Reply to President Macron

Dear President Macron

          Thank you for your letter addressed to the UK on the occasion of our departure from  the EU. My country looks forward to welcoming you personally to the UK for your next visit, and wishes to have friendly relations with you as our neighbouring  state as  with the rest of the EU.

           As an independent nation we support free trade, democracy and peace and will work to promote all three with our allies and friends. We  regard the question of membership of the EU as something for the peoples and governments of each country to decide without external interference. We will work closely with fellow European countries whether non members like Norway and Switzerland or members like France and Germany on issues where we have a common interest or viewpoint.

             I was disappointed to see that you have not understood why so many people in the UK voted to leave the EU in  the first place and why so many voted in the two subsequent General elections for parties that wished to see Brexit through. You state that you need a “sovereign and democratic Europe whose strength will make our continent strong” . You may well think the EU needs to have a stronger central government which is more efficient and effective at doing things. Your task is to explain that  vision of greater EU integration and power both to the EU itself where the Germans are sometimes more reluctant than you going forward, and to your own voters who do not all share that vision. I can assure you that the pro Brexit majority in the UK was fundamentally opposed to more EU political integration, and wanted powers back from the EU for the UK  which the EU decided not to offer. As a bare minimum we wanted control over our taxes, benefits and borders, areas where UK governments had previously falsely assured us we would retain a veto.

            It is not now for the UK to tell the EU what level of political or economic integration is appropriate because we are no longer members with vote and voice. We wish you all well in coming to a happy outcome. I  note making  a success of a single currency usually requires substantially more political, budgetary and economic integration than the EU has so far achieved. It usually needs what the Germans somewhat disparagingly call a “transfer union”. When I with others ran a successful campaign to persuade the UK not to join the Euro it was obvious the UK needed a different relationship with the EU, whilst the EU proceeded on  the false assumption that it was only a matter of time before the UK gave in and joined the currency.

                  You state that UK access to the single market will depend on the “degree to which EU rules are accepted”. The UK is leaving so we can make our own laws. The government has made clear we seek a Free Trade Agreement if there is a mutually beneficial one that is better than trading with each other on best or favoured nation  WTO terms. Japan and Canada have good FTAs with the EU that do not  require accepting EU legislative supremacy. You should also remember that the EU seeks preferential access to the UK market, which it has enjoyed for many years. Our mutual  trade account is dominated by EU exports, not  by UK exports. We are happy to offer continued tariff free and relatively barrier free entry to the UK  in return for similar access to the EU despite the big imbalance in trade in the EU’s favour.

               Brexit voters voted to leave the single market and customs union and do not share your rosy view of these devices. Many think the EU sees the UK as a Treasure island, to take our money and to sell us many goods on  terms denied the rest of the world.  We do not  think the single market was  created by UK Ministers. As the UK’s single market Minister in the crucial period prior to the 1992 so called completion of the single market I remember fighting many battles at the time trying to make the single market less of an excuse for a power grab with a big build up in bureaucracy over business. Some of the large companies who now support EU rules in those days wanted me to argue against many of them or to water them down on  the grounds that they made things dearer but not better and were hostile to innovation. .

           I watched sadly our first ten years of membership of the EEC. As I predicted at the time, the shock of removing all tariffs on goods where Germany and to a lesser extent France and Italy had a comparative advantage over us, without removing barriers to a wide range of services where the UK had an advantage resulted in a big increase in our trade deficit with the EU which continued throughout our membership. More importantly it led to a halving of our car output, to a large reduction in our steel output, to the closure of many foundries and textile mills. No wonder I and many like me developed or confirmed a  negative view of the EEC/EU. This  was made far worse by the disaster of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism inflicted on us by the EU and the governing elite in the UK.

          So please understand we want to be friends with the EU and with its individual member states. We are happy to trade freely with you even though it helps EU exporters more than  our own. We see no need to sacrifice further or pay more for our future relationship. Your letter implies the EU has learned  nothing and still does not understand why we left. We left to be an independent  country. You cannot drag us back under EU control because it suits the EU.

You mention Winston Churchill.He did indeed want a more integrated Europe but never thought the UK would be part of it. He wrote his History of the English speaking peoples to set out his view that the UK needed closer ties with the USA and other Countries in his history.

           With every good wish

John Redwood

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  1. Christine Marland
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Great reply.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Well, if you think that saying things which are not true is “great” then perhaps.

      The Leave vote was only just victorious – it was not a resounding victory at all.

      Even if a majority of Leave voters did so for the reasons which John claims – and there is no evidence that they did, then let’s look at that vote further.

      In addition, it also included everything from football hooligans to multi-millionaire tax-evaders to violent racist extremists, in other words, the absolute moral dregs of the country.

      If it had not been made attractive to them, then Leave would probably have lost.

      They made the difference, and are what has set the course for this country.

      Macron and the rest of the world know this, and it is why the country is utterly disgraced.

      Reply What a disgraceful slur on voters. Why did the parties offering a second referendum fail to win the last election?

      • Oggy
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Your deliberations and observations are as offensive and meaningless as they are repetitious. Time you moved on.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Do you claim that say, ex-BNP voters would have voted Remain?

          Also that they are generally virtuous people?

          Because unless you do, then you must accept that my post is simply factual.

          • Oggy
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Your claims and protestations are irrelevant, who voted for what is irrelevant. We have officially left the the EU. Accept the result and move on.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            A few hundred BNP votes?
            You live in a fantasy polit6world martin.

          • Devil's Kitchen
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 1:19 am | Permalink

            This is, of course, the most disgusting type of straw man. Yes, I am sure “BNP voters” (of whom we have seen very few in the last decade) may well have voted to leave.

            That does not mean that all those who voted to leave were BNP voters.

            I would suggest, Martin, that racism was not the primary reason for leave voters—except that this assertion was proven by the exit polls at the time. So, I don’t have to prove it.

            Your answer would suggest that your particular area of Cardiff has a rather difficult relationship to both facts and racism. Might I suggest that you calm down slightly.

            Perhaps you might channel your no doubt formidable energies into making Wales an economic powerhouse, rather than the supplicant on England that it currently is…?

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Martin – that’s just about the truest description of the Brexit ‘victory’ not forgetting that due to our undemocratic system only 27% of the British public voted for this disaster.

        And since when is speaking the truth a slur on voters? Instead the claim that the last election confirmed the Brexit vote is spurious. The other party had made itself unelectable. In my opinion because Corbyn refused to commit himself to the Remain cause. But no doubt voters has their own reasons not to trust him at such a crucial time.

        Finally the difference at the farewell events in Brussels between the uncouth Brexiteers and the dignified Remainers spoke volumes and proved your point.

        • DennisA
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          To try and re-inforce the popular stereotypes put out by Remain and the Press is not speaking the truth. There were massive and wealthy forces ranged against the Referendum both before and especially after the result. No-one expected it, but finally given the chance, the British people voted by a majority to leave and re-affirmed it as John says, in two elections which were all about Brexit.

          Remainers dignified? All I have seen is still a refusal to accept what is and a plethora of silly nonsense about the EU looking after “our star” until we return. As there were never 28 stars on the flag anyway, I’m not sure which one was supposed to be ours. The over-riding puzzle, is why people seek to be governed by a foreign entity rather than by our own elected parliaments.

        • Barbara Brown
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          still venting your spleen I see, you were on the wrong side of history. Give it up and move on. Saddo.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

          Thank you Margaret.

          My point relates to marginal results such as the referendum.

          Even if reprehensible people are only a small minority, their votes make all the difference under such circumstances.

          The Leave campaigns appealed to these very successfully.

          If the cynics think that people like you and me are going to go away, or to soften our view of them, then they are very much mistaken.

          Aren’t they?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            PS, I think that the French rugby side gave a pretty good reply to John’s “letter”.

            The euphoria here in Remain-voting Cardiff was really quite stirring!

      • DennisA
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        As you say you are from Cardiff, what do you say about the Welsh Assembly referendum, which had about a 35% turnout and was won by some 0.34%, about 6000 votes, as a result of Carmarthenshire voting for it.

        That really wasn’t much of a victory, but the Assembly went ahead and we have another layer of bureaucracy, with self important politicians now saying they want independence from the UK. Having just removed the toll gantries and kiosks from the Severn bridges, presumably they want customs posts to be installed, which Nicola Sturgeon must want on the Scottish Border also.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          No, I am in Cardiff.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        An extraordinarily revealing and very foolish post

      • DavidJ
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        You remind me of the witch hunt being perpetrated by the so-called Democrats in the USA against Trump. Perhaps for the “moral dregs” you need to look inwards to your remainer friends.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        My sincere apologies, John.

        In my list of factions, included among the Leave vote I omitted the ERG MPs.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted February 5, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Rēferēn’dum n. Referring of question at issue to electorate for direct decision by a general vote.
        Martin I feel your pain. The inequity of having to live in a democracy were every one is given a choice to vote or not. It’s so unfair our vote is equal the untermenschens you name. You must of felt the same pain in 1947 when the Indians went over the cliff edge by deciding to leave your countries empire not thinking they wouldn’t be able to buy Lancashire cotton or locomotive trains from Derby. Then all those African states followed suit. Democracy gave them the opportunity to make horrendous ungrateful choices against the British Empire. Shame on Democracy Martin

    • Duyfken
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      The admonition in JR’s letter may succinctly be summarised with the Oz expression: “Don’t come the raw prawn with me, mate.”

  2. Pominoz
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Macron, in his letter, is effectively telling us that the EU must remain in total control if we are to have any meaningful ‘relationship’ with them. He is stressing that Europe itself needs more “control, security and protection” – with the implication that this will emanate from the unelected EU Commission. After all, these elite minds do really know best!!

