President Obama intervened in a crucial referendum. President Trump did not.

Some commentators see symmetry in the interventions anti and pro Brexit by successive Presidents. There is one crucial difference. President Trump is not intervening in an election or referendum, whereas President Obama deliberately tried to influence voting. Most of us think a government leader  should not try to influence an election in another democracy during an election period. As it happens, I think it was an ill judged intervention, as it added to the unreality of Project Fear and ended up helping the Leave campaign.

The other difference with Mr Trump’s intervention is his is a factual statement. Were the UK to accept the White Paper position it would  be much more difficult to agree a Free Trade Agreement with a non EU country. President Obama, on the other hand, was saying he would seek to delay a UK free trade agreement which would otherwise have been possible.  The Trump Administration would like to do a free trade deal with us, but can only do so if we leave the EU, single market, customs union and surrogates for them.


  1. Prigger
    July 13, 2018

    Obama tried to manipulate, bully and influence our people in advance of the vote. Trump passed his comment after…… the event.

    1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      July 14, 2018

      @Prigger: No, the event, Brexit (and what kind of Brexit) is still in the future. So he was interfering and trying to influence ( parliamentary procedures and even a possible leadership challenge)

      1. Edward2
        July 14, 2018

        One is aiming to change the minds of voters.
        The other is one government leader speaking to another government leader.
        Very different.

        1. jerry
          July 15, 2018

          @Edward2; “Very different.”

          Nonsense, had that been the case the comment would have been said in private, not to the MSM feeding their frenzy.

      2. Herr Düher
        July 14, 2018

        @Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Have you any advice on how to mend split ends in my hair salon?

  2. Eh?
    July 13, 2018

    The joint press conference of Trump and May was fine.

    One question from a British journalist, hit the spot in regard to the US agricultural exports to the UK.The Common Rule Book would severely hamper having to adhere to not British standards but EU rules irrespective.

    Mrs May turned to Mr Trump and said “This will be for negotiations” I took this to mean she would argue with the EU in negotiations and insist we determine what and how we receive agricultural production from non-EU nations. But it is a problem of the Common Rule Book, the Rule Book is of the EU and is controlled by the EU. We must not accept these foreign “laws”. We must return the EU Book to the EU library where they can store it with their other colouring-in books ( and not pay a fine )

    1. Timaction
      July 13, 2018

      The common (EU rule book with no say by the UK ad infinitum). May was lying through her teeth and being totally disingenuous with her answers, rattling off her robotic list, repeatedly. The white paper is written (Ollie’s version) and published and she has just renamed most of the existing treaty stuff so we won’t be leaving for real. All businesses will be subject to EU law and therefore subject to the ECJ and total regulatory alignment regardless that over 90% do not export to the EU . All red lines broken, then aligning everything else as well whilst paying our contribution via the back door with “kit kat” civil serpents! She has been planning this all along for a very long time, colluding with EU and foreign leaders whilst pretending otherwise, to dupe the public and Brexiteers in Parliament. The white paper written by the Dept for Exiting the EU was disregarded and Ollie’s slyly put in its place at the 11th hour , 55th minute for a locked in Cabinet. A total sell out and traitor Prime Minister the likes we have never seen! There’s going to be trouble and democracy has been disregarded and broken by her, therefore normal rules of law no longer apply to this junta and her cohorts.

    2. zorro
      July 13, 2018

      Sure…. As if T May will stand up to this in negotiations with the EU. She has conceded everything in the last two years. Who in their right mind could trust her to fight hard for the UK’s interests now, and particularly when we are complying with the EU acquis and allowing ECJ control over its application? She is talking ***p as usual.


    3. Den
      July 13, 2018

      A good point missed by journalists and LEAVERS alike.

    4. Denis Cooper
      July 14, 2018

      Well, it won’t be for negotiations if Theresa May and Olly Robbins continue to unthinkingly accept the EU’s “Single Market” methodology, or ideology, and we end up committed to it even after we have left the EU.

      Suppose the EU remains opposed to the US practice of giving chicken a final disinfecting wash and so it doesn’t want those products getting into its Single Market, of which the Republic of Ireland is a part.

