Why the single market damaged the UK economy

As a young man one of my first votes was in the original referendum on whether to stay in the EEC, misleadingly called the Common Market during the campaign. I was against the language in the Rome Treaty that warned us this was much more than a Common Market in the making, and disliked the Labour government’s lies about the nature and long term aims of the body. I also was asked to produce a decade forecast of the outlook for the UK if we stayed in by my employer.

As I drafted it five problems became clear. The first was the burden of our financial contributions was too high, and these would produce a nasty dent in our balance of payments as we sent that money away and it was converted into foreign currencies. I did not know or forecast Margaret Thatcher would become PM and negotiate a better deal, which limited the damage a bit – or that I would help her.

The second was the UK’s industry which had management and Union issues, some old capital stock and poor nationalised industries like steel and shipbuilding that were not cost effective. This meant it was going to have to face the full frontal assault of German and French competition with the full removal of tariffs before it was ready to withstand those pressures. My forecasts rightly assumed we would lose a lot of capacity in areas like steel, cars, foundries, ship building and textiles. Our car output halved in the first decade of membership.

The third was in the areas of services where the UK had a good competitive advantage the considerable barriers to trade were going to remain in place. As a result I reported a major and long lasting deterioration in our balance of payments as imports of foreign goods surged, exports of services were still limited and as we had to make new large payments away.

The fourth was the dreadful deal on fish, bound to damage our industry substantially.

The fifth was the complete removal of tariffs from EEC food, the imposition of tariffs on Commonwealth food, and the hugely damaging impact the EEC would have on areas like fruit and market garden produce.

Later policies as the EU emerged and increased its wide ranging legislative grip also drove us into importing everything from defence equipment to electricity. It was a great scheme for continental exporters. In those days running a balance of payments deficit required stringent credit and money control which slowed growth.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Tabulazero
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    This is sounding more and more like the « stab in the back » theory of inter-war Germany.

    What about the part where the City from a financial backwater became Europe’s leading financial centre with a contribution to the UK’s economy equal to the GDP of Belgium, a move that was accelerated by the creation of the euro ?

    You have forgotten this one like the fact that UK’s market share in the EU energy market is 5 times the size of its fishing sector (including what other countries catch in its waters).

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      “German economic life is to be annihilated . . . It amounts to the denial of the people’s right to existence.” (German foreign minister Count Brockdorff-Rantzau’s response to the draft peace treaty, May 1919.)

      Sound familiar?
      Except our government is doing it to us now.
      Never mind any old treaty!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Well I would be happy to trade the City’s so-called growth in a square mile for Germany’s industrial growth spread through the UK.

      I think you might be beginning to sense why most areas outside London voted Leave?

      We don’t need a single one more RBS “success” story.
      We do need industrial (and fishing) growth spread across the country.

    • Andy
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      The EU can genuinely not believe its luck. They know they will have to make a concession on fishing – and they will. But the Brexiteers are so obsessed with fish that they are literally prepared to give everything else away for some more mackerel. So we have the service sector – our Crown Jewels – being bargained away for some herring. It is stark raving bonkers.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      The City was never a financial backwater and it was deregulation that freed it up.

      If you insist on attributing its rise to the EEC then do you think that our loss of manufacturing and over reliance on this source of income is OK?

      • Tabulazero
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Can I point out that the various Conservative government that presided over the des-industrialisation of the UK may have something to do with it ?

        Neither Germany, France or Italy saw their industrial sector shrink as fast as the UK’s and they are all members of the EU.

        Reply Deindustrialisation was particularly intense in the 1970s after entry into the EEC when the removal of tariffs intensified the decline. This all happened under a Labour and Labour/Liberal coalition government.

        • hefner
          Posted October 22, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply: And privatisation with all its aspects (both positive and negative) happened in the following 30 years, and Sir John was an actor in it for ten years from 1982 as Chief of Policy and from 1989 as Minister for Corporate Affairs.
          Once privatised, without a government policy to check who the foreign buyers were (except in the Defence sector), so many companies once British were bought and the assets often transferred abroad.

          Sir John might want to rewrite history but his role in it cannot be magicked out. And obviously as a good politician instead of manning up and accepting (some) responsibility in this debacle, he is now only looking to the sunny uplands … and ‘tomorrow we’ll all get a free shave‘ (men only, sorry …)

          Reply I advised and the government placed Golden Shares to prevent foreign takeovers. These were rem oved by others later

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      So What. Life in a free democracy is more important

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      John’s claims about the 1975 Remain campaign being misleading are easily refuted by reading the wording of the Pamphlet, sent to every single electoral address in the UK at that time.

      I’ve tried to reproduce it here before now, but it is easily found.

      It referred to the project as the EC – European Community and pointed out that this was often called “the Common Market” in the UK.

      It explained its aims – which were clearly to become something very much like the European Union that we have today.

      It did not claim that no sovereignty would be lost, but that it would be retained in important areas and pooled in uncontroversial matters of mutual convenience and efficiency, which is what is still done to this day.

      But what does it matter anyway? The UK has left, and relinquished the great influence which it once had in the project, just to take a General Election Tory gimmick referendum to its dismal, immensely damaging conclusion.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      The Big Bang had nothing to do with our membership of the EU or the Euro. It involved the scrapping of the Stock Exchange Rule book and the purchase of traditional English institutions by mainly Wall Street banks. As a result of computerisation, what had been slow paper-based transactions negotiated on a trading floor were replaced by remote electronic activity at a previously impossible volume. It was Wall Street that decided it needed trading capacity in a different time zone to New York and selected London as we speak the same language.

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Shall we compile our very own list of “November Criminals”?

    • NickC
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Tabulazero, You know as well as I do that the EU has not been good for the UK. That does not make us like inter-war Germany. Just because the UK fishing sector is small, is no excuse for the EU to steal it. And as for the notion that the City of London was a “financial backwater” in 1973 – what are you smoking?

  2. Mark B
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The Single Market is a captive market. Captive markets, or monopolies are never good. They destroy people’s ability to choose and to get the best value they can.

    We went into those membership talks wanting to join at any price. So no wonder we got a bad deal. Now we are in danger of doing the same. We, or more importantly the political class, are desperate for a ‘deal’. Again this puts us in the weak position of wanting something.

    The ‘deal’ is done. All that we are seeing is political and face saving posturing. This is not the BREXIT we voted for just another fudge to keep the two sides of the Tory Party together. But Mark my words, the Europhiles will not give up and will give more powers to the EU over time. This until they finally can rejoin.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      I read that Mr Gove is claiming that “the door” will be or is “still open” for a deal.

      • graham1946
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        And we know from experience just how two faced Gove can be which is why we got the disastrous May govt. Otherwise we would have been out a long time ago and all this would have been just a memory. Don’t trust anything Gove, Boris or the Tories are involved in until we see something concrete. I still see a fudge coming despite all the big words. Hope I have to eat humble pie in January, but I seriously doubt it.

