The UK’s balance of payments

In 2019 the UK ran a trade deficit with the EU and a trade surplus with the rest of the world. The deficit in goods traded with the EU was particularly large, at £96.7bn. This large trade deficit has been going for many years during our membership. A trade partner like the US shows we are competitive on World Trade terms where we ran a surplus in goods as well as total trade. The US is our largest single export market, accounting for two thirds more export value than Germany, our largest market in Europe.

Our trade deficit in food is particularly large with the EU where they enjoy tariff free access to the UK whilst the rest of the world faces some high tariffs on some important items. UK farming has suffered a loss of market share during our time in the EU.

These large goods deficits need paying for, as they are debts incurred in a foreign currency. The UK has been selling off foreign assets to pay the bills. In 2019 the UK sold £165bn of foreign assets. We now run a deficit on investment income, as we have to pay a lot more interest and dividend out to foreign owners of UK assets than we receive on overseas assets owned by UK residents. The UK now has a net liability of £579 billion on investment account, following years of large trade deficits.

This is why it will be good to regain control of our trade policy, and set out tariffs that make more sense for the UK . We need, for example, to help our consumers by taking tariffs off items we cannot grow or make for ourselves, and take tariffs off intermediate and raw materials needed for added value manufacture at home. We need to regain market share in areas like food to reduce the deficit. Being part of the EU single market, fishing and food policy has been bad for the U.K. economy.

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  1. BobDixon
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    During the 40 years of the U.K. being a member of the EU there have been 3 Treaties.

    We left 01/01/2020.

    Why are we expecting to cross the T’s and dot the I’s by the 31st ?

    • beresford
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Because four and a half years after voting to leave the EU, we are still members of the EU in all but name, paying their fees and obeying their laws and edicts. The EU has no incentive to change this position, which as time goes on makes us look increasingly weak and foolish. They will only negotiate seriously with us after we have actually left.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Every single thing, which makes it harder for the UK to export to the European Union makes the balance of payments worse.

        Any brexit does exactly that, but a no deal post-exit position does so egregiously.

        I think that John should make up his mind as to what his priorities are, and be honest about them.

        • NickC
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          But Brexit makes it easier to export to the rest of the world because when we leave the UK can set our own trade policies to benefit ourselves, not the EU.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          Could you not consider that manufacturing exporting businesses that sell into Europe might work out how to solve any of the difficulties that might arise.
          It is what people in these industries do.
          We solve problems and move on.
          Been doing it for decades.

      • GilesB
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        How on earth can we fix our balance of payments if we can’t even sell sausages to villages and towns within the UNITED Kingdom?

        Sausages, mince, pies etc will be permitted with special labelling (ie to be consumed only in NI), but only for a while. After that, I’m told, they’ll have to source such products from NI or the South,/I> according to RTE.

    • Hope
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      JR, don’t hold your breath. Instead of walking away Johnson has gone running to EU! What could that possibly achieve? A photo call for theatrics?

      You could not make it up. Johnson stated to walk five times, EU snapped its fingers he has gone running. One week of parliament to ratify. Seems to me Johnson is running down the clock.

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Talks will continue next year with U.K. Trapped in WA and NIP with clauses removed as demanded by the EU last week! Johnson told to see EU head mistress this week, off he goes cap in hand. Absolute idiotic Fake Tory Govt. We have been betrayed, again by your govt.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Perhaps, Bob, it’s because the decision was taken in June 2016, 4.5 years ago.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        sorry 3.5

        • Hope
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          No, 4 1/2 years.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          After Mrs May in March 2017 signed the notice after Cameron quit.

          • Hope
            Posted December 9, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            Let us have some fact not lies from Johnson and Gove.

            Which points are not correct in Sammi Wilson’s article? EU are in control of laws ECJ, level playing field and state aid. Border down Irish Sea with EU customs ch caking on goods from England to N.Ireland! All through back door of N.Ireland protocol.

            Gove has now ratified the rotten WA and NIP again! It should be voided, got rid of and leave with no deal.


