camp and will get another passport because i can and so that my children and childrens children can have that extra dimension in their lives to travel and live where they like in the wider europe..just because there was a referendum vote is not going to change my outlook on life..the EU is an economic concept in the making it is not a superstate..not yet anyway..come to think of it the English at home had no difficulty when they were heading up their own superstate..the empire..but i suspect that that has a lot to do with what is going on at the moment..taking back control

    • DaveM
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, I dislike the EU that much. It’s not a case of feeling European – I am European and I love Europe and its individual and unique nation states. I just don’t want to be part of a federal superstate which seems to want to destroy the Europe I once knew.

      I don’t expect you to understand my philosophy any more than I understand yours but it’s refreshing for someone to actually be honest rather than the usual rants we hear from people who clearly only want to stay in the EU for short term personal financial benefits.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        There is no federal superstate. That is just alt right propaganda.

        • Dioclese
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          You clearly have not been listening to Juncker so said as mush a few weeks back

        • Jagman84
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          “Yet” is the small word you conveniently omitted. It has been publicly stated that it is the eventual destination of the project.

        • J Cleaver
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          Not yet. There will be, though. Enjoy, ex Dutch man.

        • NickC
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          Rien, You are being disingenuous. The EU is already well on the way to becoming a federal superstate. Many EU politicians, among them Juncker, Schulz, Schaueble, Macron, either expect the EU to become the USE, or demand policies such as an EU Finance Minister that will lead inexorably to that end state.

          • hans chr iversen
            Posted February 9, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink


            You are getting carried away again, and as the Europeans will not agree to this, you still keep going down the wrong lane

        • DaveM
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          And neither will there be thanks to the UK voting to leave.

        • mancunius
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          It is the direct goal of the EU and has always been since its foundation. Bringing that about while deliberately and covertly blinding European citizens to the ongoing process of weakening their national sovereignty until after the European superstate is irrevocably accomplished is the established, outright policy of the EU and all its treaties since the Treaty of Rome.
          To deny that flies in the face of reason: even the EU Commission doesn’t deny it. It remains their unswerving policy.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          On the contrary that has always been the intention, back to the 1950 Schuman Declaration.

          “The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe”

          “By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.”

          Foolish to deny something which the EU proudly announces.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          Not currently but it is a future plan.
          See the five Presidents report among other official statements from the EU.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            Not a plan even. majority is against

          • Patrick
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:39 am | Permalink

   had no problem with superstates when you had your own ‘ the british empire’ – but now that you’re not in the driving seat your noses are out of joint – that’s what you really mean about taking back control..well fresh thinki g is called for because there is no going back to tne old days and if you think you can set up an economic bloc to equal the EU then that is not going to work you guys had better get real – and real soon – the clock is ticking.. Patrick Dublin

          • Edward2
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            Dear Patrick
            It’s quite simple
            I want to live in a free independent nation that controls it’s own laws.

            I don’twant to be part of anyone’s superstate.
            I have no romantic dreams of Empire
            I do not want to set up any alternative economic bloc.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink


          There is NO SUCH THING as the alt right its just a made up term of abuse. The Federal European Superstate isn’t here yet but its on the way , you really ought to listen to the people that govern you. They are happy to tell you this is what they plan

        • stred
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Your High Representative for Foreign Policy and Defence seems to think that the founding father’s work is making progress.

        • John
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          Are you saying Jean Claude Junker in his State of the Union Address last year was an ultra right wing propagandist?

          Then I would agree with you.

      • Andrew Goddard
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Dave M….. You have touched the taboo Brexit nerve, a truth that will never be declared. Honesty about Brexit reality over the personal EU financial gain.
        There are so many of these elephants in the room, that are in plain sight but rarely pointed at.

      • Alan
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        You say you love the individual European nation states, but surely you do not love the world they created? Would you really want to go back to the pre-1945 era, where the states operated independently with little regard for one another and even fought, usually over policies that were obscure even at the time and are almost totally incomprehensible today.

        Being in the EU will not change the character of the member states much, but it will greatly improve the likelihood that they can settle their differences in a less hostile and more productive way.

        • DaveM
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink


          If you read any European history you would know that all European states have made alliances and agreements as far back as the Roman times. It is human nature to look after onesself – it’s just that different peoples have different ways of doing it. One cap doesn’t fit all. Conflict is an unfortunate by-product of human nature, and greed and jealousy lead to bitterness and anger (two traits currently being exhibited regularly by people like Soubry, Blair, Clarke, Heseltine and most Momentum members).

          And yes, the world which European nations have made is for the most part pretty good. Does Britain’s intervention in the two world wars suggest this is a country that has little regard for other nations’ security or way of life? I don’t think so. If Britain hadn’t cared it would have sat back and declared itself neutral whilst getting rich by trading with the US and Germany.

        • miami.mode
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          Alan….less hostile physically perhaps, but in a more subtle way. Financially in Greece and Cyprus, government change in Italy and the push for demographic change in the old Eastern Bloc countries.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink


          1) You can’t go back, its not possible

          2) The whole tide of current direction is TOWARDS smaller, more accountable and local administration

          3) Superstates, large blocks of countries ( see USSR and Yugoslavia for details) are the past

          4) Since the formation of the original EEC there have been 35 wars, revolutions, uprisings, coups and separatist guerrilla terrorism in Europe ( so it didn’t work )

          5) There are far better ways of dealing with disputes now than pre 1945 , one of which is that far more of the world has adopted freer markets and capitalism.

    • Tom William
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I am happy to “throw away” being ruled by unelected, unsackable bureaucrats. I do not want to live in a Corporate State.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Dear Adam–Once we had had the Referendum your personal desires should have vanished like a puff of smoke–I find it disgraceful that you should have written as you have without even a nod in the direction of the Referendum just as if it hadn’t happened. BTW how many times does one have to say that Europe and the EU are very much not the same thing?

      • Andy
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        We had two referendums. Eurosceptics overwhelmingly lost the first one in 1975. They also continued their anti-Europe campaign for following 40 years – despite pro-Europe parties winning overwhelming majorities in NINE subsequent general elections. There have been 13 votes since 1975 – anti-EU has won just two of them. Why do you hate democracy so much?

        • Original Richard
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          The first referendum was to join a “Common Market” where the EU supporters conned the public into believing there would be no loss of sovereignty.

          Once in the EU, our governments continued to sign us up to treaties where there was loss of sovereignty at each occasion but each time the public were denied a vote, even though for the Lisbon Treaty one was promised but not delivered.

