I have more confidence in the government than Ministers do

Ministers fanned out yesterday to spread gloom and doom around the country about what will happen if we just leave next March. It was a poor version of Project Fear, without even any novelty to amuse connoisseurs of this most popular political genre. We were told that the ports will jammed by our own Customs officials, leading to long delays. I don’t believe them. The UK can put in the capacity it needs to handle any additional checks. If it fails to do so it will just have to let the lorries through against their pre filed electronic details as they do today whilst they put in capacity for additional checks. That is what I thought Customs officials had already told us.

So Ministers, I don’t believe you. I think the UK port and government officials will handle it just fine. You will not have to resign for failing to plan and equip our ports properly for the task. I am sure you are up to it.

I also enjoyed the contradictions in the stories. We were told that in a worst case there will be six months of delays, yet the Health Secretary only thinks we need six weeks of stocks of medicines. It was a curious irony from the BBC that to describe what it would be like they looked back to what had actually happened to cross Channel trade in 2015 when we were still firmly in the EU. It was unhelpful then to face the disruption, but we got through it. I cant see why this should be bad like that, when on both sides of the Channel the authorities tell us they want it to work on 30 March.

Still the UK government has failed to set out its schedule of tariffs for March 30th. The Trade Secretary has promised me it is due any moment, so why shouldn’t I believe him. I trust the schedule will say there will be no tariffs on imported components for UK car factories, shooting that particular fox of the Project Fear campaign.

Project Fear has done great damage to the reputation of the UK establishment. It has led them to make all too many nonsensical forecasts. It reminds Leave voters Remain still have nothing positive to say about the EU they seem to love so much. I was amused to see several Ministers decided to fulfill the instruction to meet business to tell Leave voters they were wrong in or near their own constituencies so their time was not completely wasted.


  1. sm
    December 8, 2018

    The Daily Telegraph has just published a letter from Tim Morris, Chief Executive of the UK Major Ports Group, stating that his associates will ‘work through the challenges’, as always, since they are ‘resilient, adaptable and highly competitive’.

    1. eeyore
      December 8, 2018

      Project Fear damages more than the Establishment’s reputation. It is a planned, deliberate campaign to undermine national morale. Has there ever been a case where a country’s own government has set out to do that? And could there be any clearer evidence of the chasm that now gapes between the government and people of Britain?

      1. AlteFritz
        December 8, 2018

        Absolutely. The government’s performance confirms every fear I had about it and has given rise to many fears and suspicions I never dreamt of. I am past being angry. It is now primarily sadness that our country is reduced to the status of a laughing stock by an establishment or several establishment which have such contempt for the people on whom they rely for legitimacy and much else.

        1. Timaction
          December 8, 2018

          Indeed. Totally useless people batting for the opposition so not needed by us at all. Time to clear the swamp and place patriots in power removing the quislings.

          1. Lifelogic
            December 8, 2018

            That is indeed what is needed. But what proportion of Tory MPs support these appalling, lying, fraudulent, quislings?

        2. Hope
          December 8, 2018

          It is not incompetence. It is a deliberate deceit to collide with the EU to email in servitude until we ch age our minds undertaken by May. Legal advice now shows N.Ireland would in effect be ruled by another county. May stated repeatedly no PM could countenance this. She repeatedly lied as she knew from her legal advice her plan would do exactly this but the detail disguised and hidden from the untrained legal eye. Farage is correct May is the most dishonest PM in living memory. No where to hide for the other ministers who supported her.

      2. Alan Jutson
        December 8, 2018


        Agreed, trust in Government and our Mp’s in general is now at an all time low.

        We now have a complete disconnect.

        1. Hope
          December 8, 2018

          I think it is time we are reaching that yellow jacket moment. I will not tolerate Norway or any form as Rudd has broken from cover to promote. We voted leave irresistible of a trade deal. May has failed to get,a trade deal and is falsely calling her withdrawal servitude plan the deal. It is nothing of the sort.

          May’s dishonest plan to reach this point was planned not an accident not incompetence. She deliberately misled or lied to cabinet last year to get her Irish plan as the main point. She had drafted a paralla plan not known to the Brexit secretary, who she promised would lead on the negotiation, she ambushed cabinet at chequers, she tried to conceal her legal advice so tha only a limited few would know the true meaning. Steerpike in Spectator highlightsthe top points around this.

          May has betrayed the nation and electoral democracy. The Tory party has allowed this to happen. It is incredulous how so May MPs sat on their hands and they will be judged for doing so. Millions died to preserve our way of life as a self serving independent sovereign democracy. Not based on re was a true blockaid in the sat world war and the arak overcame it. Hancock, Greg Clark are either completely stupid or dishonest to scare monger such rot. As was once said in the name of god go.

          We can discuss trade after we leave. We do not need May’s plan. It is not a deal in any sense of the word.
          Those who still advocate for,servitude like May, Grieve, Clark, Rudd need to hang their harass in shame. Better still move abroad.

      3. Lorna
        December 8, 2018

        Sadly Liam Fox was responsible for a group of business men going to Downing Street to ensure No Deal is not an option
        I am totally puzzled by Fox who has accepted Mays explanation that we will be able to make International Trade Agreements when US negotiators ,Martin Howe QC and the eminent ex diplomat asked by the SeLect Committee to advise on this all say otherwise
        I can only reluctantly surmise that this ex Brexiteer has been offered a great prize ex Lords by our PM to get his support .After all he may as well resign his post as he will not have much of a job

        Reply I do not accept the Lords idea – very unlikely.

        1. Hope
          December 8, 2018

          Foxs speech at portbury dock wa shockingly untrue. He knows that the UK is unable from the 30/03/2019 to negotiate a trade deal with whom ever it likes on whatever terms it wishes. Trade can only be conducted in EUROPE terms with their permission u til the U.K. Leaves. Fox deliberately and deceitfully left the crucial facts out from his speech. He has no shame, conviction or values. He likes the Timmy gas of office too much, hence his resignation last time around.

          1. zorro
            December 8, 2018

            I think that Mr Fox is made of the same stuff as Mr Hague.


    2. David Price
      December 8, 2018

      An excellent attitude. A willingness and ability to work through the challenges is the minimum we should expect of ministers and civil servants. If they are unwilling or incapable of meeting the challenge and standing up for our interests then they should not occupy the positions of authority and trust they do.