    • Peter
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      We are just treading water at the moment. Commentators offer advice, most of which has been said before.

      People with no insider knowledge speculate and predict outcomes.

      We wait to see if we are leaving with a deal, or on WTO terms. Then again, it might just be another deadline that comes and goes. A justification may be produced for yet more talks.

      Who knows?

      • Peter
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Meanwhile, from David Cameron’s autobiography ‘For the Record’ page 505 :-
        “I looked at people like this and saw the modern, compassionate Conservative Party I had always wanted to build. They’d come of age as junior ministers and were ready for the next step – into cabinet or senior ministerial roles. Along with Matt Hancock, Liz Truss,Stephen Crabb, Anna Soubry, Tina, Stowell and Esther McVey, this was my dream team – the line-up I wanted to present to the electorate in less than a year’s time.”

        How lucky we were !

        Much of the 700 pages is taken up with what he wanted his ministers to look like – what colour they were, what sex they were.

        Every so often, Cameron keeps boasting what an achievement it was to introduce gay marriage. There is an interesting account of how he tries to introduce the idea to Vladimir Putin. He gets short shrift in a country that had to handle Peter Tatchell and LGBT weirdos ‘pussy riot’ who had desecrated a place of worship.

        Cameron cannot stand key figures in the Leave campaign and has great difficulty disguising this in the book.

    • NickC
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Bob, Repeating the Remain lie that we have left does not make it any truer. The EU still controls our fish, and still makes us obey EU rules and courts as defined by the WA – you should try reading it. We have still not left, and it is 48 years (by 01-01-2021), not 40 years as you claim. And the WA came into force at 11pm 31-01-2020, not 01-01-2020 as you claim, anyway.

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink


        Betrayal is in the air. How to convey the sell out tomsome form of compromise is the govt.’s problem.

        Johnson caved. That was clear by Gove going to Brussels. Give has now withdrawn relevant clauses in IMB demanded by EU last week. And for the taxation bill! Win win for the EU.

        We are told the WA and NIP will stand irrespective if there is a deal or not! Sounds like an extension to talks beyond December to me.

        Bill Cash sounds a worried man about sovereignty in parliament this afternoon. So he should. No point having his sovereignty clause in the WA if the govt. will not use it!

        There is no need for Johnson to go to Brussels absolutely none. What he can he say that Frost could not, what he can hemsay that Gove has not, what can he say that could not be said on the telephone? Johnson is not walking, quite the contrary he is now running to them!

        There will be theatrics, the WA and NIP followed by the letter as a form of another vassalage while talks about a trade deal go into next year.

        • glen cullen
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Agree with your assessment

      • Andy
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        We left last January. On terms negotiated by Brexiteers. With a Withdrawal Agreement passed into U.K. law pretty much exclusively by Conservative MPs AFTER the general election. Voted into EU law by MEPs including Farage and his rabble of malcontents. The terms of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Brexiteers included a one year transition period to allow businesses to prepare.

        The epic failure of the Brexiteers to actually reach the trade deal they promised – and they promised it would be better than EU membership (which it won’t be) – means businesses still does not know what to prepare for.

        I understand that you are disappointed that your Brexit is rubbish so far. But, on the plus side, ha ha ha – told you.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          When you say we left, there was no negotiation.
          Stop making things up andy.

        • NickC
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          Andy, When you can show that the EU is not stealing UK fish, and that we no longer have to pay 80% of the tariffs (collected by HMRC) to the EU, and that we no longer have to bow before the foreign court, etc, then we will have left. But you can’t, of course. So you are either desperately promoting what you know is a lie, or you are profoundly ignorant.

    • DavidJ
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      We’ve had years to do it, but frustrated at every turn by government ministers who are either incompetent or serving other interests.

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        David J,

        Not incompetent. They have the best experts, lawyers, advisors the country has.

        • glen cullen
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          ….don’t forget the best civil servants

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        £192 million given to France si de 2014 to stop boat people. Priti Useless has just given another £28 million! When will this stupid idiotic Fake Govt learn? Stop trusting France and stop wasting our money!