      The EU mindset, shared by our Prime Minister and her chief Brexit adviser simply because that is how they have been thinking for most of their adult lives, dictates that with an open land border the only way to keep those prohibited US products out of the Republic is to keep them out of Northern Ireland, and that depends on controls on imports into Northern Ireland.

      The alternative possibility of the UK putting the necessary controls on its exports going across the border is not something they are prepared to contemplate.

  3. Ian wragg
    July 13, 2018

    The man talks sense. I see in the local bye bye election your party came third after the pro Brexit Democrat and Veteran party. The writings on the wall.

    1. Hahaha
      July 13, 2018

      Kilroy woz ‘ere?

  4. Denis Cooper
    July 13, 2018

    Today the BBC’s Daily Politics show had its guests spinning a “Wheel of Jargon” to pick out a number of technical terms from the White Paper, which were then to be explained by some bod in a back room with whatever clarity and accuracy he could muster.

    One term missing from the wheel, and therefore not eligible for selection, was this:

    “combined customs territory”.

    As in Paragraph 12a of the White Paper:

    “the phased introduction of a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement that would remove the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU as if in a combined customs territory, while enabling the UK to control tariffs for its own trade with the rest of the world and ensure businesses pay the right tariff”

    Well, this is the view taken by one firm of lawyers:

    “Accordingly, we consider that the “new Facilitated Customs Arrangement” is likely to be considered a customs union for WTO purposes. The paper probably avoids the term “customs union” because of the political connotations that this term has acquired.”

    As far as the EU is concerned a common commercial policy is a logical consequence of a customs union, so contrary to the government’s claim it would not be possible for the UK to set its own tariffs and make its own independent trade deals.

    Whether or not President Trump fully understood this aspect when he made his comment about the difficulty of the US making a trade deal with the UK he was right.

  5. Eh?
    July 13, 2018

    BBC and Sky News have been engaged in running commentary with interviews with protesters for a solid two days. Unprecedented.
    They even split-screen interrupted the Trump/May press conference.
    Well obviously unemployed marchers ( Thursday and Friday work-days ) is a problem and we must find work for them. Also it indicates a lack of basic political, social and constitutional understanding of democracy in academia and their utter failure to even seek information from the internet on what Trump actually says and believes.

    Do we have a Secretary of State for Education? Have we ever had a proper one?

  6. Denis Cooper
    July 13, 2018

    While he is available somebody should ask the President whether he would like us to collect US tariffs on any goods which arrive here in the UK but only en route to the US.

    We have now offered to continue to perform this service for the EU after we have left the EU, but it seems unfair to do that favour for the EU but not for our American friends.

    I’m not quite sure why we have offered to undertake this for the EU, I suppose it’s because Olly and Theresa don’t want to cause their EU chums any extra bother by leaving.

    All part of that special relationship we have developed with our continental neighbours, and even I have to admit that it’s better than having them start wars all the time.

  7. Den
    July 13, 2018

    I believe there is no doubt that Mr Trump is more a friend to Britain than his predecessor and remains so despite the hatred directed at him by some people in this country.
    I would question their real motives for embarrassing our Nation.

    1. margaret howard
      July 13, 2018


    2. Caterpillar
      July 13, 2018


    3. Mick
      July 13, 2018

      Mr Trump only speaks his mind it’s a pity others don’t follow suit, as for Obama he would have had us back of the line , and as for these protesters in London I was hoping and praying for a dirty big black rain cloud to hover over them and soak the lot of them, what a way to show disrespect to the high office of America, mind you what do you expect from the snowflake south muppets

    4. Timaction
      July 13, 2018

      Mr Trump is more of a friend to this Country than Mrs May and her remain cohorts.

    5. DaveM
      July 13, 2018

      He likes Britain more than half the elected MPs and certainly more than May. She and Khan are becoming a genuine embarrassment to our country.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        July 13, 2018

        I felt sorry for the Queen. She must have been very embarrassed by what was going on and for the mayor of London to give permission to fly the blimp which was not only disrespectful but ridiculed Trump. I expect she wonders what has become of our country.

    6. Lifelogic
      July 13, 2018

      The real motives of evious, chip on the shoulder, virtue signalling lefties?