      • Andy
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        Why are you surprised? It has always been the case that there has to be a deal – even if there is briefly a no deal first. No deal causes so much mayhem that it is not sustainable. Plus, of course, way back in 2016 the leave side won – narrowly of course – by promising a deal. A deal better than EU membership in fact. If they’d have said no deal they’d have lost.

        Of course many Brexiteers have become such radicalised extremists as their Brexit has crashed into the rocks of reality over the last four years that they forget what they actually voted for, as promised by the leave side.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          You of course are not a “radicalised extremist”

        • graham1946
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          May’s govt was your last gasp at staying in fully. You lost. Remainers are the extremists, making up ‘facts’ like you do and insults when you can find nothing better to write.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Give would say that. He can’t be trusted either. I’m amazed Boris wants him anywhere near.

      • steve
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink


        It shouldn’t be. Johnson said he would walk away on 15th.

        Now, four days later…..he’s talking to the EU team.

        I smell a rat, we’re being had.

    • Simeon
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      I’m beginning to wonder if I wasn’t right along about Boris… Surely I’ve not fallen for what would be only the latest instalment of sub-Benny Hill farce?

      Off topic, but of far greater significance… How long before the whole country is in Tier 3? And when we finally are in a de-facto national lockdown, will MPs be offered a vote? And if they are offered a vote, what are the chances that it will make the damndest difference?

      Is it not the case that our only way out of these assaults on our lives and liberty is for the virus itself to mutate sufficiently, such that it is less virulent than the flu? A vaccine is not the solution. A safe vaccine that is also trusted by the public is years away, if it ever comes. Mass testing is dependent on compliance, which would be ruinously expensive, as significant numbers of healthy, productive people would be removed from the economy every day – are these people to be compensated for being denied the right to earn a living? And simply living with the virus, accepting that it is one of very many micro threats to our life, is not an option, because the government has decided that it is a genuine threat, and the vast majority of the population will go along with it, either because they are sufficiently scared or foolish, or insufficiently motivated to push back in a meaningful way.

      It seems that last thought is the key. Enough people will need to become sufficiently motivated to push back. Perhaps the collapse of the economy will achieve this. Time will, in all likelihood, tell.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      @Mark B:
      I have often wondered why The Netherlands is doing so much better of the single market than the UK. One would expect a large country to get better deals than a small one.

      Whether or not there will be a deal before 2021, at some stage in the future the interdependency will become so clear that there will be some enhanced trading relationship UK-EU. Whether a better deal will be on offer than you enjoyed within the EU is doubtful, but at least you won’t be involved with further integration within the EU, which is a good thing.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink


    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      The “Withdrawal Agreement” is the last elephant in the room.

      Should the WA not be revoked over the coming weeks the citizens of the UK will know they have been shafted once again by its own Political class/Establishment?

      All eyes on the Prime Minister to publicly denounce the WA….and if he does not, arise Sir Farage!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      So are you saying that the single markets between the fifty states of the US, or between the nations of the UK are bad things too then?

      If not why not?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        ‘Single market’ is a contradiction in terms. Every first year economics student knows that.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        If not, why not?

        That’s an easy one to answer. Ask the Welsh and the Scots whether they would prefer to have their own, democratic governments or be ruled by a government based in another country. If they could trade easily with us they would prefer to have their own government. Even ask the English if they would prefer our own government and not have to pay money to the Scots. Lots of us would say yes to that.

        Ask Texans if they want to be governed by Washington. Ask them if they want to be part of a union.

    • NickC
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, Given the duplicity of previous UK governments, I too fear that this is theatre and some sort of deal, where we give up sovereignty, has already been agreed. Such would not of course be Leave, as you say.

      However, what is obvious to you and me – that the EU is our enemy, and not our friend – does seem to eventually, over time, percolate through the brains of our leaders. I watched Margaret Thatcher become steadily disillusioned by the the EU. Perhaps Boris is beginning to accept the EU’s bad faith too?

    • John Hatfield
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      “This until they finally can rejoin.”
      Because EU membership benefits the few at the expense of the majority.

    • Peter
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Barnier’s ‘climbdown’ an agreement to ‘intensify’ talks is not worth considering.

      It’s just more time wasting.

      Better to leave cleanly now on ‘Australia’ terms. Then, if the mood changes, trade arrangements with the EU can be considered at leisure.

      The EU simply cannot be trusted and the devil is in the detail (the small print).

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Indeed I though exactly the same way at the time at a teenagage (too young to vote in that referendum). The arguments of Peter Shore, Tony Benn, E Powell, M Foot and the likes were largely rational whereas the arguments on the remain side were largely rather pathetic and irrational appeals to emotion.

    It was largely the same in 2016. Four years getting on for the lengh of the WW2 yet still it is not sorted properly. Thanks to Cameron, the appalling T May and intransigent EU bureaucrats with their (personal) vested interest .

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Of course there are very many home grown lunacies damaging the economy too.

    Mainly the hugely bloated, largly inept and invariably misguided government, the endless government waste, mountains of pointless red tape, HS2, hugely over restrictive employment laws, expensive & unreliable energy, the dire NHS, the mad war on plant food and the likes, the 75% of degrees that are worthless (or almost worthless) and the massive debts incurred to get them, the generally second rate schools, the state funded BBC propaganda organisation (misguided on almost every issue), the woke lunacy and the likes.

    Good to see the Bishop of York has been snubbed. I would kick all the Bishops out of the Lords (especially the CoE ones) – they never say anything sensible or rational.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      Then again nor does about 90% of the Lords or indeed MPs.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Your last sentence is the route that delayed Brexit for decades.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Apparently the Cabinet Office employs 7,000 people!
      And it is increasingly extending its reach by subsuming areas of competence eg bits of the MOD.
      Like a dictatorship might do.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        What value do these 7,000 people deliver? Surely it is a huge net negative – even before all the costs of wages, pensions, offices, expenses.

      • glen cullen
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        7,000 staff in cabinet office – We only have 30 infantry battalions (30 x 500 = 1500) that are running at 75% recruitment therefore 11,250

        7000 to shuffle paper or
        11250 to protect the whole of the UK and our Overseas Territory

        Bureaucracy has got out of control or just mad

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      John Sentamu is a proper conservative who has spoken out against against Tory “governments” on several occasions. He is a wonderful man and a Church traditionalist.
      Apparently the govt. has now seen its errrrrr….mistake/blunder/hatefulness/ utter filthy rudeness/ spite… and he will get his peerage which will be far more deserved than many who bulk out the upper chamber!

    • graham1946
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Bishops are the ultimate con men – flogging something they can’t prove exists.

    • Aden
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      and the 14 trillion, not billion, pounds of socialist pension debts hidden off the books.
      30% of tax now goes to pay the governments debts.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink


      This Government doesn’t get it either. Efficiency in Government, is not had by mirroring how we have been ruled for the last 40years or so. That was a disaster on a large scale, doing the same on a smaller scale is still a disaster.

