A lack of ambition for Brexit

Listening to government Ministers presenting plans to ensure a smooth exit without signing the Withdrawal Agreement, I am struck by the lack of ambition and enthusiasm for Brexit. It is all presented in terms of damage limitation. Their wish is to ensure continuity. They exaggerate the worries and see none of the opportunities.

I am all in favour of Day One continuity of law, and voted for that in the EU Withdrawal Act. That should now all be behind us. There is no need for Parliament to make heavy weather of the Statutory Instrument changes, which are technical and not designed to change any policy or remove any legal protection. By now we should be debating the opportunities that running our own government and choosing our own laws can bring.

Lets take the case of medicines. The UK has a strong position in the global pharmaceutical sector. It accepted a European regulatory system whilst we were in the EU, but has quite enough critical mass in medicines to be able to run our own well respected system as we used to. If we became a prime global regulator other countries would wish to use our system, and we could drive world standards forward. There is money to be earned out of being a centre of excellence for regulation and for research and production.

Lets look at the opportunity to rebuild our fishing industry, as long as we become an independent coastal state this year before more damage is done to our fishing grounds by a common policy which allows too many industrial trawlers from abroad to take fish from our seas.

Lets propose changes to tariffs and agricultural support that nurtures a larger home industry in temperate food, as we used to have before we joined the Common Agricultural Policy. There are too many food miles from the continent for products we could more easily grow for ourselves.

Lets look at how we could improve the data rules and regulations to foster more tec based new businesses in a variety of sectors.

Above all, lets spend some time debating how we wish to spend all the money we will save once we have left. This economy needs a boost from lower tax rates and from more being spent on some core public services. Brexit gives us the chance to do just that.

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  1. Atlas
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Yes, Sir John, but I would put it stronger: these Ministers are spineless.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never hear a single Remain MP ever say anything good about the EU.

      First they said it would be a disaster to Vote to Leave.

      Now they say it will be a disaster to leave without a deal.

      The only disaster for Remain MPs it that it won’t be a disaster. Like with any other change, life will go on as normal a most people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

      • Hope
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        JR, you govt has never had any intention of leaving. May has been thoroughly dishonest to force our country to remain in the EU by another treaty with a different name with key elements under different badges. Hammond always claimed there would only be modest changes.

        May always slapped down ministers for promoting leaving the EU but not uttered a word for inappropriate remain claims and comments. Including Hammond calling seventeen and half million people extremist! Not a,coincidence after nearly three years. Why has Rudd, clarke and Gauke not been sacked? All have appalling records. Rudd the worst.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 1:11 am | Permalink

          Indeed. They are surely not sacked as Theresa May clearly approves of, or perhaps even authorised their actions. What other explanation is there?

        • Stephen Priest
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

          Remain MPs and journalists talk as if a partial/non Brexit is a special treat for the minority Brexit MPs who won’t get anything they want if they continue to be naughty.

          Remain MPs and journalists continue to ignore the fact that a full and complet is what the majority of the British people voted for in huge numbers.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Reminds me a little of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.

    • Andy
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      They are just useless. And as for that May woman . . . .

  2. Simon
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    How is all the “novating” lol of our EU trade deal going Sir John. You are absolutely hilarious.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I daresay that was intended as an insult, Simon.
      Ergo – you must be a remainer.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      lol Simon you dont even realise the EU won’t allow any trade deals to novate until after we leave.
      Its you that is hilarious

      • Jagman84
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        “Simple” Simon, perhaps?

    • Richard
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Even the EU only claims trade deals with 36 countries are in force. https://facts4eu.org/news/2019_feb_eu_trade_deals Many are tiny, eg Mongolia “HAIR OF KASHMIR GOATS” https://facts4eu.org/news/2019_feb_mongolia

      The DIT: “We have already secured agreements with countries that account for more than a quarter of UK trade covered by these agreements. This includes signing agreements with Switzerland, which is worth over 20% in terms of value of these agreements, as well as Chile, the Faroe Islands, Eastern and Southern Africa, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
      We have also signed Mutual Recognition Agreements with the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand, which ensures that businesses don’t face additional bureaucracy and allows them to continue trading as freely as they do today after we leave the European Union.
      Many of the other trade agreements are at an advanced stage, and the UK Government will be signing more in the coming days and weeks.”

    • Richard
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      The DIT are reported as having working groups with 21 priority countries.
      Australia, NZ, the USA & others have expressed interest in agreeing quick interim FTAs with the UK following a WTO Brexit. http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/01/16/what-now/#comment-988637

    • acorn
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      The new Brexit fishing policy will have to stop UK quota (there will still be a quota) being sold to foreigners. Unused quota must be returned to Defra. There is an oligopoly of sharks that are hoarding quota for profit, not for fish.

      • forthurst
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        The CAP concept of quotas which having been allocated to countries and subsequently allocated to trawlers can then be sold and bought by whoever is entirely wrong. The fishing grounds should belong to the UK first and foremost and then should be subdivided by registration port which can allocate licences to trawlers or drifters which cannot be sold on.

        • forthurst
          Posted February 23, 2019 at 10:38 pm | Permalink


    • acorn
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      The question you should have asked was how many trade deals will be ready to sign and instantly novate to the UK at 23:01 hrs UK time on the 29/03/19. Your question invites the standard lever reply as a substitute for them actually having an answer.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        How realistic is tha acorn?
        Trade deals take a little time.
        Meanwhile trade carries on.
        The EU took years to agree a deal with Japan, did you notice any shortages of Japanese cars or motor bikes or electronics in Europe or UK in the last few decades?

        • acorn
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Trade will go on, prices will change. But, with no import tax, Japan doesn’t need to bother about making stuff in the country where it sells the stuff.

          With ships that can carry 8500 cars and are now running like buses, sea freight is cheap.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 24, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            Such are the many changes that continue to affect world trade.
            Problem is the Japanese car industry see the UK and Europe becoming anti car and anti combustion engine.
            They see the Middle East, Far East and China as easier future sales growth areas.