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          It all seems just so bizarre Hope why would the UK pay France extra? Why don’t they have to answer this question?

  2. Polly
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Leaving the EU would undoubtedly give the UK a far better future..

    Although there is still a major problem which will crash the UK’s economy.

    Namely Boris Johnson’z unworkable energy policy.

    Net Zero, Build Back Better and Great Reset can only bring disaster.

    Would you not agree ?


    • ian@Barkham
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink


      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Fake Tory govt quietly wrote a white party on the socialist Build Back Better last year. It is based on the World Economic Formum’s globalist view of the world. Johnson is complying.

    • ian@Barkham
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink


      Without creating a thriving economy first all other aspirations are a drive towards the ‘stone age’

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      You are right. Johnson is the latest in a long line of politicians who appears to have little or no conception of the conditions required to enable a modern economy to thrive. That is why, post WW2, there had been the destruction of industry after industry in the UK under the hammer blows of high taxation, heavy and often misguided regulation and now expensive energy. Johnson is set to continue the process.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Dear Polly–I especially deprecate ‘Build Back Better’, which is devoid of meaning. We do what we can do and that’s it. Whether it is better or not is another, highly dubious, story. A glance at any modern mostly ghastly architecture is enough to prove that to me.

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      +1 totally, Its pie in the sky

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Poll I reckon the majority of us would agree.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Indeed growing, packing & distributing more home grown fo0d competitively requires lots cheap, reliable on demand energy. Fishing boats need lots of diesel per fish too.

      To grow the economy and thus the tax base we need cheap energy, lower simpler taxes, far less government and far less red tape and a bonfire of red tap. Alas no sign of Conservative polices from this government. Rishi’s first act was to cut entrepreneur’s relief by 90%.

      The last thing we need is Boris Johnson’s 10-point green plan with 250,000 jobs. Even claimed green job will destroy at least two real jobs. This by the higher taxes needed to subsidise them or the expensive intermittent energy they force businesses to use. A huge plan to destroy and export jobs and industries. With no significant net CO2 saving anyway.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Gove (fan of 20% VAT on school fees) is to update us on the EU surrender/EU cave in tomorrow in parliament it seems. As I expected from green crap pushing, hugely damaging second lockdown and HS2 lunacy Boris.

        Still he saved us from 8% support T May & Corbyn/Mc Donnell I suppose.

      • Ed M
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink


        You write some brilliant comments on education. I agree – BUT:

        Just been watching a video on how education screws up creativity and creative people – ESSENTIAL in entrepreneurship, business, science, technology, industrial design (as well as the creative industries of course – including how our modern world is no longer producing any Bachs or Mozarts or Shakespeares etc).

        Be great if Sir John and others could see how we could rid of and/or persuade about 75% of university students not to waste money on going to university.

        How we need to make the UK a leader in Maths, English and how to think logically for kids at school. Most kids don’t need to learn anything else. And only a minority need to study A’ Level.

        Let’s get radical especially for our kids sakes.

        • Ed M
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          The whole educational system is geared ultimately to impressing university educators instead of impressing companies hiring people as well as personal fulfilment (there are lots and lots of millionaires out there who have done well in life not because of their university education but because they worked doing something the really enjoyed. There’s this kind of puritanical nonsense that you have to hate your job to do well or something. Nonsense).

          Angry that so many hours of my life have been wasted by grown-ups,, at the time, who should have known better.

    • Hope
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Polly, Yep. Totally.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      A large Japanese car plant was reported in the press to say Johnson’s desire for electric was being brought forward to quickly for them and they can’t accommodate it until 2034.

      Lots of people here Polly tell us the only benefits are Tampon tax reductions and tariffs off lemons. What three main benefits do you want to see happen first?

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think JR understands why there was no vision in taxation this afternoon in parliament. Might it be Gove removed the expected clauses in the taxation bill that allowed U.K. to be independent and instead U.K. Will follow EU on level playing field not to offend while talks continue into 2021!

