The EU has learned nothing from the negotiations so far

There is good news liberally written into practically every part of the EU’s draft negotiating text for a future partnership. In most cases their plans for future conduct revolve around both parties observing international agreements that both are signed up to. So these matters do not need negotiating or even embedding in a new agreement.

We are told relatively friction free borders for goods will rely on the Facilitation of Trade Agreement from the WTO. Exporters and Importers will use the global system of Authorised Economic operators to speed their way across frontiers.  The measures on technical barriers and Phytosanitary issues will be founded on the WTO model.  The sanitary and phytosanitary requirements themselves will come from global agreements including Codex Alimentarius, the International Plant Convention, and the World Organisation for Animal Health standards.

Access to each other’s government contracts will stem from both belonging to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. Nuclear matters will be under global rules and controls. Law enforcement will be under the Council of Europe Conventions. Anti Money Laundering will be under FATF. In some cases the EU says it would like to go further than these world standards that we use today, but without saying how and why.

All this makes the excessive  demands and threats more silly. The document is an attempt to recreate all the rules and regulations of the current Treaties and apply them to the UK after we have left, whilst of course the UK would have no vote or voice on any of them as they evolve. The UK government has already made clear it does not accept this “level playing field” view that we become rule takers.

The crudest threat is over the fish. We are told the fishing issues have to be settled by 1 July, before the rest of any Agreement is decided. The Union wishes to avoid loss of fish for its fishermen (sic) though one of the wins for the UK is to get control of our  fishing stocks and to land more of the fish in the UK. They suggest we will be blocked on a Free Trade Agreement if we do not sacrifice the fish again.

There is also a continuing refrain that we must play by their rules on everything from the environment and state aids to tax and climate change to qualify for whatever access they think appropriate to their market. They do not ask for any access to our market, where they sell us a lot of food which can attract high tariffs under global rules. They  forget that of course we will have plenty of access to their market under WTO rules anyway for the things we sell them.

They confirm that the UK will not be under their control in foreign and defence policy. They state that they will “enable the UK to participate on a case by case basis and upon invitation of the Union in CSDP mission and operations open to third countries”. In other words it up to us and to them if we wish to join in on any particular mission.

The final insult is in the provisions over dispute resolution. Whilst they propose a joint body with every effort to resolve disagreements, they cannot resist inserting the European Court of Justice into any reference to “independent” arbitration. This is a silly provocation.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    I strongly recommend to all reading the PM’s Statement to the House,,
    It’s clarity and common sense are indisputable, and if its principles are enacted we’ll have relationship with the EU to be proud of.
    Barnier thinks he’s negotiating with the previous May administration, he had better wise up.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the link – it reads as yet more corner-painting with silly red lines yet again.

      John carps about the European Union’s dispute resolution proposals. Well, at least it does have a process, unlike the WTO, which now has none, because just one of its hundred plus members – Trump’s US – has thrown a spanner, crowbar, and anvil into the works by refusing to appoint any arbiters.

      An appointment with reality for many deluded people awaits in short order.

      Don’t forget, the Tories and Leave voters are now 100% answerable for all adverse impacts.

      Reply The WTO has recently found in favour of the USA against Airbus showing they do settle disputes

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they did when they had the staff.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Leaves are not responsible for the antics of your EU empire. And EU ideology is no longer the only game in town. There’s the rest of the world – you know that rather bigger place beyond Europe that the first Elizabethans visited 450 years ago.

  2. Pominoz
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    There is a very relevant article by Harry Western on website posted yesterday which, in my simple summary, seems to suggest that the EU should be told to go stuff their demanded terms for an FTA in an appropriate place.

    The transition period is a very expensive waste of time for the UK and will achieve absolutely nothing of benefit when all the EU wants to do is stymie the benefits of Brexit.

    Pull the plug now. No further divorce payments. No need to wait until December 31st.

    • Hope
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      The U.K. Govt cannot do this. It cannot pull the plug because the servitude plan signed by Johnson makes it clear he has to use best endeavors to find agreement in the context of the servitude plan which is slanted towards the EU. He knew when he signed it. The mistake was signing the servitude plan. Re read QC Martin Howes view on it. The servitude plan was written with all this in mind.

      No point JR griping about ECJ when they know it will apply to all EU citizens living here and all their unborn children! What country would agree to immigrants being allowed to have a right to access of their court being superior to the court of the country they live in! Johnson’sand the Tory party signed up to it!

      Can you imagine the US agreeing all Mexican citizens living in the US have their legal rights upheld by Mexico, children living in Mexico have child benefit even though tens do not live in the US and all their family have a right to live in the US and be treated the same as the host nations citizens even though they did not pay into the tax pot! No nor me. But this is what the Tory govt has signed up to. Plus pay billions for unknown period to talk about trade that JR is carping about. He knew this from the outset now decrys it!

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Hope, The antics of the Tory party are rather depressing. Fresh from signing another year’s servitude in the EU, Boris now wants sales of cars to be all battery electric by 2035. Never mind replacing the national grid, street re-wiring and building the equivalent of another 20 Hinckley Cs all within in 15 years, eh? What would we do for entertainment if it wasn’t for politicians?

    • Dennis
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s not com

  3. Tabulazero
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Yet another post on the EU.

    Strange. Aren’t you supposed to have gotten Brexit done ? It really does not look like it:

    On the ECJ, nothing has changed. It has always been the EU’s position that it is the ECJ that get to decide what goes on inside the Single-Market, not a foreign court or arbitration panel. Given how deeply integrated inside the EU economy the UK is this issue is bound to happen. For the EU, it’s a matter of sovereignty something I think you can understand.

    That said, you should not worry. Since Boris Johnson’s message to the Europeans is basically « trust me not to let the UK seek unfair competitive advantages », we are heading for no deal and your fears will not materialize.

    The British public laughed at his face when he asked them to trust him. It won’t be different for the Europeans,

    • Stred
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      The UK makes goods to be sold into the EU market in accordance with EU standards and will continue to do so. We make other goods to be sold into other countries in accordance with their standards. What the Commission is seeking in return for selling into the EU is that we make goods for sale in the UK and buy goods from others that comply with EU standards. This would prevent free trade with other countries and mutual recognition of standards.

      The Commission and the European Court should be told that we will be willing to recognise their standards if they wish to keep selling goods into the UK but otherwise get lost. And if they want to fish in British waters, they can get a British licence and abide by British conservation of stocks rules, landing the fish in Britain or to a British ship, like the Russian ships which used to buy Cornish mackerel.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Large majority = laughing in his face?

      I suspect no one on this site has an issue with the ECJ presiding over matters of the EU single market. I do not want the UK to be in or aligned with the single market. Just companies wishing to trade with it to have reciprocal tariff free access.

      • James Snell
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        By the December Boris will have sold the entire project out- nothing will have changed except we will be on the outside looking in – but with no say

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Tab. Can you really not understand that this isn’t about Brexit? It’s about a trade agreement that everyone except you it would seem expected talks to proceed after we left. For goodness sake get a grip.

    • dixie
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Unfair competitive advantage …

      Explain how it is fair that France and Germany provide state subsidies many times the level of the UK.

      Explain how it is fair that EU subsidised farmers dump onions on Cameroon such that village farmers can no longer compete in their local markets.

      Explain how it is fair that EU subsidised farmers dump tomotoes on Ghana Cameroon such that village farmers can no longer compete and must go work in Italy picking tomatoes to survive.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      The Tories know that their voters, Leave ones that is, do not do their own remembering, but instead rely upon the media, such as the low-end press to do it for them. Instead, such sources do their forgetting for them, however.