    Continuation of this approach will, sooner or later, see implosion of the EU as, for the vast majority of the EU population, the effects of that “control, security and protection” will feel increasingly stifling. Resentment will grow, more overt protests will be seen, as the ‘elite’ pursue their relentless ‘divine right’ to dictate to the ‘ignorant masses’.

    Thank goodness we have taken the first step to distance ourselves from this tragic project. It is vital now that the Government grasps the opportunities which have been created as a result of the relentless determination of the UK voters. Boris must deliver that ‘proper’ Brexit. He must immediately dismiss all attempts by the EU negotiators to retain control any aspect of the UK’s freedoms. Boris holds the winning hand. Please do not let him misplay it.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      The gist of your last paragraph; if I may, the first step will be for someone to sit Boris Bunter down in a quiet room and explain what’s in the Withdrawal Agreement, since he clearly doesn’t know.
      The onerous obligations, the unknown future payments, where does the ECJ have jurisdiction, these are the realities he will have to navigate. Can he?

      • Steve Glyn
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Dead easy! We leave on NO DEAL. That way every shackle the eu has been using to keep control over us is thereby delared NUL and VOID. With this now clean slate we can begin to discuss deals to our MUTUAL benefit. If the ecj still have say over and above our own courts, if all of eu can come and fish our waters clear of fish, well we shouldn’t have bothered in the first place. As for the claim more people wanted to remain than leave, please explain why the lib dems made such a poor showing?
        One point I will agree on, the leave mep’s did behave well below expectations, on par with etc ed I had expected a lot more decorum and restraint. I would have to put it down to 3 years of obfuscation and obstructive behaviour of so many UNdemocratic europhiles! It’s still not a good enough excuse!

  3. Fred H
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Mr Macron also said the EU must learn lessons from the “shock” of Brexit, adding: “I am convinced therefore that Europe needs new momentum.”

    And he defended the way France acted in the Brexit negotiations, saying neither the French nor anyone else in the EU was “driven by a desire for revenge or punishment”.

    What did Orwell call it? – Doublespeak… The Americans call it mispeak.
    I call it damn lies.

    • Andy
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Honestly. Stop moaning. You left. You can’t have the benefits of EU membership without the responsibilities that go with it.

      The EU has a duty to look after the interests of its members. It has no duty at all anymore to look after the interests of you.

      • Fred H
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        don’t know what you are replying to Andy!
        I simply accuse Macron of telling lies. ‘no desire for revenge or punishment’ – yeah right….

        • Tabulazero
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          Denying Boris and yourself the opportunity to have your cake and eat it at the reste of the Europe’s expense is not punishment.

          It’s basic common sense.

          Now if you are afraid that Brexit is perceived on the continent as the English showing the middle-finger to 440mm Europeans… you might be onto something.

          • NickC
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            Tabulazero, We left partly because the EU kept showing the middle finger to the UK. There isn’t a single EU policy that went the UK way – and that includes the ridiculously over-centralised and dirigiste single market which is nothing like our idea of free trade.

      • Oggy
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        You left as well.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Apart from geo strategic interests of course e.g. security. If the choose to shoot themselves in the foot, we will know where they stand (sic).

      • agricola
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        I think you will find that it was the questionable benefits, cost and responsibilities of EU membership that convinced a majority of UK citizens to vote to leave. Where it is beneficial to continue harmonious relations with our EU neighbours no doubt we will but not to the point where either side controls the other.

        • Tabulazero
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          So basically you would like a system that value on one side 440mm Europeans and on the other 66mm Britons and call it fair ?

          I foresee a tough sell ahead of you.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            €85 billion trade profit per annum mainly for France and Germany will focus minds.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            To Edwards2:

            … because 45% of the UK exports going to the EU did serve to focus the mind ?

            Why do you rely on people on the continent acting more rationally than the Brexiters ?

          • NickC
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Tabulazero, It’s not about size, unless you are a bully.

          • mancunius
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

            You don’t grasp the notion of trade at all. You soon will, don’t worry.
            We’ll eat your lunch mate. Because we are good at it, and you aren’t.

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Andy, There are no benefits the EU could possibly give that are worth loss of independence.

        • bill brown
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink


          We did not lose much independence in the EU that was not compensated in other ways

      • steve
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink


        “It [EU] has no duty at all anymore to look after the interests of you.”

        It owes us.

        Ask Mr Verhofstadt, that’s what he said just the other day.

  4. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Really important that negotiations across the world are carried out in parallel. There’s an awful lot of EU sales to the UK for others to grab by offering better terms. We need to get the EU to race toward us, not vice versa. Business has to adapt to changing customer conditions, not vice versa, which I think BJ “gets”.

    • Andy
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Business can adapt. At least big business ban. But they need to know what they are adapting to. When will you tell them?

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        A risk analysis would lead to WTO tariffs being what business should expect. Anything else would only be acceptable on the basis that there was more benefit than detriment for the UK as a whole. Other than strategic interests (and parts of farming might or might not be considered strategic) our determination on trade should be on financial benefit for the UK, not the EU 27. I think this administration understands that- May’s certainly did not.

    • Tabulazero
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      “Business has to adapt to changing customer conditions”

      which it does by relocating to the continent. Problem solved.

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Tabulazero, Goodbye then. Other UK businesses will flourish in their place.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          Such as? Makers of Blackpool rock? And dimpled pint pots?

          Illegal dog breeders seem to be doing OK in Leave-voting strongholds, certainly.

  5. Blake
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s starting to look like you’re becoming a little unhinged. We voted to leave- we didn’t vote for a new agreement- what’s the matter with you man?

  6. Oggy
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,
    A balanced, polite but firm reply.
    Unfortunately we still have many politicians in the UK who are blind as to why we wanted to leave the EU, Grieve, Starmer, Thornberry and Adonis to name but a few, so I find it unlikely Macron will ‘get it’.
    The message that the UK will no longer be a rule taker should be made loudly, firmly and frequently.

  7. Iain Gill
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Given the running street fights between the police and firefighters in France I think the French President needs to sort his own problems out first.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink


      Agreed, but he simply hopes they will give up over time, but he may find to his own political and elected cost that the growing dissatisfaction with him and his policies will eventually mean a new President, perhaps with very different ideas and values to his own.

      We see nothing of the yellow vest protests on our news here now, but rest assured every weekend in France it is still happening, and not just in Paris.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink


        Problem is, with the EU effectively running the show and demanding that all Member governments comply with its dictats, does any new President have scope for manoeuvre ? Much like our own MP’s, when in office the Civil Service makes no bones about who really is in charge ie the EU !

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      How many fatal stabbings have we had in London and the rest of the UK so far this year? How does that compare to say, Paris, Berlin, Madrid etc?


      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Margaret H, The thread was about the political position of Macron and his rather dissatisfied electorate, rather than about murderers.

  8. margaret howard
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    You sound as if you feel you haven’t really won anything at all. Why else trot out the same old half truths and propaganda that you have been doing before and after the Brexit vote which incidentally comprised of 27% of the British people? A system which allows such an absurd and undemocratic outcome doesn’t deserve to be called a ‘democracy’.

    And Churchill was half American so would have more loyalty towards that country than Europe. Apart from that his History of the English speaking people is more phantasy than proper history and his expectations about our future have proved to be pie in the sky.

    What he would say instead about the prospect of Scotland and NIreland leaving the union with England reduced to a rump with about as much influence on world affairs as Liechtenstein is too horrible to contemplate. He loved the empire and all the pomp and glitz that went with it.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      The EU badly needs contributors to its project, not net recipients. More so after losing the English market.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Did you ever realise that in terms of net contribution to the EU per capita, the UK was middle of the pack ?

        fifth or sixth net biggest contributor if memory serves me right.

        With the UK out, there are also lost of costs that the EU will not have to bear anymore

        • Edward2
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          Out of just 9 net contributors from 28 members.

          I note you switch from actual cash contributions to quoting per capita to suit your argument Tab
          Clever misuse of statistics.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            Actually no. Should you really be surprised that the UK contributes more in absolute terms than Denmark with a population 13.5x larger ?

            Net contribution per capita is an appropriate way to look at the « burden » imposed by EU membership.

            Did you never realise that the UK was contributing per head less than Denmark or the Netherlands ?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            I love how you swop from perentages to cash to cash per person when it suits you Tab.
            Cash is what we pay.
            My point which you by passed, was about the problematical situation the EU will soon have with its 30 members when only 8 are paying anything in.

        • dixie
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Either your memory is rubbish or you are lying…

          According to the BBC Reality Check, 28 May 2019, Germany was the largest net contributor (2017) at 12.8bn euro with the UK second at 7.43bn euro.

          Not fifth, that was the Netherlands, nor sixth, Sweden, but second.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            You missed the per capita.

            Your average taxpayer in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark or Sweden will see a higher share of his or her tax return end up in the EU’s coffer than his or her English counterpart.

          • dixie
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            @Taz – per capita is meaningless when looking at the federal EU loss of revenue and EU corporates loss of sales if the EU continues it’s punishment approach

          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

            And soon German taxpayers will notice even more of their earnings going to pay for the EU.
            Especially after the UK money dries up.

        • Stred
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:20 am | Permalink

          UK is second highest net contributor after Holland. Luxembourg is highest net recipient after Poland.

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Mr Zelinsky of Ukraine has,apparently,put his country forward as a replacement.I almost cracked a rib laughing.

    • Pud
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      “Trotting out the same old half truths and propaganda” is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. You have often claimed that the referendum result is somehow invalid based on a percentage that you state. However, we all know that if the referendum had resulted in the actual Leave and Remain figures being reversed you and your fellow Remoaners would have hailed it as a decisive victory for Remain.

