Technology at the border

I cannot believe that Remain and their media friends are still going on about how goods move across  borders. The Uk government last year set out how technology can ensure smooth passage of goods. Now we are being told this would all take time to develop and set up. I have good news for them. It is all old hat, and is up and running for non EU trade already. Firms running just in time supply chains for components into the UK have no problems with components entering from outside the EU at the moment, despite the alleged tariff and non tariff barriers to trade that exist for non EU trade today. If all our trade becomes non EU trade after March, what is the problem? We know how to handle it.

I have more good news for firms worried about this. Inbound goods for their factories in the UK have to clear UK customs, not EU customs to enter the UK. There is no need and no plan I know of to impose new barriers at our borders when we leave the EU that will detain lorries and cause unacceptable delays. It is in our own hands.

Let me try again, as one who has imported and exported from a UK industrial base. There are already electronic manifests for each consignment, allowing fast passage across a border as the authorities know what is in the truck or  container. There is a trusted trader scheme allowing electronic filing to replace manual document inspection. Any VAT, Excise or tariff due can be deducted electronically away from the frontier to settle the bills. This also happens today for our EU trade, as our frontier with the rest of the EU is already a VAT, Excise and currency border.

The so called Irish border problem is a put up job by the EU trying to make life difficult. The government should tell them we will use current methods to deal with border issues after we have left. These include today anti smuggling police and revenue activities on  both sides of the Irish border, and police co-operation over criminals seeking to move from one country to another. If the EU continues to make heavy weather of this the government should say we will not be paying them any extra money after March 2019 when we leave.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood, you’ve backed yourself into a corner here “..The so called Irish border problem is a put up job by the EU trying to make life difficult. ” If it really is just a put up job and no real problem, then this issue should have been despatched months ago with no faffing around and clearly resolved in the Progress Report. Your government seems to have failed miserably in explaining the solution, or its a real problem. Which is it; either way you look incompetent.

    • Lirrytoner
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      I agree, Peter. Everyone dealing directly with the problem – the British government, the Irish government and the EU – cannot find a solution. But John Redwood, the backbench MP for Wokingham in Berkshire, says it’s just a put up job. Who to believe, I wonder

      Reply Who was right about the ERM and the Euro – them or me?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        It is the EU, the Irish current President and remainers who are deliberately refusing any options put forward by the UK government.

        • mancunius
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink


        • DrakeB
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          Correct..the EU have thrown up these roadblocks because they really do not want any kind of a deal with UK going forward..the UK money for the settlement has now been discounted by them on this basis and been factored into their next budget.
          So all we need to do is leave

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        I would suggest that the governments you mention and the EU are looking for problems rather than a solution.

      • Lifelogic.
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Being right in politics never seems to help advance you. Hence the dire list of PMs we have had. Being consistently wrong seems to work far better in politics just go with the wrong headed group think of the time.

        Better to be in business or a betting man if you are consistently right. Or even if you are just right rather more often than wrong.

      • Hope
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        JR, why would the Remainers not keep using this as a reason not to leave the EU when May stupidly agreed the backstop deal position. She has left the door open at every stage and allowed everyone to see peak and connive with Barnier. Today we read she is asking to be trusted and leaves the Customs art era hip on the table! She is completely untrustworthy, never keeps her word, red lines or key posts in speeches. Is her memory that bad?

        You have to oust her. If she tries to email in any form of customs union the game is up for your govt and party. While remainers will not cry in their beer, the majority will not tolerate it.

        • Richard
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          From the Irish broadcaster RTE:

          “Rees-Mogg hit the nail on the head. According to well-placed sources, the customs partnership idea does requires high alignment with the EU legal order, and not divergence. How do we know this?…
          Because of an unmistakable, and quite bold, change in tack by British negotiators in recent weeks…Effectively, London is saying, “allow us to interpret Paragraph 49 in its most literal sense (‘the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment…’) and that will allow us to avoid a hard border and guide us into this future customs partnership idea.”

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            Thanks for that, it is what some feared might happen:


            “Note, the “full alignment” is only with those Internal Market and Customs Union rules which are relevant to harmonious North-South relations.

            On an expansive interpretation that could indeed mean what mistrustful Leavers like myself fear it could mean, that for the sake of the mere 0.1% of UK GDP which is exported as goods across the Irish land border the whole of the UK and 100% of its economy will remain subject to all EU Single Market laws.

            On the other hand on a restrictive interpretation it could equally well mean what I suggest it should mean, that on leaving the EU and its Single Market and Customs Union the UK will put in place alternative UK legal arrangements to guarantee to the EU and the Republic that all goods exported across the border into the EU will continue to conform to all relevant EU requirements, and so will no more need to be checked at the border than they need to be checked now.”

            Go to the Irish media to get something closer to the truth …

      • Jagman84
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        They cannot find a solution because there is not a problem in the first place! Do the Remoaners still believe that we’ll all say “This is all too complex so let’s stay in the EU”?

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          It’s interesting isn’t it – Remains were the ones saying we weren’t ruled by the EU, yet now they say it’s too complicated to Leave?

        • mancunius
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          They think Parliament will do it for them, and that the EU is legally able to do so. They have been relying on Lord Kerr’s groundless assertion that Art. 50 can be unilaterally rescinded.
          Many MPs have forgotten to read Article 50 itself and work out its implications.

      • zorro
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Nonsense – both UK and Irish HMRC equivalents have said before respective parliamentary committees that this is a non issue and solutions for all scenarios will/could be in place before exit.

        As I have said all along, they only respect/fear strength. Unless maximum cooperation/facilitation occurs henceforth then post 31/3/19 – TURN THE TAP OFF!


      • Dennis
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply-

        Euro + ERM = Irish Border? I don’t think so. This is faulty thinking, it convinces no one.

        JR, how could you? And how come no one else knows your analysis?

      • forthurst
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        The PM has put forward a ‘solution’ – the ‘Customs Partnership’; she did not dream this up herself because she has a geography degree; no, this solution was recommended by a senior advisor. As this solution has has been rejected as unworkable by HMRC, she has been made to look incompetent and foolish. Is it not time for her to take advice from someone who does believe in Brexit and is prepared to talk to those who would need to implement any solution rather than simply flying a kite.

        People who claim that modern technology cannot solve the issues raised by our being outside the EU Customs Union and the Single Market without intervention at the border for every consignment, are simply demonstrating their ignorance of what is now eminently and routinely achievable. This is what professional computer systems and networks are designed to be able to perform.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 14, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        Sorry Lirrytoner – but if you are not able to recognize the truth of the situation, then you are missing something ….
        Socialism, like……. takes no prisoners and pushes lies and misinformation like mad – the EU is essentially a socialist organisation, full of those that have no qualms about kicking below the belt.
        As for JR – he’s a decent right of centre MP, with years of experience, and I’d back him against the EU and remoaners every time…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      We have government ministers who mostly supported Remain in the referendum with parliamentarians who taken across both Houses together mostly still support Remain now despite the referendum, having to depend on a corps of civil servants who have all been recruited and promoted while we have been part of the EEC/EC/EU/USE project, with the inevitable consequence that many of them cannot now be relied upon for good advice on how we should extricate ourselves from a complicated project that they mostly still support. So, yes, there is at least the appearance of incompetence in their proceedings, but with some of it in fact being deliberate sabotage.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Dear Denis–For the Remainiacs to say that something is impossible or that it will take five years blah blah is truly extraordinary given that JR (not noted for lying or exaggeration) is saying that this very same impossibilty is already in place and working. Is this not a matter of fact rather than opinion? How can this be?? It is all very Alice in Wonderland, swimming in a pool of (our) own tears as I remember.

        • Ian wragg
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          One could be confused about customs when we actually do 60% of external trade with the rest of the world.
          Last week I exported some electrical components to the Middle East after being imported from the USA. The whole process took 5 days and the filling in of 2 simple forms.
          The EU isn’t going to agree to any solution other than staying in the Single Market and customs union. I.e. staying in the EU.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Postscript–Liam Halligan marvellous in Torygraph today (only fault a misuse of a ‘myself’)–Hard to see how anybody could still be in favour of any kind of Customs Union after reading. Why cannot he be made a Lord and as such given a place in the Cabinet forthwith? We have a Gordian knot that needs cutting instead of the compromise twaddle we have to suffer. How can it possibly possibly possibly be that there are so many remainiacs in the Cabinet? It is demented that we have a PM who is happy for that to be the case.

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Denis, Good points. Today Theresa May says in the Times: “trust me to deliver” Brexit and vows to Leave voters: “I will not let you down”. Then she ruins it (if we were prepared to believe her at this stage) by saying: “There will have to be compromises”.

        Which is why we don’t trust her. There must be NO compromises on our independence. The only compromises necessary are that we should let EU products in under the same terms we have to export to the EU.: for example 5% tariff each way on cars with no NTBs.

        Mrs May just doesn’t get it.

        • Hope
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          Leave won the vote, at every election one side wins. There is never a compromise. Leavers should not compromise anything we won the vote against all odds and both HoC and Lords.