          It was only because a tiny party, UKIP, took the most seats in the 2014 EU MEP elections that the Conservative Party took the democratic decision to finally offer the public another vote on the matter.

          A vote which was long overdue because the “Common Market” was now a completely different “EU” with declared aims to become a superstate in the near future.

          The public, despite being told by the government, the BoE, the corporates, the bankers, the hedge funds, the financiers, the IMF, the BBC etc. that a vote to leave would bring economic disaster to the country still voted to leave.

          So finally democracy has been applied to the EU debate and our politicians now need to accept this and take us out of the EU.

          • Andy
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the history lesson. The lesson for the future is that supporters of the EU, like me, keep fighting. We’re winning 11-2 so far and we’ll be scoring again very soon.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          Not one politician displayed an EU flag on literature in any of those general elections.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink


          You took part in the referendum ? Then you pledged to honour its result.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink


      Interesting point and your opinion is as valid as anybody else’s. I am a Europhile but dislike the EU’s bureaucratic and undemocratic apparatus with a passion.

      …..but please answer me this. Can you provide concrete reasons why you believe the UK should remain in the EU and which direct and real benefits you believe are worth the exorbitant annual membership fee, annual £80+ Billion trading deficit and limited representation?

      “What do UK citizens gain from this expensive partnership and what will they tangibly lose post Brexit?”

      …usually, when I ask Remainers this simple question I get a deafening silence?

      I am, however, open to a compelling story and detailed persuasion……

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Adam C – The problem is that staying in the EU is an unknown too.

      The big Remain lie is that the EU is stable and steady. It is anything but. It has brought huge social and economic upheavels.

      It’s so good that the British public voted to leave it.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Interesting view & it indicates the extent to which the EU supranational gov project has hijacked ‘European’ culture, identity etc, such that opponents of the political arrangements and ambitions of the EU can be presented as ‘anti-European’, as they have been repeatedly and increasingly loudly over the decades. But the Swiss are as European as the Germans, and the Norwegians as the Swedes. Nor is, eg Sweden, a more European country since it joined the EU than it was before 1995. The EU is a political construction – you are allowed to be European, and identify with European culture and traditions and still be opposed to supra-national government. this is what came out in the referendum campaign.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Good for you arranging to stay in the EU, for myself I am British, that does not mean I hate Europeans btw. I just hate the EU which has been an unmitigated disaster for the UK.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink


      Some of us have a bit of a better understanding than you

      If we live in the UK we are ALL European ( thats a fact of geography) There are 54 countries in Europe 27 of which are in a protectionist , undemocratic, superstate ruled by oligarchs

      On the point of the unknown.

      The future is unknowable you have no more idea of what the future will be like as a member of the EU as you do being outside it. However quite a few of us were around when we WERE outside it so we have an idea of what its like based on the past. Some of us have lived in countries recently that aren’t in the EU so we know what thats like. there are 161 countries in the world and 27 of them are in the current EU

      17.2 million voted to leave the EU entirely. so thats what we are going to do. Get used to it.

    • getahead
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      “do you feel European or do you not?”
      I feel very European. I just don’t feel very European Union.

  5. duncan
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The UK-EU debate has always been about who controls our laws, our money and our borders. Trade is important but is a variable in the greater scheme of things. Laws, money and borders are non-negotiable, our national right and our heritage. These three vital aspects of a nation do not belong to a foreign political entity

    I cannot understand the reasoning of those who support transferring national powers over to an unaccountable political body in another country. Why would anyone support such a move? Are these people masochists? They appear to embrace an unaccountable political elite.

    It is vital for the health of a democracy that ‘the people’ have the ability to hold their politicians to account for their deeds and misdeeds. Indeed it is vital ‘the people’ are able to hold unelected officials to account. At present UK unelected officials appear to hold all the levers of power and are acting independent of political control. Maybe that is the plan of this government and its two main players.

    Either way, there’s a war now within the my party. Last night the hideous Soubry called on May to expel hard-line Brexit MPs from the party. I’m not so sure that is possible but If this woman is invited onto Newsnight to stir up the pot then it is obvious that the BBC is now getting very involved in the internals of the party. Are May and Soubry in communication? Is May using Soubry as a conduit to warn people like John Redwood?

    Most Tories are getting really peed off with this nonsense now. We know what needs to be done. May and Hammond need removing asap. Just get on with it

    • Nig l
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Hideous indeed and not one positive contribution to the debate. Negative whingeing. What annoys me is that people like her give me no credit for understanding the issues and you set them out well. I knew that there would be issues and indeed, there may be a short term cost but border control, getting back our rebate, fishing, agriculture and the environment are more important. I also realised the strength iof our negotiating position.

      I see a junior minister recently referred to people like me as a swivel eyed loon. I haven’t met her, but have met and seen the work of other MPs and frankly some of them are fit for nothing else.

      Disagree by all means, counter my views with facts, but when you can’t, don’t insult me by calling me stupid and ignorant.

    • Tasman
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      But, duncan, nobody supports transferring national powers over to an unaccountable political body in another country. Why would anyone? The Council is accountable through national parliaments, when Ministers are called to account. We vote for our MEPs. So where’s your problem? I am assuming, of course, you know that the Commission has no lawmaking powers at all in the EU

      • Woody
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Is it not clear that the majority of the 28, now 27, are dependent on the “grants and loan” (i.e. bungs) from the eurocrats to support their economy. I’m sorry, I don’t consider democracy is consistent with the amount of bribes that are available to support the ambitions of the eurocrats who decide what budget allocations are to be made.

        • Mitchel
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          True-they went from the Soviet teat to the Anglo-German-etc teat.There’s a reason Russia has very little debt these days-it’s not supporting these dead legs any more!

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Do you mean governing NI from England?

        • NickC
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Rien, No more than Saxony is governed from Germany, or Lombardy from Italy. NI is part of the UK, not part of England.

      • Adam_C
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Firstly there’s the question of who initiates these laws. How does a democratic groundswell for change – say, in combatting unhealthy diesel particulates – translate into new laws being pushed onto the books?

        (Unless of course you think the populace cannot be trusted, and new laws should only be initiated by qualified bureaucrats).

        And that’s before we get to QMV. If the views of the UK electorate, as expressed through our democratically elected MEP’s, can be ignored – then do we really have a voice?