      • dixie
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        The 1975 referendum was carried out on exactly the same basis taking the simple majority and strangely that was completely acceptabe to the remainers though they won with only 30.9% of the population voting to remain.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Still using your 27% nonsense and Lichtenstein rump England nonsense again I note.
      Dont you ever learn?

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Edward2, Margaret H has no intention of learning anything. I’m not sure what she thinks she is achieving other than wasting time and space. Her and her like certainly haven’t converted any Leave voter I know.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        OK, what is seventeen million, divided by sixty-seven million, multiplied by one hundred, Edward?

        Comes out close to twenty-seven by my arithmetic, but then I paid attention at school.

        Non voters, children, fellow Europeans or otherwise, are PEOPLE to whom the authorities have responsibility and who have JUST as many rights as YOU.

        I assume that you wish that they did not, but wishing changes nothing.

        Reply Non voters were obviously happy we voted to leave, otherwise they would have gone out and voted to stay.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          Would you have babies and toddlers voting.
          Martin you are a joke.
          Completely ridiculous.
          We have some simple rules for voting.
          You have to be over 18 and a UK citizen.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      27% only gets quoted when it delivers the wrong result.

      You always forget to include the people who didn’t vote. Those who knew Art 50 had been triggered and who did not vote for the parties prepared to stop it.

    • Pominoz
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      And a happy Brexit to you too, mh.

    • Barbara Brown
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Margaret… only 27% voted ? Well, the opinion of the rest is of no importance, they had their chance to voice their views. Bone idle and apathetic.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        No, the many millions of young, and our tax-paying fellow Europeans here, along with many ex-pat British were ALL denied a vote.

        Also many had the humility to recognise that they were not well enough informed to decide. Too few, alas.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          Can you vote in European elections and referenda in Europe martin?
          No you can’t

    • Leaver
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Er … I have no problem with Scotland and Northern Ireland having referendums if they choose to leave the union. That is their prerogative. I am not alone in this view, and I wish them good luck.

      And no country I know of has any real influence in world affairs. In much the same way that Mr Macron or Mr Trump have no ability to tell us what to do.

  9. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    You write that much of your time as Single Market Minister in 1992 was taken up with trying to prevent a power grab by bureaucracy at the expense of the freedom of businesses. The bureaucracy referred to is presumably the European Commission or the UK bureaucracy enforcing EC directives.

    It would be useful if you would list those EC laws and directives that we should scrap in order to liberate businesses and people.

    My favourite is to reduce restrictions on working hours, which the EC (backed by the ECJ) imposed under the heading Health and Safety rather than what they are, namely social(istic) measures. We have an economy with (over)full employment and we are about to shed some of our foreign labour, so greater and more efficient use of domestic labour is needed.

    • Andy
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Employees are already free to opt out of the 48 hour a week limit if they choose.

      But at the moment employers can’t impose additional hours.

      Mr Redwood and others clearly want to change that.

      I don’t doubt that paid holiday, lunch breaks, maternity leave – definitely parental leave – will all be targeted by the Tories too.

      They seem to think people are more productive if they are forced to spend longer at work.

      Actually, slashing working hours would turbo boost productivity.

      Note also that many of the people who want to slash workers rights are retired.

      Reply I have never wanted to force longer hours on people so stop spreading lies.

      • agricola
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Well if you get pregnant over lunch while on holiday, and then demand a further holiday to deal with the consequences of your folly, you will get no sympathy from me.

        People are more productive when they achieve more in their alloted time, not by just spending more time at the workplace.

        Slashing workers rights is not an aim of the retired, they prefer to to get on with enjoyable activities in retirement.
        We have an enviable length of experience of all aspects of life which allows us to see through the rubbish you write on a daily basis.

        • Tabulazero
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          … As well as a pension that will neatly shield you from the worst economic aspect of the Brexit they voted for.

          How bad will it ever get for you, Agricola ?

          You may lose the right to emigrate to the Costa del Sol.


          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            The full State pension is about £165 a week.
            That’s the maximum you get after over 30 years of NI contributions paid in.
            That isn’t going to go very far when the average salary is about £28,000 a year.
            More nonsense about living abroad from you.
            Spain have already said they won’t be changing their policies towards UK people who want to come to Spain to live work or retire.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            If Spain does not intend to change its policy regarding pensioners retiring there, then they better check the minimum earning requirement for non-EU citizen wishing to retire there.

            Pre-Bexit, this criteria did not apply thanks to FOM. After no deal at the end of the year, not so sure.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            You assume no deal and you assume the Spanish suddenly rejecting the many hundreds of millions of pounds they make from UK nationals living there.
            Both very unlikely.
            But at least you came up with a new Project Fear claim.

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink


      “My favourite is to reduce restrictions on working hours, which the EC (backed by the ECJ) imposed”

      Really? Maybe the following has something to do with it:

      “UK workers are 27% less productive than German counterparts, say British business leaders”

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        Just because people are allowed to work more hours doesn’t mean that they all will. Private sector employers will not allow total payroll costs to increase; they will see to it that labour is more efficiently used. Necessity is the mother of invention.

        What it’s all about is liberty and institutions of government minding their own business.

        When you speak of productivity do you mean per hour, per week or per annum?

        You can get higher productivity by shortening shopping hours and reducing retail floor space but I doubt it would be popular.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    Exactly right but perhaps add a PS.

    PS:- We shall also be leaving the Paris Climate Accord, revoking the climate change act and abandoning the net zero carbon lunacy. Our country needs cheap reliable energy so we can stop exporting jobs and industries (and indeed the associated CO2 emissions). We need to become competitive again. Voters have had far too much virtue signalling and climate alarmist lunacy from politicians. From now on the UK will just follow real science and energy engineering in this area rather than the fashionable “carbon pollution” religion. We will also go back (as Trump mentions) to dishwashers, washing machines, vacuums, heaters, fridges and other machines that use enough water and have enough power to do the job efficiently. This without excessive, expensive (and often unreliable) over complexity. Allowing suppliers and customers to decided for themselves what works and what they wish to buy and use. Similarly on OTT green crap building regulations that have pushed up house building cost and made houses often rather less pleasant to live in with pokey windows and similar.

    We will also be having a bonfire of red tape and going for easy hire and fire. This as it will benefit all but those workers who clearly should not be in their jobs. The best protection for workers is lots of good available jobs and we will have plenty of them.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Life logic

      Hear, hear to all this!!

      • Hope
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        LL, the U.K. cannot leave the Paris Accord because Johnson signed up to it as part of the servitude plan!

        What country would accept to be instructed on international agreements! This is how stupid the Tory govt has been. There are many many clauses that should have been struck through after Mayhab’s traitorous acts.

        What JR fails to address is why Macron would not think like this after the utter capitulation of our nation under the servitude plan signed by Johnson who campaigned, wrote and spoke against all he signed up to!

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      And on heart LL, do you really think that will happen ? 😉

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        No, but based on a rational assessment of science, engineering and economics we certainly should.

        What is the point of exporting jobs while making no difference to CO2 output (if one even believes in CO2 pollution religion), or the UK saving trivial amounts of CO2 in world terms using uneconomic non on demand renewables that require back up and often switching off. A little more CO2, on balance, is probably a net good anyway.

    • DavidJ
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed LL.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Simon Heffer is surely right today in the Sunday Telegraph. HS2, for at least the next twenty to thirty years, is spending tax payers’ money on something that disrupts and harms homes, lives, businesses and the environment. Benefiting no one but the businesses actually building or “consulting” on it. Any net payback at all, even after thirty years, is highly doubtful. Cull it and cut taxes – or at least spend it on something far more sensible. The public is completely against it, even if most of the misguided politicians (as on Any Questions yesterday) are foolishly in favour. But then our transport secretary even thinks that electric cars are zero emission!

    “HS2 is set to be this Government’s first major mistake. The Cameron-era vanity project risks driving the new northern Tories back into the arms of Labour” SIMON HEFFER today.

    • Stred
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      HS1 slows down to go through the Channel and other tunnels because of air resistance and safety. They are spending much more because of the tunnels for environmental reasons. Also the track has to resist ground waves and costs more in order to go faster than HS1. It also uses more energy running and building it. Does the government know what it is doing when the trains will eventually have to slow down and the whole original idea will be pointless?

    • Richard1
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      It’s rather depressing – a very predictable and very Theresa May-like decision. Rather like Huawei, although that might be capable of being undone in the future. We’re going to need more than words from Boris or the opportunity of the majority will be squandered. Remember Blair.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink


      You make a very good argument for speeding the project up, which based on your timescales presently approximates to only 3 to 5 billion a year annual spend. Although the project management has improved over the past two years, we have not yet heard of the potential to shorten delivery time to maximise benefits.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Speeding it up so as to waste the money and cause the disruption even more quickly you mean?

        It will not even be faster on overall journey times as fast trains do not stop much. This means the connection distances/times at each end are usually for longer so no gain overall. Plus you can work on trains anyway.

        Not green either. No point in it whatsoever – very expensive, old and rather pointless technology.

        • DavidJ
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          ..and an EU project too.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Ah, “risks”. If risks aren’t taken, progress is never made.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        It is not a risk, it is certain that they are pissing good money down the drain after bad. Also that it could be used hundreds of times more effectively elsewhere on thousands of little improvements to transport systems all over the place (roads and rail) or elsewhere or indeed just on tax cuts.

        But politicians do love to waste other people’s money on Grand Projects – however idiotic and wasteful they are.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Anything which costs a lot has to be paid for with tax which is paid for by work which is paid for by effort which produces a lot of carbon.

