More Project Fear leaked to the newspapers

I find it difficult to believe 2 years on the civil service are still writing and leaking absurdly pessimistic scenarios about Brexit. Ministers have offered clear directions that they should work up the best way of leaving without a deal. That is what they were charged to do. I am told by Ministers that is what they are doing. Ministers assure us all will be ready to leave in March 2019 and to carry on importing goods from the EU if we still want to buy them. The Germans are particularly keen that should be true, given the size of their trade surplus!  So why are some other civil servants  inventing nonsensical outcomes and leaking them when Ministers have asked them not to and told them these forecasts are just silly?

Apparently according to  the latest leak someone in the civil service thinks if we leave without a deal Calais will not co-operate and so create interruptions to the supply of imported food and pharmaceuticals to us. No sensible person could make that up. The people running Calais port want to earn fees for running a smooth business. They do not have legal powers to discriminate against particular cargoes going to particular places. If they did try any such thing Oostende, Zeebrugge, Antwerp, Rotterdam and other Belgian and Dutch ports would be delighted to lift the business from Calais, assuming the French competitors were also in an illegal sulk.

There is then the rest of the world. They are looking to see if the EU messes up its very lucrative food export business to the UK by imposing food tariffs and other barriers. If they do there will be plenty of suppliers from outside the EU selling us products, to say nothing of the response of UK farmers if the EU makes itself less competitive.

The leak is revealing. It shows that there is still a strand of thinking in the civil service that wishes to stop Brexit, and is  busy inventing difficulties that do not exist. They seem to want to help those on the continent that think they can reverse Brexit and keep our money flowing into their expensive organisation. What they are all succeeding in doing is creating an ever bigger volume of support for leaving with No Deal, as they keep on working to ensure any deal on offer will be a bad one for the UK.

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  1. formula57
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Behave as quislings, be treated as quislings. Government has a duty to see that is so and therefore why are there no reports of Special Branch investigations under the Official Secrets Act that expose these treacherous civil servants?

    • hefner
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      ThinkPol to combat CrimeThink?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        So do you think it’s fine if civil servants leak confidential information?

    • Hope
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      JR, May has done nothing to rebuke, censure or discipline the civil servants caught on tape discussing the Kitkat policy to deliberately hide costs and continued ties to the EU. Unsurprisingly, it was reported Damian Green and two others visited may last week. This weekend he is very vocal against leave MPs. Another in a long line coincidences. Carney last week, Hammond still at it etc etc.

      It strikes me this has to be with the consent and knowledge of May, if not she would have publicly rebuked and made a statement what action was going to be taken for staff to be undermining and actively working against govt policy. It is too often to frequent and coincides with reports that Soros was funding another remain campaign this week The timing in itself should cause everyone concern that our democracy is being undermined, why is this not being investigated at the highest level and by security services? I know May has an appalling record on security and safety, but even with her limited ability she should realise the implications of this.

  2. Mark B
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Let’s face it, if I was a Civil Serpent with a guaranteed job, good benefits, pension, and a gong when I leave for just doing my job, and that job had a lot of power with no accountability whatsoever, and in fact the EU actually did most of the work for me, then yes, I too would be against BREXIT. But I am not. I am just a lowly present who should just shut up, do as I am told, and pay my tribute to my betters.

    Of course trade will continue. But I did not vote to leave the EU just because I may get cheaper goods, I voted to leave because I wanted to live in a country that was self governing. Can our kind host personally guarantee that upon leaving the EU we will no longer be under the boot of the EU and the aquis ? Your silencewill be deafening.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      M B,

      You are probably not a Sun reader, but have a look at today’s online edition, Trevor Kavanagh in Opinion; it’ll give you hope!

      I’m with Trev. !!

    • getahead
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      a for e

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      I would point you to John Redwood’s excellent article in FACTS4EU


    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      They get gongs even when the make a comlete pigs ears of doing their jobs.

  3. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    The time really has come to walk away with no deal. I am sick of the stupid reports and bad news being bandied about trying to frighten the British public. The EU are making things as difficult as they can. Its almost like you have to be punished like a child for leaving. Let’s just go and forge a new life.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but either May had made a complete fist of everything or she is planning to make such a fist of everything that we will eventually accept a Brexit in name only. Which is worse than not leaving at all. Doubtless followed by Corbyn which will be even worse still.

      I see that May’s friend Damian Green has been attacking Mogg why? One gets the impression that Tory voters will be prevented from having Mogg or Boris as an option to replace May when this disaster finally goes. Just as they were prevented last time by Gove’s knifing of Boris.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        If we don’t get Mogg then it will be a travesty. He would make a great PM.

    • Richard Evans
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      JR, You state it is difficult to believe……… I do not. This has been the position from day one as MAY is the Establishment puppet. She implements her masters instructions. She is a TRUE REMAINER and even if she was pro Brexit she would not have the “balls” to do it.
      Just look at her tenure as Home Secretary, Abysmal.

    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    I have an idea. Stop electing pro-EU politicians to lead our party.

    All this contrived tosh designed to circumvent the EU ref result is authoritarian and deeply sinister. We know it’s emanating from either May or Hammond who give such leaks their unofficial blessing.

    Oppose May and Hammond. Elect Patel as leader, a true conservative and a politician who would wipe the floor with Corbyn. Moreover, a believer in the UK and its people

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Expressing your kind of idea got me banned from ConservativeHome …

      • Bob
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        “Expressing your kind of idea got me banned from ConservativeHome …”

        So is everyone beginning to see the bigger picture now? The Tories are the party of the EU, they took us in in the first instance and they’ve been cementing us in more firmly with each successive treaty.

        The referendum was Dave’s cunning plan to shoot the ukip fox, but it backfired on him so he left his successor to fudge it up.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, they just pretend to be Eurosceptic or “low tax at heart” or give issue ‘Cast Iron’ lies in order to get elected as leader (or before general elections) then they become complete Europhile. high taxing socialists & kick the real Conservatives and Brexit voters in the teeth every time. May is yet another of these frauds. Brexit to her clearly means Brexit in name only. Time to evict this pathetic, socialist, PC robotic, socialist dope and her idiotic tax ’till the pips squeak chancellor with his moronic and hugely damaging fiscal system.

          • Hope
            Posted June 5, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

            Guido highlights just how bad the Tories are at taxing us. The highest taation of people for two generations and much higher than Gordon Brown and New Labour. Yet the lies they are the low tax party. Utter lies.

            Javid fleeced us with a whopping 5.6 percent for council tax plus add ons we are already paying under separate budgets! Bear in mind this was promised to be capped!

            May was rightly hammered on her dementia tax last year when she gives away billions of tax hand over fist while claiming she cannot look after her own! Another promise t cap social adult care costs. Again, lies.

            Hunt wants to hike more tax on us for his World Health Service, try taking a bit from the overseas aid budget or start claiming back the true cost of EU citizens health care here as highlighted by JR!

        • Mark B
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 5:22 am | Permalink



      • Mark B
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink



    • graham1946
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Trouble is Duncan, its a pro EU party. Has been for over 40 years. They took us in, sold out or fish, sold us out on Maastricht, invented the single market and most Tory MP’s are EU fanatics like Andy.

      Some chance of getting a Leaver leader before the sell out is complete.

      Gove will take over next year after May has been blamed for the poor deal and our continuance of membership without rights.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Bliar, Brown, Cameron & now the appalling dope T May. All of them have done their bit to slowly strangle and give away (without any authority) UK democracy. Even Thatcher did quite a bit the digging this EU hole we are in. Time finally for a real Conservative leader to rescue us from the socialist T May and save us from the even more socialists J Corbyn & J Mc Donnall.

      • Andy
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        You raise the crucial point. The Conservatives have been a pro-EU party for 40 years. Labour for a little less time.