      • Tom William
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        To say that the Commission has no lawmaking powers is correct in that they draw up laws which have to be approved by the Council, usually by QMV which means individual countries have little or no chance of veto. To say national powers have not been transferred is chicanery.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Laws directives and regulations created by the EU become laws in the UK.
        28 member states with each having a vote yet only 9 pay in.
        Qualified majority voting.
        MPS have limited powers.
        It’s the Council and especially the Commission that have the real power and no citizens vote directly for them.

        • Dioclese
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Spot on!

      • Chris
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Re Tasman, the Commission drafts the laws and are subject to lobbying from very powerful groups with their own agendas. The “approval” by Parliament is merely rubber stamping. Have you seen them with their fingers on the buttons just waving through one bit of legislation after another – there can easily just be 200 pieces/segments of legislation to “pass” in just one morning session of Parliament. It is a farce. They cannot properly debate that or make meaningful changes. The Parliament has no effective power. The deals are done in committee stage by the eurocrats and the legislation drafted in relative secrecy by the Commission, and, then sent to Parliament for “approval”. The voting in Parliament is a formality, I believe.

      • NickC
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Tasman, The EU is not democratic. Voters in the GDR voted but it changed nothing. Same with the EU. If the UK was not in the EU we could agree individual treaties for those policies we wanted but walk away from the rest. If we remain in the EU, in the Council of Ministers, we are stuck, and can’t walk away. Unless we Leave. Which is what we voted for.

      • DaveM
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        If you believe that it’s not even worth replying.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink
        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          That was for Tasman.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Very well argued. Hold firm, the next few weeks will produce either confirmation of the Lancaster House speech, or the removal of T. May. If the latter case, the next generation of MP’s under the clear thinking and succinct J. Rees-Mogg, will take over.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Probably the Party will split between zealots and sensible people. And then we get Venezuela by the Thames

        • Jagman84
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          Are you talking about Labour? Venezuela is more their territory!

        • NickC
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          Rien, There is no doubt the EU zealots are a worry.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          Sensible people do not agree that their national government should be emasculated on the international stage.

        • Andy
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Why are you Continental Europeans so hostile to the UK ?? All we have done is said ‘I’m sorry this EU isn’t for us’. Why can’t you come to a sensible arrangement and instead of all the hostility and negativity come to a sensible grown up agreement ? Listen to some of the loons on your side it seems you are itching to declare War on the UK. Stupid.

          • jut
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            They are jealous and will miss our money.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Not hostile at all. Part of my family lives there, I care about the UK, is that hard to understand? On the other hand, If a country wants to do harm to itself, ultimately that is a matter for that country’s elected politicians to deal with.

          • Prigger
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            “Why are you Continental Europeans so hostile to the UK ??” Because we have always been successful.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink


          Luckily the remain zealots are dwindling in number as more and more people realise that shouty, abusive rhetoric against the majority wish is non productive. Labour is a Brexit party too, they are just playing politics if Soubry/ Morgan and the other zealots are prepared to let the govt fall and be replaced by Corbyn they will get the shock of their tiny minds when he goes through with Brexit anyway

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      I suspect it is not just Tories that are peed off. Brexit support was and is cross party, at least in the country. The fact that with 1 year to go Dr Redwood has to continue making the argument whilst we continue to suffer the news that unneeded negotiations continue is ridiculous. Leave means stay.

      • NickC
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Caterpillar, Indeed. Vote Leave – get BINO, with Remain sauce. And then the Remains have the cheek to complain about the Remain policies Theresa May’s government is trying to implement.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Dear duncan–Does Soubry simply not believe that “single market membership added just over 1% to our economy over the whole time we were in it” even though this is the EU’s estimate? Nothing else makes sense.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Is May using Soubry as a conduit . . .


      By her inactions shall she be judged .

  6. Prigger
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    The cost is supporting under-performing economies and nations which are the vast majority of EU members, and, this last year Germany, which is failing on many counts. Even its government has been in limbo for the past six months.All its flagship companies including cars, financial, are in a tailspin.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Must be reading some very advanced stuff…

      • Prigger
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        For some

      • jut
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it’s called the truth, you won’t be familiar with it.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      Yes, no German government in sight yet – nearly five months on from their elections: it seems highly probable that the SPD membership will vote against the terms of the new Groko when asked (probably on 2nd March – the terms still haven’t been hammered out). Twenty-four thousand new young voters have joined the SPD in the past few weeks, recruited by the Juso slogan ‘Tritt ein, sag’ nein!’ (= ‘Join up to say No’).
      Both CDU and SPD have lost a lot of their voter support since the election (and promising more free money for all including Brussels has eroded that support further) All that would help them now is the resignation and replacement of both Merkel and Schulz, and fresh elections.

  7. duncan
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    From today’s Telegraph:-

    5 February 2018 • 9:30pm

    Britain could be forced to accept nearly 40 EU directives during a two-year transition period after Brexit, according to a leaked Whitehall analysis.

    The report, obtained by The Telegraph, reveals that a series of controversial EU laws could be imposed amid concerns that Britain is powerless to stop them.

    One of the most contentious of the 37 directives could require every British household to have four different bins in a bid to hit “unfeasible” new EU recycling targets.

    Another directive could give Brussels the authority to mount a massive raid on the City of London, while the UK could also be bound by renewable and energy efficiency targets for up to a decade after Brexit.

    It is likely to trigger a new Cabinet row as eurosceptics including Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, have repeatedly warned that Britain must not accept new EU rules during transition.

    This is what May’s brought upon the UK as per her capitulation to EU threats.

    A useless, hopeless PM of infinite weakness

    • Nig l
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      The important word us ‘could’. Let us see what actually happens before we throw the toys out. A cynic might think that this was leaked to a pro leave broadsheet to support the Rees Mogg assertion that transition without representation would make us a vassal state.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        No – we don’t want to ‘ wait and see’. We want out so there is no risk and no chance.

        The risk has arisen through May’s appalling weakness and appeasement. It has been said many times that the continuation period will be used to apply a ‘punishment beating’. Those who said it woulnd’t happen are once again being shown to be naive and wrong.

    • Tom William
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      According to the Financial Times an internal strategy paper of the EU intends to tie Britain down after Brexit by prohibiting or curbing future moves to
      cut taxes, to deregulate, to carry out an industrial strategy, or make changes to employment law, all under pain of sanctions. It threatens to treat the UK as a pariah if it does not comply.
      It states in prosecutorial tones that Britain is “likely to use tax to gain competitiveness” and vows to stop British regulatory dumping in the future by suspension of trading rights. The authors flag the risk of Britain “undermining Europe as an area of high social protection”

      • mancunius
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        “Suspension of trading rights”? That’d be far more disruptive to EU exporters (and importers) than having a planned WTO regime.
        And for ‘high social protection’ read ‘high tax-and-spend, re-distributive socialism’.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Its simple.We just ignore implementing them.What are they going to do?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      But those 40 directives would be only part of all the new EU laws.