      Regrettably ministerial and civil service behaviour has led to a loss of trust, I wouldn’t be surprised if loss of authority follows.

      1. Adam
        December 8, 2018

        Ministers were assigned to wear hard hats & eye protection, and walk around factories doing little more than gazing in bewilderment at machinery for a few seconds of TV news.

        How could that be effective in persuading MPs to vote in favour of a malevolent Withdrawal Agreement?

        Only if the machinery is designed to achieve remote mind control & doesn’t fail!

    3. Richard
      December 8, 2018

      Six months ago: “The new chairman of the UK’s Major Ports Groups, Charles Hammond, said: “As an industry, we’re ready and prepared”. The chairman said that UK ports are doing a lot to prepare for Brexit by investing in inspection facilities and more warehouses so that food can be checked before it enters the UK.” https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/958788/Brexit-news-ports-charles-hammond-ready-for-Brexit-EU-updates https://www.ft.com/content/e2e72794-550d-11e8-b24e-cad6aa67e23e

      And a Moneyweek article points out that the 6% of UK businesses (12% of GDP) that trade with the EU have by now incurred most of their one-off No Deal preparatory costs. “Preparations have been made, the costs largely sunk already. … Rolls-Royce is stockpiling parts for its factories. Premier Foods says it is spending £10m on contingency plans in case supplies of food start to run out. EasyJet has set up subsidiaries in continental Europe” https://moneyweek.com/498512/relax-a-no-deal-brexit-will-be-fine/
      Suella Braverman, recent DexEU minister on a World Trade Deal: “based on what I saw during my time at the Department for Exiting the EU, the plans for this scenario are advanced. … and the Mayor of Calais has said that flow will be prioritised in any scenario, with no unnecessary checks at the border.” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/03/not-cowed-fear-accepting-no-alternative-defeatist-fake-brexit/ French & Belgian trade surpluses on food to the UK is an incentive for cross-channel maxfac to run smoothly.

      And EU Ports want to retain market share. “Rotterdam faces constant challenges… ’We’ll deal with it.’ On Tuesday senior officials from Calais and Zeebrugge delivered a similar message to the Treasury Select Committee” https://www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2018/06/syed-kamall-europes-biggest-ports-are-being-refreshingly-practical-about-brexit.html
      EU27 member states are responsible for applying WTO rules facilitating trade. They have been hiring customs staff (eg Rotterdam, Antwerp); and liaising with UK eg Poland https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-press-statement-in-poland-21-december-2017

    4. Caterpillar
      December 8, 2018

      A much better attitude than that of the Govt (co-branded with Project Fear). Hammond induced headlines of 6 months of queues under No Deal Brexit is again narrative manipulation.

      I suggest we rename No Deal Brexit as ‘No Preparation (even though we had 2 years) Brexit’ .

      The Govt reminds me of a student who has had plenty of time to do her homework but now the deadline approaches says it will be really bad because she doesn’t have time to finish it. A fail mark should be automatic.

  2. Lendo
    December 8, 2018

    Are you determined to keep misrepresenting the truth? No one doubts that OUR officials can cope. The problems are all at Calais, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam etc, where our exports will face many new checks once the UK is a third country – especially if we crash out of the EU with no deal

    Reply Not what the government put out yesterday

    1. David Price
      December 8, 2018

      @Lendo You are misrepresenting opinion and conjecture as truth.

      The only “fact” is that the UK would be a “third” country to members of the EU, and vice versa. The process of trade in both directions will be subject to a trade agreement which has neither been defined nor settled yet so the only fact you can assume at this stage is a WTO basis which even the EU recognises as a trading basis so is not “crashing out”.

      1. Helena
        December 8, 2018

        “WTO basis” means huge queues because it inevitably involves checks. Trading on the basis of the WTO is the worst possible outcome, which is why hardly any countries do so. They all do deals. Here is an excellent summary of what WTO rules really means – sadly Brexiters like Mr Redwood regularly misrepresent the reality of the WTO when they tell us no deal is fine. it isn’t!

        1. Edward2
          December 8, 2018

          There are no “huge queues” aound the world as goods move in and out of non EU nations so your project fear prediction falls flat.
          You think trade officals actually open loads of boxes and check goods for compliance?
          Plainly you have never been involved in any business that sends or receives goods from abroad.

        2. Dave Andrews
          December 8, 2018

          OK, so let’s have a deal – a comprehensive free trade agreement, and in the meantime behave as if we had one already. No doubt a Political Declaration to that end will suffice for now.
          Leavers happy, remainers worried about the economy happy, businesses in both the UK and EU happy – in short just about everyone.
          But no, the EU must protect its Project, and make leaving appear so difficult so as to discourage the others from getting any ideas.

          1. Hoof Hearted
            December 8, 2018

            Your final paragraph is the root of the problem. Who needs enemies with “friends” like these.

        3. A.Sedgwick
          December 8, 2018


        4. Al
          December 8, 2018

          What terms do you think businesses that trade with countries outside the EU trade under?

          After Dec 2015 and then June 2016 many digital businesses were forced by EU legislation to stop trading with the EU or close. Rather than shut themselves off from the global economy, they continued to trade with countries outside it. The US, Australia, China, New Zealand, Russia, and others (until very recently Canada, which is still going through) and others are all under WTO.

          Even the BBC admits the vast majority of outside EU trade is under WTO at the current time: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41859691 (Note they carefully don’t emphasise which 24 countries, as it is a majority of trade, and the proportion is increasing…)

          1. acorn
            December 8, 2018

            (Note they carefully don’t emphasise which 24 countries, as it is a majority of trade, and the proportion is increasing…)

            Did you not notice the list on the same page? https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/11AD3/production/_98630427_wto_rules_640-nc.png

          2. Al
            December 8, 2018

            Acorn, there is a list. Note it places Venezuela on the same level as the United States, China and Russia, and does not indicate what proportion of trade, world GDP or UK trade these countries represent. This is a standard method of media downplaying information as many people do not check the illustrations, merely assuming they support the article.

        5. David Price
          December 8, 2018

          @Helena – If you are arguing a fair, free trade agreement is preferable to WTO you may be right. But the EU is not interested in any such thing, the EU wishes only to control and punish the UK with the (fools? ed) in UK government and the establishment aiding them in that action against the rest of us.