  3. mancunius
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I absolutely agree with you that the government response to leaving the EU has been pathetically wimpish. It may take another political and administrative generation to forge the forward-looking domestic policies we need.
    For now, we need a brexit government, replacing the Treasury, Business and other ministers with can-do types who facilitate instead of just fussing.

  4. Dominic
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Should you continue to remain loyal to this government we can wave goodbye to Brexit

    This farce and moral offence of a PM knows Tory Brexiteers will not topple her government. That alone means Brexit is doomed.

    Your loyalty is your weakness

    • agricola
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes there is a limit to the loyalty of Tory voters. The conservative party is in self destruct mode and ripe to be replaced. Labour voters are not that happy either. The large party membership is a delusion in terms of votes. Opportunity unprecedented for St George in the shape of Nigel Farage to ride to the rescue by offering
      What 17.4 million voted for.

  5. ian
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Never happen under these parties running parliament, might as well talk to a brick wall.

  6. Iain Moore
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Our participation in the EEC was due to the lack of ambition there was for our country, as they said at the time, they wanted to ‘manage our decline’, and all bar an interlude to this defeatism, when Mrs Thatcher instilled some self confidence, we are back to it now, which Brexit has exposed in stark terms, but its not just in Brexit, it’s everywhere, from our feeble response to returning jihadis to a failure of industrial policy. We were the first in nuclear power, but now have to buy our nuclear power stations from China. Israel sends a rocket to the moon, but as Tim Peak the astronaut pointed out, we are the only country to have ever developed rocket technology , and then given up. But it’s not a case of the British people’s lack of ambition for our country, they do, it’s Parliament that doesn’t. Our politicians suck the life blood out of our country, this is no better shown than by a programme on the box the other night that detailed the building of the Boeing 747. In six months they levelled a area and built the biggest manufacturing plant in the world , and within 28 months they had built a revolution new aircraft. 28 months! Our useless politicians are still arguing about what we decided in the referendum 33 months ago! Parliament excels at burning through time, money and opportunity.

    As to what to do if we ever get out of the EU, and if Parliament hasn’t wasted all our money in the process, and as its determined that robotics are going to make most of us redundant in the near future, I would like to see us build a technological base on that discipline, where Government offers incentives to bring together Universities, companies etc to develop the technology, after all if we can invest in the Ethiopian Spice girls, and more recently the Government boasting that we are building infrastructure in Iraq, it shouldn’t be against the rules to invest in our own country. If MPs kick up rough about investing in our future, you can always tell them they can throw away our technological lead later on as they have on pretty much everything else.

  7. Brigham
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    As someone who wants to leave without a deal, and 85 in April, what are my chances of seeing my country out of this awful EU, now that extensions to article 50 are being mooted?.

    • David James Potter
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      I, too, want a “no deal” brexit. I am not sure I will live to see this country free of the EU shackles and I am only 65.

    • Andy
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      At 85 you should not have a say in a future you won’t have to live.

      You have voted to impoverish your children and grandchildren.

      They will never forgive you.

      • Jagman84
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        You are such an angry, not-so-young, man. Your way forward would mean conscription into an EU army and the possibility of your kids being asked to shoot at your fellow EU citizens.. It’s already happened in France, so no-one is safe.

      • Al
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Andy, by your logic, the older generation should not have a vote in general or council elections either. At what point do you think the maximum age for voting should be set?

        I am considerably younger than the other commenters, and voted to prevent further EU laws damaging the small- and micro- business sector. As things like the the savetheinternet campaign (a cross-EU campaign) show, the EU is much less popular with younger voters than you believe.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Ageism is as dreadful a discrimination as any other Andy.

      • NickC
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Andy, I have voted to free my children and grandchildren from the shackles of a rootless ideology administered by a crony oligarchy.

  8. percy openshaw
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,

    In today’s Telegraph, Charles Moore tells us not to falter as the deadline hoves into view – but “we” are not in charge. “They” are in charge – those whose view of Brexit is either as narrow and fearful as you say, or openly hostile. Three cabinet ministers are now committed to working against rather than with the public’s wish to leave. The whole business has become wearisome, infuriating and absurd – thanks to the wilful folly of “Them” – the governing class – the establishment – the Deep State – call them what you will. Like many voters I oscillate between anger and despair. So much was promised and so little looks to be delivered.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Spot on, Mr Openshaw. Well said on behalf of many of us here.

      I am also concerned by the phrase in today’s blog: ”…. as long as we become an independent coastal state this year…” which sounds as if even Sir John feels that he should qualify his optimism.

    • NickC
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Percy Openshaw, My thoughts exactly.

  9. iain
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    A great pity that Mrs May and most of her Government have no vision.

  10. margaret howard
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    ” before more damage is done to our fishing grounds by a common policy which allows too many industrial trawlers from abroad to take fish from our seas”

    You ‘forget’ to mention that that is because our fishermen chose to sell their allocated fishing quotas to other EU countries like Spain who, unlike our own fishermen, saw the advantage of long term investment rather than short term profiteering.

    How can they ‘take fish from our sea’ when they were sold legally?

    • Edward2
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Usual cut and paste stuff from you margaret.

      Faced with the disastrous EU fishing deal UK fishermen realised thatit was a decision to either sell their poor allocations and leaving the industry or going bankrupt.
      But you know that really don’t you.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:42 pm | Permalink


        It is much more complicated than how you are presenting it, what is the cost of the actual fisheri control?

        • Edward2
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          You keep making these short sweeping statements hans with your usual I’m much more clever than all you lot attitude, but when challenged to explain using your superior knowledge you never do.
          Still waiting for a reply to a similar comment from you a few days ago.
          What has fishery control got to do with it?
          It is a straightforward matter of returning control of our coastal fishing waters to the UK
          You know hans a bit like every other country not subjected to the ridiculously biased CFP

    • John Hatfield
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Margaret, Edward Heath gave away our fishing grounds as part of his bribe to get us into the EEC.

    • Al
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Remain keep claiming this, but the fact remains: The EU limited allocation of quotas by boat size, favouring the large boats used by the EU countries. The majority of British vessels fell into small size, which meant that most of the British fishing fleet were left to share 5% of the allowed catch, down from the 90% they were catching. This was not sufficient to cover the costs of running the boats, forcing the fishermen the sell their quotas.

