My speech during the Debate on the Address, 19 December 2019

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): It was a pleasure to see our new Speaker in the Chair at the start of the debate, and I would like to send my congratulations to him through you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I was delighted at his election, and I am quite sure that he will be a fair and experienced judge of our affairs and will look after our House very well.​

The recent election and the conversations that I was able to conduct even more intensively than usual with the electors of Wokingham told me that they do want some changes. I made promises to them that I would come here again as an advocate for more money for our local schools, which have been short-changed in recent years, so it is a pleasure to see in the Gracious Speech the down payments promised for next year, and I look forward to those continuing in the years that follow.

My electors and I agreed that we need more money for our local surgeries, more nurses and doctors to be recruited and better support for our local district general hospital in Reading. Again, I see that answer already in the Gracious Speech, with a promise of substantial new resources—financial and personnel—for the national health service, which will be laid out in legislation for a five-year period. I welcome that. It is a pleasure to say to my electors that two parts of the job seem to be well on the way to being done, but having a little experience of government, I know that there will remain, day by day and month by month, issues to sort out, to ensure that my constituency gets its fair share of the money.

Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (Plaid Cymru): In his capacity as a former Secretary of State for Wales, does the right hon. Gentleman share my concern and disappointment that there was no mention of Wales whatsoever in the Queen’s Speech, as well as my concern about how the money being promised to England will find its way to Wales, through the Barnett formula or wherever? Finally, will he perhaps ask the same question as me: how much longer do we need the Wales Office for? Looking at the behaviour of this place, there will be people outside saying, “Surely Wales could do a bit better than this.”

John Redwood: The right hon. Lady knows full well that there is a formula and consequentials from the English settlement. I am quite sure that my right hon. Friends in the Government will look after Wales, and it is her job to test them out in the appropriate debates. This speech is not the appropriate moment, because I am not here to speak for Wales; I am here to speak for Wokingham and West Berkshire, and I am here to speak for the wider nation, as we all do.

I am also looking forward to the promises on infrastructure. The Government have rightly said that we have a big job of work to do to improve our railways and roads, to make sure that people can get to work and get their children to school, that we can bust the congestion and that people have easier journeys. That, too, will reduce pollution and increase safety.

Wokingham is a very fast-growing area, because we are doing more than our fair share for the national housing achievement. We particularly need support on putting in additional transport links, with digital signals on the railways so that we can have more capacity and more trains, and an improved road network. It was a pleasure to work with the previous Secretary of State for Transport in the last Parliament on the idea of strategic local highway networks. We needed more money and support for those important roads, which are under the control of councils. They do not qualify for trunk status but can often relieve trunk roads and provide an important means for my constituents and others to get to work or get their children to school. The previous Government answered that, but it falls to the new ​Government, with the more generous financial settlement that I look forward to, to ensure that we can work together, so that I can get some of those road schemes and rail improvements for the Wokingham area, which will be much needed.

The big thing, which represents a seismic shift in Government policy and which I welcome, is the introduction of optimism and enthusiasm—the belief that this country can achieve great things, that we do not have to constantly cut under the Maastricht criteria and that we should no longer make state debt the main objective of economic policy. I have been working away for some time to get that change of policy, but Philip Hammond was not sympathetic to my views in all sorts of ways. I am delighted that the new Prime Minister and the new Chancellor are enthusiastic about the idea that the aim of economic policy for this Parliament must be prosperity— prosperity for the many, and tax cuts for everyone.

Tax cuts are a very important part of creating greater prosperity. People work hard, and they want to keep more of their own money. They are often better judges of how to spend their money than councils and Governments. It falls to a renewed Conservative party to take that message to every part of the country, implement that message in the forthcoming Budget and show that not only will we find more money for schools, hospitals and roads, which is needed, but we will also have some money for tax cuts.

Some tax cuts do pay for themselves because our rates are too high, and if we cut them to an affordable rate, people work harder, stay here, contribute more and are more enterprising, and we get more money in. Other tax cuts will reduce the revenue, so we need to grow the economy, and over the years it works because growth generates more jobs and higher incomes, and in comes more money.

