Freer trade worldwide

The UK stands on the threshold of being able to lead the movement for freer trade worldwide. If we leave the EU in March we can pioneer new trade deals around the globe. Japan and others would like us to join the TPP, a vast free trade area in fast growing Asia. Australia and New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, Canada and Japan would all like closer trade relationships than we have enjoyed as members of the EU.

The big issue is how the west relates to China. The world is witnessing a bruising encounter between the USA and China over many trade issues. The USA wants China to remove some of its many tariff barriers. It wants China to allow more inward investment without requiring joint venture partners and technology sharing. It wants a better enforcement of intellectual property rights in China. It wants more action by the Chinese to reduce over capacity and participate more as importers as well as exporters in the world trading system.

The UK should have a place in these debates, and will be able to once we are out of the EU. The UK too would benefit from more open markets in China, and from the removal of more tariff and non tariff barriers to trade by Beijing. The UK is helpful to China as she builds a large banking and financial service industry, with London playing a leading role in the international development of Chinese finance.

Many of us who voted Leave have a global perspective. Recognising the strong logic of numbers, this is the Asian century. Our trade with the EU will naturally diminish as a proportion of the total whether we are in or out of the EU. Our trade with Asia will grow. The issue is how quickly our Asian trade will increase, and how enthusiastic will we be about this development. Now is a good time to be a free trade advocate, and to get involved in TPP and Chinese trade relations. We can be a force for the good, for greater prosperity and more open markets.

It is long past the time when the UK government should publish its tariff schedule for April 2019. This too offers an opportunity to lower the EU tariff schedule we currently use, whilst keeping some bargaining power for future trade deals to eliminate more tariffs. If they see our tariff schedule it might also cement EU enthusiasm for tariff free trade with us.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Indeed your last paragraph is particularly relevant.

    So why is the Theresa May government not done this. One assumes because they have no intention of leaving in March. They want May’s surender agreement or with threaten a long further delay to Brexit.

    • Stred
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      The EU/CBI will not let Robbins/May publish a low tariff schedule because EU big business will have to compete on the same terms ad the RoW. They thought that they had it in the bag when May produced the WA non deal with Robbins writing it with EU colleagues. The protected businesses are using non stop PR, lobbying, and their EU supporting media plants to rubbish WTO trading as impossible, despite the fact that it is already used. Unfortunately, many people have been sold this line, including most of the dimmer MPs.

      • Hope
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Today we read that there is an agreement in the event f no deal for transport to carry on. So why the propaganda for the lorry exercise a couple fo weeks ago?

        May is a traitor to our constitution, representative democracy, party, manifesto, referendum and her Lancaster speech. Remember the speech and what she said and compare to today. I cannot help but think why she was not ousted after her 8/12/2017 national sell out. Johnson claims he was wilfully misled, others claim May and Robbins has never asked for a lot of what should have been negotiated including the EU! The writing was on the wall. How many times has she broke her word? Better still has she ever kept it!

        May is in collusion with the EU and has been since 2017. The idiotic Tory MPs happy to watch and give her repeated chances. Tory associations happy to be taken for idiots by their MPs who have used and abused them, acted against their wishes and do not believe in what their supporters campaigned and raised money for them to get them elected!

        Tory associations you need to wake up.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 2:03 am | Permalink

          I was privy to a conversation yesterday: The discussion centered around the possibility that the so-called band of Brexiteers is simply a brazen facade, and that in reality are Remainers in disguise, simply protecting their jobs; actually sitting on the political fence……

          (A) Pretend to be Brexiteers, therefore avoiding deselection
          (B) Trust the Remainer politicians pull it off and nullify Brexit
          (C) No harm done to their political careers post a failed Brexit

          If this is proven to be the case, I trust those culpable individuals are exposed and immediately deselect for the nefarious scoundrels they are?

          How can a Great British institution (world renowned) fall to such despicable depths of subterfuge, disgraceful cynical behaviour, and abominable treachery towards the British people?

    • Peter
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      We can turn our attention to free trade when – and if – we leave the EU. Politicians should stay focussed on defeating the Withdrawal Agreement. It will not change significantly before the end of March, but that will not stop May trying to foist it on the nation,

      If the Withdrawal Agreement is not accepted I expect May to delay leaving. So there would still be work to do to try to get us out of the EU. A general election would help clear out the problematic MPs but May will try to avoid that.

      • Peter
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        May’s letter already has a sentence that blames others for any failure to implement an exit without a deal:-
        “Without a withdrawal agreement we risk a combination forming in Parliament that will stop Brexit altogether, whatever the long-term consequences for trust in our democracy.”

        Getting her excuse in early.

        Her standard tactic is to try to make a Leavers fear Remain prospects at the same time as making Remainers fear Leave.

    • Nigl
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Spot on. They know privately that a meaningless fudge will be agreed at the last minute, enough to get MPs to claim victory and voting for it, making new Tariffs irrelevant.

      JR has been banging on about this for ages. Their lack of response is telling.

    • Hope
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Civil servants in hyper scare mongering mode today in the papers. Their claims Utter bollcks.

      Come on you Tory associations get rid of Letwin, Clarkes, Hammonds, Soubry, Gauke, Rudd, Grieve, Wollaston etc. They abused your trust to raise funds for them, leaflet drop and campaign for them to be elected and now say they do not believe in what you Campaigned to get them elected on! Soubry wanted to be in a new party, Grieve threatened to collapse Govt! Give them their wish, oust them. Your alternative is making your party an irrelevance. They will not care as some are already leaving.

    • nhsgp
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      What’s interesting is that for Brexit, we have the electorate ordering John, May etc, to do something. Usually its the other way round. MPs hate being dictated too. Rather than accept they shouldn’t be ordering people around, period, they embark on more and more plans to tell others what to do. It’s not going to end well.

      In general it comes back to consent. Remainers hate being forced to leave the EU. They are being forced to do something they don’t want to do. Again what they don’t get is that they forced leavers to be in the EU against their will, but they didn’t care when it was their side in control. Same problem.

      The solution is consent. Remainers consent to the EU, get the benefits [whatever they are], but they consent to the costs. 100 bn for the pensions and growing, 13.5 bn a year for membership [and growing], and 30 bn a year in subsidies to their low paid EU migrants. That comes out of their pockets, and since its a tax, they are bankrupted if they don’t pay.

      Leavers again exercise consent, in this case the right to say no. They don’t get the benefits [whatever they are], they don’t get the costs.

      Compromise is the way forward.

      Now for some reason I suspect that remainers won’t consent. They aren’t that stupid. Which just means they want to force others to pay for their wants.

      But no leaving on the agreed date is going to cause real problems. France is an indicator, and in the UK we can be cleverer than the yellow jackets.

    • jerry
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      @LL; Whilst I agree with both you and our host I can understand why TM is reluctant to publish such tariff schedules, to do so will be admitting that she could not get her ‘deal’, at that point her political career is effectively over.

      That said, what is the latest date the UK needs to publish these tariffs, that is not clear, do they need to be published 31 days in advance, 24 days, 24 hours or 24 seconds before 23:00hrs 29th March, do they actually need to be published before we leave on WTO terms, our host talks about April but -international trade being 24/7- there are 49 uncounted for hours between leaving and the 00:01hrs 1st April…

      What’s the rush, other than willing the WTO exit all three of us seem to want?