          May has capitulated to date not compromised, given away fishing stocks and territorial waters after Leaving is shocking, no country nor in the world would agree to this! No trade deal the world nhas required a country to give som ugh just to talk about trade. Trade is not the sole or key purpose for leaving. May created this narrative. The U.K. Needs to leave before a deal can Ben made, somleqve and pay absolutely nothing before hand.

          Trust May when she skulked off at night to give away Northern Ireland before being caught out by the DUP! Completely untrustworthy. Line by line examination of the divorce bill. She lied. It did not take place because the £20 billion offer was far lower than the £100 billion amount she finally agreed!

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink


          I did not vote Remain but you do really sometimes talk a lot of rubbish

    • Mark B
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      The problem is that the UK Government agreed to find a solution that is suitable to the EU. The EU therefore can say no solution is acceptable and we have to agree. Idiots !

      • mancunius
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. The day after the 8th December Joint Report was published, I pointed out here that its Art. 49 gave the EU – and the RoI – carte blanche to ‘fail to agree’. That ‘mistake’ was of such massive and obvious proportions and its implications for our national future were so grave, that it could not have been other than a deliberate attempt to keep Britain in the economic framework of the EU that the CBI has so energetically lobbied for.

      • LucasH
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink is the UK that is leaving the is the UK that is causing this upset so the EU says that the UK has to come up with an acceptable solution for divorce on many fronts, not only the Irish border, that’s if UK wants to have a future relationship with the it’s very much up to the UK side to work this out. Unfortunately the cabinet is divided on how to proceed with all of this that is holding everything up, hardly the fault of the EU or the Irish..of course we voted to leave..we did not vote to have a new agreement with them and so on 29 march 2019 we could just walk? And then start trading with our new international trading partners as per M Gove IDS and Liam Fox? D’Ya think?

        • mancunius
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          We already have international trading partners. And WTO rules ‘hold no fears for the UK’ as economist Roger Bootle has written.

          As you say, we did not vote for a new agreement with the EU: we have a trade deficit with them, so an agreement would be very much in their interests. But Juncker and Tusk are very much the sclerotic past.

          As Cameron said of Brown – They were the future – once!

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      The EU politburo are scared whitless by our exit, unfortunately the majority of our parliamentarians have given up democracy and balls.

    • ChrisS
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Peter :

      Our Government’s own HMRC thinks this is not a serious problem.

      Chief Executive, Jon Thompson, has pointed out that they physically inspected only 0.5% of imports from non-EU countries. He went on to tell one select committee :

      “We do not believe, and this has been our consistent advice to ministers, we do not believe we require any infrastructure at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland under any circumstances.”

      In 2017 the European Parliament commissioned their own research and the report, by independent consultants, confirmed the same. You can read it here :

      In the Executive summary on page 11 it clearly states :

      “It is possible to implement a Customs and Border solution that meets the requirements of the EU Customs legislation (Union Customs Code) and procedures, with expected post-Brexit volumes of cross-border people and goods, if using a combination of international standards, global best practices and state-of-the-art technology upgraded to a Smart Border 2.0 or similar solution.”

      The furore over the Irish Border is nothing more than a Remainer and Brussels political fuss designed specifically to make life difficult for us.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        The Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was interviewed on the BBC Andrew Marr programme this morning and he not only reiterated his government’s implacable opposition to any kind of physical infrastructure on the ground at the border, he went even further than usual and explicitly rejected the use of drones.

        If that aerial gambit goes unanswered by the UK government then I expect next stage for the Irish government and the EU will be rejection of the use of satellite observations or GPS tracking.

        In other words, all the methods of surveillance which might be available to the state authorities on both sides of the border to investigate and control criminal activities will be totally prohibited in some potentially lawless zone of unspecified width around the border.

        • Ian wragg
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          This is the problem Denis. There is a well organised smuggling racket across the border and Sinn Fein don’t want any technology impeding that.
          The sooner someone exposes this the better.

        • WhataboutSchmidt
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          Denis Cooper..that is why the border area is referred to as EL Paso..any drones flying over there will be shot down by the dissidents- guaranteed

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

            Glad to benefit from your expert knowledge on this. I can’t actually find any references to support what you say about that popular description of the border area in general, rather than just Dundalk, and that was years ago, but never mind. I suppose one question is whether the Irish government is interested in enforcing the law or would prefer to let the criminals have the run of the place.

        • Ian wragg
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          Denis there is a major trade in diesel fuel over the border to the extent that the major oil companies have pulled out.

      • Peter Wood
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Then the solution should be in the Progress Report, clear and agreed by all, it is not.

    • Andy
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      The UK has a right to police her borders as she sees fit. The so called Irish Border problem is not a problem for us as we have already stated that we will not create a ‘hard border’. How the Irish Republic and by extension the European Union, wish to police THEIR border with the UK is a matter for them. Remember they are the ones bleating on about the sanctity of the ‘Single Market’ and ‘Customs Union’, not the UK.

    • Wessexboy
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      The EU themselves came up with ‘Smart Border 2.0’, which is exactly what we are talking about here. How come they now say it does not suit, and how come our Govt. does not emphasise this?

      • Peter Wood
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        I agree, if our host is correct, that ‘Smart Border 2.0’ is the solution, then WHY cannot the government persuade, by logic and competent argument, the HOC to approve it? It would appear that the ‘solution’ is not even accepted in the inner Brexit committee. We do look like a bunch of idiots!

    • G Wilson
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      The fact that there is no real problem is the reason it won’t go away. The EU has a vested interest in pretending there’s a problem, no matter what the facts are.

      The “issue” isn’t resolved because the EU wants to keep it alive, so they can maintain a threat of return to terrorism after we leave. It’s a put-up job aiming to block Brexit.

    • Shamrock
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redmond is 100% correct in his assessmentof the Ulster/Irish border
      issue, which has been blown out of all proportions. It has been stated that
      only 2% of the Republic of Ireland’s trade crosses this border presently
      into the UK via Northern Ireland. His answer to the problem would work
      admirably, but the Brexit issue has been turned into a Political one.
      The Taoisrach, Mr Leo Varakadkar has joined forces with Sinn Fein and supported
      by the European Union. Mr Varadkar is not really interested in Brexit or finding
      a solution, but more deterrmined to pull Northern Ireland out of the United
      Kingdom. He has insulted more residents in NI in hs rhetoric over the
      last few months and has tried to interfere in the Province. There is growing
      resentment to his interference and he will not succeed in his Political
      ambition regarding Northern Ireland Politics in NI are not conducted
      as elsewhere, as has been proved over the years.
      The border can be left open as it is to-day and goods can move freely
      using electronic methods but if the EU and the Taoiseach continue to force
      a Political stance on the issue and Mrs May attempts to agree any customs
      agreement or any difference to the rest of the United Kingdom, her
      leadership position will unfortunately end or a no deal senario might
      follow and Mr Varadkar will have imposed a different type of border
      as remains to-day upon himself.

    • getahead
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      It’s an EU red herring Peter. The Irish border works just fine as it is. No need for change.

  2. Peter D Gardner
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, Remain and their media friends are still going on about how goods move across borders because they are greatly encouraged by your Prime Minister.

    I cannot believe your Prime Minister finds anything of merit in the cretinous new customs partnership.
    In the Telegraph it is asserted that “Theresa May’s choices today are limited by parliamentary arithmetic and the immediate need to pull together a country torn between Leave and Remain.”
    That is simply untrue. The House of Commons can be persuaded by oratory, if there is leadership to deliver oratory.
    Someone said Mrs May is like a corpse, meaning she never responds. She does not absorb either. We do not know what is in her mind. How can she possibly see any merit in the new customs partnership to which she obstinately clings? How can she not call the Irish Government to account under the Good Friday Agreement to respect the integrity of UK and to reign in threats of violence should any change be made to arrangements on the border – not that UK intends any changes apart from what goes on in computer software? How can she not be seen to stand up for the UK against EU bullying? How can she not promote the prospects and advantages of free trade in the world and tell the EU to join in if it wishes but that is what UK will do?
    She does none of these things. Why not? Because she has no understanding of the concept of a self-governing independent nation state. She believes government is the collegiate business of international governing elites. She is a true EU technocrat.  In her mind it is her duty that she and her colleagues in the EU reach a consensus. If the EU seeks to punish UK for breaking ranks, she admits a degree of guilt. Hence UK is now obliged to provide a border in Northern Ireland it does not need or want for itself but in order to impose the EU’s regulations.
    Because she does not understand the concept of a self-governing nation state she cannot lead and cannot advocate it and cannot persuade. Therefore the house of Commons remains in stasis, stuck in the positions taken at the referendum, which reached a decision the majority in Parliament and in Government still do not understand. But it could if there were leadership from a Prime Minster who understood and was capable of persuasive oratory.
    It really is time Mrs May is removed from office. A year ago I would have considered some methods better than others. But her concessions to the EU over the last 18 months have gained such momentum that if she stood firm on anything to advance Britain’s interests in the negotiations it would cause a political earthquake and would be utterly disruptive of the normal daily political discourse in Europe in which Britain is now fully expected to go along with the EU without argument.
    So I no longer care how she is removed from office. She must go now.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      A very good post.

      Thank you.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      I think it’s simpler.