To fulfil this new objective, the Government have rightly changed the basis on which the economy is going to be governed. We have gone away from state debt as a percentage of GDP, the iron rule that dominated the last dreadful years of the Labour Government—a period of collapse, when state debt got out of control—dominated the coalition period of recovery and dominated the Philip Hammond Conservative Government period, when he seemed to like that particular proposition. Now we have a much more sensible idea, which is that we should of course be prudent—there is no magic money tree, and we cannot spend safely on the scale Labour recommended to the country—so what we are suggesting now as the golden rule is that any current expenditure must be covered out of taxation, but we can borrow up to 3% of GDP to put in those big new investments and the myriad smaller investments in broadband, rail, road, water and the other things where public money is needed as an adjunct to the substantial private investment that will in many places be going into those important developments.

This will make a lot of difference, because this Parliament needs to understand that there has been a very nasty world manufacturing recession over the last six months or so and there has been a worrying slowdown in the world economy over the last year. It began, as these things always do, with the central banks that get it wrong. It began with the tightening of the central bank in America, the Federal Reserve Board, in the third and fourth quarters of 2018. We could feel the shake on the ​world economy, and we saw what was happening to world markets. It spread to the eurozone, which stopped all its quantitative easing, although its economy was still very weak and could not really take that particular shock, and it came to the United Kingdom, where we had a very severe policy being pursued by the Bank of England. Very predictably—I remember warning about it some time ago—these changes in central bank policy did indeed slow the world economy.

Now things have changed, but they have not changed yet in the United Kingdom, so I urge the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to get the UK authorities into line with the analysis and the prescription of the world central banks outside the United Kingdom. What we have seen in the last six months is a very big move to cut interest rates worldwide by most of the major central banks not only in the advanced world, but even more dramatically in quite a number of the emerging market countries from Turkey to India and Brazil. We have seen cuts in the United States of America, and we have seen the reintroduction of quantitative easing—bond buying, created money—in the eurozone, because the eurozone economy has shuddered to a halt in some places. We have seen further developments in Japan, which carried on with quantitative easing and zero or negative interest rates throughout the difficult period, but it too needs to boost things rather more.

However, there has been no response in the United Kingdom. Indeed, only in the last few days the Bank of England has gone the other way. It has done a series of stress tests on the major banks, and I am delighted to say that our major banks passed with flying colours. The worst case in the stress test was very severe, but there were no problems for the banks, as the Bank of England reported. However, the Bank of England then said that the clearing banks had to double the counter-cyclical buffer of capital they keep. That is technical language. What does it mean? It means there is about £20 billion less available for mortgages, car loans, business expansion and new investment. That is what it means—a very fundamental monetary tightening. It happened at the same time that sterling went up about 10%—another very strong monetary tightening.

Money growth is eye-wateringly low in the United Kingdom, unlike in the eurozone, and it is well below that in the United States of America. At exactly the point when we were doing this, the Federal Reserve Board, with 2%-plus growth in America, which we would love to have on this side of the Atlantic, was injecting billions—I think about $150 billion was injected in a single month—into the money markets to keep things liquid so that the American consumer, car buyer, mortgage demander and small businesses would have access to the money they needed to continue the very successful American growth strategy. Let us ensure a growth strategy in which monetary policy does not stand too much on the brake.

There is also the issue of how the Treasury has been recalculating our obligations at official level. Around October, when it probably thought that we might be leaving the European Union—there was a chance of that at the time—it decided that the student loan system was costing us £12 billion a year more, although that system had not been accounted for in such a way up to that point. There were no changes to the student loan system, or to the experiences of those who could not ​repay their loans, yet the figures that we presented deteriorated sharply as a result of that decision. I do not think we should allow that to deviate from what I hope will be a positive Budget—probably at the end of next month, given the rumours I see in the press.