      So the train may be clean but the work done to pay for the cost overrun will need to produce a lot of dirt.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        The train and building the track and stations are anything but environmental.

    • Barbara Brown
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      nice reply , I agree.

  12. Shirley
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Trade was just a smoke screen, as Jean Monnet’s famous quote says: “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.”

    The disadvantages of the EU always outweighed the advantages, and became more disadvantageous as the EU progressively demanded more power over it’s members …. along with more money and more asset stripping.

  13. jerry
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Brilliant letter Sir John, even if laid on a little thick in places, I hope you actually sent it!

    I doub’t BoJo will send anything like as strong message in his expected speech tomorrow (Monday), I hope I’m wrong.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      President Macron knows the facts.

      John makes his own assertions on the other hand.

      People very often did not vote leave for any material, logical reason, but on emotion, stirred up by posters showing, say, Nigel Farage in front of large numbers of refugees from the Middle East, for instance.

      They have been subjected to an eleven billion pounds a year industry, the offshore-owned UK, press bombarding them with distortions about the European Union too, and ones which John does all he can to sustain in their minds, from what I can see.

      And the result was very marginal, by no means emphatic.

      If John sent it, then I would expect it to be seen for what it is – more of the same.

      Reply So why didn’t parties wanting a second referendum win the last General election?

      • jerry
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        @MiC; “President Macron knows the facts.”

        The only “fact” Macron, along with Varadkar, knows is that they are both very unpopular at home, bot6h are using Brexit to divert attention from their own domestic troubles!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Thank you John.

        Because we do not have proportional representation.

        Substantially more people voted for pro-Remain or for second vote parties than did for yours and TBP combined.

        However, those votes were split between Labour, Green and LD.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          Oh Labour is now pro Remain…shame they didn’t make that clear in their recent election manifestos.

        • Fred H
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          however, Corbyn was always a leaver, until he was persuaded to pretend otherwise in a pathetic avoiding the issue shambles. So Labour had to try and fudge, which I’m sure meant a few million thinking they were voting for a remain party !!

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Almost the entire UK and global establishment, including the media, was on the EU side. And you still lost.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Not from where I stand.

          Not wanting all-out hostility, as you do, is not the same as “pro-European Union”

  14. Emma Fox
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    So, Mr Redwood, is this to be our future now Brexit is done? – Brexiters like you writing arrogant letters telling the EU what the UK doesn’t like about it, with not a shred of positivity about what the UK is going to do in future. You are yesterday’s man, fighting yesterday’s battles, and you will be reviled for ever by the children of our country as they realise the cul de sac you have marched our country into

    Reply I have set out a very positive agenda for the new UK and want us to get on with it. My letter to the French President is mot arrogant and makes clear the future of the EU is for him and the other member states not for our country or for me.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Emma, I shouldn’t think that eminent people on the Mainland will any longer take much more notice of letters coming from MPs in England, than would Johnson take of those coming from a councillor on the Isle of Man, for instance.

      That is the relationship, to which this stupidity has reduced the UK’s with the other twenty-seven.

      • jerry
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; “I shouldn’t think that eminent people on the Mainland will any longer take much more notice of letters coming from MPs in England”

        Good, the flip side means MPs in the UK won’t take any notice of letters coming from “the mainland” (by which I assume you to mean the EC/EU)!

        Glad you’re finally grasping the concept of Brexit… 😛

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      The ‘children’ again.

      As though Remainers are the only people capable of caring for ‘the children’.

      • jerry
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous; If these Remainers actually cared two ticks about ‘the children’ they would understand that there are as many opportunities outside the European union as there was in, perhaps more so now or in the near future – students are often mentioned by Remainers, but what child would not go to one of the great US, Canadian or Australian universities, for example, if give the opportunity of a bursary or scholarship?!

        But of course the real reason they keep mentioning ‘the children’ is because when all rational argument fails the only irrational argument guaranteed to pull at human heart strings is “Think of the little children”.

    • Pominoz
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Emma Fox,

      One of the first of many, no doubt, petulant, insulting contributions now that remaining in a failing, undemocratic institution is no longer a remote possibility.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink


        Given sensible and smaller smaller government, cheap energy a bonfire of red tape a very bright future indeed awaits the UK.

        Whereas from what I hear from my friends in Paris, France is a rather desperate and indeed a rather violent position with strikes and the likes. This seems to be hardly reported on by the BBC.

        Macron should perhaps concentrate on his own local problems.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Emma Fox, JR’s letter was in reply to the letter from Macron telling us what to do! Will you therefore criticise Macron in such petulant tones?

  15. Garland
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Lord Cockfield and Margaret Thatcher created the single market, a brilliant British invention. I am sure Margaret regretted letting you anywhere near it as a minister since you never understood it, and you still don’t – wanting an FTA like Japan or Canada’s when the UK’s economy is largely service-based, which is not covered by those FTAs, shows you don’t know the first thing about international trade.

    Reply Margaret took much of my advice and came to see the damage EU law making and power was doing in her Bruges speech.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Tell us how services have done so well for the UK over many previous years when they are not included in these free trade deals Garland.
      Let’s see whether you know the first thing about international trade.

      • acorn
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        It would worth having a read of

        The EU has historically used London for many of its financial services connected to trade, but not so much of its casino banking; which is 90% of what London makes its money out of. The EU will take that “in-house” post Brexit.

        All the currency trading required for international goods and services trading, can be arranged in one week. The other fifty one weeks of the year are purely punters betting on currency pairs; equivalent of two flies walking up a window pane. It really should be regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

        The US Dollar may be the world’s “reserve” currency. That’s simply due to the fact that the US exports a lot of its currency to foreigners, to pay for a large pile of US imports.

        BUT; the English language is the world’s “reserve” language. It is no-longer a monopoly of the UK. Hence, internationally used English Commercial Law, no longer needs to be specifically practiced IN England; Paris and Frankfurt could set up an English Law Court.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          What are rambling on about acorn?

    • Garland
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      You would educate yourself well if you read what Margaret said in Bruges. She said –

      “Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community. That is not to say that our future lies only in Europe, but nor does that of France or Spain or, indeed, of any other member. ”

      Brilliant! And the modern ignorant Tory party has destroyed her legacy

      Reply And after more integrating Treaties she came to the view we should leave

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply “And after more integrating Treaties she came to the view we should leave”

        Proof? Examples? Or the usual pie in the sky?

        • NickC
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          Margaret H, Try reading Thatcher’s memoirs. “I had by now heard about as much of the European ‘ideal’ as I could take …”, she said (p743 The Downing Street Years). Her Bruges speech made it absolutely clear that the top-down, centralised, dirigiste EU single market was the antithesis of what she intended. Then “I vigorously rejected the Delors concept of a federal Europe …”, she said (p853 TDSY).

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Garland, Thatcher did not want a federal European superstate and she said so often. Her wish always was for an intergovernmental Europe, but she lost. Recognising that the European “project” was no longer amenable to her convictions she recognised that she would have to oppose it.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      She was conned into believing it was about trade.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Margaret Thatcher conned?

        I remember her electioneering in 1975 wearing a hand knitted sweater representing EU member flags.

        And just to repeat what the official 1975 government referendum pamphlet said:

        “The aims of the Common Market are:

        To bring together the peoples of Europe.

        To raise living standards and improve working conditions.

        To promote growth and boost world trade.

        To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.

        To help maintain peace and freedom.”

        • Edward2
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          And then lefty globalists took over the EU and turned it into the sad protectionist organisation that produces low growth and high unemployment and protectionist trade policies.

      • jerry
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B; I don’t buy that explanation, not after May 1979 anyway. Are you seriously suggesting that as PM Mrs Thatcher did not even read the executive summary or explanatory notes of the TEEC for her self?

        No, my guess, she knew what the EEC was about but (like our host) thought she could change it, she did, until Dellors headed up the Commission.

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Good letter!

  17. Roger Phillips
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    There are many of us that no longer rely on the BBC to bring us the news and current affairs and we are more than aware of the rioting that has been going on in France for well over a year and now seems to be getting much worse. Mr Macron would do well to worry more about his own country than poking his nose into our affairs.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      BREXIT is a real concern for the French President. It may well mean that the Germans adopt a siege mentality and doubling down on further integration. Previously the Germans used the UK as a useful Eurosceptic partner / useful idiot in that role. Now they are almost on their own. Interesting times ahead.

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink


      How many fatal stabbings has M Macron’s country suffered in the last year?

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        Margaret H, This is politics not crime. A better comparison would be between injuries/deaths of ordinary demonstrators in France and in the UK, resulting from police action.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        We can’t have a sensible debate on stabbings in the UK.

  18. ian terry
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    After the initial flush of the country leaving the EU I do wonder how many politicians are going to regret the passing of Benns no deal. The only language that President Macron understands is that of money. If no deal and no money was still on the table I think that a more balanced negotiationwouldtake place. The pecking order within the EU will be changing dramatically with our leaving. President Macron isn’t in the strongest position in his homeland. Slowly but surely thacracks are going to appear. Our PM Must not give an inch. He could end up as one of the most famous PMs of this country if he does it right.. Commeth the hour cometh the man.

    • William Pentelow
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Think back to the early Audi’s, they were rubbish as well.
      Quality improves because of competition.

  19. bill brown
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Interesting perspectives.

    Macron likes to lecture, lecturing him back might not be the best way to approach his attention?

    Your comments on the UK car and steel industry when we joined the EU are interesting. I seem to recall it was because the steel industry was no longer competitive and most of the cars (Leyland) was of such low quality that nobody wanted to buy them?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      What I remember about the car industry is the workers always going out on strike, as if their jobs were some kind of entitlement underwritten by the country.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        That is what they have in France now (in all sorts of government “industries”.