          WTO as a foundation and trade agreements with friendly countries that wish to trade is the only way that meets the mandate of the referendum and promises of the general election.

        6. Denis Cooper
          December 8, 2018

          Helena, the WTO itself does not agree with you that ““WTO basis” means huge queues because it inevitably involves checks.”


          So I challenge you to cite chapter and verse of the WTO rules which you suppose would make huge queues inevitable.

          I had a look at the paper to which you refer and noted this, which ignores Article 7.4.4 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement:

          ” … If country A grants country B a favour … that same favour must be granted to all other WTO members … If the UK wanted to remove all tariffs and checks on goods arriving from the EU, it would have to do the same for every other WTO member. The same would apply to the EU.”

          That is certainly true for some ‘favours’ but not for all “favours’: no doubt another country C could legitimately object if A cut its tariffs for imports from B but not for the same kind of imports from C, without A and B having any special free trade agreement, but as far as checks on the imports are concerned there is a very wide range of recognised grounds which could permit A to check imports from C more intensively than those from B:


          “Each Member shall base risk management on an assessment of risk through appropriate selectivity criteria. Such selectivity criteria may include, inter alia, the Harmonized System code, nature and description of the goods, country of origin, country from which the goods were shipped, value of the goods, compliance record of traders, and type of means of transport.”

          Looking at this from a common sense point of view, the day after we leave the EU imports into the UK from the EU will need no more checking at the border than they do now, and that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future, and the other way round any need for increased border checks will only develop some time in the future if/when the UK starts to diverge from EU standards.

          1. Dennis
            December 8, 2018

            Helena – that WTO link is interesting but not dispassionate – it says ” the ‘fabled’ WTO terms’ .

            Also it says about Brexit statements that the UK trades with the USA on WTO terms ‘(it doesn’t)’ but does not explain that. So a very biased piece.

        7. libertarian
          December 8, 2018


          WTO has nothing to say about queues at ports or checking paperwork

          The system we use in UK is called CHIEFS ( soon to be CDS) and we are members of TIR as are all the other European countries . You continue to pontificate on subjects of which you are wholly ignorant .

          I went last week to the Port of Dover and interviewed a front line Border inspector. This is what he told me. ” voted remain, but every time i hear this total B…….Ks about the queues at Dover post Brexit I want to kick the TV in, its absolute nonsense ”

          Still I suppose you know more than him because you’re not a racist pensioner or something

          Meanwhile in France there are 89,000 police officers with armoured vehicles on duty expecting more and prolonged mass rioting . Police cavalry have charged at protesters , mass tear gas firing and over 500 arrests already. Protestors have tried to storm the Elysee Palace and the demands of the gilets jaunts are a 50% cut in all taxes to take tax to 25% of GDP max, leave the European Union and halt massive unemployment ……..Meanwhile in Belgium protestors have tried to storm the European Parliament in Brussels

          Anyone would think that ordinary people in Europe dont actually like the EU.

          1. margaret howard
            December 8, 2018


            According to tonight’s BBC report there were fewer protesters than expected or last weekend and groups of political agitators and common vandals had taken over. There were in fact more police officers than protesters.

            Nobody is reporting any attempted storming of the European Parliament in Brussels but just a few stone throwing hooligans.
            And in the Netherlands about 100 protesters took to the streets. In other words, the usual rent a mob is active again.

            Meanwhile your ‘ordinary Europeans’ (whatever that may mean) are going about their business enjoying a spot of pre xmas shopping.

          2. libertarian
            December 8, 2018

            margaret howard

            I got my info from tweets from the BBC news !

            So according to you, nothing happening in France, Macron is a hero and the French are happy….. okey dokey

            I said ordinary people, that is people who aren’t the government or the establishment or their hangers on. I can assure you that most French people think of themselves as French, not European

            None so blind as those that won’t see

          3. margaret howard
            December 8, 2018

            Is that the best you can do?

            I studied in France – did you?

            I seems to me that most Brexiteer nationalist’s experience of Europe is two weeks in Benidorm in August.

          4. libertarian
            December 9, 2018

            Margaret howard

            Well seeing as you haven’t seen any of the dozens of video footage, read any of the reports about the trouble in France , Belgium and Holland I think we can safely ignore you

            I CURRENTLY own a business in France, my son and his French wife live in er France and I would guess i have more contact with French people than you , including weekly contact with my French workers . I also belong to a cross border business group consisting of French business owners in the UK , British business owners and French businesses in France

            I’ve never been to Benidorm , I have however worked in France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and the USA

    2. Richard1
      December 8, 2018

      The current scare stories are about shortages. There will only shortages if: 1) EU suppliers decide they don’t want to sell to the UK anymore and we can’t find alternatives 2) the EU mounts a trade blockade on the UK or 3) the UK govt for some bizarre reason decides to hamper or impede imports. Which of those do Continuty Remain think is likely or possible?

      1. Dennis
        December 8, 2018

        Richard1 – yes quite – a pity no interviewer comes up with this when shortages etc. are mentioned by remainers.

      2. zorro
        December 8, 2018

        Unfortunately, if the hapless T May is still PM, option 3 is most likely bearing in mind past performance!


    3. libertarian
      December 8, 2018


      Really facing checks at Calais and Rotterdam you say? OK you’re another one we can safely ignore as being totally ignorant of international trading in goods.

      I thought you remainers were supposed to know what you voted for and how the EU worked, apparently not. The customs checking area for Rotterdam is 40km inland from the port, as with other country the only consignments physically checked there are loads suspected of being “dodgy” or who do not have the correct paperwork . Oh you didn’t know that you require paperwork ( actually electronic documentation) to send goods from one EU country to another , you thought it was “frictionless” No afraid not . Now lets pop across to Calais with a lorry load of goods , that will require registration and documentation via the French G.U.N system Le guichet unique national. There is ONE customs point for France .

      The electronic systems for importing/exporting/complying with regulations and the payments of duties are a system that exists OUTside but includes the EU. TIR, eTIR, CHIEF, CDS, UN/CEFACT Delt@, etc

      Remainers really are totally and utterly ignorant of trade, i guess it why you fall for the “single market” schtick .

