Cake and eat it

The whole point about having cake is to eat it. If we do a good deal with the EU both sides can have their cake and eat it. If a deal means too little cake for one side there’s no point in the deal. No Deal will let us eat more cake than a bad deal.

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  1. alan jutson
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Careful John, you will be upsetting those who on an austerity diet.

  2. Peter
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Well it now looks like most of the Conservative party and much of the media have decided to unite behind the idea that May’s speech and her five points of aspiration was some sort of master stroke. Typically, Rees Mogg saying now is ‘not the time to nitpick’.

    Most people outside those worlds don’t see it that way though.

    We are being softened up. Red lines are about to be crossed.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      As our host, JR-M and many others have said, ‘no deal = no money’, IF ONLY Mrs. May had said it too I think we’d be on the way to a deal.

    • jerry
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      @Peter; “Most people outside those worlds don’t see it that way though.”

      Of course they don’t, most people are not fundamentalist in their Brexit approach, be that europhobe or europhile.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        It’s not a phobia. It’s a rational dislike.

        • jerry
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          @The nameless one; Sorry, but then nor is it a ‘philia’ either; no one loves the EU as so many anti EU people keep implying!

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          Can a dislike be rational?

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink


      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, You’re just spouting BBC groupthink propaganda. There is nothing “fundamentalist”, or “hard”, or “cliff-edge” about it. Trade and independence are separate issues.

        There are few nations that would give up their independence for a purported increase of a couple of per cent to their GDP. Would the USA do it? Of course not. Would Australia do it? Their High Commissioner has just said no. Are they “fundamentalists” as a result? Of course not. Neither are we. We voted to be independent of the EU. Anything less is a sell-out.

        • jerry
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; What ever, so sorry, I best also stop saying that I prefer a WTO Brexit then, you might accuse me of talking UKIP ‘groupthink propaganda’…!

          • NickC
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Why? When the facts are different then my opinion is different. Isn’t yours?

          • jerry
            Posted March 6, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

            @NickC; “When the facts are different”

            But opinions are not facts, how ever you might wish them to be, no one knows how Brexit will pan-out, not even people such as you who think they have the perfect crystal ball.

        • jerry
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          @NickC; “There are few nations that would give up their independence for a purported increase of a couple of per cent to their GDP. Would the USA do it? Would Australia do it?

          Err, that is what the 50 states of the USA did do, to form the USA, hence the name of the country, as did the six colonies of ‘continental Australia’, to form the Commonwealth of Australia… duh!

          • NickC
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Neither the Australian nor USA colonies were different from each other in the way that the UK is different from Sweden, or Italy different from France. They were all ruled by the UK. The 13 colonies of the USA took their independence from the UK in one move to form the USA. Duh . . .

          • jerry
            Posted March 6, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

            @NickC; You mean language, you do realise just how many languages were native to the 50 states that make up the USA…

            Carry on with your ignorance based phobias.

            “They were all ruled by the UK.”

            Out of the mouths of babes, as someone said to me recently, now we have the nub if the issue for far to many UKIPer types….

  3. Richard1
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    The cake the EU wants is a long transition period – preferably indefinite – during which the U.K. stays in all existing structures, paying money etc, and during which the long term FTA is negotiated, with only the vaguest principles agreed by March 2019. This way the EU has its cake and eats it, with cherries including indefinite money but without the nuisance of an anti-federalist UK having a vote. With the Labour Party and even many Conservatives now arguing for the customs union, and most likely the single market as well, you can hardly blame the EU for holding out for this prize. The only cure for this outcome is a credible walk away strategy. Mrs May said yesterday she wouldn’t be browbeaten into threatening to walk away. OK, it’s up to her how to conduct the negotiation, and let’s wait for the official EU response to her speech. But if, as seems likely, it’s negative, the Govt need to get serious about WTO terms. If the EU think they are not, they will just sit there, arms folded, and wait for U.K. domestic politics to land us in a long period of voteless subjugation.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Richard1, You are right about the EU cherry-picking. But that is because, inadvertently or otherwise, the UK establishment persists in confusing trade and independence.

      By stepping back and understanding that independence and trade are different issues, then using that as a yardstick, we can judge whether Mrs May’s recent Mansion House speech complies with our Referendum decision to Leave, or not.

      It doesn’t.

      It’s so obvious when the two issues are separated. We are being duped. Again.

  4. Ed Mahony
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Why do we have to be so quick in baking the cake?

    Delicious and beautiful-looking cakes take time to plan and prepare, including buying the ingredients, mixing and then baking in the oven.

    If we’re too quick and slapdash, the cake won’t rise, the ingredients will taste awful, and we’ll all be significantly hungrier.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      For the long-term good of our country, let’s give Hard Brexigt 25 to 30 years to prepare for. In particular, build up our economy (and work out proper strategy, get the country behind it properly, and give EU time so they can give us good trade deal).