    • Fishknife
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I think we have to understand that the British psyche has developed over centuries to venerate the excitement of foreign ways and products whilst belitting our own rather pedestrian efforts which don’t rise to match or exceed the best we can import.
      When we aspire to produce the best we too can export, and are/have been/ and can be very sucessful; but it is only when we harness our own internal markets that we can develop such products.
      It will take a little time but we need to find our ‘chi’ and feed it.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Bill B, Untrue, I bought British made cars in the 1960s/70s/80s and was perfectly happy with them in comparison to the offerings from abroad at the time. Of course, none of them – wherever they came from – compare to modern cars for safety, economy, and longevity.

  20. BeebTax
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Very interesting piece, particularly on the historical aspects of our membership of the EC/EEC/EU. And I absolutely agree that we must make it clear we will be content to walk away on WTO terms at the end of the year, if nothing more beneficial has been agreed.

    • bill brown
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink


      WTO alone not a good idea as we need to cover so many other things as well, data, security and financial services and services in general

      • dixie
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        No, “we” don’t.

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Bill B, WTO covers services (GATS). Didn’t you know? Perhaps I’ll start a hashtag remainthick.

        • bill brown
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink


          I did know but this is much more than GATT services as I am sure you are well aware

  21. Cheshire Girl
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Quite a few years ago, William Hague said: ‘In Europe, but not run ‘by’ Europe. Whether he still holds to that opinion, I don’t know.

    That phrase stuck in my mind, and I agree totally with it.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      What he meant was, EU a la carte. We sign up to the bits we like and Leave the rest. Trouble is, what you, I, and other may or may not like differ. Me ? Pure Third Country / Independent status. ie Zero EU involvement. We have suffered enough on that blighted continent.

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        Mark B, You are completely correct. Our experience of the EU, pre and post 2016, has been so bad that the safest course is to have as little to do with the EU as possible.

  22. Stred
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Macro trained at the Grand Ecole of administration and was put in place by a cabal of centrist politicians and big business interests. He fancies himself as the CEO of Europe and his arrogance is the cause of his problems with the Gilets. He followed his instructions to hike taxes to please the central planners and made lives impossible. Next he will be ruining his farmers and car makers exports. He was going to close their nukes and run the place on wind. Perhaps his own.
    Silly man with delusions of grandeur.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      ‘Silly man with delusions of grandeur.’
      Yes – best described as a chancer.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      All French Prescients have a touch of the Dauphin about them.

    • bill brown
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      the school is called ENA and some of the characteristics are correct but he does seem more bright then our lot but not difficult

  23. steadyeddie
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Would you send the same style of letter to Mr Trump or Xi Jinping of China. We are independent of the EU and should respect their views and decision making as they are the only seriously large economies in the world. We are going to have a tough time getting what we want with our limited bargaining power.

    Reply Yes I would reply to either of those Presidents if they wrote to us in the manner of President Macron, but of course they do not presume to lecture us as Macron does. If you read my letter carefully you will see I both polite and respectful of his office and country and make it clear it is not for us to tell the EU how to behave.

    • Pominoz
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink


      Neither Trump nor Xi Jin Ping would expect us to adhere to US or Chinese rules or legal jurisdiction.

      Our bargaining power, against an EU which is fragile in the extreme, is far from limited in the hands of a confident and competent player. Hopefully, Boris is.

      • bill brown
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink


        This is exactly what Trump has done with Mexico and canada

    • steadyeddie
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      No where does he lecture us. He merely reiterates the EU
      position and expresses the hope that we can remain friends and work together on many areas such as defence, policing, security,etc.

  24. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink


    Have you actually sent that?

  25. Kevin
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    “we want to be friends with the EU and with its individual member states”

    The EU is a political entity. I would not expect a person to write of “friendship”, for example, with the Greater London Authority.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Kevin, That’s a really good point. Actually, though, the EU itself has shown it is our enemy.

    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Personally, I’m not interested in Macron. He’s Germany’s conduit. He’s an irrelevance just as much as the Irish PM. Let them enjoy their baiting if this detracts their attention away from domestic political concerns

    We direct our fire at Germany. Fire as expressed through the medium of discussion and debate.

    I like the Germans. They are clear, brutal and unemotional. We know where we stand with them. The French are emotional and prone to infantilism. That’s their nation’s weakness. Like a screaming child, it’s almost to predict what will be their next step.

    The continent of Europe (its constituent nations) needs the UK as we do them. The UK’s position does enjoy considerable support away from the centres of power but the pro-EU media refuse to draw attention to this.

    We are nowhere near as alone as some may argue

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Dominic, What you say was echoed in my experience of selling within the EU. The Germans were sensible, focussed and got the job done. The Belgians were prickly, and there always seemed to be non-job undercurrents.

  27. Derek Henry
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The real wealth of the UK is everything you can produce when everybody’s working.

    Think of it as your pile of stuff. That’s your real wealth. Everything from science to financial services. Goods and services. That’s your real wealth. Plus whatever you import adds to your pile of stuff. Whatever you export subtracts from your pile of real stuff.

    Now I did not say that exports don’t help the exporters. Yeah, it helps those people. But it is a subtraction of real wealth from the entire economy. Simply the exports you produce are your cost of imports. Your exports provide the foreign currency you need to buy imports the stuff you do not make yourself.

    Back in the old days we called that ‘real terms of trade’. So to optimise your prosperity, you make everything you can with everybody working, and then you add to that with imports, what people export to you. Then whatever you must export, you try and get as many imports as you can.

    If you can export one Aston Martin and get four Mercedes, that’s good. If you can export one and get five Mercedes, that’s better. Real terms of trade, that’s the important thing.

    Trade policy boils down to one thing real terms of trade.

    a) Do you use what skills and real resources you have to send goods and services abroad for other countries to consume. This allows these countries to use their skills and real resources on other things.

    All we get in return are blips in a central bank spreadsheet that we will never use.

    b) Do we use what skills and real resources we have on domestic policies. Run a more balanced approach and just export enough to get what imports we actually need that we do not produce ourselves. Including introducing more import substitution policies.

    Thatcher understood this and was one of the main reasons she took on the miners. To bring our skills above ground instead of being wasted in the mines.

    Thatcher understood there is no point having US treasuries, Euro bonds, Japanese bonds stored at foreign central banks that you will never use. Decided it was better for the UK to run trade deficits. Which means other countries use their skills and real resources to send us stuff to consume which frees up our skills and real resources to do other things. Mainly high end goods and services with a higher skill level.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Derek H said: “Goods and services. That’s your real wealth. Plus whatever you import adds to your pile of stuff.” False. Imports do not add to our wealth. Imports are neutral in wealth terms because we have to pay for them.

  28. Tabulazero
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I can confirm you that your reply has gone completely unnoticed in the French press.

    No mention of it anywhere.

    Reply I did not translate it or send it to them so I am not surprised. It was written for a wider audience than them.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      and who has read Macron’s letter to ‘us’.? I haven’t bothered.
      Maybe 2% of our population. And how many care? Maybe 0.01%.

    • Tabulazero
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Exactly what I suspected: it’s not a genuine attempt to reply to Macron’s letter. It’s rather you banging on again about Europe and rallying the troops.

      Listen. You won. Congratulations… but what ever happen next in the EU or the European Parliament in 2020 and the years to come is irrelevant because it will never have time to impact the UK. It takes years for any legislation to filter down from Brussels to national legislation. You cannot even influence it anymore, so why bother ?

      You really are going to have to find a new bogeyman.

      P.S.: no need to translate the letter. Macron reads English very well. Send it as it is.

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Tabulazero, So why do you bother ranting against Brexit and Leaves?

  29. Andy
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Thank you for your letter. The EU has problems but these are not your concern. Rather than working constructively to fix them, you left.

    I suggest looking more carefully at your own woes. A government, rejected by the majority of voters, implementing a Brexit that the majority does not want. This will not end well for the UK. Scotland and Northern Ireland will be most welcome into the European club when they leave the UK.

    You are welcome to your tariff free trade for most goods. But you must surely know by now that tariff free trade is not friction-free trade. We will require customs checks to secure our market from UK dumping. We do not wish to be part of your race to the bottom. Workers, consumers and the environment are important to us. We know profit is the primary motivator for many of you. We will continue to protect Margaret Thatcher’s legacy.

    Customs check mean bureaucracy and delay – the opposite of what you promised. This will push up prices for your consumers and make them pointlessly poorer. We know the EU will be affected too. We have told you all along there are no winners out of Brexit. Not us and definitely not you.

    Fish are a shared resource and you are required under international law to discuss rules with your neighbours. If fish are not up for discussion we will of course, raise the matter of the UK breaking international law in the appropriate forum.

    It is a shame that your people will face considerable extra bureaucracy just to travel to Europe but that is what Brexit means. A generation of young Britons denied easy movement around the continent. The UK pretty much the only country in Europe – bar Belarus – to restrict its people in such a way.

    We know Brexit is a mid life crisis for the UK. We know it is being push through mostly by old men and that the young will undo it in due course. We will keep a light on for them. They are proudly British and European – and we will help them regain their rightful place in our family of nations.

    President Macron

    • Robert mcdonald
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Mr Macron
      We tried to work constructively but our last attempt by Cameron was rejected and mocked, as have all our other proposals. So we have left, now just get on with sorting out your own countrys problems.

    • Tabulazero
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Excellent answer… but have you realised yet that it will be the like of you, Andy, who will be blamed by John Redwood when the Brexit chickens come home to roost ?

      What do you plan to defend you from these accusations ?