      1. Edward2
        December 8, 2018

        excellent stuff libertarian.

  3. oldtimer
    December 8, 2018

    I noted that the keeper and counter of the letters was “doorstepped” by TV crews and responded by saying it would be better if Tuesday’s vote was delayed. My conclusion: the critical mass of 48 letters will be reached if/when the WA motion is defeated. The reports of contenders preparing for a leadership contest confirms the view that May will not be PM much longer. This latest exercise in displacement activities you describe is a measure of the ineptitude of the current No 10 operation. The sooner it is ended the better. Whether the Conservative party is capable of electing a new leader up to the task ahead remains to be seen.

    1. jerry
      December 8, 2018

      @oldtimer; “The reports of contenders preparing for a leadership contest confirms the view that May will not be PM much longer.”

      It is one thing to amass the 48 letters, it is another thing to unseat the sitting leader, and there are greater risks these days when trying – what if TM wins such a no-confidence vote, she is safe for another 12 months, she could then all but loose the support of her own Brexit supporting MPs yet still as PM force a different BRINO agreement through, or even cancel Brexit, with opposition support.

      We need to leave the EU, signed sealed and delivered, before any thoughts of a leadership contest, be careful what you wish for, as in 2016 the reality might not be what you dreamt of – Ken Clark or Anna Sobury for leader anyone?!

      ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’…

      1. eeyore
        December 8, 2018

        Jerry – Much wisdom in this. Happily the champions of Brexit in Parliament have vast political experience. Despite opposition as powerful as it is unprincipled, they have already worked wonders. I think we should continue to trust their judgement.

      2. oldtimer
        December 8, 2018

        If she continued under those circumstances she would need votes to pass legislation. It is difficult many to see many members of the ERG supporting another version of BRINO or cancelling Brexit. She is also likely to face a no confidence challenge in the HoC. Her position would be insupportable.

        1. jerry
          December 8, 2018

          @oldtimer; TM does not need support from the ERG group to get such legislation through the house, she just needs support, any support, including that of Labour, the LibDems, the SNP, PC, the Greens, even perhaps the DUP.

          It is not the ERG, nor the DUP, who have sunk the current Withdrawal Agreement but the (apparent massive) lack of support from Labour.

          Would members of the ERG really withhold support should a parliamentary vote of no-confidence in the government be tabled, would they really vote for either a General Election (or perhaps the Queen asking Corbyn to try and form a minority grand coalition)?!

          Next you’ll be claiming turkeys vote for Christmas….

  4. Javelin
    December 8, 2018

    The head of UK Ports and expert such matters says “no deal, no probs”.

    The ex manager of an old people’s home with no knowledge of anything about ports says “No deal, traffic jams”.

    So who am I supposed to believe?

    1. Adam
      December 8, 2018


      Everyone is confined to believing their own assessment, even when that identically reflects someone else’s.

  5. Nigl
    December 8, 2018

    Indeed. It is like an ongoing version of April Fools Day identifying the spoof stories or pantomime. Theresa May as Widow Twankey and Hammond as Wishy Washy.

    1. Mark B
      December 9, 2018

      I just searched on which day April Fools day is on. It is the first day of the working week. Curious !?!?

  6. Kenneth
    December 8, 2018

    Apart from the obvious bias, it is tedious and lazy for BBC managers to focus on “worst case scenarios”.

    A worse case scenario is a nuclear strike or a deadly plague…none of which feature regularly on the news.

    The BBC needs to calm down and its management needs to grow up.

    1. jerry
      December 8, 2018

      @Kenneth; Not just the BBC, Sky News is if anything more shrill these days and as for Ch4 you might be excused for thinking that a deadly plague had come….

      1. bigneil
        December 8, 2018

        jerry . . .If the doors to everyone are opened, the plague and every other disease will be here very quickly. That should make the Remainers very happy indeed.

    2. Dave Andrews
      December 8, 2018

      Exactly. What about the worst case scenario that includes the economic collapse of Italy, a revolution in France or the failure of a big German bank? How do those scenarios fit into the BoE plans?

    3. Dennis
      December 8, 2018

      Kenneth – ‘A worse case scenario is a nuclear strike or a deadly plague…none of which feature regularly on the news.’

      Yes but neither is in the offing so the BBC aren’t going to mention those.

  7. David in Kent
    December 8, 2018

    Apparently 80% of trucks going through Dover are foreign owned and a high proportion of those leaving the port bound for the continent are empty as we export so much less than we import. So if continental port wish to impose additional barriers they will be harming themselves rather than us.
    In any case barriers to export will not affect imports so I can see no reason why they should cause us to run out of insulin, water treatment chemicals or anything else.

  8. Mark B
    December 8, 2018

    Good morning.

    Everything has been done to lead us to the position we are faced with. Either Remain in the EU as is or, Remain in the EU as a vassal state. Such treachery !

    Our kind host confirms what I and an increasing number of people have long suspected. Both MP’s and the Civil Service are simply not up to the job. Hence why their responsibilities, but not jobs, are farmed out to QUANGO’s and the EU.

    The Trade Secretary will NEVER publish our tariff schedule. Why should he when he knows full well that it is in fact the EU tariff schedule that we will be using. 😉

    There will be some disruption, but it is truly hard to say.

    The Ministers going around the country is a ruse. They want to be able to come back to parliament and say; “We have spoken to (a select bunch of) people and they want the government to sign the Association Agreement and leave the EU.” Well I for one will not fall for it.

    If the government have not planned for what they clearly see is the worse case scenario then they have failed in their duty. If so, then they must resign. Starting with the person that put them their in the first place.

    1. Mark B
      December 8, 2018

      Association Agreement = Withdrawal Agreement.

      Much the same thing though !

  9. Oldwulf
    December 8, 2018

    I have always wondered how the salaries and other costs of the establishment were quantified and therefore if the Remain campaign broke the funding rules.
    We now have publicly funded people being paid to travel around the country with the aim of subverting the vote of the democratic majority. How perverse is that ?

  10. Peter
    December 8, 2018

    Gridlock in Kent will mean we will not be able to bury the dead and school children may not get to their exams on time.

    I thought those were fine examples of Project Fear and unlikely to be bettered.

    1. Jagman84
      December 8, 2018

      That was the effect of a James Callaghan, Labour Government, in the 1970’s. “Brexit is as bad as Labour” is a headline you will not see on the BBC….