We need the Budget to provide that boost to growth. I think it is eminently affordable to have the increases that we promised and talked about in the general election regarding schools, hospitals and infrastructure, and also eminently affordable to have those promised tax cuts to business rates and national insurance. We would not need to offset that with other tax increases, because this economy desperately needs a boost.

In a world where some other Governments are boosting on the fiscal side, and practically every other country is boosting on the monetary side, in order to see off the threat of the world slowdown turning into something worse, it is important that the United Kingdom authorities do the same thing. I have every confidence in my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who I think is single-handedly turning around the mood with his message of confidence and enthusiasm for how we can do better. That will take some cash, however, and now is the time to spend a bit of that.

This country and its economy can achieve a lot more, so let us ensure that the new message of prosperity for the many and tax cuts for everyone is seen through. That is the way to bring most people in this country together, and honour the promises that many of us made in the general election. That will show that the country has made wise decisions up to this point, and that Brexit will not be damaging to our economy, but can be part of a positive move towards faster growth, better jobs, and more paid jobs, just as we have experienced in recent years and months.

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  1. Man of Kent
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Excellent ,clear thinking .
    Well said !

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes, John’s speech is well-structured and clearly articulated.

      However, for me, some of the premises on which it appears to rest seem to be wishful thinking, rather than established fact.

      For instance, that the economic consequences of leaving the European Union will not result in a marked shrinkage of GDP.

      There are various estimates based on diligence, but none of them are positive, and some are very serious.

      These cannot simply be dismissed out-of-hand.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 20, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        The Treasury who have a reputation for pessimism think growth might be one or two percentage points lower over the next 10 to 15 years.
        There will still be growth but it might be a bit lower than it might have been.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 21, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          The European Union makes all policy according to the Precautionary Principle.

          You would appear to rely on the superstition that “fortune favours the brave”.

          It doesn’t – and there are plenty of dead mountaineers to prove that too.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            No that’s not what I rely on.
            I just point out that Project Fear predictions never came true and the Treasury’s predictions tend to be overly pessimistic.
            Their predictions for 15 years ahead still show decent growth.
            Just tiny bit lower that they guess it might have been.
            And their data relies on good progress by the EU and little in the way of positive UK government intervention to stimulate growth.

          • Fred H
            Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            Marty – – so all those brave ones who invested in coal mines, steelworks, railways, road building, farm machinery, mills, factories, aircraft – (need I go on?) didn’t see fortune favouring the brave…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Well, Martin, you dismiss out of hand my repeated posts on the matter, which have provided clear evidence that any effect will be marginal and more likely slightly positive than negative, so why should we not dismiss out of hand the doom-mongering predictions you like to spread around, even though some of them have already been proved wrong?

        Oh, no, of course I remember now, those predictions which have been proved so wrong were never actually predictions, were they:

        “No, those things were not predicted.

        That is a silly, infantile, absolutist distortion of what was said.

        All that was said was that there was an unquantifiable increase in the probability of those things – and others – happening at some point after leaving the European Union.

        That is quite different.”

      • jerry
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        @MiC; Except your “established facts” are nothing more than the often reheated Project Fear.

        There are many reasons why GDP etc. can rise or fall, not just Brexit, the problem for statisticians and politicos will be establishing the true reasons for post Brexit economic performance. No doubt though, those like @MiC who wanted a Remain result back in 2016 will blame Brexit for any problems and cheer anything but Brexit for economic successes!

      • oldwulf
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        I have grown weary of estimates and opinions about “the economic consequences of leaving the European Union…” We made our decision and now we must work hard to make it work.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 21, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          No, you made your decision, and I feel no requirement whatsoever, to lift a finger to help you out of your mess that you have created.