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          Oh gosh no more flapping around – enough already! Ireland isn’t on a level playing field.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Agree – Boris can’t see the whole economy for the green agenda ”wood for the trees”

    • Simeon
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      The global economy will crash before we get to the true reckoning of the nonsense green agenda as a result of the sovereign debt mountains and the debasement of fiat currencies. This is the result of crony capitalism, aided and abetted by governments across the world.

      As for the energy policy, it isn’t Boris’s as such. He’s just following the crowd – as indeed any leader of the Tory party would.

    • Fishknife
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      The essence to life and our civilisation is Energy.

      In balance of payment terms we need to be in a position where it is better/cheaper to get it from home built renewables/nuclear rather than buy it from abroad.

      I’d start by stopping VAT on insulation materials and solar/wind/wave equipment.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Polly, the only way to make sense of the government’s energy and electrification of transport and home heating policies is to believe that it is a clever negotiating ploy to give the EU the impression that we are already legislating to cripple our business and industry and hence their “level playing field” and ECJ governance demands to achieve the same end are no longer necessary.

  3. Nigl
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Let’s hope there is not a ‘hidden’ VAT alignment clause in the Brexit agreement. We need flexibility on that to continue to attract inward investment.

    If we can keep inflation under control a weaker pound boosts the value of our overseas earnings.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      If there is, Bill Cash will find it!

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        I think the penny dropped this afternoon for Bill Cash. Gove was in Brussels undermining what they expected to be in the IMB and taxation bill. WA and NIP to be followed without a deal!

        • glen cullen
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          raise the white flag

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Dear Nigl–Once clear of the EU why can we not do away with VAT altogether?

      • Old Salt
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        + 1

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      I’m sure Boris is going to Brussels full of concessions. He wants to be liked and his vanity will be his undoing.
      If he makes any concessions the party is finished for a generation.

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink


        I think that was announced by Gove’s capitulation this afternoon by withdrawing clauses in the IMB and taxation bill that the EU demanded.

        You see the EU tells HM govt what it can legislate and the Fake Tory Govt complies! The WA and NIP we are told will stand whether there is a deal or not!

        • glen cullen
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          What happen to nothing is agreed till everything is agree

          Did Frost know what Gove was doing ? HoCs didn’t

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      For the life of me I can’t understand with a 80 seat mojority, why this government isn’t abloishing the EU tax on the 31st December

      I only possibly answer is that they wish to keep us aligned

    • acorn
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), that’s another bit of Brexit they didn’t tell you about.

      The UK is largely dependent for its inward investment coming from the EU based companies. “Dutch companies ultimately controlled the highest value of the UK’s inward FDI position from the Netherlands whereas US companies control the most from Luxembourg”.

      Remember, the US invests significantly in the UK as an English speaking gateway on the doorstep of the EU Single Market.

      According to official statistics the IMF has collated, Luxembourg, a country of 600,000 people, hosts as much foreign direct investment (FDI) as the United States and much more than China.

      Luxembourg’s $4 trillion in FDI comes out to $6.6 million a person. FDI of this size hardly reflects bricks-and-mortar investments in the minuscule Luxembourg economy. It is called tax engineering, tax dodging through shell companies, epitomized by the likes of a ‘Double Irish with a Dutch sandwich’.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        But but but… I thought you remain people said ‘level playing field’ is key acorn? How is this a level playing field, so everybody is trying to find an advantage, they all have advantages over each other and people find the best way to manipulate the markets and the Eu do nothing to stop it and then people lecture the UK.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Luxembourg is a tax haven
        You OK with that acorn?

      • NickC
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Shock! Horror!! Armageddon!!! Remainer says UK cannot survive without the EU!!!! You’ll have to do better than that, Acorn. No ex-colony of the British Empire has wailed as much as you do about the UK leaving the EU empire (remember Verhofstadt’s staffers gloating about making the us a colony?).

  4. Peter Wood
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    We have, as you say, a balance of payments deficit, a budget deficit, a borrowing binge taking national debt above 100% of GDP, a money printing central bank, and a government that is probably more profligate than any since creation of the B of E. Not too good a record for a Conservative government.