      And during that time, we could find a way to reform the EU. Then we would really have our cake and eat it.

      Why the rush? It doesn’t make sense.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        If Hard Brexit is truly noble and something worth fighting for, then let’s fight for it properly by giving it the time and attention it deserves.

        If it not something noble enough, then let’s ditch it now, and focus on lots of other more noble and satisfying things to focus on in improving our country (and there are many). And then return to question of Brexit later on once we’ve tried to resolve all the other really serious problems facing our country.

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Ed, Why the delay? It doesn’t make sense. The sooner we leave, the sooner we gain the benefits. By the time your sometime-never recipe is cooked – we will be too.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink


          I’m happy to look at the pros and cons of leaving now and planning to leave properly.

          But all you seem to see is pros only to leaving, and leaving. No risk. Nothing. I mean business is all about looking at both the risk and the opportunities. Same in military strategy.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            And preparing and mitigating the risks.

            You just focus on the pros which is blind optimism. Blind optimism is recipe for failure / disaster.

            That’s just common sense, right?

          • NickC
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            Ed, There’s always risk in any venture, whether we remain in the EU, or leave it. In my view the higher risk is to remain in the EU. Most nations believe the risks of independence are worth it. So do I.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Paul Hollywood (or is it the spirit of Marie-Antoinette).

    • Hope
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink


      You have read the phase one agreement where May completely capitulated and then made a Cameron type announcement that she achieved something when she did not. You pointed out only a day ago that the EU willl not discuss trade until after the extension. She has paid £100 billion to talk about trade! She has allowed to the ECJ to preside over citizens in this country and will keep regulatory alignment and diverge at some unknown, if ever, point in the future? When she talks about compromise what did the EU compromise in phase one other than ask for far more than it did? So please tell us. The world is looking on with increduality. Why would any free independent country allow 27 other countries to determine its trade policy, its rule of law, or vast sums even to talk about a trade at a future point? Moreover the threat to annex part of its country? That is not only unfriendly it is a threat of land grab which in any other circumstance would lead to sanctions or war! May is allowing more immigration, extending the U.K. Time in the EU for no good reason without a voice- why? We voted leave. Trade was not the primary or sole reason for leaving she is trying to make it so or use it as a reason to stay in all but name.

      May said you have to beleive in Brexit to deliver Brexit. She could not even say that the other day.

      May promises more devolved powers, where is the English devolved govt? Moreover, your party and govt has even failed to deliver EVEL after Cameron promised it on the steps of Downing Street! No , your party and gov still dividing England into regions with Mayors that the public rejected. An EU regionalization plan!

      Cake and eat it, come on she is underhand and capitulated to date. May is following Cameron, next she will tell us she reformed the EU or got a good deal when it is clear already she I still not up to the job and is selling the country out.

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Hope, I regret to say you are right. I have read Mrs May’s speech in its entirety. If it was an undergrad piece I’d give it a pass – no more. It lacks principles, erudition and salesmanship. It confuses trade and independence. It is juvenile. And it certainly isn’t Leave. Surely our civil service can do better than this?

  5. Mick
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
    So people have changed there mines have they, simple test put it to your constituents if you find that they have increased to leave then hand your notice in, pack your bags and go live in your beloved Eu, oh no you’ll not do that because you know what the outcome would be

    • Loudbarker
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Mrs May knows that Brexit is disasterous for Britain. That is why she voted “in” and that is why she is doing everything she can to reduce the impact of Brexit and the loss of power and influence that would result from it. If she wants the biggest cake possible she should reverse her policy of leaving the E.U.

      Or at the very least give us a vote on the deal she negotiated.

  6. Jonp
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    It’ s not so much the’s the cherry picking that will lead us to only salt and vinegar but if we have enough tigers in the tank then maybe who knows perhaps we can pull the ship off the rocks probably but if only we take the right decisions. We have to watch out for the signing along the way brexit means brexit and we’re going to make a success of it because no deal is better than a bad deal, however with saying that do you seriously think the bavarian car workers are going to allow..or that the french wine growers are..well I don’t know..breaking up is hard to do..taking back control of our borders also..also our money..there’ll be so much money in London what are we going to do with it? my and then our laws..making our own much to do in a short time..and for what? So that we can get a another type partnership deal with them into the future as equal partners?’s hard to know what they are thinking in Brussels or paris or berlin this weekend but one thing I can tell you it’s noting to do about bout an equal partnership or bespoke arrangement or anything else to do with cake!

  7. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    This is not Brexit John! It is a political carve-up, supported by Brussels and the establishment elite!