      If you look beyond directives and add on the more numerous regulations and decisions, and relevant ECJ judgments, then rather than the mere 7% claimed by Nick Clegg in a 2014 TV debate with Nigel Farage it turns out that about half of all our new laws originate with the EU:

      Oddly enough Nick Clegg himself agreed with that kind of higher estimate on other occasions:

      “So, Nick, how many laws come from Brussels?”

  8. Newmania
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    What an ornamental fountain of tosh ! OECD analysis of membership of the EEA, found trade in goods was 60 per cent higher than if trading partners under WTO rules.( 73 % say the Treasury ).
    Between 1958, when the EEC was set up, and Britain’s entry in 1973, gross domestic product per head rose 95 per cent in Italy, Germany and France compared with only 50 per cent in Britain. Gross domestic product per person has grown faster than Italy, Germany and France in the more than 40 years since. By 2013, Britain became more prosperous than the average of the three other large European economies for the first time since 1965. Since 1993, the UK has been the bloc’s top recipient of inward foreign direct investment, according to the UN…
    This post is genuinely so ridiculous that I simply cannot believe you are writing in good faith . It is one thing to be wrong, but quite another to deliberately mislead people into poverty when you will not be the one suffering.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      All these comparisons of growth in the post war recovery period with later periods are meaningless. The question is what is the level of growth and prosperity versus what it could have been in the same period under different circs. I don’t suppose EC / EU membership has made a huge difference, though given the level of statism in the U.K. in the 60s and 70s I’m sure it led to more trade than we would have had in the 70s and 80s. But now it’s clear that EU membership means political and monetary union with all that means for supra national government. The question now is whether that’s worth it in order to have free trade with EU countries, as seems to be the EUs condition. (There is of course no economic or commercial necessity for supranational government in order to have free trade).

      • Richard1
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        It should also be recalled that W Germany in particular benefitted from exceptionally good government in the post war decades under such leaders as Adenauer and finance minister Ludwig Erhard, whilst the U.K. was groaning under the yoke of ever increasingly absurd socialist policies, until the Great Liberation under Margaret Thatcher.

    • Woody
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      The growth stats show that pre 1975 the uk had periods of GDP growth reaching as high as 9% with the lowest trough being around 0%. Since we were conned into joining the eu we have never reached those heights, with the highest growth rate being 7% , once, and several troughs of -4% even -6%. We were the 3rd largest economy in the world in 1975 and we are now the 6th. Cant see anything the eu has done that is outstanding in those stats except building massive mountains of butter and beef to keep french farmers prices high.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Since 1992 to 2008, the European Commissions own figures (on their website) say the TOTAL gdp gain for the EU countries was on average 2%. They didn’t go further than 2008 as they didn’t want the figures worsened by the financial crisis.A separate German study (Bertelsmann Foundation) looked at 1992 to 2012 and found a TOTAL gain for the UK of 1% extra gdp.
      I contend that the lost opportunities of free trade with the RoW turned these marginal gains into substantial losses.

      • John C.
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        GDP is also a doubtful measure of success, as it depends on the size of the country. There are many countries with much smaller populations which have a higher standard of living, and are happier, more united and content.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Britain has taken in many European youth who are economic refugees of the failed Euro.

      Our strength has been what we *don’t* have in common with the EU – our currency. The ability to set our own interest rates.

      Of course, since the referendum we hear the intent is that we join the Euro (if we stay) – and form an EU army. Both things you said were untrue and the wild imaginings of Brexiters.

      The inter generational wealth cliff edge in the UK that both you and Andy bang on about took place before Brexit and ignores the fact that many parents have been getting into debt bailing out their offspring because of the overcrowded housing market.

      Doubtless you see high house prices as our country getting richer. Well it isn’t.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      And what of the other EU 27 ? Not doing so well are they ? Take Germany out of the equation and things look really bad.

      The thing is, as the Greeks found out, when you want to change something, you can’t unless youget the concent of the others.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      I simply can’t be bothered to repeat all the references to the estimates of the paltry benefits of the EU Single Market quoted by the EU Commission itself and by other sources, INCLUDING UK GOVERNMENT REPORTS:

      As for the initial Common Market, rather than the succeeding Single Market, tariffs have been reduced so much since 1957 that most of its original benefit will still be retained even after the UK has left the EU, and obviously that large part which will continue does not count to any loss on withdrawal. Putting that another way, the gains are not reversible on UK withdrawal because we would not then go back to the high tariffs which applied in the earlier era:

      Moreover there are strong arguments that because of our rather unusual trading patterns the benefits to the UK have been below the average for the EU as a whole, for example:

      “Most importantly the trade impacts reported by the Treasury and OECD are an average for all EU countries. We find that the specific impact for the UK is much smaller. The implication is that these official predictions of the impact of Brexit are overly pessimistic.”

  9. hans chr iversen
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    the challenges we have a society in terms of our own domestic challenges are significantly larger than the one’ outlined by John and just becomes another part of a number of challenges for the future
    such as:

    -Challenges on infrastructure
    -Educational standards
    -Skills gaps
    -North-south divide
    -housing and demographics

    All challenges significantly higher than Brexit;.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Most of which are affected directly or indirectly by EU membership.
      Certainly housing made unaffordable by mass immigration Education and health likewise.
      As for infrastructure we spend vast amounts on foreign countries which should be spent at home.
      The tendrils of Brussels are everywhere.

      • Chris
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Spot on, Ian.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink


        Education and housing gas been a problem way before EU immigration, this is both demographics and the north -south divide

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 9, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink


        Education and housing problems were there before we became members of the EU and they were not dealt with then either, it is always easier to blame the foreigners, but you should really know better, with your young age

    • Andy
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      All of the challenges you mention are areas where the UK government has repeatedly failed. Brexit makes all of them harder as the country will have significant less money to fix them. (Though the rich Tory tax-dodgers who bank-rolled Brexit will have significantly more money).

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink


        Why do we need two governments to run this country ?

        Who is your MEP ? You should know them far better than your MP, they are far more important.

        EU elections were barely noticed in Britain and UKIP winning made no real difference in 2014.

        I really want to hear from you which of the EU parties you support and what they stand for. A thesis from you on how the EU works and its institutions and big players.