    ”Warren Buffett warned that for a debtor nation, inflation was the economic equivalent of the hydrogen bomb. Runaway inflations tend to emerge when an economy’s debt burden becomes unsustainable usually as a consequence of too much government spending and too much war.”

    When will our debt burden become unsustainable, when investors believe the government cares less about the debt build up than they do.

  5. Mark B
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Funny how you never anyone in government say these things ,)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed I fear Boris will cave in and agree some appalling deal. Let us hope he doesn’t or can be stopped if he does.

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Too late ….its already started

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Not in the last decade

    • Dennis
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Mark B – A very good point. There should be a lot of questioning of those who should have been talking about all this. Marr doesn’t, Preston doesn’t (AFAIK) nor anyone on the BBC radio and TV – sounds like a conspiracy; what else could it be?

  6. Sea_Warrior
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    How do we improve our BoP? We need to make stuff – and that means we need more engineers coming out of our universities and fewer Law graduates.
    P.S. I have been internationalising my portfolio this year, shedding UK shares. Why? A number of reasons but I note the under-performance of the FTSE All Share compared with any number of foreign indices. And I have no confidence that the Johnson government has any idea how to get the UK economy generating wealth. It seems intent on wasting tax receipts on one dumb project after another.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed we need to make and sell goods and services and to do so competitively. So we need far fewer parasitic jobs and far, far less government, lower simpler taxes, easy hire and fire, far, far less red tape and cheap on demand energy.

      Alas Government’s favourite activities are taxing people, regulating people, licensing things, tying them up in endless red tape, forcing them to use expensive energy, creating parasitic jobs and pointless parasitic activities and thus exporting or killing jobs. Killing the tax base in the process.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Far fewer lawyers too. We already have about 4 times the number of law graduates training as we required.

      287 attorneys per one million people in Japan, compared with 3,769 in the U.S. The UK is about 2500. Can we aim for about 1/10 of this please.

      • Dennis
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Ll – But Japan doesn’t need lawyers – the judges have a conviction rate of > 99%

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Correct – the cost and bureaucracy of starting and running an SME is horrendous but politicians agree they’re the backbone of UK economy

      There will almost be no SMEs left come January with this governments policies and focus on green

    • MWB
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink


    • Old Salt
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink


    • DavidJ
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink


  7. Roger Phillips
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    How much longer is this going to drag on? We have waited over 4 years to leave after the voters made it clear that this was the direction we wished to travel in. I read this morning that Boris is once again travelling over to the EU for more “final talks” If he tries walking out waving a piece of paper claiming victory then be aware that we the people are now acutely aware of what Brexit means and expect it delivered in full with no compromises.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      It has been delivered in full Roger – the UK has left.

      What is being discussed are post-exit arrangements – which any government might seek to revise at any time – and there has been no referendum on those, so there are no grounds for you to hold any grievances on that basis.

      However, parties will now go to elections with proposals as to how these arrangements might be improved, and so European matters will dominate UK politics for the rest of our lives, far more so than when the UK was a member of the European Union.

      The mess in which the country now finds itself is about the most unpatriotic of products by Leave voters that one could imagine.

      • Original Richard
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        “However, parties will now go to elections with proposals as to how these arrangements might be improved, and so European matters will dominate UK politics for the rest of our lives, far more so than when the UK was a member of the European Union.”

        This is true as continued EU membership would have meant the end of meaningful elections in the UK as we would have become governed by people we did not elect and cannot remove.

      • NickC
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Don’t be silly, Martin, the EU still controls our courts, laws, fish, money, and borders. If you think that’s Leave, no wonder you lost the Referendum. Moreover, no post-Brexit “arrangements” could include EU control over the UK – because that would not be British Exit, by definition. We are still waiting to Leave; and all the rumours point to Boris Johnson capitulating like every UK PM has done for half a century. So it looks like we’re set for Bremain, which should satisfy you.