      The UK is handicapped by a ‘Class’ were rule means more than being effective or efficient. A ‘Class’ that hasn’t accepted that trusting the People is more productive than manipulating them. A ‘Class’ that hasn’t a clue about good management, but prefers to stroke personal ego’s rather than manage them.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Yes, it’s the ‘professional political’ or ‘wide boy’ class. Barrow boys really.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Now all the 5(?) Archbishops are all attacking the government over Brexit and potential border difficulties in Ireland.

      Have these Bishops ever thought that rather less of the Christian Religion might perhaps help with this issue?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Maybe rather more of the Christian religion is required, but of course there is no Christianity in the CofE as is daily demonstrated. When an Archbishop of Canterbury openly becomes a Druid, The charade is over than they are treating us as morons there simply to pay for their palaces and high living.

    • DavidJ
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Well said LL.

  5. Ian Wragg
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    I sincerely hope that these imbalances will be addressed after we leave but I’m worried that so much of our infrastructure and industry is owned by EU domiciled countries nothing will change.
    We need suitable tarrifs to ensure a level playing field.

    • Andy
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      You do realise it was the Tories who sold off all the infrastructure? It was not an EU rule that required them to do it. They just did it anyway. Most European countries still have state owned and run railways and airports and power companies. We don’t. Ours were sold off, by the Tories, and now make money for foreigners at our expense.

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        +1 again, Andy.

        Again !!!

      • graham1946
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        At last something I can agree with. They’d sell their granny for a quick profit.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          So why do you vote for them repeatedly?

      • Robert McDonald
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        I didn’t see labour making much difference during their lengthy periods in power. But there is no doubt many Tories of those days, with the exception of Maggie and the likes of JR, did not do their party justice by following their principles and defend our nations economy properly. Its good to see that has changed, even though Boris and Co have to fight all the other parties, and the establishment that was made very comfortable by the eurocracy and left leaning by Bliar and his nemesis Broon.

      • matthu
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        How much money do the railways make for foreign companies?

      • Original Richard
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        The selling off of our infrastructure and utilities, including British Rail and The Post Office, was an EU directive (which they pretended was to benefit the consumer by enabling competition) which the pro-EU UK elites followed but was not by other EU countries.

        One of the many treaty breaking non-compliances of countries such as Germany and France.

        And allowed state monopolies of other EU countries to own our infrastructure and utilities.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink


          The European Union’s rule merely states that the private sector cannot reasonably be excluded from spheres of straightforward business.

          It does not prevent the public sector from doing anything lawful at all.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          Quite right!

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Why do you keep going on about ‘foreigners’? Surely we are all just human beings. Some of us were lucky enough to be born in this wonderful country.

        Incidentally, how many people unlucky enough to be born in other countries (that’s ‘foreigners’ in your parlance) would you allow to move to this wonderful country?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          Do you consider you family, your flesh and blood to be of a different importance to those to whom you are not related? Or do you think that just because they were lucky to be born in your house they should not have any advantage over other, maybe more wonderful people, in your house? How many wonderful people not born in your house are you prepared to have in your house, free, (you keep paying the mortgage and supplying the food).

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink


      • Ian Wragg
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        The tories sold to the UK public and pension funds.
        It was Bliar and Brown who opened up the utilities to foreign ownership to burnish their euro credentials.
        U watched the Brussels Broadcasting Company interviewing a professor who was advocating a national lockdown. I looked him up and low and behold he was a professor in Social, pseudo sciences. Onother PPE from Oxford no doubt.
        When asked why in one part of the country that has 6 cases per hundred thousand do you think it is right for them to be locked down, he said cases are rising so yes.
        Only 50 deaths yesterday and we have to lock everyone up

      • Edward2
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        You forget the billions of pounds of assets UK companies own of foreign infrastructure and busineses all over the world.

        You moan about little englanders and you support the four freedoms of the EU, one of which is free movement of capital.
        Now here you are complaining about the results.
        Very inconsistent as usual andy.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Our foreign income from investments and assets pays for the NHS (or used to before the funding went through the roof).

      • NickC
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Andy, All the rail network and infrastructure is state owned in the UK, and has been since 2002. Only the train operators are “private”.

        You praise other European countries which prevent foreigners owning their businesses. I agree. Why should we expect Jonny Foreigner to look after us? But that principle applies to the EU itself. Why should pay foreigners to run our country?

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        On this Andy I agree , however labour have vigorously jumped on that band waggon .

      • steve
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        I’d like to know why this government is still talking to the EU team, four days after the deadline.

      • steve
        Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink


        Rubbish ! Blair sold off more than any conservative government.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      The unlevel playing field that foreign organisations that are subsidized by their home grown taxpayers had to be permitted to out bid commercial operations. The irony there is that these companies are price controlled in their ‘home market’ so need profits from the UK to fund i.e. further subsidies their ‘home market’

      Jaguar Land Rover, were paid a subsidy by the EU (using presumably our EU contributions) to move production to mainland Europe for the new Defender. This meant job loses in the UK. All because under EU ‘level-playing-field’ rules the UK could not support UK industry to the same extent.

      The EU rulers have always shown contempt towards the UK, from the outset from a UK perspective it has been a case of ‘rape and pillage’ the UK by subsidising the move of UK jobs to mainland Europe.

      We have seen their actions in the very hostile maneuvers to keep the UK under their control at every stage of the so-called negotiations ( in reality continued, submit and surrender, we will get yo back under our control)

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Quite so!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      The fact of our press being largely owned by an American Australian has already proven itself to be immensely damaging to this country, and in so many respects.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        There are many newspapers to choose from Martin.
        Some even have similar politics to you.

        Predictably you cannot accept many people freely choose newspapers that they like.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        British genes. No damage.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink


      It does not matter who owns what, not compared to who makes the rules. Making the rules gives us power to do what we want, and that includes nationaling foreign owned business if we want to. Not that I advocating such.

  6. Everhopeful
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    “It is now best for the future of Britain… that we remain in the Community”
    Prime Minister Harold Wilson

    There was a Labour Party conference in 1975 which voted 2 to 1 NOT to remain and the party was pretty split. Left Wing, Benn and Foot (including the young Blair) campaigned for No. Shirley Williams wanted to stay.
    Someone must have shifted votes and propaganda like mad to get the vote to stay in the federation-bound EEC.

    I understand money and power motives…but what a truly terrible thing to do to one’s country!

    • glen cullen
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I would suggest that the average working class worker and labour voter are more akin to the views of Foot and Benn

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      When Politics is treated as a hobby by the wealthy, expect hobby politics….citizens are of no concern to the Establishment, until election day!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      But the people voted by 68:32 to remain in the EC.