    T. May’s puerile mockery of the “normal” citizens of this country…..

    “When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.
    When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you.
    When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.”

    I have never heard such political disingenuous claptrap, insensitive nonsense and rancid disdain for her fellow citizens from this “not-sure-where-I-am” Political advocate!….is she having her speech written by A-level students? She is a nice girl in the pit of vipers, God help us!

    I wanted to give T. May the benefit of the doubt (one more time) up to yesterday, but clearly, she is never going to deliver the Brexit that we voted for…she is sadly in the hands of the Bankers…..without any shred of an idea how the mood of the people is shaping up?

    No wonder the majority of the Remainers and the Brussels elites are happy! Double-Cross springs to mind!

  8. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    “Have cake and eat it.”

    A silly phrase written by a staffer and exposed to camera (deliberately ?)

    Few Leavers were expecting an easy time of Brexit. We are already trained in deferred gratification (as Rien Huizer tells, it is a mature quality.)

    We used patient, due democratic process to get the referendum and win it. We have waited patiently for over two years for the Brexit we won fair and square.

    The phrase means you can’t expect to keep your cake and eat it. It’s one or the other. I’m sure you know this, Dr R.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Dear Anon–You are so absolutely right–I have here mentioned many times that of course there is going to be difficulty (A sort of Activation Energy is needed to get over the hill in to the next valley where we have chosen to get to somehow no matter what). The idea of being scared or being put off by this is simply laughable. If it takes ten years of zero Export GDP (No exports to the EU and insufficient time for Trade to click in with RoW) so be it. How do …. Major and …… Blair read the likes of Charles Moore in today’s Torygraph without cringing?

    • Hope
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      At the next election we will expect the winning party to give the public who voted for the other side a lot of what they wanted! Under all the false strap lines used over the last two years. We will also expect members of the opposition to be in cabinet and be able to discuss what sort of govt policies we want. We did not vote to be poorer etc. Better still the opposition should have the majority of seats in cabinet.

      May is making the ballot box null in void. We now know this is because this is how we have been ruled by the EU for the last forty years! The ballot box was to creat the illusion of democracy, if you think I am joking read FCO paper 30/1048.

      That is why Clarke Soubry Grieve do not do democracy.

    • DaveM
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Lots of soundbites and catchphrases used in the Brexit dialogue.

      Except one which I suspect most Leave voters had in mind before the referendum. To wit: “for better or for worse”.

      Tell that to Soubry next time she bangs her gums about “voting to be poorer” or not knowing what we were voting for.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        One suspects the Cake and Eat It moment was contrived to create an Antoinette moment for Leave.

  9. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


    John, the best summary of T. May’s nugatory speech:

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Let me be clear, let me be quite straight …… dum di dum di dum dum. Five tests ….. and for me that to me means five things 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 ……. dum di dum di dum dum.

      The speech in full, for those who want to really depress themselves about the quality of leadership, vision and speech writers we have!

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      That is well worth the read, Dennis.

      She’s trying to fudge between Leave and Remain. Leave in name only.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, almost worse than actually remaining.

      • forthurst
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget she also needs to appease her pary’s main backers, some of whom hate Brexit and love the possibilities that the EU provides for melding the English into a multi-cultural thick soup through uncontrollable mass immigration.

    • acorn
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Talking about cakes; that bunch have been as nutty as a fruitcake since day one.

    • NigelE
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Good grief.
      And I thought Telegraph comments contained some Brexit ultras/

  10. piglet
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Provided we’re not forced to eat Black Forest Gateau…

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Or Sacher torte (which I understand was originally created by Prince Metternich’s personal chef)!

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Indeed free trade between the EU and the UK would benefit both sides hugely (and is more in the interests of the EU than of the UK).

    Free trade with the rest of the World, a bonfire of red tape, abandoning the EU economic model, easy hire and fire, cheap energy, smaller government, far lower taxes and relaxed planning are however far more important than tariff free trade with the EU.

    A sensible PM with a working compass is what is really needed. We certainly do not want the very bad deal that May & Hammond seem to want.

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    We are hardly the great cake eaters in the EU, not with a chronic massive trade deficit plus net contributions to the EU budget to subsidise other member states and about 3 million of their citizens here with standards of living superior to those which most of them could enjoy in their home countries, and even allowed to vote in some elections, plus of course the major contribution we make to defence and security through NATO.

    Somehow all this gets forgotten by most Remoaners, who have it fixed in their minds that our prosperity depends critically on membership of the EU when that is not the case. Even if Theresa May says for example, as she did yesterday:

    “… these options would mean a significant reduction in our access to each other’s markets compared to that which we currently enjoy … ”

    that gets falsified into “… a significant reduction in our access to European markets”, and the FT runs a headline that she had issued a warning just to eurosceptics.