      1. jerry
        December 8, 2018

        @Jagman84; “That was the effect of a James Callaghan, Labour Government, in the 1970’s.”

        Nice sound-bite, but untrue.

        It was the required policies set out by the the IMF as a condition for their bale-out, after OPEC had trashed, amongst others, the UK economy. People forget, or ignore the fact, monetarist policies started to be implemented here in the UK well before 4th May 1979. Further, without the “Winter of discontent” I wonder if the electorate would have been so ready to support the sort of manifesto polices towards the trade unions seen from May 1979 on, had Callaghan called a GE before the winter of ’78 and lost, much the same industrial strife might have been the problem of a Conservative government…

        1. Jagman84
          December 8, 2018

          I lived through it all as a teenager so what is ‘untrue’ about it? The IMF business was concocted to reassure us that staying in the Common Market was the ‘Right thing to do’, in Gordon Brown parlance.

          1. jerry
            December 8, 2018

            @Jagman84; Do stop talking utter europhobic bilge!

            I too lived through the 1970s too, I also lived through the Arab retaliation for the Yom Kippur War, in the shape of the 1973 oil crisis (embargo), were oil went from $3 to nearly $12 (USD) per barrel between Oct ’73 & March ’74. If you think such a sudden, massive, rise in the oil price did/will not adversely effect any industrialised economy then your understanding of economics sadly lacking…

            I’m not saying there were no other contributing factors, beyond the oil crisis, there were, such as the USA pulling out of the Bretton Woods Accord in mid ’71 and the following world wide stock market crash of 1973-74.

            Non of the above was caused by the EEC or the UK’s membership of it.

    2. Billy Marlene
      December 8, 2018

      I think that is good. We can use the schoolchildren to bury the dead.

  11. Cheshire Girl
    December 8, 2018

    Why on earth have Ministers been sent to schools and hospitals! Even the sick and the very young dont get spared of their lecturing. It’s a desperate move, which I believe will fail dismally. It certainly wouldnt change my mind.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      December 8, 2018

      Perhaps the hapless Mrs May is taking up this latest lunacy from academia, reported in the Daily Mail:”Professor David Runciman said the British voting system was weighted against the young because older people yield far more votes, a problem made worse by an ageing population.
      Discussing the issue on his podcast, Talking Politics, he claimed lowering the voting age to 16 was not radical enough.
      ‘I would lower the voting age to six, not 16, and I’m serious about that,’ he said.”

  12. Ron Olden
    December 8, 2018

    Unless we ourselves choose to impose ‘additional checks’, we do NOT need more capacity.
    What are these ‘checks’ supposed to be checking?

    If vehicles from an EU country are suitable to come here were we still in the EU, why do we need to ‘check’ them after we’ve left?

    Unless and until we are ready to administer them, we can have no checks at all if we are out of the Customs Union We can, if we wish, scrap the ones we already have.

    We only need a ‘Schedule of Tariffs’ if we HAVE Tariffs. There’s no obligation upon us to impose ANY tariffs. And if we like we can abolish the ones we already have on non EU items.

    On a related point, I was flabbergasted to read the BBC telling me that ‘there’s been criticism’ of Priti Patel’s entirely factual observation that the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit on the Republic of Ireland might encourage the EU to drop the backstop.

    A (leaked) Government Report says that there could be food shortages in the Republic Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit and that the economic impact on the Republic would be worse than in the UK.

    The report indicated that there would be a 7% drop in GDP for Ireland as opposed to 5% in the UK.

    For a start why has it been necessary to leak this report before we can see its’ contents?

    Isn’t this a vital point that the UK (and the Republic) should be making publicly so as to get a mutually acceptable deal for us all?

    And why is it wrong to highlight an entirely plausible scenario for Ireland which, given its’ geographical vulnerability, and dependence on the UK for trade and access to the rest of the EU, is likely to be right, whereas it’s thought quite proper to bombard us with these endless Project Fear theories stating exactly the same thing for the UK?

    In my view Ireland is even more vulnerable than even this report suggests. Without the co-operation of the UK for communications, transport, and trade, it’s economy will all but collapse.

    And if the Pound falls against the Euro by the amount the Bank of England says it will, no business in the Republic will be able to compete with any in Northern Ireland and the UK Mainland anyway.

  13. agricola
    December 8, 2018

    The government are behaving like lamped rabbits. There are signs of disunity, ref A Rudd or is this a precursor to a plan B that incidentally renages on the referendum result.
    No comment as yet from you on an Article 24 WTO solution. Owen Paterson considers it credible, what about you.
    Where are you on the departure of T May in the face of over whelming defeat on Tuesday. I think she should go on the grounds that she has managed to divide Parliament at a time of national crisis, and that she has consistently lied to the electorate and Parliament.

    Reply Solution to what? I think we can trade fine under WTO rules with EU as we do with non EU today. I think Mrs May must go once she has lost her vote.

    1. agricola
      December 8, 2018

      As I understand it,it allowes trade between the UK&EU to continue on it’s current basis for up to about ten years while a new trading relationship is negotiated.
      It would remove the Irish border problem. It would please industry on both sides of the channel. When Article 24 was written it did not envisage a political entanglement so I would imagine it has nothing to say on us shedding the political harness or signing trade deals around the World. We would need to re-establish those items,such as EU&UK expats rights from the contencious WA agreement, that are of mutual benefit.
      Please discuss it with Owen Paterson who has put it forward and knows more about it than I do.

  14. Bryan Harris
    December 8, 2018

    If the BBC had been up to the job of exposing government hypocrisy, we would have seen these same ministers being laughed at for their fear spreading …. I just hope the electorate will kick out these career-saving charlatans at the first opportunity.
    The political establishment has bent democracy to their ends, with their deceit and outright lies, and it is hard to see if any trust will remain after this is all over – If we are still on our feet and oppressive government has not taken over totally, then we will need a different kind of administration – One that involves the average person in making political decisions, for it is clear we can no longer trust government to sign off treaties and important deals.

  15. Coin Hide
    December 8, 2018

    Wise words as usual.

    I have simple solution to any difficulty at Calais.