      It is a credit to the press of the time, not being mainly in the hands of US Supremacists as it is today.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Weighted question. No campaign run off Richard Body’s kitchen table, massively underfunded. And the incredulity of a British PM telling blatant lies (of which he later boasted) to destroy his own country.
        The politically active in both parties, as demonstrated by the Labour Conference vote, made an informed decision.

      • graham1946
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        That is a distortion as you know. Only 23 percent of the voting population voted to stay in, yet you say the last referendum was not valid although the leave vote was much higher.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but Wilson did actually grant a referendum unlike the appalling Ted Heath and he did sensibly keep us out of the Vietnam War.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        And he lost the ‘white heat of technology’ Computer industry …

  7. Everhopeful
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    So basically we were lured into staying in the EEC by those who may have known the full long term plan and then, by gold-plating all the rules and NEVER speaking up for ourselves we ruined our economy for the greater good of France and Germany? Oh and all the lies!

    I think that Heath won the Coudenhove-Kalergi European prize ( some £130,000) but honestly…what a WASTE of every second of our history and achievements. And all the deaths in battle. Rather than all that guff about the EU and peace they should have made every death count by building a nation to be proud of.

    Maybe those who can lead are just not like us?

    • ukretired123
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Everhopeful So true!
      What a great summary esp to honour the upcoming Armistice Nov 11 over 100 years ago. Just one example of the bravery I read yesterday about the numerous raids to Norsk Hydro by brave men and never forget the SOE brave continental men, women and families tortured and murdered fighting for freedom. Extremely sad indeed.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      …they are not!

      There is a picture from the town of Windsor depicting three Eton College toffs (in all their privileged splendor) and several working class ragtag local lads from the 1930s (Toffs and Toughs)….this one picture personifies the class struggle in the UK, which is so despised by the North+! ….and very much exists to this day. (HOC/HOL)

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Sir Alfred Sherman, a great intellectual and a brave man, always said ‘ordinary people, like me ….’
        Powell said that Sherman was ‘one of the few people to whom it was worth talking’

    • Mark B
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      You have to place yourself in the mindset of those at the time. Many served in the Second World War and saw the horrors of it Clearly for many, but not all, there was a strong desire to never let that happen again. Unfortunately the Marxists at the time like, Altiero Spinelli got into the driving seat and turned what was to become the EU into what we see today – hence the attraction to the Left.

      Heath knew what he was signing us up to and took the classic Wet Tory view that they were sent by God to be the Father to the masses.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Oh so, they concluded that the best course of action was to surrender in advance of the next attack?

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink


    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      He also won the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen awarded for work done in the service of European unification. It has been awarded annually since 1950. Charlemagne was the first to try to unify the Continent.
      1950 Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi
      1951 Hendrik Brugmans
      1952 Alcide de Gasperi
      1953 Jean Monnet
      1954 Konrad Adenauer
      1956 Winston Churchill
      1957 Paul Henri Spaak
      1958 Robert Schuman
      1959 George C. Marshall
      1960 Joseph Bech
      1961 Walter Hallstein
      1963 Edward Heath
      1964 Antonio Segni
      1966 Jens Otto Krag
      1967 Joseph Luns
      1969 European Commission
      1970 François Seydoux de Clausonne
      1972 Roy Jenkins
      1973 Salvador de Madariaga
      1976 Leo Tindemans
      1977 Walter Scheel
      1978 Konstantinos Karamanlis
      1979 Emilio Colombo
      1981 Simone Veil
      1982 Juan Carlos of Spain
      1984 Karl Carstens
      1986 The People of Luxembourg
      1987 Henry Kissinger
      1988 Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand
      1989 Frère Roger
      1990 Gyula Horn
      1991 Václav Havel
      1992 Jacques Delors
      1993 Felipe González
      1994 Gro Harlem Brundtland
      1995 Franz Vranitzky
      1996 Beatrix of the Netherlands
      1997 Roman Herzog
      1998 Bronisław Geremek
      1999 Tony Blair
      2000 Bill Clinton
      2001 György Konrád
      2002 The Euro
      2003 Valéry Giscard d’Estaing
      2004 Pat Cox
      2004 / Pope John Paul II (extraordinary prize)
      2005 Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
      2006 Jean-Claude Juncker
      2007 Javier Solana
      2008 Angela Merkel
      2009 Andrea Riccardi
      2010 Donald Tusk
      2011 Jean-Claude Trichet
      2012 Wolfgang Schäuble
      2013 Dalia Grybauskaitė
      2014 Herman Van Rompuy
      2015 Martin Schulz[2]
      2016 / Pope Francis
      2017 Timothy Garton Ash
      2018 Emmanuel Macron
      2019 António Guterres
      2020 Klaus Iohannis

  8. middle ground
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    We did join, we have left so why not focus on the benefits for the future… maybe because there are not that many!

    • Andy
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Hey – not true. There’s cheaper tampons.

    • Sharon
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Middle ground

      We may have ‘left’ but we’re still in the front garden running around doing jobs and cleaning the house and paying for things. Once we’re walking along the pavement, then we’ll be out!

    • Original Richard
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      The enormous benefit to the UK will be that UK voters will be able to influence their laws and policies (trade, fiscal, taxation, energy, environmental, foreign, military, immigration etc.) through retaining the right to elect and remove those who make these decisions.

      Remaining in the EU meant we would be subject to decisions made either by unelected and unremovable bureaucrats or by QMV with 27 other nations, soon to become 34, and where there is now a majority who are net recipients of the EU budget.

    • rose
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      It is very important for the future that history is not rewritten, as it so often is nowadays.

    • ukretired123
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Sir John is offering his hard won experience actually on how he saw the future on the EEC years before. Try reading what he kindly explained what was then golden advice but ignored by folks who did not really see the long term pitfalls of the misnamed “Common Market”.
      As for the future benefits we will leave these pitfalls and shackles behind for starters unless we get BRINO.
      Now it is up to you to see the opportunities your very self instead of being spoon and mouth fed expecting the state to do it for you.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      He who sees no future, does not deserve a future!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        He who does not understand the past, repeats it. So the Remainers hate JR documenting the tactics deployed to destroy Britain, because they hope to use them again and ‘lead us slowly and unconsciously to five up our economic security and ultimately the ground under our feet.’

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Innuendo, and fake stories, is how the remoaners almost crashed our hopes of freedom…

      We are still not free of the interfering obstructive new version of the USSR – The benefits will roll in once we are truly free to manage our own lives.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      The only benefits are to those, like Poland, who receive large amounts of FREE (German and UK) money.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Funny then that Poland is nearly deserted and that millions of Poles work and some live in the U.K.

    • NickC
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Middle, Oh no, not another Andy needing education! We are still controlled by the EU. That is not Leave, however you try and spin it.

    • stephen Carr
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Middle ground, I can only suggest you open your eyes then !