      This allocation was deemed illegal under British law, but the EU overruled them and reinstated it.

  11. Ian Pennell
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    Sir, I am surprised that you and your ERG colleagues are allowing the Remainers in the Conservative Party- and in Government- to do all the running. There are Government Ministers like the Right Hon. David Gauke threatening to resign to vote for Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin’s ghastly legislation to force the Government to rule out a WTO “No Deal” Brexit- in which (as you say) opportunities abound for trade, our own tax- rates and tariffs in order to revitalise the UK economy.

    None of this will happen if Theresa May is forced/ pushed into ruling out a “No Deal” Brexit by delaying the EU Leaving date. You must, at this critical juncture, – with your colleagues do something dramatic to face down the Remainers and ensure that they cannot push through a delay to Britain leaving the EU. This is what you will need to do:

    1) Tell Theresa May she must MUST Prorogue Parliament until 30th March to ensure Brexit actually happens. The Privy Council must ensure that this happens so that the Remainers are stopped in their tracks.

    2) Tell Theresa May and the Remainers (especially Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin- whose Bill will delay Brexit and the Speaker) that if the Cooper- Letwin Bill passes and Theresa May does not prorogue Parliament that you, Sir- and a number of your colleagues- will resign from the Conservative Party en- masse to join Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party to campaign against the Government’s delay, incompetence and the Remainer Majority.

    That should focus minds. Hopefully it might re-kindle in Theresa May and the Remainers a healthy fear of Brexiteers- and rather than meekly acquiescing to the Brexit Delay Bill when it masses she will go to Her Majesty The Queen and prorogue Parliament until 30th March!

    For the 17.4 million voters who voted “Leave” in 2016, you and your ERG colleagues must MUST use every legal opportunity to ensure Brexit is delivered a) Properly and b) On time.

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      If the Remoaners want to be fully involved in the future direction of this nation, they need to accept our exit from the EU on March 29th and fulfil the Referendum mandate. It was an instruction from the electorate, not some vague and woolly suggestion to MPs. The clock can then be reset and then all opinions can be freely heard, in and out of Parliament. If the country decides to follow Mr Corbyn’s policies and become a carbon-copy of Venezuela then so be it. That would be the democratic way. Something that has been sadly lacking from some quarters recently.

    • jane4brexit
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      It has less than 5,000 signatures at the moment, but there is a petition asking for Parliament to be prorogued which you might like to sign. I cannot see May asking but if enough MPs left to lose her the Conservative majority or even just because most MPs are breaking their word to the people, as given at the time of the referendum and last election, I wonder might the Queen be able to do prorogue Parliament without being asked and on her own initiative? Do you know Sir John? Perhaps we should all start writing to Her Majesty asking her to do this?

      “The Prime Minister should advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament.
      The Prime Minister should advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament suspending the current parliamentary session until 2nd April 2019 to prevent any attempts by parliamentarians to thwart Brexit on 29th March 2019. Preparations for no-deal/WTO will continue.
      The Prime Minister’s deal has been rejected. No further deal is available from the EU. Remaining in the EU is not an option. Extension or revocation of Article 50 is not an option. I believe the British people voted to leave with no mention of a deal and that WTO rules, to which Britain will default on 29th March 2019, are in Britain’s best interests. We may get a better deal after, but not until, we have left.”


    • Know-Dice
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Interesting concept.

      At the moment we really don’t know which side Mrs May is truly on, she acts as an “appeaser” which is one of the reasons that we are at this potential impasse.

      Currently the EU are sitting back and watching as they have time to do this and certainly those that wish to confound negotiation by taking “no deal” off the table as an strategy have encouraged them [the EU] to do this.

      Certainly a Parliamentary prorogue could encourage movement from Juncker & Tusk, to quote Herr Junker:

      “Britain’s exit could have terrible economic and social consequences for both the U.K. and continental Europe.”

      Well maybe that’s because the EU came up with such a dreadful Withdrawal Agreement that anyone with the UK’s interests at heart could never vote for it.

  12. Nig l
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Lack of ambition. Full stop. Brexit has just served to highlight it. Interesting article in the DT today about fuel cell technology specifically with automotive, where it’s at and the potential and the fact that we are world leaders.

    The less than impressive Claire Perry has been to see it but nothing has happened with senior Ministers totally uninterested.

    The sort of technology you would be interested in, JR and needing you to get your teeth into it.

    • agricola
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Lawyers, and where better to find 2nd rate ones than the HoC, have little interest in getting their well manicured hands dirty in an attempt to understand engineering and science. I say this because the pickings for good lawyers exceeds anything they might earn in the HoC even including their feather bedded expenses and pensions. The history of 5what they have thrown away in terms of UK technology would fill volumes.

  13. jane4brexit
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    With regard to medicines this turned up in my Twitter feed the other day and looks promising:

    “Nine of the Top Ten pharmaceutical companies in the world are headquartered OUTSIDE the EU27.

    01 Pfizer 🇺🇸
    02 Roche 🇨🇭
    03 Sanofi 🇫🇷
    04 Johnson & Johnson 🇺🇸
    05 Merck & Co🇺🇸
    06 Novartis 🇨🇭
    07 AbbVie 🇺🇸
    08 Gilead Sciences 🇺🇸
    09 GlazoSmithKline 🇬🇧
    10 Amgen 🇺🇸

    It had been retweeted by Margot Parker MEP:

    • Dennis Anthony
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      jane4brexit – seems JR has nothing to say about that so is not promising in his view.

    • Richard
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      MHRA employs 1300+ people & approves c 20% of EU drugs.

      Mutual Regulatory Recognition for UK’s MHRA with FDA, ACSS Consortium countries, EMA, Japan etc can be negotiated as part of FTA negotiation process.

      The recent UK-USA Mutual Recognition Agreement covers pharma manufacture. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cs-usa-no52019-ukusa-agreement-on-mutual-recognition

  14. John Hatfield
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Remainers are, by definition, negative in their outlook. I’m still praying for an unlikely clean break on March 29th.

