Globalists versus little Europeans

How many more times do we have to debate staying in the Customs union? The Commons has twice had important lively debates, and has twice voted decisively to leave the Customs Union in accordance with the views of both the Remain  and Leave campaigns in the referendum that we would have to or want to. The amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill in the Commons to keep us in the customs union was defeated by 322 votes to 99. The proposed amendment to the Queen’s speech debate along similar lines was rejected by a similar margin.   The whole Bill without customs union membership was approved by 324 to 295.

Remain always wanted to make the referendum a debate just about trade. Leave countered that it was a debate about something  much bigger. It was a debate about democracy itself, and who is in charge. We voted leave to take back control of our money, our borders, our laws, and yes also our trade policy. In the referendum debates I always stressed both that it was in  the EU’s interest to accept the UKs likely offer of a free trade deal, and that  they might nonetheless decide to self harm. Given the imbalance in trade and the fact that tariffs are only high on agriculture, the UK could do just fine on WTO terms.

The trade debate itself is one between Little Europeans and Globalists. The Remain case was always contradictory.  They say that WTO terms on UK/ EU trade would be deeply damaging to the UK, but our bigger  trade with the faster growing rest of the world on WTO terms was just fine! Remain decided to grossly exaggerate possible adverse effects of agricultural tariffs on the UK, a net importer, and ignore them on the rest of the EU, the net exporter! During our membership of the CAP and CFP we have lost market share and ended up as heavy importers. Meanwhile we are banned from buying cheaper imports from non EU sources, where they make us impose large tariffs.

We globalists constantly pointed out in the referendum that the EU Customs Union was a nasty set of restrictions on our trade with the rest of the world. They are especially damaging to poorer countries who would like to sell us their food at good prices but face large tariff walls. The Leave side had its own debate between those  who think like me we should bargain away some of these tariffs for free trade deals with many  countries, and those who wished unilaterally to sweep away many of the food tariffs and go for cheaper food straight away.

I find it difficult to  accept another Groundhog day where the Remain politicians and media wish to relaunch their incoherent Little European approach to trade, and wish to reinforce the EU s aggressive stance against food producing poor countries. Giving a bit more aid is  no substitute for trade which could help lift the incomes of poorer countries  more quickly.

I am a globalist in this debate. It is better for the emerging countries. It is also better for UK farms and fishermen, who will recapture market share from the continent when we leave properly.






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  1. Mark B
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    And what of the Single Market ? Are we leaving that too ?

    I notice that we no longer the Remainers’ demand that we stay in the Single Market now that they have their Regulatory Alignment.

    The PM has crossed red-line after red-line, so what’s the difference if she crosses another.

    My guess is that she will be allowed to win this one but, we will maintain the same tariffs as before.

    A sham of a leave !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Well, I’ve grown tired of pointing out that the present “frictionless” movement of goods in both directions across the land border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic depends much more on the EU Single Market rather than the EU Customs Union. That is the (EU related) reason why it has only been allowed for a quarter of a century since January 1993, rather than since January 1973 when the UK and Ireland both joined the EEC and its customs union.

      Oxford Professor Kevin O’Rourke clarified this in an important article in the Irish Times on December 6th 2017 which I quoted here:

      “Getting rid of border controls on trade thus depended on both the European customs union, and the European single market. Norway is a member of the single market but not the customs union, with the result that there are border controls between it and Sweden. The UK and Ireland were members of a customs union before 1993, but not a single market, and the result again was border controls. And unless both Northern Ireland and the Republic retain equivalent regulations regarding both customs duties, and what can be legally bought and sold on their territories, the result will inevitably be border controls.”

      I believe you are a follower of Richard North’s blog, and so you will know that he is also getting very tired of what he regards as ignorance and stupidity but which I suspect is deliberate obfuscation. It’s only necessary to read the last four articles he has posted to see the build up of that justifiable frustration:

      Where I depart from the North/Booker view, and also the O’Rourke view, is not so much on their diagnoses of the problem but on their proposed solutions.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:54 am | Permalink

        Norway is a member of the single market but not the customs union . . .

        As I said above and before.

        My guess is that she will be allowed to win this one . . . .


        The EU has form. It sets up a false arguments where the National government goes head to head with the EU. Think CMD and; “I will not pay that money.” But in the end did (see link below). The EU then backs down allowing the government to claim victory, but it was no victory. They never had to join the bloody thing in the first place. That is why I think the whole things is a sham and highlight that Single Market and not the Customs Union.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Swedish Trade Minister Anne Linde, o1:47 in here:

      “It’s not possible to have frictionless trade if you’re not a member of the single market and the customs unions … ”

      Both, and Single Market the first to be mentioned, Customs Union only second …

      And perversely a survey of Swedish exporting companies found that Norway is seen as the most difficult country for deal with …

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, Well, it could be that there are local elections coming up on 3rd May that Remain Theresa May wants to lose. Some people only vote on local issues, of course, but I’m finding many will vote against the Tories because of the government’s woeful supplication to the EU.

      • Gary C
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Re: ‘I’m finding many will vote against the Tories because of the government’s woeful supplication to the EU.’

        I am also predicting this, our government seem’s intent on committing suicide.

        There is still (though not much) time for TM to show some leadership on Brexit but I for one will not be holding my breath.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        I’m half hoping they do give them a taste of Labour controlled councils personally for 4 years, so they’re not so daft to think a left wing Labour government is a good idea.

        Councils who don’t value clean landscapes and leave litter for months on end in all the verges, let trees and hedges overgrow, leave potholes, close roads, spend money on unnecessary 20mph signs on cul-de-sacs, no planting so your town doesn’t get any, they charge all dwellings over Band C much more so they don’t have to work so hard collecting money in from the uncollectables and they can write it off or turn a blind eye. Their Councillors just don’t bother responding to your messages. They very rarely look at the whole community. But fill your boots people, especially you Tory area Londoners and watch your Council tax explode for less.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      A sham of a leave under a sham Conservative PM, with a sham Conservative Chancellor (with the highest and most complex, damaging & idiotic tax system for 40 years).

  2. MIke Stallard
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Here is the real deal:
    1. Stay in the EU and become a vassal state.
    2. Leave the EU and lose all trade with Europe and a lot of trade deals with the world including air travel.
    3. Listen to what the Europeans are demanding and realise that they mean it.

    There is just one way to survive economically without selling out to the EU and that is to stay in the EEA by joining EFTA when we leave in just a year’s time.

    Why do I write this when nobody is listening?
    Soon it will become clear…

    Reply Because we will not lose all trade if we just leave! That’s absurd. We will do fine

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Mike, and why should anyone reply to you when you never read any replies?

      See above:

      “Norway is a member of the single market but not the customs union, with the result that there are border controls between it and Sweden.”

      and although they are very light touch border controls the Irish government has said that it will not agree to any of it:

      “When you have an Irish minister saying that they will not tolerate

      “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”,

      3 minutes in here:

      when it’s perfectly obvious to all that there already is, and for the foreseeable future there will continue to be, a border on the island of Ireland then there is really no point in any further discussions.”

      • Hope
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, why would the EU accept any proposal after May has agreed the backstop position to remain in in all but name? It was her stupid or conniving way to force the U.K. to remain in the EU. Who would publicly state in a speech they would not walk away or resort to WTO rules? What other major bargaining chip does she hold?

        This whole charade is not about economics or trade, it is about finding a convincing argument or narrative to justify to the masses to stay in the EU. It is giving remainers and the MSM every opportunity to change the public mind. What May done to discipline or refute remaining MPs or civil servants acting against Govt policy to leave the EU? Nothing. Any rebutted of false statements or reports by govt depts? Nothing. This is not an accident it is a choice exercised by May.

        • cornishstu
          Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          I whole heartedly agree there is just not the will to carry through the democratic result of the referendum and the people of the UK are once again being sold out. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a second referendum not on whether to accept the deal or leave on WTO terms but to accept the deal or remain. If the political will was there we would have already left.

        • Mark B
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:13 am | Permalink

          Yep ! That is pretty much how I see it.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          Well, the Irish government made its extreme position clear before the December meeting which came up with that backstop, not after the UK had given way on it. However not only is that a provisional position – as nothing is agreed until everything is agreed – also we should not supinely accept our opponents’ preferred expansionist interpretation of it:

    • L Jones
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      These seem like the words, Mr Stallard, of someone who really believes that those in the EU hierarchy are our masters. That they should legitimately be allowed to ”demand” anything. We have democratically decided as a nation to leave their coercive regime, and are negotiating (hopefully) in good faith. Therefore, why should this regime ”demand” anything of us?