  13. James Neill
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May is coming at this as if we can have an equal partnership with the EU 27.. am afraid that is not going to happen ..politics trumps economics everytime when it comes to these matters.. Britain is increasingly seen now as a third country now which means we will have to apply to them for whatever trade deal or deals we want into the future.. this is the situation we find ourselves in as we will hear very shortly from Barnier when he repeats..”that is not possible”

    So there is no point in trying to equate ourselves with the EU. we by ourselves are not even in the same ballpark and it is only arrogance to continue in this vein.. we’d be better employed in getting on with these new international trade deals promised us.

    • mancunius
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      It’s not just the generally disjointed structure, and the same bizarre shortlist of names and references: there are also specific orthographical and stylistic traits that identify this screed as emanating from a single source. It’s a templated script (a barely literate one at that.)
      There has already been one other such ID using the same ‘script’ on this very page today. I expect we’ll hear again soon from one of the ‘others’ 😉

  14. Peter Wood
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Good morning,
    But are we preparing for WTO terms? This seems to be given only minor mention by the PM and DD, when in fact it is the most likely outcome.
    These farcical negotiations, that don’t appear to have moved on in 12 months are not going to produce a FTA worth a damn, because the EU bureaucracy don’t want to offer one. Full effort now to prepare the UK for WTO trade terms.

    • Treacle
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      My impression is that the government is not preparing for No Deal / WTO terms, just as Cameron did not prepare for a Leave victory. It is that that enables the EU to be so dismissive of everything we propose. The government will prefer whatever the EU dictates rather than No Deal, because it is stuffed with Remainers, from Mrs May downwards.

      • LenD
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Treacle..well a No deal is very much a possibility now..problem is there are too many red lines in place which can omly allow us a Canada style agreement. Bespoke deals are out as is any chance for pick and mix..otherwise cherry see if UK were to be granted some extraordinary deal they know that Italy would be looki g for the same next year and for this reason they are going to stick strictly with the treaty rules..Mrs May is wasting a whole lot of time in going on about equal partnership deals- it’s not going to happen with the as will become clear in a few days when the twitter machine gets going any case we will know definitively on 23rd march following the Council meeting..of which UK is still a member

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      ‘Full effort now to prepare the UK for WTO trade terms.’

      – Before we do that, we need to build up our high tech industry. For the UK to become the second high tech hub in the world after the USA. Creating and exporting high tech brands – jobs that pay well, provide lots of job satisfaction, lots of exports to outside the EU, and lots of extra tax revenue.

      But the government needs to invest wisely and creatively (like the Isareli government, turning Tel Aviv into one of the major high tech hubs in the world, in IT and high tech skills like the Irish with Ireland now having two high tech billionaries still in their 20’s and so on).

      High tech could build this country ‘s future, so we’re not so dependent on financial industries as important as they are. It’s massive. But sadly Hard Brexiters have very little to say about this because they either only know about the financial services industry or have no business or trade experience at all (such as Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Michael Gove, IDS, in fact many, many Hard Brexiters – never put together a business plan in their lives).

      This would all take at least 25 to 30 years. And then we could afford and have done the preparation work to leave the EU (and perhaps spend this time looking at how to reform the EU).

      For God, Queen + Country, and Family.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        In fact, to leave the EU successfully, this UK really needs a business person who has set up and run their own international business, employing a variety of people with different skills, and who have made long-term investments (as opposed to short-term investments / trading). In other words, who really understands, properly, strategy and has a proven record of both deep logical/analytical thinking as well as – just as importantly – intuitive/creative thinking.

        I see no-one in government coming close to that. But that is what we need if we want a successful exit from the EU.

        • Original Richard
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          We don’t need a business person to successfully leave the EU, but I agree it will be to our enormous future benefit to have previously successful business people in Parliament and Government.

          As someone who believes in staying in the EU “in order to take time to reform it” I would be grateful if you could explain how this can be done and how it will benefit our country to have in the meantime 27 other countries (soon to be 34) together with unelected bureaucrats (failed politicians in many cases) deciding upon our laws, money, taxation, borders, agriculture, fishing, trade, energy and foreign policies and a German Chancellor deciding our immigration policy.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            My main priority at the moment is that if we’re going to leave the EU, then we PREPARE for that.

            Whilst doing that, and could take 25+ years to do, in particular building up our economy to pay for Brexit, then we can look at how to reform the EU. I don’t know how. But nothing’s impossible with time, imagination, energy and effort. Not forgetting of course that things may well change in Europe where Europeans begin to see the EU as too political as opposed to the EU being about the economy and how it is a strong economy that creates peace and security in Europe.

            But the priority now is to prepare for leaving the EU not reforming it (important as that is).