    • Mrs Sarah Tun
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree in principle, John. But let’s pray in faith… take that leap of faith that says, clean break exit on 29th March, in spite of the nay – sayers. Indeed, prayer is to ask the impossible, to make it possible, otherwise what is the need for prayer.

      • Norman
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Just the little matter of the sovereignty of a righteous and holy God to resolve.

    • Norman
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Mrs May when she said ‘leaving the EU was never going to be easy’. I give her credit for her tireless efforts to try to achieve the impossible – a genuine UK/EU friendly separation, whilst protecting trade and jobs, and keeping a perceivedly damaging socialist regime at bay. The hidden implications are truly seismic – a tall order for any mere mortal. Mercy may yet prevail, human folly be circumvented, and the scorners and pundits routed.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, you are not a member of the government probably because you have ability and also enthusiasm for Brexit. Many in government and in the Cabinet (including Mrs May) possess neither of these attributes and really would like to just keep us under EU control. Our democracy is being undermined before our eyes by those who were elected to uphold and defend it.

  16. Etcetc
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    As the time draws near more and more people are starting to realize the stupidity of it all.. that we belong to the biggest richest economic club on the planet and want to leave because JR and some of the ERG crowd see a bright and better future out there- somewhere else but where? Ii heard A Bridgen on Sky this morning still talking his broken record stuff and we see the same thing here with JR’s diary today.. yes ‘let”s ..well we won’t have long to wait now, and I for one am waiting patiently looking forward to the 30th March when things will change just to see how much they will change. The change will matter most of course to ordinary people in their daily lives not to fat well stuffed politiciansi..so yes ‘let’s’ wait and see how it goes, only a few weeks more.

    • NickC
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Etcetc, There’s nothing “stupid” about wanting our nation to be as independent as New Zealand. And if your criterion is solely to be part of the richest and most effective state you should be advocating that the UK becomes part of the USA, not the backward failing crony oligarchy of the EU.

  17. Ian
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sire John,

    Well again another bucket of Common sence, we have come to expect this from you.

    I imagine most people that follow you would feel as you do.

    We just wish that the muppets in charge of this the most important item since the last War.

    If only you and all other Brexiteers could get rid of those who are destroying this Nation, I am talking about Remainers in the Tory party.

    Maybe they could be persuaded to go with the other un Democratic, join there new party?

    We are only going to get a bad deal, and just what will be achieved by a delay, any man in the street could have done better.

    I no longer believe that this party is worth saving, I will wait for Nigel and his new party, we have joined that.

    Brexit Express is all we want now we have had it with any other party, we hope that the Berexiteers were ever they maybe also join.

    Or we just wait for the EU to collapse?

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:37 pm | Permalink


      Or we just wait for the EU to collapse?

      That has already started and it will just be a matter of time and when it gets momentum it will be unstoppable. It will be a lot sooner than a lot of people think.

  18. Peter
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Well it would be more surprising if Continuity Remain were to change their tune at this late stage.

    There is still a Withdrawal Agreement to be voted down.

    May might welcome the prospect of ministers fighting to remove No Deal. Leave MPs need to stand fast and ignore attempts to frighten them into allowing the WA to pass.

    If there is a delay there is still everything to play for. If WA gets through we are sunk.

    • piglet
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Bang on.

    • acorn
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      BREXITEER Nadine Dorries revealed only one member of the Eurosceptic European Research group has been advocating for a no deal Brexit as other members remain “desperate” to secure a good deal for Britain. (Daily Express, so it must be true.)

      JR, are you that last member???

      Reply You know my viewsas they are set out here

      • NickC
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, A good deal is “No deal” – ie leaving without either a comprehensive Withdrawal Agreement or an RTA. There have already been numerous minor agreements to cope with the technical issues of a change of management, and that can continue.

        • acorn
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          “leaving without either a comprehensive Withdrawal Agreement or an RTA”

          That statement alone tells me you haven’t got a clue how this process works.

  19. David James Potter
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    People are often frightened by change and MPs would seem to be no different.
    I am reminded of a lady, in her late 40s, who worked for me nearly 40 years ago. The department had operated a manual system very successfully since the beginning of time. However, as the business was rapidly growing the system had to be computerised. The lady in question was adamant that there was “no way” she would use a computer terminal. Well, to cut a long story short, once the computer system was introduced it became impossible to get her off the computer screen. She took to it like a duck takes to water, so much so that she became a trainer of new staff.
    The point I am trying to make is that no one should be scared of change. After all, that is the only way progress can ever be made.
    So, whilst I am hard brexit supporter I have every confidence that businesses will overcome any setbacks on March 30th and beyond even if they have been given little guidance by Parliament. I would be happier if the Government had issued a schedule of tarriffs that would apply in the event of a “no deal” brexit.
    However, I am less confident that MPs will honour the result of the referendum or their manifesto promises at the General Election.

  20. Ian wragg
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    But they would have to accept some responsibility and start earning their ministerial salaries.
    No one to blame and exhibit some original thought.
    Not a quality in abundance with the PPE snowflakes in Westminster at present.

  21. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Brexit and Low Tax – both Good / Noble Ambitions BUT …

    Only Work Ethic will make this country great. Not Low Tax.

    Work Ethic leads to, in the longer term, Low Tax (because Work Ethic encourages Productivity, Self-Reliance & Public Duty).

    Focusing on Low Tax helps to create a Casino-like Economy and American-like Culture (British voters dislike).

    Work Ethic creates a more comprehensive and stable economy. Work Ethic not a dream – look at the Quakers in Business!

    Low Tax exacerbates, not resolves, Short Term Crisis of Leaving the EU without a proper Plan & Agreement.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Boris Johnson: ‘Greed is good’ – boooo, boooo, boooo.

      Greed is NOT good. Dickens’ Christmas Carol captures, brilliantly, what happens when an economy is based on this as opposed to Work Ethic. ‘A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!’