      So given that such august organs do not remind them of these contradictions – even if only with words spoken days ago – they will not generally cause public opinion problems for the Tories among their core support.

      Yes, I’m sorry to say that that is the lamentable state of a fair swathe of the English electorate.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Another ridiculous post repeating the slur on leave voters that they are taken in by the media.
        Whereas you Martin and your fellow pro EU fans are not influenced at all.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      If you read the Political Declaration it states that disputes about the implementation of EU law will be decided by the ECJ. Which seems fair enough to me. Disputes about UK law are settled by our highest court. It would be odd to expect disputes about the implementation of UK law to be settled by the highest court in a different country.

      The declaration also states that other disputes (for example, trade disputes) are to be resolved by arbitration.

      Have a read. It’s on page 24

      • Tabulazero
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Not exactly:
        “The Parties indicate that should a dispute raise a question of interpretation of provisions or concepts of Union law, which may also be indicated by either Party, the arbitration panel should refer the question to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as the sole arbiter of Union law, for a binding ruling as regards the interpretation of Union law. Conversely, there should be no reference to the CJEU where a dispute does not raise such a question.”

        How often do you expect trade issues between the UK and the EU not to make reference to question of interpretation of provisions or concepts of Union law, knowing the purpose of the WA is to grant temporary access to the Single-Market.

        • Trevor
          Posted February 5, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          And of course the bit that is missing is what happens if a question of UK law arises.
          As the WA was originally written by the EU they didn’t need that bit.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      The EU’s position on what you incorrectly call their “sovereignty” is different in the Canada FTA to what they are demanding here, so your assertion that “it has always been the EU’s position” is nonsense.

      Your suggestion we are heading for “no deal” is also puzzling as we already have a deal, the withdrawal agreement – do keep up.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      You surprise me Tab.
      I didn’t realise the ECJ has powers to make rulings which affect every independent country in the world.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Every country’s can.

        If a given country wants to sell to the UK say, then our courts can rule that certain conditions must be met, e.g. on product safety.

        The European Union is no different.

        It’s just that about half of the UK’s exports already go there under the terms of our previous membership.

        If the Government wants that to cease, then sure, the UK can ignore their rules.

        • NickC
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Martin, Oh but the EU says it is different. Under the WA treaty the EU gets to control the UK (the so-called “level playing field” laws), not merely UK exports conformity to EU rules. The EU is demanding the same control after the WA expires, too. I actually don’t think Boris will capitulate on this. It is not after all what the USA, China, Russia, India, etc, would (or could!) demand.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          So I was right.
          Independent nations rely on WTO rules.
          The EU cannot overrule the WTO rules they have agreed to follow.

    • agricola
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Not strange at all. Brexit comes in two parts. First you democratically establish your absolute intention to leave the EU by a defined date. Secondly you allow a period, in our case, of one year to set out and agree the way we conduct our future relationship under a range of subject headings. What is so difficult to understand.

      Sovereignty pertains to countries or common blocs. Arbitration is a matter for third parties, unencumbered by any allegence to either side. Otherwise it is a kangaroo court. The ECJ is the EU’s supreme court. It’s remit ceases outside the borders of the EU. Outside it is a supplicant as is our Supreme Court beyond the borders of the UK.

      In any International Agreement there must always be trust. Without it you are in the situation of a trusting Neville Chamberlain with peace in our time. His opposite number saw it as no more than an autograph hunters piece of paper. We all know where it led. Boris was merely removing the perfidious from albion. Incidentally an overwhelming majority of the UK electorate have placed their trust in Boris, the Euopeans were not involved, did you not notice.

    • Tabulazero
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      oh… please…

      There is no genuine desire from Boris Johnson or the ERG for that matter to achieve any kind of deal with the EU on terms that would be remotely acceptable to the EU.

      A deal with the EU excludes a deal with the US. Boris Johnson and the Conservative party have simply decided to re-align both politically and economically the UK on the US.

      Can we all stop pretending we are going to be surprised when the talks breakdown acrimoniously and we end up with no-deal at the end of the year?

      • Richard1
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        this is clearly nonsense plenty of countries have a deal with both the EU and the US. Canada for example.

        We hear a funny mixture from you little group of continuity remain hold-outs. One moment we hear Boris will cave in and surrender to the EU just as May did. The next we hear he has no interest in a deal at all and its WTO brexit this Christmas.

        The reality is there will be a sensible deal, but it will only get agreed at the last moment. We might need to let GATT article 24 run a bit and sign some time in 2021. but we’ll get there – sorry.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Tabulazero, If the EU-UK trade deal talks break down as you envisage, it will be entirely the EU’s fault for demanding continued control over the UK itself. The EU cannot make laws to impose on the whole of Japan, or Canada, or S Korea, so it must not expect to have control over the UK as a nation. Trade for trade. Only.

      • Fred H
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        ‘ stop pretending we are going to be surprised when the talks breakdown acrimoniously and we end up with no-deal at the end of the year?’

        Wonderful – 4 years to get to it.

  4. ian terry
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    Good post highlighting yet again for me the arrogance of the EU. After all the pain and grief they still want everything their way and keep hold of our strings. I still don’t think they understand our resolve to completely govern ourselves and be masters of our own destiny. They are trying it on and will drag out the process just to keep our donations and funding rolling in to their coffers.

    Push will have to go to shove and our government must strong today to tell them to forth and multiply as we as a nation will not be jumping through any more hoops and jumping onto more shovels the political landscape within the EU is changing so for all interns and purposes we stand firm and walk away taking our money with us. The gamblers scared rules are paramount’s. Hold, fold, walk and run. We are not going to be anyone’s pasty anymore.

  5. Shirley
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I am 100% certain that there are other countries who will trade without demanding supremacy of their laws over ours, an annual payment, free movement, theft of our fishing grounds and a one sided ‘dispute’ court.

    Therefore, it would be sensible to have genuine free trade with those countries, and not the misnamed ‘free’ trade with the EU.

    • Andy
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      We already trade with them. There is precisely nobody we will trade with after Brexit who we do not trade with now. All that Brexit will change is the terms on which we trade.

      You have all decided to trade with the EU, by far our biggest trading partner, on worse terms. That is what Brexit means.

      Some Brexiteers believe the inevitable losses we incur as a result of this can be offset by us trading with other countries on better terms.

      There is no evidence at all that their belief is anything other than complete fantasy.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        no reason at all for worse terms for trade with the EU unless the EU decides to start a trade war

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          For pity’s sake.

        • NickC
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          Richard1, Exactly right.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Our biggest trading partner by far is the rest of the world (about 59% of UK exports). They don’t demand to rule the UK , or charge us £20bn annually to do so, either.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but we buy more from them than we sell to them.

          So by your what-passes-for-logic that means that the UK can bully The Rest Of The World into doing whatever the UK wants.

          Doesn’t it?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 5, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            We have a trade deficit of nearly £70 billion with the EU.
            We have a surplus of nearly £30 biĺion on trade with non nations.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Misnamed as it cost the UK c£20 billion a year for the so called “privilege”.

  6. agricola
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    It is either an extreme position that they take from which they will row back in time to where they wish to be, or they have fatally failed to realise that they are deaing with a totally independant sovereign nation. Were they dealing with me, and I hope Boris, they would be politely told to go away and not come back until they had revised their demands. Put another way; get stuffed.

    Once they realise there will be no fish and that they will be paying us gross £12billion in duty or nett £7 billion, they might think again. Just make sure that our policing of fisheries is robust because they will no doubt try it on.

    I do not wish to see us constantly commuting to Brusells. In equal measure they should come to London. They are used to the commute to Strasburgh, nomadic diplomacy is not new to them.