    • DavidJ
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      The EU has far more than simple problems; the whole concept is undemocratic as has been freely admitted over the years. Just do a bit of research and you will see why we voted to leave.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Who needs enemies with friends like Andy ?

      Doubtless the voting numbers would have been fine had the results been for Remain.

      There is no going back. A Leave UK will either be OK and not go back or it won’t be OK and won’t really be wanted back.

      Either way, through a successful Leave or an unsuccessful one The EU has just lost a major contributor. A disaster.

      Just a little sway on freedom of movement would have averted all of it.

      BTW. There IS going to be a European Defence Union. We were told this wouldn’t happen. Soldiers are being deployed against French citizens. Trust Andy to speak for Monsieur Macron.

      • Andy
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        What ‘little sway’ on free movement did you want?

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          A right to vet all persons moving to live here accepting that the right would be reciprocal.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            … which you can already do as an EU member even with Freedom of Movement.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            Wrong as usual.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink


      The current government was elected with a majority of 80 according to our constitution. The only time Brexit has been tested as a single issue, Leave won by 52% to 48%. No amount of twisting changes those facts.

      Customs checks work both ways. If the EU adopts your belligerent attitude it must expect a similar response. You also seem unaware that checks on conformity to EU rules are carried out within the EU. So EU trade is not frictionless, nor will it ever be without a single language. Moreover EU trade is not costless – about £10bn net at the moment for the UK and rising.

      Your single market is the antithesis of what Thatcher wanted. If you bothered to read what she said you would understand that.

      Once the UK is free of the EU, fish in the UK’s EEZ belong to the UK. That is the international law (UNCLoS).

      How easy UK citizens find moving around your EU empire is of course up to the EU. No doubt the EU places the same restrictions on people from the USA, India, Japan, etc, so that is not a problem. As for students, most already go to study in the rest of the world rather than the EU.

      If Brexit really is a “mid-life” crisis it’s strange that it is being pushed through by “old men”. Of course the term “mid-life” is entirely meaningless referenced to a nation. No mere trade deal is worth losing our independence for. And actually there are very few people who are as fanatically pro-EU as you. So we will not return, thank God.

      We are (subject to Boris doing what he has promised by 1 Jan 2021) free again. Rejoice, rejoice!

  30. Tabulazero
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Also before I forget: the reduction in the UK’s car output after accession could also have something to do with the absolutely shocking quality of the car built by the British industry at tthat time.

    It never ceases to amaze me that a country that could come up with the mini and the land rover could also come up with such abominations as the Robin Reliant or the Moris Marina. Go figure.

    The habit of blaming the EU for everything that goes wrong is hard to shake off, isn’t it ?

    I guess the Conservative party will be able to play this card one last time when it will blame Brussels for no-deal at the end of the year but beyond that it will have to come with something new. My money is on the « traitorous remainers that did not believe in Brexit hard enough ». Time will tell.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      As I have said on this site before. Politicians and Civil Serpents do not want to Leave the EU because, once out, they are the ones who are ultimately responsible and that scares them.

      • turboterrier
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        Mark B

        With responsibility comes accountability. Can’t see it happening, they always find a way out.

    • villaking
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Well put, Tabulazero. Every bad thing is always down to “traitorous remainers” (Lifelogic thinks anyone who doesn’t share his warped life view is a traitor). If England lose the rugby today in France it will probably be because of EU red tape or something. In addition to it all being the fault of traitorous remainers, my bet is that we will hear about “EU intransigence” if the EU dares to put the integrity of the Single Market first, Tory “quislings” who voted remain in 2016, a biased civil service in the clutches of the EU conspiracy theory and, I’m not sure how, but the Supreme Court will probably be part of the reason for failure too.

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Villaking, A UK national colluding with a foreign power to defeat the aims of the legitimately elected UK government is the definition of traitor. If this is investigated and proved to have happened, I would expect jail sentences. Moreover the intransigence and hostility of the EU is widely accepted even by some politicians from the hapless sub-states of the EU.

        • Tabulazero
          Posted February 3, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          NickC: saying that the Morris Marina was a bad car and agreeing with the above sentence is not treasonous.

          It is simply a statement of fact.

          • NickC
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

            Tabulazero, Huh?? No one said that judging the Morris Marina to be a bad car was treasonous. Why do you make things up? Moreover, saying it was a bad car is not a statement of fact, it’s a statement of opinion.

            Treason is the crime of betraying our country to a foreign power, as I clearly set out above. It has nothing to do with judgements about cars. And you Remains call Leaves thick?

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            ” Moreover, saying it was a bad car is not a statement of fact, it’s a statement of opinion.”

            I object to this point. The Morris Marina had such a badly designed suspension system that it induced a very high level of understeering which made it exceedingly dangerous.

            Any car that tries to actively kill you is by definition a bad car.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Yet one very small concession by the EU and Brexit would have been averted entirely.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        something along the lines of “all the benefits, none of the obligations” ?

        The concession the EU gave Cameron were not minimal, especially given his behaviour in the post euro crisis resolution and the use of the veto.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          Come off it Tab
          Cameron came back with nothing of significance.

        • Fred H
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          please list the concessions ‘won’ by Cameron.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          Changes in freedom of movement.

  31. Jack Falstaff
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Why does Macron want to lecture others on how to manage their countries when he cannot even govern his own?
    France looks like 1789 or 1968 all over again in terms of social unrest.
    Until its citizenry become hardwired with the idea of not just taking it as a given that others should help them (e.g. expecting to retire on 70% or more of final income at an early age, whereas in the UK the rate is under 30% according to a British broadsheet) and imbued with civic sense, they are going nowhere except towards anarchy.
    You’ve done the “liberté”, now do the égalité and the fraternité!
    P.S. I hope we thrash France at Rugby this afternoon, even though I do enjoy the way France plays!

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      President Macron, as are others, is having to harmonise their economies in line with all the rest. That means longer hours, reduced pensions, benefits and higher taxes. The French have had it good when French Presidents were in charge. Now the EU Commission is running things and the French government has to comply to EU economic rules or be fined. That is why both Germany and especially France do not want the UK to enjoy the economic advantages and talkabout “a level playing field”. They want to hold us back until they have completed the EU’s reforms.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        If the Brexiters are for “free trade”, the French and the Germn governments will raise them by one and ask for “free and fair trade”.

        What determine the ultimate cost of a good are not only input costs and tariffs but also lots of other legislation.

        What I really do not understand from the likes of John Redwood is why does he expects the French and the Germans to let British companies freely roam the Single-Market with a massive competitive advantage over their continental peers. That would be utter madness.

        I came to the conclusion that John Redwood and the ERG:
        a) do not realise this.
        b) realise it but hope that by staying silent the rest of Europe might not notice.

        If its b) I can tell you that they are in for a rude awakening given the mood on the continent.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          Let customers decide.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            Customers also happen to be employees. Not everyone has the chance of being a pensioner with a triple-locked pension.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            Indeed most customers are employees.
            That is where they get the money to buy things.
            And they will decide what goods and services they want to purchase.

        • NickC
          Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          Tabulazero, Ohh . . . so there is a “massive competitive advantage” in not being in the EU? Maybe if the EU spent less time as a self-serving protection racket, and more time promoting free trade, we’d all be better off.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

            There would indeed be a massive competitive advantage if British companies can access state aid but their european counterparts cannot.

            In that respect, the bailout of Flybe is worrying. British Airways feels discriminated against and rightly so.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            We are now an independent country.
            We can do what we like.
            You are still stuck in the United States of Europe mindset.

          • dixie
            Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

            @Taz as Boris pointed out recently, Germany and France have been systemically and continuously guilty of giving many times more state aid than UK government.

            So for “fair” trade you need to ensure a drastic reduction of the state aid within the EU that you enjoy at the present.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink


            Do as much as you like but do not expect the rest of Europe to give you a hand in destroying its industrial base.

            Europe can also do as it like.

            Everybody is happy then.

      • Jack Falstaff
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Don’t get me wrong Mark, because what you say makes complete sense.
        Problem being that so-called “fines” imposed on France have somehow been avoided due to an excess of influence in high places.
        Furthermore I believe that Macron has correctly diagnosed the “French problem” and has earnestly tried to correct it.
        But trying to correct an “attitude” that has not been addressed properly even since 1789, and given the mindset of the French populace, presents him with an impossible task. I even feel sorry for him.
        Are we expected to continue being cheated out of taxpayers’ money by the “one rule for some, another for others mindset”?
        And why the heck should we wait till the EU ceases to be so dysfunctional that it can’t resolve their reforms? And paying too much to boot meanwhile?
        No, I am sorry my friend, but we are bigger than that.
        BTW congratulations to France for beating us at Rugby Football.

  32. glen cullen
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    No UK flag and no MEPs and no Commissioner….but still we pay the EU contribution, send collected taxes to the EU and remain in a transition period for 12+ months

    Sounds like taxation without representation to me

    And what is the transition period suppose to achieve. The small percentage (circa 12%) of companies that actually trade with the EU where ready years ago. The government itself was telling us that it was ready for a ‘no-deal’ outcome last year.

    Therefore I can only conclude that the transition isn’t to help the people or companys of the UK, its to keep the political status quo while the government attempts to achieve a EU trade deal

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      EU trade deal = Association Agreement 😉

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Mark B, You may be right. That’s why Farage and the Brexit party are not going away.

  33. Sam Duncan
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Europhiles seem to be labouring under the misapprehension (bolstered, no doubt, by the Brexit bogeymen in their heads “harking back to the days of Empire”) that we want our continent, or any part of our government, to be “strong”. I’d rather be free.