    • ian@Barkham
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink


      Like you, most of us see betrayal on the horizon. These talks are themselves a betrayal of the referendum there was never anything to agree or talk about with the EU. Yet as you say the Politico’s have kept it going for 4 years to appease their own ego’s.

      The damage created by this dance has put the UK and its industry on the back foot and cost a small fortune. The EU will keep dragging it out as they know all the expenses are on the UK’s side

      • bill brown
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


        there was nothing in teh referendum taht indicated we cold not make a deal with Eu s part of the Brexit, so just more nonsense

        • NickC
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          Bill, There was plenty in the Referendum to indicate we could Leave without a deal. There was nothing on the voting paper to indicate a deal was necessary.

    • margaret howard
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Roger Phillips

      Not ‘the voters’ but a minority of 17m out of a population of nearly 70m voted for brexit.

      In a TRUE democracy this ludicrous, harmful situation would have been avoided and the wishes of the REAL majority would have prevailed. As it is we will all now suffer the consequences of this awful situation being exploited yet again by the horrible rich elite oligarchy running this country and profiting from this disaster.

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Children and others not capable of voting included in your figures dumb arse!

      • Edward2
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        There you go again Margaret.
        We have some simple rules for voting.
        It isn’t compulsory.
        You have to be 18 years old or above.
        You have to be a UK citizen.
        Very fair and reasonable I would say.
        Even less voted to remain in the EU.
        In the last election the two parties who think like you failed, so who are these “real majority” you speak of?

      • SM
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Do you deliberately mix up the population number with the electorate number, Margaret?

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Omg. You can’t stop going on about the vote not being a majority. What rubbish. 70m people did not have the right to vote. Babes in arms might have a problem putting their cross on the page. I despair at your ridiculous post.

      • graham1946
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        The ‘Real majority’. You mean the 16 million out of 70 million? You do come out with some tripe.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Why on earth is Boris going to Brussels?

      He has not got the first idea how to deal, which he has proved countless times.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        He is love bombing them with plans for our future cooperations. information…level playing field…transport..mobility of citizens….etc etc.
        Fair warms the cockles don’t it?

    • Simeon
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      I’d be delighted if you are right. We shall see in the new year where the Tories are polling…

    • Old Salt
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Stalemate thanks to Macron. The French didn’t care about our fishing industry being decimated upon entry so why should we care about them now. Being selfish of course!

      The EU can’t let us have our independence back as it would allow others a route out. That little thing called democracy getting in their way. Just how many referendums and the like have been ignored and or been asked to vote again all to no avail?

      No compromise. Either we are out or not.

      If there was ever any intention to leave it we would have been out long ago just as the promise to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands from the hundreds needing to concrete over what was a United Kingdom with housing estates and servicing warehouses etc. Just where are all the production units to make stuff for all the people to work to pay for it all rather than the overbearing consumption leading to the balance of payments deficit.

      Just who was responsible for overseeing or allowing our production facilities to be sold off in the first place. Surely someone could see the end game and do something about it – and someone did!

    • DavidJ
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Boris cannot be trusted to deliver the full Brexit that we voted for. I hope that I am surprised on 01/01/2021.

  8. Shirley M
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    The EU has been bad for UK manufacturing too. The biggest insult was the transferring of Ford van production to Turkey, with the help of the EU, which incidentally was partly funded by the UK, so we were (in effect) paying the EU to take away UK industry. There are many more examples, but giving industry to a non-member to the detriment of an EU member made me question the value of membership even more.

    • ian@Barkham
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      The EU loves to rape and pillage the UK. Other examples Jaguar Land Rover, the UK Government was not permitted to back them here in the UK, but the EU readily funded their manufacturing being moved from the UK to Slovakia. Double Standards

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Good point Shirley

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      +1 eu really hate us ! Hi-ho do we care?