        Consequently, anyone under the age of about 50 – which most of you are not – have grown up as Europeans. Most of us kinda like it.

        Free movement is not a scourge – it is a wonderful thing. Likewise the almost completely frictionless trade the EU offers.

        The ECJ is not to be feared. It stands up for individuals against big Tory owned vested interests.

        The EU protects our rights, our freedoms, our environment in a way the British government never has and simply never well.

        There is a lot wrong with our country – but most of the bad stuff comes from Westminster which we repeatedly fill with lousy layabouts.

        The EU is far from perfect – but our country, our continent, our world is so much better than it was before we had the EU.

        You lot can rant and rage about how wonderful things were when you were kids – but your rose tinted memories are not backed by the evidence.

        Brexit will happen. It will make our country worse – and pretty soon we’ll be back in. Taking our rightful place leading the greatest alliance of sovereign states the world has ever known.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink


          Every single one of us has been European since the day we were born, even my Greatgrandad who fought on the Somme. Europe is a continent and the UK is a geographical part of it

          If you had ever done business in the EU you would know that it is anything but frictionless

          The UK government had rights and protections long before the EU was even thought of. We actually have some that EU countries STILL dont have. Go and read a history book

          I’ve seen very little evidence of any leavers wanting to return to the past. The vast majority are looking forward to a future of freedom and creativity.


          Stop living in the 20th century. Bigness, top down autocratic control and rule by mass bureaucracy dont work in a digital age. We are moving into an era of bottom up, local control and small states. Yes we can operate on a global basis but we are going to lead bottom up.

          Small is beautiful, economics as if people mattered, allowing people more control over their day to day lives. This trend has been accelerating for 15 years and its the new paradigm. Dinosaurs such as you will be left behind

        • Oggy
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink


        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          An alliance is not the same as a federation, which the leading European powers – the EC, the ECJ, France and Germany – are determined to create. If we don’t want to be part of such a federation, we have to jump off this bandwagon.

          If only the EU were to revert to being a Gaullist Europe of Nations, many of us would not be so bitterly hostile to it.

          The EU may fail. Greece and Italy don’t like fiscal discipline. Germany doesn’t like transfer payments. Hungary and other Eastern European states don’t like ANY Islamic immigration. Greece and Italy don’t like to be the dumping ground for immigration. It is not difficult to envisage the collapse of the Euro and an end to freedom of movement.

          If the EU does fail, it will be less messy if we are already out.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 6, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          As usual you mix up Europe with the EU
          Two very different things.

        • David Price
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

          @Andy you are confused.

          The freedoms you portray as life’s breath have only been there since 1992 when the Mastricht Treaty was signed, 26 years ago, so you did not grow up as a EUpean.

          More telling is that while you portray those you despise as elderly pensioners dreaming of past empire you yourself believe the UK should be “Taking our rightful place leading the greatest alliance of sovereign states the world has ever known”.

          Your arrogance and hatred have been clear to all throughout your comments and it is also clear you have absolutely no concern for the interests or welfare of the vast majority of this country, regardless of how they voted, who do not share your empire building nightmare.

          I recommend you pack yourself off to Brussels where your mad dreams of world domination would be quite welcome … unless of course you are there already.

    • NickC
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Duncan, I certainly agree with you that the Two Remainers are rather less entertaining than the Two Ronnies; and also lack their intellectual rigour.

      Two years! TWO YEARS!! And the civil service are still writing reports about the Moon crashing into the Atlantic come Brexit Day. Do they ever actually do anything practical? Ever? Or do they just sit around having tea, chatting about Kit-Kat?

      There clearly cannot be any insuperable problems trading with the EU under WTO rules, because the rest of the planet does so already. I want to see our WTO deal plan. Or sackings. Now. And never mind what the EU says – they aren’t important anymore.

  5. niconoclast
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    The civil service should have been purged of its Remoaner wreckers and we should emulate the American system whereby the bureaucrats serving the government of the day depart when that government departs thus assuring that they do not effectively operate as a de facto fifth column undermining in subtle and not so subtle ways any government policies they happen to object to.

    The civil service in its present form are effectively behaving as if they are the opposition and this is an intolerable situation and threatens the very constitutional democracy they are being paid to serve. They need to be handbagged but Theresa alas is no Maggie. At the very least she should publicly rebuke them.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      @ niconolast

      At the very least she should publicly rebuke them.

      Totally wrong. Sack them for gross misconduct of position and duty and as Anne Robinson use to say “you leave with nothing”

  6. Peter
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Yes, many in the civil service wish to stop Brexit. So they will do all in their power to try to wreck it even if some of their claims are quickly revealed to be nonsense.

    It is all a power play now. ‘No Deal’ does not seem to have enough support within parliament although it is hugely popular with voters.

    Brexiteer politicians have to make a case for ‘No Deal’ but they do not really hold out much hope of achieving it. The best hope of achieving it are unforeseen events that force a new election.

    Many Remainers are almost working in tandem with the EU so that the worst possible outcome emerges. Their hope being that this would create pressure to rejoin the EU.

    At the moment, our establishment, civil service and politicians are a huge hindrance to a clean Brexit.

  7. Bob Dixon
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Civil servants should seek clearance from their Minister and his or her permission before passing their fears to The Press. If they do not then they should be discipline.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      The civil service leaks like a sieve – when the politicians want it so.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Dear John–Agree with every word–Only comment is that maybe we should try to stop using the term “No Deal”, which sounds negative and worries a lot of people. To my mind we should emphasize at every turn that we are not asking much and that all we want is a nomal relationship exactly the same as that applying to any other country. Given that, maybe we should start talking about a “Normal Deal”. Anything to get away from the fatuous discussions led by people who want to persuade us that the sky will fall in without the EU.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Is anyone going to held to account for this complete waste of time, money, and scaremongering.

    No thought not !

    Why is our Government so weak in the face of quite honestly the corruption of ideas, thought, planning and action.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      @ alan jutson

      Why is our Government so weak in the face of quite honestly the corruption of ideas, thought, planning and action.

      Sadly we got what we voted for and until there is a seismic change in the selection process it will not get any better

    • Bob
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      The lack of censure tells a story.

      People have been imprisoned for less.

  10. Nig l
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    This can only happen with explicit support at the most senior level and because of weak political leadership. I do not believe that the sources of these leaks cannot be uncovered. Why is Sir Jeremy not on Theresa Mays carpet? Silly question I know. 5o years on from the Thorpe cover up, the establishment it still at it.

    • Bob
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Nig I

      “the Thorpe cover up”

      The BBC recounted it as if it were a Brian Rix farce,

  11. Andy
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Oh – come now. Governments have always leaked and this is just as likely to have come from a Tory minister than a Civil Servants.

    None of the Tory Brextremists now whinging about the leaking of impacts of their Brexit have ever had a problem leaking in the past.

    Nor have they ever had a problem voting against their own party. Nor in shafting their own leader and knifing they in the back. All the stuff you are moaning about now.

    You’ve not figured this out yet Mr Redwood. You can not win – and we can not lose. Everything which now goes wrong is Brexit’s fault. In the unlikely event that anything goes right we will take credit.

    None of you yet has any idea how draining this will be. You lot spent 30+ years blaming everything on Europe. Now it is all on you. Traffic jams at Dover will be a PR disaster. The first Brexit-related death – oh dear. Areas which get EU funding – if they don’t get better fast you’re in trouble.

    Most Tory Brexiteer MPs will be spending the rest of their political lives trying to defend Brexit. Fortunately for most of you as young people do not want Brexit so your political lives will be quite short. Perhaps you could all pick fruit instead?

    Reply On this unpleasant analysis everything wrong today is still the fault of the EU as we are still full members.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 5, 2018 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Hilarious analysis.
      Everything that happens in the future….if it’s good it is despite Brexit but if it is negative it is because of Brexit.
      UK people are not as stupid as you think Andy.