          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            ‘We don’t need a business person to successfully leave the EU’

            – Successfully leaving the EU is enormously complicated. It’s not just about economics. Or politics. It’s also about society and culture. All intermixed.

            And you a strong leader not just with strong logical / analytical intelligence, but also, intuitive / creative intelligence. Above all who understands strategy. Whose ideally successfully run an international company, with different types of people, producing different types of products and services, with very different types of skills.

            Ideally, someone such as Lou Gerstner, who very successfully built up IBM (when it was near to collapse). But in many ways, successfully leaving the EU is even more complicated than successfully building up an IBM.

            No-one in government comes close to a Lou Gerstner. So the second best thing we can do is to prepare as best as we can to successfully leave the EU. Above all building up our economy to pay for it. And that could take years.


          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

            I might be wrong, but I am quietly confident (and i take no pleasure in that – i want the best for the future generations), right now, as the evidence points, that we’re rushing Brexit, and we’ll just end up back where we started, but significantly worse off. That’s just the story of unintended consequences. Our country and world history is littered with unintended consequences.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            ‘but people in the financial services don’t know as much about strategy and long-term investment compared to people in the high tech industry’

            – that is a bit wild and generalisation i admit.

            But there is some truth in this, at least in the sense, there’s a certain type of strategy and long-term investment that is different in approach to the City and the government would do well to listen more to people in the high tech industry in general.

          • NickC
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            Original Richard, Sadly Ed Mahony doesn’t do reality so he leaves out the bit about EU control over us in his putative 30 year leave program.

            I recently talked to a senior civil servant who said that he was not a Remain – he thought we should stay in the EU to reform it. The reality that we tried to reform the EU over 45 years, and failed, quite escaped him. Some people never learn.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink


            We only joined the EEC 45 years ago!

            How on earth do you expect to reform a club when you’ve just joined it! (And under Edward Heath).

            Your comment to me seem really defeatist. (Sorry).

    • eeyore
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      If the DT’s interpretation is correct (“Meet us half way on Brexit, May urges EU”) the PM’s just given half the cake away.

      I doubt, though, she will satisfy the rabid cake fanatics in Brussels. The whole cake or nothing seems to be their desire, and the more cake they’re offered the greedier they get.

      Those of us who long for a diamond-hard, tungsten-iced, depleted-uranium-filled, tooth-shattering, stomach-satisfying, foreigner-defeating all-English rock cake like Granny used to make will find this extremely good news.

    • Weejonnie
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Most of our trade is on WTO terms.

      • LenD
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes but through the EU..when we start again we’ll have to start from scratch with WTO rules..according to what I know Uk hasn’t even got a team yet in place in Geneva, WTO offices..and with only 12 months to go..strange..very strange

    • Peter
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      No. Heavy hints that ‘No Deal’ is not being properly considered or planned for.

      This plays straight into the other side’s hands. If we are going for a deal it means the EU will just hold out for as long as possible and get as much as possible too.

      The EU have already stated that to have more than WTO status the UK has to abide by their rules. May’s red lines will not be acceptable to them.

      Watch out for some new phrases and words which can be used for obfuscation when selling a deal to British Brexit voters.

      • LenD
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        You don’t get it Peter..there can be no deal with what the UK has set out..mrs may’s red lines says, no CU, no single market, no ECJ, that puts us out completely as a third country to them..there are those like IDS and j. R-M, and others who tnink that because we are a big market the EU will buckle when it comes to it, but I don’t believe so..they are rules orientated as we will see on the 23rd at the EU Council meeting..we have heard little from Macron or Merkel of late, but by the 23rd we will know a lot more

  15. Raymond
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    No they can’t have their cake and eat it. Once they have eaten their cake they will no longer have it. I thought yesterday’s speech by the Prime Minister was well constructed and covered the main bases; and was consistent with the Referendum vote.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Yes they will. Eating the cake will give people the energy to grow and cook the ingredients to make another better cake or to earn the money to buy one. Just so long as the government does not get in the damn way too much with the cake baking licensing & regulation of statutes, sugar taxes, gender pay reporting, renewable energy regs for bakers and the likes.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      The most notable thing was that Barnier and Tusk didn’t immediately call the speech fantasy or some such – of course the press was immediately able to plug this omission by drafting in assorted MEPs, German politicians and EU civil servants.

      The chances of the 27 individual parliaments, and the Commission, and the European Parliament approving ANY deal within 2-3 years is zero so I hope UK has plans for that contingency rather than simply prolonging the transition.

      • zorro
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Well that was the speech that wasn’t and I’ve read in its entirety (minutes that I will never get back in my life) …. As soon as I heard about the five tests I channelled Gordon Brown and it didn’t get better. Well done JR on Newsnight, but T May has made some strategic and tactical errors with this speech….