    December 2020 will soon feature on their horizon, let there be no wavering on our side, as we know WTO rules are fine. They need the reallity of our other trade agreements to encourage them. The sight of their existing trade being resourced might concentrate their minds, start talking to the Japanese on fish.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, It’s not surprising the EU takes such a belligerent attitude towards the UK. After all we have rolled over for them for the last 48 years. They simply expect it will continue.

      • agricola
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        True what you say, but that was down to the duplicity of our politicians, the people were not involved. Now they are and a glance at history would tell the EU that to ignore the new situation would be a massive mistake.

  7. Tory in Cumbria
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    There is no such thing as “relatively friction free borders”. They are either friction free or they are not. In the EU they are friction free. Outside the EU they are not. Brexit is all about the UK choosing to add friction to its own trade. It’s the first and only country in history to choose to do that – the only other countries that have suffered reductions in their trade have been on the loser’s side in wars. That is why the world is watching Brexit in disbelief

    • jerry
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      @Tory in Cumbria; There is no such thing as “relatively friction free borders” They are either friction free or they are not..

      What utter nonsense! I suggest you research the “Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets”, a UNECE backed convention first adopted by the UN in 1975, which its self had been extant in much of Europe since 1949.

      Thus you could have two otherwise identical lorries/container at a boarder, both owned by the same company, both carrying the same goods, one is being operated under the above TIR convention and the other not, thus the TIR shipment simply has its carnet and seal inspected and is then waved through, the other might be there for days having each and ever pallet checked.

      • Tory in Cumbria
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Yes jerry, it “simply has its carnet and seal inspected “. That is NOT friction free. You get friction free trade in the EU. Only in the EU.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Is that your definition of friction TiC?
          A carnet and a seal on container.

          Have you ever traded with other countries?
          Because I have and I can tell you there is very little difference in trading with the EU and non EU countries in terms of “friction” as you call it.

        • jerry
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          @TiC; Both Carnet and Seals would likely be checked anyway, even before last Friday, give the current problems with illegals and drug smuggling.

          It is one thing wanting “friction free” trading, it is another wanting open boarders, the latter is what you seem to want…

      • Robert McDonald
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Ah, that project fear word “might” again. But it might not, in fact probably not.

      • acorn
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        TIR only operates if there are Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) between the sovereign customs authorities involved in any transit. The EU is one single customs authority under TIR. TIR does not overcome the EU “country of origin” proof requirement; or, the limited number of foreign vehicles licences issued for entry into the EU and transit on EU roads.

        • jerry
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          @acorn; Stop trying to conflate several totally different issues, non of which would even stop the use of the TIR convention from Jan 1st 2021!

          Both the EU and the UK are signatories to the TIR convention.

          “Country of origin” would be dealt with well before the load was despatched, as it is now when importing into the EU customs area.

          TIR applies to accompanied and unaccompanied trailers, ISO containers and through transit railway wagon-load fright, even ships and aircraft.

          There is nothing to stop such TIR traffic between the UK and the EU.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          TIR is recognised by importers and exporters throughout Europe.
          It speeds up transition of goods across borders.

          Proof of country of origin is a simple declaration on the paperwork which accompanies the goods.

          I have never heard of the problem of there being a limited number of foreign vehicle licences available for issue to enable entry into the EU.
          Are you sure you know what you are talking about acorn?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Rubbish of course they can be relatively friction free, indeed even now they are not totally friction free. It is all about how much friction governments want to create. It is not in anyone’s interest to have such friction.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • dixie
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      A barrier works in both directions and the EU exports more to us than we to them. Where I have any choice I do not buy EU goods or services but get them from elsewhere and the barriers to those sources imposed by the EU will be lessened now we have left.

      One action I would like our government to take is to insist on clear and unambiguous marking of all products with indication of country of origin, process and profit to assist consumers in the buying decision.

      I would also like to see our public bodies giving preference to local suppliers and taking account of subsidies and preferential buying practices of the countries for foreign providers … in the interest of fair free trade

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Britain DID choose to impede its worldwide trade – when we sacrificed our Sovereignty to the EU in 1972.
      Free at last!
      (You need to change your moniker – you have not 1 Tory instinct)

    • DaviJ
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you should look how the major ports handle their customs documentation in advance of the vehicle arriving. But then you remainers are just a sore losers; perhaps you would be happier moving to the EU.

  8. Garland
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    You are obviously very nervous about the fish. And rightly so. When you hand them over to the EU in return for getting market access for our banks, it will be the first and most obvious sign of just how pathetically weakened the UK is by Brexit. You will need to have some answers when people start realising how many of your Brexiter promises have fallen to dust. I’d be nervous in your position!

    • Stred
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      EU calling. EU calling.

      • Fred H
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        very good!

      • agricola
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        I thought references to WW2 were verboten in this diary.

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

      @Garland; All Brexiteers are nervous about fish because the “our fish” issue is built upon a UKIP lie, for the most part only inshore (out to 12 miles) fishing can be guaranteed any protection from Brexit. The Tory party will regret picking up and running with it – and for what, a few coastal constituencies, when the real election battles are in the (de)industrialised inland communities.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, That doesn’t make a lot of sense. If there is nothing for us to regain, what did the EU take in 1972? Nothing?? The reality is the EU demanded and got in 1972 free access to, and management of, our EEZ (UNCLoS) 200nm fishing resources.

        • jerry
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; ” The reality is the EU demanded and got in 1972 free access to, and management of, our EEZ (UNCLoS) 200nm fishing resources.”

          That 200 nmile limit didn’t exist in 1972 and certainly no formal EEZs!

          By 1975 the UNCLOS limit was general accepted to be 100 nmiles. In mid 1975 Iceland claimed (and won, due to threatening the integrity of NATO unless they did win) a 200 nmile limit, causing the Third “Cod War”, it was this extension that did the real damage to the UK fishing fleet…

          The UNCLOS 200 nmile limit, along with EEZ’s, that the UKIP lie has been built upon didn’t actually exist legally until 1983. So the idea that Ted Heath “gave away” our fishing grounds is quite wrong, back in 1972 our deep sea fishing fleet were happily fishing in international waters.

          The only waters that the UK are totally free to enforce are our Territorial sea, and even then there are exceptions to what a State can do, extending 12 nmiles (including any Archipelagos) from low water mark.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      The whole romantic myth of the UK fishermen, used to promote the Leave vote, is on the cusp of being shattered.

      Many are large businesses like just any other, with a paramount objective of making profit by whatever means. If that be by selling on their quotas to companies based elsewhere in the European Union then they will do that, as many have done, and that is often how those fleets come to be in UK waters – even if they did not buy them directly from the UK government, as did the many others.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Martin, You’ve had this explained to you endlessly but you still repeat EU propaganda. The EU (from 1972) controls the UK UNCLoS 200nm EEZ fishing resources. We get about 30%, the rest is distributed elsewhere by the EU. Not by selling quotas. The whole lot is “managed” (and “owned”) by the EU; and in the EU (inc via the WA) we cannot do a darned thing about it.

    • BOF
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      ‘fallen to dust.’ or, as we say in English, crumbled to dust.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Indeed, a sensible analysis of the position.

    Meanwhile new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and van to banned from 2035. Brought forward by five years the prime minister will announce today. What a totally idiotic thing to do.

    When the alternatives work and are economic people will buy them anyway. Ramming them down people’s throats by law is not remotely sensible.

    What about people who need to tow or travel long distances? Plus electric seven seat cars cost £60,000+ and have pathetic ranges and very high depreciation too. The government will also start to tax them soon so as to recover the fuel duty they will no longer be getting.
    How is the electricity going to be generated mainly by gas (old biofuel) fired power stations or absurd imported (new biofuels) one assumes.