  34. BJC
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    There seems to be deliberately blurred lines over the EU’s “contract of employment”, i.e. the peoples of Europe “employed” the EU under one set of contractual terms, but their representatives have subsequently “colluded” in the systematic degradation of the original terms and (sovereign) protections behind their backs.

    We hold the democratic view that only The People hold the ultimate power to employ their representatives and on terms acceptable to them. In the case of the EU, these terms have evolved to a point where they are no longer recognisable, meaning from our perspective the EU have failed to carry out the contracted job to the standard we anticipated or required. Despite giving them several opportunities to change, they’ve chosen not to do so and we’ve now exercised our right to sack them. No further explanation is required to justify our position, but a wise person might suggest it’s time for the EU to reconsider theirs!

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Wise words, after the Lisbon treaty, the people of Europe are no longer supreme the elite and the bureaucracy are

  35. Anonymous
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The main reason people voted to leave the EU was that it changed beyond recognition after the Berlin Wall fell.

    There are countries now in the EU which could not possibly have been envisaged as members in 1975.

    Not one voter in 1975 thought that Estonia, Slovenia, Romania… would be included.

    Newmania laments that office workers are unhappy that Britain has left the EU but every police officer and prison officer I know (quite a few) voted Leave because of the impact they saw membership had on our system of law and order.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Barely mentioned by the BBC and nor is the refugee crisis in the Med. Until the last minute they practically ignored Brexit Day and this week the children’s show Horrible Histories produced the most anti British propaganda I have ever witnessed. It is worth looking up on YouTube.

    Dr Who has become so woke I expect to see Daleks campaigning for equal rights any time soon.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      To Roger Phillips (above)

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Yep you’re correct about Dr Who….its truly sad how our society, and how the BBC reflects it, has become……”will god rid me of these turbulent snowflakes”

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      The Daleks are great – They are ‘Gender Neutral’



  37. formula57
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    An excellent letter of reply although perhaps a case of pearls cast before swine.

    One wonders why friend Emmanual thought it helpful to write to us and why none of the others have. He could not be over-reaching himself, could he?

  38. Mark B
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    President Macron and France are in a mess. They need German money to kickstart the European Project but, the German taxpayers do not want to be the lender of last resort. So we have a stalemate. The EURO, and the EU, are stuck. Cannot go forward, at least with the German’s, and cannot go back. It is a doomed project that, will either collapse or, slow cause the disintegration of EU member countries economies.

    I am concerned about these so called trade negotiations. To me they are nothing of the sort. More like Mrs.May’s so called ‘Deal’ (WA / new treaty) in how misnamed it is. To me this is another treaty or, to put it bluntly, an Association Agreement that only a country wishing to apply to the EU would enter into. It will consist of high alignment and subjugation to the ECJ. All this so, at a much later date, Europhiles can claim that BREXIT has been a disaster and we would be better off rejoining the EU. I strongly suspect that this is the plan. But we shall have to wait and see.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      If the government acquiesce to the EU over fishing, ECJ, Northern Ireland, VAT, level playing field and prolonged transition …what was the point of leaving ?
      Smoke and mirrors like when the EU changed the name of the ‘EU Constitution’ to ‘Lisbon treaty’….if we follow all the rules of the EU we haven’t left

    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Can someone tell PM Johnson that we don’t want conviviality or cheery smiles but a leader with defiance.

    What a pity our PM isn’t Patel or Raab.

  40. Gareth Warren
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I completely support this letter and hope its implications sink in with the EU, I do not expect this though.

    But now we are free to turn to the world for trade and not prioritizing EU over countries such as the USA seems the best approach.

    I read that the EU is apparently siding now with Spain over Gibraltar, what a cunning plan since a land grab will surely win over the British public while securing EU access to the UK market. etc Ed

    At least the next year in politics will not be boring.

  41. William Pentelow
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink


  42. Alan Jutson
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    From the media this morning, it looks like Boris is just finding out the truth about promises made by the EU is already on moving ground.

    The political agreement all of a sudden seems to mean different things to different people, well what a surprise.!

    The fact is the EU wants, and has always wanted, to exert control over the UK, Brexit or not.

    I see Donald Tusk in his interview with Andrew Marr this morning said Cameron and May were both Remainers (hardly a surprise) but that Mrs May wanted an agreement which really looked like Brexit, but still wanted us to be tied to much of the EU as possible, hence the puerile agreement which she tried to push through Parliament.

    Sadly Boris went for that agreement with minor modifications, and will now have an uphill struggle to push forward from it.

    Afraid I can see us walking away (correctly) if the EU persist in this control freaky manner.

    Can only hope Boris stands firm, although what will then happen to the Withdrawal Agreement we have signed up to if the Political and trade agreements to do not come to fruition. Is it Null and Void, any answers John ?

    • Tony Henry
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      This point is of great concern Alan.

      Boris said today that if he fails to get a Canada fta then we will revert to the (awful) WA! This is neither victory nor freedom. I fear we have been conned.

      When we see him cave on fish as he will, it will all be painfully apparent.

  43. Iago
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Has our dear government banned flights to and from China yet?

  44. formula57
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    O/T Sir John, I hope you will not write about the Corona virus if you are obliged to follow the Government line and that line is following the World Health Organization view that travel and trade trump human health so that the virus may run its course: measures may be less than effective anyway and the economic disruption too great so millions dead is acceptable. Otherwise, especially as public education will be crucial in alleviating the deadly effects, it would be welcoming to have your comments please.

  45. ukretired123
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    A Great reply and helps to explain key fundamentals of what was given away long ago in the mistaken belief that the kindness would be reciprocated by the EEC.

    Unfortunately kindness has been lost in translation and been perceived as weakness.
    As you keenly noted Sir John to this day EU leaders like Monsieur Macron deeply fail to understand our concerns for not just our own country but for the future of Europe itself.

    As you pointed out after Sir Winston Churchill noted Europe needed a European solution as Britain’s historical trajectory had more in common with English speaking countries across the oceans, despite our Island reality.

    We do not have to explain many unwritten rules that baffle others:

    Why we play cricket and don’t need it explained. Seeming pointless rules to many.
    Why rugby? A German man told me it was grown men chasing a funny ball all hugging and kissing – not Teutonic at all!

    The origins of European Football were at Christmas in no-man’s land WWI.
    Which goes to prove “Out of a lot of bad can come a lot of good!”
    At least our Continental friends thought football was a great idea so much the Swiss commercialised it and now UEFA thinks they own it!

    At least sporting rivalry has done much to reduce the possibility of breaking down barriers and we have come a long way from hurling missiles at each other in Europe at least.

  46. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Sir John I am sad that on 31/01/2020 nobody gave credit to Enoch Powell. He knew exactly what was intended for Britain (vessel status) and voted against the Common Market 100% of the time – I think more than 180 votes against his own party. So courageous and self sacrificing was he that as a Conservative Cabinet Minister he told the nation to vote Labour – and they did, thus saving us from the EU for the first time. He is Mr Brexit, God rest his great soul.

    As to the generosity expressed in your letter – generosity is always seen as weakness by the stupid. Expect the continental elitists to think you weak.
    Our household has long since taken unilateral action. We buy locally or from the dominions or do without.
    I have never owned a German car in my long life and would opt for shanks pony in preference. Time to unleash the design, engineering and production of British cars and much else which has been stifled for too long.
    I no longer give a damn what the EU in any of its guises, says, does or ‘thinks’. We said ‘Goodbye’ because we are polite.

    • NickC
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      Lynn A, Well said. We avoid buying EU as well, though we do make occasional exceptions for East European and Danish stuff.

  47. agricola
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    It all boils down to the UK government’s determination that the they will settle for nothing less than our absolute sovereignty and the EU fully understanding that they are in an entirely different situation. They are now talking to a strongly mandated new UK government clear of the nonesense of the past four years. If the EU begin again to play their silly playground games they should be left in no doubt that it will be trade on WTO terms. I look forward to the opening presentations from both Boris Johnson and Michael Barnier. From these I can anticipate the outcome.

  48. Ian @Barkham
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    It amuses me on many levels and as to why anyone cares.

    Emmanuel Macron as with Leo Varadkar have less power than a US State Governor, yet for some reason the UK’s MsM thinks they are a boss or a leader of something with substance.

    They represent States within Euroland and take their orders from the EU Commission. Their budgets i.e. the tax and spend they wish to carry out has to be given approval by the same EU commission. Their local laws are subject to rulings from the ECJ which in its self receives no democratic oversight or accountability.

    So they are neutralized by those they pretend to be a voice of. Just a with the citizens within their States they have a voice and are entitled to express their views – but it has no meaning other than their ego’s playing to the gallery.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Sturgeon, and the rest of the SNP, should consider this: Westminster has no desire to destroy the nation of Scotland – but the EU would be happy to.

  49. Ian @Barkham
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Less we all forget, no citizen of the UK was ever permitted to vote to join this EU.

    A couple of ego trip members of what they like to think of as a political Elite just steam-rollerd it through because we the people are ‘thick’

    What I would like to see is those that wish to represent the people, first be selected by the people, just to get on the ballot paper. With all campaign finance restricted to the community they wish to represent.

  50. Everhopeful
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    If the EU worked no one would have wanted to leave.
    Monsieur M would do well to follow the advice of Voltaire/Candide …” Il fault cultiver notre jardin “ …which I always took to mean “Sort out your own problems first!”.

  51. Irene
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    The Prime Minister’s call for unity and friendship seems not to have lasted very long. Perhaps he forgot to send the same message to his underlings. Like others, I also hope you will not send this letter to President Macron.

    Over recent years, our Parliamentarians have succeeded in making the UK look ridiculous in the eyes of the world. The last thing we need now is ridiculous arrogance contributing to that sad image.