    • NickC
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, It does seem that many Tory MPs think the only thing wrong with Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement is the N. I. “backstop”. They could not be more wrong. The dWA locks us back into the EU with no incentive for the EU to agree to a better deal in the future. We voted to Leave, that is to leave (abrogate) the EU treaties, not to Remain, and not to rejoin before the ink is dry on the signatures.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the deal is appalling from top to bottom.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      I meant:- So why has the Theresa May government not done this. One assumes because they have no intention of leaving in March. They want May’s surender agreement or will threaten (the sound wing) with a long further delay to Brexit or no Brexit at all.

      Her deal is worse than Brexit and is a massive (and totally dishonest) betrayal of the voters. It would destroy the Conservative party.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      I was told by a Labour MP before Christmas this was the plan, to kick the can down the road and extend A50. It’s just a game to be played out.

  2. Helena
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    It is simply false to claim that Australia and New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, Canada and Japan would all like closer trade relationships than we have enjoyed as members of the EU. Only this week Japan has made very clear it will NOT give the UK the same terms it gives to the EU, because it expects to be able to push the UK to accept less favourable terms. Similarly Australia, NZ etc have sent Liam Fox packing when he asks for the SAME deal as we have right now – they too smell an opportunity and will force the UK to take a poorer deal. Global Britain? Weakened Britain, more like

    Reply Not true. Try listening to what Japan and others are offering

    • Adam
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink


      UK consumer preference dictates demand. Free citizens decide what they regard as worth it with a world of choice. Suppliers can attempt to suit our preferences, or be rejected worthlessly with no sale. If you accept being force fed, that is your choice, just as eating Japanese battery hens empowers your false assumption.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      You are simply making stuff up. Australia and NZ have perhaps the closest and most comprehensive FTA in the world – based on mutual recognition not endless harmonised standards enforced by a bureaucracy. They have invited the UK to join it. This has been made very clear by the current Australian ambassador.

      Likewise the US ambassador – and President Trump – have expressed a similar interest in recent days.

      Your arguments have no credibility at all with such plainly false assertions.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        @ Richard1

        Mr Downer (the former Australian High Commissioner) has made friendly noises but in a personal capacity. He was already in the process of retiring. I know of no official Australian policy to invite the UK to become a member of ANZCERTA. In fact Mr Downer has been criticized for his remarks.

        • NickC
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Rien, Seriously, what business is it of yours? The EU can sort out its own relationship with Australia, and we will sort out ours (assuming we actually Leave).

    • acorn
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      “From 2013 to 2017, eleven EU nations grew the value of their exports at the fastest pace led by Cyprus (up 57.8%), Croatia (up 23.8%), Ireland (up 16.6%), the Czech Republic (up 11.4%) then Poland (up 8.6%).

      Leading the decliners were Malta (down -31.1%), the United Kingdom (down -19.3%), Estonia (down -16%), Belgium (down -15.9%), Greece (down -11.3%) then Lithuania (down -10%).

      Perhaps the most notable decline in export sales over the latest 5-year period was the United Kingdom’s significant -19.3% drop. This metric gives Brexit critics a talking point to debate the UK’s departure from the EU.” (copy from WTEx).

      Neoliberal Austerity, reduces domestic spending power. After a time lag it reduces domestic capacity to produce goods for sale at home or abroad. Austerity is politically voluntary in a country that has its own currency. Austerity in the Eurozone, where they are all using a foreign currency, can only be achieved by shrinking the economies of those countries. Ask the EU Club Med countries.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        I must have missed the “neo liberal austerity” what with increased state spending, higher taxes, more regulations, more laws, more directives, more state interference in corporate life.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


      Of course the UK could have benefited from the EU-Japan FTA and the possible agreements with Australia and NZ. I would expect much more benefits from an FTA with Japan (especially for Japan but also for the UK) although that could mean difficulty for the UK motor industry (exports from Japan might be cheaper than building in the UK). But the motor industry would suffer in any scenarion that would not include close integration with the EU. FTAs wiyh ANZ should include mobility, something the EU would not want to give but the UK could (in fact it should be popular on both sides). Tradewise of course an FTA with the ANZ would be marginal, but politically attractive, especially with the more nostalgic type of British voter.

    • NickC
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Helena, Why do you want to be ruled by the EU? Given that you do anyway, why do you suppose that the EU could care less about the UK? However “weak” the UK is as an independent nation it cannot possibly be weaker than when we are under the thumb of Brussels.

      • Richard
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Were not ruled by the EU. The EU is the product of 27 countries coming together to POOL SOVEREIGNTY and work together because its generally better to standardise regulation and coordinate policies than go it alone.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Thats the Hestletine argument richard.
          He blathered on about “pooling sovereignty”
          It is a meaningless concept.
          One nation with increasingly limited powers of veto versus 27 others.
          28 nations with 9 paying in and the rest taking out.
          Flawed system.
          there are other methods of agreeing standards without being in the EU

          • Richard
            Posted February 18, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            Strong countries and regions get a lot out of contributing to weaker ones. It’s called enlightened self-interest. Helping those less fortunate than yourselves. Irs a win win on many levels.
            Nationalistic isolationism is blinkered self-interest.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            Im not against that process.
            My point was on soveriegnty and the way the EU is set up.
            Shared sovereignty wont work with the unequal way the member nation all vote versus money only some put in.

        • NickC
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Richard, EU laws have primacy over UK laws – see Declaration 17 in the Lisbon treaty. We are ruled by the EU from Brussels.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink


        “However “weak” the UK is as an independent nation it cannot possibly be weaker than when we are under the thumb of Brussels.”

        After 40 years of membership the EU turned us from the ‘sick man of Europe’ into the world’s 5th largest economy (since Brexit alas dropped to 7th place).

        Rather than being under their thumb it has given us untold advantages and not just the luxury of belonging to the world’s most successful trading bloc.

        None so blind………

        • NickC
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Margaret Howard, The UK was the “world’s 5th largest economy” already when Heath signed us up in 1972 (effective 1 Jan 1973). So the EU has not done much for us over the last 46 years has it?

          As for now dropping to 7th place that is nothing to do with Brexit (which has not happened yet, and may – or May – never happen), it is to do with non-EU countries like China growing faster than the EU itself – despite your claimed advantages for the EU.

          .None so blind………

    • libertarian
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink


      How many times do you need to be told, people sell things to buyers thats it.

      How the hell do you think people in EU countries buy iPhones, iPads, computer software , Scotch whiskey , Coldplay albums, etc etc none of which are produced by EU countries

      The fact that you ultra remainers are forced to repeatedly make up falsehoods to attempt to scare people away from their democratic rights is pathetic

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth would they not want closer trade relationships? It would be in our mutual interests. As indeed it would be for the EU and the UK.

  3. Mark B
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The EU does not care about trade. The rEU27 might, but not the EU, the political entity. We are wasting our time and should be focusing on Leaving the EU.