      ”Lose all trade with Europe”, air travel, etc. I think perhaps Project Fear has addled your brain and that of many other remainders. ”Absurd” – as Dr Redwood says.

      • Billy Elliot
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        I agree with you LJones. We won’t lose all trade with EU – maybe we won’t lose anything? It just becomes more complicated and more expensive. But we won’t lose it all.

        On the other hand we might “loose” NI and Scotland – if they decide to leave.

        In essence we might loose country called UK.

        But some people seem to be ok with the thought that Global England is good enough.

        • getahead
          Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          “It just becomes more complicated and more expensive.”
          How? I can’t think of anything more complicated or more expensive than the EU. Unless of course you think the free market really is free……

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink


      Our country simply isn’t in a strong enough position economically to sustain the shock of leaving the single market (if everyone was strongly committed to leaving the single market, that shock wouldn’t be a problem at all, but that shock is a problem because most people aren’t that strongly committed to leaving the EU, even many Leavers aren’t that committed).

      Unless people wake up to this reality (it’s like the Phony War at the moment, and we’re all sleeping towards the real war), then there’s going to be more than just an economic shock.

      I can’t stand the political-union side of the EU. But i think we benefit economically and geo-politically by being closely associated with Europe in terms of trade, culture and security. But doesn’t matter what i think. What matters is that REALITY is going to come knocking on our door soon, and that might well mean that EFTA will be the only way we can deal with the reality of the situation at the time. So much better if we could have an open and honest debate, try and reform the EU, and if that doesn’t work, then try and plan properly for leaving the EU.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        Ed Mahony

        Your comment does not stand up to scrutiny and is therefore nonsense.

        Case in point.

        Can you please tell me by how much the UK’s economy grew on average, for the 25 years before and after the Single Market started? I need the two actual average growth rates for the periods before and after?

        OK, so you don’t know the answer, or little else it seems.

        To assist you. The answer:

        25 years BEFORE Single Market started: 2.4% average annual growth
        25 years AFTER Single Market started: 2.2% average annual growth

        So we pay tens of £Billions into the EU for less growth. Not a very equitable return on our investment?…..Indeed, you are right, reality has come knocking on our door, hence the reason we are leaving!

        The above information comes from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and is therefore, official, reliable and demonstrable. Thanks to Facts4EU

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink


          I was talking about geopolitics not just pure economics. And geopolitics even more important.

          Also, it’s completely fallacious to use stats in the way you. You come to your conclusion ignoring many other factors that could have contributed to those stats, not just being in or outside the EU. If you therefore conclude that my argument is ‘nonsense’ based on that approach to stats, then I don’t really know what to say.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            Again, I’m not opposing, in principle, leaving the EU (I definitely accept Brexiters’ argument on the political argument of the EU, and about 40% on the economic argument, whilst Brexiters seem to totally ignore the geopolitical argument for remaining in the EU, not forgetting how geopolitics led to WW2 and WW2 played a key role in the setting up of the EEC). What I’m opposing is leaving the EU without a proper plan (and also we never really tried to reform the EU). What I’m also opposing is all the chicanery (spin / soundbites / insult) that went – on both sides – in the referendum. You can’t have a long-term solution based on that. Instead, Europe could drag on for years and years and years—because it just seems to me that too many people are more focused on being right, for being right’s-sake, and just knocking down people who disagree with them.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            Ed Mahony

            “You come to your conclusion ignoring many other factors that could have contributed to those stats,”

            OK, I am listening. What are those “many other factors” you speak of? The contents of your previous comment are tacit?

            I do agree with you on one point, however. Each for or against protagonists gave “Spin, Soundbites, Insults (mostly Remainers)”. But on balance of the facts available, most chose to vote Leave. To say they did not understand is a puerile insult. The majority made up their own minds and a decision was made.

            Please also remember, Politicians enjoy pontification for many years “they get paid regardless”. In the real world we, the people, have to earn a living!

            Also, I am interested in your “Geopolitics” argument? Please elucidate? ……oh, and please do not use the “EU has given us peace in Europe claptrap”… a wider understanding as to why there has been continued peace in our time?

    • Leslie Sindon
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Mike, EEA equals unrestricted free movement of people. There might be disagreements about exactly what we voted for in the referendum, but clearly we voted to stop unrestricted free movement of people. So, it is NO to the EEA. I know your great hero Mr North has filled your head with nonsense about Art 112 – you should realise that the fact that no one is talking about Art 112 in general discussions shows what nonsense it is. The UK is not Lichtenstein, Mike!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        I find it hard to imagine the EU agreeing to his proposal knowing that the UK intended to make what they would surely see as excessive use of that safeguard provision to try to split their “four freedoms”. But if they did agree to go along with his idea then that would just lead to endless trouble.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      Do you really wish to lose all creditability; which even a sixth former would laugh at incredulously?

      Are you really serious with your comment….or simply trying to annoy Leavers on this forum! There have been some really ill-informed comments in the past, but yours takes the biscuit!

      “2. Leave the EU and lose all trade with Europe and a lot of trade deals with the world including air travel.”

      If I could draw a belly laugh on here, it would be at your expense, in the knowledge that there’s no fool like an old fool and your comment describes the most fallacious attempt at reality avoidance. Even hardened Remainers would scoff at your nonsense.

      Yours is systematic of the worst kind of Remoaner delusion, or worse, deliberate unsavoury sophistry….away with you Sir!

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard, You don’t know that the EEA agreement would be offered by the EU. Even if it is, it’s their EEA rules, their game. The only possible way for the UK not being a supplicant to the EU is if we take our independence first, and negotiate a trade deal afterwards. And it may be necessary to wait a few years before the EU comes to its senses on a trade deal.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:16 am | Permalink


      Some people, like me, are listening. But you might as well rename yourself Cassandra for all the good it does.

      I do not think it will be a disaster as I believe, like a growing number of people here, that we will leave in name only.

  3. Mick
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    It’s like Groundhog Day on this site, it seems I’m always going off on one about Brexit but that’s only because I feel that there is massive u-turn coming which will see Brexit thwarted, the 17.4 million leavers and growing voted to leave the dreaded Eu and that means in my book nothing to do with Brussels or the Eu , we should just leave and take our money with us and if it means the collapse of your government through some of your Tory colleges so be it, we just have a GE and let the nation decide who we think fit to get us out of Europe and it won’t be the south of England that with vote for leaver mps but the majority up north, but I can bet my bottom dollar that Westminster will be refilled with true believers in GB and not the dreadful Eu

    • IwasGnarth
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Patience, Sir, patience for now. No MP has forgotten those 17.4 million votes. I doubt they have forgotten the 4 million UKIP votes (maybe most of whom were not specifically UKIP supporters) which preceded the referendum either. If the eventual outcome is less than wholesome there will be unending disquiet and no reliable voter base for decades, for any party. We live in the most interesting of times, do we not?

      • eeyore
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Interesting times indeed. No 10 is flying a kite in the Sunday Times for a customs union. They must reckon Leave MPs haven’t the parliamentary firepower to shoot it down. Are they right?

        If so, the next calculation is that Conservative voters repelled by Brexit betrayal will be outnumbered by Labour voters repelled by their party’s lurch into racism, Marxism, thuggism and economic imbecility.

        Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink


        Well said, Sir. Many share your viewpoint!

        Should Brexit be cynically diluted to nothing, then 17.4 million people (though I believe this figure is much increased now) will not let this insidious debacle rest?

        A new party will arise; Conservatives will be swept away; Lib/Dem will become ghost parties…and the people, in the end, will have its fully undiluted Brexit day!

        The Government still have not figured this out?….people’s sleepy consciousness has been awoken by the political elite’s distasteful shenanigans surrounding Brexit. “Brexit is not the end game, it is the start of a “Status Quo” democratic Establishment changer!” A more modern Britain without the expensive and unnecessary state intervention and the particularly wasteful Westminster apparatus, (HOL).

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Legalistically, Leave won but not morally.

      By ‘morally’ i don’t mean immoral.
      1) I mean in the sense that 17.4 didn’t strongly support Leave. Most people in this country don’t feel that strongly about Europe either way.
      2) Both sides used spin, to a certain degree (if Remain had won, they’d have to face the same criticism)
      3) By, morally, I also meant that a second referendum – as part of on-going democracy – could easily reverse the referendum.

      In order to avoid future referendums and in order to come to a satisfactory situation that most people would strongly support – and for the long-term – we have to have a proper and completely honest debate about Europe. We simply haven’t done that. And then TRY and reform the EU (to get rid of the political-union side of it). And if that doesn’t work, then to leave the EU but with a proper plan in place with a strong leader to implement it (and using this time to pay off our national debt and build up our savings, productivity and economy in general).