    We simply say to President Macron “You know all that fish your boats like to catch in our waters? We will let you continue to do it as long as every lorry clears Calais in either direction within 5 minutes. We’ll review things month by month. Longer than 5 minutes and the offer is withdrawn.”

    He then has a choice; happy fishermen and diners or fish on the Paris streets.

    I think I know which one an under pressure President would choose.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 8, 2018

      Unlike some Tory party leaders pandering to certain elements in their support base I would not spread the idea that the French authorities would automatically go out of their way to unnecessarily obstruct the present free two-way flow of trade, which is after all very much in their favour overall.

      But if that did start to happen I would remind President Macron, and the rest of the world, that France has accepted solemn legal obligations to facilitate trade not just under the EU treaties but also under the WTO treaties, most recently:


      “WTO members concluded negotiations at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference on the landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force on 22 February 2017 following its ratification by two-thirds of the WTO membership. The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.”

  16. DUNCAN
    December 8, 2018

    I have never before witnessed this type of politics being perpetrated by a vile and disgusting PM.

    We have passed the point of no return. May is responsible for what we are seeing. Her underlings do her bidding because she holds the official position of PM but she is directly responsible in trying to undermine morale, incite fear, generate uncertainty and spread discord

    I voted for the party she leads. I feel ashamed of that fact

    She is a stain on our nation, our people and our future

    It is the moral responsibility of every Tory MP to depose this Europhile, liberal left fascist and from our party and to purge our party of the identity politics she’s infected it with

  17. To see or not to see
    December 8, 2018

    .The choice is clear.
    Do we wish the UK Parliament having sovereignty, full of Remainers or
    Do we wish the EU Parliament having sovereignty, full of “Remainers” or
    Should we all just buy a beer, emigrate to America and think “Sup it?”

  18. A.Sedgwick
    December 8, 2018

    The Government has descended to a lip serving rabble, all of whom are economical with facts for reasons they only know. If there is another Conservative administration this lot will not survive another general election, most are non entities personified. If the 48 letters are ever sent and a Leave Government is formed there is time to avoid Corby. Any outcome is likely and conspiracy cannot be discounted.

  19. jasonW
    December 8, 2018

    More head in the sand stuff- because without a doubt there will be change on how we do things- very definitely Dover/Calais will become a bottleneck even more so than it is now- which will cause the inevitable switch to containers through Felixstowe and of course other container ports and then on to Rotterdam/ Antwerp. There’s nothing strange about this because before containers happened around 1970/1980 all cargo was loaded on and off general cargo ships and sent via Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, ports on the Thames etc to Rotterdam Antwerp. Only thing is JIT as we have become used to it now will become a thing of the past

    1. sm
      December 8, 2018

      Jason, a close friend of mine is a very senior captain in one of the world’s largest merchant shipping fleets.

      How do you suppose manufacturers deal with JIT delays now when ships are delayed (as they are) by severe storms, mechanical problems and hold-ups at Panama and Suez, for instance?

    2. libertarian
      December 8, 2018


      Oh for crying out loud, every day another one comes along telling us what they THINK will happen. No knowledge of how it works, no research just we’re all going to die.

      Less than 6% of goods transit via Dover / Calais. Just In Time is a system of making suppliers responsible for stocking and delivery parts and components. It was invented by the Japanese, now hold on Jason this is going to come as a shock, but Japan isn’t in the EU and doesn’t transport goods from Japan via Dover. Most JIT components are currently shipped by sea and container .

      I’m so so bored telling people this but one more go . Exporting goods is done via electronic manifests, they are checked and approved before they even set off. The duties and taxes where applicable are also settled electronically at the destination .

      We have suffered many delays in the past while full members of the EU at the Dover/calais crossing, in 2015 the crossing was closed for 35 consecutive days nearly. NOT A SOUL mentioned JIT failures .

      Just one other point before the next one comes along with their views on border controls, a large percentage of the trucks leaving the UK with UK goods for export are in fact European ( EU etc) haulage companies .

  20. William Long
    December 8, 2018

    Project Fear was probably the best weapon in the Leave armoury at the referendum and there must be a good chance that the present campaign is having the same effect. I hope so.
    Whatever happens Mrs May must go as soon as the vote is done, and whatever the result. If she loses, any residual credibility will be gone, and should she win, then she is the very last person we will want negotiating the end of the backstop with Brussels.

  21. Geoff not Hoon
    December 8, 2018

    One wonders if yesterday’s ‘tour of Britain’ by Ministers to spread even more fear is in fact a pre curser to a second referendum?

    1. Martin R
      December 8, 2018

      Exactly. What on earth is the point of going around the country drumming up support from people who aren’t voting for anything unless you’re planning to make them vote again in the near future? Repeated referenda are the EU’s tried and trusted means of getting their own way after being rejected by unruly member states. That is clearly what Mayhem is up to in this case. Keeping all options to achieve the continued enslavement of the UK.

  22. Sir Joe Soap
    December 8, 2018

    The most appalling part of this that it is so one-sided. For every bottle of wine stopped at Calais, a French family goes without dinner. If our export market to them is so enormous and important, then why would they halt it for 6 months with a line of trucks back into Kent?

    The truth is that a little disruption will lance this boil and get the matter sorted out expeditiously, so long as we have a competent administration in place by then.

  23. Richard1
    December 8, 2018

    It is remarkable that there is any FDI at all into the UK right now given the governor of the BoE forecasts a potential fall in sterling of 30% in 4 months time. Who wouldn’t wait to see whether he’s right before going ahead? Can there ever have been a developed country who’s central bank has made such a forecast about the currency?!

    Imagine if we do ‘crash out’…and not much happens, project fear turns out to be tosh. That would be a huge confidence boost for the UK economy as people and investors realise all those apcocryphal projections were simply politically motivated balderdash.

  24. Denis Cooper
    December 8, 2018

    How much confidence can you have in ministers who are proven liars?

    When they so casually lie to the public they are supposed to be serving, on behalf of the Queen, how can it be assumed that they do not lie to themselves and to each other?

    And if all their actions are conditioned by lies, by a deliberate, conscious detachment from reality, how likely is that those actions will produce good government?