        1. This is for negotiation – OK, that doesn’t fill me with confidence as all I have seen are T May climbdowns and EU intransigence/holding the line. The reason being that they know that they can do so because T may lets them…… That means that over the next year they will keep stonewalling her and she will keep giving in….

        2. Why? – Because she has said that she won’t walk away from the negotiating table. So why should they compromise if they know she will stay. And you can be sure as the sun rises every day that this will drag on FOREVER….and she will keep paying in for access to this ridiculous transition/implementation (delete as appropriate) agreement FOREVER….

        3. I see that she had a nice little dig at those proposing the very sensible WTO option. She claims to have listened to everyone, but clearly doesn’t understand the options available to her or how they can actually achieve the aims requested by the British people when they voted to LEAVE the world. She would rather kowtow to the EU. She is a lightweight and the EU will refuse her offer and walk all over her. Soundbite central she is …. ‘we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us’…. Really, wasn’t your aim to make it a millionaire’s paradise? Just fatuous low brow nonsense…..

        4. “There is no escaping the complexity of the task ahead of us”…. Uh uh TM is in for the long term cue perpetual transition/implementation…. It really isn’t that complicated to leave, but it is if you want it to be, and she does…..

        5. I forgot her nice little dig….

        “Others have suggested we negotiate a free trade agreement similar to that which Canada has recently negotiated with the EU – or trade on World Trade Organisation terms.

        But these options would mean a significant reduction in our access to each other’s markets compared to that which we currently enjoy.

        And this would mean customs and regulatory checks at the border that would damage the integrated supply chains that our industries depend on and be inconsistent with the commitments that both we and the EU have made in respect of Northern Ireland.”

        Seriously, what does she think that she can negotiate and at what price?

        6. She is clearly fixated on the Irish border and the miniscule trade involved like with adopting EU standards when the vast majority of our trade is done within the UK…

        7. Another dig at JR…. “But it is not good enough to say, ‘We won’t introduce a hard border; if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that’s down to them’. We chose to leave; we have a responsibility to help find a solution.”…. You should get rid of her for saying this. She has fallen hook, line and sinker for the EU argument.

        8. “How could the EU’s structure of rights and obligations be sustained, if the UK – or any country – were allowed to enjoy all the benefits without all of the obligations?”…. She is actually more interested in the EU than the UK. JR, can you please remind her of her job description?

        9. “As in any negotiation, no-one will get everything they want. We will not be buffeted by the demands to talk tough or threaten a walk out.”….. So, you have given away your main card and the tap turn off option. What a mug! You deserve what you will get in these pathetic protracted negotiation which is NOTHING. I am not going to waste any more time on this speech as she is a lost cause and must go. The only (and very likely) hope is that the EU will completely stonewall her, but I fully expect her to arrange a vote in the HoC to extend the Brexit end date because of the failure of negotiations.

        It sickens me to see such a weak, vacuous, and ineffective person as PM in these times. Just hopeless!!


        • rose
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Yes Zorro, this is the worst of the three: Lancaster house was OK except for the introduction of the idea of an implementation period. Very ominous, that was. Florence was a whole lot worse and really embarrassing. The December report was a disaster and badly written too. This, you have described the flavour of, but don’t mention the fish – or should I say, the shared stocks.

          • rose
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            Talking of unsuitable people in key positions: have you seen Karen Bradley in action?

        • NickC
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          Zorro, Well done. That must have taken some considerable effort; and I salute you for it. The only thing I would add is that the speech will have criss-crossed the civil service and been entirely written for her by the civil service. Of course that shows she lacks judgement too.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      No. It wasn’t consistent with the referendum vote. See Dennis Zoff’s link above. It is excellent.

      Leave won but you wouldn’t think so.

    • TomTom
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Once you’ve eaten the cake, you simply go and bake another one.

      Why does everyone think there’s a finite supply of cakes?

      Have Cake–>Eat Cake–>Aquire new Cake–>Repeat

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it is a lefty loon thinking to assume that if someone is rich it is the reason others are poor quite the reverse. There is not a finite supply technology will provide. Could anyone imagine the power of a laptop or tablet of today just 50 years ago? And all for under £100!

        If someone is rich they have nearly always made others far richer too.

    • Adam
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes; PM’s speech was full of substance for the EU & others to assess & consider. She applies much consideration to what she proposes & may endure as a finer leader than many regard her as being so far.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Raymond said: “… [the] speech by the Prime Minister was well constructed …”. Well, only if you have Remain sympathies. As usual Mrs May conflated trade and independence. They are separate issues. When you look at her speech again in that light, it was the usual unprincipled capitulation – we are to lose elements of our independence for purported trade benefits.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just seen the son of Neil Kinnock still flogging the EFTA/EEA dead horse on the BBC, even though Theresa May expressly ruled that out in her speech:

    “For example, the Norway model, where we would stay in the single market, would mean having to implement new EU legislation automatically and in its entirety – and would also mean continued free movement.”