      Just that I suppose, envy and general feeling of their inadequacy. Rather sad and pathetic really. The triumph of emotion and envy over logic & reason.

    7. Bob
      July 13, 2018


      The lefties have taken control of our institutions especially the BBC and education establishment (not to mention the Tory Party).

      They get upset because President Trump tells the truth and keeps his promises; but they’re happy support mealy mouthed political leaders that lie, deceive and hide their true agendas from the general public.

    8. A different Simon
      July 13, 2018

      Mr Trump is also more a friend to our country than fish faced May or her right hand “man” , The Spreadsheet Fool .

      An EU “common rule book” and US trade agreement are mutually incompatible .

      She must be even thicker than I thought to think she could get that one in under the radar .

    9. forthurst
      July 13, 2018

      Trump won his election fairly and squarely. The MSM which creates and controls the public discourse doesn’t like him, not on his side of the ditch nor on ours. Public perception is all, but the question remains “who elects the MSM?”

      1. Puffer Fish
        July 13, 2018

        Yes, good question? Who elect Dacre? And Murdoch? That was your question, I guess?

        1. Bob
          July 14, 2018

          @Puffer Fish
          You may have missed it, but EUrophile Lord Rothermere is replacing the Paul Dacre with a EUrophile editor for the Mail.

          You are being manipulated by some very wealthy and powerful people.

        2. graham1946
          July 14, 2018

          People buy their products – that’s the election which counts. The fiddled elections in this country pass for democracy.

  8. Adam
    July 13, 2018

    Obama attempted to obstruct our freedom, complying with a request to add to Project Fear.

    Trump tends to waffle & exaggerate, yet reaches a higher quality standard in pursuit of the freedom UK citizens voted to regain. He is a better friend & ally with the refreshing candour of his direct points of view.

  9. Puffer Fish
    July 13, 2018

    Did Obama say he would seek to delay a UK-UK trade agreement? No he said there would not be a fast-track one. That’s not the same.

    1. Gorge Orvill
      July 13, 2018

      @Puffer Fish
      I guess when you stand at the back of whelk stall queue, you are not at the back but progressively moving forward in a comradely fashion to achieve a communal goal!

  10. David L
    July 13, 2018

    The blimp was a crass and childish stunt. Whatever one thinks of POTUS, if we don’t maintain a dignified standard in the way we converse with and welcome others then we risk becoming friendless at a time when we need all the friends we can get.

    1. BrexiteerwivMusket
      July 13, 2018

      I am embarrassed now admitting I used to go on demos and thought in a similar way to some of the more militant protesters. “The Way We Were” movie 1973 starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford captures the feeling of the participants of a demo (only in the democratic advanced West, beautifully.)

  11. Roy Grainger
    July 13, 2018

    Perhaps John can answer these questions about the Chequers proposal. I don’t know the answers.

    1) Would it prevent a UK manufacturer producing a more powerful vacuum cleaner than allowed by EU rules for sale only in UK and outside the EU ?

    2) Would it prevent UK banning export of live animals to EU ? And import from EU ?

    3) Would it prevent UK removing VAT from tampons ?

  12. Iain Gill
    July 13, 2018

    Hurray well said John. It is our own government and political class that is anti democratic not trump.

  13. agricola
    July 13, 2018

    Many from the Westminster bubble find direct speech or saying it as you find it totally alien. This is because they have spent their lives with the nuance, the obfuscation and the out and out lie, so much more to their liking. This is why a “facilitated Customs Arrangement” sounds so much better than the Customs Union which in reality it is. Alternatively a “Common Rule Book” sounds so much more innocuous than being subject to the EU’s protectionist rules on conducting trade. believe me it is not. It is pure Sir Humphry.

    Much as I like Trump, do not think that a trade deal with the USA will be easy. Aspects of what the USA may want could crash against our wishes. We just need to be hard headed about any red lines we may have. It will be well beyond the current group of numpties in our cabinet, so come the day we need to co-opt a few professionals.

  14. TROD
    July 13, 2018


  15. John E
    July 13, 2018

    You know Obama only came reluctantly because Cameron asked him to help. He even stopped by the Queen first before saying anything to check he wasn’t overstepping the mark.