    Today we have a woman who somehow rose to hold one of the four great offices of state casually talking about a ‘Norway plus option’, as if the UK government could unilaterally exercise an established right to simply transfer the UK from the EU to EFTA and stay in the EEA, just send in a notice and that would be that …

    Oh, but with the addition of a customs union with the EU, which the EFTA countries do not have, because in its extremism the Irish government long ago rejected even the kind of ‘light touch’ customs border which operates between Norway and Sweden:


    Even if that was a desirable treaty arrangement for the UK, which it would not be, and even if the EFTA countries were prepared to go along with it, which they probably would not be – especially of it was seen as the UK using EFTA as a convenient half-way house rather than having any long term commitment – and even if the EU was prepared to go along with it, which it may well not be, it would take at least many months, not days or weeks, to negotiate, agree and ratify the new treaties which would be required.

    Of course there is not that problem with the WTO treaties, because they have already been negotiated, agreed and ratified and are already in legal force, solemnly binding the EU as a whole and each of its member states individually, including the UK.

  25. To see or not to see
    December 8, 2018

    Good news and quite a welcome surprise for Brexiteers with the current developments in the Remainer UK ( RUK ) Parliament
    “It all comes down to the country you chose to reside. Extraordinarily, it is those living in British Commonwealth countries and British Overseas Territories who are most likely in have their pensions frozen.

    Pensioners who move to a European Economic Area state or one of 16 other countries with long-standing reciprocal agreements, including AMERICA, Jamaica and Turkey, get their pensions INCREASED each year along with those still in the UK.”

  26. yossarion
    December 8, 2018

    We here so much about a peoples vote, if these MPs from all sides that wish a second vote and stood on a party manifesto to back the referendum result they should call a by election to prove their point, to expect the whole Land to turn out just because they hid their true views to get elected is not acceptable.
    If there were a Peoples vote may I suggest this is done as King Herod did, People have to vote where they were born, this way you will get a true reflection on the view of the People.

  27. Alastair Harris
    December 8, 2018

    I notice that one of the port authorities has written a letter confirming your point, but also making the point that it is often planning rules which cause problems for them. Which demonstrates there are legitimate activities that ministers should be engaged in, rather than propagating project fear.

  28. Fed up
    December 8, 2018

    Mrs May’s ineffectual reign at the Home Office and her obstinate cutting of police resources made her unfit to continue and she should have been sacked by Cameron. The refusal of her government (ie Mrs May) to offer political asylum to the Christian Asia Bibi is shameful. Her wish to have Sharia law accepted as legal in the UK is extraordinary.Her failure to tackle the housing crisis properly is deplorable. She wrote off a majority with an unnecessary and feeble election campaign.

    As was once said of Sir David Frost she has “risen without trace”, and must GO NOW.

  29. ian
    December 8, 2018

    Why has the WA end up about trade, when the EU said at the beginning that trade talks would only happen after the WA had been settled first.
    Also, it was said at the start that it was an agreement between the EU and the UK and was not an international agreement but now turns out that it is an international agreement, can you tell me switch it is and if it is an international agreement switch parliament and you say will split the UK in two which has made it impossible for MPs to vote on, shouldn’t parliament or you and Brexiteers be asking the international court to a look at the WA first to make sure it is in the spirit of the WA as set out by the EU in the first place and whether it is legal to split a country into two against the will of most MPs and the people.
    Reply It is a binding international Treaty. It does not offer a new trading framework for after we leave, but does bind us into existing arrangements for at least another 21 months

  30. Alison
    December 8, 2018

    On top of all that:
    At the ports in question, 2% of goods are checked (usually on the basis of intelligence).
    £75 bn of German goods are imported into the UK each year. I don’t suppose the Germans would want any problems there.
    I don’t suppose the BBC has actually mentioned any of these points, instead just blasting out this six months of jams as a big front-cover story. Story is the word.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      December 8, 2018

      Alison. Fake news is the word.

  31. Everhopeful
    December 8, 2018

    Never mind drug supplies not getting through. How about the EU’s clampdown on herbal remedies which made so many products suddenly unavailable? This not only affected actual herbal medicines but also combination OTC headache tablets and the like. So suddenly you can’t buy what you had always relied on. And who, I wonder, legislated ( in whose favour) to stop pharmacists from making up simple medicines as they used to? The EU has meddled in too much for too long with terrible effects on people’s lives.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      December 8, 2018

      Everhopeful. Why dont’ the EU legislate in Spain against people being able to buy antibiotics freely over the counter? We are being warned that sepsis is on the rise and that antibiotics wont’ work if we overuse them and get the Spanish are able to buy them like sweeties. Madness.

  32. Oldwulf
    December 8, 2018

    What… with losing her Parliamentary majority and now causing chaos by disregarding the 17.4m democratic majority, it seems to me that Mrs May has been really really unlucky in her choice of advisers.

  33. Dioclese
    December 8, 2018

    I wrote to my local MP
    She sent a standard letter back supporting May’s deal
    I replied to that with further comment. Her reply?
    She sent me the same letter again.

    Clearly my local MP is not reading her post and is content to fob off her constituents.

    There is a huge majority for leave in this constituency, but the MP is still voting for the deal. So much for an MP representing her voters. I will not vote for her again and have told her so…..

    …so she sent me the same letter again! Seems it’s not just the PM who isn’t listening.

    1. Rien Huizer
      December 8, 2018

      Mr Redwood,

      For someone for whom Brexit is mainly a sort of sitcom for adults (although the actiors do their best to make you believe otherwise) is is puzzling why so few UK politicians seem to be able to articulate the benefits of EU membership. For the UK that is. If you ask any (not the nutty ones of course) economically literate politician in the EU what the benefits are (for their country), you will get a prompt and usually factually based reply. For most countries that would be close association with Germany (like it or not, the industrial heart of Europe) and free movement.

      It occurred to me that UK politicians could practise their “defend the EU skills” by asking what benefits UK membership bring to their “country”, “nation” or even region. It is really a similar question and a SNP politician might get you of a Leave reply (very few benefits) , while a DUP politician would probably present a long and convincing list of benefits.

      To sum up then, the “Leave the EUsentiment” (the SNP equivalent) is universal among UK politicians. There is no DUP equivalent. How interesting.

      1. libertarian
        December 8, 2018


        WTO has nothing to say about queues at ports or checking paperwork

        The system we use in UK is called CHIEFS ( soon to be CDS) and we are members of TIR as are all the other European countries . You continue to pontificate on subjects of which you are wholly ignorant .