    Trade with the rest of the world will open up new avenues. We will, hopefully, once free from damaging EU regulation be able to develop an independent energy and environmental policy that better reflects our needs. We will also be able to develop the biggest market we have, the one that does not get much of a mention here or elsewhere, and that is of our own internal market. Membership of the EU has developed a regulatory framework that has been deeply damaging to smaller concerns. Increasing costs in small but various ways adding to the level of bureaucracy and extra avenues for government to fine (a form of tax) and raise more money. It also slows the economy down with more wealth being consumed by government and wasted there on large and needless projects that only large corporates can benefit from.

    Leaving the EU presents great opportunities not just far, but also nearer to home and, with new and growing business we can then export to these markets and reduce our budget deficit.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Very Well Said. (I think you mean trade deficit in last line) There is a world of difference between the EU bureaucracy and the real world of trade between businesses and nations. The former has a political objective – the United States of Europe, and everything else is subordinate to that. Our leaving means they have less money to achieve that objective and loss of control of our military. We must be seen to be punished on leaving. It’s that simple.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      If the EU does not care about trade then the UK government should be pointing out to the world at large that here is an organisation with numerous fine-sounding provisions about its desire to promote international trade enshrined in its founding treaties but it does not actually mean any of it.

      This is from August 2017, and I have long got sick of the way Theresa May always supports the EU rather than fighting for our national interests:

      “It’s not just Mario Draghi who wants more trade, ostensibly that desire runs all the way through the EU treaties and our diplomats and other representatives should be actively pointing that out to governments and other influential bodies around the world and making sure they fully understand that when they are dealing with the EU they should always expect to be dealing with hypocritical and untrustworthy people.

      Apart from the general Article 8 TEU on the EU’s neighbourhood policy, mentioned above, here is a list, not necessarily exhaustive, of other relevant provisions in the EU treaties … “

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      “Trade with the rest of the world will open up new avenues.”

      Makes you wonder how the EU managed to become the most successful trading bloc in the world. We begged to join it after our own attempts to create similar blocs like EFTA and the commonwealth were overtaken by the EU.

      What makes you think we would be more successful now despite the fact that trading blocs across the world make it far more difficult to survive on ones own.


      • Edward2
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        It isn’t all about trade.
        It is about freedom and independence.
        The right of our courts to be supreme.
        The right to control our money and taxes.
        The ability to make our own laws and to control our own borders.
        The ability to vote directly to people who rule us.

        Same as all the 150 non EU nations

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink


          Independence in an interdependent world, interesting concept but not realistic

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            Two completely different things
            Mutual advantage done on a voluntary basis versus subsuming your self in a supranational body that makes your laws.

      • jerry
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        @margaret howard; “Makes you wonder how the EU managed to become the most successful trading bloc in the world”

        Except the EU is not, at least not without the UK, hence why the EC are pancaking!

        Just watch the EU trade figures collapse post Brexit when the “Rotterdam fudge” stops, when UK imports/exports can not longer be counted along with the EU27…

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        A mixed bag I’d say, from a non Europhantic position.

        So successful that the UK remained united (not.)

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      @ Mark B,

      What is the difference between the 27 and the EU? You use the term “political entity” as if there were an entity separate from the association of 27. Do you mean the entity that pays Mr Farage’s salary perhaps?

      There is another puzzling thing: I do not see the link between exports and reducing the budget deficit. There must be one, but it would be rather indirect and conditional.

      Budget deficits can be reduced either by increasing taxes or reducing public sector expenditure.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        The 27 are member countries with individual parliaments and governments, complete with flags, anthems and all the trappings of a nation state including a history. The EU is a proto-superstate which seeks similar through the gradual eradication of those very same member countries, removing their history and replacing it with one of its own.

    • acorn
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      I would love to live in your fantasy world. Here is a bit of reality. The EU + USA + China, represent a bit short of half total global trade; (total = imports plus exports). The EU exports 16% of total world exports, similar to China and about a third more than the USA.

      Of the 16% the EU exports, the UK represents about 7.7% of that 16%; that is 1.3% of total world exports. Forgive me if I laugh at the UK becoming a world leader in global free trade post Brexit.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        And what percentage does Malta, Belgium and Poland have, to name a few.

        Take Germany, France and the Netherlands out of your figures and all you are left with is a busted flush and some Zombie economies.

        And I talked about our own internal market not our external market.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        You remainers are obsessed with trade.

        • acorn
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          That is the title at the top of the page.

          • NickC
            Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

            Acorn, But it is not the only reason for Leave . . . .

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            I realise that but in general it is all remain talk about.
            It is more than just trade.

  4. Dougal Hamer
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Delusion. The UK is in no position to “lead” anything. There are three leaders in the world today, the US, China and the EU. In the EU, we had a loud voice in favour of free trade. But no one cares what the UK has to say after Brexit. We are too small

    • Stred
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Mr Hamer. Couldn’t we offer to help a bit, as we speak English and have some previous experience.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink


      In the EU we had on 1/28th of one voice globally. Outside the EU we will have 100% of one voice.

      • Lookalike
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes we can shout all we like into the canyon to hear the echo- wasting our sweetness in the desert there will be nobody listening

    • Edward2
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      “We are too small” you say about one of the world’s biggest economies.

      And you actually think the EU is a force for free trade?
      It is a protectionist bloc hiding behind tariff walls adding costs onto the people who live in Europe.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      While the UK may have been a loud voice for free trade in the EU, the EU and it’s two most important members, France and Germany, are fundamentally protectionist in outlook. As JR points out, real growth will be in Asia.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:52 pm | Permalink


        The UK is not in Asia and has no competitive advantages there. Asians in general may not be Anglophiles either.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:48 pm | Permalink


        “. As JR points out, real growth will be in Asia.”

        And to compete we shall have to adopt their working practices, entitlements, workers rights, salaries. Do you really believe our workforce would be happy with that?

    • agricola
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Well at some time in the future you and your rump 5 million population can vote for independece from the UK but subjugation within the EU. Big bonus for the UK in that you can take your begging bowl to the EU and we no longer have to listen to a load of irrelevant bleating in the HoC. Bon Voyage, please take Andy with you, he’s a perfect fit.

    • Andy
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Not true. The Faroe Islands care.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Everyone cares.

        You are just too arrogant and full of your own self importance to believe otherwise.

        Did Mum bring your morning coffee down to the basement ?

    • J Bush
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      The UK is indeed geographically small, compared to the whole of Europe, but the UK economy is rated between the 5th or 6th in the World, depending on the data you use. Interestingly, Japan is also geographically small, but somehow manages to sit 3rd in global ratings.

      I note with interest your reference to the EU, which is not even listed, only countries are. There are 4 European countries listed in the top ten. When the UK leaves, are the remaining 3 prepared to take on the cost differential of belonging to the EU then?

      It appears Italy is not overly impressed with that idea and past and recent evidence shows Germany and France will continue to be protectionist and will not let their industries be transferred to help another European country….

      I expect they will be looking to pick the pockets of the other European countries with higher GDP per capita than their own. No wonder Ireland is behaving as it is.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      We weren’t leaders in the EU. Our Parliament and courts are subservient in this organisation.

      As a Brexiter I didn’t vote to be leader of anything.