      Work Ethic is Good – and it Works (–> The Quakers in UK Business, making the UK Great – and Stable).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Money can be great. A real blessing. It can also be a real curse. It’s only at the end of A Christmas Carol, that Scrooge experiences what it’s like to be freed from the spirit of greed that has destroyed his life until now (and that can destroy a nation from one degree to another) (and A Christmas Carol is a serious moral tale, not to be scoffed at):

        I say all of this to try and show the other side of Boris’ argument.

        ‘I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man.’

        Let our Great Country be like the Quakers in Work Ethic. Nothing Less. And remember, the great joy this brings – as Dickens’ reminds us in his masterful, Christmas, moral tale – as relevant today as it was in Victorian England.

        God bless England.

  22. Norman
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Yes, JR, that’s how it seems to me – a case of ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’. Sadly, for so many, they just do not have the will to enact the wishes of the majority. Whilst I respect their view, if they can’t bring themselves to deliver, let them move over for those that will. Please!

  23. Lifelogic
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Exactly why are so many ministers (and particularly the PM) so lacking in any positive vision? Why is the Tory Party led by such a visionless, robotic, EUphile? With a tax to death Chancellor who is if anything even worse. A greencrap pushing, disingenuous a remoaner who has given us the highest taxes for 40 odd years (while lying that he is a tax cutter).

    This combined with fairly dire and declining public services. Doubtless we will get both an extension to the 29th March date and a second referendum shortly. This as May has endlessly promised not to do this, so this surely seem almost certain.

    The Rudd/Clarke/Gauke letter was surely done with May having given the nod. Otherwise she would surely have fired the three of them. Just how stupid does May think the public and ERG are? We can all see what she is doing. The ERG and sound wing should stick to their guns. May deal is nothing like a real Brexit – it would be a disaster and a total betrayal of voters. Particularly Tory voters.

    The best way to spend any money we do save is as tax cuts, cut red tape and cut all the green crap subsidies for expensive & intermittent energy. The UK is hugely over taxed and over regulated under lefty Hammond. Cancel HS2 and the vast other government waste (about 50% of what they spend) and fund further tax cuts with that too.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink


      ‘The best way to spend any money we do save is as tax cuts, cut red tape and cut all the green crap subsidies for expensive & intermittent energy. The UK is hugely over taxed and over regulated under lefty Hammond’

      – What makes a country great isn’t about tax, it’s about how hard people work. Simple as that.

      I support Low Tax as long-term ambition (I want people to spend their own money, just as I want them to own their own house and own country). But if you mess around too much with tax, to improve economy, you just end up with socialists in government – do you want that? Unintended Consequence.

      Or you end up more with more of a Casino-style economy than an economy based on high skills, high productivity, high exports – above all, hard, honest work. This creates new economic problems further down the line, including social ones – all costing the tax payer MORE in the medium to long-term. Unintended Consequence.

      I strongly believe your focus on Tax is flawed – it’s too short-term, only creating bigger problems in the long-run – in a sense helping to create and keep alive socialism. Only improving Worth Ethic (in all – Upper Classes, Middle Classes and Lower Classes) and High Tech Industry will lead to lower taxes in the long-run (and keep the socialists out of power).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        You and I basically both want the same things. But I just think it’s much harder to achieve than you make out. However, just because something is ‘much harder to achieve’ doesn’t mean we should baulk at it.

        Let’s make the UK Great by TRYING to encourage a culture of Work Ethic as well as creatively, carefully, and in a capitalist-only way, invest in the High Tech Industry to deepen and stabilise our economy – all of which will lead to much lower taxes in the future (as well as people living more stable and more fulfilled lives – in work and the positive effect of this on life outside work).

        Work Ethic isn’t just a nice dream. It’s been done before. In particular with the Quakers and their brilliant achievements in Business here in the UK (as well as with the Catholic Guilds in the Middle Ages, but many other good examples as well).

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Also, Work Ethic also ties in with Patriotism.

          We need people making surplus money to their needs to they can spend on creating beautiful buildings and patronising artists and painters and poets and composers, and bringing nature to our cities and leaving the natural world wild.

          And although people should be FREE to spend their own money (enjoying low tax), mustn’t forget, either, that secular science has proven that only a certain amount of money makes people happy (i repeat SECULAR SCIENCE).

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            (Of course, charity – giving to the poor – is key as well – in particular to the poor abroad, lepers and people like that – but that’s a private concern not part of patriotism which is why I am not talking about it, although looking after the vulnerable in our own country is part of patriotism – not forgetting that here time is just as important as money).

            My focus is on how only Work Ethic can ultimately make this country great (and improving the High Tech Industry).

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Theresa May’s policy is driven by the CBI, it parallels as closely as possible the policy of the Irish government, and it involves collusion with Leo Varadkar to build what appears to be an otherwise insurmountable mountain out of a molehill on the Irish land border. As for the ministers who say they will vote to keep us in the EU for some period which they hope will turn out to be forever, why has Theresa May not demanded their resignations?

    • acorn
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Denis, this is not just the Irish land border. This is the EU 27 “frontier” border.

      • NickC
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, That’s the EU’s problem then, not ours.

        • acorn
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          So, are you proposing an “open border” into the UK, from the EU, at the Irish border? Both countries being WTO members, the UK would be obliged to offer an “open border” to all other WTO members.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 24, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            Risk assessment allows differences.
            Have you ever actually exported or imported?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Notwithstanding your fairly typical attempt at irrelevant distraction, it is the Irish land border now while the UK is still in the EU and it will continue to be the Irish land border after the UK has left the EU.

        • acorn
          Posted February 24, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          I predict that there will be no “land border” in Ireland within the next ten years. Coincidentally, I expect that border will disappear at the same time the UK agrees some sort of economic partnership with the EU.

          Sadly, a process that has been evolving, slowly, since the Belfast agreements, is in danger of being destroyed by a bunch of Brexit “no-deal” barrack room lawyers and public bar pundits. A problem that would not have occured before the advent of social media.

  25. Lifelogic
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    University suspends student UKIP member, 19, who sparked outrage by suggesting that the NHS should not be free to immigrants. Is free speech now completely dead at our Universities? Or is it just at Preston Poly (now the grand University of Central Lancashire).