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Oh we need to understand what the EU has cost us – hundreds of billions, the degradation of our country in every respect. Is that why you don’t want to resume? Because it is so disasterous and the proof that we were lied to by our politicians who deliberately hid the clearly stated objective of the Treaty of Rome, which is to destroy the countries and nations of Europe?

  9. agricola
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    You scored ten out of ten on that one. Other long term ill effects were the slow erosion of the democratic powers of Parliament to the point where we ceased to govern ourselves. Then there was the creeping devolution of power away from Parliament that in effect started the destruction of the United Kingdom.

    The management and union issues you allude to rendered UK industry unfit to compete on the World stage. Membership of the EU merely emphasised this, so in a sense it did us a favour by forcing the reform of all that was wrong, ably led by Margaret Thatcher.

    The greatest effect the EU fear on our departure is the competition we will offer them and the newly gained options on sourcing. The EU being fundamentally a protectionist entity. A free ranging UK is a threat to them, particularly as they will no longer benefit financially from our enterprise. Never mind those who may wish to follow our example.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      The loss of Westminster power was immediate. Only a Hologram was left. The same at Buck House. No Monarch, just a Suzerain. And the CofE was hollowed out with only those wanting to ‘combine’, actually surrender, Protestantism to the Bishop of Rome remaining in their empty churches and cathedrals.
      All three pillars of the State left in ruins.

  10. Richard1
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I would agree with this except for the second point. Competition from the EEC made it very clear the UK’s nationalised industries were uneconomic, and accelerated and provided additional justification for the Thatcher Govt’s programme of subsidy cuts, privatisation and re-balancing of the economy. More years of 1970s style subsidies of these rust-bucket industries would just have made us all poorer.

  11. beresford
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Apparently the Royal Mint is to issue coins bearing the slogan ‘Diversity Built Britain’. Can anyone suggest how this would be so, bearing in mind that within living memory a non-indigenous person was a rare sight in this country? Our history is being corrupted in pursuit of an agenda.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink


  12. Aden
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    So why are you going to pay 40 bn [minimum] to the EU?
    The future relationship is the WA and the FTA. It’s both or none.

  13. The Prangwizard
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I’m pleased to say I was another who voted not to be part of the EEC.

    It is interesting to see so many references to our balance of payments which was a regular news item back then. When the deficit figures were announced mitigation statements often followed to the effect that our overseas investments produced offsetting income.

    What a contrast with today when selling off our businesses and anything and everything else has been lauded to the skies as sensible and rewarding policy.

    Just shows the trickery of politians. Back then we were told we should be proud to own our own businesses and their overseas reach because we benefitted from their dividends. In recent decades we have been told we should be proud that the rest of the world wants to buy us up, and we will be pleased to sell to them.

    As a result we now have to suffer an enormous drain on resources as they naturally send their surplus cash and profits back to their lands.

  14. BJC
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    You were probably considered a young whippersnapper and your conclusions summarily dismissed by the “we know best” generation of the day as an overactive imagination! There are times in life when we genuinely wish we’re going to be proved wrong over time; sadly, not this time.

  15. J Bush
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I have four questions related to leaving the EU, which I can’t find answers for, from any of the political sites, I would be grateful if you could please help.

    1. Why has there been agreement on Social Security and what does this entail?

    2. The reason I ask is because at present the UK is giving child benefit for children who have never even been here, never mind born here. There are mainland European people who have moved here, who have rarely or never worked.. My concern is, does this agreement mean this will continue, and if so why?

    3. And if this is the case, is this reciprocal on a quid pro quo basis, or is it a case the UK taxpayer loses out again?

    4. Why do the ‘powers that be’ talk of a treaty, trade agreements do not require this?

  16. Ian @Barkham
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    Spot on again – thankyou.

    I notice so-called religious leaders in the un-elected House of Lords are today preaching that a democratically proposed ‘Internal Market’ bill – as being un-democratic. On what premise do they have a say in the democratic process, even their followers don’t get a say on their appointment. What would the Queen as ‘head of their Church’ and their boss on Earth think of their medaling?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Oh you mean the woman known as Mrs Windsor, EU citizen until last New Years Day?

  17. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    John, on local radio this morning I heard of an English nurse who flew out to Cyprus with a small group for a weeks break. She tested negative 2 days prior to the flight out but positive on arrival in the Cypriot airport. She was separated and took away, put in a separate place, not allowed to leave the room etc. The others flew back to the UK without her over this weekend. . . .
    On Saturday 170 freeloaders arrived here. With their families inevitably arriving shortly probably well over 1500 people will be given free lives, cash, NHS, bills paid from our taxes etc etc while thousands of English people are seeing their lives destroyed by govt “actions” on the virus. Clearly – for foreigners coming to the UK – Crime DOES pay.

  18. Ian Kaye
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    If we leave with no deal then I suggest that the supermarket check out bill itemises each food product individually and states the basic price VAT if applicable and the import tariff giving the consumer the information to vote with their feet

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Nick Timothy is (rather unusually) right today:-

    “Devolution is a dangerous mess that fails the public and puts the Union in danger
    Covid has exposed the weakness of centralised government and the SNP’s lack of accountability”

    As was widely predicted by sensible people at the time. Yet another huge problem for Boris on the horizon.

  20. Harry
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Yes the EU was immensely damaging to the UK but it has been over shadowed by Boris and his crew of vaccine salesmen.

  21. Bryan Harris
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    It is a calamity that no real MSM time was given to the points you mention now JR.

    In retrospect, we hear of things that should never have happened — The all too real alignment of Tories with labour on the subject of the EU – Wasn’t it Harold Wilson that called all sides together, and got the MSM to support anything associated with the EU – That’s when the rot began.

    What started off as a PR exercise quickly became a deception that will still persist years into the future.

  22. Will in Hampshire
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Nostalgia; our host seems to revel in it.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Fact, happily our host knows them first hand.

  23. Jack Falstaff
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Can we please clarify once and for all whether the UK has broken off trade talks?
    Mr Gove informs us that “the door has been kept ajar”, which means they have not.
    Sounds to me more like one jar too many!

  24. Ian @Barkham
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    I recognise your commitment to ‘free trade’ and applaud it. But is it not one of those terms that is twisted to suit the seller?

    To profit from another’s domain you are in fact removing the wealth they have created back to your own domicile. Using the words ‘free trade’ you are then not expecting to contribute to the society you profit from.

    It is the same effect with large online operations, they get to profit from a society but never contribute at the same equal rate as others in the market.

    Should not ‘trading free’ be based on the removal of trade blocking standards, regulations and hypothetical red tape, long before the desire to not to contribute to the society you wish to profit from. As long as the tariff or tax is equal to the level of contributions the local operations make there should be no objections.

    All the time export’s are subsidies (thinking the CAP here and taxpayer subsidies industry) in any form, that is in reality one nations attack on another’s wealth.