    Plus, as Norway is not in the/a customs union with the EU countries the EU insists on maintaining checks at the Norway-Sweden border, and albeit they are “light touch” checks the extreme and intransigent Irish government has said it will never accept anything like that on its border with Northern Ireland.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      The man is not quite as bad as his dire, failed politician father but very nearly.

    • Prigger
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      His family are steak holders in the EU

  17. jerry
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    The point missed by some is that the EU will be having their cake what ever the Brexit outcome is, the UK’s problem is that we have allowed ourselves (for political, idealogical, reasons) to be far to dependant on the good-will of others both inside the EU and out – we might now know the value of everything but in the last 40 years we have forgotten the worth of everything.

    John, you cited the (good) news from Nissan (with a 43.5% voting stake owned by Renault remember), Airbus and Siemens in a previous post but the profits go to, and/or future investment decisions are made, in the EU27. who then plan for what best suits them, not necessarily the UK.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Jerry, You are completely right here. But we must start asserting our independence at some point or we are sunk.

  18. Ian wragg
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Brussels are in the slightest bit interested in an FAT.
    What people forget is a significant portion of their income is from the Common External Tariff.Why would they agree to anything that reduced their income.
    They have no interest in what’s good for the nations. Just keeping the gravy train running.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m quite impressed by some (not all) of the arguments here:

    “May’s unrealistic speech showed she really is cherry-picking now”

    I come back to my concept that we should not say that we will diverge from EU standards for saws straight away, and then maybe later for radios but not for cars – the kind of sectoral approach which is being proposed by the government – but instead we should say that we will ALWAYS keep to EU standards for all saws, radios, cars and other items that are exported to the EU – as we do now, under the UK laws implementing the EU Single Market – but not necessarily for the same items intended for domestic consumption or for export to non-EU countries.

    And if a company decides that it only wants to make one model of some item, and because it plans to export them to the EU and not to any non-EU countries that will be the model which conforms to EU requirements, then that will be their choice.

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      “….but not necessarily for the same items intended for domestic consumption or for export to non-EU countries.”

      The EU is pushing for more, they want the UK to follow EU regulations for domestic sales as well as sales to the EU (“regulatory alignment”).

      The reason the EU, supported by the EU’s UK collaborators, are weaponising the Ireland/NI border is because the EU are desperate to have a “hard” border.

      They don’t want the Ireland/NI border to be a leakage point for more powerful vacuum cleaners or kettles etc as it would be because we use the same voltage, unlike North America.

      The EU would see this as loss of control over their population.

      Also the EU wants to stop the potential of cheaper imported goods entering the EU from NI as a result of GB/NI being outside the EU’s high protective tariff barrier.

      But they don’t want to be seen as the entity which is implementing/advocating a “hard” border.

      The EU want the world to believe that UK has made the decision to have a “hard” border and to take all the blame for any consequences.

      Even though a hard border already exists for excise duty, VAT, general taxation and currency the EU are not prepared to accept modern existing electronic systems to handle import duties and instead pretend that a border with security guards is needed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        The UK government should never have accepted that EU laws would apply to all persons and businesses in the UK rather than just to those exporting to the EU. What I don’t know is which government agreed to it. I have read that the position changed when the Common Market was superseded by the Single Market but so far I have found no hard evidence for that. As he was actively involved in that change perhaps JR can tell us.

  20. James Matthews
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Looking at the way the Prime Minister has quietly conceded open borders for the transition period, the settlement rights she has conceded to EU migrants arriving during the transition, the likely consequences of that migration, and the indeterminate duration of the transition, I can’t help feeling that by the time we get our cake it will be stale, inedible, and mostly consumed by rodents (but will still have needlessly cost us £40 Billion or so).

  21. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I agree with what you have written, Mr Redwood, but I don’t think the PM views things in that way. She is simply giving gateaux away but not letting the UK enjoy any of them.

  22. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Don’t like the sound of these linkages with four industries. I’d put money on May allowing a political element in which case the EU will have fingers in our pie. Not acceprable as they will use the opportunity to extend their reach further. This will not do.

    That’s why we must completely out.

  23. robert lewy
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    1 Without dough there is no cake, apparently,according to EU

    2.The thinner the dough the bigger the cake

    3. Not everyone likes cake, perhaps as many as 48 per cent and further too much cake can create an appetite for biscuits.