          Millions feel exactly as I do too, generally the more socially and economically useful millions to boot.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            You retiring then Martin?
            Better tell young Andy so he can put you on his list.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    All good stuff as you say:- “Some tax cuts do pay for themselves because our rates are too high, and if we cut them to an affordable rate, people work harder, stay here, contribute more and are more enterprising, and we get more money in”

    From the current, hugely over taxed and regulated position, nearly all tax cuts would raise more not less. But we should be cutting taxes anyway as the people and businesses spend or invest the money so very much more effectively than government. At least 3 times more effectively. The Laffer point is the optimum tax take point, but it is far from the optimum point for the maximum benefits for the people and country. Taxes should be far lower still for that point more like 20% of GDP. Also excessive tax take one year gives a smaller tax take and economy the next. Red tape cuts and cheap reliable energy would be a win, win for all at no cost to government.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 21, 2019 at 2:23 am | Permalink

      You say – People are often better judges of how to spend their money than councils and Governments.

      Not just often but almost invariably they are ! They, after all, know what they personally want plus they are spending or investing their own hard earned money. The government is spending other people’s money on things for other people. They thus care not what it costs nor what value it delivers and this shows through.
      Furthermore much money is wasted in the tax collection process (plus the time of the tax payer wasted and rearrangement costs to minimise taxes) on route to this inefficient spending.

      Typically you perhaps get about 1/3 of the value by spending it through government – indeed very often you get negative value as the spending can do positive harm.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Someone BBC person said “Labour may have lost the election but they achieved something in moving the Conservatives towards more spending”.

    What a very big mistake that would be. To win the next election we need lower taxes and good growth. The government spends (largely wastes) far, far too much already. Tax cuts and red tape cuts need time to act – so cut them now and cull the vast waste.

    • Andy
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Try it. See how it works out for you.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 12:29 am | Permalink

        How on earth can I try it? Only the government can.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Newsnight last night had David Guake on. Who on earth wants to listen to anything he says? I thought we were rid of him. Boris is exactly right to want sort out the clearly political Supreme Court. We cannot have a Supreme Court that is clearly stuffed with group thing lawyers who are clearly all pro EU doubtless one of the reasons they were appointed to it. Unelected lawyers inventing laws is not democracy.

    Lawyers in general are almost as pro EU , pro big government and pro red tape as are the dire BBC.

  5. BillM
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    SJ can you please explain why a lowering of the Interest rate from 0.75% to say, 0.5% would have such a great impact up anyone borrowing for investment? It would mean a saving of just £2500 per year on a loan of £1 Million. Why would that small amount seduce more borrowers?
    The way I see it is, with such a low rate of interest for depositors, it encourages them to spend rather than save their money.
    At 0.5% the return is £5 per year per £1000. Not enough to match inflation.
    Is this an underhand way to press the consumers to spend more?

    Reply Not my proposal. Read tomorrow’s blog

    • Oliver David Louis Foster
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Please learn basic economics before commenting on monetary policy.

      • dixie
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        It was a reasonable question, why not try answering it and educate us all rather than demonstrate how rude you are.

      • BillM
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Pray give us your assumed expert knowledge of basic economics.
        I have borrowed to fund mortgages and lent to a bank in my deposit accounts. I do know what works best for me in both cases. To be a certificated economist to know such basic maths is not necessary.

    • acorn
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      The government never wants you to save its money, it wants you to spend it. It is not your money, nor is it the taxpayers’ money; it is always the government’s own monopoly money that you are allowed to use.

      The faster it circulates around the economy, the faster the government gets its monopoly money back in taxes; a little every time it moves in payment from one person to the next person.

      If you stop the circulation of the government’s money, by saving it, you automatically increase the “national debt”.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        But the same question holds Acorn such a small change is merely an indicator rather than a nudge.

        25p per hundred pounds is not going to change many minds especially given the bank only then has a further 50p per hundred pounds to play with.

        Had we got rates up to 5% while the economy was chugging along there would be greater room for change.

      • dixie
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 6:06 am | Permalink

        @Acorn – How does putting money into a bank account or investing in shares stop that money circulating?

  6. Peter
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    It was annoying to see Theresa May getting up to speak after The Queens Speech. It would be better if she just kept quiet or better still bowed out of politics.

    Instead she used the excuse of congratulating Boris Johnson to pretend she was pleased that Conservatives would all now be going through the same lobby and to lament that she did not achieve a similar success which she had the audacity to blame on The Labour Party.