    For trade to work it has to be equal. Unfortunately outfits like the EU rulers distort and twist what is for most common sense and the world getting on. There will never, ever be harmonious trade with the EU, it is just a trade protection racket that extorts and distorts markets. The people of the EU don’t gain they just become more isolated while their rulers pontificate and gain more control

  25. Terry
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    It’s as you say we should never have joined but we did and that’s the hard reality-

    The next thing is how to extract ourselves without doing too much damage to our ourselves and our economy.

    Some will be happy to leave to WTO rules but these I suspect are people with not too much to lose anyway- on the other side business people, travellers and people who depend on trading import export for a living will be the most affected and are already feeling the impact- however I don’t think any of this will matter much to politicians with their big salaries and gold plated pensions.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      It’s the British businessmen, as opposed to the EU Corporation employees, who want WTO.

  26. James1
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Well, only 73 days until (hopefully) we at last control again our own laws, borders and money. An outcome for which I believe the majority and a remarkably fast growing majority is likely to be profoundly thankful

  27. Bruan
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    If we want to trade in the rich man’s club we have to pay whatever dues- if we don’t we can always try tapping on the side window- but either way we’ll still have to tread carefully.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Plenty of non eurocracy nations already trade, profitably, in Europe. Dues work both ways and the EU exports more to us than we do to them.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Peculiar attitude. Why does Canada not have to ‘pay’? (Hysterical that you think the EU rich – it’s bankrupt and suffering low level warfare from end to end.)

  28. rose
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    And to cap it all, the Unholy Fools are ganging up again to try and prolong all this, bleating about democracy and appearing to forget their accomplices tried to overturn it.

  29. villaking
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Some of the downsides are correct, especially the poor deal on fishing, although let’s keep in mind how tiny that industry is. It is curious though that you felt that we should be defending our inefficient manufacturing industries against competition, quite the opposite of the normal right wing view. We surely benefited from the demise of the Morris Marina. Our car industry has evolved successfully and is now one of the largest and most efficient in Europe. Many of the other industries you wanted to protect from competition like textiles and steel have migrated to the Far East and could never have been maintained long term in a globalized economy without massive state subsidies.

  30. Jacob
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The single market did not destroy our economy- what destroyed it was ourselves and our own recklessness and decisions to run down and sell off large parts of our infrastructure like Merchant Shipping in particular for instance for ocean going this business was all sold off in the 70″ and 80’s so that now ships bringing imports and exports into and out the country are owned in large part today by foreign companies a lot of them PLC’s and European pension funds but mostly all with foreign flags so I don’t know how we can blame it on the EU or the single market- it was all our own doing- nobody forced us

  31. margaret howard
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink


    So how come EU membership turned us from the ‘sick man of Europe’ into the world’s 5th largest economy (now alas after Brexit fallen to 6th largest)?

    And why did we beg to join in the first place?

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      We were the 4th largest economy in the world in 1975, sick man or not.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      In 1972 the U.K. rated nr 3 and growth was 3.9%. Thereafter growth declined to 2.2% pa. The sacrifice was deemed to be required to ‘level’ living standards across the world, starting with the amalgamation fo the continents.
      The ‘world leaders’ Margaret, thought, and think, that you should live to world average standards and that is what you are fighting for.
      Of course the ‘world leaders’ would be like the Russian oligarchs and share most f the world wealth between them.

  32. Christine
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Yet again, we see scaremongering headline news from SKY stating that ICU bed occupancy is near capacity. No mention that at this time of year it is always near capacity.

    ONS figures for week 40 = 1,155 deaths from flu and 321 of deaths with covid. Added together this equals 1,476, which is below the 5 year average of 1, 534 for Influenza and pneumonia.

    The figures show 591 more deaths from other causes than the 5 year average. We need to understand why we have an increase in deaths from other causes and is this related to the cancellation of NHS appointments for non-covid related illnesses. We need to understand why deaths in hospitals and care homes is well below the 5-year average but deaths in peoples own homes has risen.

    Is lockdown contributing to the rise in non-covid deaths?

    Does Matt Hancock even look at these ONS figures and see the damage he is doing?

  33. Stred
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I have found it quite easy to avoid buying anything from the EU for the past three years, since Barnie, Verhof and Micron decided to punish and colonise us. I buy British meat and veg, Icelandic and Norwegian fish, British and Swiss cheese, Japanese and British cars, Australian, American and Chilean wine and British beer. The only spending on EU is holidays and that is because I can’t sell my French house because of British capital gains tax. I really liked staying at home this year, avoided a heat rash and food poisoning and saved 1000 euros on fizzy lager and undercooked steaks. If people like we know who want to live in Belgium or France wearing plastic jackets and munching chips washed down with strawberry flavoured beer, they can get on with it.

  34. Barbara
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    It was the first election I voted in as well. I voted No. I still remember the public outrage when it emerged that Heath had given away our fishing grounds on the quiet.

  35. James
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Nonsense the Single Market did not damage the UK economy we did it ourselves

    Part of the English sickness is always to be blaming others for our own ineptitude and lack of ambition- we could have made a real go of our membership of the EU if only we tried- instead we sat back and let others do the running.

  36. Barbara
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    There are reports that 40,000 Belgian fishermen are facing redundancy in the case of a No Deal Brexit. Incredible that there were that many people from a land-locked country plundering our waters. Wonder how many of them cared anything about our fishermen, when our grounds were given away as a ‘common European resource’?

    • SM
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Since when was Belgium land-locked? Must cause an awful problem with those ferries trying to land at Ostend!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Yes then there are the German and French and Spanish and Portuguese fishermen too, yet the Remainers like Andy tell us we are quibbling about a few mackerel. It is a massive industry and ITS OURS!

  37. NickC
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    There is no doubt that the EU’s single market has been bad for the UK. JR is right to draw attention to the stealing of our fish, the non-tariff barriers facing our services, and our industries – battered by decades of unions vs management strife – being unable to cope with the competition.

    However there are two other factors at work. The first is that the EU’s single market (and its concomitant customs union protectionism) is built on the dirigiste model, which is strange – even corrupt – to us.

    Second, the EU was built by politicians with, shall we say, ‘baggage’ from WW2. To put it bluntly the two major players in the EU – Germany and France – did not like the British at all. Germany hated us for defeating them; and France hated us for assisting them.

    Frankly what central Europe, the Danes, the Dutch, the Greeks, and the Italians see in the EU, as their countries are bullied by the German-French axis, is puzzling. That they are now less than keen is becoming more obvious.

  38. Alan Paul Joyce
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    When is a deadline not a deadline?

    Why is the PM saying he would always be willing to hear from EU negotiators if they come back with a fundamental change of approach when he has also said the EU has abandoned the idea of a free trade deal and has refused to negotiate seriously in recent months. Months!

    How much longer must we endure the EU’s little games? At what point does the UK say that’s it and instruct the country that it’s No-Deal? The door cannot be left ajar forever.

    I hope I am wrong but I have a strong feeling that a very large slice of fudge is soon to be delivered.