      This seems like complete pragmatic, common sense for the stable and growing long-term future of our country (not forgetting we have so many other important things to focus on besides Europe, and are quickly getting left behind on these).

      Re[ly We Leavers knew what we were voting for and want it delivered – control over our money, our laws and our borders back in the UK.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        ‘Spin’ isn’t exactly moral but it’s something most people do for short-term advantage. But Europe isn’t about the short-term. It’s about the long-term. Spin may help win referendums but it won’t really turn people’s hearts and minds (and referendums can easily be reversed because of the on-going democratic process). In order to turn people’s hearts and minds, we need to have completely open and honest debates, then TRY and reform the EU, politically, and if that doesn’t work, then plan properly (like you would in business) to leave the EU without a strong leader in place to do that (as well as building up your economy etc).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        ‘We Leavers knew what we w … borders back in the UK’

        I’m completely with you (/ overlap with you) about being opposed to the political side of the EU.

        Best wishes

      • cornishstu
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        The EU from its inception is all about political union it is it’s raison d’etre, trade is nothing but a means to an end along with Euro, it is beyond reform. hence the reason most voted to leave. Wake up and smell the coffee!

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          One of my heroes in business is Lou Gerstner of (ex of IBM). IBM was a huge, complicated, Byzantine-like company when he took over, on the verge of collapse. He turned it around into a vibrant, edgy, re-invented IT company with huge profits.

          What he achieved was far more complicated than trying to reform the EU. If we had a Lou Gersnter around in politics, the EU could easily be reformed so that it’s based on pragmatic good sense, to best serve the needs of Europe both in terms of economics and global politics.

          The real problem, i guess, is that politics isn’t attracting the Lou Gerstners of this world into it.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:18 am | Permalink

        Ed Mahony

        In plain English….

        1. A legal Referendum was held.
        2. The people voted
        3. Brexit is the outcome.
        4. Leaving the EU and all its “apparatus” is the singular objective.
        5. The Government must now execute the democratic decision of the people.

        However, once Brexit has been completed, the people then have the right to democratically decide if they wish to remain outside the EU or change their minds and democratically vote to re-enter the EU at a later date. That is their democratic right. The Government is paid by the people to execute their wishes, simple.

        A new proposal to re-enter the EU may come again inside a political party’s new manifesto. Then the people have a democratic choice/vote to reverse the original result or not?

        The emphasis in on the “Democratic right” and now is the time for the Government to get on with it to our satisfaction. No ifs no buts!

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          @ Denis,

          I totally agree with you!

          BUT – question to you: How do you propose to STOP (democratically) people messing around, trying to reverse Brexit in the future (and people have the democratic right to do that – democracy is on-going). The chicanery (spin / soundbites / insults) behind both camps in the referendum doesn’t bode well for the future. We have to have an open and honest debate. That simply hasn’t happened. And if we go for Brexit, to get most people STRONGLY behind it and put closure on Europe once and for all.

          What I don’t want is for this country to go on and on and on arguing about Europe for years to come, whilst we take our eye off other important things to make our country great.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

            Ed Mahony

            When you start answering mine, I am happy to answer yours?

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          The Brexiters might almost have been better off, in the long-run, losing the referendum (especially if they had run a squeaky-clean campaign). Then Remainers would then be under the spotlight to answer for their chicanery during the referendum.

          And if the Brexiters had lost, they could then spend the next five years or so really getting the country STRONGLY behind Brexit. With a proper plan / strategy in place. Etc .. Whilst we pay off our debt and raise our savings to pay for Brexit. Then in the long-term, they would, no doubt win the debate, and there would be complete closure on Europe – for ever.

          People on both sides have only focused on short-term victories. Not the long-term. And it’s the long-term that really matters. That’s all I’m saying.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          Lastly, my real argument isn’t the pros and cons of Europe (I take a strong position against the political side of Europe) but the strategy of how to leave, and how we must get the strategy right, so we can get Europe behind us once and for all. So that this doesn’t go on for years and years (as democracy is on-going) and we can then really focus on other really important things in our country.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        “we have to have a proper and completely honest debate about Europe”

        Go on, then, Ed, you start.

        You could begin by telling us what economic benefit we have got from the EU Single Market. Check what Michel Barnier himself said about it in his 2012 report. Then look at other sources which say the benefit to the UK has been about half the average, that is to say about 1% added to UK GDP rather than his 2% added to the collective GDP of the member states.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink


          You may well be right. But I’m not talking about what you and I think …

          (although i was also talking about gloabal politics – how a prosperous Europe makes us more safe – because poverty leads to conflicts etc – and we’re better off having closer trading partners nearer to home than the other end of the world, especially for businesses that aren’t so competitive in the survival-of-the-fittest, Darwinian sense)

          … but what about the country thinks! And that is we need to get the country strongly behind Brexit – or whatever people want – by having a proper debate (many leavers even don’t feel that strongly one way or the other about Brexit). We didn’t have a proper debate. Rather we had people – from both sides – using all kinds of chicanery to win the Referendum. If we want a long-term solution to this Europe thing, then we need a proper debate. Proper strategy. And so on. Otherwise this good drag on for generations, when there is also so many other things we need to focus on to improve our country / make it greater.


  4. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Well, sorry John but I have to agree with you and Helen Smith’s comments on the Irish border. I too am pissed off to the back teeth going over old ground and having to waste everyone’s time discussing these issues over and over again. Can we please just get on with leaving? Can this government and indeed, all those involved in the negotiations just grow a pair and do what was promised in the referendum and what we voted for? I think all the readers of this diary must be just as fed up as yourself but it comes down to party members like you John to challenge May and to get rid of her if she is found to be wanting. That time had come. Can we see some action? Time to move on and tell the EU what I’d acceptable and then leave. If they want us then fine, if not, then we will cope. We always do as a nation.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      She has certainly been found to be wanting in spades, buy who else could take over this rabble of a left wing party. Such a shame that idiot Cameron was never the Eurosceptic low Tax at heart person that he claimed to be. He should have rejected the “thin gruel” and just served notice to leave then. He would then have won a huge majority and be held in high regard. He had a huge opportunity to be a great PM instead of the pathetic, dishonest, captain who abandoned the ship.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        A good piece by Peter Hitchens today:- The real villain behind the windrush Scandal? Once again it’s Blair.

    • L Jones
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I believe too, like Fedupsoutherner, that there is such huge support for ”just getting on with it” that politely declining to negotiate any further with these people and simply walking away from this ridiculous situation where our country is being insulted daily, would be well supported as being the most dignified way forward. This UNdignified sniping and bickering and time-wasting is transparently self-seeking on the part of many.

      We need people like you, Dr R, with a loud voice in our Government, saying these things to our nation as a whole, not just on this one small blog (good reading though it always is!)

    • John Finn
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Can we please just get on with leaving? Can this government and indeed, all those involved in the negotiations just grow a pair and do what was promised in the referendum and what we voted for?

      I’m not sure we can just get on with leaving. I believe there will be huge opposition in the HoC (as well as the Lords) which may even lead to a general election.

      It’s time to stop pretending that May is the problem here. She isn’t . The numbers in the commons who oppose a No Deal outcome are the problem.

      The result of the last General Election was airily dismissed by many as not mattering to the Brexit process because both the 2 main parties supported th decision to leave. This was utter nonsense as I knew at the time. There was not a snowball in hell’s chance that a Corbyn-led Labour party would back the Tories on any issue and certainly not one where they could gain political ground – as so it’s proved.

      May and the UK negotiators are now caught between a rock and a hard place where they need to try to negotiate a deal that enables us to fully leave while maintaining trade and “custom” which satisfies sufficient numbers of pro-remainer MPs.

      I think this is possible – if the EU are prepared to be co-operative. I feel, however, that the EU will be emboldened by the HoL vote and the attitude of Corbyn, Starmer et al and will push the UK to the brink.

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I, too, am fed up with the Groundhog day repetition of hand-wringing, supplication, appeasement and cash hand-outs. The EU, including Eire, must accept the reality of our decision to regain our independence from the EU. Independence is a principle which cannot be violated. It certainly must not be traded away. And if the likes of Olly Robins can’t hack it they must be sacked immediately. This can’t go on.

      • Gary C
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        @ NickC

        Strange, you would think the Irish really should know the value of independence . . . . . . Then again after fighting for their own they want to give it away to the EU . . . . . . Is Leo Varadkar really speaking for the Irish people?

  5. Nig l
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Agree, your problem in my view is that the PM is a no risk machine politician who seems to be a follower not a leader, lacking flair and vision. We now see the reality of the Home Office which was meant to be one of her successes. At no time has she convincingly set out a post Brexit global position for the U.K.