    • jerry
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      @LL; Indeed. Wth every day it is obvious that BoJo and his cabinet are simply becoming Continuation Blair/Cameron/May +++. The nonsense coming out from DEFRA yesterday was obscured, as if farmers 50 years ago did not care for the environment, its like saying a carpenter doesn’t care for his chisels unless the law makes him…

      I blame the Govt but of course the real problem is the swamp… sorry, Civil Service.

      • jerry
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        @jerry; DEFRA yesterday was absurd

    • Christine
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Has Grant Shapps lost his mind? His proposal will make no difference at all to climate change, so don’t play that card. It’s a ridiculous policy. If I’m feeling kind, I’ll qualify it as virtue signalling; if I’m feeling more cynical, I’ll say ‘follow the money’. You’d think politicians would realise by now that Brits are not stupid. We smell hypocrisy and nonsense a mile off. And don’t even get me started on the policy to replace gas boilers!
      If he wants to talk about air quality in towns, that’s a sensible conversation to be had. In the meantime I suggest he gets on with banning smart motorways, something the public can endorse.

    • jerry
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Apologies for another follow up to a OT post but BBC R5 has just has Mr Gove on, answering questions about EVs

      Good grief, what hope have we… Asked how someone living in a flat can charge their EV he brushed aside the question by (in effect) saying ‘like you take a petrol engine car petrol station, you’ll take it to a charging point’. Except a EV is not (and I doubt will ever be) like a hydrocarbon powered vehicle that takes mere minutes to refuel, a EV takes far longer, even hours to recharge.

      Can someone stop employing political/eco activists, instead employ real scientists and real engineers, to advise the govt please.

      • glen cullen
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        They are trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, cars in the UK are cleaner, our air is cleaner and the number of cars hasn’t increased much in 20 years (5m) All Facts
        So the problem is the green lobby, road management and politics …and not cars

        • DaviJ
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          It is all about control; that is why they like it.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Actually we don’t have enough generation capacity to support a full switch to electric cars and given our inability to manage any infrastructure projects efficiently we won’t have by 2035 either.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Indeed perhaps we will just be banned from driving unless it is a very windy or very sunny day!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Petrolheads do worry so about being deprived of their toys, don’t they?

      • Edward2
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        If you think targeting cars fuelled by petrol or diesel,in the UK, will have any real affect on the global temperature you are mistaken.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t make any claim in that regard.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 5, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            That is the reason cars are being targeted.
            Pointless lefty green virtue signalling.
            I just automatically thought you would be a believer.

    • Bob
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      The cost of EV charging infrastructure and additional power stations to supply the massive extra demand will be extraordinarily costly.
      Factor in the loss of fuel duty from diesel and petrol sales and what you will get is a financial black hole.

      Road pricing and electricity tax will be their chosen solutions; freedom of movement is about to become a very expensive luxury.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        I assume they will not be banning fossil fuel helicopters, planes and private jets so Prince Charles, Emma Thompson types will still be OK.

        If the authorities actually believed in the carbon “pollution” alarmist religion then banning first class seats on flights, under occupied aircraft and flying food produce around the worlds would be one of the first things to do. But they will not even do that as they know it is a con trick.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink


      Agreed, if it is going to take 25 years to build a single railway track, how long to cable the whole country with charging points and build additional power stations.

      How fast are we proceeding with the development of electric commercial vehicles with a long range ?

      Whilst I agree you need a target for anything, it needs to be sensible and achievable.

      • cornishstu
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        And if it is such a high priority and problem then surely the money spent on HS2 would be better spent installing the necessary infrastructure and generating capacity to supply our all new electric world! A complete and utter con. About time, we had some real honesty and genuine debate over man made climate change instead of the one sided rhetoric we are given on a daily basis.

    • agricola
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct, it totally ignores the technology that can make petrol and diesel clean. Electic does not have the range that I want as a stand alone vehicle. What range it has towing a 1300kg glider trailer I would not like to guess. I have heard nothing about the electrical supply required to replace all gas use in the home, or the requirement for 100% electric vehicles. Where is plan A for adequate generation. If it is more windmills what happens when the wind is not blowing. Do not be seduced by free road tax and city access. This will be reversed as soon as the government coffers start emptying. They did it for the rebate for excess electrical generation from home solar panels. Finally there is the strategic vulnerability of one power source feeds everything. The PC avoidance of fracked gas is unbelievable, or are we waiting to rid ourselves of EU dictats on the subject while they get into bed with Russian gas. Here is an area requireing absolute clarity.

      • agricola
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        One area which I would like to see maximun scientific and engineering talent employed upon is hydrogen as a vehicle fuel, producing it cheaply. Burning it produces no more than water so it’s environmental impact is zero. Better to use all the electricity to make it than to drive expensive and to date inadequate vehicles.

        • John Waugh
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          You say “and ENGINEERING talent ” . Keep it coming . you have made my day .

    • rose
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Not only how are the power stations going to cope if we aren’t allowed gas, but what happens to the old batteries? I like the idea of electric cars and always have, not because of CO2 but noise, dirt, and pollution; but they need to be thought through. How long will they last, for example, and can people tinker under the bonnet as they can with conventional cars or would they be stranded if they break down in the country?

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        rose- tinker under the bonnet is a concept going anyway I think of Citroen replace a bulb and you have to go to a garage to get the warning light reset.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I’m buying a horse! Bug8ered if I will buy an electric vehicle. Huewei will ensure I’m instantaneously connected (to Communist China) so that all seems fine ….
      But fair dues – Boris made a Great Speech yesterday re winding up our EU relationship. I forgive him a LOT for that.

      • Hope
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Lynne I enjoy your posts. However, If you believe what he says I think that reflects on you more than him.

        • a-tracy
          Posted February 5, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Which part do you not believe he will follow through with Hope? I’d like to keep a log.

    • Atlas
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, I think Gove is being his usual too-smart-for-his-own-good self again in so far as he cannot answer basic questions about a proposal which he seems to have decided upon to the extent of a specific date so far ahead. Is it 2035, morning or evening, or is it after afternoon tea??

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      The imported wood (bio fuel) is of course far more damaging and expensive than natural gas and is being transported using diesel ships and trucks.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      We don’t want social engineering experiments or new laws enforced due to how a TV presenter and a 16yrs girl say how we should live
      Stopping the sale of petrol and diesel is ridicules

    • MPC
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      It’s the end of evidence based policy. We need to get used to governments binding future ones-just like being in the EU really!

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    So the powers that be released someone into the community whom they clearly believed was almost certain to do something violent. This as indicated by all the (very expensive) people they had to keep him under constant surveillance. They felt the law compelled them to do this. Could they not have applied to the court for special permission in this case or for some judicial review? So that the judges themselves were faced with the realities of the decision?

    At least only three people were stabbed and he did not bide his time then kill 300 or so in an attack on an aircraft or similar atrocity I suppose.

  11. Mark B
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    This is the EU’s opening position. They will of course use the twin trick of making time limited demands and the refusal to continue unless we relent. This is not negotiating.

    We had this with Mrs.May. She had her red lines and, time after time she was forced to cross them because they knew she could not walk away. We should tell the EU that their negotiating strategy is one of a party that is not acting in good faith and, unless they drop their rediculous demand over our fishing grounds there is no point in proceeding with these so called negotiations.

    Of course should our government blink, and I think they will, the EU will once again have the upper hand.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 5, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Mark B. Of course should our government blink, and I think they will,

      We know they will. I am sure the Tory party still has its fair share of snowflakes who will not want to play tough with the EU and secretly still want to be members. Just wait for a few to vote against the government when the crucial decisions come around..