        Why is it good for us ? Do let us know.

      • NickC
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Andy, You are probably too young to have learnt yet that for you to be taken seriously in a debate facts, preferably referenced or at least current, come first, then reasoning, and only then the assertions. Presumably you drop the first two requirements because you are in such a rush to sell us out to the EU?

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          Nick C,

          this is really a joke your assumptions and emotional rants about migrants and non substantiated facts, makes you comments to Andy rather laughable

      • Edward2
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Rich tax dodgers love the EU

      • Woody
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        I’m struggling to find this money that you seem to think is magicked from the eu .. as opposed to the 19 billion we currently hand over to them. I am also amazed that you consider the north east of england, a labour strong hold, voted for leave as its voters wanted to support the “rich tory tax dodgers”. Have you ever wondered how it is the very big businesses and establishment fat cats who are trying to deny the democratic decision of the people. Please, please, look at the real picture and accept the people have made a decision against the pressure of the elite in full knowledge of the facts … thanks to the pro eu pamphlet we all were sent.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink


      Your comment assumes that the EU will not have directives, regulation, influence or control, to of any of those titles you list.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        and the do not have influence on a number of them , these are domestic problems generated all by ourselves with no foreign help or much involvement

        • alan jutson
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink


          Ian Wragg has already answered many of these points.

          • hans chr iversen
            Posted February 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            that was an unsubstantiated answer, which did not answer why we also had similar problems even before we became members of the EEC, so not they were not answered

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Not really just get a far smaller state, deregulate, give people freedom of choice as to how to earn and spend their own money, relax planning. Then cut taxes and cut the vast government waste and corruption and have selective, quality only immigration.

      That is all that is needed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Go for cheap on demand energy too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Trump clearly understands the NHS better than Hunt does! The NHS has very poor outcomes and is failing millions. Many not even being fed properly.

        Life expectancy in Hong Kong is much higher and the state there only spend about half what we do on health care – in GDP terms.

        Perhaps we can learn from them.

        • graham1946
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Utter tripe as usual. You know nothing whatever about the NHS.

          You reckon the USA has a better system? They pay twice as much as we do (GDP) in case you don’t know for a far worse system.

          Comparing Hong Kong Singapore etc is like comparing a major supermarket with a corner shop. People do die – they go in because they are ill and old. We have a much older population so its going to happen. Of course there is poor service, there is with all big organisations – tell me of a big private firm that gives 100 percent satisfaction whilst being permanently understaffed and or even with full staffing.

          On top the NHS is underfunded in order to run it into the ground so you may get your wish for privatised service, then you will have something to moan about. Your lack of respect for the staff is quite incredible. Try voluntary work and you might see what you are blind to.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          ‘Life expectancy in Hong Kong is much higher’

          – No it isn’t. It’s lower:

          It’s 79.3 (average) Hong Kong.
          It’s 80.46 for the UK.

          We could learn more from Italy (83.3), Spain (82.2), Sweden (81.9), France (81.85) and Netherlands (81. 31).

          And America / Trump could learn something about life expectancy from the UK. USA: 78.9

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Source: The World Factbook (Central Intelligence Agency)

    • Iain Gill
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Sure there are lots of challenges.

      I think on the whole they are symptoms and not the underlying causes.

      One of the causes is the generally low quality and unrepresentative political class we have. Until we start improving that we are in trouble.

    • Tom William
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      While not disagreeing that these are major challenges which need attention belonging to the EU in no way would help solve them and in some areas would make them much harder to solve

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink


      Many Northern towns are far more prosperous than London, which is a dump in vast parts. My childhood town in Sth London like a ghetto.

      Newcastle/Leeds for example. A very high standard of living.

      Education/skills gaps are broadly down to a failed leftist doctrine – that degrees in the arts (such as Newmania’s) are the equal in rigor, honesty and usefulness as STEM.

    • John
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      -Challenges on infrastructure

      Whilst it may seem nice that we pay for new roads in Poland and state of the art broad band in Slovenia I would rather we spend infrastructure money in the UK

      -Educational standards
      Having EU propaganda items like that one book aimed at primary school kids showing that the EU won the Second World War with the EU flag victorious over the Germans is not going to raise standards.

      -Skills gaps
      A contractor has a choice, employ a UK apprentice on £15k and train them for 3 years till they are productive or employ an Eastern European on £15k trained and qualified. That’s why we have a skills gap, our potential young electricians are stacking shelves in supermarkets.

      -North-south divide

      Our North South divide is nowhere as bad as the EU north south divide. We are a transfer union. The City of London contributes many £10s of billions every year to the rest of the UK t compensate unlike Germany.

      -housing and demographics

      Yes, too many immigrants has cause a housing shortage and raised house prices beyond the aspiration of our young.


      Our productivity would go up if we didn’t have economic migrants earning up to the tax free allowance of £11500 pa and going home to spend it. Also cheap migrant labour undercutting technology. We can harvest vegetables with mechanisation, the UK is post industrial revolution. We don’t need cabbage pickers.

      Above, isn’t it nice that all migrants get housed?!


      Way over stretched by massive uncontrolled immigration. Reduce immigration, reduce demand for the NHS ‘free’ service and it becomes a much better service for those that pay for it!

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        We have a skills gap and that cannot be compensated for by blaming most of our own created problems on migrants, and by the way the Germans have regional transfers just like we do

  10. Zerok
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Few if any people in the financial world including civil servants in reality ever witness WORK. I mean people working in any industry here… working, except as a fleeting glimpse.
    None of them ever saw a coalminer working. None sees a sewerage worker. But they do not see EU-nations workers actually working either. No crime. It is just that without comparing actual real working one is only left with statistics. British workers work harder than their foreign counterparts and foreign workers here work harder than they ever did in their countries of origin. Proof for a Civil Servant? Why!!!…the aforementioned is the proof, it is in black and white. Should I print you a copy off?

  11. agricola
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Your para one is key to everything, sovereignty. Once we have it the rest is down to us. We become masters of our own destiny, a position in which the British are genetically more comfortable. been there before, know the score.

    Barnier sells Brexit as a terminal disease with terrible side effects, possibly realising that the real downside is for the EU. I do hope our team are not seduced into any half cock relationship. WTO rules are cleaner and less ambiguous if EU doctrine, as heard in the last week, persists.

    • Perry
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      So, the Irish border. Where mrs may has agreed to regulatory convergence going forward. How is your sovereignty feeling?