  39. Fred H
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    BBC website:

    More men than normal are dying at home from heart disease in England and Wales and more women are dying from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, figures show.

    More than 26,000 extra deaths occurred in private homes this year, an analysis by the Office for National Statistics found.
    But we are saving the NHS ….(possibly).

    • glen cullen
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      and yet they still moan about thier salaries

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Let’s hope we don’t ‘save the NHS’, it’s really unsalvageable according to one NHS Manager I know.

  40. Jack Falstaff
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Messrs Johnson and Gove can dispense with the theatrics about walking out of talks.
    If this were team UK on the golf course, Mr Johnson’s first shot only succeeded in causing a large floppy divot to convulse out of its earthen bed.
    Next up, we hear a wail of despair as his partner, Mr Gove, picks himself up out of the rough after after a giant heave only produces an air-shot.
    The net result is two shots wasted, we’re no nearer the hole, and the EU now regard the dynamic duo as Laurel & Hardy.
    The door has been left ajar, so don’t look surprised if the EU deftly jams its foot in the gap.

  41. Letty
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Listening to Ml Gove in the House it’s the same old stuff and is not impressing anyone. What he still wants is a bespoke arrangement but we know from a long time that that is not going to run- then he calls for Canada style which comes with tariffs and took seven years to negotiate but if that is not forthcoming then Australia style which is WTO rules will do- I don’t know why he cannot call things as they really are instead of dressing them up- however am afraid it’s not in his makeup- whatever happened to ‘oven ready’? they are all a crowd of lying snakes and deserve all the bad luck coming to them- the sooner Starmer is in the better

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      It takes two parties to agree to put the oven ready deal in the oven. The EU had the makings handed to them but wants it to be made of entirely EU food produce at their price.

  42. Anonymous
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I dreaded this day, the police are shutting down small business in Liverpool.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      OMG! The whole country must react!

  43. acorn
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Before I give up trying to educate right-wing nationalist leave voters on this site, can I just advise the following. The British Ambassador to France Ed Llewellyn, has just advised the following.

    “France values its British residents and their contribution and has made the process for applying for residency straightforward and generous”. France is launching its delayed website for post-Brexit residence permits.

    I would advise that persons considering applying should open a fairly flush Euro Bank account with a French resident Bank; and, find a long lost relation or old school mate, with a French address you can quote to French immigration.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      That is the same France that threatens to attack UK fishing boats, and whose leader has a hissy fit and warns he will cut off energy supplies if we leave ?

  44. acorn
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    The US fiscal year – FY 2020 – has just ended Sept 30th. The federal budget deficit for that year is $3.3 trillion. US GDP is circa $20.4 trillion. That’s a budget deficit of 16% of GDP. Trump will never understand how much he has shaken the MMT. The UK is looking at a budget deficit for FY 2021 of £400 billion with a GDP of £1900 billion if we are lucky; about 21% of GDP.

    Both governments would like their respective citizens to start spending their money and stop saving it. The velocity of circulation of the US$ and the Pound and the Euro is far too low.

  45. DavidJ
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    In other words EU membership has been a total disaster for us, promoted a by a cabal of MPs in hock to the it and the globalists.

    Thank goodness our host sees through it but too many of his fellow MPs want to precipitate a further disaster by giving the EU some measure of control over us.

  46. Fred H
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    What an example to set – yet again.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been seen travelling in his chauffeur-driven car without wearing a mask, against the advice of No 10. The public face fines of £200 if they fail to wear a covering in taxis or private hire cars. There is an exemption for chauffeur-driven cars, but Downing Street said it had advised all its ministers to wear coverings.
    A No 10 spokesman said there were masks available in all ministerial cars.

  47. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    At present I want to talk to someone who could address the structure of GP work in my local area. The only advice I can get is to go to the union . I have been trying to raise issues similar to this for years to no avail.

    The misrepresentation of how the registered medical practitioner ( incorrectly called a doctor) runs what is now considered to be a business is confusing for patients , grossly undermines registered Nurses work and financially is unfair to all the Lead GP’s in that they have to pay for someone to do their work. Another registered medical practitioner costs thousands and a registered Nurse takes far more responsibility and is paid little.

    The patients are told it is the doctors surgery when the Nurse is the one who takes the consultations whilst the doctor administrates and the patients become angry and join in
    with the undermining.

    Matt Hancock is a little busy at present , but this issue is also pressing and must be addressed to save General Practice. GP practices which have gone private have completely removed Nurses and now Nursing interventions are deployed elsewhere and waiting times for simple procedures takes weeks as those RMP cannot undertake these other roles.

    Apologies to any RMP who have a doctorate and do not possess a grace and favour title thereby misleading the pubic.

  48. turboterrier
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I think the mayor of Manchester is taking a leaf out of the EUs how to manipulate situations.

    In my book this is a stunt to cause a major rift in the government and is ultimately destroy Brexit and their tcredibility..
    The reason these places are being highlighted as high risk is because the residents will not adhere to the advice being given. It is only when the death toll gets out of control they (the people) might then listen and understand these are serious times. It is all self inflicted and the mayor wants the taxpayers to prop them up for a situation of their own making.

  49. bill brown
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    If the industries such as ship-building and steel had been subject to full competition from 1972 and onwards, they would have had to close with or without teh Single Market and European competition.

    The example of Britain producing half as may cars in 1982, arises from as you rightly put it unions, bad management and as result low quality cars.

    I seem to re-call my parents Ausitn Monaco and Marina were driven by the AA to the garage about 6 times a year on average, because they would not start.

    So, yes we had difficulty in competing during those years but blaming the single market for most of it seems a bit steep, we would have lost the industry due to low quality and loose workmanship, including union sabotage.

    No, I do not buy your argument at face value

    Including British Leyland

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Ford Transit manufacturing was moved from Southampton to TURKEY thanks to the EU using OUR money to finance the move. Thanks EU, there are more examples.

      • bill brown
        Posted October 21, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

        Robert Mcdonald

        Salaries ae lower in Turkey and productivity is realtively high

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      So you think the steel quotas were no problem?

  50. XYXY
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it depressing that people could see the effect of EU membership, yet the people in charge didn’t listen.

    It’s a pity that you couldn’t do more when you were a minister – and a shame that you can’t be in a position of power now. I guess the right of the Conservative party has not really been in the ascendancy since the 1980s.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Well, they will soon have a far, far clearer picture of the effects of European Union non-membership.

      Won’t they?

      How do you think that it will compare?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      It’s in our hands, we must make it happen.

  51. Derek Henry
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    In a fixed exchange rate system, where the central bank has to manage its foreign currency reserves to maintain the agreed parity with other currencies, the balance of payments is a constraining influence on real GDP growth.

    That is one of the reasons why the Bretton Woods system broke down. External deficit nations were forced to suppress domestic demand via higher interest rates or fiscal austerity to both reduce imports and/or attract capital inflow to alleviate their balance of payments problems.