  12. bill brown
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    There is posturing and propaganda on both sides, including our referral to and Asustralian agreement that does not even exist.
    This will be a marathon negotiation where compromises and pragmatism will have to prevail on both sides.
    Getting worked up about mutual provocations at this early stage between allies and friends seems just rather immature.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Bill B, The EU is our enemy. If you don’t realise that after 48 years you haven’t been paying attention. The EU doesn’t try and rule Japan; it should stop trying to rule the UK. The age of empires is over. Hopefully the EU empire will expire before it can do any more damage.

      • bill brown
        Posted February 5, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink


        The Eu is our partner and full of our friends and allies and your enemy posturing is something happening in your imagination and the empie thought is just plainly rediculous

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      It’s the groundwork for blame redirection, for what is going to be exactly the mess that the Remain campaigns said that leaving the European Union would be.

  13. Andy
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    You are correct – via WTO rules we do have access to EU markets without a deal.

    Inconveniently, they also have access to our markets in the same way.

    And we know most of their access will be tariff free because the UK government has published tariff schedules – unilaterally abolishing most tariffs.

    And Brexiteers have repeatedly said there will be no delays at our border – you will take back control by just letting stuff in.

    In other words a deal is of minimal benefit to the EU anyway. Plus they have far less to lose than us.

    Genuinely – if we had sent ministers to Brussels in toy cars, wearing big shoes, with curly red hair and giant red noses then they would be less clown like than the current crop of incompetents.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      What is wrong with free trade?

      Oh course, you are a fan of the EU and its protectionist policies.

      • acorn
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Ed, there is no such thing as “free” trade. All trade is a compromise based on aiming for a zero balance in goods and services on a bilateral basis, between countries that operate to significantly differing socio-economic models.

        Trump imposes import tariffs at ridiculous random levels, with no regard to how it will affect sectors of his own domestic economy, that depend on imported components. The EU imposes import tariffs to yield a “level playing field” between imports and its own domestic producers. Thus attempting to match two or more differing economies.

        Over the next year Brexiters are going to find out why so many WTO members are now aligning themselves to the EU way of doing trade. The other two trade blocs, the US and China, are volatile and unreliable; the future of the WTO in its present form is increasingly doubtful.

        So, don’t expect any of those countries that now are or seeking EU alignment, to be doing deals with the UK, if the much larger EU starts wagging a finger at them.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 5, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          I don’t agree with your first statement acorn.
          Many nations run permanent trade deficits with other nations they trade with.
          USA v China
          EU with oil rich middle east nations
          UK with mineral rich African nations.

          As for future trade deals we shall soon see how these deals will develop.
          The offer of low or no tariffs and low NTB’s by the UK is a tempting opening position when negotiating with other nations who want to sell to us.

          Meanwhile without formal deals international trade just carries on regardless.

      • Andy
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Nothing at all is wrong with free trade. Which is why it is quite staggering that you have voted to leave what is – by far
        – the most complete, most advanced and most comprehensive free trade area on the planet. Nothing else comes close to the single market.

        But then you voted to be relegated from the Champions League of free trade to the Vauxhall Conference. Is it still the Vauxhall Conference and, if so, what will they call it when Vauxhall leaves because of Brexit?

        • NickC
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Andy, As far as trade goes, the EU empire is more a customs union than a free trade agreement. As has been observed for decades – if you’d been paying any attention. Moreover, you don’t need a new central government to oversee free trade. But then you voted to make your country into even more of a province of a foreign power than it was already.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          The EU is not a free trade area.
          It is a powerful protectionist bloc with tariffs added to poor nations hoping to import their products.
          And complex bureaucracy which aims to keep out nations who could undercut their inefficient agricultural and industrial companies within the EU.

  14. Nig l
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The classic oxymoron. The ECJ and ‘independent’

    Referring to an arbitration body that has the furtherance of one side as it’s only objective is nonsense and totally unacceptable. Theresa May dissembled on this. We saw through her instantly.

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The Dutch government is introducing a requirement now on UK citizens living there that they must apply for permission to remain from 2021 with the fee cost of €58.

    What is the UK government doing in respect to Dutch citzens living in the UK and what is its response to the Dutch demand and how does it intend to protect its citizens? Or is it taking a naive arrogant moral highground yet supine position that they can stay regardless. Does our host regard the Dutch position only as ‘silly’ and sees no need to speak strongly against?

    • hefner
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Well it appears that from 01/01/2021 the cost of a French ´carte de séjour’ for a non-EU citizen valid for 10 years will be €225, so the Dutch one at €58 is a bargain.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Gosh €22.50 a year for the pleasure of living in France.
        It is the end of the world as we know it.

        • LB
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          Have you read Prangwizard’s comment ?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 5, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            Yes I have.
            €58 admin fee to register to stay in Holland.

          • a-tracy
            Posted February 5, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            I did LB!

            So now we have a benchmark of what we charge the Dutch and French from the same day, quid pro quo.

  16. steadyeddie
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    This EU animal is very strange- when it is attacked it defends itself. There is a lot of sabre rattling on both sides but enough common sense to produce a deal.

  17. Richard1
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I listened to Boris’s speech, it was excellent. Exactly the sort of thing that’s needed. There’s probably enough wriggle room to agree a deal at the 11th hour, but of course this EU posturing in the meantime should be ignored. Meanwhile the cure for this from the EU is to press on with deals with other countries. We could be in the absurd position by late 2021 where we have extensive FTAs around the world covering goods and services, based on the principle of mutual recognition, but no deal with the EU because we will not allow the U.K., having left the EU, to be an economic colony of the EU due to their demand for legal regulatory and tax harmonisation. (Incidentally, when did tax slip into the area of EU competence, I thought one of the remain arguments was it was a clearly agreed principle that tax was a national competence?)

    the tougher the better.

  18. Iain Moore
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I expressed my fears about Boris doing something stupid regarding COP26, but it seems I underestimated him, while King Canute knew he couldn’t stop the tide, Boris thinks he can stop the weather. Banning petrol and diesel cars in 15 years time is bonkers. If we are getting this climate change extremism from him this early in the year, god help us for what he is going to sign up to when we get closer to the conference. He will lay waste to our economy if he pursues a path of a global free trader while loading green costs on our companies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is insane. Pathetic virtue signalling and hugely damaging to jobs, living standards, competitively, the economy and even the environment.

  19. Alan Jutson
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    A good speech by Boris yesterday, I hope he sticks with the content and it comes to fruition.

    Unlike May he has a vision, a strategy and an end goal.

    • bill brown
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson

      Interesting theory and hypothesis, I think I will wait and see if that is really the case?

  20. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Something no-one seems to mention is: How much are we going to pay the EU each year starting from January 2021?

    Do you know, Mr. Redwood?

    One of the main reasons why I voted to Leave was that I wanted the 11 thousand, million pounds we give the EU each year to be spent here – on social care for the elderly and on getting rid of food banks.

  21. ChrisS
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    None of this is a surprise, is it ?

    The mindset of those in charge of the EU has not changed one jot. They will not accept that from December 31st we are to be as independent of Brussels as the US, Canada or Australia. That is why they continue to try and keep us under their thumb.

    They have even gone so far as to say that we now cannot have a Canada-type Free Trade deal without much stronger restrictions on us than they require of Canada. The reason ? Because, they say, unlike Canada, we are on their doorstep. It is about time that Brussels realises the trading system is truly global and shipping costs are now so low that it is possible to buy from China – or Canada – and get goods to Europe in days or a few weeks.
    The real reason is, of course, that they are terrified that we will make a success of Brexit and they are determined to try and put a brake on our efforts to become a global player again.