  16. Little Englander
    July 13, 2018

    Incandescent with rage. Trump keeping the Queen waiting? Discourteous arrogance from a NOBODY. Special relationship’ – Swivvel on it!!

    1. BrexiteerwivMusket
      July 13, 2018

      He arrived precisely on the hour as Sky News stated LIVE. What time was he due?
      If Trump is a Nobody then why do you fret about no-one in particular? Incandescent with rage? Then stop noshing on fairy lights, they’re not like fairy cakes.

  17. Denis Cooper
    July 13, 2018

    Asa Bennett of the Telegraph has an article headlined:

    “Trade with America is meant to be a big Brexit prize, but Theresa May spurned it long ago”

    Well, I don’t know long ago he thinks is long ago, but on this thread in April 2015:

    I mentioned that at a recent election meeting the local Tory candidate, one Theresa May, had extolled the virtues of TTIP and said that it would provide a £10 billion boost to our economy, but I then went on to say:

    “That would, of course, be a one-off rise in GDP, and as that one-off rise of £10 billion or 0.6% would be spread over a number of years it would pale into insignificance compared to the £100 billion or £200 billion added through natural growth.

    Even if they were actually achieved all the claimed economic benefits of the EU Single Market would represent a pretty small mess of pottage for which our politicians have been only too willing to sell our national birthright, and despite Cameron and May and others talking it up the benefits of TTIP would be even smaller.”

    Back then David Cameron’s line was that TTIP would provide a veritable cornucopia and we should not risk missing out on it by leaving the EU, now it turns out that its benefits would be marginal and would not make up for the economic losses we would suffer if we left the EU Single Market, even though in reality the effects of the EU Single Market have also been marginal, the gross benefit being at the level of 1-2% of GDP.

  18. DUNCAN
    July 13, 2018

    The silent majority adore Trump but then the silent majority are never heard nor allowed to express their views for fear of offending the liberal left establishment including many in the now defunct Conservative party

    He’s not afraid to tell the truth as opposed to the leftist narrative tosh we are bombarded with 24/7 by the BBC and our tedious political class

    Obama. The man was a vehement Anglophobe. He despised and no doubt still despises the UK. Another politician obsessed with race and identity politics. A dreadful, sneaky politician

    Welcome President Trump. Expose May for what she is and then expose Merkel and the EU

  19. mancunius
    July 13, 2018

    Perhaps Mrs May can explain to the people of the UK how it would be possible to impose all the EU’s restrictive rules on goods, and still have MRAs enabling trade agreements with other countries, e.g. the USA.
    A liberal and mature trading nation, such a Britain, has (until 1972) traded with other countries by discussing and agreeing an equivalence in different trading standards, not by demanding that every other country precisely implements British trading standards, measurements, safety regime and labelling demands.
    Mrs May’s White Paper would allow the EU to set very restrictive standards on the goods we import and export. And if Brussels realises that somehow le perfide Albion is managing to negotiate these hazards with success, it will bring in new rules (which must perforce adopt) which will target Britain’s non-EU trading.
    For America, we are a trading partner. For Brussels, from 29 March 2019 we shall be a loathed renegade competitor to be punished and excluded: and they will have a free hand to do so, as we shall be tethered to their rule book for ever. They are rubbing their hands already in anticipation.
    So Trump was wrong to apologise today, and right in what he said yesterday. He should lend as little credence to TM as we in this country now do.

    1. mancunius
      July 13, 2018

      ‘which we must perforce adopt’…

    2. Denis Cooper
      July 14, 2018

      She doesn’t have to explain it, just repeatedly and confidently assert it. Even with her diminished credibility that will still be good enough for many people who do not know or understand much about it, including most of the Tory MPs who can then go around repeating it themselves with a knowledgeable air.

      Turkey has got itself into a difficult place by forming a customs union with the EU, and apparently Theresa May wants to put us in a fairly similar position:

      “The EU has had a customs union with Turkey since 1995 which covers all industrial goods and processed agricultural goods. In return for this arrangement, Turkey has adopted a large part of the EU’s Single Market rules system (the acquis communautaire), applies the Common External Tariff to goods from third countries, is required to have trade arrangements with third countries that are compatible with EU trade agreements with those countries (i.e. they must have the same tariffs etc.), and hands the income from the duties it collects to the EU. Furthermore, Turkey is not involved in the setting of EU customs tariffs (although it must collect them). Where the EU has free trade agreements (in whose negotiation Turkey has no say) with third countries, Turkey must accept imports from those countries on FTA terms, although Turkish goods may require separate negotiations to be able to enter those markets on similar terms.”