      I didn’t vote to bring sovereignty back to Parliament – I voted to bring it back to the people so that elections really make a difference instead of getting the same thing no matter who is put in number 10.

      Here is a classic example of it. We voted Brexit and we get Remain.

      May sneaks in 400 jihadi brides

      May operates zero tolerance if you make a mistake driving to work to pay for all this leftism.

      See what I mean ?

    • mickc
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      A loud voice is no use if it is ignored… Cameron discovered.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      The UK will be in a good position. The problem is Theresa May. The country is going nowhere whilst she is in charge. It needs a leader with vision.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Interesting insight into the Continuity Remain mentality. Negative and derisive. And plainly false. There are plenty of countries smaller than The UK which have prominent voices in world trade. Canada Australia Singapore and South Korea are examples.

    • James
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately we didn’t have a “loud voice” in the EU, or at least not a voice that was loud enough to count against majority voting stitchups. It is disgraceful that tariff schedules for April have not yet been published, and profoundly sad that so many people within our quite shockingly inept current government appear to be unable to grasp that there is a linkage between lower tariffs and lower prices.

    • Chris Dark
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      “Too small”. I see you quoting the Dutch PM here. How terribly sad, that you have no faith in your own country’s capabilities. Singapore isn’t exactly large either…they seem to be doing well there, don’t they?

    • L Jones
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      What tosh, Mr Hamer. It seems to be YOU who are deluded. Perhaps you should read a little more (other than Facebook, the Voice Of Doomsayers, and maybe the Grauniad) to get a more balanced view of things. Just think how good you’d feel if you talked UP your country rather than constantly telling us how bad we are and how we’re all going to hell in a handcart.
      We can do without such disloyalty and downright ignorance at this time.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a comment you made a month ago:

      “The EU recently agreed a Free Trade Deal with Japan. Germany reckons it will be worth about £8 billion extra to it in exports … ”

      Which led to this comment:


      “And £8 billion is what percentage of the GDP of Germany?”

      with the answer to that question being a mere 0.3%,

      “And that is before looking at the other side, the extent to which increased imports from Japan will supplant German products and so reduce German GDP.”

      While here:

      the notional benefit across the whole EU was worked out as 0.1% of EU GDP.

      I wouldn’t get too bothered about it; eventually we will get new trade deals around the world which will be a bit better for us than trading on WTO terms, but not by a huge amount and especially in the context of our natural economic growth:

      “GDP Annual Growth Rate in the United Kingdom averaged 2.45 percent from 1956 until 2018 … “

    • Robert mcdonald
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      In the eu we had no voice. We were one of 28, and c20 of the rest were net receivers of eurocrat largess. Who would they vote behind ? Not the UK.

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      The EU is a protectionist bloc. It is hardly a bastion of free trade. Why do you hate the UK so much and believe that other nations think the same? Helena is of a similar mentality and equally wrong.

    • Billy Elliot
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Dougal you are spot on.

      • L Jones
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        Spot on what, exactly?

    • Den
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Quite correct we are not in the position to lead anything because we are still overruled and governed by the Brussels cabal. However, come April we shall be free to go our own way and best of all, the Rest of the World (160 Nations and 6 Billion people) are waiting for us to join them! Then you will see us become an Independent Nation on the World stage. You suggest we are too small. So how come are we in the G7 and a permanent member of the UN Security council, where our voice counts?
      BTW Why do you talk down your country? If it is indeed your country and why instead would you want to be governed by an unelected and unaccountable foreign cabal based in a foreign country? No one else in the rest of the bigger world does.

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Only for defeatists who would rather grovell to the failing, protectionist EU.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      @ Dougal Hamer

      How did this get past the mediator? It does not sound like UKIP

    • NickC
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Dougal Hamer, The EU only leads in dirigisme. Didn’t you know that PotUS Trump has removed the USA’s recognition of the EU as a state already? The EU is a declining ideology dependent on globalism and corporatism. The future is international trade by independent states cooperating, but not ruled by each other, and mutual recognition.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Why should they show enthusiasm when we don’t publish our schedule of proposed tariffs. They have every right to assume that we will not be leaving the EU Customs Union. I agree with JR, publishing our schedule would not only show the World that we mean business, it would show the EU.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Dougal, the EU is falling apart and could well collapse without UK support. It is far from being a world leader.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Dear Dougal

      Wake up and smell the coffee

      The UN cites the UK as the worlds number 2 power

      The EU 27 are slipping further and further behind in global economic terms , India has now overtaken France

      London is the worlds number one financial capital dwarfing the EU 27 combined

      Oh and the worlds two biggest markets USA and China do not have FTA’s with the EU


      • Chris
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        “Wake up…” I recommend cofveve.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      So no-one cares what Japan has to say because they’re too small and out of the EU?

  5. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    It is good to have ideals, but . . .

    Australia’s Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has poured cold water on Britain’s aspirations to join the new TPP trade pact after Brexit, saying the group’s 11 members had more pressing priorities than seeking a new partner(22-1-2019), and . . .

    The largest EU FTA to date (Japan-EU FTA) comes into effect(1-2-2019)

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Just one person in Question Time audience this week supported HS2. Also “I don’t know true cost of HS2”, admits its chief executive according to the Telegraph today.

    Why on earth are the economic illiterates May and Hammond still pushing this insane project? One assumes they just love pissing tax payers’ money down the drain. Why else?

    • Chris
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      It is an EU project and part of their grand design for transport networks across EU. It is of importance to them in terms of the “country of Europe” but as an independent nation we have different priorities. It would be splendid to ditch HS2 as just one marker of us leaving the EU.

      • Stred
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        They chose the EPR for Hinckley Point because in was the European Pressurised Reactor. It may be possible now to build one that works and could be built in, 7 years at much less cost. There are about 5 other types to choose from.

    • jerry
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      @LL; Ahh! So you were the QT viewer this week….

  7. Everhopeful
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    It seems that the nearer we get to the date when May has consistently insisted we will leave the less of a certainty leaving becomes. As in “ if”.

    It honestly is like opening a cell door and then slamming it in the prisoner’s face as he attempts to walk out to promised freedom.

    Talk about let down and disappointed! And whatever happens we have all seen the “ skull beneath the skin” with the politicians’ shenanigans. Who will ever trust them again?

  8. Kevin
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    “It is long past the time…”

    Yes. Blocking the People’s Vote was never legitimate, but the timing is now inexcusable. In the amount of time the Government and Parliament have had to prepare for No Deal, a new-born child has gone from being completely helpless to being able to walk and talk. Some MPs appear to be acting as if they themselves are stuck in the former state.

  9. Adam
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    China has become the world’s factory.

    The Govt has long been inert on revealing its Tariff Schedule. Perhaps that is the only reserve power Theresa May thinks she has in her attempt to secure what she regards as a deal before 29 March.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      China has also become coal power station central.

      Kids going on strike to note next time they fashion up at Primark.

  10. agricola
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    China will correct the deficiencies in the way she conducts herself when she sees it is in her interests. We will have to wait until the penny drops in China.