    Boris is right. There can be no restrictions on our ability to set our own regulations and trade policy and there can certainly be no phasing of the talks, particularly in the case of fishing which I see Barnier wants us to cave in on right at the beginning !

    If that means that we walk away from the negotiations in a month or two without an agreement, that will be regrettable but we can live with it.

    • ChrisS
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      PS : If we have to walk away without an agreement, the £1.2bn a month we are paying Brussels stops immediately.

  22. Tabulazero
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The Brexiters have learned nothing from the negotiations so far:

    The EU is not dumb enough to let them have their cake and eat it at its expense.

    Same old, same old….

    • David
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      The remainers have learnt nothing.

      The EU wishes to take control of every aspect of our country and destroy our culture.

      “Let them eat cake”, you say the EU would be dumb to let us do that.

      That is why we have left.

  23. Kevin
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this update. I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister confirm, yesterday, as the Foreign Secretary confirmed with you in Parliament, that the Government is seeking to model our relationship with the EU on that of Canada, and not Norway. I was further pleased to hear the Prime Minister add that, if our request is not accepted, then our model will be that of Australia. The only element that appears to be missing from this display of unity from the Conservative Party is a public awareness campaign, beginning immediately, which should confirm that, as of 1st January 2021, an Australia-style relationship will subsist between a fully independent United Kingdom and the EU, barring any Canada-style FTA being reached before then. What we must not have from the Prime Minister is a “will he, won’t he” approach to our independence running all the way up to December 31st.

    P.S.: 332 days till the Conservatives’ gift to the EU of legislative power over the UK expires; or,
    1,062 days if Boris offers it the three-year, “premium vassalage”, upgrade.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Kevin, An excellent comment.

  24. Johnny Dubb
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    The biggest error made by the EU is the reappointment of Barnier. With every Brexiteer watching him with deep distrust and dissecting his every word, the chance of him slipping in “vassalage” clauses are nil. A surprising appointment, given that he failed in his self declared mission to “compel the British to change their minds” (paraphrase).
    On fishing, it will take years to recreate a large fishing and processing industry, so we should be offering direct talks with the French, Dutch and Spanish fishing industries. EU weaponised NI, are starting now to use Scotland, let’s do a bit of “divide and conquer” of our own. Stop being so flaming nice!

    • Qubus
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget Gibralter

  25. Fred H
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    ‘We are told the fishing issues have to be settled by 1 July, before the rest of any Agreement is decided’.

    So the date for finally ‘leaving without a deal’ has now become July 1st.
    At last an end to the years of bullying. We can order bunting, fireworks and have street parties in the summer.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Will there be as many as on Jan 31st last?

      That is, virtually none?

      • Edward2
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        We dont need demos.
        The Government is doing it all for us.
        Stop at home and watch an 80 majority working.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Martin, How do you know? You didn’t believe the BBC did you?

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 5, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        Martin. There were far more than the BBC showed. Thousands in fact. Friends of ours attended and said the BBC didn’t do it justice. But then what did we expect. They are still pandering to Remainers such as yourself.

    • bill brown
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink


      This will most likely just be in your dreams it will take much longer than you think

      • Fred H
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        The bunting and fireworks will keep. The parties will happen anyway.

  26. HJ
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    If ‘alignment’ and a ‘level playing field’ are so important to the EU, then they will have the opportunity to voluntary align their regulations to ours. If they choose to do s0 – fine. If they choose not to, then it can’t have been that important to them, can it?

    • bill brown
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink


      %00 million aligning to 65 million, come again

  27. Ian @Barkham
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Does any of what the EU say matter? They break and interpret their own rules and laws to suit any given situation.

    Their trade agreement with Canada has already been broken.

    Their own rules on leaving the EU have already been broken with the UK. They state in their own rules book the withdrawal agreement should be agreed in tandem with all future trade etc. They broke that rule day one.

    The EU talks of ensuring there should be no State subsidies to ensure a level playing field – then they have CAP. CAP undermines the whole of World trade and discriminates against emerging nations.

    The EU talks about lowering emissions, but excludes the most polluting part – the manufacture and distribution.

    The EU is first and foremost a protectionist isolationist club. They use their interpretation of standards, rules and regulations as a defeat mechanism against trade. They are a replacement for tariffs that they could never get through the WTO. If their standards had a genuine purpose they would have ISO recognition

    It is clear that what ever is agreed the EU it has a history of reneging on it. That is why the ECJ is important to them, it is not independent part of any legal process, it is a political court that takes its direction from what ever the EU Commission wants on that day.

    Does any free democracy need any of it?

  28. villaking
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I have not read the draft text yet and I’m a little unclear as to whether you see it as good or bad (“good news liberally written into every part” and “excessive demands and threats”). Perhaps when I read it your comments will be clearer. One observation I would make however is to challenge your assertion that the EU has learned nothing from the negotiations so far. It seems to me they have negotiated well so far in protecting their interests. There is no part of the WA or PD that they seem deeply unhappy about whereas many of your contributors here seem to dislike much of it.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Villaking, I think the point is, that if the EU wanted to keep the UK within the EU, they have gone about it in an ill-informed and ham-fisted way. Of course your implication may be right and the EU has actually wanted to remove us all along. Subtle.

  29. John Brown
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Indeed, the EU has learned nothing and only has itself to blame for the UK leaving, although its job was made easier by the UK’s PMs who either had no faith in the UK’s ability to survive or simply hated the UK or even both.

    Firstly the EU gave us a rotten deal when we joined by taking away our fishing grounds and landing us with a very large net contribution which they then used to subsidise corporates to move their factories out of the UK (and even to non-EU countries!).

    We then had the eastern expansion of the EU when we were forced to accept freedom of movement with countries whose minimum wage levels were a fraction of ours. As a result not only were our factories taken from us but our jobs and houses as millions of immigrants poured in from the EU.

    The EU then refused to budge when Mr. Cameron attempted (?) a re-negotiation thinking that there was no way that a referendum would give a result to leave (the EU were relying on biased BBC reporting).

    In the subsequent negotiations the EU took a very hard line believing that if they did so a second referendum would be held with a result this time to stay. In fact the EU stance was so hardline that even remainer MPs could not vote for Mrs. May’s/Ollie Robbin’s/the EU’s awful WA and the attempt failed.

    The EU’s hardline stance has ensured a Conservative/leaver victory in the recent GE and a government/country even more inclined to distance itself from the EU and more determined to take back control of its laws, borders, money and assets.

    Note :
    Perhaps the EU Commission does not want to see an FTA as import duty and VAT brings money directly into its coffers.

  30. Dave
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    If the British government had displayed any backbone at all in the last 5 decades (apart from Thatcher) then perhaps the EU would not be so high handed. Recent history has not yet had time to register with the bureaucratic minds in Brussels as they really are remarkably stupid people. If Boris has any gumption he will respond with proposals of his own like closing British waters to all foreign fishing boats, imposition of the maximum tarrifs on EU goods, taxation of Irish and continental hgv’s on UK roads, disputes to be decided by British High Court and no participation of UK armed forces in any EU adventure.

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 5, 2020 at 12:04 am | Permalink


      “and no participation of UK armed forces in any EU adventure.”

      No, we will be far too busy following the US into yet more illegal wars like Iraq etc.

  31. Everhopeful
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The EU was a potty idea anyway. Who wants to share a bank account with neighbours?
    They didn’t even want us to join at first…de Gaulle said the UK was “incompatible with Europe” and had “deep-seated hostility” to any “pan-European project.” He turned out to be right.
    And over 47 years the EU has determinedly added to that hostility by its actions…not least in recent Brexit years by trying to tighten its embrace.