    She voted to remain which as we now know got the economics wrong by only 100 billion and the Tory party elected her PM. Why are you surprised about the mess we are in?

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      She did indeed vote remain and lied to voters about immigration to try trick them into doing the same. She is wrong headed on nearly everything she does. She thinks higher taxes, more regulation, sugar taxes, a war on plastic, nagging the private sector and a punishment manifestos are a good ideas. She even thinks there is a real gender pay gap!

      Yet she and Rudd cannot even run or devise a sensible and fair immigration system. The police have largely given up on most crimes too. Almost everything he government does is wrong headed. The new gasumping proposals for example.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      She is a huge risk. A daft dithering, interventionist, high taxing dope with a compass 180 degrees out. She is just Corbyn light in essence. Asked to choose between Corbyn light or the real thing what will happen?

      A visionless, wrongheaded, robot and total electoral liability, even against the appalling disaster of Corbyn!

      • Zorro
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Indeed, she is a total liability reinforced by the recent provocations based on doubtful premises to draw away attention from her incompetence. The immigration issue is a self inflicted disaster. Choosing to supposedly enforce the removal of these people when there are far more worthy candidates who threaten us who re allowed to waltz in and out of the country is too much. She needs to be retired and quickly – weak weak weak and unable to implement our departure from the EU whilst promoting the national interest. Her natural demeanour is to kowtow to the EU…..


        • Lifelogic.
          Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          May is the voice of the state sector. She does not give a damn or have a clue about the 80% in the private sector who have to compete and pay for these fetherbedded 20%. She thinks the government knows best, but history shows the complete reverse.

      • Duyfken
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        I wish you would get off the fence!

        Actually I agree with you entirely, and the blame lies with the Conservative Party.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Nig 1

      Agree, your problem in my view is that the PM is a no risk machine politician who seems to be a follower not a leader, lacking flair and vision

      You could say that applies to nearly the whole of the Tory elected party. Nearly all following each other in the herd, afraid to stand out alone and listen to the voters. Their only concern is to keep their heads down and hope to do enough to get re-elected and keep their job for another five years.

      The party needs a real shake up and clear out and to reinvent itself if that is at all possible. We have too much of the same in every area of the and it shows and nobody has the where with all to stand them down and start afresh. The voters are wising up to all their pit and short falls and unless we change there will be a mega price to pay, totally un-electable for years to come. The electorate will never forgive us for the way they have been treated. We have too many Clarke’s, Soubry’s, Hammond’s and Rudd’s all much ado about nothing and totally unfit for this day and age of cut and thrust politics. Or host and his few kindred like minded politicians supporters are too small in number and totally ignored by our lack lustre party. No wonder participants to this blog are totally pissed off with the way things are going. But nobody seems to be listening.

  6. Andy
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    This is one of my favourite myths about Brexit – that it was a vote for globalism.

    Now, I don’t doubt that some Brexiteers – perhaps yourself included – really did vote for a Global Britain.

    But the idea that Brenda in Grimsby and Wayne in Sunderland voted to reach out to Africa, the Middle East and Asia is laugh out loud funny.

    These people largely voted leave to close the door to people who are different to them.

    Don’t believe me? Spend some time reading the thoughts of an average Brexiteer on the Daily Mail comments section or Leave.EU social media channels.

    Depressing and predictable – and about as opposite from Global Britain as you can get.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink


      No i dont believe you for the simple reason that you are ,as usual, wrong. All the evidence suggests that the number one reason that the majority voted for Brexit was sovereignty , that is to regain democratic control. Others may have voted to end free movement, more such as myself voted to enable more FTA’s on a global stage. Unlike remainers who didn’t have any reasons to stay other than virtue signalling, there were multiple reasons why people voted the way they did.

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Andy, I assume you do not hanker after the restoration of the British Empire? Good. Neither do I. Ironically, that makes us both “Little Englanders” under the original definition of those opposed to the British Empire.

      If Afghans want home rule, so do I for the UK.
      If Pakistanis want home rule, so do I for the UK.
      If Zambians want home rule, so do I for the UK.

      You get the gist: British people deserve their own homeland, and deserve to control it, just as much as Afghans, Pakistanis and Zambians do. It is exactly the same principle.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Your snobbery and disdain for people is revealing. You’re wrong of course, the majority of British people have a welcoming and liberal attitude to newcomers. But they don’t like unlimited immigration. Your unpleasant and snobbish posts illustrate perfectly the distorted view and affected superiority of Continuity Remain types. You have no hope a majority with such language and views.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Over 17 million people voted to leave the EU
      The daily mail has about a million sales.
      So it is hardly the thoughts of the average brexiteer.
      But if it pleases your fevered imagination you carry on with your prejudices.

  7. GilesB
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    It’s disgusting that there are high tariffs on luxury chocolates and low tariffs on raw cocoa beans.

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      GilesB, Why?

  8. Michael
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Better to leave the EU without a deal than to be a member of a customs union. We need strong leadership on the issue making a lot of noise.

  9. Lifelogic.
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I agree fully, but robotic T May and (highest and most complex taxes for 40 years) Hammond and many other allegedly Conservative MP do not. Can you and the sensible 100 not give (or force) them to get a sensible vision and a working compass please. Nearly everything they are doing currently is hugely misguided and damaging. Also likely to lead to Corbyn which would be a real tradgedy.

    The new HMRC and government attacks on service companies and the self employed are hugely damaging and misguided.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      The Sunday Times today says that Theresa May’s team has privately admitted she may have to accept permanent membership of an EU customs union!

      As I expected of a dopey remainer like her. Brexit in name only with almost none of the many advantages of leaving! Let us hope that her replacement can sort out the dreadful mess she will leave behind her, and that her replacement is not Corbyn!

  10. Richard1
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    There may be a case for cancelling Brexit and staying in the EU, but there is no case for leaving and remaining in either the customs union and or the single market. The only rational Brexit choices are a bespoke free trade deal with the EU, to include tariff free trade in goods, and leaving on WTO terms. It is abundantly clear the EU are using the Irish border issue to try to force the U.K. to remain in the customs union and maybe the single market. I hope at least in private the government are giving them a robust response. They certainly aren’t in public.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Richard 1

      I hope at least in private the government are giving them a robust response.

      In your dreams totally incapable of providing any worthwhile response to anything.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Today’s Sunday Times tells of betrayal being plotted kin Downing St: “A source familiar with the discussion said: “They sat in a room in 9 Downing Street when they were discussing Brexit and Olly Robbins came in. The discussion focused on what to do if parliament votes to stay in a customs union. Someone from the political unit at No 10 said: ‘We wouldn’t cry into our beer if we were forced to do this.’ The PM needs to go through the choreography of trying to leave but we might be forced to do it.”

    Robbins has been pushing for customs union membership as a way of preventing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The source added: “The civil service fast stream have a pool on who is going to resign first. All the money is on Liam Fox and then Boris.”
    Time for Mrs May to get a grip of the civil service which along with MPs elected and unelected seem deetermined to overturn result of referendum. If not she must go.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      “Robbins has been pushing for customs union membership as a way of preventing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.”

      JR, if that is true then serious questions should be asked about his loyalty, as I cannot believe that he could be that ignorant and incompetent.

  12. Henry Spark
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    As ever, all you seem to care about are tariffs. It’s 50 years (minimum) since tariffs were the main issue in international trade. Non tariff barriers are what matter, and your precious “WTO terms” means that outside the EU our trade will be hugely hampered by them, day in, day out. You simply show up your own ignorance by talking tariffs, instead of non tariff barriers. Please go and read Chapter 1 of any textbook on international trade!

    • Edward2
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Outside the EU I have found trading quite straight forward and whilst you may claim I was just lucky I did not encounter non tariff barriers.
      The bureaucratic complications of trading into the EU are in my experience often more complex.
      And I do not see why the UK will suddenly be “hugely hampered” by non tariff barriers from the rest of the world when we leave.

      • Andy
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        I don’t bother with the EU – waste of time. The French are awkward and so too are the Germans. So I concentrate my efforts on the USA and I find that very rewarding and easy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Even Labour’s Emily Thornberry acknowledged that it is quite possible to trade successfully with another country without any special trade deal:

      “… we have been trading perfectly successfully with the United States for a very long time, they are our biggest trading partner outside the EU without a trading deal anyway.”

      However while you are clearly wrong that trade must be “hugely hampered” if it is conducted just on “WTO terms” you are right to emphasise non tariff barriers over tariffs now that tariffs around the world have been much reduced in general.