    I will never forget or forgive her for the deceit and duplicity and all her wasted years.

    • Hope
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Peter, Well said.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Nor me, I despise her almost as much as I do John ERM Major.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 20, 2019 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Though John Major clearly has the excuse of being even more dim than Theresa May.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 21, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          He got a bit further in life than you did, didn’t he?

          As did May for that matter.

          To what do you attribute that?

          • L Jones
            Posted December 21, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            How do YOU know how far LL has got in life, M-in-C? For all we know, you’re using the local library public computer before you shamble home to your lonely bedsit for a ready-meal in front of East Enders.
            Still, if you’re happy being miserable….

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted December 21, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Because he has told us.


          • dixie
            Posted December 22, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

            How far someone feels they got in life depends on their goals and how they measure achievement – I doubt many people have becoming Prime Minister as a life goal.

    • steve
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink


      “It was annoying to see Theresa May getting up to speak after The Queens Speech. It would be better if she just kept quiet or better still bowed out of politics.”

      I cannot agree more with that, Peter. Well said.

      It is also my opinion that this woman should keep her trap shut or just get out of politics altogether. She’s a capitulator, and was too scared to come clean to the nation and expose the EU’s bullying. Not the sort of person I wish to see leading the country.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 20, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Ironic that, despite the superficial differences, we have exactly this kind of person in charge now…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 21, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Here in Maidenhead there was a sharp rise in the number of ballot papers that were spoiled, to which rise the electors registered at this address contributed.

  7. Simeon
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Here here! PMA is what we need, it’s the secret, the key to unleashing this great nation’s potential! And also cash of course. Let’s invest in more debt, and Make England Great Again!

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      The always illuminating Dr Tim Morgan of Surplus Energy Economics reported in his November blog (#158 “An Air of Unreality):

      “As a result of a continuing addiction to cheap and easy credit,most(83%) of the recorded growth in Britain GDP since 2008 has been a function of the simple spending of borrowed money.

      If net new borrowing ceased as of now trend growth would fall to between 0.1% and 0.4% well adrift of the 0.6% rate at which population numbers are increasing.”

      The future isn’t golden (unless possibly you hold the barbarous metal!) but Weimar.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 20, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if those figures are inflated now that most vehicles are purchased on monthly purchase plans and there has been a huge increase in paying by contactless credit cards.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 20, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know that we’ll see a repeat of the hyper-inflation, and what then followed, of Weimar Germany. Virtually every major economy in the world is in debt, whereas Weimar Germany was a special case. We have also not seen the inflation one would normally expect from printing money in vast quantities. But of course the economic outlook is no less terrifying for that.

        You seem to know a fair bit more about the nuts and bolts of what’s happening with the economy. Any thoughts on why we’ve yet to see the inevitable crash, and indeed on when it might actually come?

        • Mitchel
          Posted December 21, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          The inflation has been in asset prices-so far.

          I believe the crash will come from a clash of systems as the Chinese and Russians continue to develop their own financial system quite separate from the debauched “rules based international order” of the west.

          Whoever has control of key technologies,essential commodities,trade routes etc will determine the outcome.Hence all the geopolitical tension you see all around the rim of Eurasia at the moment.

          Why is everyone east of Germany buying gold?

    Posted December 20, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    No income tax cuts for the non-dependent, private sector wealth creators. More political spending by politicians on an unreformed, dependent and wasteful public sector. This is New Labour economic policy. State spending on Labour’s client state for nice, pacifying media headlines

    Wake me up when the real reform starts. Until then these are the policies of a government still petrified of confronting Labour and their public sector

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Exactl and it will not work. Cut the state sector, taxes and red tape now. Half of it could go without any one even noticing, so little of value do they actually deliver.