  12. eeyore
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Among the predictions in this report was that Cornwall would run out of food and have to be supplied by RAF air drops. This sort of thing is clearly not meant to be serious. It’s just the exuberant post-lunch fantasy of a bunch of giggly students.

    Why the Sunday Times ran it is known only to them. But Remain websites followed suit and our own pet Remainers here got thoroughly worked up too. It all goes to show that Remain is no longer a political position but a religious faith, and the sillier it gets the more desperately it is believed.

    • Mitchel
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      The Times and Sunday Times are the authentic mouthpiece of the Establishment-that is why you get Project Fear, the Russians-are-coming and other of their obsessions as stories on the front pages more frequently than any other media outlet,although the Guardian runs them close(and how interesting that these two organs should share an outlook so similar in many respects!).

    • cornishstu
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      You also have the likes of local bbc radio Cornwall bigging it up, promoting the project fear agenda putting it across as fact.

  13. hans christian ivers
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink


    You do have point on the civil service as they should remain neutral in the political debate.

    I am not sure that this implies there is a growing support for “NO Deal ” as you called it as a consequence, to me it seems we all want a deal with the EU, we just want to be sure it is right for all parties involved, which is why, we are still negotiating.

    • Bill Potter
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      You do realise that the EU has no intention of negotiating with us according to Barnier.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


        This is like Redwood telling us “no deal” it is all tactics and political strategy

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Nope, as you might deduce from the job title a civil “servant” is employed to serve the government and normally that would involve supporting its official policy, not remaining “neutral” whatever that may mean. Under previous Prime Ministers as far back as Edward Heath the official government policy was always that we should remain part of the EEC/EC/EU/USE geopolitical project, and so while that made both referendum campaigns, in 1975 and 2o16, deeply unfair to the Leave side the Remain lies invented by civil servants were at least Remain lies invented on the instructions of the Prime Minister. But perhaps some civil servants haven’t noticed or they just can’t believe that since that 2016 referendum the official government policy has been reversed, and so they carry on inventing lies to support the old official policy as though nothing has changed?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure that this implies there is a growing support for “NO Deal ” as you called it as a consequence, to me it seems we all want a deal with the EU, we just want to be sure it is right for all parties involved, which is why, we are still negotiating.

      You seem to be under the illusion that the EU wants a deal. They don’t. That, surely, is clear. Right from the start ‘we won’t talk about future trade until we have forced you to accept this, this and this’. The EU do not appear to understand the British character. We do not react well to being bullied. The EU cannot afford for us to leave and carry on trading as normal. If we do it, others will want to do it. Surely, that too is obvious. I have been predicting since the very first meeting of Davis and Barnier that there will be no deal. I do hope the civil service are preparing for it.

    • NickC
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Hans, JR actually said: “… leaving [by implication: the EU] with No Deal [by implication: with the EU] …”, not that we will have no deal at all. The meaning in English is quite different. For, of course, we will have the WTO deal.

      And, no, personally I do not want a trade deal with the EU, at all. The EU cannot be trusted. As far back as 2003 I said in a letter to the S.Tel: “The only way out is to want nothing – that is to walk away from the EU by unilaterally annulling the treaties.”

  14. Student
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Every time I hear these desperate attempts to make up what is clearly rubbish, I become increasingly thankful that the UK voted to leave. It is telling that throughout the campaign and still today, remainers and civil servants alike were are unable to come up with any net advantage of being in the EU. Instead they rely on absurd scare stories that sound laughable to anyone that hasn’t been blinded by the religion of the EU and, at least so far, never seem to materialise. For some reason that doesn’t seem to stop the stories being made up and backed by some of the posters here..

    You are certainly correct that claims like the one you mention in this post increase support for No Deal, at least in my case.

  15. Woody
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I was amused when I read the latest project fear announcement … anyone with sense would immediately laugh at the idiocy of it. Business is business and will continue to find ways to do business no matter what our civil servants and elitist remainers want to believe. I do wonder how much this is the part of the Soros funded war of misinformation however, so be prepared for more bull from the establishment.

  16. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Civil sevants have no reason or need to be biased. The Bank of England (UK already 40Bn per year worse off since Brexit-referendum) has no need or reason to biased. Politicians DO.
    That would be the reality in most countries. That must be the reality in the UK as well.

    • niconoclast
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      The Bank of England was Nationalised in 1945 or thereabouts and maintains that status to this very day ergo as a State bank it has Every reason to be biased.

      Solution? Privatise it and have a separation of Economy and State -and while we are about it a separation of Church and State would be nice too! (Viva Capitalism! Down with the Mixed Economy!)

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        6 May – 1997: The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has given the Bank of England independence from political control. (source – BBC)

        • niconoclast
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          Note the word ‘independence’ here – not ‘privatised’. It is key. Governments invariably refer to bodies they control ‘at arm’s length’ as ‘independent’ in order to conceal their Lack of independence , it is an illusion, a deliberate sleight of hand – as witness the fact that the State appoints governors, they have to write a letter to the chancellor effectively explaining why they messed up their homework, why they have screwed up – which perforce they must do very regularly as they cannot ever get things right -that is the nature of a central bank. The governor is usually a civil servant tho this time he is a clueless Canadian who can clearly rival any civil servant in that dept. Independence is not something that can be granted from on high by the State -you either have it or you do not. If I told you I was ‘granting’ you independence and in addition you need to write me a letter every time you screw something up you would probably and deservedly tell me where to go lol.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink


          Independent…. Lol who do you think sets base rates, who o they report inflation targets too?

          The Bank was privately owned by stockholders from its foundation in 1694 until it was nationalised in 1946. In 1998, it became an independent public organization, WHOLLY OWNED by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government

      • niconoclast
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        (And, I should have added, the civil servants have Every reason to be biased because they like to preserve the Statist Quo lol).

      • acorn
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        “Solution? Privatise it and have a separation of Economy and State”.

        That maybe the dumbest economic statement ever made on this site; but, not exceptional by this sites standards.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink


          for someone who can’t tell the difference between South Koreans and the French chucking the word dumb about isn’t to be recommended

          The BOE seemed to get on fine when it was private

          The Bank was privately owned by stockholders from its foundation in 1694 until it was nationalised in 1946.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Indeed get the state out of health, education, the BBC and housing too. They are grossely unfair competion at best and appalling propaganda outfits or dire state monopolies killing thousands at worst.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      PvL – This whole Brexit saga is like an episode of “Yes Minister”,it’s all about empire building and gold plated Civil Service pensions…

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      But they do have reason to be biased. Inside the EU, they can control the minister on the grounds their word is the essence of EU law, and the minister doesn’t know better. Leaving the EU means the minister has more control, as he becomes one of those who make the rules.
      The only time the civil servants obey the minister is when the instruction is an opportunity to make the lives of UK citizens a misery. They then go about their business with relish (cf Windrush).

    • mancunius
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      If you read the ST report, you’ll see that the leak was made by a *civil servant*.
      Civil servants, also have strong political interests, synpathies and prejudices, as anyone who knows any of them personally can testify. In Britain, as in the rest of western Europe, a consolidated wave of entryism into NGOs, the public sector and the diplomatic corps was successfully achieved during the 1970s, 1980s; those sleepers have now awoken.

    • eeyore
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Civil servants have every reason to be biased. They are biased in favour of the status quo, big government, high taxation, bureaucratic power, administration, regulation, conformity, secrecy, deferential Ministers, supine MPs, lack of accountability, high pay, high status and little work, big offices, large staffs, generous budgets, gongs with the rations and multiple parallel career structures in case they cock things up.

      In a word, they are biased in favour of the EU.