      That is why calls for us to stay in some kind of customs union with the EU as a way to avoid difficulties at the Irish border are so badly misplaced, in fact nonsensical; even if there were tariffs they could be collected away from the border, and as they would be low and on a small volume of trade a possible failure to collect 100% of what would be due would have very little financial significance.

      This morning on the Peston programme two politicians came out and said openly that their solution to the artificial problem of the Irish border would be for the UK to stay in the EU Single Market as well as in a customs union, and at least that idea is not completely nonsensical.

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Henry Spark, JR has clearly said on many occasions that he, like most of us, cares about our independence – taking back control of our money, laws, borders, democracy and trade policy.

      As for non-tariff barriers by the EU, you seem unaware that all countries have some NTBs; that we export about 50% more to the RoW than to the EU despite this; and that the WTO exists to help remove NTBs.

      If you are correct and the EU wants to play nasty with NTBs, then that is another reason to get out of their nasty empire. Not a reason to pathetically ask the EU to kick us again.

    • mancunius
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      In economic theory, tariff barriers implicitly *include* non-tariff barriers. Yes, the EU loves its NTBs: but if it were to apply them too onerously to our goods and services, our UK exporters would naturally shift their exports to different world markets. We have no need or obligation to sell anything at all to the EU, and we should avoid agreeing adopting any of the EU’s non-tariff barriers or general regulatory framework that would hamper our freedom to trade and form FTAs with any country in the world – the freedom we had before we joined the EEC.
      It’s vital we ourselves dismantle all the EU’s NTBs that we had to apply to our own imports. They have added as much as a full 16%-18% to the EU prices we have been paying.
      Go and read economist Roger Bootlet’s comprehensive textbook, ‘Making a Success of Brexit: Chap.7, the section ‘Non-tariff barriers’, Pp.201-203.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr Spark ( you’re not very bright though)

      I guess you’ve never encountered the non tariff barriers put in place by Germany and France whilst in the so called “single market”.

      Please go and ACTUALLY trade and stop showing your ignorance

      Oh and before you come back to this forum with more drivel have a go at Googling WTO Non Tarrif Barriers… You’ll learn something

    • Original Richard
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Spark, what makes you think that we’re not currently suffering NTBs whilst fully in the EU/SM/CU ?

      How else to explain the £80bn/year trade deficit with the EU but yet we have a trade surplus with the ROW ?

      The reason to leave the EU is to become again an independent and free country as opposed to a colony of the EU but it is clear that the EU is also fleecing us.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Looks like your getting as frustrated and sick of all these debates, so called negotiations and give away’s as we are out here John.

    Talk about a simple procedure being complicated by politicians.

    No wonder our Tax, Justice, Benefits, Transport, Education, and NHS systems are in such a mess.
    The majority who sit in both the House of Commons and Lords are bloody clueless about how to run or organise anything.

    Can only ask you to keep on trying to inject some common sense into the proceedings JR, and that eventually enough in both places will wake up.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      “No wonder our Tax, Justice, Benefits, Transport, Education, and NHS systems are in such a mess”

      Do not forget defence, police, immigration, local authorities, energy policy, refuse collection, fiscal policy, monetary policy, anti-terrorism activities and all the rest. Far quicker to list the few efficient elements of government in the UK, if that is you can find any that is? The Queen and her husband perhaps?

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson

      Can only ask you to keep on trying to inject some common sense into the proceedings JR, and that eventually enough in both places will wake up.

      They never listen to the likes of our host and his like minded colleagues simply because the critical mass in the HoC are too imcompetant, ignorant and arrogant to admit their failings.

  14. robert lewy
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    We are all Globalists now………….

    Or rather if you look at the ratio of Intra EU exports to ROW exports over the period 2003 to 2015 there is not a single of the 28 members which increased the proportion of exports Intra EU.

    The average annual decline in the ratio for the 28 members was 0.75 per cent per annum.
    For the UK the figure was 2.42 per cent much more than any other member.

    Quite extraordinary, given that that most of the non EU trade is conducted on WTO terms whilst Intra EU trade is protected by the tariff-free CU.

  15. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Dear Nig–Did the Tories elect her?–My ancient and very likely wonky memory is that following treacherous idiotics from Gove (absent which we would be well Out by now) and Leadsom’s dropping out because she has children and May doesn’t or some such drivel, May won the contest (not the election) by default. If it seems I am biassed that could be because I am very much so–I am in the May-is-a-disaster camp.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Postscript–And now we learn that JR doesn’t even exist, which I say because I have just listened to that Thornbury woman saying (Sorry–do not remember exact words) that we have to stay in the Customs Union because “no-one” has made a proposal that addresses the Irish border. I have no idea what more JR can do to convince this woman that he and his ideas exist; and of course that the associated problems have been magnified out of all proportion. I increasingly loathe the EU and pray we do indeed manage to get out completely, if nothing else to avoid being polluted by the mindset it represents. We should walk, nay run, away.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        She is classic BBC think so seems to over-populate their programmes. Shouty and wanting/getting all the attention. When the flak really flies on this, this shouty type will be the first to crawl away.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Leslie Singleton

        We should walk, nay run, away.

        Very well said Leslie should have done that a year ago.

  16. Epikouros
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Remainers are wrong they are not standing up for democracy nor is any politician that states that parliament has the right to decide policy on anything. That right belongs to the voters. Parliament is only charged with implementing it. True interpretation of voters wishes will vary and even with a first past the post voting system it maybe policies that do not have the approval of the majority of the electorate. So the democracy we practice is not altogether very fair or efficient but then it is better than any other system that has been devised. Because of this parliament can on occasion play fast and loose with policies and often does do on that which the electorate believes they voted in their MPs. Manifestos and promises are notoriously abandoned after elections or at least considerably altered(one of the most glaring recent one. Students fees.). The Lords even worse as of course nobody voted for them.

    However on Brexit there is no room for maneuver by devious politicians as the vote was by majority and unequivocal. It asked the question remain in the EU or leave. The vote was to leave. Only the most dishonest or seriously intellectually challenged can see any room to deviate from leaving lock stock and barrel from the clutches of the EU. Remainers using parliament to thwart this ambition of the electorate are acting in an appalling manner and NOT in the spirit of democracy at all. Pure hypocrisy. They are even using the same tactic as their beloved EU when it does not achieve a result it wants keep rerunning the vote until they do.

  17. Ed Mahony
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    In fact, paying off our national debt (and building up savings) should be the priority. Paying off debt should be the priority of everyone, whether a couple are planning to get married, whether you’re setting up a business, or leaving the EU!

    It’s just an absolutely basic.

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    We should be discussing the new trade deals we are going to do with the US etc.
    Not this.

    Look forward not back.

    • margaret howard
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Lovely trade with the US to look forward to. Monsanto’s GM foods, cows injected with hormones, chlorinated chickens and all the other goodies winging our way.
      Or return to the time before EU membership? In the words of Maurice Chevalier :”I remember it well.”

      Camp coffee, sliced white bread only, none of that rubbish continental stuff, Liebfraumilch, Mateus Rose, olive oil in small bottles from the chemist only, no yoghurt, fancy moyannaise (what’s wrong with a bottle of salad cream) – in other words a return to a culinary wilderness.

      And back to Sunny Hunny instead of the Greek isles.

      Reply WhAt nonsense. We will carry on trading with the world and you only need buy the products you like!

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        You need to start living in the 21st century, and stop insulting our most important customer.
        I’m pleased US customers don’t think so badly of all the products they buy from us.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        Oh my word what ignorant drivel. I guess you typed this rubbish on a French computer, or a German tablet or maybe an Italian mobile phone.

        Where you eating lovely EU force fed froi gras , some horse meat lasagne the additives included substances like (named substances ed) had been used to dilute wines in Italy whilst watching the bullfighting on telly ?

      • NickC
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Margaret Howard, As an independent country we can set what rules we like. All the WTO asks is that all businesses are treated equally: home and foreign.

        As for the propaganda against “chlorinated chickens”, that is just purblind ignorance. Our mains tap water is chlorinated and wouldn’t be potable unless it was. And our chickens are washed in it.

        • margaret howard
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

          We can set the rules we want? Really? India has already demanded we take their labour in return for their trade. If we want the world to trade with us we shall have to accept their terms. They will have watched the Brexit disaster and drive a hard bargain.

      • Original Richard
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Are you describing the rationing we suffered during WW2 and after ?

        Rationing ended in the UK in 1954 – four years after it ended in West Germany.

        • margaret howard
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          No – the 1960/70 pre EU membership.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink


      Look forward not back.

      Totally correct

  19. duncan
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Get rid of the Europhile, feminist, statist, interventionist May and maybe this once great nation will become a sovereign, independent nation once more. If she remains PM the UK will always be a member of the EU

    I believe most Tory MPs are conscious of May’s pro-EU sentiments and elected her for that very reason including the author of this blog

    My party is close to death. Its moral soul died somewhile ago. Labour died in the early 1970’s.