    • Walt
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Shirley M, for that reminder. That vexed me at the time.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Not just “ bad” but totally ruinous.
      The EU ( Germany and France) WANTED our industries to fail ( including agriculture to suit France).
      And true to form our politicians obeyed.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink


      I witnessed the wholesale stripping of our assets, businesses and manufacturing to Europe and heavy plant and machinery to India and China…..under the watchful eye and approval of government(s)

    • John Hatfield
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Yup. My son worked in the Eastleigh factory.Gloom.

  9. Andy
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The Conservative Party sold off our assets.

    ie) You.

    Most of us never voted for you either.

    I am very much enjoying how desperate Brexiteers are sounding at the moment.

    Almost as though they have an inkling of what’s coming.

    On Newsnight last night Daniel Hannan even admitted this is not the Brexit he voted for.

    Where’s the mandate for no deal? Where’s the mandate for a lousy deal?

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Where was the mandate for the Lisbon Treaty and those others signed after a referendum in the 70s?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      You’re projecting Andy – I don’t see any Brexiteers sounding desperate, mainly they sound worried that we *won’t* get No Deal.

      The mandate for no deal is the 2016 referendum result. And the 2019 general election result.

      • Andy
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        2016 – Vote Leave promised a deal better than EU membership.

        2019 – Boris Johnson promised an oven ready deal.

        The only one ever to have stood on a no-deal manifesto was Farage in December 2019. 2% of the vote, no seats. You have no mandate for no deal. Precisely none.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          Which leaflet are you referring to Andy where Vote Leave ‘promised a deal better than the EU membership’ with the EU?

        • NickC
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          Andy, The mandate given by the 2016 Referendum, in a majority vote, was to Leave. Full stop. There is no mandate for continued control of the UK by the EU. Therefore if the EU will not allow a fair trade-for-trade deal but insists on some continued control, then there is indeed a mandate for no deal.

          After all, what are you worried about? That we’ll succeed with no deal?

    • beresford
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Yes, but what we’re desperate for is Boris to cut ties with the EU, who have no interest in agreeing a sensible deal. It’s only Remoaners who are using ‘concern’ over disruption caused by leaving as a cover for continuing to block leaving at all.

    • margaret howard
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink


      “On Newsnight last night Daniel Hannan even admitted this is not the Brexit he voted for.”

      No doubt opportunists like him are getting ready to blame others when things go pear shaped. ‘Twas ever thus.

      • NickC
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Margaret, You mean like you and Andy and Martin do? The country is in a mess precisely because successive Tory PMs have not walked away from your hostile, vindictive, cunning EU empire.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      It was always completely clear a ‘deal’ needs agreement from both sides. Had we not had 3 years of attempts to bring about Brino under Mrs May this would have been resolved one way or the other a year or more ago.

      There were good (and bad) arguments on both sides of the referendum. But no good arguments for Brino.

    • Arthur Wrightiss
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      There wasn’t a mandate for any sort of deal. The referendum was do we leave, or do we stay. Simple. The democratic majority voted to leave and we all know why it’s taken so long.

      • Grey Friar
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Indeed we do. It’s taken so long because the Brexiters failed to produce an even remotely realistic plan for what leaving would look like. I stand with you Arthur, I too am disgusted that so many Brexiters failed to explain how they would deal with just in time supply chains, rules of origin checks, tariff cumulation, rollover of third country deals, and of course Ireland. It’s as if they have no clue how international trade works!

        • NickC
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Grey, Leaves have not been allowed to implement Brexit yet, as was plainly demonstrated by the Remain parliaments of 2016-2019, the Remain dominated civil service, and numerous court cases. You have been repeatedly told of the Leave solutions to JIT, ROO, tariffs, roll-over trade deals, and the EU’s problem with its Eire land border.

      • Andy
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        On the contrary. Vote Leave had a big long manifesto explaining what Brexit looked like. I urge you to read it. It is what you voted for in 2016. It is also a million miles from what they are delivering.

        You have no mandate for this mess. You are imposing it on the country – and that is why it will be undone. Incidentally, it has taken so long because Brexiteers have been staggeringly incompetent. The entire delay has been caused by you.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          Who is ‘you’ in the entire delay has been caused by you Arthur, Sir John? Andy? who precisely?