    • NickC
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      PvL, Are you for real? Thinking that: “Civil servants have no reason or need to be biased”, does not mean they aren’t. Indeed the almost religious fervour of your belief in the incorruptibility of civil servants defies the evidence within the EU, never mind the UK.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Are civil servants who don’t hold your point of view automatically corrupt? And why are the civil servants only “corrupt” in helping the 48%, while there appear no civil servants siding with the 52%. For someone looking on from abroad not very credible!

        • a-tracy
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Peter, I’m interested to know whether you think it is perfectly acceptable for a civil servant to leak government businesses at all? Surely they sign confidentiality agreements, and other checks are made on their suitability for a role not to be a blabbermouth and undermine the UK.

          Personally, I believe that Mrs May should identify this leaker, there can’t be too many people with access to this information and dismiss and prosecute them. They are ruining people’s faith and trust in our civil service to behave impartially and within the bounds of their contracts of employment. They are betraying the very people who pay their wages and pensions and they should lose their pay and pension as a consequence of their allegiance to external operations to hurt our Country.

        • NickC
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          PvL, Are civil servants who hold your point of view automatically incorruptible? For that is what you claim: that civil servants cannot be biased – simply because they are civil servants. I have heard some unlikely tales from Remains before, but your notion that civil servants – uniquely amongst human beings – are incorruptible, takes the biscuit.

  17. frankD
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Here you’re talking to someone, retired from the import export business, who remembers well the 1950’s and 1960’s where imported cargo (no containers then) was stored up for weeks sometimes in ports and warehouses before clearance.. I can tell you it will be much worse when it comes in containers because under the new whatever system every container will have to be opened- we can be absolutely sure about that – when it comes to some of the pissed off custom official types about in any of the ports and no amount of legislation in the House is going to change that. Looks like we are going back to the future

    Reply Nonsense. We have computers and electronic manifests these days

    • graham1946
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      We’re 60 years on since then. Only about 1 percent of containers are ever opened from world destinations at present. Anyway, most EU trade is not containers but road vehicles. Why would they need inspection any more then they do now? Are our exporters and importers all suddenly to become smugglers? What would they smuggle if we have a FTA? Drugs etc already come in unimpeded so that’s nothing we don’t already know. All it needs is to agree to carry on as we do now and all will be well. The EU will come to this in the end as it is vastly in their interests to do so. We get enough delays when the French decide to have a hissy fit with their government already, so that’s not new.

      • LenD
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Graham1946 Theres little difference between containers and road vehicles as far as cargo carrying is concerned, both are cargo containing compartments..they will need to be inspected more than they are now because in the future we will be treated as a third country from their point..and yes they will be wary of smugglers and goods standards etc because we won’t be part of the bloc and so won’t be trusted the same..that’ just how it works everywhere for outsiders. The EU is not going to agree that we continue importing exporting the same as we do now..that has already been clearly spelled out..they won’t be concerned about anything in their economic interests because they are first of all a rules based political led trading we are about to see very soon

        • graham1946
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          Containers are obviously a way of transporting goods, but the way they are handled is vastly different to road. They have to be loaded on ship, discharged to quay re-loaded to road and then delivered. Road vehicles roll on and roll off – no delays or handling.

          There need be no difference between now and the future with sensible negotiations. If what you say about the EU is correct then we are much better out. They will come round in the end, they are just negotiating and trying to get as much out of us as they can. Our supine government seem intent on helping them rather than the UK.

    • rick hamilton
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Most containers coming in by sea from outside the EU aren’t opened as long as the supplier and consignee are above suspicion. If in doubt they can be x-rayed (at the importer’s expense naturally). Customs clearance is mostly done online before the vessel docks and the only bit of paper actually required is the original Bill of Lading. I don’t see why changing the tariffs to WTO or any other level should make the slightest difference at the port. VAT has to be paid anyway even with zero tariff so HMRC is involved and they have dismissed the Irish border scare already.

      Business will react quickly to whatever the changes are. That’s what business does. And business managers spend much of their time sorting out obstacles and difficulties while the likes of Barnier just keep on creating them. Good riddance.

    • mike fowle
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I worked as a customs officer in Tilbury in the 1970s. That was a port which combined the old system of warehousing on the quays and general cargo handling with increasingly containerised traffic. There was no question of applying the old system of inspection to containerised traffic – the volume even then was just too great. The imbalance will have increased considerably over the decades since. And methods of checking containers have matched the increase.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

        Good post and thank you.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Here you’re talking to someone, retired from the import export business, who remembers well the 1950’s and 1960’s where imported cargo (no containers then) was stored up for weeks sometimes in ports and warehouses before clearance.

      And since then we have had the emergence and development of global trade by companies such as, for example, DHL and AEI. Do you think these days when I import something from the USA it sits for weeks at LHR before it clears customs? I prefer to take note of the bloke on the box some weeks ago. He is one of the people who runs the port of Southampton. 85% of the goods going through Southampton are non EU imports or exports. There are no lorry jams on the M27 and no delays in clearance either.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink


      The way non-tariffs and particular standards work, does not cover the entire answer to FrankD, in a satisfactory manner.

  18. Bob
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Has anyone noticed the lack of diversity of opinion on the BBC regarding Brexit?
    On flagship programs like Question Time and Any Questions, the panels are always loaded heavily against Brexit, and never the other way around.

    This just came to mind as I was listening to Radio 4 “regular” Lord Adonis giving yet another anti Brexit sermon with little to no challenge from the presenter.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      They say every week they don’t choose the audience, so they must be aware of it, but they certainly do choose the panels. For Any Questions in particular, look where they go, Schools, colleges, universities, churches – all pretty much left wing institutions, so the audience is bound to be from that side.

      • Georgy Llewor
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        « Schools, colleges, universities, churches – all pretty much left wing institutions » Would you prefer these to be held in « The Wheel and Barrow »? I am not sure the publican there would be so happy having a few hunded people if they were not to have a pint or more.

    • NickC
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Bob, I never watch the BBC; haven’t for 40 years. I don’t listen to the BBC now either, its bias is so grotesque. Scrap the TV Tax and make the BBC pay-to-view. Then those that like it can pay for it, instead of selfishly expecting me to subsidise their Remain propaganda.

    • John C.
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Bob, there are whole websites devoted to exposing the iniquities of the BBC. Your question is on a level with “Has anyone noticed that when it rains, there are usually clouds around?” Everyone knows it, but some people pretend they are absolutely impartial; “some people” being the BBC.

    • Original Richard
      Posted June 5, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, but if the EU funded pro EU BBC had not been so biased towards the EU the UK and EU elites would never have allowed the referendum to take place.

      The BBC bias gave them the mistaken confidence that they couldn’t lose.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    When Trump threatens tariffs the BBC is up in arms. When the EU threatens them it’s what we deserve.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      That’s because there’s a difference between breaking WTO rules and following them.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      very good answer from peter Parsons, that is exactly the case in a nutshell

      • NickC
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Hans, The WTO has a word or two about forcing countries like us to pay for trade with the likes of you.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          the likes of you ? what does that exactly mean Nick C?

  20. Adam
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    EU exporters NEED to sell to us. We are their valuable established consumers. Need bends iron. Civil servants are incapable of blocking goods from their users merely with conceptual fantasies. Truckfuls will roll over & crush them. Those who attempt obstructing healthy commerce are economic offenders. Suspects should be identified, interrogated & dealt with accordingly. Even if an intending block faces us, we have the easier freedom of choice to go elsewhere, & buy better, both at the EU’s expense & loss.

  21. Helen Smith
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I was appalled by this latest ‘leak’. Civil Servants are supposed to be amongst the brightest and best, it is no accident therefore that they continue to produce forecasts that are at best slipshod, at worst, though you cannot say this, downright dishonest.

    They don’t seem to understand the basics behind trade, that it is COMPANIES that trade, not nations. No company is going to allow their goods to be prevented from reaching its market, the U.K., In addition, we control the Port of Dover, if we wanted to we could declare unilateral free trade and let goods pour in.