    Really he should have said everyone who can afford to pay should pay (and not just immigrants) and we should taxes cut accordingly. This so as to get away from this dire, rationed, delayed, state run, health monopoly. A service that kills and fails millions of people appallingly.

  26. Syd
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    It is so depressing.
    We have MPs with no knowledge of commerce, science or engineering who stand up in THP and spout half truths and downright lies about what we will encounter if we leave on WTO rules.
    Our parents, who faced the adversity of WW2 would be so disappointed to see how pathetic we have become. Afraid to stand up for ourselves. Happy to be subservient to other nations.
    The incompetence of the bunch of amateurs we call our Conservative Government is really incredible. Unless they find a way of giving us WTO, the Party will be wiped out in the next GE.
    How can they not see this?

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

      @ Syd

      It is so depressing.


  27. Local Lad
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    And let those in favour of complying with the will of the people (in the referendum which Parliament told us they would accept) refute robustly all these groundless and unsubstantiated claims by Remainers. Why for instance do they forecast shortages of food and medicines? Will supplying companies turn away our business only to harm their own prosperity? Will the port of Calais discourage transport to the UK and reduce the income it now enjoys?
    And what evidence is there to back the claim that there will be tariffs of 40% to force up prices when we shall be setting our own tariff levels.

    • Andy
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      The evidence is in the tariffs schedules published by the EU.

      You voted out of our existing trade deal with the EU.

      If we do not replace this then the EU is obligated to trade with us on WTO rules.

      And that includes huge tariffs on some previously tariff free products.

      Ranting about this reality does not make it any less of a reality.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        So Andy faced with huge tariffs for both us and them, we talk with our European partners and offer zero or near zero tariffs as a free trade agreement which is what the WTO is encouraging.
        What do you think might happen next?

      • NickC
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Andy, Like the British Retail Consortium you still haven’t worked out that the EU does not impose tariffs on its own exports.

      • anon
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        WTO exists to reduce tariffs.

        Tariffs are set by the importing government, only discriminatory ones are a problem. They can be set lower at will.

        Are you saying the EU will impose an export tax for goods sold to the ROW inc the UK?

        That would be truly stupid, please do not inflict such stupidity on our European friends. We deserve better.

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. I can’t see why food imports from the EU will be affected in any way. Only our food exports to the EU face a credible hurdle – but in that case the farmers could sell their foodstuffs here, as we are a net importer of food.

  28. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    And I’d also like to see our government use Brexit to break-up the EU (in a controlled manner). Big. But Churchill would be arguing for this kind of thing. Then we:

    1) Get out of the EU
    2) No longer have the EU hanging over us (if the EU collapses that will profoundly affect us if we’re in or out of the EU
    3) We will have no short-term economies woes
    4) We can create great trade deal with other European countries, as well as keep close ties in terms of culture and security.

  29. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Would also like to see the government invest creatively and carefully far more in the High Tech Industry. Like the Israeli and Irish and other non-socialist governments have done around the world. The High Tech industry results in:

    – Higher Salaries
    – Higher Productivity
    – Higher Exports
    – Higher Skilled Jobs
    – Higher Sense of Work-related Patriotism

    And this would create more balance and stability in our economy. Instead of being so focused on The City (important as that is) and not forgetting how the Financial Sector nearly brought this country crashing down – to a degree – in the last recession.

  30. Tony Henry
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    So sad Treason May leads the nation at this crucial moment. She energetically wants to sell us out.

    That is the problem.

    The surrender document is awful and makes me feel quite ill.

    If only, if only, if only we had a leader with skill and courage who would stand up to the EU paper tiger.

    She has given away our armed forces, oceans of our money, control of trade and borders and kept us in the gluepot instead of being grown up and putting the nation first.

  31. J Bush
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Fact 1: Businesses trade

    Fact 2: The majority of contemporary politicians have little or no business experience and appear to prefer to be rubber stampers because of the lack of accountability the EU provides them with. Some have a financial gain from us being the EU. Hence the reasons for much of the intransigence and general hostility against leaving their cosy little bubble. They are in no position to make business decisions.

    I get the impression some politicians think the EU calls the shots on international trade standards. Err no, they don’t. The CofC and/or DofC submitted with goods must meet that other country’s’ trading standards. If you trade with China, you supply to their conformance standards. On technical equipment, the US would often request Def Stans, as these were considered superior to their own country’s standards. It is because of this sort of ignorance; career politicians make the stupid mistake of only listening to the CBI and multinational corporations.

    Why? Because the CBI get EU funding and the multinationals have EU lobbying rights. Therefore, neither are impartial and both entities seek to stifle native and independent entrepreneurial competition (e.g. Dysons) and by pricing out the existing small/medium businesses (most of whom only trade in the domestic market) with the mountains of EU red tape they lobby for.

    Interesting too, that most politicians also ignore the other fact, whether they like it or not, it that it is these other 85% of businesses who provide the most employment in the UK. Not the EU.

    I would recommend politicians read Schrumpeters’ theory of creative destruction. Here are two very different examples of when a business overreaches itself and its standards fall, or when success makes them arrogant and how free market forces automatically come into play: Marconi and Ratners. That is why politicians shouldn’t listen to the CBI and multinationals.

    All politicians should be concerned with, is creating an environment where ALL businesses to have the ability to trade on a level playing field. And tariffs are mutually agreed between the trading countries. If another country wants to apply punitive tariffs on the UK, the UK reciprocates. It is not rocket science.

    • NickC
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      J Bush, Completely right.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just written a letter to Mrs May headed ‘NO DEAL IT IS – NOW MAKE THE BEST OF IT’. It makes many of the same points urging POSITIVE planning for No Deal, as opposed to the Project Fear Mark 2 crap that the Government has been peddling.

    Some Government Ministers are threatening to resign if No Deal is not removed as an option, Let them go. Good riddance. The draft Withdrawal Agreement must be voted down, even if amended. £39 billion for NOTHING!! They’ve got to be joking.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. The May deal is totally appalling, far, far worse than no deal even without the backstop. Why on earth did T May even take such an appalling “deal” forwards to a vote?