    • bill brown
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink


      I am not sure who tighten the embrace or we cocked it all up ourselves?

  32. BOF
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    LL, you are absolutely right.

    IMO our Government is as much a victim of fraud as the person who gives their bank details and pw to an unknown person over the phone. In this case they make victims of us all as they swallow climate alarmism hook line and sinker.

    • DaviJ
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      That was the worrying part of Boris’ speech. However our clean break from the EU is today’s priority. After that we must turn to fight the Great Global Warming Scam, not be confused with real pollution.

  33. TrustMe
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Why should anyone be surprised at the EU stance in any of this, after all we were part of it for nearly fifty years- we know it from the inside out. Now Boris tells them he is not going to abide by any of their rules or requirements but instead says ‘trust me! trust me’! ‘look into my eyes and trust me’ is not going to work either. This is going to be the Mother of All negotiations from which we are not going to come out unscathed- and neither is Foreign Secretary Raabs trip to Eurasia or any other sideshows going to impress them either so by June I would think with Fishing and Financials on the table- will be crunch time.

  34. Iain Gill
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    oh dear mr gove on the radio promising to ban petrol & diesel cars far earlier than the previous silly promises.

    with obvious lack of insight into how much the national grid will need upgrading to support moving all that extra electricity from power stations to charging points. a lot of extra pylons across the countryside, and so on, are the people really going to put up with such changes to the landscape?

    looks like govt/grove/cummings have not done the basic back of a fag packet calculations to support their virtue signalling.

    John, please have a word.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      It scares my that we have no challenge to this eco greenery , the government, opposition, parliament, media are all cheering each other on, which is a very dangerous situation to be in, after all we are told bad decisions and laws are made when there is no opposition. Even beyond the Westminster bubble all heretical voices have been blocked from twitter, Youtube, Social media etc. As you say there are some very big problems associated with this plan, we don’t have the generating capacity, the infrastructure, the lithium battery availability, the lithium supplies, what to do with old lithium batteries, let alone the questionable Eco sums behind electric cars, for the carbon foot print of an electric car battery is not much of an improvement on the carbon foot print of a petrol cars life time use.

    • DennisA
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      But this is “tackling climate change”. I’m puzzled as to how this is going to have any impact on the weather. In the UK, temperatures have not moved in the last 30 years. In the Central England Temperature record, 2019 is the 24th warmest in the 361 year record and was colder than 1990. There have been no trends in rainfall, drought, extreme weather, everything is far more benign than in previous centuries, so if that is climate change, thank goodness.

      The pitiful obeisance to the green lobby is quite frightening. No-one seems to have any grasp on reality. Net Zero Carbon? A spreadsheet exercise, using the ephemeral
      abilities of carbon credits to cook the books. Those providing this service rake in our money, the recipients of supposed sustainable development get useless wind turbines and solar panels rather than a dependable energy supply.

      The really big elephant in the room is China. They have increased their emissions by 6.25% since Paris, some 608 million tonnes, 1.6 times our annual emissions.

      Their annual total emissions for 2019 were 10,325 billion tonnes against our 379 million tonnes. That’s over 28 million tonnes a day. If we shut the UK down tomorrow, which is what the Greens want to do, China would replace our emissions in just over 13 days, yes, days.

      China, on their current trajectory, will increase their emissions by a further 20% at least by 2030, some 2 billion plus tonnes, whilst we rip out our gas boilers and cookers and destroy perfectly good vehicles.

      But we are “Leading the World in tackling climate change”.

  35. glen cullen
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The litmus test on the success of negotiations will be how we manage and control our own fisheries and territory

    There’s a big difference between a one-year renewable franchise to a set territory with royalties paid and the EU 25 year lease on all territory with continued level fishing rights

  36. William Long
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I do not think M. Barnier realises we have left with all that that implies.

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 5, 2020 at 12:01 am | Permalink


      No doubt he is fully aware that although WE have left it is in fact only England that has voted to leave. Scotland and Ireland voted Remain in far greater numbers so their politicians have a duty to enforce their demands.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 5, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        You forget two things Margaret.
        1 Wales voted to leave.
        2 It was a UK referendum and the majority of the UK voters voted to leave the EU

  37. glen cullen
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Has this government lost the plot, I thought we where leaving an communist styled state to pursue our own freedom…..haven’t you learnt anything

    We don’t want social engineering experiments or new laws enforced due to how a TV presenter and a 16yrs girl say how we should live

    Stopping the sale of petrol and diesel is ridicules

    What’s next, stop air travel. stop boat travel stop the manufacture of books etc

    You might as well go the whole hog and make a law that we all dress the same

  38. Edwardm
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The EU is too full of itself and keeps showing we were right to leave. The EU has often tried to disadvantage us and it seems it just can’t give up that habit. Until it does, WTO is best.

    Good speech by PM Boris yesterday.

  39. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    They’ve learnt nothing? – Why would they? They are a gang of bullies and dictators. They want our land, our country, our money and us destroyed by their constant demand for migration controlled by them, not us – and even Stevie Wonder could see the end result of THAT.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Immigration is a sovereign matter for each member state, and there is no European Union proposal to change that.

      The movement of Europeans around their common home is not immigration on the other hand, and it is not generally referred to as such in any country other than this one.

      That speaks volumes, as does your endless repetition of nonsense which has been patiently corrected for you countless times.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Immigration isn’t a sovereign matter for each member state Martin.
        Open borders via freedom of movement is one if the four freedoms guaranteed by Treaties signed by each member.

        • hefner
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          That’s the typical answer of someone who has not had to face the various administrative hurdles that a citizen of a EU country (EU27 now) wanting to move to another EU country would meet.
          Any EU citizen can spend up to three consecutive months in another EU country without justification. But after three months they can only settle there if they find a job, study or have some real estate there. To get the residency permit of another EU27 country one will need a work contract, a lease contract, a letter from university, proof of health insurance …
          So open borders up to a point but one has rapidly to justify their administrative position vis-à-vis the local authorities. And do not think the system is homogeneous in its demands from the candidate to such a move: various EU27 countries still apply some local conditions.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            It is a typical answer because I am right.

            You are waffling about post Brexit situation.
            Martin was claiming immigration is a sovereign matter for EU member states.
            Which it is not.

          • Andy
            Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            Indeed. And it only applies to EU citizens – usually people born in an EU country. Brexiteers like to claim the million refugees Merkel helped will all come here.

            Under free movement rules they cannot just come here. And they certainly cannot stay unless they become EU citizens – which in Germany’s case takes a minimum of seven years and which includes other stringent pre-conditions which will permanently exclude most of them from being eligible. In effect this all but permanently rules nearly all of them out.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 5, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

            You have now gone off at a tangent talking about refugees in Germsny.
            Which is irrelevant as it wasn’t ever mentioned by me or Martin.
            But glad you finally accept I was right in what I originally said.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 5, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            Refugees can come to the UK and claim asylum having previously lived in Europe.
            Hence the big camps in Northern France.
            So you are not even correct about your last claim.

          • hefner
            Posted February 5, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

            Oh yes you’re ‘right’ if you say so. It is still a fact that despite the freedom of movement claimed by all the individual EU27 countries, this nice looking heading did and can still cover some various requests, some easy some not so easy to fulfil, from people intending to benefit from this freedom. Which was my point.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 6, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            Hardly a long list of dreadful restrictions hef.
            Have a job, have a place to live in, or be a student.
            There is another one which is be retired and have sufficient pension income.
            As just one example.
            600,000 Polish people managed to meet these conditjons when they came here.

    • Doug Powell
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Ignore last 2 lines submitted in error from a previous train of thought. hidden at the point of posting. Sorry!