    The source of this latest ‘leak’ needs finding and sacking.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      @ Helen Smith

      Civil Servants are supposed to be amongst the brightest and best,

      Just goes to prove they ain’t,only interested in their pension and perks with little or no chance of ever being sacked. Jobs for the boys and girls with the right connections.

  22. IwasGnarth
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    The Brexit referendum, consequent result and aftermath has dangerously divided and reduced us. We might perhaps heed Mr Tennyson:

    ‘Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are…’

    A self-destructive vendetta will reduce us further.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      The referendum has not divided the UK, it has simply exposed the divisions which were already there, divisions which are a consequence of an unrepresentative political system which allows the politicians to ignore the vast majority of the electorate, rendering our votes worthless and our voices unheard.

      Having gone to school on the edge of one area which strongly voted to leave and having subsequently lived for a number of years in another, I am very much of the view that responsibility for the issues that those places have lies not in Brussels, but Westminster, and leaving the EU won’t change anything for them while the political system in Westminster continues to allow their voices to be safely ignored.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 5:43 am | Permalink

        I very much agree. But removing, hopefully, one layer of bureaucracy is a good start.

    • Mitchel
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      As quoted,rather beautifully,by Judy Dench,in the James Bond film “Skyfall”if I remember correctly.

      One more suited to the current Tory party,as recited(equally beautifully) by Glenda Jackson in one of her final film roles -the biopic of the poet Stevie Smith,”Stevie”:

      “The lion dishonoured bids death come
      The worm in like hap lingers on
      The lion dead,his pride no less
      The world inherits wormliness”

    • getahead
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Point of order. It is not the Brexit referendum oo it’s consequent result and aftermath has ‘dangerously’ divided us. What has divided us is the refusal of those who lost the vote to accept the result encouraged by many politicians and other ‘elites’.

  23. Norman
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I know from past experience that horrendous consequences can ensue from import/export paperwork that goes wrong: some test out of date by a few hours, or some small ‘i’ not dotted, or ‘t’ not crossed. Civil Servants were charged with holding the line in such cases, despite consequences which could mean return or destruction of goods.
    I also know that International Trade agreements could be haggled over for years, because of some small issue that the other side (sometimes unreasonably) was insistent upon – in reality, the erection of a trade barrier. I can only think that its this sort of thing the Civil Service is envisioning. However, that would affect more our trade to the EU, than their trade with us.
    The bottom line is, our determination to exit the EU should trump all such possible temporary glitches – this is the the bit they don’t get – or are blowing up out of proportion. We have to understand this whole Eurocratic mindset runs very, very deep.

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      We exit the EU and then we talk trade. That is the wish of the EU commission itself ! If they drag their heels and refuse to be flexible, we can legally keep our current trading relationship for up to 10 years. Minus the 4 freedoms and billions of £s, I would hope. Regarding the No Deal tag, a ‘standard’ or ‘statutory’ deal would be a more conciliatory description, IMHO.

  24. William Long
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    In any commercial business people doing this could and almost certainly would, be sacked for gross misconduct. Why is the Civil Service different? One can only assume a good many of their political masters agree with them

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      William Long
      One can only assume a good many of their political masters agree with them.

      Sack them as well.

      Just like the forces it is the CO that takes the hit for the action of his troops or crew.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Their hope presumably is that Parliament will force a vote or referendum where the choice is do you accept the lousy deal on offer from the EU (lowsy because MPs and UK civil servants have encouraged such an outcome) or remain in the EU. They cannot accept that we didn’t recognise that they know best; that we are ignorant and misguided nonentities who should know our place (inside the EU!).
    Does any one in Parliament ever consider what the ramifications will be for the future of our democracy if they succeed in overturning the will of the people as expressed in a referendum which Parliament itself called? No doubt those who want to keep us under the control of the anti-democratic protectionsit club care as little for democracy as their EU masters.

  26. Timaction
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    So who is calling these “kit kat”civil servants to account, disciplining them or sacking them??Time for Brexiteers to get a grip or remove those who are betraying us!!
    Federalists need to remember they lost. If they don’t like it move to the continent.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      @ Timeaction.

      Second that

  27. English Pensioner
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The US and many other countries would be glad to supply us with food and pharmaceuticals, so the EU would achieve absolutely nothing other than harm themselves by stopping supplies. I’m sure all the major companies have contingency plans.
    I would also suggest that those civil servants responsible for leaking this report have broken their terms of employment and should be fired; one of the first things that I was told when I joined the Civil Service was that it was a sacking offence if I revealed anything about my work to anyone outside.

  28. acorn
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Interesting event at Caen ferry port. Gendarmes and Douaniers were very active opening up lorries and car boots; pulled out one stowaway while I was watching. “… no do [after] Brexit”, came a roughly translated answer to my question.

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      That’s nonsense. Not you observation, may I add! We have a border agreement with France, outside of the EU treaties. We can hold them to it, regardless of our EU or non-EU status. I agree that, on the ground, maverick behavior is difficult to control.

    • mancunius
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes unionised jobsworths say these things.
      But their continued cooperation (and the money we pay for it) has already been bilaterally agreed, so if they don’t cooperate we can withhold further payments.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink


      Well then they will just have to spend more time processing them when we send the stowaways back then. Were they South Korean Gendarmes?

  29. Original Richard
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    With the AC Grayling plan well underway it would not surprise me if senior members of the Civil Service were not thinking that the EU should cut off all communications (telephone, internet, flights) and the passage of goods between the UK and the EU so as to bring chaos to the UK, the downfall of the government, and the necessity for them to call for the immediate implementation of direct rule by Brussels/Berlin.

    • mancunius
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      You really should write fantasy novels.

      • Original Richard
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Spain : 05/06/2018 :

        Nadia Calviño, the current director general of the European Commission’s budget department, is to become Spain’s new economy minister, Spanish media reported on Tuesday, citing sources in the ruling socialist party.

        Italy : 31/05/2018 :

        Speaking on German TV last night German MEP Markus Ferber said the Troika that had intervened during the Greek debt crisis – the EU Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – could be called on again if a eurosceptic government is formed suggesting officials could “march into Rome” to take control of the country’s finances.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      I would not put it past many of the remaoniacs. Or even T May and P Hammond.

  30. Chris
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The fact that this has been allowed to happen illustrates perfectly that Theresa May is not in control, with all manner of people, organisations etc having free rein to put up fierce opposition against upholding democracy i.e. the Brexit result. It also illustrates her Remainer credentials, and that sheapparently approves of this opposition and leaking. A new leader should have been voted in long ago. it was blatantly obvious to anyone with any common sense how this was going to turn out, but there seem to be an awful lot of ostriches and worse amongst Tory MPs who refuse to face up to what is going on (unless of course they actually privately agreed with destroying Brexit).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Or she is in control and clearly approves. After all we has Damian Green attacking Mogg and she just added 8 more remainers to the Lords plus one sound one Peter Lilley.

  31. CharlesV
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    No, they are doing what civil servants should do which is plan for the worst.

    We become a third county when we leave the EU, there are potentially severe consequences to that for both us and the EU is we leave without any agreements being signed. You are right that it is unlikely that the full consequences of this would be enforced on day 1 by either the UK or the EU. However, it would be beyond negligent if this scenario was not planned for.

    I don’t understand why as a log time campaigner for leaving the EU you are so keen to pretend that there are no adverse consequences if we leave. Instead of treating us like fools and critising civil servants for doing their job, you should be willing to put forward detailed plans and explanations as to how these can be mitigated and dealt with.

    Honesty also matters, the latest misleading line coming out is that Switzerland is a model for how our borders should work and that this will result in things being the same as they are now. Whether or not you agree that the Swiss model would be the best place for us to end up it is simply wrong to pretend that no one would notice any change to the borders if was the case.