      She has absolutely no mettle in her to argue a particular position or make a decision.
      When confronted with argument and counter-argument, she sees merit in each and will let situations “roll” without making a decision. This falls in with her need to avoid disappointing any faction or anybody.

      It means she stays in position because she’s never done anything to cause her own downfall, except for doing nothing.

      This will play out that way until either somebody else takes the reins, or a default applies, and doing nothing results in calamity.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        It is yet simpler, in respect of the backstop. Mrs May supplied the gun, loaded it and handed it to the EU and painted a target on her forehead. I have always tried to believe that people who get to the top of politics in a parliamentary democracy must be intelligent and have good intellects. I am no longer sure. There is no sign that she understands what she has done even after the fact. that is true dimness. And yet she is PM so I must be wrong, no?

  3. Stephen Priest
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Everything stated in this post is true.

    It is hard to believe Theresa May’s negotiation has been so poor. She’s still talking of the need for compromise! I cannot think of one compromise by the EU so far.

    Who rules Britain? The British government or Michel Barnier?

    • walter
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t have even used the word negotiations. It clearly hasn’t been. She is after a seat in Brussels as a reward for giving away this country and it’s finances.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      What is very noticeable is in many photos we see two elected government ministers, one the prime minister of one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world, on one side of the negotiating table facing two unelected foreign officials as equals. She accepts this.

    • old salt
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Stephen – Does she not mean compromise between Leavers and Remainers? I seem to remember her saying there will be something in the agreement for everybody. She would appear to be trying to please everybody all of the time. This cannot be. Doubt this will work while the vote was ‘out’, clear and simple, not half in half out.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Given the above, then why is Mrs May and Oily Robbins making such heavy weather and a big deal about something far, far more complicated.
    Surely they must be aware of the current arrangements, or are they not up to speed with them.

    If all else fails then why not simply we do what we want, and the EU can do what they want either side of the border, as has been outlined on here already by DC.

    I agree about simply leaving with no payment, indeed this was always the simplest solution, and had we said we would do that at the outset, business would have had two years to sort themselves out with no transition necessary.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      It seems very wrong in any case to offer the EU money in the interests of a trade deal, or anything else for that matter, apart from what the UK legally owes.

      Isn’t that called ‘bribery’ – or is there another name for it?

      • JoolsB
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Bribery and bribery for what? So we can continue to trade with them at a massive trade deficit. It’s them who should be paying us. How dare May squander 40 billion of our hard earned money away just to keep a bunch of unelected EU bullies happy.

        • walter
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Mrs May, along with previous leaders of either party, love throwing cash around, seeing as it won’t be affecting HER finances. £40bn of other people’s cash is nothing for them to worry about. It is for US to worry about.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Dear L Jones–Don’t forget ‘extortion’

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        L Jones

        The other word is “Blackmail”, I have used it on this site many times in the past, because that is what it is.

        FREE TRADE requires no payment !

        The Eu have demanded money for continuing talks, no more no less.

        Problem is Our Prime Minister is paying the price, but is not getting the results from the talks which she may have thought possible.

        The EU are playing hard ball with a weak hand against a weak opponent who lack judgement, thus we are backing away and are prepared to throw in a strong and winning hand, because we lack the courage, determination and intelligence to play our cards properly.

      • PrezleB
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        It’s hard to know what the UK legally owns..the UK itself was set up with bribery in its time..massive bribery

  5. Lifelogic.
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Exactly right. The Irish issue is a pathetic negotiation ploy and a put up job. We should indeed pay nothing unless we get something worthwhile for it.

    Simon Heffer is however surely right today in the Sunday Telegraph:-

    The PM’s lack of leadership is ruining everything Mrs May’s absence of conviction is wrecking Brexit and preventing progress in other vital areas.

    No only this but She and Hammond have the wrong big government, high tax, high regulation economic policies too.

  6. Brigham
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    In my opinion we should have stopped any payments to the EU the date of article 50.

  7. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    In Rotterdam harbour, partly robotized, they know a thing or two about customs. They know the difference between EU and non EU. And so they are hiring up to a thousand extra custom officers now, just for Brexit.

    • Woody
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      So if the trade between the eu and the uk is going to be decimated as the remaining remoaners keep saying, how come this fountain of customs and trade knowledge feels the need to increase resources just to deal with it ?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        @Woody: trade there always will be, just a little more cumbersome.

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          PvL, It’s only cumbersome because the EU makes it so. If you didn’t have so many rules and such a tariff, and NTB, wall you wouldn’t need so many customs officiers.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            @NickC: We’re a voluntary, rules-based organisation (EU).
            Voluntary, so feel free to leave.

          • NickC
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            PvL, Yeah, right. So Regulation 1462/2006 on a pottery sheep ornament with a wool coat is really, really necessary? Like I said: if the EU didn’t have so many useless rules you wouldn’t need so many customs officers. But the point is it is you, the EU, that “requires” all the rules and the hard border to protect your precious empire.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Excellent. Brexit creating jobs. Another good news story.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        @DaveM: Indeed! And the Netherlands’economy keeps growing at twice the rate of The UK’s. No lack of good news over here!
        Interesting to study the unbiased figures in tradingeconomics .com with Ireland even outperforming the Netherlands, let alone the UK.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          Ireland is catching up, check the figures since pre crash.

          The countries of the Eurozone will at some point have to address the fundamental contradictions – there will not be stability and prosperity Eurozone wide unless and until there is proper fiscal and political integration. If people want that then fine. But if they don’t just pushing off the day of reckoning isn’t an answer.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            @Richard1: You are right. MAybe contrary to you I’m reasonably optimistic about these needed EU developments. Small steps, sometimes seem slow and small. Still they happen.

          • NickC
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            PvL, So when these “small steps” happen and your country has finally lost national control of your: finances; fiscal policy; military, diplomatic, security and foreign policies; and of any democratic way of changing your actual government; will you finally wake up?

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink


      You mean they still expect trade to exist between The UK and EU !

      Would you mind informing some of our Mp’s that this is the case, as they have for the past two years suggested it will be Zero.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        @alan jutson: trade there always will be, just a little more cumbersome.

    • Jagman84
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      So why do they count UK exports passing through Rotterdam, to non-EU countries, as imports into the EU? The “Rotterdam Effect”? Quite clearly, they cannot tell the difference! More likely, the extra officers are being taken on to cover the increased trade between the UK and the rest of the world, when we finally exit the EU.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        @Jagman84: Indeed, who knows!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Little Englander
      Posted May 14, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      PVL: welcome back to the fold — a reminder of the famous, bold, undaunted Dutch seafarer Van Tromp who tied a broom to the master of his ship and said ‘I will sweep the English from the seas’ as he sailed up the Thames burning everything in his path and reaching London the consequences of that being that a highly successful trade between the Netherlands and England all but stopped. We never defeated him but his own Countrymen did because whilst he assailed the merchants of Amsterdam and London came to a swift agreement and cut off his funding basically – ‘business as usual’ is the term we would use today or ‘work smart not hard’.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Since last November it has been essential to make a distinction between the Irish land border and other UK-EU borders, because any scope for using advanced technology on the ground at the Irish land border was virtually eliminated once the Irish government moved to its adamant total rejection of:

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

    including for example additional CCTV cameras.

    Unfortunately more than five months on many people still have not recognised that the new Irish government has publicly and irreversibly adopted that absurd, extreme and intransigent position, with the full support of the EU, and so it is pointless to debate whether this detection or monitoring system or another would be efficient but also sufficiently unobstrusive; nothing new on the ground would be acceptable.

    I suppose there would be the possibility of using GPS tracking devices in vehicles, and the possibility of using other detection and monitoring methods away from the border, but in my view it would be far better just to graciously and publicly cede this point to the Irish government and say that for our part we intend to make no changes whatsoever at the border, the existing free flows of goods and people can continue exactly as now:

    I will repeat from that comment that the best solution specifically for the Irish land border is one which the UK government is only now starting to examine, months too late:

    “I will add in connection with the penultimate paragraph of that letter sent in on Sunday that I have since found by chance that the technical term for that kind of arrangement is “parallel marketability”, and that it is well worth putting that as a search term in google, perhaps alongside “Ireland”.

    Characteristically the SNP are well aware of it but see it as a possible route to what they want rather than to what the majority of UK voters want, paragraph 152 here:

    “The laws of the European Single Market would apply only to those goods and services traded between Scotland and the rest of the European Single Market … In essence, this involves applying the principle of “parallel marketability” … “

    • Andy
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      A hard Brexiteer accusing someone else of adopting an absurd, extreme and intransigent position. Ironic.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Or Andy
        A hard remainer refusing to understand the sensible arguments put in from of them to read

        • Jagman84
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          A hard Remainer! Love it! 😉 #moronic
          Is your ‘company’ insolvent yet, ‘cos of them nasty Brexiteers?

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            totally unnecessary and not thought through remark shame on you

      • oldwulf
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        The majority of the UK voters did not vote for “Brexit” they voted “Leave”. It seems to me that “hard Brexit” = “Leave” and “soft Brexit” = something else.