  33. Andy
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Your last point is moot. There is no money to spend.

    Instead, my children’s generation will be paying off to your Brexit bill until the 2060s – when you will be in your 110s.

    • Edwardm
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      The Brexit bill is one for which no legal or treaty justification has been given, it was dreamt up and agreed to by the EU and Remainers after the referendum. It is a cost that was neither ignored by Leavers prior to the referendum (since it didn’t exist) nor imposed by Leavers since. Even so, it is a lot cheaper than staying in the EU until the 2060s.

    • zorro
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Give it a break Andy, you are economically illiterate. Do you know what money is?


      • Jagman84
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        He sounds like one of my old neighbours. An insufferable snob who only bought ‘labels’. She knew the price of everything but the value of nothing.

    • Richard
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      The Brexit Dividend is £12Bn & other parts of the EU funding iceberg each year: http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/06/20/how-much-money-do-we-save-when-we-leave-the-eu/#comment-941877

      And the EU’s Budget Commissioner has confirmed that the UK would not keep the “mother of all rebates” if it held a second referendum and decided to stay in the EU: https://order-order.com/2018/10/12/uk-will-lose-rebate-stays-eu/
      Therefore, after 2020, the visible saving from leaving the EU increases to c. £17Bn Net p.a.

    • graham1946
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Well, just tack it on to the National Debt which we incurred whilst in the EU, quite a lot of it in membership fees. That will take at least 150 years to clear, so your point is a bit irrelevant.

  34. agricola
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    It all hangs on who is running the government. The present incumbents are not fit, a liability in fact. You need to seek out talent and rid yourself of the current wet fish. I suspect that messing up Brexit will put an end to the conservative party as at present it stands. They have left me with no one to vote for as my current MP is a remainer in the present government, who have made a deliberate total pigs ear of leaving.
    I fully expect them to abort leaving on 29th March. 17.4 lions led by donkeys.

  35. Martyn G
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, some good news of which the PM must be aware, since she recently met with the Japanese PM at which it was announced, is that UK Company Norton Motorcycles has just signed a contract with their Japan distributors to supply 1000 motorbikes in a deal said to be worth £20m and provide another 200 jobs in the UK.
    The Norton sales head has said ‘the UK and Japan are amongst the strongest champions of free trade and we anticipate a closer union with Japan when we leave the EU.
    So far as I know, neither the PM nor MSM have aired this good news concerning manufacturing, export and jobs? Perhaps good news is seen as bad news by remainers?

    • Andy
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Great news! That’s work for about 6% of Honda’s work force. 3% of you include supply chain jobs.

      Who pays for the other 97% to eat?

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 10:31 pm | Permalink


        “Who pays for the other 97% to eat?”

        I suggest you make a charitable donation from your Jobseeker’s Allowance.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:59 pm | Permalink


        Only the best selling car in the world but the BBC didn’t report this did they !

        And if they had it would have been “in spite of”.

  36. Kevin
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    “Listening to…plans to ensure a smooth exit without signing the Withdrawal Agreement, I am struck by the lack of ambition….”

    I am struck by the existence of any plans to ensure a smooth exit. If the Government can manage that one, mandated task, I am confident that the nation as a whole will supply the ambition.

  37. hans christian ivers
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    Very interesting perspective, but it all seems a bit too late.

    The majority in Parliament seem set on a deal, a referendum a delay or a mixture of some of the above, so why, are you still arguing no deal?

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 23, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Because it was mandated by the referendum result. Full detachment from all of the EU institutions and legislature, as detailed by David Cameron, prior, to the vote. A no deal exit fulfils that mandate. The permission of Parliament was not required. Gina Miller’s meddling has caused all of this chaos but, ultimately, it will thwart the anti-Brexiteers.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted February 23, 2019 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        Jagman 84


  38. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Is it any wonder that people have lost faith in elected leaders when they lead so badly – and allow apathy to rule the day. Most MP’s are in a state of surrender, of lethargy, succumbing to what they see as our inevitable ruin. Seeking a path that to their foggy minds will cause them less initial distress.
    Even my MP – a reasonable Tory, is besieged with conflicting ‘evidence’ and procrastinates.
    This is all made worse, when every single national NGO and international body has denigrated the option of a WTO exit, even Fitch, which has threatened a ratings cut this week – If they were not all socialist dominated I might have been forced to reconsider my support of a clean Brexit.

  39. jerry
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Once again the failed 40 year old mantra of yet more tax cuts, how about spending the Brexit dividend on transport infrastructure, from bypasses to motorway, reopened railway lines and stations.

    If there must be tax cuts then cut indirect taxes, fuel duty, VED, VET, Stamp duty etc.

  40. Edwardm
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Very much agree with your positive outlook – yours is the message that every minister and MP should espouse.
    Instead we have ministers who seem to have little desire to relinquish the EU. Unlike the present harbingers of failure in the cabinet we want ministers who desire to make pro-British decisions independently of the EU, as is the expressed wish of the British people.

  41. William Long
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    The fact we have to face is that this government and indeed most of Parliament and virtually the whole Civil Service are terrified of having to come out of the shelter of Brusssels and be faced with having to make their own policies and decisions. They are totally lacking in vision. Any conception that leaving the EU is one of the greatest opportunities that this country has ever had, is totally foreign to them and most of them, under the firm leadership of the Prime Minister, are determined to stay shackled to the EU at any cost. Their one big hope is that the backstop can be everlasting.
    As for tax cuts, and any simplification of the tax system: you can sing for that with this Chancellor.

  42. Mark B
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Good evening.

    By now we should be debating the opportunities that running our own government and choosing our own laws can bring.