    If we truely are advocating lower tariff trade worldwide this may concentrate the atrophied thinking within the EU. The EU is a highly protectionist trading bloc that forces high prices on it’s citizens. Providing UK government exercises some control over our larger supermarkets the UK should see considerable price reductions when we leave the clutches of the EU and start trading with the World. I have long thought that the Commonwealth should take the form of a free trade area as a first step. Logically we are already “intermarried”and have a common basis for law plus of course a common language. Additionally if there are trading treaty opportunities around the Far East it is bonus time. So lets do it on the 29th March despite May, her civil service collaborators and all those incumbents of the HoC who speak with forked tongues.

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:02 pm | Permalink


      The 54 commonwealth countries contain some of the poorest countries in the world like Bangladesh, Nigeria, Tonga, Swaziland and many others with unstable democracies and 50% of its GDP is accounted for by its three largest economies: UK, India and Canada.

      We should also remember that we cut off all trade overnight with our commonwealth friends like Australia and New Zealand when we joined the EU in 1973 which caused great hardship to their dairy and farming industries and they had to look to their eastern neighbours to develop new markets.

      They are hardly likely to welcome us back after some forty years.

      Reply But they do welcome us back, and some Commonwealth countries are rich

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Clearly the UK government has not published its tariff schedule for April 2019 as it has no intention of leaving unless it is under Mrs May’s deal making us a vassal state of the EU. I’m tired of hearing MPs and the CBI, supported by the media, telling us that what business needs is certainty whilst at the same time ignoring the fact that the transition period is nothing of the sort – it is a continuation of status quo and extension of negotiating time for trade arrangements. There is nothing to implement or transition to. We shall then have more stories of a cliff edge and no doubt a call for a further transition period. The whole process is an elaborate charade to keep us in the EU by one means or another and in the process destroying our democracy. The EU will be delighted.

  12. Andy
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Margaret Thatcher’s single market is – by far- the most compressive and complete free trade arrangement in the world.

    Nothing else comes close. Not even the Fantastic Mr Fox’s staggering deal with the Faroe Islands.

    Saying you stand for free trade is all well and good. But the Brexiteers have shown themselves to be the ultimate protectionists.

    Most haven’t figured out yet that Brexit will not end well for them personally.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Shame the single market isnt actually about free trade.
      It is a protectionist bloc stopping cheaper imports entering and improving the standards of living for its people.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        I would say that conclusion is a bit steep

        • Edward2
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

          It’s rather predictable you would say that hans, being the EU enthusiast you plainly are.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Obviously you’ve ignored my many posts explaining that she was not kicked out because of the Poll Tax (which I fought in on the Gov side) but because she uncovered the EU dictatorship ruse.

    • NickC
      Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Andy, As you have been repeatedly told, the EU’s single market is not what Margaret Thatcher was aiming for. Read her Bruges speech. She wanted mutual recognition rather than EU centralisation. The EU’s single market is not a free market it is a dirigiste customs union.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    What about May’s letter to Tory MP’s:-

    Theresa May has issued a fresh plea to Conservative MPs to unite and deliver on Brexit, urging her party to “move beyond what divides us” and sacrifice “personal preferences”.

    The last thing Tory MPs should do is unite behind Appeaser May’s truly appalling fake Brexit with a trap deal. No, no, no as Thatcher (or anyone remotely sensible) might well have put it. Tory MPs need to listen to the voters and not a daft, disingenuous, pro EU, socialist dope like T May.

  14. Sakara Gold
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Hammond just had to cancel his planned trade visit to China. The Chinese are enraged at Gavin Williamson’s recent anouncement at the Royal United Services Institute, that our new aircraft carrier’s first deployment will be to the S China Sea – in support of the US Navy. Clearly, expeditionary capability centred on aircraft carriers and amphibious vessels is central to UK strategic thinking again.

    This response was entirely predictable and the Chinese will be further provoked, should we build the new naval base in Brunei or Singapore to support this deployment. No chance whatsoever of any trade deals with China now.

    It was good to hear that the chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee Julian Lewis, the Brexiteer MP for New Forest East, has written to Minister of State for Defence Procurement Stuart Andrew demanding clarification as to why the future Fleet Solid Support Ships are being classified as “non-combatants”. Pressure is mounting on the government to build these ships, that will be vital to supporting these RN global operations, in the UK.

    One hopes that the Committee will keep the Remainer Minister’s feet to the fire over this issue and will also ask why he does not oppose GE’s proposal to close our last naval engine facility in Derby – and move production and critial engineering facilities to Nancy in France. If we do not prevent this closure, we face the prospect of the engines for our future frigates and destroyers being manufactured in in EU, with all the difficulties that will entail post Brexit.

  15. Michael O'Sullivan
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Your final sentence last paragraph, says it all – you still want tariff free trade with the EU – but we already have tariff free trade with the EU – idiocy. Seems to me its all about ‘wants’ again, what the US wants, what UK wants? well ‘wants’ or in other words’ cherrypicking’ is not going to do it with China or the EU, neither is tinkering with notions about joining free trade associations in regions on the other side of the planet- complete bunkum!

    We have no merchant navy anymore- get it- that was the 1950’s, the 1960’s- been there , been there and done it. In the 1970’s we moved on, sold all the ships, let hundreds of thousands of seafarers go- closed the shipping agencies – even the 1970’s 1980’s was a different time – now that we are into the 2010’s some dreamers want to go back- but to what? – well only one thing to say – good luck with that

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      We have tariff free trade with 27 other countries who do very well selling to us but, how many countries are there outside the EU that we have to put up tariff to protect French, Dutch and Irish farmers for example ?

  16. formula57
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I remain concerned that the UK will not successfully cross the threshold on which it stands by reason of being led by the myopic and timid, unable to grasp the many opportunities that our liberation presents, not least since they will remain in thrall to the Evil Empire.

  17. Enrico
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    John,in your second sentence you use the words If we leave the Eu in March.It sounds as though you are doubting it even though it’s passed into law and has had royal assent.
    Please comment.

    • NickC
      Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Enrico, The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 contains the “exit day” date of 29 March 2019. But the Act also contains the provision (Section 20/4) to amend that date. That indicates the government is not irrevocably committed to the 29 March date. Sorry, I am not JR.

  18. Nigel
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Private Pike threatening to send a gunboat (or even an undefended aircraft carrier) to the South China Sea, in order to boost his own political ambitions, will not help trade relations with China. We will need joined up Government.

  19. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Didn’t Ms Leadsome say that we are ready for a WTO exit – I wish I had her confidence…

    It seems that the government is not publishing tariffs because they don’t want to influence anyone, not while there is a chance that May will get her deceitful ‘deal’ agreed …. Rather than ask what the tariffs will be, perhaps we should ask what work has been done in this area, and can the minister provide detail of current thinking…

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      And Gove said that parliament will vote on the WA last year. My point ? Never trust what people say.