      • Wessexboy
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Andy, there is no such thing as hard or soft Brexit. Only talked up by unhappy remainers.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        So, Andy, no sensible comment on the actual proposition from you then, just as another bit of personal abuse … Too difficult for you to understand?

      • libertarian
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink


        Talking of adopting absurd positions Andy. You’re schtick about older voters seems to not stack up either

        Tired of narrative that all young people want to stop Brexit. Young working class voted 45% leave. 80% of under 25s voted for a pro Brexit party at the 2017 election. Only a fringe group (mostly in London) pushing for a 2nd referendum. Hmm ironic

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink


          What was the actual vote of 25 year olds for and against remain in the entire country?

    • acorn
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Ah, the Liechtenstein solution Denis. Liechtenstein is inside the Swiss tariff border (that is the Swiss /Liechtenstein Customs Union); but it runs TWO separate non-tariff borders (the EU Single Market and the Swiss equivalent). Mixing products specs across the two is a criminal offence. Liechtenstein still has to have physical border controls with the EU at its Austrian border.

      The system operates at the EU’s pleasure. As Liechtenstein is considered a minor territory with less than 40,000 population. I doubt the EU will offer the same facility to the thousand times plus bigger UK. Particularly after all the Brexiteer’s insults they get every day.

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, As opposed to calling us “thick”, “uneducated”, “flat-earthers”, “knuckle-draggers”, “xenophobes”, “racists”, etc, every day? Yeah, right.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        “Ah, the Liechtenstein solution Denis.”

        Yes, acorn, I think I may even have mentioned Liechtenstein as a working example of an open border with divergent regulatory requirements on each side. But if you look at the FT article you will see it argued that the model was “a generalised concept that could be used in other circumstances”, and “not just tailor-made for Liechtenstein.”.

        We don’t need the EU to offer it to us, that is a typically supine way of looking at it; we could offer it to them, and they could decide whether to accept our kind and helpful offer and so save themselves the bother of checking our exports for conformity with EU rules, any more than they have to do now while we are in the EU Single Market, or alternatively reject our kind and helpful offer and reinstate border controls on their side.

        • NickC
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Denis, Don’t you know that EU rules are like magic incantations for the likes of Acorn, PvL, Hans, etc? You are forbidden from questioning them; and it is indubitable that they are always obeyed within the EU, and never obeyed by the wicked foreigners in the rest of the world.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink


            You are unfortunately getting carried away again, sit down remain calm and you will feel better.

    • LucasH
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      We should proceed with this border problem by thinking what if we have to make a similar border between ourselves and Scotland in a few years time which we might very well have to will we manage this?..of course there is one very big difference in the case of Scotland and England we would not be dividing communities..which is the case In regard to NI

  9. Peter
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    When Mrs. May says ‘you can trust me’ nobody does.

    Sound bites like that are usually a prelude to another concession to the EU.

  10. David Cockburn
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve had to say this, clearly it’s not getting through to our civil servants and negotiators. What further action can be taken to ensure the message is received?
    Could it be that they just don’t want to listen?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Sacking some “pour encourager les autres” might do the job.

  11. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Very good post today John but Mrs May doesn’t want to leave the EU and so the made up problems over borders suit her very well. They will be her excuse when she tells us we cannot leave. Still, everyone knows what a super rich country we are so what’s a few billion between friends?

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner, Unfortunately Mrs May will tell us we are leaving, it just won’t be true. She even said in today’s Times that “There will have to be compromises”. Presumably one of them will be her gifting the EU more money than we would have given if we had remained.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink


        Whilst we negotiate there will always be need for compromises and as far as I know we are till negotiating?

  12. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    The problem is a ‘put up job’ from the EU – Yes, that was clear all along… they will use any method possible to intimidate us or make us wrong about some issue – JR, your aggravation on this comes through as you are using more direct language…which is a good sign – time we called the EU on what it really is.
    I fear Ms May spent too long at the heart of the EU, she still clearly has a warm feeling for being within the bosom of the EU family… can someone tell her it’s time for her to stand up straight and be a force to be reckoned with, and to forget her silly ideas about being subservient to the EU.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Well said, Mr Harris. Mrs May could only use smoke and mirrors for so long, and she can’t rely on them any more. The people are being treated as gullible fools, which is how we seem to be viewed from the distortion of the Westminster bubble. Most people are well-informed these days and can clearly see when they are being duped.

      Thank you for pointing it out, Dr Redwood. What a pity more in our Government don’t think as you do.

      • turboterrier
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        @ L Jones
        The people are being treated as gullible fools, which is how we seem to be viewed.

        Governments seem to make a habit of it, it must be in their DNA nothing is new and original. We have always been conned over membership to the EU.

        The release of Secret Document FCO 30/1048 dated April 1971 a civil servant released this report to highlight the way our entry into the EEC could and would end up. Ministers and politicians of the time were advised that by the time the public and the electorate woke up to what was happening after 30 years they could do nothing but accept the status quo.

        Nothing changes. Same same old.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink


      Nobody is being subservient we are the one’s with 60 million wo want to leave they are 500 million and quite a few of them are also richer than us, so we have to find compromises on both sides to make it work going forward as well.

      It is called reality

  13. Javelin
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    A friend of mine owns a successful international courier firm at Heathrow. When I asked him about the technology he said he already used it for ALL parcels. Basically to avoid EU VAT fraud all goods are listed on the computer at the moment.

    His exact words were “We already do it. All we have to do is select a different option on the drop down list.”

    So dont believe the deep state civil servants lies.

  14. agricola
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I can understand remain and some media. First they see it as enhancing their case by scaring people into believing it impossible. Second they have probably not exported/imported anything in their lives. Set up time, implementation time, call it what you will, is time to dilute leave.

    Specific to the Irish border, both HMRC and their Irish equivalent have stated publicly that they see no problem. The latter might have found himself at odds with the Taoiseach who decided he wished to highlight a problem at the behest of his EU masters.

    Once Mrs May and her team members have made up their minds that they want clarity and simplicity in their approach to trade and financial services with the EU or failing that WTO rules, then everything else will fall into place. He obfuscation, kick the can down the road approach to our position does not bode well for her political future. It is time you brought her to account by whatever means you have available in the conservative party.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      The customs duties are indeed a relatively minor problem, but the Irish and other “internal” EU borders were only completely opened with the advent of the Single Market, not the preceding Customs Union. Hence the more honest Remoaners will admit that just the/a customs union with the EU would not be sufficient and they want us to stay in the/a single market as well.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        In fact this morning on the Andrew Marr programme Keir Starmer started to talk about “the combination customs union and single market”.

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Denis, Indeed, Remains latched onto the customs union issue solely because it has proved the most productive spoke in the wheel for them. It will be used to drag the single market in its wake. Soon “Brexit” will mean remaining in the CU, the SM, paying the EU for the privilege, the EU controlling our fish, and us shadowing EU legislation. In reality – Remain. And Mrs May asks us to trust her!

  15. Richard1
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    One of the bogus arguments is there are no borders around the world where there is no infrastructure if there isn’t a customs union. That of course is because much of this ‘infrastructure’ – often not much more than a hut – dates back decades. There are numerous crossings from France to Switzerland where you barely need to slow down as you pass an unmanned old hut. Even the crossing at Geneva is no more delay than a French peage, and the main reason for stopping is to buy the Swiss road tax. It is a non-issue. What is interesting, as in the referendum, is Continuity Remain can’t seem to think of positive reasons for continuing with the EU tariff wall vs the rest of the world, so are focusing on a bogus technical reason for having to remain in the customs union.

  16. Lifelogic.
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Daniel Hannah surely right too today. Tax in the UK is totally absurd with some tax rates well above 100% and absurd Tax complexity as a Tax on top. Making the country poorer, damaging grow, killing jobs, creating yet more (essentially parasitic) jobs and strangling the golden goose that funds the bloated and largely inept state sector.

  17. Nig l
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I think you should be invited to give a presentation on this to the Cabinet albeit I get the feeling that too many prefer to remain ignorant so as not to compromise their positions.

    Reply Ministers have the detailed briefing from ERG you may have read about in the papers.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Do they read them?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      The one pointing out that Theresa May’s preferred “customs partnership” would mean that we would continue to hand over maybe £3 billion a year to the EU .

      • Ian wragg
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        And this £3billion will be paid by some of the poorest people in the country.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink


          Very interesting perspective, please kindly explain, how this is the case with the £ 3 billion?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            Because we’re talking about the UK still collecting the EU’s Common External Tariff and sending the money to Brussels, which was about £3 billion in 2017, and those EU tariffs tend to disproportionately impact lower income groups.

  18. Iain Gill
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Most people in England are more worried about immigration, including via Ireland.

    Having won the referendum on the promise we will be able to control our own borders and who comes here, we need some political direction about what we are going to do.

    The people want drastic immigration reductions, they vote for the party that promises the most control (although they often fail to deliver).