  20. Denis Cooper
    July 13, 2018

    Off-topic, I wonder how Jeremy Corbyn likes this bit in the White Paper:

    “… committing to apply a common rulebook for state aid … “,

    that is to say, agreeing to keep the EU state aid rules to which he objects.

  21. LukeM
    July 13, 2018

    Looks like the white paper will not be acceptable to anyone as it’s much too complicated and unworkable in its present form..also there are too many red lines in place on both sides therefore it’s very likely there will be No Deal..can’t see it any other way..we’ll be free then to do FTA’S with countries worldwide but I wouldn’t bet on America..Trump changes his mind too often and can’t be any case he’ll probably be in Situ for only another two years..however we can always try a deal with Oz and NZ also there is Japan and S Korea

  22. Kenneth
    July 13, 2018

    The BBC news people need to calm down.

    It’s obvious that they don’t like Mr Trump but they really need to stick to the news.

  23. Steve
    July 13, 2018

    The people mouthing it off against Donald Trump are the takers of society, not the contributors. They have something to lose in sorting this country out. Whingeing pseudo-marxist parasites, for want of a better description.

    Fact; May’s treachery keeps us in the EU, so I welcome Donald Trump’s opinions, flamboyant as they are, they’re spot on.

    While I’m here I’ll also mention the fact that May, and Bliar have two things in common; 1) they’re both liars, 2) they both have the same ideological DNA – check her out on wiki, not immediately obvious but it’s there, and when you find it you’ll realise this woman is not English, and not be too surprised why she’s wrecked BREXIT.

    Though I’m not sure which is worse; the foreign traitor Theresa May or the spineless self serving cowards of the conservative party lacking the guts to remove her.

    Get me iside No 10 and I’ll have the quisling out on the street within seconds – defenestrated straight into the back of a trash cart and off to the tower.

    What this shows is that elected MP’s really are a shower of sh**e who don’t give a toss about anyone else once they get power. This farce just proves it.

    Time to drag the buggers out onto the streets for some good old fashioned justice.

  24. Stan
    July 13, 2018

    What is badly missing from our politicians is a sense of decency

  25. Roger
    July 13, 2018

    Only one thing to do now is Leave the EU..go outside..scratch around for a few years and then see where do we go from there..what could be more simple

  26. Blue and Gold
    July 13, 2018

    Donald Trump HAS interfered with the politics of our country, but I was expecting the type of comments to come from the Leave side, that they have issued.

    To try and justify and defend President Trump, puts the Leave side at odds with the majority of decent people in this country. We all know what Mr.Trump thinks of immigration, and the way he treats immigrants, so I get the connection with that of the Brexiteers.

    His rudeness to the Prime Minister was unforgiveable, he is no statesman.

    Sadly, because certain people in our country wish to do us harm by leaving the EU, we have no alternative but to cuddle up to such a person for trade reasons.

    At least Americans, and the world, only have to put up with him for another 6 years at most.

    Oh, and just because he is the democratically elected President does not mean we want him on British soil.

    1. Steve
      July 14, 2018

      “His rudeness to the Prime Minister was unforgivable ”

      ….and you think May has not been ‘rude’ to us ?

      ” does not mean we want him [Trump] on British soil. ”

      ….I’m not sure I want you on British soil.

      1. rose
        July 14, 2018

        He has been very forbearing of the PM’s rudeness to him ever since he came in. She has gone out of her way to insult him, repeatedly, usually over aspects of his domestic policy she doesn’t understand, in order to suck up to nasty people here. He has risen above it. His remarks about the vote not being honoured were extremly welcome. Someone is standing up for us.