  20. Caterpillar
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    1) Dr Fox has indicated that he does not want unilateral trade liberalisation, apart from this (elevated price supporting position) we don’t know where he is on tariffs under no deal.
    2) There is no need for political sides to use either the language of ‘leading’ or the language of ‘small / powerless’, this is simply tittle tattle. The UK just needs to do not delay, it is failing to do that is the problem at the moment. By leaving cleanly there is the opportunity to do.
    3) yes taking a position similar to POTUS w.r.t. China trade is reasonable, it does not need to ramp up the confrontation, negotiate on where we’d like to be.
    4) Mr Williamson needs a little diplomatic mentoring and the Govt needs to better align its departments – but then I think we knew that.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Williamson would never have done this without the knowledge of Number 10 and the cabinet.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink


  21. GilesB
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Tariffs should not be plucked at random out of thin air.

    The starting point should be zero tariff and an unlimited quota for all goods. From that point, it may be possible to justify some protectionism.

    For example, one might argue that for reasons of national security, the U.K. wants to retain some capabilities for making steel. But the steel-making industry has significant economies of scale, and U.K. based steelworks cannot be profitable at world prices. Hence one might subsidise the steel industry. And introduce alternatives to competition to provide incentives for innovation, quality and efficiency. The subsidy needed could be calculated to reasonable accuracy. The subsidy could be funded by an import tariff, but that’s a very crude tool with unintended consequences. And increase costs for all steel users. Tariff quotas are worse when they are allocated to suppliers as they further distort the market and on average increase costs to consumers even more as importers are forced to buy from more expensive suppliers as the cheaper suppliers have used up all of their quota.

    Viewing tariffs as bargaining chips ‘We will reduce the tariff on wine, if you reduce your tariff on beer’, is a sure sign that consumers in both countries are being ripped off by big business.

    Start by being honest. Unless a deal is for zero tariffs and unlimited quotas it is not a ‘free trade’ deal it is a ‘PROTECTIOIST PACT’. Such pacts should be illegal under competition rules, unless a compelling case has been documented and published. No horse trading behind closed doors at the expense of consumers. And most should have a sunset clause that eliminates the tariff and removes the quota over time.

  22. Paul Cohen
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    So Mrs May now plays the blame game by putting the onus for the abject failure in the current talks on her own MP’s. She alone set the scene we have all witnessed, no proper plan, delay after delay causing a self inflicted situation where we run out of time, many
    misleading statements, if not lies fed to the public, undermining of her own ministers, allowing too much authority to remainder civil servants – the list is endless!

    Had she announced from the outset that the UK plan initially was to be a WTO arrangement that could be negotiated, we would have been saved this sorry and tedious
    process which left us in the exposed position we are now in with the EU.

  23. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Professor Patrick Minford – a real expert, an economist with many years service to the UK government, has written an article that shows Ivan Rogers disparaging speech is without substance.

    The professor is for free trade of course – He has written extensively about the economics of the European Union and is the chair of Economists for Free Trade.
    He describes how the Treasury, BoE, and civil servants have let us all down, but I would describe it in more forceful terms.

  24. James K-L
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Instead of publishing a new tariff schedule, a better approach would simply lower (or set at zero) the tariffs as you suggest, but for a time limited period.

    The gives us the immediate economic benefits of lower tariffs, whilst creating a window for signing deals with the US and joining the TPP, without losing any leverage.

  25. graham1946
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t like the beginning of your second sentence ‘If we leave the EU in March’

    Seems we have gone from ‘when’ to ‘could’ to ‘should’ to ‘If’ in recent posts.

    I hope this is just a mistake and that the doubts are not creeping in on even you Sir John, especially in view of May’s letter to Conservative MP’s today to ‘get behind’ her shoddy deal or presumably risk ‘no Brexit’ which I am sure she could easily get through this, the worst Parliament certainly in my lifetime and lowest grade Cabinet and Government.

  26. L Jones
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t like the words at the beginning ”… IF we leave the EU in March….”
    It seems to negate all the rest of it.

  27. Ian wragg
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    If we leave the EU on March 29th. A subtle change of tone John.
    I detect your beginning to doubt if it will happen.
    May is going to say she will call an election if you don’t back her and she will get her way.
    Good job Farage is back to the table. Our only how.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Only hope.

  28. Simon
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “Closer relationships” than enjoyed with the EU are not possible as you well know.

    • jerry
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      @Simon; Only if you are talking about ever closer union, on the other hand a FTA is a FTA is a FTA. For example the USA has a very close trading relationship with Canada, and vis-versa , but without the political union, likewise the members of the new TPP.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    This passage is from Theresa May’s letter sent to each of the Tory MPs:

    “Instead, our party can do what it has done so often in the past: move beyond what divides us and come together behind what unites us; sacrifice if necessary our own personal preferences in the higher service of the national interest; and rise to the level of events in a way that restores the faith of the British people in our political process.”

    Firstly what divides all MPs, and not just Tory MPs, is the degree to which their loyalty is now divided between the UK and the EU. For the great majority, including Theresa May herself, their primary loyalty is more or less definitely to the EU, it is only a minority who definitely put loyalty to the UK first and foremost.

    Secondly when she writes “come together behind what unites us” she actually means “come together behind me in my treachery”.

    And thirdly I don’t believe she cares two hoots about “the higher service of the national interest”, or even “the faith of the British people in our political process”, provided that political shysters like her can continue to pull the wool over their eyes.

    • rose
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      I was most incensed by her phrase “personal preferences” – as if the Brexiteers were some deviant little group indulging their own peculiar point of view rather than, as they in fact are, representing 17.4 million people and probably most of the country by now. It is this insidious, manipulative sort of communication upon which “no 10” relies to keep us bound to the EU.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        @ rose

        Personal preferences of 17 million people are still personal preferences. Others may have other preferences. Nothing disrespectful. In fact I know of no other European country where brexit preferences would be seen as anything but personal (and not necessarily “indulging” their personal point of view)

        • NickC
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Rien, You’ve missed the point: Mrs May’s letter was to the Tory party’s MPs, not to the voters.

          As for the Referendum, indeed it expressed the personal preferences of the voters – and 17.4m voted to Leave the EU treaties but only 16.1m voted to Remain bound by the EU. So in a democracy, and as per the rules of the Referendum, Leave won. That should have been the policy of the UK. Under Mrs May it is not.

      • Stred
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        She meant those personal preferences for upholding her manifesto and previous statements in the higher service of the international interest of big business.

      • margaret
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Of course they/she changes the language to suit there own motives. I see it everyday as some institution/ set of people changes actual meaning to perceived meaning , but in my case they don’t even realise what they are doing due to self importance and thinking perceptions revolve around what they think. It seems they are so arrogant they think that they can dominate by changing meanings and words around. The sad thing is that the many gullible take it up and bow down to their said superiority.

  30. margaret howard
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Not having a very good start with China after Hammond has to cancel his trade trip there because of Defence Secretary (or Minister of War according to Lavrov) Gavin Williamson’s attack on the country. The man is a loose cannon. How did he get his job?

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Your Remaniner friend, Teresa May MP gave it to him. Where have you been ?

    • Andy
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      ‘How did he get his job’ applies pretty much to the entire government, most Tory MPs – and the entire Labour frontbench. Plus all the DUP and many other backbenchers. Never before has this country had such a pathetic Parliament.

  31. Bitterend
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s all pie in the sky stuff today, delusional thinking, and sorry to say it has come to this. Uk political leaders used to be so hard nosed, down to earth, realistic, sympathetic to business demands, especially British business demands.