    The people deserve better, and if the conservative party wants a long term future it has got to address this head on and stop dancing around the handbags.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      It’s funny I have brought some kids to a model railway exhibition, and the dominant conversation amongst all the adults is how out of control immigration is. A less political bunch of people it would be hard to imagine, from all walks of life. It amazes me with such obvious concern why it is not higher up the journalists and political agenda.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Iain, agree and now we hear that the uk has to pay out thousands to immigrants who were sleeping rough and deported. OK, some may have had jobs but they still expect to be housed when we have a serious shortage of housing already. It’s madness. No wonder the welfare bill is escalating and who pays for it? Yes, us through our taxes and reduced services as there’s not enough money to go around.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    JR, in view of Christopher Booker’s article in the Sunday Telegraph, discussed as usual by his collaborator on his own blog, please could I just point out once again that EFTA and EEA member NORWAY IS NOT IN ANY FORM OF CUSTOMS UNION WITH THE EU and even though the customs border between Norway, outside the EU, and Sweden, inside the EU, is generally seen as being very “light touch” THE IRISH GOVERNMENT HAS TOTALLY REJECTED ANYTHING LIKE THE NORWAY-SWEDEN BORDER.

    In simple words, the supposedly intractable Irish “problem” which has been fabricated by the Irish government and the EU and its allies in the UK would not be solved by Northern Ireland, or the whole of the UK, becoming like Norway.

    • Billy Elliot
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      True. But because Norway is part of EEA and EFTA they have had to accept free movement of people. And they pay as much as UK to EU per capita. So is that really what we would be happy with?

      Further there are custom inspections on the Swedish – Norwegian border. Very light as you mentione. Takes few minutes to drive a lorry through. But the Irish border needs to be invisible. Not a single CCTV camera is accepted.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        A “light touch” border is a widely used description, and some people did expect that it would be light enough. However it became clear last autumn that the new Irish government had deliberately opted for an absurd, extreme and intransigent position. As you say, even though CCTV cameras would not impede anybody’s passage across the border they now flatly refuse to accept them. I sent a letter to some of the Irish newspapers pointing out the absurdity of their government’s position, and it was published in one paper:

        “Speaking to a Sky News reporter last week Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee made the following statement: “We have been very, very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”.

        So presumably while it would be fine to use CCTV cameras to track a vehicle through the streets of Dublin, and it would also be fine to use CCTV cameras to follow that vehicle as it set off on a journey northwards, it would cease to be fine once the vehicle was approaching a line on the map of the island of Ireland which the Irish government knows is an international border but wishes to deny is any kind of border at all … “

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Denis they are rejecting it as a negotiating tactic. the EU is terrified of UK becoming a Singapore off the coast. So is Ireland. Come the day, it will be seen to be a bluff – unless as is highly likely Mrs May capitulates. One has to accept her form is not good, which, obviously, encourages the Irish government and EU to become even more outrageous in their demands, even playing with fire.
      Mrs May is a liability and should be removed.

      • acorn
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Peter D, you are the quintessential reason why Brexit has to be stopped. “… EU is terrified of UK becoming a Singapore off the coast.” You say.

        The Singapore economic operating model, has very little domestic production to protect with tariff and non-tariff barriers; hence, it doesn’t have many such barriers. The UK has a lot; and, is not the world’s leader in productivity in any industrial sector. A Singapore Brexit for the UK, would see the start of civil insurrection on this Island.

    • acorn
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      “light touch” LOL! 230,000 stops done by circa 1,700 Norwegian customs officers. 11% hit rate. (Google) “Lessons from Norway-Sweden border for post-Brexit Britain”

      ‘My advice to the UK when they leave the EU is: Don’t build the border station too small, you need plenty of space.

      “The van’s suspension had been reinforced with extra springs to disguise its heavy load: around 1,000 liters of alcohol destined for Norway’s black market.”

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        That is how the Norwegians are choosing to operate their border with Sweden to control imports from the EU into Norway. It is not necessarily how the UK would choose to operate its side of the land border with the Irish Republic. Given that the UK has been content for stuff to flow in across that border completely unchecked for the past quarter of century since the advent of the EU Single Market there would have to be good reasons to start checking the same kind of stuff coming in after we have left the EU. Unless of course you think that the EU will start to deliberately send rubbish across.

  20. Pragmatist
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    “I cannot believe that Remain and their media friends are still going on about how goods move across borders ”

    Non-politicos cannot believe there is such a being post Referendum called a Remainer.

    It is the historical incompetence of Parliament that when something is decisively voted upon the result is not accepted by individual MPs who in any other democratic and business arena would be permanently banned from attendance.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      And it is also the fundamental of democracy that any minority are allowed and able to express and articulate their views and ideas as they see fit as long as it is not expressed in a violent or unlawful manner, or did you miss that one?

  21. duncan
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    There’s only two words that explains the current stalemate the UK is now facing, Theresa May. Hopeless, useless, unprincipled, spineless and with an authoritarian instinct and guess what – may Eurosceptics including Mr Redwood voted for her as leader (and therefore PM) of our party. Why????

    Why did would a Eurosceptic vote to elect a Europhile as leader of our party? Something doesn’t stack up here

    We are sick and tired of these articles. I am beginning to suspect that Mr Redwood is a closet Europhile while posing as a Eurosceptic. Just another ‘cake and eat it’ politician

    Today, politics is utterly vile with truth and morality complete absent – most Tories want articles attacking this appalling leader that you John have imposed upon the British people

    Do the decent thing and depose this person before her plan of delay and obfuscation succeeds

    Stop faffing around and get on with it

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink


      I think you will find JR voted for Andrea Leadsom for leader, when she chose to drop out of the competition, Mrs T May simply became Prime Minister by default as there were no other candidates left.

      Would Mrs Leadsom have made a better Prime Minister had she stuck with it and been voted in, we will never know, but giving up a fight before it had ended for whatever reason does not exactly fill anyone with confidence does it.

    • iain
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Agree that Mrs May is and always will be the biggest problem in our leaving the EU on our terms. If she only had some of the backbone of Mrs Thatcher we would be well on the road to implementing the Referendum result in full.

  22. Leinster
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The government cannot tell them we will use current methods to solve the Irish border. Current methods involve the UK and Ireland applying EU rules, following the Court of Justice, being supervised by the Commission. Brexit means abandoning the current methods. Didn’t you even realise what you voted for?

    Reply Not so. We do not have to follow US laws and rule to import US goods!

    • Leinster
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      But we do have to stop at the US border and undergo checks. Just as we will have to stop at the Irish border if you go through with your hard Brexit

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink


        This is a message I sent to a certain MP yesterday:

        “How to keep “chlorinated chicken” out of the EU market”

        “It’s not that difficult if you think about it: at present UK law forbids the importation of said “chlorinated chicken” into the UK, but if that did ever change in the future there could equally well be a UK law forbidding its exportation to the EU, including across the land border with the Irish Republic.

        That is how Liechtenstein can have goods in circulation internally which are prohibited on the other side of its open border in Switzerland:

        “Land of fairytale castles offers Brexit inspiration”.

        “Exports, meanwhile, are required to match the standards of their destination market, whether that is Switzerland or the EU. Heavy penalties act as a deterrent against circumvention.

        This allows an open border with Switzerland, even though goods circulate in Liechtenstein that do not meet Swiss standards, such as medicines, chemicals or genetically modified organisms.”

        I’m not expecting any reply from said MP.

        • alan jutson
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


          In addition……

          If people did not want it and refused to buy it, it would not be sent here for long.

          This problem/solution is in the peoples hands, the same as any food or goods, if there is no market, it will not be sent.

          Why is it politicians always seem to want to make all of the choices for the people.

          • margaret
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            drat. I love swimming but sneeze for days after as am allergic to chlorine. Tofu for me then.

        • Dave Andrews
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          Don’t really have a problem with chlorinated chicken. After all, go to any swimming pool and you find chlorinated people.

          • hefner
            Posted May 17, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            You’re funny.
            Disinfectants in swimming pools must remain active over long periods of time at very small concentrations, 0.5 to 1.5 mg/l of equivalent chlorine (it depends on the exact chlorine-based product used) with pH remaining between 6.8 and 7.8 (for obviously high humidity).
            For comparison, the US has the maximum RESIDUAL amount of chlorine at 4 mg/l for its meat.
            Enjoy your food (in case you are unable to see the difference).

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Lienster, Its perfectly normal for a sovereign nation, such as the USA, to apply its own laws and standards to just what it lets through its own borders. But the USA does not then insist that our entire domestic economy, plus what we export to third nations, must also comply with USA laws. The difference is the EU does.

        • Georgy Llewor
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          What about Trump and his stance on Iran aiming at affecting potential exports to Iran from other EU countries (including the UK)?
          Please explain clearly how your last sentence is compatible with Trump’s recent decision.

  23. Newmania
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood
    I have a problem and I hope you can help . I wish to sell something my next door neighbour.

    I gather the best solution is to set up my factory in offshore, employ people and buy systems ( who never make mistakes) to input into some giant border circumventing arranghement and go through this jolly wheeze again ( and again) when I import from my other neighbour , who is my supplier. Then I persuade my neighbour to put up with the fact I cannot make any commitment right now, pay additional amounts of money to the UK government ,charge him more and be incapable of changing anything quickly due to a mountain of bureaucracy.

    Given your vast experience as a manager of supply chains , does any better solution suggest itself ?
    Your sincerely

    Toyota Nissan , McLaren et al

    Reply Your best answer is to make it in the UK where it is better value and very efficient, as you know from your experiences here. Where you need to import that too is well organised under WTO rules, as you know where you are currently already importing items from outside the EU.