      • Woody
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Haven’t read that anything has been agreed except that the uk government is firm in its wish that the border arrangements stay as they currently are. But it is an eu decision if they want to make that different not a uk government one.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        So, “Perry”, the absurd, extreme and intransigent position taken by the new Irish government, “ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”, how do you feel about that?

        “We have been very very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ,ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland it is not an option for us”.

        Are you absolutely sure you want to side with these people not just against your own country but against all reason?

  12. MickN
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I see Mrs Sourbry is saying she will quit the Conservatives if the leavers hold sway. To paraphrase the great man “Never in the field of EU conflict has such a Win-Win situation been offered to so many by so few”
    We can only hope….

    • Mick
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      The sooner the better , she was saying that Mrs May is in hock to 35 of her own mps, what complete rubbish from this woman, Mrs May is in hock to 17.4 million leave voters and growing and she had better not forget it

  13. Mark B
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    . . . barrage of commentary that thinks it is wholly or mainly about trading arrangements, when it is really about how we are governed . . . .

    Hurrah ! Finally.

    The debate needs to move on to this. Business, especially big business via the CBI, has had far too big a say in all this. This has lead the UK to be drawn into the CU and the SM via Regulatory Convergence and has damaged our negotiating position. This plus asking for a trade deal which benefits them more. The only reason for doing so is to keep us tied to the EU.


  14. robert lewy
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “More importantly, lop sided reductions in tariffs and barriers meant we lost a lot of industry to continental competition”

    FAO: JR

    Please can you provide some detail to support this claim.

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      The £100bn/year trading deficit the UK has with the EU.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Indeed you make good points. There are huge cost and inefficiencies that come about through idiotic EU regulations, green lunacy, daft farming subsidies and the likes. In particular from the EU employment laws. The ones that May want to keep and build on.

    An absurd discussion about “women and 100 years” yesterday for most of Newsnight. Four great lefty women “brilliant thinkers”. Who on earth chooses these people?

    I had not realised that being a women was “excruciatingly painful” (my mother wife and two daughters had never mentioned it) but Tracey Emin put me right on that. Emily Maitlis went on about the gender pay gap “undoubtedly still some way to go” she said. So she obviously had not bothered to look at the statistics in any detail. It is clear there is no real gender pay gap, women just choose different jobs, degrees, take career breaks, are often less interest in money and choose different work life balances. Adjust for these and there is no gap at all.

    Anna Soubry has clearly now gone completely mad and seems to have had her her face and hair done especially for the role.

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I believe Anna Soubry to be a complete embarrassment. She seems too stupid to realise. Someone is obviously egging her on, and that will inevitably end in her fall, actually crash.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Recovery of sovereignty is the fundamental issue. It was settled by the referendum. No one can be in doubt that the Cameron government used every tool available to warn voters about the doom and gloom that would follow a vote for Brexit – including enlisting the services of the then President of the USA, uncle Tom Cobley and all. He lost. Taking back control won. Any trade deal must acknowledge that reality.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I am amazed that the EU still pursues its line that they are in control . The simple truth is they are the ones to lose on trade balance and on the value of the financial contributions we have made . We certainly face the task of re-orienting ourselves to wider markets but we do have a solid base to work from and much more to gain in doing so . If the media in Europe can be trusted to reveal all or part of the truth , then its predictions all point to the disintegration of the EU anyway ; it is merely a matter of time .

    I want our dignity and sovereign independence back above all else ; I have no respect for the bureaucracy that comes from Brussels or for its representatives .

    • Timaction
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      …………..I have no respect for the bureaucracy that comes from Brussels or for its representatives …………………who have acted against the British people for over 40 years, lying and deceiving them on their true intentions to create a superstate by stealth.

  18. Bob
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    So the Royal Marines are to be decimated to save costs while we continue to give £13 billion in foreign aid.

    Is this an indication of the Tory’s priorities?

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Parliament does not deserve the Royal Marines, nor the special forces that the Navy supplies 40% of manpower to.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      The UK Government has entered into agreements that are both bad and difficult to get out of. It is my view that when entering into such agreements if they are not part of a party manifesto or referendum, ie a mandate from the people, they should be covered by a Sunset Clause. ie The agreement or Treaty ceases to be after a set period if time, less it can be renegotiated. This make politicians behave better with our money and prohibit their virtue signalling.

    • Dennis
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      How much foreign aid does the UK receive? – varies of course with the number of useful, tax paying immigrants we get, plus foreign investments – I don’t know but would like to.

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Bob, and they are skewed. They are not Tories, simple.

  19. Epikouros
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    The EU is a political experiment with the single market thrown in as an incentive to join. Even if the single market was fair and free which it is not the political dimension attached to being a member should warn sovereign nations to steer well clear of such a malignant institution. The UK did not and we are now suffering the slings and arrows of such misfortune as to be a member of a body that denies civil liberties, democracy and the freedom to choose independent action if the collective action does not suit or is not in our best interest.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      As I’ve said before, as best the economic advantages are a pathetically small mess of pottage for which our politicians were prepared to sell our birthright. At worst, more likely, we pay for the privilege of our subjugation …

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I see that Amber Rudd now seems to be fanatically against free speech (such as we still have) in the UK. Not even ruling out a new law against “misogynist comments” or hate crimes as she might call it. How on earth would that ever be defined in law one wonders?

    If you cannot offend you simply do not have free speech. This as some people will take offence at almost anything you say. This at a time when the police force (under May & Rudd) have largely given up on most crimes completely. With violent crime, knife crime, gun crime, burglaries, shoplifting are all up 20-30% in just a year. Has she any sense of priorities at all?

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      When you csn control the language, you cn control the debate. And by extension, inflence or control the people.

    • rose
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      And at the same time she is thinking about retrospectively pardoning real criminals – convicted arsonists, assailants, bombers, window smashers…

      Who will pardon all the people she is criminalising?

  21. Original Richard
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The Labour Party say they want the UK to have the “same benefits” of the SM and CU after we have left the EU. These are the “benefits” to which they refer :

    – Loss of control of £20bn/year (£10bn/year net + £10bn/year via rebates and matching EU decided UK spending).

    – £100bn/year trading deficit, made worse by the fact that we subsidise EU farmers to provide us with food that we could import from outside the EU at cheaper prices if we were not in the CU.

    – Damaging rules, regulations and laws which were not designed for the UK and made to benefit other countries. Introduced with no Parliamentary oversight or chance of veto.

    – A standards system which enabled German car firms to massively increase their car sales by fitting diesel emissions cheating devices.