    Focus not on what politicians say but on what they do. Therein lies the answer

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink


      My party is close to death. Its moral soul died somewhile ago.

      A lot of us in the real world have already given it the last rites.

      Somewhile ago is not strong enough, for a lot of us it was decades ago.

  20. Excalibur
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure I like the word globalist, JR. It smacks of one-world government. However, that being said, I endorse your views regarding our trading with whichever country we choose. Any attempt to reverse the democratic vote of the referendum, and of the two subsequent House of Commons debates, that voted decisively to reject staying in the Customs Union, must be rigorously resisted.

    The Foreign Secretary summed it up neatly when he said “……it’s about who calls the shots”. If Theresa May concedes on this, she really must go.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      He’s used the term before: I think he means internationalist as he is a believer in the nation state.

    • John Finn
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Get rid of the Europhile, feminist, statist, interventionist May and maybe this once great nation will become a sovereign, independent nation once more.

      No. We can replace “the Europhile, feminist, statist, interventionist May” with a strong pro-Brexit leader who might talk tough but will still be answerable to parliament. Parliament will, in turn, TELL the tough talking leader to go back and negotiate or call a general election which the tough talking leader will probably lose.

      • NickC
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        John Finn, There is nothing to negotiate about our independence.

    • Hope
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      No, she is a disaster and by her own code of conduct stated on TV in 2004 should resign and walk away. She is a disaster of a magnitude not seen in politics for decades.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink


        Totally correct

  21. Paul Cohen
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    This post should be on the front page of all newspapers!

    The present talks between us and the EU is not between equals but more like that Master and Servant. The EU strategy all along has been as “beggar thy neighbour ” – we had a foretaste of this by Cameron’s foray through the member states culminating in failure which he then walked away from, admitting defeat and leaving us all high and dry.

    I see a report today that we are about to agree to remaining in the customs union because of inreconcilable problems over the Irish border – this is a manufactured disagreement and yet another ploy by the EU to torpedo the talks.

    My feeling is we should now state that if agreement to leave is not achieved by a certain date stated by us, that we will follow a different route.

    Suprise, surprise ! Nick Robinson and Thornberry on BBC Marr program today – BBC must be saving a fortune by not having to pay for alternative “talent”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      “beggar thy neighbour ” at least they can do this less effectively once we have left! If May ever delivers a real Brexit means Brexit!

  22. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The time may be coming when the real Leaver Conservatives threaten Mrs. May with standing up for democracy and renouncing the whip.

    Staying in any form of a customs union is staying in the EU, except it is the worst of both worlds as we would be without any say in the albeit sham democracy.

    The EU has shown itself as shady as many dubious regimes since the war by making the Irish border an issue and it is interesting that the Eire Government seems to be happy to ditch the goodwill of the UK.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I’m a Little Englander and proud of it, yet this is always used in the pejorative.

    I dislike intervening in other people’s affairs as much as I dislike them interfering in mine.

    I prefer friendly and pragmatic relations with the ROW.

    I prefer properly administered borders for without borders a country is no longer a country and citizens are no longer citizens.

    Without borders we don’t need a government at all.

  24. RupertP
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Whilst I broadly agree with your sentiments, it is unfortunate for us that the EU is in a position to force the UK’s hand on both the customs union and maintaining regulatory alignment with the EU via its ruse on the NI border. This is because the UK is unable to leave the EU without a deal without also accepting huge economic and social impacts on the UK.

    The EU has set out in great detail the legal consequences of leaving without agreement with the EU on a vast range of items on their web site here:

    The EU list covers everything from prohibiting UK trade with the EU due to lack of authorisations, lack of border posts for required inspections, no rights for UK planes to fly across Europe, no recognition of UK safety agencies, no recognition of UK driving licences in Europe and much more. All this make it abundantly clear that leaving without any deal at all is really not an option, as the economic effect would be similar to the EU imposing sanctions on all of the UK’s exports into the EU.

    You seem to seriously underestimate the threat that the EU perceives to their whole project from the UK leaving and being successful afterwards. They view it as fundamental to the survival of the EU project that Brexit must be seen to fail and be less good than EU membership so that no other country attempts it. The EU’s plan therefore appears to be to keep the UK close with “Brexit in Name Only”, so that the UK can be parked as a vassal state of the EU for a while, until the political climate changes in the UK.

    Reply These are empty threats that would do them more damage than us if they tried them out, and most are against WTO rules and international law.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      You really want to stay in an organisation like this, under any circumstances?

      Would you advise a male friend to stay in a relationship where the wife was abusing the creativity and hard work of the husband, taking their money, and was threatening that they shouldn’t leave on the basis that they’d be better off without the wife?
      You’d tell him to stay????

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Rupert, I think you are right about the EU’s worldview and its animus to survive. And many Conservatives do seem to underestimate the strength of that animus, and end up being too “reasonable”. Which doesn’t work, as anyone with eyes to see will eventually realise. But time is running out. Our only option is to take our independence first, then negotiate with the EU afterwards on trade only.

    • Zorro
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Rubbish – if this is their proposal, then their pathetic little Continental system would be a abject failure….. just lke 200 years ago!


  25. Alison
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    She must go, now.

  26. BOF
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Quite right, two votes in the Commons to leave the Customs Union. And still they don’t get it.
    That now also applies to our Prime Minister and her so called negotiating team.

    Can leaving the EU be achieved without changing the Prime Minister?

  27. Peter
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I want out of the EU. I want to take back control of the country and be able to vote on which politician makes the decisions that affect it.

    I am not a globalist. I am an economic nationalist.

    “Every nation ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitat, clothing and defence.”

    A narrow service sector is not enough. Trump realised that without certain key industries you don’t have a real nation anymore.

  28. forthurst
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    How would free trade in agricultural produce work in the context of the CAP? In the bad old days the CAP created lakes and mountains; since then a system of quotas and set-asides has been employed to keep demand and supply in balance. If we were outside the CAP but in a free trade area, we would be able to upset the balance by producing what our farmers wanted without inhibition but the CAP could retaliate by giving extra subsidies to their producers to destroy our farmers’ margins. The only way we can have an orderly market in agricultural produce is by means of WTO terms and high tariffs against unwanted subsidised EU produce. The only way we will get total unfettered control of our fishing grounds and anything else is removing the lever, a ‘free trade’ deal, which the Brussels regime has been deploying against us.

    WTO rules rules.

  29. Ian wragg
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    So it’s now called a Custom Partnership where we continue to collect the Common External Tariffs and pass them on to Brussels. That is remaining in the Customs Union under a different name. We are then going to have regulatory alignment so in effect staying in the Single Market.
    Remind me again which other non EU countries collect taxes for Brussels.
    May and Robinson must really think we are complete mugs if they think that they can fly that.

    • Alison
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I think they think we are mugs. Passive mugs. Wrong, and we punters need to prove them wrong.
      I think that Mrs M and her cohorts think that we will keep on agreeing, ok, yes, as long as we can have Brexit. ie, they (Mrs May, Ollie R, probably mostly Ollie?) will think, they (Brexiteers) will agree because it’s just one concession, it’s in order to get An Agreement .. again and again.
      We Leavers keep on accepting yet another thin end of the wedge. The wedge is now massive. For me, this Custom Partnership is a very big slice of wedge and it is too big. Just to be mooted is the straw what broke this camel’s back. This has gone TOO far.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      It’s a rather silly scheme which shows up our officials in bad light – maybe that was always part of the idea – but more importantly it would not serve its stated purpose of preserving frictionless trade at the Irish border.

  30. Edwardm
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I agree with you entirely.
    Furthermore we must not agree to anything with the EU that places any restriction on any arrangements we ever wish to have with other countries.
    We need to show other countries that we will deal with them fairly without favour to the EU – otherwise the rest of the world will question our sincerity. Remainers need to look outside their fortress EU and realise this.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      We are going down the path with May of being stitched up by the EU and outside it.

  31. Andy
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    As a vehement Remainer I have to say I am now really enjoying Brexit.

    Has it dawned on any of you yet that you are not going to get what you voted for? No? Shame.

    You are not going to get it because you do not even agree with each other about what Brexit is. And your different visions of Brexit are largely contradictory.

    Consequently we are going to end up with an entirely predictable monumental fudge which will be worse than what we have now.

    It really will not take long for the next generation to undo the Brexit mess. Plus, having already destroyed UKIP, the failed hard-right pensioner Brexit makes it inevitable that we’re gonna kill of the Tories too.