    And the very fact we are not a long with no tariff schedule tells you all you need to know 😉

  43. Etcetc
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Etcetc..whats the matter JR don’t like what I write

  44. Den
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    It is not just a case for Ministers with backbone for Our Leaving the EU on schedule, it MUST also be a case for a vision of the future of OUR Country.
    The more we can generate and produce ourselves, the less we have to pay for it to import. Item ONE of on the list must be ENERGY.
    I do not know if we can ever be self-sufficient there but I do learn from reports that this Country has a huge store of natural gas underneath it. All it needs is ‘Hydraulic Fracturing’ to retrieve it in much the same way as the low-energy costing USA. Our Government, in the interests of the Nation, must allow the development progress to run full steam ahead to ensure that we can no longer be held to ransom by ANY external suppliers.
    Then we can really make Britain Great again especially without the European Empire holding us down anymore.

  45. zorro
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Lack of ambition is a good title for this blog post as it aptly describes the efforts of the government/Civil Service over the last two years…. Unable to think independently or objectively to see how the 5th largest economy in the world could wrestle from subjugation from the EU, and strike forth to take advantage of legislative freedom/sovereignty to advance the cause of their fellow countrymen in the world. The high tech industry, cheaper energy for industry, cheaper food all clearly obtainable. Such a shame/tragedy if not taken advantage of when possible.



  46. forthurst
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    What is desperately needed post Brexit is an industrial policy; first and foremost the neo-liberal free-for-all must be ended because whilst enriching banksters, it deprives our country of its industrial base, thus impoverishing us all in the long term. There must be focus on providing the basis for future industrial growth: this means that the present policy of making electricity needlessly expensive and highly dependent on uncontrollable energy sources must be reversed. There needs to be better infrastructure to serve an industrial economy. There needs to be a determination to retrieve our previously pre-eminent position in all types of engineering in order to create a more even spread of wealth creation throughout the country. Politicians have been particularly bad in the past in either creating the necessary industrial law under which management and workforce can work together for their mutual advantage or in ‘picking winners’; unfortunately, politicians have tended to the extremes of either trying to save defunct industries or trying to opt for what they believe is the ‘bleeding edge’ of technology. The truth about engineering is that it is the technology used to create products not the products themselves which are often the areas of greater advance so let’s see more more boat and shipbuilding, more steel production, more propelled vehicles of all types etc. World demand for all these products is increasing and is unlikely to decline.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink


      ‘What is desperately needed post Brexit is an industrial policy; first and foremost the neo-liberal free-for-all must be ended because whilst enriching banksters, it deprives our country of its industrial base, thus impoverishing us all in the long term’

      – I agree. But need to be loud and clear between differentiating between two VERY different things although they can be confused.

      On the one hand you have SOCIALISM – socialist governments, ploughing money, indiscriminately, into ‘Manufacturing.’

      On the other hand you have CREATIVE CAPITALISTS in government who invest creatively and very carefully in the HIGH TECH (as opposed to just the more general ‘manufacturing’ industry. Their investment:

      – is like manure that fertilises the ground – encouraging PRIVATE industry to then come along and invest. With the private sector then easily becoming the main investor. So for example, this could be developing transport and more in the Oxford to Cambridge Corridor, investing in technical and coding skills for the young, even setting up hedge funds for high tech entrepreneurs which the Israeli government did brilliantly for Tel Aviv.

      – This then leads to lower taxes in long-term because this initial investment has helped to create all this extra high tech industry, with well paid jobs that then has impact on rest of the economy in general and far more benefits.

      – This High Tech industry helps to deepen and stabilise the economy.

      I fear that someone such as Boris Johnson understands little about this. He probably gets all his business knowledge from lunching with pals in The City (I’m not knocking The City – it’s a great part of our economy and I know lots of good people who work there – I’m NOT knocking it). What I am knocking is people who focus on The City at the cost of building up our High Tech industry more.

      And by the way, a lot of High Tech Companies doesn’t just manufacture High Tech Hardware, they also offer High Tech Skills – IBM is a great example of this, making most of their money from Services – but their Hardware gives them an important advantage in winning business contracts and so on.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 24, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        ‘they also offer High Tech Skills’

        – They also offer High Tech SERVICES i meant.

  47. rick hamilton
    Posted February 24, 2019 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    One thing we can be sure of. May will be the last cringing EU puppet to lead a British government. While parliament haggles about the fine details of her atrocious WA the foundations of our political setup are cracking. The voters will conclude that the political class has failed miserably and new arrangements are needed after Brexit. The next GE will probably blow up the main parties and who knows how the pieces will fall.

    One can only hope that a strong conservative leader will emerge with previous success outside politics, who has genuine confidence in our country and its people. We need to sweep away the negative, handwringing, fearful, petty obsessions of the politically correct. Focus on rebuilding our economy with global trade and high-tech manufacturing, backed up by a decently educated workforce.

  48. Pominoz
    Posted February 24, 2019 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Your opening paragraph highlights a major concern. To anyone seeking a Brexit as voted for by the majority, exit on WTO terms is the blindingly obvious way forward. However, the current attitude of too many MPs suggests that, one way or another, the WA will eventually be approved with or without backstop amendments. The WA itself, regardless of the existence of a backstop or not, appears to tie us indefinitely to the EU, without a mechanism for escape.

    My question is this – Is there any way whatsoever of the UK ever becoming an independent trading nation once the WA is voted through?

    Your clarification would be most appreciated – I am hoping that it will help me sleep at nights!

  49. Wiltshire Boy
    Posted February 24, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    We live next door to the most important and powerful medicine regulator on earth, the EU. And you think the UK, starting from scratch, is going to out-compete the EU. Why should anyone seek approval in the UK when approval in the EU gives ten times the market access? You live in cloud cuckoo land

  50. Michael Carnell
    Posted February 24, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    John it would appear you’re fighting an upward battle against people who just don’t want to get out of the EU, I like many wish you luck in what you’re doing, however the forces that are against us the ordinary people of the UK are trying to frustrate our exit as much as possible.

  51. Simon Coleman
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    The thing is – ministers know more about the potential impact of no deal than you do…because they’ve got access to up-to-date analysis from civil servants. You’re on the backbenches from where you pontificate endlessly without asking a single question about what the risks of Brexit might be. And there’s really only one reason for that: you just don’t care what damage is done. Mr Redwood, champion of business – what a laugh!

  • 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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