    Today I can only read about hopes for the future based on the UK standing on the threshold of a new beginning, the UK leading the way to worldwide freer trade, in fact the revival of the Empire? Again sorry to say UK is not the player in world affairs it used to be..despite two world wars in the last century we seem to have missed the twentieth century entirely, a least in some peoples minds, people like JR and J R-M coming straight from the late 1800’s to the present time- it has all been a bit too much.

    • NickC
      Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Bitterend, It’s all pie in the sky stuff from you today. How does free trade revive the British Empire? And why do you think escaping from the EU empire is equivalent to people wanting the British Empire back? Haven’t we had enough of empires?

  32. Den
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Well said, John. It is odd that MSM and Establishment figures accuse Mr Trump of starting a trade war with China and the EU when all he requires is fair play for the American people. For decades these countries have been taking advantage of weak USA leadership to the detriment of ordinary American folk. The same may be said for the UK who indeed suffer because of the trade imbalances and cheap labour within the FE and in the EU. British consumers are penalised by the mandatory EU import tariffs applied to all non-EU purchases and this will cease when we leave the EU.
    I believe you have been suggesting for quite some time that our Government produce a new tariff schedule but not a word back has been received I guess. What is the matter with them? 300,000+ civil servants and no one is working on this? Duh.
    I fear that too many of them along with too many avid and dedicated Cabinet and Parliament Europhiles are suffering from “Brexit Secundophobia”. Fear of Brexit being a success!
    They have much to fear then.

  33. An appeal to JR
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    John, have you considered the possibility that in a globalised world the former region of Britian could punch above its weight, or our Establishment could. All that matters John are shared principles of tolerance, diversity, LGBT rights and womans rights and we share all these with our partners. So what is to fear? Look John, (we could lead the global community), just look at our soft power, the Spice Girls, Kool Brittania etc.

    • Den
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      What, exactly do you mean by “The former region of Britain”? Are you fearful of a belated ‘1984’ or embracing “Globalisation” on the scale of the “Establishment’s” ultimate end game? Or are you merely a merchant selling “Windups”?

      • An appeal to JR
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        Or are you merely a merchant selling “Windups”?

        I am parodying globalists logic. I find it funny.

        • NickC
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          You need to work on your parodying skills . . . .

  34. An appeal to JR
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    You are all so inward looking, looking at little England, look out to the world, do you MPs want to govern some little country or do you want to rule the world? We have global issues to solve and we could be the global leader.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      I take it you have just come back from down the pub.

      The whole point of Leaving Little Europe (27 countries) was to rejoin the wider world (over 100 countries) can trade with them freely.

      And what is wrong with wanting what is best for my country, England ? I mean, you do not call the Welsh or the Scots little even though they have a parliament if their own and I do not.

    • Den
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      What are you on about? I suggest you actually read what JR has written about WORLD Trade, before you jump in head first and damage your faculties. ‘Inward looking’ indeed – that is exactly how Brussels sees the future of the EU! LOL.

  35. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    In the Middle Ages, in ‘Merry England’, people didn’t rely on the state.

    They relied on their family, and above all, on Panis Angelicus.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      That is because the State had nothing to give them. No NHS, police etc. They were poor, lived happy but died young.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

        I’m certainly not suggesting it’s either / or!

        But certainly the family (and reliance on the family) was big back in the Middle Ages.

        ‘Lived happy’ – and so could we if we maintained what was best about the Middle Ages (and ditched the worst) and kept what’s best about the modern era (and ditched the rest).

        My point is that we sadly ignore the many, many good bits about the Middle Ages.

    • Andy
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      In the Middle Ages life expectancy was not much more than 30. Thank God for progress – right? Otherwise all of the contributors to this blog would be dead – me included. And I lower the average age by a couple of decades.

      • L Jones
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear, Andy. You and your ageism. It’ll get you into hot water one day.

        What on earth makes you think you are the only ”young” one commenting here? Is it because everyone else sounds worldly-wise and well-read, no matter on what side their opinion lies – while you sound like a silly, shallow, uninformed, poorly-educated callow youth? (Even to your own ears, obviously!)

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        ‘Thank God for progress – right?’

        – BIG leaps of progress were made during the Middle Ages!

        – The founding of the British Monarchy, Parliament, Judiciary, Guilds
        – The creation of Oxford and Cambridge universities
        – The early Renaissance
        – The creation of grammars schools, Eton and Winchester
        – The development of Gothic Architecture
        – Magna Carta
        – The development of English vernacular, including the brilliance of Chaucer
        And loads more

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          And big advances were made in architectural engineering, farming, mechanical clock, blast furnace, spectacles, oil paint in art, dry compass, vertical windmills, watermarks in printing, movable type printing press, silk manufacturing, horizontal loom, magnets, mirrors, antiseptic cleaning of wounds, and loads more.

          And the English in the Middle Ages were also studying the great advances / thinking of the Arabs, Chinese, Indians, Plato and Aristotle.

        • An appeal to JR
          Posted February 18, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          BIG leaps of progress were made during the Middle Ages!

          – The founding of the British Monarchy, Parliament, Judiciary, Guilds
          – The creation of Oxford and Cambridge universities
          – The early Renaissance
          – The creation of grammars schools, Eton and Winchester
          – The development of Gothic Architecture
          – Magna Carta
          – The development of English vernacular, including the brilliance of Chaucer

          You missed the Westminster Confession.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 18, 2019 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

            Apologies for me being a wind-bag. I’ll shut up.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 20, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            @An Appeal JR,

            Sorry, but I’ve being doing more research into the Westminster Confession. And the more I research, the more it come across as:

            Calvinism (as opposed to Episcopalianism) and Scotland as opposed to England (even though at one level of course it’s to do with the Church of England and England).

            And I would put a £100 bet on with you that 99% of the people I know (mainly Protestant, and who have been educated at English public schools or grammar schools, top universities, and some cases the army, work in the city etc – people who would consider themselves Conservative, English Patriots) would struggle to even answer what the Westminister Confession was (or even care – compared to their interest in say, Medieval Gothic Architecture, Magna Carta, the creation of Oxford and Cambridge and so on).

      • An appeal to JR
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 3:16 am | Permalink

        In the Middle Ages life expectancy was not much more than 30

        hmmm, some of the apostles lived to their 90s, there were plenty of Roman senators in their 60s as well long before the middle ages.

  36. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    In principle there is nothing wrong with the UK (or any OECD member) being active in international trade outside of the European region, where all EU members enjoy the freest possible trading conditions. The UK could look at what countries like Germany and Sweden have done with China (as well as Korea and Japan). A very large share of imports from China are within corporate production chains, be it Apple, H&M or M&S. Most Japanese branded goods one can buy are assembled in China.

    The Chinese car market (the largest in the world) is dominated by German, Japanese, Korean and US joint ventures with local firms. Of course China is exploring ways to have more indigenous firms that would compete with the foreign giants, rather than work for them and that causes friction, especially since the Chinese nobility (the Party) makes it very hard to compete in the Chinese domestic market. for purely non-Chinese firms and China has some problems with intellectual property. All quite consitent with the logic of the Asian developmental state. Oddly enough, whereas the British had an enormous advantage over most other nationalities when China started to open up, due to the Anglo-Chinese community in Hong Kong, Germany and former ennemies of the PRC, like Japan and the US are doing much better there now. It would make sense to try and understand what went wrong.