        I went last week to the Port of Dover and interviewed a front line Border inspector. This is what he told me. ” voted remain, but every time i hear this total B…….Ks about the queues at Dover post Brexit I want to kick the TV in, its absolute nonsense ”

        Still I suppose you know more than him because you’re not a racist pensioner or something

        1. libertarian
          December 8, 2018

          My reply to Helena somehow ended up under the wrong thread apologies

  34. Brian Tomkinson
    December 8, 2018

    544 MPs voted in favour of the EU Referendum Act. By that Act, Parliament delegated the decision of whether or not the UK should remain in the EU to the British people.
    498 MPs voted for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.
    The latter includes the default position of leaving the EU on WTO terms in the event of no other arrangement being agreed. Those MPs knew that when they voted for it.
    It is very concerning that the actions of those same MPs are now seriously undermining our democracy.
    Much harm has already been done to the credibility of Parliament due to the duplicity and mendacity of so many MPs, particularly Mrs May.
    It would seem that it is Parliament against the people.
    Our Parliamentary system is on the verge of irreparable damage. That is very concerning.

  35. DUNCAN
    December 8, 2018

    The only thing keeping May as leader is Corbyn. If Marxist Labour had a half decent leader Boris Johnson would now be our new leader but Corbyn and indeed Labour’s extremism is giving many Tory MPs the confidence to stick with May knowing they’ll be able to secure their seat at the next GE

    In essence, many Tory MPs have decided to elevate their own political interests above the democratic and sovereign integrity of the UK. That is openly seditious, immoral and an offence to decent behaviour

    If Tory Brexiteers fail us the UK as we know it is finished and decent, moral British citizens will be exposed to the most sustained campaign of pro-EU, liberal left and identity politics indoctrination

    I feel like I am now living through a social and political experiment with race, gender and sexuality at its core

  36. Merlin Sinclair
    December 8, 2018

    I’ve been following this site for a while. I’m not really a leaver or remainer, but it seems to me we’re caught in a dreadful paradox.

    52% of the British people want to leave the E.U

    The latest poll of the alternatives (according to the economist) is:

    45% remain in the E.U
    28% want No deal
    22% want the government’s deal

    Meaning remain is the most popular alternative on offer.

    It seems to me that we betray the will of the British people if we don’t leave, but equally we betray the will of the British people if we don’t opt to remain.

    I’m not sure there is a good answer to this. It seems like a paradox. If push came to shove I’d say go with the government’s deal because it’s the least bad alternative and while everybody hates it, it is 68% of people’s second choice which gives it some form of democratic mandate.

    Also, on a personal note, I think it is terrible that this referendum happened at all. I believe in Parliamentary democracy to my core. Parliament should have made the decision to leave or not leave. I am not qualified to make such a highly complex decision. I have read no white papers and no European legislation. Please never make me have to make such a decision again. I elect wiser people than myself to do it for me.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 8, 2018

      Would you say that you are An average voter?

  37. margaret
    December 8, 2018

    When I look at my area ,the NHS and the money pouring out and against this I look at the 20 or more rough sleepers sitting around TESCO my heart breaks . Bury used to be part of Lancashire but is now said to be part of greater Manchester. We have a place with many empty beds very near to Tesco with just one rough sleeper staying.. To actually get a bed the people starving on the icy streets have to meet certain criteria with the council..now a labour council . The criteria is that a homeless person can only have a bed if they are from Bury ( I am not sure what FROM means) Therefore if a Manchester city dweller comes to Bury to be re homed and finds themselves on the street they do not fit the criteria, if the people are homeless as they have abused drugs and alcohol they do not fit the criteria, if someone moves from another part of England to Bury and ask for protection against the winter in the form of a bed, they are refused.I phoned Social Services recently to inquire about safe places and was told that the winter initiative accepted everyone and offered them a bed for the night…….BUT that is only if they meet the criteria. Why can’t councils be flexible enough to care for all those in England and stop using the immigrant argument to state how altruistic they are. Manchester boasts of 25 % immigrants. What about our own homeless .!

  38. fedupsoutherner
    December 8, 2018

    It really is sad what is happening to our country with the countenance of our PM and MP’s from all parties. What a load of back stabbing a*******s they are. Unless the Tory party gets a true Brexiteer in place they are finished.

  39. BrendanK
    December 8, 2018

    We have these red lines in place so the only way now is to leave 29 march with no deal

  40. ian
    December 8, 2018

    Reply to reply, the WA does offer a new trading agreement, its called the backstop trading agreement, to exit the WA you need a new trade agreement within 21 months of signing the WA or else you have to stay in the WA if they refuse an FTA but more importantly Mrs May refused an FTA and put forward her CTA or you are left with CUA, SMA or the new backstop trading agreement, the EU has already turned down chequer because they do not trust the UK to collect tariff on its behalf and check good properly going to the EU without customs checks.

    As far as I can see the WA is nearly all about trade, to which you state that it is not, remember you cannot leave the WA until you have a new TA or accept the new backstop trade agreement in the WA which still leave you in the WA for trade.

    At the start of the negotiation, the two sides agreed there would two agreement, one for leaving and one for trade. Mrs May has ruled out an FTA so that leaves you with CUA, SMA or the new trade agreement in the WA bearing in mind that the EU has ready stated that N Ireland will have to stay in the old customs union and the single market while Brittan has a choice of new CU or SM or something else but not an FTA because Mrs May and the cabinet.
    As I say, the WA nearly all about trade and there are two ways you can stay in the WA forever.
    I think I am going round in circles here, it can’t fudge by any chance.

  41. Jim Whitehouse
    December 8, 2018

    The remainians have told us that we were stupid, voted on a single issue, and believed the lies we were told on a big red bus. In fact, we chose not to believe the remain lies of impending doom and we were right not to believe them as every single prediction of catastrophe was diametrically opposite to reality.
    It now seems that the government still believe us to be stupid as they are now putting out the same predictions, but on steroids.
    If they continue this path, it will end badly.
    Here is an example of what badly might look like:
    We get some sort of half-hearted Brexit and a Corbyn Government.
    Corbyn policies return the economy to 1979.
    48% of the population blame Brexit for mass unemployment and crippling inflation.

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