  32. NickC
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Where government controls, it is the job of civil servants to make it work, not whinge that it is too difficult. Independence is not a novel concept. We made it work before we joined the EEC. Many independent, but smaller nations than us, make it work successfully in today’s complex world.

    It works for Australia, why not us? It seems particularly inept of our civil servants to advertise their own incompetence. Unless our Remain civil servants believe that distance lends ability.

  33. Peter Parsons
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Rather than speculating over other countries, perhaps discussing the situation in the UK might be more useful given that it is being reported today that that the consultation over the proposals for new lorry parks in Kent will only start at the beginning of 2019 and those lorry parks will definitely not be in place by 29 March 2019.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Peter Parsons

      Oh please… We’ve been talking about lorry parks in Kent for years. Operation stack happens almost every year and has for nearly a decade. The government and KCC identified a location for a huge lorry park. They only changed their minds due to the barrage of people telling them one large lorry park is not the answer. Trying to claim lorry queues at Dover is a Brexit issue displays total ignorance of what has been happening . Oh and why everyone is obsessed with Dover I’ve no idea, its not even the biggest freight port for the continent .

  34. Ian wragg
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Reading the article on ConHome it appears there is another proposal to keep us permanently aligned with the EU on goods but not services. This is to placate Ireland. We voted OUT and leaving trade policy permanently in the EU’s hands is not leaving.
    When are you going to get rid of May and Hammond and have someone sensible in charge.

    • mancunius
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Maybe we need to persuade the DUP to put up some candidates in English constituencies! I hear more good sense coming from them that I do from many Tories.
      (Even if I do sometimes need subtitles to understand it:-)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I call it the Vichy model, half of the country still ruled by the EU with the other half notionally self-governing until the EU decides to take direct control … on the Daily Politics the Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach immediately said that it was a good start but EU rules should apply to services as well as goods.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Ian wragg

      When are you going to get rid of May and Hammond and have someone sensible in charge.

      Hang about Ian they can’t. because they haven’t got a clue who would be best placed to replace them.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I read here:

    “A senior official said, “We are entirely dependent on Europe reciprocating our posture that we will do nothing to impede the flow of goods into the UK [under a no-deal exit]. If, for whatever reason, Europe decides to slow that supply down, then we’re screwed.””

    Well, how does this “senior official” see “Europe”, that is to say the European Union?

    The EU claims to be based on the rule of law, so what about all those legally-binding EU treaty commitments to good neighbourliness and to the promotion and liberalisation of trade, as listed on several previous occasions, for example here last August:

    And what about its claimed commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, which was also mentioned there: does that include the UN’s prohibition on the unauthorised use of economic sanctions as a means of political coercion?

    I wonder if Theresa May has any thoughts about a “senior official” who apparently wants us to stay in an organisation which by his own estimation is pretty vile, and is prepared to act against his duty in order to assist the campaign to overturn the referendum?

    • Helen Smith
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Companies trade, not countries, try telling Danone it can no longer export its yoghurt to the UK and see where that gets the EU!

      • acorn
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Try telling Danone’s UK customers, they will no longer be able to purchase its Yoghurt (sic) in the UK; see how many votes that will cost the Conservative Party. There will be hundreds of similar products in a similar situation.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          I doubt there are many customers in the UK so deeply committed to Danone products that they would care very much or for long, even in the unlikely event that those products ceased to be available.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink


          I guess they’d have to buy Yakult from India instead then

          Blimey you people lack any knowledge of the business world. Hint more than 50% of Danone production is with joint venture companies all over the world. Oh meanwhile Danone France has been shedding jobs since 2012

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      So there might be shortages due to poor policymaking on the UK side. Who cares? The EU did not ask the UK to leave, nor did they want to go further than agreed with Cameron. Whatever happens is what the UK achieves. The EU has no incentive to break its own rules to please a country that displays only chaos and disloyalty. It is not the EU’s problem.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Rien Huizer

        Absolutely correct. It’s the UK that wishes to leave the EU’s legal, constricting, construct and therefore (on the surface) not an EU problem.

        So let’s get on with moving to WTO rules and leave Brussels alone to get on with its own business and political harmonisation, without the annoying UK interference and its constant moaning about membership fees. The British will just have to get along without all those EU benefits that Remoaners have trouble in describing? Incidentally, if you can describe them I would be very grateful?

        If the EU and UK wish to have a grown-up relationship post-Brexit, fine. I am guessing businesses throughout Europe will have no problem working with businesses in the UK as before. Protectionism apart there is no need for tariffs between the UK and EU unless Brussels wish to be vindictive?

        The only fly in the ointment is the intransigent Politicians. Normal B2B will flourish in Europe if the politicians get out of the way!

  36. Andy
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Downing Street says it is confident Brexit won’t bring about Armageddon.

    That No 10 even has to issue such a statement shows what a shambles the Tory hard-right pensioner Brexit government is.

    It is like a real life version of The Thick Of It. Except it’s sad rather than funny.


    • Student
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      None of the elected MPs are pensioners by definition Andy :/

      • acorn
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Ever heard of the State Pension and when you can claim it?

        • Student
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Naturally I assume, in this case, ‘pensioner’ refers to someone on a retirement pension. Considering that you can start claiming a ‘pension’ before the age of 55, I doubt Andy aims his frequent attacks on ‘pensioners’ simply because they are claiming a pension, but because he has a seething resentment for people of a certain age.

          If Andy (or you) do not mean to refer to retired pensioners, then why are you grouping all pensioners together when they can be a range of ages?

          I don’t expect a sensible answer. Identity politics and those that trot it out have never been anything other than resentful, regressive and both morally and intellectually repulsive.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Any sign of a list of reasons to stay in yet Andy? Pitiable effort at argument from you, always an insult to the older generation and that’s about it. You said yesterday you would laugh at people who were ill but could not get medicine. You, sir are a creep.

      • Andy
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        I don’t have to give reasons to stay. You won. We’re leaving.

        It’s not my fault it is such a complete shambles. I didn’t vote for it.

        Take some responsibility for the consequences of your foolish vote.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Hello Andy

          Just a little reminder.

          17.4 million individuals democratically and legally voted to leave the EU and as a consequence expected the UK politicians to faithfully execute the plan.

          Your Remainer/Remoaners friends are the ones holding the UK back with their nefarious shenanigans; some would treacherously…so go look in your own foolish backyard for the responsibility, for this complete and utter shambles.

          Tally ho!

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted June 5, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink


            You should really know better than giving such as totally and single biased answer , nothing is as simple as they way you have described it and you know it too

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted June 5, 2018 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

            Dear Hans

            Thank you…it is a fair riposte; however, please remind me which part of my comment is not based on demonstrable fact? And, furthermore, if indeed I am biased, then I am in good company?

            Incidentally, in my personal opinion, to assert the EU negotiators are at fault is decidedly frivolous and irrelevant.

            They are executing their instructions, with aplomb! I have no personal argument against the Brussels team in terms of their negotiating approach, just ours; and frankly, should anyone of my Directors/VPs act in such an incompetent manner, there would be serious consequences.

            My argument, however, lies with our own lamentable negotiators that are not equally truculent, demanding and robust…..and furthermore, understand the art of senior-level business negotiations; such as you and I practice every day professionally!

            However, our UK negotiating team have one thing the Brussels team do not have to tolerate, which, I suggest you may agree, is indefensible, a deplorable “fifth column” working against them in the back office, aka PM; Civil Service; undercover remoaners; cabinet colleagues; backbencher turncoats; contemptuous Lords; flip-flopping slightly unstable and incompetently lead opposition; ….not to mention the delusive MSM and the so-called discredited and incessantly wrong expert institutions (BoE, CBI, IMF, UK Universities, et al) who trot out their daily mendacious and canted twaddle? Under these onerous circumstances, it is a wonder our negotiators can perform at all.