    I mean, you could barely beat Jeremy Corbyn! The man is hopeless – etc ed – and you couldn’t score and outright win. Embarrassing.

    • NickC
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Having talked to Remains during the Referendum campaign, I know that there were many different reasons given for voting Remain. So no different to Leave. And no different to general elections. There is no principle you can cite that makes the 2016 Referendum invalid that doesn’t make all subsequent election and referendum votes equally invalid.

      The mess that we’re in right now is due to Remains pushing for us to remain partly in the EU – in the SM, in the CU, etc – and partly succeeding. If Remain accepted our vote, as provided by Parliament, the government could get on with the job.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Yet those who support remaining in the EU have many different ideas as to what the EU will be like in the near future.
      Some see it all reformed to their liking.
      Others have the UK adopting the Euro
      Others want further nations to quickly join.
      Others like the idea of a United State of Europe.
      Some want completely open borders.
      Others want more controls.
      I notice remainers keep very quiet about these matters.
      Latest polls show Tories in a lead over Labour and no change since the referendum on leaving the EU

    • Billy Elliot
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      “As a vehement Remainer I have to say I am now really enjoying Brexit.”

      Andy you are the man!

      Vehement Remainers are the best!

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      We are not getting Brexit. We are getting fudged (Remainer) Brexit.

      I’m just glad that you are so obviously neither qualified nor talented enough to leave fudged Britain, Andy.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        PS, My kids are talented and educated enough to leave fudge Britain and they did it via the comprehensive education system – among a diverse studentship.

        Private education (insularity) should not be an option for avid remainers such as yourself. You should expose your children to all the benefits of open borders.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      It’s a pity you’re not so vehement in your patriotism.

  32. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    What has changed since the votes John mentioned is that Corbyn has tactically decided to support staying in the CU. What should happen now is May should make a vote on it a confidence motion. If she loses fine, we have a GE with leaving the CU in the Tory manifesto. Plus the Tory’s MPs who vote against her get automatically deselected.

  33. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The problem with the Irish border issue is May has already agreed a backstop position if no agreement can be reached. That backstop is we stay fully aligned (ie in) the CU and SM. So all the EU needs to do is reject out of hand any other proposed solution, which they are doing.

    • Alison
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Roy Grainger – big problem. That backstop position is terrifying and it is shocking. Not to mention utterly stupid. Did Mrs May really have the power to agree to that? effectively giving away our sovereignty??
      How can that backstop position be overturned?


    • Andy
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      As I understand it that ‘backstop’ of ‘fully aligned’ would be in a Withdrawl Agreement. If there is no agreement it is not applicable. I believe Mrs May was very foolish to even agree to that.

    • John Soper
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Exactly, Roy. It is odd that Redwood seems not to have realised that it has been agreed we are staying in the customs union

  34. Adam
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    “How many more times do we have to debate staying in the Customs union?”

    ZERO! Leadership should have advanced beyond it.

    Theresa May is a high-quality leader. She researches & assesses situations thoughtfully, decides carefully, & then acts. However her way tends to be gentle, avoiding forcing matters through. She is loyal to the right path, but tries to convince followers before taking it. That is a small fault, yet causes impatience among eager Brexiteers.

    A dominant leader just takes the best path instantly, & followers follow as fast as they realise what is right. Theresa would lead faster if she were less patient with misguided doubters & stragglers: like Thatcher.

    • L Jones
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      It would certainly be very comforting to believe that Mrs May is playing ‘the long game’. What kudos would be hers! Think of the accolades! If only she would rid us of these shackles quickly and decisively, and end all the squabbling at a stroke! It would certainly be an amazing coup.
      If only.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      I don’t believe this.
      I think she is swayed this way and that.
      Look at the tweet messages today from Javid and Gove. Look at Johnson having to tell her what to do. They wouldn t need to do that if she decided carefully then acted. It’s more like “half decide, do a Maybot speech then back-track. Get caught out by the people you sided with in the Maybot speech then do a half-turn back. End up confused and confusing”

    • Zorro
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      If only you knew…. 😟


  35. Lifelogic
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    When and will I still be alive?

    Excellent piece by him today.

  36. hans chr iversen
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink


    Interesting perspective and view.

    How does this fit with the latest conclusion from the Select Committee, that even without any tariffs on food imported from around the World the different would be overall 1.2% lower difference in the price of food for the UK consumer?

    • Edward2
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      The select committee has a sizeable remainder majority.
      More dodgy statistics from them too.

      • WA Laugh
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        In the old days, there were facts (measurements, statistics, observations). People would differ in their analysis of them and/or on what these could mean for the future. Now it is enough for any Dick and Harry to say « dodgy statistics » to close any potential discussion. Poor Britain!

        • Edward2
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          There have been several critiques of the committee’s remain bias and of this recent report.
          I suggest you look them up.
          I haven’t got the time to type out all the details.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink


        Interesting response but not particularly informative

  37. mancunius
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Reading Oli Robbins’s byzantine proposal for customs payments across the NI border, I was wondering if he is a descendant of Heath Robinson? That’d explain a lot.

  38. Ian Pennell
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    A very good article regarding the merits of leaving the European Union Customs Union: We do not have to pay money to the European Union and can trade tariff-free (as far as it depends on the UK) with any other country in the World, which would reduce the cost of a whole range of goods sold in this country if we leave the European Union properly.

    However, unlike last time, the Remainers (who have a Majority in both houses of Parliament) will be emboldened by the House of Lords comprehensively voting for Britain to remain in the Customs Union and for the European Union comprehensively rubbishing every aspect of Theresa May’s EU trading arrangements. In addition, this time ’round Labour are now supportive of remaining in a Custom’s Union with the EU and it is certain that Jeremy Corbyn will demand his MP’s to vote to uphold the House of Lords amendment.

    The Conservatives really need to be planning for what to do if the House of Commons votes against the Government and upholds the legislation to keep Britain in the Customs Union, because Brexit will effectively be toast should that happen. My option would be for Theresa May to press for another snap General Election, with Remainers like Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve and Kenneth Clarke- who are intent on thwarting Brexit to be de-selected.

    The Conservatives should then find some radical ways (i.e. not paying the EU a penny and slashing Foreign Aid) to fund some very popular Conservative policies (how about tax-cuts and many more homes for first-time buyers) so that this time Jeremy Corbyn does not take Seats off the Conservatives in this new General Election, but that the Conservatives regain a Brexit-supporting Majority. Both Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and those Remainers in the Conservative Party would be punished and the Government would be able to get on with just leaving the European Union ASAP.

    Even if the Conservatives should lose a new snap Election, at least the general Public would know and see that it is Labour who are frustrating Brexit. However, if the Conservatives try and carry on in Government after the Remainers foist staying in the Customs Union on Britain (effectively meaning it will be Brexit In Name Only- BINO) the electorate will (rightly or wrongly) blame the Conservatives for effectively betraying the Majority who voted “Leave” in 2016 and the defeat in the subsequent General Election will be severe- leaving Jeremy Corbyn able to inflict much more damage on this country than if you have a General Election next month! Current polling suggests Jeremy Corbyn will fall a long way short of getting a Majority!

    This is a fall-back strategy you should suggest to the Prime Minister in the event of defeat on Wednesday!

    Ian Pennell

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. I am happy to be elevatated to the Lords just to push a real brexit through. I would not claim any daily allowance nor expenses nor even eat in the subsidised restaurants or bars! Also happy to provide a working compass for T May, totally free of charge if she cares to email me.

  39. Chewy
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    “How many times must we have a debate about staying in the customs union?”
    I reckon as many times as necessary until Parliament gets the right answer; similar mindset to some folks view of referendums.
    Two choices for our Prime Minister I reckon. 1) Call EUs bluff. I think it would be useful for politicians and people in journalism to keep asking Irish and EU figures like Barnier as to what kind of hard border they intend to erect in NI in the event of a No Deal. We really need to know this with less than a year left to go. A few have tried only to be met with evasiveness. Could expose this nonsense as nothing more than the paper tiger that it is.
    2) Cave in, while trying to sprinkle some glitter on the turd, in an attempt to placate press, public and Eurosceptic MPs.
    One way or another it’s coming to a head soon. Remainers are preparing the ground to assess the scale of rebellion if it comes to a serious binding motion. Confidence motion or leadership challenge likely sequalae if they’re successful.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Caving in won’t work.
      Most of us know the feelings of the public at large well enough to know that.