    4. the proverb, apparently, dates back at least to 1538 as used by Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, writing to Thomas Cromwell in relation to the difficult choice he faced between the continued enjoyment of a property and his need for cash This suggests that the employment of the proverb is not strictly appropriate in the case of Brexit as we are seeking the return of something which already belonged to us i.e sovereignty and what pertains to it. One, therefore, comes to the unfortunate conclusion that the EU belive they are the only baker in town! No dough – no cake!

  24. robert lewy
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    my last post apparently requires moderation ………….. sounds like Bake Off

  25. ian
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Mrs T. May tell everybody again that the ref will be implemented as in the ref vote of leaving the EU apart from maybe a few small institutions which the UK maybe continue to pay into or if cheaper replace them with your own, Mrs T.May is still hoping for a free-trade deal on the UK ref terms but EU is still not buying that at this time.

    Reading into Mrs T.May speech, What she is saying is that it up to you the voters what sort of Brexit you get in the future, I am doing my bit for leaving voters with or without a free-trade deal, it up to the voters to decide in future election in the UK how that pans out by way of who vote for, of whether the UK stay aligned with the EU and close as possible or not.
    AT the moment you have 75 percent of MPs in parliament for staying in and 25 percent for coming out, to get the Brexit that leave voters wanted, it would have to be 60% for leaving and 40% for staying, that down to you the voters, not Mrs T.May.
    I have no doubt that the thick voters will vote the way you have always voted and will stay as close to the EU as possible with as many MPs being elected to parliament for staying as now.

  26. Adam
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Those applying the cake symbol to Brexit choices use it with different meanings. Some describe it as a finite resource, that being consumed, eventually no longer exists. Others mean it can be either kept or consumed, but not in part, as only one those two actions is permissible.

    JR symbolises the cake as the total entity, which UK & EU can share in proportions; similar in appearance to a pie chart, or even a trifle. Perhaps WTO options present a different cake, or variable ingredients for toppings.

    The proportions both we & the EU will need are bound to vary, according to prevailing demand. In areas such as fishing, that which is consumed replaces itself naturally, so to some extent we could both eat & keep what we want.

  27. ferdinand
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Sticking to cakes, a bad cake is worse than no cake.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Ferdinand. Yeah, someone forgot to put the sugar in.

  28. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be delighted to have some cake and eat it 🙂

    Mind you, the Italian elections could end up with the EU being in a bit of a bun-fight, to mix metaphors….

    • Chris
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      URGENT Please, Mr Redwood, could you ensure that the identity of posters is kept secure. I have not posted the above comment, and yet I am apparently attributed with it. I have been posting on this site for some years, and every now and again another “Chris” posts something apparently in my name. Please can you have a more secure system of checking in and posting comments so that identities are not abused, Mr Redwood. Other sites manage it very successfully. It is basic website security which whoever manages your website should be competent in.

      Reply No I cannot ensure your unique identity. People choose their own names to post under and I have no knowledge of who they really are

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply – Thank goodness for that. Chris needs to create a more unique name if he/she wishes trademark. I am happy to share mine, obviously.

  29. John E
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Well that’s told the EU. They know what they’re up against now.

  30. Andy
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    There is cake and then there is cake.

    I prefer a fine freshly made cake by a master baker.

    Brexit is last week’s stale leftovers.

    You can eat it but it won’t be pleasant and will leave a horrid taste.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      And EU membership is fresh, exquisitely tasty and *master baked* but don’t try saying that after a drink.

      Oh, the people lapped it up, didn’t they !

      So we voted to quit the EU for no reason.

  31. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    To summarise, the EU get the cake with the cherry on top and we get the crumbs. Oh, dear God, when is this rubbish all going to end? I have heard someone say that once we are a sovereign nation then give it 10 -12 years and we might get some new rules????? Pardon? This is not what we voted for. We voted out and out straight away. That is what Cameron promised with no intervention from government. No wonder people don’t believe what politicians tell us. Mrs May has been a proper let down.

  32. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Brexit has been adulterated. There is, in my view, no other way to describe what Theresa May has done. I am utterly disgusted by May, and by those who have supported her in her schemes.

  33. Bert Young
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    The best cake is home made ; the ingredients are top rate and the result is exactly what was wanted to satisfy the local consumers .

  34. Prigger
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    “have alternative results” or alternative facts. Mrs May should stay away from English language analysis. She is excellent on rote understanding. Thinking is different.

  35. Richard
    Posted March 4, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    For our Associate membership of EU agencies, I hope (!) that the principle of Juste Retour
    (EU Principle that the funding granted to project participants from a given country/region under a joint call is in proportion to the budget contributed to the joint call by that country/region.) will mean spend on UK activity?
    Associate membership of EASA should be a win-win for both EU & UK (PM’s Switz example, as no deal backstop)
    On Associate membership of EMA, key point UK needs MHRA able to do mutual regulatory recognition with USA, ACSS Consortium, Japan etc.

  • 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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