            But on a lighter note, while you are here, can you please remind me which part of the EU construct is so beneficial; politically, commercially, legally or otherwise for the UK.

            Mind, I can only politely accept eruditely researched and demonstrably tangible EU benefits? I trust you will humour me with this whimsical request?

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted June 6, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink


            Thank you for your response. However, it appears John Redwood is unwilling to pass my reply back to you. Not sure why?

    • Edward2
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Are you saying that various ridiculous and extremist reports published in the media should not be denied and responded to by the Government?

    • NickC
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Andy still can’t give the reasons why the UK, uniquely, cannot be independent of the EU when the rest of the world already is.

      • LenD
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        NickC..UK can never be truely independent of the EU again ever because UK has already seen and enjoyed the benefits and after brexit kicks in they will quickly realize their terrible mistake ..while other poor countries can only dream of the benifits of belonging to an economic bloc of 500 million with such huge potential and spending power.most of them third countries all can dream on with the UK..We can never be independent again because the next generations will spend full time in trying to get us back in, they will be consumed by it, but alas like Turkey they will be knocking on the door forever to no avail..the ghost of DeGaulle looms large..and sad to say it will never come about then we will remain in a situation as half in half out paying for access but with no say at all and for probably always. That should please half of the leavers anyway

        • NickC
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          LenD, What benefits? There are none that we couldn’t do for ourselves. And we already sell about 50% more to the rest of the world than we do to the EU’s single market despite the proximity of the EU.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink


        Are you saying he does not know his facts as is the case for you ?

        • mancunius
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          Actually, Hans, Nick C is entirely justified in disputing the claim that we have had ‘benefits’ from membership of the EEC/EU. The EU told us so itself – our net benefit since the start of our membership has been about 2% of growth, given the large amounts we’ve paid in.
          At best, given the literally incalculable opportunity cost of not remaining an independent country, joining the EEC produced at best a questionable economic benefit. Various think-tanks have various conclusions. None of them are facts.
          So it’s by no means a fact. In English we use that word strictly: it doesn’t mean ‘something an academic has stated in print’ or ‘a figure stated in a journal’.
          Let’s take a look at some of these other ‘facts’ in the post by – oh, what’s he called himself today – ah yes, ‘LenD’:

          “other poor countries can only dream of the benifits” – Well, those ‘poor countries’ would need by definition to be poor, so they can be ‘helped’ by the net contribtuors, of which the UK – as one of the more succesful countries of the EU – has been a major player. Yet the word ‘other’ grammatically implies that we too are a ‘poor country’. You think that’s a fact, Hans? I find it and the whole post a confused bit of tendentious (and apallingly misspelt) twaddle.

          The EU has ‘huge potential’ – that’s not a fact, it’s a truism – we all have ‘huge potential’, the trick is to fulfil it, and there, I’m afraid the EU has so far failed dismally, except for the political and wealthy minorities, who’ve done very nicely for themselves.

          ‘We can never be independent again’ – you may think that’s an indisputable fact, Hans. I disagree.

          Perhaps you should list these ‘facts’ that you find in what is obviously just another bit of cheap propaganda from the same multi-poster who comes on here every day with a fresh alias… (Now that is a fact, but evidently not one you’ve spotted yet 🙂

    • Edward2
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      The average age of Conservative MP’s is 57.
      Not pensioners.
      And certainly not hard right.
      Accuracy not slurs please Andy.

      • Andy
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Bill Cash – 78. Peter Bone – 65. Michael Fabricant – 67. Edward Leigh – 67. David Davis – 69. David Jones – 66. Iain Duncan Smith – 64. Lord Lawson – 86. Lord Lamont – 76. Lord Howard – 76.

        Parliamentary pensioners who are completely out of touch with the vast majority of under 50s.

        These increasingly irrelevant old white men are dictating a future for a country which they really do not represent.

        Reply They represent the majority who voted to Leave, and the MPs have full time jobs so they are not pensioners.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          The leader of the Lib Dems is over 70
          Corbyn is no youngster and the Lords are nearly all elderly and nearly all of them favour remaining.
          What does skin colour and age have to do with political opinions?

  37. Tad Davison
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    ‘It shows that there is still a strand of thinking in the civil service that wishes to stop Brexit, and is busy inventing difficulties that do not exist.’

    These people are clearly not doing their job so the answer is pretty obvious – smoke them out, then boot them out! How come government ministers haven’t yet taken the appropriate action the rest of us recognise?

    That amounts to lily livered failure and possibly even complicity. Were Brexit something the Tories intended to enthusiastically do from the off, we would have been out of the cursed EU by now. They severely lack gumption, a drive, and a sense of purpose, not to mention the fact they are charged with carrying out the democratic will of the people.

    Tad Davison


  38. Flash 'arry
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    And isn’t the BBC all too eager to perpetrate these myths.

  39. Dennis
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Right after JR’s talk on LBC yesterday, a caller with apparent knowledge and experience in trade expressed his astonishment at JR’s complete ignorance on how things work.

    It was a pity that JR could not reply to that contributor . I hope he will do so here.

  40. Dennis Zoff
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    All this incessant “fake project fear” drivel is boring, very counterproductive and frankly quite laughable!

    Don’t these simple-minded Civil Servants understand (most probably being instructed by someone in higher office? – shock horror), their transparent, puerile delusive antics, will actually increase people’s opinion that Brexit is becoming more necessary. It will only encourage people (including those sitting on the fence or the wobbling Remainers) to believe leaving the EU’s insidious construct is in their best interests and now the only way forward.

    The more Project Fear (Version 2, please excuse my laughter) is bandied about, and the more Brussels becomes increasingly intransigent, thank you Michel Barnier, inevitably Remainers will move their support to leave! Good news then!

  41. robert lewy
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Considering the leak of these scenarios, it is worth while noting that no probability value has been applied to the three scenarios.

    Of course, the probability that would have been applied would in the best of
    government forecasting tradition would have been hopelessly inaccurate.

    However, even imagining a very low probability applied to middle and worst cases what one infers from the absence of quantification is that the intention could not have any purpose other than to further Project Fear’s agenda.

    We should content ourselves with comfort that the Brexit effect envisaged did not entail any form of planetary collision involving the Earth which would have entailed Eexit.

  42. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    If your party had a leader who believed in Brexit and as PM lead the country on a true belief to bring about the will of the people there wouldn’t be any of this treachery.

    She is a disgrace and anyone who supports her is part of the problem. A few mildly critical words make little difference. They and she are easily able to swat them away.

  43. mick
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    They’ll be even more fear tactics next week when the Brexit bill returns back to Westminster on the 12 June to consider the lords amendments

  44. Martin
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    What is your problem Mr Redwood?

    You advocated a path which permits French customs and excise to be – well French Customs and Excise. They will not have any pesky EU court interfering in their Gallic deliberations, extremely long lunch breaks etc. as the UK, has at your behest, become a third party outside both the jurisdiction and protection of the EU court.

    That is life.

  45. Den
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    All of which beggars the question, “Why do the Ministers in charge of the departments concerned, not relieve the offenders of their positions and ban all such declarations”?
    After all who is in charge here? Our elected MPs or those faceless, undemocratic, Civil Servants?
    If we were at war they would be classed as quislings and tried for treason. They disgust me.

  46. DUNCAN
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    More NHS spending funded by more taxes both general and hypothecation…great, not

    If I had wanted socialist policy I would have voted for Marxist Labour

    This PM is a danger to herself

    What we want is

    Reform of the NHS not more freebies dished out to all and sundry

    This PM is without doubt a stain on our party. She is using my money to finance her liberal left political agenda

    We can all spend other peoples money. Spending more of our money is the easy form of politics…

    Reform involves conflict which is why May always takes the easy route

    We want rid of this grotesque politician that leads our party

    She will betray us all on the EU and she will betray our party

    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes and we want politicians who really will reduce immigration.