  9. Ian Kaye
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    This is an ideal time for the bank of England to pump 350 pounds billion into the economy as you have been suggesting Sir John The clearing banks would have to hold some back per your diary entry but Tesco Bank et al could issue new loans If the interest laon rate is 3 per cent and the cost of home improvements is going up by about the same amount you might as well benefit sooner rather than later George Osborne’s plan to revive Gladstone’s Debt Commissioners seems to have fallen off the front page

  10. Leave means LEAVE
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Sir, the single most important task now us to abandon Boris’s appalling WA, which ties us into the EU in many ways while also splitting up our precious Union, and instead leaving asap with no deal except world trade terms. Please reassure me you and your fellow ERGers, who have been proved right every step of the way, will now face down Boris’s (oven ready) plan for vassalage, as you did Mrs May’s

    • Andy
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Um – the ERG have literally never been proven right. They are professionally wrong. And the Withdrawal Agreement is Brexit. It is what you voted for in 2016, even if you did not realise it. You are not allowed another say on it. So hard luck.

      • Leave means LEAVE
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        No andy, i know EXACTLY what i voted for. My parliament decides what happens in this country. Simple as that

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink


    • Simeon
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      As hilarious as it would be if the ERG were to suddenly say they didn’t want BJ’s plan for vassalage, as you aptly term it, there is absolutely no indication this will happen.

  11. steve
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I share your sentiments regarding optimism and enthusiasm, Mr Redwood.

    Sadly those virtues seem to have been lacking in Parliament for a while now.

    We don’t need to do as the EU or it’s Labour lackeys say and we certainly don’t have to put up with their negativity. We have a country to rebuild…..we need to get on with it, be positive. and firmly stand our ground against the EU, Labour, SNP et al…..take heed Boris.

    Believe in Britain !

    • Andy
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      We only have a country to rebuild because – over the last 10 years – the Tories broke it.

      And you will do what the EU tells you. Even if you don’t yet realise this.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 20, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Andy – -you have my sincere sympathies. I never knew you had come out of a decades long coma around 10 years ago. The most likely thing I could come up with. It does explain a lot about you and your rather peculiar views. Hope you recover whatever reasoning powers you might have had before.

        • steve
          Posted December 20, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          Fred H

          “I never knew you had come out of a decades long coma around 10 years ago”

          Nah, he just wasn’t born ten years ago.

          • Fred H
            Posted December 21, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            very good !

      • steve
        Posted December 20, 2019 at 10:51 pm | Permalink


        “And you will do what the EU tells you.”

        Actually son I don’t do anything the EU says. I don’t have to. I have an idyllic lifestyle, own property outright and I’m a Landlord. You can chuck the EU away tomorrow, nothing in my life will change.

        I have a pension each month, and I don’t pay for prescriptions, not that I ever seem to need them. However when I do you can rest assured that you have paid for mine via your taxes…..thanks for that.

        I always vote conservative, but only just on this occasion it must be said.

        In general I have everything you will probably never achieve, because I voted for leaving the EU after having grabbed it all for myself before you were born.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 22, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          Ah, so you take your kids/grandkids swimming only on beaches with no blue flags. Lucky them.

          And you insist on drinking from taps which say, ‘not drinking water”, and call pasties made in Corby “Cornish”.

          Be our guest, Steve.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 22, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            Did you enjoy eating your EU certificated beef that was really horsemeat Martin?

  12. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Conservative MPs who did not vote for the Eu withdrawal bill

    Crispin Blunt (Conservative – Reigate)
    Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Conservative – The Cotswolds)
    Philip Davies (Conservative – Shipley)
    Roger Gale (Conservative – North Thanet)
    Cheryl Gillan (Conservative – Chesham and Amersham) didn’t she replace Dominic Grieve?
    Caroline Johnson (Conservative – Sleaford and North Hykeham)
    Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative – Spelthorne)
    Mary Robinson (Conservative – Cheadle)
    Douglas Ross (Conservative – Moray)
    David Rutley (Conservative – Macclesfield)
    Gary Streeter (Conservative – South West Devon)

    I thought all prospective MPs had expressed support for this bill!

    • Fred H
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      So it wasn’t a three line whip? Any retribution planned, I wonder?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Not if it wasn’t a three line whip. That’s the whole point of it not being so.