    As to FTAs in general (your plea to have tariff schedules and a taste for FTAs are not entirely compatible imo). FTAs are a bilateral protectionist scheme, WTO schedules and the overall rhetoric of your article are in favour of that quaint phenomenon, free trade, existing only in introductory textbooks. But anyway, the best way to have good FTAs would be to have then through the EU (akin to bulk buying) , either via membership or via the scheme Labour has been peddling recently which may well be made compatible with EU principles from what I hear. Obviously, the UK, as a smaller market might have to offer more to a prospective FTA partner than a large, mercantilist party like the EU would. But the UK can also be more generous in ways the EU would not match, for instance immigration. As the UK will have to replace a few million EU immigrant workers, countries like Bangla Desh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan might be happy to grantb access to their impenetrable markets in exchange for Schengen-style mobility. So it is clearly not all gloom and doom (in my personal opinion of course), but not a bonanza either.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    This morning Andrew Marr spent 8 minutes interviewing Katherine Bennett of Airbus, and several times she said that it would be a “catastrophe” for us to leave the EU without a deal but somehow the conversation never turned to any detailed reasons why that should be the case. It is the same kind of story as with the Irish border, when it is never explained in any detail what checks the Irish customs officers would actually be doing if routine checks were reinstated on the Irish side of the border. If we were told precisely what problems are being anticipated then it might be possible to suggest solutions, if solutions are what people really want rather than preferring to have a pretext for keeping us under EU laws. A little later that fool John McDonnell was on the programme and at one point he offered what he obviously thought was the highest possible recommendation for Labour’s policy of turning the UK into an impotent rule-taker, namely that it had been welcomed by Michel Barnier …

    • Den
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      BBC right? Maybe Marr is under orders never to denigrate EUrophiles. They could lose their funding from Brussels otherwise. Ditto the CBI!

    • Andy
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      There is plenty of detail out there about why no deal would be a catastrophe. You choose to ignore it. That’s up to you – but, remember, no matter how hard you wish otherwise you will be affected when things go wrong too.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 17, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        Bit like the predictions for catastrophe for immediately after the vote day which never came true eh andy.

        • L Jones
          Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

          Of course, we were warned that many things would ‘go wrong’ immediately if we voted ‘leave’.
          Perhaps Andy would like to point out to us some of those going-wrong things that have come to pass and those that are yet to be. We’d rather not ignore them, Andy – so do us a favour and give us a list.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Thanks for providing another example of the same kind of evasion …

  38. NickC
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    JR said: “Many of us who voted Leave have a global perspective.” That depends what you mean by the word “global”. Globalism as allied to corporatism is on its way out. Hopefully what you mean is internationalism where it is recognised that the rest of the world exists, not just the EU; and that we can trade with each other internationally without having to be ruled by an oligarchy like the EU.

    • Chris
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      You are quite right NickC on the use of the word globalism. The globalists are part of the NWO political cabal, intent on the destruction of individual nation states, instead focusing on developing large political/trading blocs e.g. EU, which in turn take their orders from a global entity such as the UN and related organisations. Mass movement of labour is essential to the globalists model which demands limitless supplies of cheap labour to meet their demands. Vast wealth is created for the corporate businesses and political elite, but the labour force is kept relatively poor and forced to become ever more dependent on the state, and its national identity is dissolved, with other norms/identities/bonds of society destroyed. In this way the elite creates a ductile and malleable population. Sounds like communism. (Gorbachev thought so). Not good, and the sooner we are out of the EU the better.

  39. Helen Smith
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to believe Leave won the referendum at times. We have 30% of MPs representing the 53% who voted Leave and 70% of MPs representing the 48%, this the problem in a nutshell.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Yep !

    • Den
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Well it matters not so much the respective proportions, more that the majority decided to Leave the EU.
      If true democracy was heeded, there would have never been this dire aftermath. Had ‘remain’ won, can you imagine the Leavers trying to defer and to dismantle the decision of the electorate in the National Referendum?
      The problem we have is that democracy is being ignored by too many in the Mother of all Parliaments and that is an invitation to emulate 1645.

  40. JoolsB
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    It seems most MPs want to keep us in some sort of customs union and we hear Letwin & Cooper are going to reintroduce their absurd amendment to take no deal off the table and bind us to accepting a bad deal. The South West news this morning has reported demands for Letwin and Wollaston, Dorset and Devon MPs, to be deselected but apparently no plans are in place so far to do so. What a pity. Not only are MPs ignoring their constituents but it seems local associations are doing likewise. All Tory MPs now pushing for something different to the manifesto they were happy to stand on should at least have the whip taken away from them but of course as May is one of them, that’s hardly likely to happen either.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      My advice to Oliver Letwin MP would be to bin his ideas. I mean, it is not has if he has never done that kind of thing before 😉

      And he is still an MP ??

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Yes, freer trade with China is a good idea. It doesn’t help that our Secretary of State for Defence proposes to send a battleship (ONE battleship!!!) to the South China Sea in order to contain China. That East of Suez nonsense is rearing its ugly head again. We are not, repeat NOT, a power in Asia, especially not in China’s back yard.

    We need to decide to what extent we wish to back America in defending intellectual property rights. Patents that last for 5 years are a good idea to encourage innovation. Patents that last for 20 years are more dubious. Both America and China have a right to know where we stand on this issue.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      If the world said to China, “Look, stop stealing our ideas or, we will not buy your stuff” I think they would listen.

      The UK and the USA can drum up enough international support to hold China to account on this. The Chinese economy is slowing and the Regime, and it is a Regime, will become very nervous if we apply the right pressure.

  42. mancunius
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    We are going to need a genuine pro-free trade government after the end of March. May and Hammond are simply not up to the task.

    • agricola
      Posted February 17, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      That is an absolute.

      • David Price
        Posted February 18, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        We are going to need a genuine pro-UK government … the bulk of our MPs and establishment are seemingly not interested nor up to the task.

  43. Chris
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Very telling remark by Steve Baker of ERG in response to Jeremy Wright comments in television interview.
    I think the majority of commenters on this site could have told him this would happen:
    “In a BBC interview, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright indicated that the Prime Minister was looking at adding a time limit to the so-called “backstop” border proposal by attaching a legal supplement to her EU Withdrawal Agreement. Such a move is likely to be seen as falling short of the redrafting of key passages in the 585-page document to rip out the backstop demanded by Brexiteers in his party……

    “Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), said last night: “The Government HAD seemed to be clear in its intent.
    “Over the next few days, we will need to compare what has been said this weekend with WHAT WE THOUGHT WE HAD BEEN PROMISED.”……

    (Apologies for caps but haven’t mastered bold on this website).

  44. L Jones
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    ”As Douglas says….” And, judging by all the comments following what ”Douglas” says, it seems many people find his take on things fairly risible, shallow and uninformed.

    Since you finish with an insult – ”small englander(sic) mentality” – then it seems pretty obvious that you are a remainer. That, along with your reverence for ”Douglas” and his negative comments.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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