    • Helena
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood. Do you seriously think WTO rules are as pro free trade as Eu rules?

      Reply EU rules are very restrictive for non EU trade which is the bulk of our trade

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted May 14, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink


        There is a natural consequence of our trade being bigger with the rest of the World that with the EU, there are 5 billion people outside the EU and 500 million in the EU, so it has to be put in proportion.

        You will in most instances always trade more with your neighbours as the US also does with Mexico and Canada and trying to impose their own new rules on NAFTA

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, What you describe happens now. Most of our trade is domestic (c72% UK GDP), yet we must comply with the rules set by one of our overseas customers (c11% UK GDP).

      At least the WTO confines itself to encouraging free trade and discouraging T&NTBs, without making specific rules for every widget, and trying to be our main government. And the EU is not a free trade area, it is a costly customs union (as far as trade goes).

      • Newmania
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        The point has been missed .The neighbour is my EU customer , abroad is the UK . If I wish to sell to the EU the UK is the worst place in Europe to be and if , by creating my own new cost centre I can divert the problem from the border so what ?

        Why trade from abroad at all ?

        • NickC
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          Newmania, I thought that you, and Remain in general, claimed that the EU was just a bunch of friendly independent nations trading with each other? With that hat on, we are all “abroad” to each other.

          No EU country was forced to either locate in the UK or sell here, even when we remained in the EU. But it is what businesses do for market share. It seems you are claiming that politics trumps business. I am not convinced that is true, even for EU businesses. It is more a reflection of your own political desperation.

          • Newmania
            Posted May 15, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            It is not that complicated

            Toyota wish to sell and manufacture across the single market
            They locate in the single market to do so
            Our offer to them is

            1 Move to a “third country”
            2 Solve the numerous problems that creates at their expense
            3 Then pay for the privilege

            Can you see a problem with this , notwithstanding the increasingly fantastical ways in which Munchhausen Redwood suggests they mitigate some of the delay cost and expense by incurring delay cost and expense at their own premises ?

            This is the problem at the heart of the customs debate and it is sharpened by the fact that unlike most of the damage Brexit does the “Its nothing to do with Brexit ” tales are not going to obscure the obvious truth

  24. Mark B
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The problem is at their end. As we may become a Third Country is our goods that will have to be stopped at the border. It already seems that they are planning ahead whilst the UK Government fiddle around with daft ideas that no one wants.

    We will see what happens next year but does seem that the blind have been leading the blind.

  25. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    A temporary fall-back scenario is actually quite practical and reasonable: Absolutely nothing in the Irish Sea, just a few EXTRA checks at N.I ports (Belfast). These checks almost start at zero, because the UK will start at divergence = zero. No tons of chorinated chickens nor substandard products are yet expected in N. Ireland on 30-3-2019. Over time, new (blockchain- based?) technology can be developed and tested for the land border and N. Ireland will be able to diverge away from the EU with the rest of the UK.

    • Andy
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      The so called ‘Irish Border problem’ is a problem for the EU not the UK. Northern Ireland is part of the UK and is recognised as such by the Republic of Ireland in an International Treaty. Under EU Law the EU has to respect the territorial integrity of Sovereign States, so there can be no ‘border’ in the Irish Sea. It is up to the EU to sort its own Customs arrangements just as it is up to the UK to look after theirs.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Your “logic” dictates that there can be no border between Holyhead and Dublin . . . . . interesting! 🙂
        There is total respect for territiorial integrity. This is about the UK finding solutions for the problems it creates with its Brexit.
        Some in the UK ducking their responsibilities towards the Irish?

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          PvL< We don't want, or need, a "hard" border. The EU does, it is one of its USPs. We don't need to find solutions to your problems. You need to grow up and take responsibility for the your own policies.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            @NickC: look around you – the UK government already realises it is ITS problem, hence the working groups. All I suggest is that the fall-back scenario can provide a temporary reprieve and enough time to develop and test the technology the UK is looking for.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          It is up to each nation to decide what border restrictions they want.
          If the Rebublic if Ireland want a hard border then fine go ahead.
          It doesn’t mean Northern Ireland has to copy that policy.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2: see my reaction to NickC above.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Well yes Peter, we are in the middle of negotiations.
            The outcome us yet to be finalised.

        • Andy
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          No there isn’t ‘total respect for territorial integrity’ of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is a part of the UK; the Republic of Ireland is not. There can be no border between Northern Ireland and the mainland.

          How we (the UK) control and police OUR border between Holyhead and Dublin is our affair. As a Continental European you should tell us what you propose to do with YOUR border. After all it is you that is waffling about how sacred the Single Market and Customs Union is, so you solve your own problem.

          We have NO responsibilities towards the Republic of Ireland. It is up to them to police their own border.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            @Andy: Oh dear me! Have a nice weekend!

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      PvL< You get very bitter if anyone doesn't respect your views, yet you have the nerve to trot out the "chlorinated"-chicken-from-the-USA hoax.

      Like every advanced nation the USA has effective controls over slaughter and meat processing. Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs), of which chlorinated water is just one of many, are considered safe by not just the USA but by the EU authorities as well.

      To put it into perspective, eating a whole USA chicken is equivalent to drinking a glass of EU chlorine treated water. Yet EU chicken samples typically have 15-20% salmonella, where the USA reading is about 2%.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        @NickC: It is an often cited example of divergence between US and EU standards. If you prefer US standards, fine with me, we on the continent (and Ireland) will stick with ours.

        • NickC
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          PvL, You didn’t claim it as a matter of choice, or even as a scientific controversy, you made a cheap-jack sneer about “tons of chlorinated chicken” to reinforce your view that the UK must produce a “hard” border solution simply because the EU has to have a hard border.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Quite. USA chicken is far healthier than the EU production.

  26. Michael
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Lack of leadership from the PM is a big part of the problem. It allows space for all kinds of theories to emerge. The theology of the Tory party is all over the place.

    Little consolation to know Labour is no better.

  27. Andy
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    None of your broadly misleading claims prevents the need for a hard border. A hard border that YOU voted for.

    I am quite happy with the current arrangements which require no border infrastructure, no bureaucracy, no delays, no violence.

    You voted against all of the above and it is for you to explain how you’re going to deliver the hard border you voted for with no border. It is preposterous to suggest you can take back control of a non-existent border.

    It is also for you to explain how the more bureaucracy your no border-harder border will require ends up with the slashing of red tape which you also promised. And how the cost of your more bureaucratic less red-tape no border-hard border will save is money – perhaps up to £350m a week.

    It hasn’t been clear for sometime that if the Tory hard-right pensioners want to save their failing Brexit they have to start engaging with issues rather than pretending they are not issues.

    Oh, and when you are done with figuring out a solution for the Irish border you can tell us about your plans for citizens rights, EHIC, Erasmus, Open Skies, nuclear regulation, medicines. Remember all of your solutions need to be better, less bureaucratic and cheaper with no negative impacts – because that is what British people were promised before the referendum.

    You all keeping saying that you knew what you were voting for. It’s time for you all to actually prove it by coming up with decent answers to the numerous problems your Brexit creates – answers which also respect the promises made to the British people.

    I won’t hold my breath.

    Reply Try reading what I write before denouncing something else! There is no border problem and there is no need for a change in kind compared to the various border arrangements we already have

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your reply to Andy – in a nutshell what most of us would like to reply.

      People like Andy never spend their time telling us about all the benefits that would accrue to the UK should it suddenly change its mind and stay! They don’t paint a picture of the golden future that would have awaited us as part of the great and glorious EU! They don’t even try to play down the idea that the UK would be punished for having the temerity of wishing to shake off the shackles and become independent!

      Perhaps, Andy, you should spend less time being negative about the UK and more time talking up your much-admired EU.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        I spoke up about the EU before the referendum.

        Leave lies won.

        I am now perfectly at liberty to point out the (many) flaws in Brexit.

        It is not my fault that you are completely unable to answer.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      When the UK is an independent free nation once more it can decide what border arrangements it requires.
      If you think the Irish border needs strengthening then you need to tell the Irish Government.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        The UK is already independent free nation. Did you miss the memo?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

          That is one of your remainer fantasies.
          When supremacy of law making rests with European courts you simply cannot call the UK independent.
          Did you not read the treaties like Ken Clarke?