      • WA Laugh
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Most of us know the feelings of the members of their circle of family, friends, possibly colleagues. I doubt very much that for each individual writing on this blog it makes a statistically significant sample to allow anyone to draw definitive answers. Can’t you realise that this blog is an aquarium where fish go round and round?
        Not a Remainer viewpoint, more a (kind of) scientific one.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

          This blog isn’t the only world which those on here inhabit.
          There are many opinions out there.
          Read widely and come to your own opinions.
          And keep an open mind.

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I saw the Tory MP Nicky Morgan on TV and she said that we could have a special kind of customs arrangement/partnership with the EU which would miraculously provide all the benefits of the present EU customs union but at the same time allow us to make whatever trade deals we wanted around the world. Apparently the EU would be perfectly happy to agree that special, in fact unique, deal with us without any of their usual complaints about “cherry-picking”. At least she seemed to assume that, just as Jeremy Corbyn silently assumed that when he first suggested we could stay in “a” customs union with the EU other than the existing EU customs union of which we are a member.

    Oddly enough the EU has not yet offered that kind of deal to the EFTA countries, which are each free to make their own trade deals around the world precisely because they are not in a customs union with the EU or indeed with each other:

    And that’s even though according to Nicky Morgan it would ensure “frictionless trade” among those four countries and between each of them and the EU, and so by analogy that would avoid a “hard border” on the island of Ireland.

    She also claimed that the Irish border is “economically important”. Well, no doubt it would be a damn nuisance and a justified source of great resentment for local people and others if that border was completely closed for goods traffic; but in terms of economic impact that would affect at most about 0.1% of UK GDP, even without any of the goods being exported to the Republic by alternative routes.

    I wonder if we are going to hear anything better than this dismal lack of basic knowledge and simple common sense from any of the MPs when they debate her backbench motion on Thursday:

    I have to say that I doubt it, unless it comes from somebody like you, JR …

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


      I wouldn’t waste thinking energy in deconstructing Nicky Morgan’s assertions. How this woman has made progress onto committees is a mystery to me, but this really all is hot air.

      Yvette Cooper however has intelligence, albeit misguided. Maybe focus on her musings?

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper

      Tory MP Nicky Morgan on TV and she said that we could have a special kind of customs arrangement/partnership with the EU

      The thoughts on the position of her head in relationship to the sun comes to mind.

      Yet another one and sadly she is not alone. Ffs lets call an election and get rid of all these luvvies and rebuild the party with a completely new focus based upon listening and giving the electorate what they want.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Fox’ view of “free trade” (as I believe he defines it) and that of most people who want to preserve frictionless trade with the EU are of course mutually exclusive. Fox is an advocate of alignment with US regulation (incompatible with the EU in many respects) and for instance Morgan does not have a problem with European regulation. A simple choice. A hypothetically rational consumer would probably go for high consumer protection (which is being dismantled in the US) and a rational producer would prefer the US. So if that were made clearer, it would be easier to find out what consumers (the vast majority of UK voters) would prefer. Unfortunately, the UK population is rarely made aware of the likelyhood that leaving the EU’s shackles will mean entering those of the US. There is no way the UK could bargain with US representatives as equals. It would mean signing on the dotted line. More or less the same Brexit Ultras claim the EU wants (and easily could, given the diference in bargaining power).

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        It is not a choice between EU regulation and US regulation, there is no reason why the UK should not have its own national regulation AND have frictionless trade with both. It would only require effective UK measures to ensure that goods which would be unacceptable to the EU don’t get sent to the EU and goods which would be unacceptable to the US don’t get sent to the US.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted April 24, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          That would not satisfy the Americans. The UK cannot be an “orphan” in world trade. It will be part of either the European free trade area (under whatever name) or the US one (via inclusion in NAFTA or a specific USUKFTA. These have very different regulatory consequences. Most likely modelled on the US-Australia FTA. That is the choice that shout be put before the British public. Not some kind of fuzzy idealism. In general, US FTA partners are “junior” and have even less discretion than Norway has wrt the EU. Plus, it will take a while until a deal done with the Executive Branch becomes a valid treaty, ratified by Congress.

  41. Rien Huizer
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    If you were a globalist, you would stay in the EU. The main beneficiaries of the EU are very large, transnational corporations and people who appreciate mobility. Without the Single Market there would be opther mechanisms but they would be protectionist in inefficient ways. The EU has sufficient scale to optimize benefits for EU residents be they corporate or private. It does not matter what country one is a citizen of, it matters what one does in the location one happens to be in. And what that location does for you. Anachronisms and quixotic attempts to have a small country play a role as advocate of “free trade” are to the disadvantage of UK residents. Globalisation and free trade are completely different things.

  42. Original Richard
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    The EU and its UK supporters are using the border in Ireland as a means to keep the UK in the CU and thus :

    1) Keep the UK under their control as a colony.
    2) Continue to receive all the UK paid import duty.
    3) Protect their £80bn/year trade trade surplus with the UK

  43. Anonymous
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    The BBC in highlighting racial and social division stokes racial and social division.

    This organisation needs to be abolished.

    It has never ever praised the British people for their tolerance and forbearance.

  44. Ron Olden
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I, like John Redwood, despair of this. These Remainers are like insane people.

    The Customs Union is Protectionist creation. Which is why I always refer to it as the ‘Protectionist Customs Union’.

    It’s nothing to do with Free Trade. It’s all about restricting trade to within this small, price rigging, cartel.

    Today the ‘Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’ of MPs, has announced that leaving the ‘Protectionist Customs Union’ will mean higher food prices and less choice in the shops.

    The blindingly obvious truth is the exact opposite. Leaving it will mean lower prices and more choice, after we’ve have the chance to get rid of the external tariffs, either unilaterally or by negotiation.

    I prefer unilateral abolition, because it’s quick, de-politicises the whole thing, and consumers and importers see the benefit immediately.

    John Redwood prefers negotiated abolition because there’s a chance we can get more concessions for our own exporters as well.

    But from the point of view of UK food consumers and the food processing industry it doesn’t matter which.

    It’s mathematically impossible for country which has a trade deficit with a trading block hiding behind its own tariff wall, to be more adversely affected by mutual tariffs, than the trading block itself.

    Worse still for the EU, the bits of it which will be worst affected are concentrated in certain countries. Tariffs barriers with the UK will destroy the Republic of Ireland’s economy, and seriously damage some industries in Denmark and many others.

    None of them will even benefit from the EUs own extra tariff revenue because it will all go to the EU itself, whereas our own tariff revenue (in the case of food, three times as much as the EU gets), would be available for us to spend on whatever we liked, e.g. cutting business taxes on businesses that sell food.

    One of these Remainiac organisations calls itself ‘Open Britain’. In fact it’s the exact opposite. What it wants is ‘Britain open to the EU and closed to everyone else’.

  45. Ken Moore
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Richard North,
    ‘the only way to retain virtually “frictionless borders” with the single market from outside the EU, as some of us have long been trying to explain, would be to join Norway in the European Free Trade Association and thus remain in the wider European Economic Area.

    But that is far too simple. What our politicians fail to grasp is that this would instantly free us from three quarters of all the EU’s 20,000 laws, while giving us more influence than we have now on shaping those 5,000 which remain, chiefly covering trade.

    In addition, it would free us from the direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and (it almost goes without saying) free to negotiate our own trade deals with the rest of the world.

    Then, despite the continued attempts of the naysayers to downplay Article 112, we would be free to exercise selective control over immigration from the EU. These are the very things Brexiteers say they want. And these things Mrs May has rejected. She has turned her back on them.’

    Dr Redwood, why can’t the government do this ?..or do they want to discredit Brexit for what they are proposing is unworkable..

    • Grant st John
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      The idea that Article 112 allows “selective control over immigration from the EU” is an outright lie. And the EFTA court just rubberstamps the ECJ. There’s some nonsesne talked about Brexit, etc ed

      • Ken Moore
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        EEA isn’t a perfect solution but it is the best option. Either that or ‘no deal’ which will be totally unworkable or remaining within the customs union and ECJ but having no say on the rules.

        If you dismiss Dr North’s work as nonsense I very much doubt you have bothered to read a fraction of what he has written on Brexit.

  46. nigel seymour
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I didn’t vote specifically to leave the eu on account of immigration but more along the lines of what the French have just put through. It makes perfect sense!!. Shame we can’t keep up to speed with these sorts of decisions instead of dithering around with the parties pooing themselves that they might lose their vote share. People up and down this country want the issues facing them addressed in good time not waiting till the next election!! Let’s take notice of the likes of hungary and france to spell it out that no longer can immigrants casually think they can cross borders illegally without severe consequences…

  47. margaret
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    What you have verbally of course is the relative position when the remainers talk about ‘Little Britain’. We are as big as our connections and business is. If one wants to talk about land mass the EU must compare itself to Russia and they don’t like the western borders there.

  • 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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