    – Giving away access to our fishing grounds such that EU vessels take 90% of the catch in UK waters and are even allowed to continue with the environmentally damaging pulse fishing method in UK waters.

    – Allowing massive immigration to take place each year causing shortages of housing, healthcare, infrastructure, prisons etc. as well as a loss of social cohesion.

    – Loss of sovereignty

  22. bigneil
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    ” The costs of belonging to the single market and customs union “- -belonging to or being governed by? The EU wants to keep it’s claws into us. Don’t forget their saying – Ever closer union – or in plain English – We want your money and to fill your country with the 3rd World to bankrupt you and destroy you.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      A 350 man police operation to stop people smuggling today.

      These people are paying £10,000 to escape France to Britain.

      Still the land of welfare milk and honey. (These people are not slave-trade victims, they are witting criminals.)

  23. Lifelogic
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Ann Widdecombe today was spot on – Prime Minister do you not have better things to worry about than pardoning the suffragettes that were convicted of crimes agenda.

    She is quite right, when will T May grow up a bit and get real?

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m very keen that England gets a true parliament. It is a worthy cause but present politicans including Mr Redwood don’t think so. He puts the status quo and the Union first. If I start throwing bricks through windows to get them to listen can I please be excused prosecution? After all why wait 100 years when it can be done now?

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      She is highly impressionable, and does not have, in my mind, the ability, wisdom or intelligence to sort out what Conservative principles and ideology are all about (she seems to have no real principles, instead simply trying to be “nice”, and ensuring the state interferes in every aspect of our lives in order to “look after” us).

  24. ian
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    You forgot the billions of pounds worth of contracts Gov gives some countries in the EU, up to 65 percent some years, for nothing in return from them, cannot remember the last time a UK company fill an order for an EU country, maybe you could update the people on that subject.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink


      Please expaned

  25. Know-Dice
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Off topic, but for the record…

    2017 Election results.

    Name Valid votes Majority

    Rudd, Amber 54,766 346
    Soubry, Anna 55,508 863
    Johnson, Boris 46,694 5,034
    Gove, Michael 57,822 24,943
    Redwood, John 59,690 18,798
    Rees-Mogg, Jacob 54,043 10,235

    What more can be said…

    Goodbye Anna…

  26. Chris
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Why is Theresa May even contemplating this?
    Leaked: The 37 EU rules Britain could be forced to accept during Brexit transition

    This seems to be the reality of what she is setting up for us in her Brexit negotiations.

    Also, Ms Soubry suggests apparently that Brexiter MPs are not real Tories. Perhaps it is time that she carried out her threat and set up a new Party.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      It’s all a bit Soviet don’t you think.Like those old photos of the Bolsheviks before they came to power -where Trotsky was subsequently replaced with a tree.Perhaps she would like to see Redwood replaced by a redwood!

    • Ten
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Tories are pragmatic. They do not spout ideological bigotry. Rees Mogg is not a Tory

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        The Tories are mainly daft, lefty, Libdems and dire career politicians – nothing very pragmatic about that. They are wrong on almost every issue. Just not quite as bad the the dire alternative of Corbyn.

        Look at how few LibDems got back into power.

    • miami.mode
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Chris….if any politicians think the EU will not do everything within its power to cause us the maximum disruption during the implementation/so-called transition period, then they are seriously deluded.

  27. Shopper
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Has everyone on here signed this petition?
    “We must leave the EU completely in March 2019 – No transition period, No delay”
    29,145 signatures so far. Only 41 in JR’s Constituency of Wokingham and 42 in Barnsley, South Yorkhsire

  28. A Briton
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Every year at the opening of Parliament when the Monarch of this realm is obliged to utter the words ‘My Government……” I hang my head in shame. It’s not her Government; it’s not even our Government. We are allowed to choose whom we want to represent us in our Parliament but as far as ‘governance’ is concerned THAT is the sole perogative of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice who make the decisions and make the laws. Our Government through our Civil Servants rubber stamp what is decided outside the Realm and ensure that these are enshrined in our law and the way that we live etc. Our Parliamentary Representatives deal with local issues and that’s a good thing and vital to the people that they represent but as far as the bigger picture goes that is decided by someone else. We talk and pretend otherwise. Good luck to you Remainers and Transitioners in your endeavours to become ‘Inside Outsiders’ – you will pay the price for this in years to come.

    • Alan
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      That just isn’t true. Most EU directives concern matters of trade standards, etc, that are of little interest to anyone except those involved in that trade. Major decisions – war in Iraq and Syria, how to run the health service and how to fund it, how to run education, defence, police, prisons, whether to have a referendum on leaving the EU are all run by the UK or regional parliaments. The Queen’s governments do rule the UK in most important respects.

      You will find after we have left the EU that we will still be ‘governed’ by international bodies – the UN for example sets many of the regulations about cars, about treatment of refugees, and a good many other things. Even the WTO has rules.

  29. duncan
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    The reason our economy grew and continues to grow was not our membership of the EU but a vibrant private sector that produces actual goods and services that others want to buy. We are an economy that is open and flexible

    if joining the EU was a panacea for a nation’s economic ills then Greece would be a economic powerhouse by now. Suffice to say Greece is BANKRUPT

    Italy IS BANKRUPT. it owes over 500bn EU to the Bundesbank and around 430bn EU to the ECB in obligations under the Target2 Eurozone payments balancing mechanism

    And France. Well, France is a basket case. A smokes and mirrors economy. It only joined the EEC to align itself with a strong German economy and reduce sovereign debt risk through collective risk sharing

    We don’t need the EU. We only need to trade with the member states of the EU. If these decrepit political entity tries to hold us to ransom then we’ll have to resort to tit for tat and then onto the WTO.

  30. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Simple statement: I do not wanted to be governed by any other than the UK. We can change things we don’t like here , but not in the superstate which at the moment is being sidestepped to mix reality and appearance.

  31. Grant
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t understand where all of this dislike comes from..the vast majority have never even visited brussels..never met a foreign Eu MEP..never met Junker Verhofstadt or others in the EU make up just who told you these people were so horrible that you can’t abide them and want out ASAP..i would like to know just where all of this negative thinking is coming from..speaking personally i have visited the great EU institutions and met some of the commissioners and bureaucrats in europe and always found them above board and very it’s all a puzzle to me?

    • jut
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Judge people by their actions and not by what they say or how they behave. Do some research on Junker’s political days in Luxembourg.