    The EU has been blamed by many for all the woes of/in the UK that could and should have been dealt with by our own governments, including the very problems that have been created by your own governments. Not just over the last 3.5 years either, but over decades. You share responsibility for that. We had control over the many areas of life that were neglected by successive governments, across the N, S, E and W of the land. Much of the electorate swallowed a pack of lies, leading so many people to believe that by leaving the EU we would miraculously solve all the problems of the past years. That pack of lies failed to take responsibility.

    So, if we are to ‘take back control’, we alone must also take responsibility for whatever happened in the past and whatver will happen next in our country. Far too late though to right the wrongs done – not by the EU, but by our own Parliamentarians.

    You stated in an earlier post “I thought we were being lied to by the establishment …”. We still are being lied to by the establishment of the UK.

    You state “I was disappointed to see that you have not understood why so many people in the UK voted to leave the EU in the first place and why so many voted in the two subsequent General elections for parties that wished to see Brexit through.” I am not sure that you understand that either.

  52. Lester Beedell
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Sir John
    A wonderful letter but Boris Johnson has already disappointed me, his adherence to the Climate Change nonsense, zero carbon equals not being able to compete, why doesn’t St Greta go to Beijing or Delhi to spread her gospel, pictures have emerged of her enjoying activities which definitely aren’t carbon free
    Why employ a communist company to deliver part of the 5g system, it’s akin to deploying a Soviet air defence system at the height of the Cold War!

  53. Sea Warrior
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    You are more polite than Macron deserves. Personally, I would rather he be turned away from the UK if he ever tries to come here for a holiday again. He is no friend of this country and seeks to do us harm.

  54. Thomas
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Why write to Macron, especially in such lengthy fashion, as it looks like you’re apologising or trying to explain something- the fact of the matter is we have left-

    We did not vote for a FTA with them so what’s more to say. Imagine and looking at it from anyone else’s reasonable point – we have already left but now we are busy applying for readmission in some way but on different terms than we had before- and terms which might put the EU at a disadvantage- and then hope the EU crowd are going to fall for it- now to expect that they would agree- now that would be daft

  55. David King
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I read your post every day and have rarely differed in opinion but have, so often, been better informed and enriched.

    I would like to thank you, most sincerely, for your long and effective contribution to the issue we called Brexit. I would be very happy and indeed comforted, if our government were to harness your skills and experience, in an advisory capacity in the area of free trade policy and promotion.

    Thank you again.

  56. Trumpeteer
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    One is certain Macron understands these things. You are very diplomatic JR and such a manner seems to be the thing still.
    Trump has an approach. In one of his tweets he wrote about three lines of the larger speech of the Iranian leader who was publicly offering negotiations subject to the US taking away sanctions first. Trumps reply on Twitter?
    “No thanks”

  57. Helen Smith
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    100% this, hope you enjoyed Brexit Day Sir John.

  58. Richard1
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Good article by Dan Hodges today. There is a certain kind of remainer who now desperately hopes for Brexit to be an abject failure so they can be proven right. I don’t think I know any but there are some in pubic life and of course a couple who post here. They are to be found also amongst some newspaper economics correspondents who have been forecasting a Brexit slump and must be getting desperate now for a recession. But it looks as if germany and Italy will get there first, despite being in the EU!

    • Andy
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Brexit will be a failure regardless of who wants what. I would rather it failed quickly so we can repair our country in time for my kids to go out into the big wide England. (Their ability to go out into the wider world has been significantly reduced by Brexit). But I fear Brexit will fail slowly. This is the worst case scenario.

      • Fred H
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        your big wide world appears to be Germany, France and Italy. Perhaps you count the small 15 or so members as the big wide world?
        Hint – find out where your library is and ask to look at what is called an Atlas. Open the pages and study the ones that are not headed Europe.
        It might open your mind, but then maybe not.

      • steve
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink


        Me me me, my my my.

        For heaven’s sake stop whinging on about yourself all the time.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        What a crystal ball you have andy.
        You know what the future will be.
        Any stock market tips?

      • NickC
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        Andy, The ability of your children to “go out into the wider world” is exactly the same as it was last year.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        Yup you are definitely one of that little minority hodges referred to. With 10 years of conservative govt ahead of us you are likely to be disappointed – it’s more than likely the UK’s will outperform the EU.

  59. Brigham
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    It is not often that I disagree with you John, however why does your reply sound like Chamberlain. Macron is a liar and a failure as a politician, and he should be told so. Unless he has some positive trade deals he should be ignored.

    • mickc
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Possibly because Chamberlain was an excellent Prime Minister who managed to delay war whilst preparing for it…

      History will treat him more kindly that at present…

      • Fred H
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        he did no ‘preparing for it’ – It was Churchill that held discussions with various informed people in Europe who briefed him on the accelerated and powerful military steps being take by the Nazis, prior to open warfare. Churchill campaigned for us to match the military spend anticipating what was going to happen, Chamberlain was weak and thought those ‘reasonable’ people could be negotiated with. Alas a bit of paper and a signature ignored as a joke.

  60. mancunius
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Just a couple of observations:
    1) “My country looks forward to welcoming you personally…and wishes to have friendly relations with you as our neighbouring state.”
    First of all, it is the people of France with whom we want friendly relations, not Macron nor indeed the French state, which is as stubbornly, ineradicably anglophobic as ever.
    Secondly, Macron can have little idea about the development of the EEC to EU that you very deftly outline in your summary: in 1990 Macron was a 13-year-old, and far from taking a lively interest in European political history: his attention was rather focused on his, erm, schoolteacher. 🙂

    • Welldone
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Some can comment without adding personal insult- some others unfortunately cannot allow an opportunity to pass- it probably comes from the Trump Farage latter day school in the way of behaving in public but not not very gentlemanly..erm

      • mancunius
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Posting as you have been doing with ever-changing IDs in the hope that your ludicrous, transparent propaganda of insults will appear to be the opinion of many – and you’re so touchingly convinced you can’t be spotted. :-))

        Macron is rejected by the majority of French people. Opinion polls show his disapproval rating as high as 68% – and it has been that high since August 2018. Every weekend the French people march through the streets of Paris singing the murderously threatening words of the wartime ‘Chant des partisans’. Not very gentlemanly that, but then the French (who have a good collective instinct in these matters) do not regard Macron as being a gentleman either.

  61. Trav
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Great reply. How I wish there were more MP’s in the House of Westminster like you. We’re OUT, there’s a big wide world out there, far bigger than the 27, I say we should be their competitor – it can only do us good.

  62. margaret
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Mr E Macron is too young to understand.It takes people with bigger minds to understand it is better to forgive , send good wishes and facilitate friendliness rather than bicker and create ill will.

  63. Duncan
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    A Canada plus style deal would be ok if we were geographically located somewhere in the mid atlantic but we’re not. For a counry sharing air space fishing security and many ither things there will have to be agreement and rules. Don’t think the line Foreign Secretary Raab is putting out is going to fly. But we’ll know more next week

  64. steve
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink


    “…I will fight you….”

    So Andy when we going to have this fight ?

  65. Peter G. Shilston
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    What about Scotland? Why did Scotland vote so heavily to remain in the EU? And Ulster rather more marginally? Is this concern about sovereignty purely an English thing? Or perhaps the Scots and Ulster people think, since they’re not sovereign people anyway, they would prefer to be governed by Brussels rather than by politicians in London whom they didn’t elect?

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      The fact I and many others here point out that only England does not have its own parliament and voice seems to be lost on some. The Referendum was our cry for freedom and our (England) voice to be heard.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Simply an anti-English view. Rather be a 3m offshore noisy neighbour to the 440m EU, than be governed by what they laughingly believe to be English in Westminster.
      So be it.

  66. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    You could have mentioned that Macron said a while ago that he thought that if an in-out referendum were to be held in France that the French people would probably vote to leave the EU. Further, that a recent report found widespread dissatisfaction with democracy in the Western democracies. You might suggest to Macron that the political class ignoring the views of the people is the cause of this dissatisfaction.

  67. Robert Bywater
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    ” ..we want to be friends with the EU and with its individual member states.” Indeed so. As long as and inasmuch they are individual member states. But the “ever closer union” will erase that individuality. Sooner or later it would cease to make sense for UK to have embassies and ambassadors in all 27 capitals of these now not so individual member states. It would be enough to have a single embassy in Brussels and for EU to have just one embassy in London. The other 27 can be closed. One could save a lot of money that way.

  68. TooleyStu
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    (I was asked to read Macrons letter, and give a review for a Leave/Remain group on FB.)
    Read it all, and one thing set alarm bells ringing.
    *A united and sovereign EU. *
    If you do not understand the enormity of this comment hidden halfway down the text, you do not understand the EU project.

    Tooley Stu

  69. Irene
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Almost 24 hours on, and after numerous approved comments, I am left waiting in the wings. Was it not sycophantic enough? My head is not in the sand.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      ”Was it not sycophantic enough?”…..
      Yours is only one of scores that our host cannot use. Perhaps it’s because you’re not interesting enough. Perhaps you’ve become boring by posting too much. Perhaps it’s because it was considered inappropriate. Perhaps it just didn’t hit the spot.
      But perhaps it’s because you’re not as important as you think you are.

      • Irene
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        L Jones, you have a few valid comments. I’m definitely not interesting enough, but then again, that can’t be a requirement for posting, can it? I can’t have become boring by posting too much because I post little. Perhaps I need to post more and become boring. Inappproptiate? Nope, it was rather on point. As for hitting the spot, we can’t all hit the spot, can we. especially if we aren’t sychophantic on a daily basis. Self-importance is not one of my features either, no matter how many bows I have. Funny old world, is it not?

  • 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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