        It sends a general message as to party unity or otherwise.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 21, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Marty – – it shouldn’t have been anything about party unity – – it ought to have been a matter of is the latest WA what the MPs should sign off for the country’s future.
          Almost total cave-in was the answer.
          Boredom or change of heart by the objectors?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted December 21, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            The act was quite convincing, and got them the BF, EDL, UKIP and BXP backers’ votes.

            They can do as they like now.

            You’re watching that.

    • Andy
      Posted December 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Dastardly fifth columnists are everyone. Everyone is clearly a traitor. Except you.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 21, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        The Calpol is strong in this one Sir John.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 21, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Six Labour MPs voted with the Government.
      They can be described as rebels.
      The 10 Conservatives were either paired, simply absent or tellers or deputy Speakers.
      With a huge majority it isn’t quite so vital to get every single MP through the voting lobby.
      But I expect the usual suspects on here will be getting overexcited after misinterpreting the headline figure.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Crispin Blunt is a die hard remainer as are several of the others. We were told that all 600 plus Conservative candidates had signed up to the withdrawal agreement.

        I do not like the withdrawal agreement myself but I do want strong, united government so expected unanimous Conservative support and am disappointed to see dissenters.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          Do you know if any actually were “dissenters” ?

  13. ukretired123
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Basically Sir John is talking about needing to seed the creation of multiple virtuous circles simultaneously in order to create an unstoppable force of ecommerce.
    We are still at the beginning of the digital revolution but many people do not see it.
    Like starting a dynamo it needs an injection of carefully well thought through ideas.
    The private sector needs an optimistic leader like Boris and capable Chancellor like SJ and a Brexit BOE board not indecisive Labour and scaremongering SNP.
    Change is coming but many do not see Britains advantages and is able to move faster than larger countries and blocks who will be trailing in these areas.
    Digital economies confer asymmetric power in many areas enabling a country’s human capital to punch above its weight regardless of peoples age (falsely regarded as an impediment by shallow thinkers).

  14. Iago
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Fancy passing such a disgusting Surrender Treaty (with no let-out clause). To whom will you surrender us next?

    • steve
      Posted December 21, 2019 at 5:48 am | Permalink


      “To whom will you surrender us next?”

      Not sure about the conservative party, but I think John Redwood MP would surrender us to ‘Andy’, he seems to allow the guy to insult us with highly offensive posts, but when we respond he deletes ours or holds them in moderation.

  15. Gareth Warren
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I wholeheartedly agree, “prosperity for the many and tax cuts for everyone” is exactly what we need. Today the UK state has grown so bloated we can afford to reduce it and enjoy the reduced taxes.

    Brexit is a good start, the trade deals are the next boost to be enjoyed, personally I don’t expect much help from the central bank, their actions are too often harmful.

  16. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted December 20, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink


  17. Derek Henry
    Posted December 21, 2019 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    “The big thing, which represents a seismic shift in Government policy and which I welcome, is the introduction of optimism and enthusiasm—the belief that this country can achieve great things, that we do not have to constantly cut under the Maastricht criteria and that we should no longer make state debt the main objective of economic policy. I have been working away for some time to get that change of policy, but Philip Hammond was not sympathetic to my views in all sorts of ways. I am delighted that the new Prime Minister and the new Chancellor are enthusiastic about the idea that the aim of economic policy for this Parliament must be prosperity— prosperity for the many, and tax cuts for everyone. ”

    Brilliant John,

    A diamond in the rough.

    Are they listening ?

    • Derek Henry
      Posted December 21, 2019 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      Keep pressing the OBR and IFS about the” let’s pretend we use the Euro ” models they use.

      Totally, unfit for our monetary system.

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 21, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    You propose that Government should borrow up to 3% of GDP for infrastructure investments. Most of us think of an investment as being something that provides a financial return. If the investments go to providing goods or services that are provided free at the point of use, where does the financial return come from? Please do not answer by drowning us in the dismal science of economics; just answer in cash flow terms.

  • 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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