      • Jack snell
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 2:53 am | Permalink

        Jut..Junker will only be there until next year when his time is up..unlike some of our crowd he cannot go on the Lords and the Establishment..most of them unelected..get real

  32. Lawrence John
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    If we were exporters like Germany we would be paying for the right to export tarriff-free to Europe and the privilege of having our competition taxed (eg. Korean cars taxed between 10-20%, Volkswagen 0%). But because we are nett IMPORTERS, that means that we currently pay more than £12B a year in order to allow OTHER European countries to restrict imports from non-EU contries – so we are paying a massive fee in order to prevent cheaper and better goods fom coming to our shores.
    It makes no sense, so even after you consider the crucial issues of democracy and soverignty, even the “trade” part of the EU arrangement makes absolutely no sense and brings no value to Britain.

  33. mancunius
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I’d be interested to know JR’s views about the NI/RoI border problem. In the Joint Report (7th Dec.) we promised – to my personal horrified astonishment – that, “in the absence of agreed solutions [i.e. in avoiding a hard border between RoI and NI) the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”
    The government now claims vaguely that this means only a limited form of alignment restricted to NI – but the clause actually states ‘the *United Kingdom* will…’ etc. And we know that the RoI has certainly now assumed (quite reasonably, one may objectively think) that this will happen. We must find a way of avoiding it, as we’d be nationally hamstrung by such a move.

    As those who signed the report must have been aware, the EU is already determined to avoid any ‘agreed solutions’ and is aiming at detaching NI from the UK and handing it over to the RoI – a process already begun in the Good Friday Agreement. If a majority in NI were to agree, fine, but so far they haven’t. (Nor do they need to – they all have RoI nationality and the UK taxpayer’s money as of right: so they all have little motivation to change their status quo.)

    What does JR see as a solution? Renegotiate the Belfast Agreement? Tell NI to leave the UK? Tell the RoI we refuse to erect a hard border ourselves or shift it to the Irish Sea, and the Joint Report is not to be taken seriously?

    We have had a Free Travel Area agreement with RoI for nearly a century. But if we are to trade under WTO rules, would the WTO agree to our having a purely electronic customs border with the RoI (and the EU)? And how would we police immigration over that border?

    The EU will exacerbate and exploit this problem as far as they can.

  34. Dennis Zoff
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink


    British companies can sell into the EU without tariffs. For the tiny percentage of British businesses which sell products to EU member states, that’s great.

    Unfortunately, all the rest (over 90% of British businesses) have had to put up with the extra costs of the UK being in the EU, despite getting no benefit from selling to EU27 countries.

    And, critically, all British consumers have to pay inflated prices for many everyday products, because of high tariffs imposed by the EU which do not benefit British industries nor the consumer.

    Of course Monsieur Barnier was trying to persuade everyone on his flying visit to London yesterday that staying in the Customs Union is a good idea. The last thing the EU wants is for the UK to leave the cosy cartel. extract….

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Patrick Minford has come out in the Sun, no less, with a claim that unnecessary EU rules are costing us 6% of GDP, and a suggestion that maybe we could gain 2% of GDP once we were free to repeal or amend or replace them:

    “If Britain seizes the freedom to move away from EU regulations, the current 6 per cent cost could be cut by a third – boosting GDP by 2 per cent and our growth rate in line.”

    I don’t find either part of that completely outlandish.

    Back in 2006 it was estimated by the EU Commission that unnecessary or badly designed rules connected with the EU Single Market were costing about 5.5% of collective EU GDP, three times greater than its benefits of about 1.5% of collective GDP:

    So I could imagine it might be possible to make improvements worth 2% of GDP – which of course would wipe out the GDP losses predicted by the Treasury in its least pessimistic scenarios, that is those where its predictions do not embody unsubstantiated politicised speculation to arbitrarily amplify the expected GDP losses fourfold.

    • Adam
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      You do know Minford believes we should open up our markets to completely unrestricted imports, and the he assumes every single job in this country in manufactured goods, farming and fishing will disappear overnight?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Yes, I do know that Minford would like the world to move to completely free trade – and if I hadn’t already known that I might have guessed it:

        So what has that to do with the scope we will have to improve our economy by judicious adjustments to the rules we will inherit from the EU?

        Nothing, it has nothing at all to do with it.

  36. Helen Smith
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, the EU has been an unmitigated disaster for the UK, our farmers, our fishermen, everyone.

    It would be good if the likes of Clegg, Umuna, Soubry etc could show why the Single Market is so wonderful instead of just trotting out sound bites. They never have, because they can’t.

    What they fear is that the country will blossom outside of the EU, SM and CU, and we will all ask the question ‘why did you keep us in all these years’. Hence the need for a ‘soft brexit’!

  37. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Define “Monarch”

    • Prigger
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Rien Huizer
      ‘”Define “Monarch”‘ Okay. Read carefully, for it is in English:

  38. Prigger
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Dope Trudeau has publicy interrupted and told a woman “we” prefer to say Peoplekind. not Mankind.
    It used to be a great country, Canada

  39. Jacey
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I voted to leave the EU to enable this country to regain its sovereignty. The oft mooted concept of ” pooled sovereignty “is one I do not recognise. Sovereignty is an absolute. One has it or one does not. The U.K. is in the process of trying to regain it.

  40. Ron Olden
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The EU appears to favour ‘sanction powers’ following implementation of the transition agreement, which would enable it to restrict tariff free access to the Single Market in the event of any disputes following Brexit.

    I see no problem with that, provided that the powers work both ways, and that they don’t violate WTO rules.

    It seems a far better solution than continuing to have ECJ jurisdiction in UK and brings any trading relationship into line with any normal agreement between trading nations.

  41. John
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Just a few thoughts. And facts – easily checked ones.
    The people who started the EU had suffered through two horrrendous wars (which wrecked the largely tariff and border free Europe of 1914). They hoped both to avert another war and to create the kind of prosperity enjoyed by the USA with its continent wide economy. They weren’t right wing or fascists – rather the opposite.
    The undemocratic EU we have is largely the result of British refusal to endorse more democracy. Unelected commissioners, real power in a smoke filled room (the council of ministers)? Both things the UK fought bitterly for.

  42. hans chr iversen
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    All major countries in Europe had more growth in the 20 years from 1952 to 1972 than from 1972 , when we joined the EEC till 1992, so using that as an argument is rather weak. As the re-construction after the war means we had more growth in the 50s and 60s.

    So, using that as an argument against th EU, is rather far-fetched and not really relevant, but you still do it.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted February 10, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      hans chr iversen

      Try selling that nonsense to Italy, Spain, Portugal…or Greece!

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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