    The upshot was that these nations were prone to extended periods of mass unemployment, which was politically unsustainable.

    A nation in this situation could not run persistent external deficits and peg its currency because it would soon run out of the foreign currency reserves and/or gold stocks that were necessary under the system to defend its parity.

    However, in a flexible exchange rate system, no such constraint exists. Instead, movements in the exchange rate respond to balance of payments states.

    A currency-issuing government can always use that capacity to ensure that all real productive resources in the nation that are for sale in the currency of issue – including all idle labour – are fully employed. Without exception.

    The central bank has no necessary role to play in defending the currency and therefore has no particular need to amass foreign currency reserves as it did under the fixed exchange rate system.

    The second point noted above related to capital inflow. Clearly, the capacity of a nation to run current account deficits on an ongoing basis of any size is reliant on the desire of foreigners to accumulate financial claims in the currency issued by that nation.

    These claims are reflected in the Capital account of the Balance of Payments.

    We continually read that nations with current account deficits (CAD) are living beyond their means and are being bailed out by foreign savings. This claim is particularly potent in the current US-China context.

    This myth never makes any sense. As noted above a CAD can only occur if the foreign sector desires to accumulate financial (or other) assets denominated in the currency of issue of the country with the CAD.

    This desire leads the foreign country (whichever it is) to deprive their own citizens of the use of their own resources (goods and services) and net ship them to the country that has the CAD, which, in turn, enjoys a net benefit (imports greater than exports).

    A CAD means that real benefits (imports) exceed real costs (exports) for the nation in question. Exports are the cost of imports in skills and real resources terms. Which used to be understood and called ” our real terms of trade”

    The CAD signifies the willingness of the citizens to ‘finance’ the local currency saving desires of the foreign sector.Which turns the mainstream logic (foreigners finance our CAD) on its head in recognition of the true nature of exports and imports.

    Subsequently, a CAD will persist (expand and contract) as long as the foreign sector desires to accumulate local currency-denominated assets.

    If they lost that desire entirely, then the CAD gets squeezed down to zero. This might be painful to a nation that has grown accustomed to enjoying the excess of imports over exports. It might also happen relatively quickly. But at least we should understand why it is happening.

    If we are going to export and ( give away) goods and services we will never see again and use our skills and real resources which are finite to do it. Then they have to be automated as much as possible to get the imports we need.

    So our skills and real resources can be used on more important domestic policy. Brexit gives us the opportunity to do so and also add some import substitutions in the mix.

  52. Lionel
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    The deteriorating public health situation in Greater Manchester means that we need to take action urgently.

    Robert Jenrick

    The ICU admissions in Manchester the government are going on about are LESS THAN LAST YEAR.

  53. Ode to Joy
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    It is hard not to conclude Westminster politicians are not at war with Manchester. Is the plan to break up England?

  54. kzb
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Thing is, by going for global free trade instead of just EU free trade, all of the problems for our industries increased not reduced? For example British agriculture will be decimated by cheaper food at world prices.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      They will compete successfully where they can.

  55. anon
    Posted October 19, 2020 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    I think the EU and remainer establishment have damaged the honour of Western democracy.

    How did we get to here without a referendum to justify
    1) ECJ supremacy.
    2) Direct effect of EU laws
    3) and the removal of meaningful choice from an electorate where the Liblabcon all increased the EU ratchet of powers. Even colluding to kill other demos parties, instead of harnessing, nuturing and guiding the demos.

    Instead we got deception, prevarication, lies and outright refusals to work within expected democratic norms.

    Perhaps we need to embed consitutional protections to prevent “parliament” ursuping power for a foreign power or itself in the future against the will of the people. Especially when law and policy directly contradict manifesto pledges and referendums results.

  56. David M
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Britain must cease being an apologist for BREXIT. The present “British Government” really must cease its wibbly-wobbly approach to any form of BREXIT “deal” – to achieve the so-called “Deal” demanded almost exclusively by persistent Remoaners, can, under the current political conditions only ever result in a humiliating and expensive defeat at the hands of vindictive EU apparachiks ( aided and abetted by their counterparts within the “British” establishment – aka “traitors” by definition.)
    Britain has defeated far greater “forces” in the past, and remains totally capable of repeating her successes worldwide “Thanks to BREXIT !”
    Westminster and Whitehall need to take heed of the “Message” this country has and continues to send them ! Otherwise – RESIGN and make room for someone who both CAN and WILL obey the “Will of the People” – the REAL governors of this Island Kingdom!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Yes, I’m sure that with a chipper, breezy enough approach, the history books could be re-written to make the Black Death appear the jolly tonic that it was for the nation too.

  57. agricola
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    At 13 moderations, you must have had a heavy day.

  58. Freeborn John
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    The concern now is the government signing up to a one-sided trade deal that only covers areas in which the EU has a surplus and even then is one-sided. It is unacceptable to have a trade deal in which U.K. exporters of electric cars will face EU tariffs but EU exporters to the U.K. will not when electric vehicles will become the bulk of the car market. Similarly it is unacceptable that U.K. cars made with parts from countries with which the UL has a FTA would face EU tariffs when this is not the case in other EU FTAs six U.K. as the one with Canada. The danger is that the U.K. signs up to a deal which looks OK in 2020 but becomes ever more sided in future years.

  59. concerned
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    superb speech by Burnham

  60. concerned
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    “a deliberate act of levelling down” – Burnham

  61. Sakara Gold
    Posted October 21, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    One of the joys in life is to read Sir John Redwoods’ revisionist economic histories of the UK, where all of our problems are due to our joining the EEC after the 1975 referendum.

    The fact is, British industry was in serious decline prior to our joining – the main cause was the great inflation of the 1970s, which began in late 1972 and didn’t really finish until the end of the 1980s.

    The great inflation was blamed on oil prices, currency speculators, greedy businessmen, and avaricious union leaders. However, it is clear that monetary policies, which financed massive budget deficits and which were supported by political leaders, was the cause. This mess was proof of what Milton Friedman said – inflation is always “a monetary phenomenon”.

    The deep recession that followed wrecked many businesses and hurt countless individuals in the UK – inflation hit 27% in 1975 and as high interest rates followed, the unions, anxious for their members to be able to put a loaf of bread on the table, or send their kids to school wearing a pair of shoes, became more militant and held the government to account.

    Contributory causes were lack of investment in modern manufacturing capabilities, weak management, income policies, political opportunism, policies of confrontation to deal with organised labour, astronomical taxation rates and very poor productivity.

    Three years after Thatcher came to power, in 1982 unemployment had reached 3 million for the first time since the early 1930’s. It is hard to imagine the effect this had on the nation – it represented 20% of the workforce in Ulster and 15% in many parts of Wales, Scotland and northern England. Thatcher did break the unions – but there are many who feel that the price paid was too high.

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page