    • Wolfe Tone
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Ten and a half months left for Remoaners to sell their houses, leave the UK and set up home, work, schools, and language courses in the EU. Ireland, language-wise, may be a better option becaus one of the languages there is English. The real one is Irish and you will soon pick it up without accent. The Irish will welcome British people with open arms and you will immediately become an inseparable part of the Irish community in the Republic, ….to be sure.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Yeah – it says something for the Brexiteer argument that you repeatedly call on your political opponents to leave the country. Peter Bone did it on TV the other day. It is pretty pathetic.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Andy, the trouble with you and your ilk is that you couldn’t be bothered to sit down and work out anything. You’ve been so used to the EU telling you how things will be that you wouldn’t have a clue. I don’t know about you but the information available to the public now showing how ministers covered up what membership of the ‘common market’ would look like sums up how we have been sold a pup. The sooner we are out of this so called club full of poison towards us the better. There are people out there that could punch their way out of a paper bag but you’re not one of them. JR has constantly told us how things could be done and I for one am not happy to pay the EU to trade with them whilst handing over shed loads of cash for them to spend as they pleased while telling us who we can trade with and who we can’t. Apart from a load of laws that they will implement at will which could be to the detriment of the UK. Get your passport out if you don’t like it and join them.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Awww – diddums. Brexit not going well? Don’t worry you’re going to have lots more to be Fed Up about over the coming years.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Andy, what is the problem you identify with Erasmus, as far as I read the number of EU students wanting to study for part of their degree in the UK is much higher than British students who wish to study in the EU, there are worldwide exchange students between most universities so why would this be a problem to organise? Have the EU said they won’t take UK students at all? How many UK students have you calculated this would this effect and if reciprocal action was taken with UK universities then not being able to accommodate EU students how many EU students would this effect. I’m sure it would be in the University sectors interests to sort this out amicably.

      • hefner
        Posted May 18, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Strictly speaking you are wrong: according to “Erasmus: Facts, Figures & Trends” (a bit old, I would agree, 29/01/2016) Spain, Germany and France are still the most popular destinations for Erasmus students to study or train abroad. The UK comes next.
        You might be right for the total of foreign students studying in the EU28, but those are not necessarily parts of the Erasmus programme.

  28. Epíkouros
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    It is said “there are none so blind that do not want to see”. That rather sums up lefties, progressives and remainers. “Talk to these people until blue in the face” is also said and they will not change their views and opinions. No amount of evidence or persuasion will change their mind. Another truism “it is like flogging a dead horse”. These people are acting so ridiculously that every negative and derogatory cliche, idiom and proverb can be used against them. We can only hope that one day that they will quit their adolescent thinking and grow up. Rather a tall order methinks so a forlorn hope.

  29. stred
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Greg Clark reminds me of a trainspotter. He likes to write every detail down and do nothing at the same time. Mrs May trusts him to write down the details and thinks he is a good boy avoiding trouble.Vardakar reminds me of the noble Lord Mandleson, who sold the British car industry for a pound saw it closed down and became a commissioner for his expertise. What’s the betting Vardakar will become a commissioner. The pensions are wonderful.

  30. Tasman
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    This is so wrong, it is dangerous. You pay your VAT and your excise electronically. You do not check whether goods are fake or unsafe electronically. You do that by stopping trucks at the border – unless you are in the EU when we all play by the same rules. Outside the EU, trucks will be stopped at the UK border and they will be stopped at the borders of states to which we export. It will costs us trillions. It will tip our economy into recession. No wonder the tide is turning agianst Brexit

    Reply No, trusted traders declare the nature of their goods electronically and they do not need inspection.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      It us quite obvious Tasman you have never exported nor imported goods as the owner or employee of a business that does.
      First companies choose their suppliers carefully.
      Often samples are sent for inspection to the purchasing company.
      Certificates of conformity and quality assurance are provided.
      Then orders are placed.
      Goods are not inspected for quality at border crossings unless counterfeit goods or false manifests or stowaways or stolen goods are suspected of being in the shipment.
      It’s nearly all done electronically now and has been for decades.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      So did UK and Irish customs do all this by stopping trucks at the border?

      “Irish border smugglers hit hard”

      I don’t think so, because that was in 2001 and there had been no checks at the border for nine years since the advent of the EU Single Market

    • Stred
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      They could always raid Irish houses to make sure that they are not using full powered contraband Henrys and Dysons and taking half the time to do the hoovering.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Or see if they are eating contraband “chlorinated chicken” …

    • Lima Bravo
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      So the UK applies a trusted traders system. The EU does not. So 45% of our export trade grinds to a halt at the ports, and at the Irish border.

      How can this possibly be an improvement on our current border free trade?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        It hasn’t ground to a halt over the last few years when goods come from non EU nations.

  31. Blue and Gold
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    If proof was ever needed that Brexiteers live in a fantasy world then this is it.

    Get real! This is not a put up job by the EU, it is living in the REAL world.

    Mr Redwood continues in his on-line grooming of gullible people.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      That is not much of an argument is it.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps, Blue and Gold, you could spend a little time telling us what is so admirable and exciting about the EU and why we should ditch our attempt to escape its clutches. I think there are many of us who would really like to know what it is you Remainders find attractive, and even crucial, in the idea of total subservience to a foreign power. Because that is how it would have ended if we’d decided to subject ourselves to their idea of how our country should be run.

      Your EU masters have made themselves rich beyond YOUR wildest dreams – is that to be admired?

      I wonder who the gullible one is here. Some of us think and research for ourselves – we don’t rely on FaceBook (or even solely on our host) for our information. Try it.

      • margaret
        Posted May 14, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        The trouble L Jones is that many of us really don’t have time to research everything . We need to rely on others and easy media, however, we are also the voters and have sometimes to accept what is being said.I would love to research all arguments, look at all policies and white papers , look at Euro news and compare and contrast, but need to go to work and participate in the full time academic activities we are tyrannised into performing.

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      B&G, Actually the REAL world is (mostly) EU free. Most of the planet does not live in your EU-blinkered world.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Blue & Gold

      Er the Real world consists of 195 countries, only 27 ( currently , Italy on the brink now too) are in the EU , so I would say that the Real World exists OUTSIDE the EU

  32. JoolsB
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    If it’s all up and running already then why is May allowed to carry on persuing her customs partnership? And why are you not shouting this to the media? May needs to go. It’s becoming obvious she has no intention of delivering the Brexit we all voted for and every extra she stays in office she is not only betraying the British public but ensuring the Tories lose the next election as well.

    Reply I have explained this on the media many times, and will do so again if they want to go over it all for the nth time

    • Dennis
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      JR, you should be explaining this to May not wasting your time explaining to the media – perhaps you are frightened of her so too scared of approaching her, yes?

      Reply No, I have also set this out for the government

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply. So why doesn’t Mrs May appear to understand?

  33. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Irish deputy prime minister on Marr today.
    I would have asked him if in the event of no political agreement and the UK exits on WTO terms, then says it will not erect border controls at the Irish border, would Ireland build custom posts on its side?
    It seems Nick Robinson was too polite to ask him that sort of question.

  34. Render unto Hans
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland Simon Coveney TD on the Marr show was a bit cheeky.
    He kept laying down a red line about the border between his country and ours. If he is not careful we will build a 20 metre high wall along the border, deny jobs to Irish brickies and employ East German brickies instead.

    • LucasH
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      I don’t think the irish brickies are heading this way now..there are too many jobs on offer in Dublin.. and as regards red lines- Simon Coveney’s red line which is really an EU red line, well it doesn’t compare when put against Mrs May’s many red lines one or two of which she is going to have to lose over the next few weeks or so if we want to make any real progress. Neither does it look like East German or other european brickies will be coming our way either so we had better get out there and train up our own if we want to build that wall

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        LucasH, We don’t want to build a wall, the EU does. Their tariff wall, their problem.

        • Andy
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          You voted to build a wall. Did you not understand what you were voting for?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 14, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            Wrong again Andy.
            The Leaflet and speeches by leave campaign leaders always spoke about free trade, frictionless trade, low or zero tariff trade, the UK being open for business with the whole world.
            Nowhere did leave call for barriers or walls.

      • Render unto Hans
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        You do realise of course that irrespective of EU desires, we can take as many or a little EU workers…. German brickies as we wish and, we can , if we so wish completely deplete the working resources of many minor EU nations and there is absolutely nothing the EU can do to stop certain workers in their thousands running away from EU poverty and austerity. We have been merciful…in the numbers and skills we have accepted from certain EU nation states. We could go for gold if threatened! We have the money, and the EU High Command knows it.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Coveney would have a fit at the idea that there are still Irish bricklayers. His and Varadkar’s vision is for a nation of Diversity Officers, LGBT-compliance school inspectors, HSE undercover investigators and European Feelgood Enforcers, all funded by Brussels, with annual training courses in Valencia.

      • james Murphy
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        mancunius..lucky us..we know where we are..but exactly where are you? and where are you going?

        Do you still think you will have a UK in it’s present form in five years time?

        With demographics projection for NI a border poll will be called for in a few years and that will settle the matter. FYI the DUP support is on the wane..the DUP electorate remains strong in Antrim and parts of Co Down and Armagh..other than that the support in the province is for middle ground unionism and nationalism of different shades..the clock is whats that you were saying about Coveney and annual training in Valencia?

  35. formula57
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    “The so called Irish border problem is a put up job by the EU trying to make life difficult.” – it is how evil empires behave.

    Let us not overlook our own Quisling civil service that is intent upon delivering a stab in the back.

  36. ian
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Most of this is about/ party politics with the EU helping out both the main parties.
    The labour leader has had to concede to 80% of his MPs for some sort of customs union which he does not want and breaking his manifesto pledge at the same time to his voters to keep his party together.
    Mrs May is doing the same by kicking the can down the road and sitting on the fence while letting the EU sit back and put up a roadblock when needed and leaving the UK to negotiate with itself, while Mrs May is hoping to keep this going till the next election and then put out another party manifesto of pure BS.