      Who will hand power to individuals and away from health trusts and education authorities (and housing associations and RAILTRACK and the BBC…)
      FFS what on earth is going on

  47. gyges
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    This is classic cult behaviour … the predictions will become more irrational and more extreme as the deadline approaches; as will the hate speech.

    • Georgy Llewor
      Posted June 5, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately I have to agree, and coming from both UK sides of the divide.

      As for continentals, I am afraid they have more important things to think about than Brexit, in Italy (with their new Government, and migrants), Spain (with Catalunya), France (with its recurring strikes), Germany (going or not with helping Southern Europeans with real money) ….
      The Brits (not all but a sizeable fraction here) seem to think they still are the centre of the world. It was certainly true in the 19th century. Since then, well, one can discuss how quickly they have lost their grip on the world (being blinded to the fact thanks to the special relationship with the USofA) but right now a large number of continentals (including funnily enough British expat-retirees) would think that it unfortunately is another English (British?) step in the same direction towards irrelevance.

  48. Monty
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Well clearly the British public need to start boycotting EU products right now, so that come the March deadline, we will have become immune to wildcat trade bans from the European ports…..

  49. Ron Olden
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised that JR thinks all this rubbish is even worth commenting on.

    The fact that Civil Servants think this, let alone think that anyone of us will believe it, is indicative of how stupid they are or how stupid they think we are.

    People who’ve never had proper jobs where they depend on paying customers, invariably think that suppliers sell us things as some sort of ‘favour’.

    They do not!! They sell us things to make money, and the transporters who transport it to us, do so to make money as well.

    I don’t have a ‘Deal’ a with my local Chip Shop, and I have no plans to enter into one. But I haven’t noticed any disruption to the supply of ‘sausages in batter’. In fact if I turn up and want some, and he doesn’t have any ready, he cooks two especially for me.

    Neither do I have a ‘Deal’ with any of the local taxi firms. Yet ‘miraculously’, when I offer to pay for one to take me home from the pub, they all want to come, and on they way home the successful candidate tries to entice me into using him all the time.

    If any one these essential items are not available from within the EU, or are cheaper or better quality elsewhere, we can get them, straight away and probably cheaper, somewhere else. And they’d be cheaper still when we can get rid of the the EU external tariff.

    Ending Protectionism and giving us more choice (and therefore security of supply, better quality, and lower prices), is the whole economic point of leaving the EU.

    If I were a businessman in the US, Canada, South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia, or the Far East, I’d be booking cargo space now, to get ready for the big liberation.

  50. old salt
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Project fear stepping up a gear or two. They, the Remainers and the EU, must be getting very worried.

    Channel 4 prog ‘Carry on Brussels’ last Wednesday (a must see) very revealing meeting with power crazed UK Lib Dem Cath Bearder, Guy Verhofstadt President of the ALDE group and Prof A C Grayling (what was he doing there apart from the obvious?) discussing how to make it difficult for us to leave. Doubt we will see Alan Sked there. Yanis (the Greek) stating in the past EU don’t do deals and are a waste of time.

    Just goes to show all the current sham negotiations are wasting time and money. Just tell them to foxtrot oscar and the sooner the better. Then we all know where we stand against all the prevarication, project fear et al.

    The whole Brexit shambles has severely undermined confidence in our so called democracy. The vote was OUT by a more convincing TWO THIRDS on a UK constituency basis.

    What I do not understand is why we would be paying them to leave considering the imbalance of trade not forgetting our investments etc in the various EU financial systems. As one prominent MP said they should be paying us. Also why do we have a Remainer PM along with a majority of ministers and civil servants if we really are Leaving? Just how can they function appropriately doing something they do not believe in?

  51. Iain Gill
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    No Northern trains at all in the lake District

    Political class completely and utterly failing in the basics of running the country

    We may as well have the teletubbies in charge

    Network rail is worse than the MOD in the sixties

  52. Toyman
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    When we lads got little toy cars, matchbox, corgi, dinky and others we graduated so to speak onto electric train sets. Our dads set the borders of our transport and bought us some hardboard of convenient dimensions.We tacked down the rails.
    We learned you cannot keep on adding more and more passengers and cars and engines within the borders.We learned you cannot integrate mutually exclusive modes of transport without using your hand and fingers as a Chinook helicopter to move cars over the rails and vice-versa. Heaven knows what we would have done if Dad had bought us 250, 000 plastic little passengers each year. Probably urged Mum to have him put in the loony bin or Parliament as we grown-ups now call it.

  53. Rien Huizer
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, You wrote: “They seem to want to help those on the continent that think they can reverse Brexit and keep our money flowing into their expensive organisation.” And who/where would “those” be? The continent (Ireland also on the continent?) is largely resigned to whatever the UK does, as long as it leaves the club. It may be an associate, an FTA partner, or a full third country, but please do not try to keep them in. It is possible that for Ireland a UK membership would be the best solution. The rest has moved on and the money? The money is a small fraction of EU revenue, it was not supposed to be a lump sum and it is a great excuse to refiorm EU finance. An association based on bribes and blackmail does not have a future and even with a membership of say 300 million, it is still viable as an economic community. The rest is bombastic nonsense for consumtion in countries where that used to be the norm.

  54. L Jones
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    ”Asked”, ”offered”, ”wish” – these are civil SERVANTS. What part of the word ”servant” don’t they understand?

  55. margaret howard
    Posted June 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    So a British government minister is worried that his unelected civil servants can go against the ‘will of the people’ and its elected ministers and actually succeed in upsetting government policy?
    I thought only unelected Brussels bureaucrats were capable of doing that.

  56. old salt
    Posted June 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Project fear stepping up a gear or two. They, the Remainers and the EU, must be getting very worried.

    Channel 4 prog ‘Carry on Brussels’ last Wednesday (a must see) very revealing meeting with power crazed UK Lib Dem Cath Bearder, Guy Verhofstadt President of the ALDE group and Prof A C Grayling (what was he doing there apart from the obvious?) discussing how to make it difficult for us to leave. Doubt we will see Alan Sked there. Yanis (the Greek) stating in the past EU don’t do deals and are a waste of time.

    Just goes to show all the current sham negotiations are wasting time and money. Just tell them to go away and the sooner the better. Then we all know where we stand against all the prevarication, project fear et al.

    The whole Brexit shambles has severely undermined confidence in our so called democracy. The vote was OUT by a more convincing TWO THIRDS on a UK constituency basis.

    What I do not understand is why we would be paying them to leave considering the imbalance of trade not forgetting our investments etc in the various EU financial systems. As one prominent MP said they should be paying us. Also why do we have a Remainer PM along with a majority of ministers and civil servants if we really are Leaving? Just how can they function appropriately doing something they do not believe in?

  57. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 5, 2018 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Many UK civil servants share the world view of their fellow bureaucrats in the European Commission – that political union is desirable as an end in itself and that free trade is only to be endorsed as a tool to create political union. The European Commission and its predecessors have held this view ever since the 1940s – and our beloved Remoaners will not acknowledge this fact.

    The EC’s doctrine is pure bunkum. Free trade – as the name implies – does not depend on political union at all. We can, for example, import cheaper agricultural produce from America, the Commonwealth and Africa without any shared politics, just so long as we make sure that they comply with OUR environmental standards. Go to it, Mr Gove.

    • margaret howard
      Posted June 6, 2018 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Extract from the official 1975 referendum leaflet:

      The aims of the Common Market are:

      Bring together the peoples of Europe

      Raise living standards and improve working conditions

      Promote growth and boost world trade

      Help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world

      Help maintain peace and freedom

  58. Dennis Zoff
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink


    My apologies. I sometimes forget you are extremely busy. I should appreciate this fact. Reading or commenting on each and every post is very time-consuming.

    Patience was never my strong point!


  • 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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