  40. Tony Sharp
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,
    On your exchange with the Foreign Secretary I noted his response mention ” a level of alignment of a Norwegian style agreement and that is not on the table” . Norway is the principal member of the EEA which its political class invented to create alignment with the EU (out of EFTA) when the norwegian people voted against membership of the EC and then again the EU. I should imagine the first extra-territorial effect of Brexit will be the collapse of the EEA. On that basis a revival of the EFTA with its three other non-EU mebers looks a possibility.

  41. Gareth
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    The one sided demands for EU access to UK fishing waters and demands the UK obey EU institutions are both insulting and ridiculous. We would not consider such a price for a FTA to other countries such as China.

    The other aspect is that f former and current EU officials discussing the UK’s territorial integrity, the only other countries making international land demands are Russia. Thankfully the EU’s military forces are badly run and small to enforce such demands, a boon for world peace.

  42. John Probert
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes your quite right, firm hand & little compromise required.
    Great speech by the PM

  43. THE Party
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    UKIP, Brexit Party was a massive challenge to the Establishment. The next Party will be an even greater challenge to all parties. Does it exist at the moment? I have not searched to see.
    It will be virtually 100% in opposition to Green issues, the Green agenda, and will seek to reverse them as an emergency. 5-15 years before it has more support than the Brexit parties mustered. Most likely.

  44. miami.mode
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    EU officials are so used to governments doing exactly what they are told that they are unable to get out of the habit.

  45. agricola
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Before anyone gets carried away with the electric car, I read that they have Ferrari acceleration times. Our young drivers are going to love it on their housing estate grande prix. Consider grannies slipping foot on the loud pedal. Except it is silentand will kill you without you realising it.
    You relatives then have another problem of concious until all crematoria are converted to hydrogen. Happy days ahead.

  46. formula57
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    It is what evil empires be like.

    At least now we can have some confidence that our own government will not cravenly capitulate.

  47. Jack Falstaff
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    You can be sure that the EU’s negotiating tactics will effectively be predicated upon trying to fluster Mr Johnson into seeking an extension past 31 December, only so they can try to sap more money from the British tax-payer, and on nothing else of any substance.
    On that basis Mr Johnson would do better to spend this interim period striking deals with non-EU countries.
    Only thus will the Little EU-ers be made to realise what a small percentage of world trade they represent.
    It is lost on many people that we already made a huge sacrifice by taking our trade away from our traditional allies for the “privilege” of joining the EEC (this needs to be calculated, as it is an important point) to switch into the EU-sphere.

  48. March Ear
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Is HS2 a cunning plan as a troop carrier to the North of England and beyond?
    What other reason could there be? Forward Ethelred the Ready

    • DaviJ
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      That, I believe was the plan. However it would not take much effort to deny them access via the Channel Tunnel if that is their plan and the ports too with a bit more effort.

  49. Iain Gill
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    where is the fix to IR35 we were promised?

  50. DaviJ
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    The EU will never learn voluntarily; it is simply not in their nature. Only when faced down with no possibility of our acceptance will they see sense. Boris just has to stonewall them until time runs out and they are faced with WTO, no frills attached.

    Lets hope he has the testicular fortitude that the task requires.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      The perhaps millions who could lose their livelihoods will be the ones requiring fortitude.

      • Fred H
        Posted February 5, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        could is not will. Gloom and doom your middle names.

  51. Enrico
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Are we still paying the £39bn to the EU?

  52. Silly
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    The one who is being “silly” in all of this is yourself Sir John. The EU 27 is not going to change its ethos its rules or habits to accommodate ‘li’l old Britain’ on the way out and that’s for sure. So ‘sign up and shut up’ will be the order of the day that’s if you want to trade with them in a frictionless way- if you don’t? well then go to WTO Rules- but that’s your choice- your choice- so no point in going on about it.

    Then was wondering just where the hell is Boris going to get all of these ships that will be necessary for our new world trade deals- does anyone seriously think that ships and trained seafarers for a change in trading patterns like this, say with OZ and the Far East, can be just conjured up?- now that’s silly, that’s nonsense

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Silly, No-one is demanding the EU changes its ethos, its rules or its habits. Just that the EU can no longer expect to rule the UK. Moreover, friction works both ways. And of course there are sufficient ships and aircraft available for a minor change to the imports and exports of a small country like the UK.

    • John P
      Posted February 5, 2020 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      Given that we are no longer a member State of the European Union, what justification is there for insisting on rules which must apply to us but not to any other third party country?

  53. mancunius
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s a jolly good job that we all know the EU to be an entirely peaceful organisation dedicated from its inception to peace and peace-loving through and through.
    Otherwise its representatives might be thought bellicose bully-boys.

  54. ukretired123
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Talking down to Britain is for consumption by any other of the 27 siblings to take note.
    High & Mighty EU versus us little gnats who have given them the thumbs down.
    Like going through the motions – rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
    The Iceberg was struck 2016 and the EU is still afloat, so carry on – no great shakes…
    As Nigel Farage predicted they will not budge until the last minute to save face.
    Having bullied smaller countries like Holland and Ireland into submission they will try their arm-twisting again because it always worked before.
    Except Britain has a 500 year history of defeating the bully boys even with their agents.
    The EU however is in trouble but does not know how deep the iceberg confronting it really is.

    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Merkel’s taking no prisoners. If she can splinter the UK she will. Leveraging the fractious historical relationship of Northern Ireland and Scotland with the English she will in the most subtle of fashions stoke resentment between those three three regions of the UK. It is the Marxist way and as a Marxist she knows exactly how to dismantle the enemy, from within

    We’re going to need more than Johnson’s faux Churchillian bluster to see us through

    Someone please call for Priti Patel. A neo-Thatcherite who won’t take any crap

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Mrs. Merkel’s a Conservative.

      What is the matter with you?

    • steve
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink


      I wouldn’t worry about Frau Merkel stoking resentment among the UK. Scotland for example has been resentful of England for 300 or so years, and still is.

      More likely you will see a big falling out between France and Germany.

    Posted February 4, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    A Climate Change Dept to be set up according to the ever reliable Guido. Oh god. How long do we have to tolerate this utter lefty crap?

    I’ve already given up on this PM. He’s just another virtue signalling bore who had the good fortune to come up against a leader of Marxist Labour who has the capacity to hurt this nation from within and without

    Woke politics to the left, woke politics to the right, woke politics suffocating us all each and every day. Race, gender and climate politics and the slow and strategic demonisation of white, hetero. male

  57. Pud
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    The fallacy of electric vehicles being green was summed up very well in a two picture cartoon I saw recently. The first picture shows a couple looking miserable as they drove their internal combustion engined car. In the second picture, they are smiling in their electric vehicle, but in the background is a huge power station belching fumes into the atmosphere.

  58. steve
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink


    “They suggest we will be blocked on a Free Trade Agreement if we do not sacrifice the fish again.”

    Yep, Macron.

  59. margaret howard
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 11:28 pm | Permalink


    “The EU has learned nothing from the negotiations so far”

    Another version of:

    “Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off (Isolated)”

    • John Probert
      Posted February 5, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      I really don’t think so

  60. L Jones
    Posted February 5, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    We don’t hear much about the fact that we don’t actually NEED a trade deal in order to leave the EU. This should be said more forcibly and more often.

  61. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 8, 2020 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Regarding arbitration between the UK and EU, perhaps the only court that would be acceptable to both sides would be a Russian court!!

    The only acceptable fishing policy for UK waters is that they should be exclusively for British fishermen. We might grant a 5 year concession to named small French and Spanish fishermen but limit their total catch to 25% of the overall total. We should institute a policy of building warships and patrol boats so that we could enforce this policy.

  • 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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