  27. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    July 13, 2018

    Instead of an opinion on an advisory referendum (not dissimilar to comments from the leaders of Japan and Australia) this Trum intervention was much worse and brutal – trying to influence the parliamentary treatment of the white paper and directly, brutally oPposing a foreign government in a very clear national debate.
    Trum even shocked himself so much that today he branded his own words (or the glued clips of them) as “FAKE NEWS” 🙂 🙂
    Today he seemed to have better understood after having the white paper explained to him and couldn’t stop praising T.M. and looking forward to negotiations on a US-UK FTA.
    Whether you’ll become a de-facto chlorinated US colony is also tied in here, because there is a chance that T.M. will want to sticki to the current higher standard prevailing in the UK (thanks to the EU).

    1. David Price
      July 14, 2018

      You appear to be very ignorant or disingenuous about the extensive interference of the EU in our affairs over decades. A recent example would be;

      “Theresa May has launched an extraordinary attack on Brussels, accusing European Union politicians and officials of seeking to disrupt the general election and willing Brexit to fail in a combative address delivered from Downing Street.”

      Guardian 3rd May 2017

    2. I am the egg man
      July 14, 2018

      Don’t egg us on

  28. formula57
    July 13, 2018

    And per Mr. Obama we would be “at the back of the queue” whereas now we have thanks to T. May contrived to exclude ourselves from joining any queue Mr. Trump has forming. (She has not resigned yet in a fit of conscience I suppose?)

  29. ian
    July 13, 2018

    Trump will win the trade wars, no doubt about it, anyway it not war as such, he just asking for parity on trade which most likely ends up with no tariffs.
    Why anybody thinks the UK needs the EU deal on trade is beyond me, trade deal comes later, not now, they wouldn’t even put tariffs on, they would want new talks on trade only which could go on for years as we are, trade talks should be taken off the table till trump is finished with them, They are not going do anything either are we because not in anyone interests to do so. Just tie up the loose ends and call it a day.

  30. NickW
    July 13, 2018

    How do “Remain” MPs justify ignoring the referendum result given that participation was far greater than most General Elections?

    Will MPs ignore the next G.E. result if they don’t like it? What’s the difference between ignoring a General Election result and ignoring the Referendum result?

    There should be no Remain MPs; the terms of the Referendum were clear and the result was clear.

    If Parliament chooses to ignore the referendum result MPs will have effectively participated in a coup which permanently changes the way Britain is governed.

  31. Jacey
    July 13, 2018

    I seem to remember that, among other ill-judged comments on his visit to the U.K. , the then President Obama described the U.S.A. as being ” on the cusp ” of a trade deal with the European Union. I think that ship has sailed Mr. Obama

  32. Fedupsoutherner
    July 13, 2018

    Even Melania came in for some nasty comments. I thought the yellow dress she wore was lovely and just right for the occasion but one of the air head women on Loose Women said where was the other candlestick. They really let themselves down.

    1. Steve
      July 14, 2018

      Ignore loose women, its the kind of crap intended to break down British values that we see on television so often these days. It’s muck….watch something else.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        July 14, 2018

        @Steve. I don’t actually watch it. It came on when TV got switched on as that channel was the last we had tuned into the previous night. That just happened to be the comment at the time. Don’t jump in with assumptions about people. Soaps as not allowed either in our household.

  33. Stred
    July 14, 2018

    The anti – Trump brigade is about to go ballistic about Russian agents helping him by hacking Mrs Clinton and her dodgy helpers. The US spooks are prosecuting. Was it the same spooks and Obama who were tapping Mrs Merke’s phone a while ago?

  34. chris
    July 14, 2018

    There were more snowflakes in Londonistan yesterday than in winter 1962 /3.

    I twigged when Obarmy first said ‘you will be at the back of the queue for a trade deal’ in the run-up to the referendum that he had been scripted by Cameron, an American would have said ‘ back of the line’. Trump is a friend to UK, Obarmy was an enemy to the world.

  35. ian
    July 14, 2018

    Mrs T May speech with Trump, Immigration has served the UK well and will on into the future as always has.

    1. chris
      July 14, 2018

      Immigration is OK when people obey the rules and are not just economic migrants trafficked by people smuggler gangs. Too many posing as asylum seekers / refugees, but just wanting to shortcut the system. For immigration to benefit a country it has to be controlled, to allow you to chose who comes and goes, and need to be careful not to let people in who want to destroy your culture and values.

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