    The voters are getting what they voted for, party politics on a grand scale. I wish party voters better luck at the next election.

  37. John Finn
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I cannot believe that Remain and their media friends are still going on about how goods move across borders. The UK government last year set out how technology can ensure smooth passage of goods. Now we are being told this would all take time to develop and set up. I have good news for them. It is all old hat, and is up and running for non EU trade already.

    John, This is also my understanding. I’ve watched a number Select Committee meetings (someone’s got to do it) and everything I’ve heard suggests the NI border issue is being exaggerated. Lars Karlsson (EU Customs Adviser), in particular, was very persuasive when giving evidence (Mar 20th 2018). He was quite clear that a wholly technological solution had been fully tested on the Norway-Sweden border. When asked why it hadn’t been implemented he simply said that they didn’t need it. Apparently Norway and Sweden already have one of the fastest and most efficient border crssing in the world so saw no reason to spend another 10, 20, ….100 million euros to improve it.

    However, it concerns me that the pro-Brexit cabinet members do not appear to be making the case. IDS was interviewed this morning and pretty much went along with how difficult it all was, but made the case that the “max fac” option didn’t require as much new development. It was a reasonable point but not exactly a game changer.

    Is there an issue we are not considering? On the one hand, we are led to believe that existing infrastructure covers most trade and that off the shelf options are available to deal with the rest while, on the other, we’re being told that it’s totally impossible without us being locked into a customs arrangement with the EU indefinitely.

  38. WhataboutSchmidt
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The problem with putting anti smuggling customs in place is that they in turn will have to be backed by police and then the police will eventually have to be backed by army- both sides of the border- just like the old days

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Not in 2001 it wasn’t, see my comment further up the thread.

    • John Finn
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      The problem with putting anti smuggling customs in place is that they in turn will have to be backed by police and then the police will eventually have to be backed by army- both sides of the border- just like the old days

      Are you serious? There has been “smuggling” either side of the border for as long as anyone can remember. I have relatives in NI and my in-laws came from the south. NI and Ireland have different VAT rates, different excise duties and different currencies. The fact that the UK has left the EU is irrelevant.

      • John Finn
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        I assume you do know that there has been a common travel area between the UK and Ireland since the 1920s. For decades before Ireland and the UK were part of the EU, people were travelling backwards and forwards between the 2 countries without the need for passports or ID.

  39. ian
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May has the power to pull off a full Brexit any time she wishes and override any vote in the lords, and parliament, the ball is with Mrs May on the time=ing of her decision of when and how to take the UK out, I see Mrs May as a wildcat sitting there waiting to pounce.

    I think the timetable will be out of the single market by March next year while trade negotiations are ongoing with the EU and then Mrs May will pounce on the EU with free trade, take it or leave it and leave the EU to negotiate with itself, with the UK fully out by Dec 2020 and go on to lead her party into the next election on rightwing manifesto once out of the EU.
    As for any payment, the EU will only see some money if it agrees to a free trade deal with the UK.

  40. hefner
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    In case anybody here had not yet read it, I can recommend the report “Trade after Brexit” (Dec’17) available from It looks at various trade arrangements (Norway, Canada, Switzerland, some bespoke treaty) giving the pros and cons of each possibility.
    Together with “Overseas Trade Statistics” on (HMRC) and “Exporting goods outside the EU” on, it might help the curious mind to get an idea of simple/difficult the future relationship with the EU27 is going to be.
    Particularly interesting (at least for me as I am not of the trusting kind …) is the last document defining the procedure to be followed for exporting outside the EU (something related to the WTO rules).

  41. Pat
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    To state the obvious.
    We have a system up and running collecting tarrifs from non-EU nations as well as one dealing with EU nations. As does every state in the EU.
    All that is necessary is to decide which system to apply to whom after independence.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      So simple, isn’t it? I daresay all this obfuscation satisfies someone with a hidden agenda and an axe or two to grind. I wonder who……?

  42. mancunius
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    The BBC (World this Weekend, Radio 4 ) has just put up Stephen Crabb, who supported remaining in the EU when in Cabinet, claiming to be concerned to reach ‘a compromise that will allow business to trade across our borders’ and ‘solve the question of the Irish border’. The BBC did not of course mention that he was a remainer. Nor did he.
    We did not vote for a ‘compromise’ between leaving the EU and staying in it. It was purblind of the government not to go for a no-deal arrangement, if necessary backed by a second referendum to silence the europhile MPs. We could have negotiated with the EU – if necessary – at leisure in the years to come following Brexit. The plan could have been easily backed by a majority of British voters.

    And May calls on us to trust her? I would not trust her now any further than I could throw her.

  43. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    From their appearances on the low-grade ITV Peston programme today it seems that the Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey is aware that Norway is not in any form of customs union with the EU while the pro-EU renegade Tory MP Nicky Morgan is unaware of that fact.

  44. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Now Treasury Minister Mel Stride seems to be under the delusion that Theresa May’s preferred “customs partnership” would somehow protect the EU Single Market from contraband items finding their way in across an open Irish border …

  45. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Let me just add one more comment, because I’m sinning terribly against my intention not to interfere with comments until 30-3-2019, and I’ll be a good boy again as from tomorrow:
    I’m one of few on this site who believe that the UK does not really DESERVE to be an EU member, which brings me closer to brexiteers than you might think!
    Why? Too much continued whining in spite of 6 major opt-outs and special treatments (i.e. Schengen, EMU, euro, social chapter, charter of fundamental rights, judicial cooperation, and a sizeable rebate). This feeling has only become stronger since the 2016 referendum.
    So I hope for an UK exit through article 50, and somehow hope in decades to come for a re-entry via article 49, in which case the UK would have to become a real full-fledged EU member. If not, an association agreement is the next best and ok for me.
    In the meantime we’ll happily (as Dutch) continue to out-compete the UK in international markets, those markets in the world where 90% of future growth is to be expected.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Like most leavers I really hope the EU will be a success.
      I think you will be happier in the future without the UK.
      One currency, one foreign policy, one taxation policy etc.
      The United States of Europe awaits you.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted May 14, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        this is a fantasy built up in your imagination , which will never happen, but you just keep believing what makes you comfortable

        • Edward2
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          I suggest you go away and read the five Presidents report.
          The future policy aims of the Commission is all in there.
          As I have stated.
          Slowly they will have their way.
          Once all of you denied the armed forces ambition.
          Recently Tusk and Barnier have made speeches outlining plans for a joint defence force.

    • mike fowle
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Well, we’ll both be happy then, Peter. Of course, you will have to pay rather a bit more into the EU’s coffers once our contribution disappears and to pay for all those grandiose schemes, but I’m sure being a good European you won’t begrudge that.

    • Chew Lyp
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Peter, be serious! There will not be something called EU “in decades to come…” At this very moment Italy for example,doesn’t know whether she is coming or going. It’s just not working for her is it, this EU thing. She tried.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      Yet strangely hundreds of thousands of your citizens annually opt to make that one-way trip across the English Channel from Utopia to England. Many of these come here because unemployment is much higher in their homeland, and they struggle to find a job. That’s with the ECB piling on the printing presses.
      The only way forward is eastward expansion, perhaps the Ukriane? There you will run into another obstacle.
      Never mind, good luck until you need our help again.

  46. margaret
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    This blog site must be important to you John .As you name it ;it is your diary, but quite honestly a diary is where you write down things and nobody can insult you or argue with you. Really I don’t know how sometimes you stand it.There are times when one knows that it is the right outlook, perception or potential direction of events yet the people who argue seem to simply like the sound of their own voice.

    I will soon be doing my upmost to continue with good relations in a warmer part of Europe where Germans predominate , but they will be drunk and loud whilst I am relaxed and spending Euros. In the morning they will feel ill whilst I swim on and on ignoring the arguments about trade and simply do.This is what will happen with all trade. It will carry on.Any awkwardness will be a folly to themselves.

  47. Chris
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    the reason they are still going on about it (opening sentence) is because the PM is a Remainer and has crafted and steered negotiations accordingly. Get a Brexiter PM committed to upholding democracy i.e. the referendum result, and the situation would change instantly. Take some lessons from President Trump.

  48. Freeborn John
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    It is time for the men in white coats to visit Theresa May and tell her she has to voluntarily step aside for someone who can deliver Brexit. No good can come from her staying any longer when she plainly is not up to the task and there is no time for a drawn out leadership campaign.The government has to be led by someone who knows what Brexit is, can exert authority with a motion of confidence and win an election if need be to deliver a real Brexit. Any MP who won’t vote for Brexit in a motion of confidence must be deselected prior to a new election and the manifesto should include the abolishment of the House of Lords.

    • Edwardm
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink


  49. Edwardm
    Posted May 15, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for an informative article.
    Is Mrs May aware we already operate frictionless trade borders ?
    We need a Prime Minister who stands up for the UK and who is not a sop to the EU, one who does not waste time inventing difficult solutions to the EU’s conjured problems only to be rejected.
    Time to walk away from the EU, and time for a strong Prime Minister.

  • 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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