          Delays I feel were caused by David Cameron, then Theresa May with Gina Miller, Hilary Benn, The remain people in May’s Tory party who stood as a Tory and wouldn’t stand by the manifesto resigning like Soubry, Sandbach, Lee etc.

        • NickC
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Andy, There was no VoteLeave manifesto. were the lead advocacy group on the Leave side in the Referendum, not a government. David Cameron was the PM of the government, and he promised to implement the outcome whether Remain or Leave. No ifs or buts. We’re still waiting.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Not sure why you would celebrate the fact that we have treacherous politicians.

    • agricola
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      The mandate was for leaving the EU. With or without a deal never came into it except as a remain divide leave and fail to convince.

    • IanT
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Have you actually read Sir John’s blog today Andy?

      These numbers are not made up and this in-balance has been sucking money, jobs and capacity out of the UK for decades. I never expected that leaving the EU (after 40 odd years) was going to be easy (or cheap) but staying in isn’t an option either.

      Better the shirt-term pain now than a continuing slow death of membership 0f something other EU members are beginning to wake up to.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Sir John,

      The question is, What kind of Brexit will you vote for in the HoC? And the real question is, if you vote against the Tory Brexit, will you then leave the Tory party? No need to answer immediately. We’ll find out in due course.

    • NickC
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Andy, The mandate was to Leave; to cease being ruled by the EU. Full stop. It is well known that it is not in the UK’s power to force the EU to give us a good, or even a sensible, trade deal. Therefore the mandate to Leave includes the possibility of no deal. Otherwise Leave would be hostage to the EU. That’s where the mandate for no deal comes from. Neither of the campaigns questioned that truth before the vote, although it is convenient for Remains to do so now, as you do.

    • Lester Cynic Beedell
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Wasn’t it Gordon somebody who sold off our Gold?

      • Fred H
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        I’d nearly forgotten.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Where’s the mandate for a deal?

    • Al
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Just like Gordon Brown sold off our gold? And if most people never voted for the Tories, it is just as fair to say most people never voted for Blair, but we were stuck with him.

      The Brexit we voted for was a fast no-deal exit – Leave and Remain were both clear on that – followed by a rational approach to building international trade deals. Not the then-Prime Minister bottling, three years of mess from May, and now another wasted year under Johnson.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      most? us?

  10. Len Peel
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    VAT off tampons and tariffs off lemons. That is literally all you’ve got. And for that we lose our place in the biggest transnational trade bloc the planet’s ever seen

    • David Peddy
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      But what a terrible price we ,and every other member pays ,for self determination and being ruled by an unelected oligarch

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      VAT off home inslation and green energy products. Try looking up what “literally” means.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Dear Len–Calm yourself–the average tariff against us would still be only 4% which is not quite the Armageddon you and yours try to tell us it is.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Tariffs are the least of the problems for trade.

        It is leaving REGULATORY ALIGNMENT which will be the real killer.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          I read only 6% of UK business exports to the EU if they wish to continue perhaps they will have to have regulatory alignment but the rest shouldn’t have to.

        • NickC
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          Martin, You are clearly ignorant about international trade. UK businesses exporting to EU sub-states must already comply with EU law (as well as what the EU customer demands). That does not change after we leave on 31-12-2020 (if we Leave).

    • Richard1
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Well no, although there re pluses and minuses. Let’s list a few of the pluses:-

      + we will save a net £12bn pa, and rising, for ever. What’s that worth discounted at current rates, £1/2 trillion?
      + we are out of the appalling CAP
      + we are out of the appalling CFP
      + we now have a points based immigration system which doesn’t discriminate against people from the US, Australia, India etc as has happened til now
      + there has been good progress in establishing an independent trade policy and signing FTAs which are as good as or better than those signed by the EU (something we were assured by Remain would be impossible)

      But we still have to see whether we can escape the EU’s rule in whichever area it decides to involve itself in the future. With no say, this will be a big negative if it is agreed

      And We have lost financial services passporting. This seems to have made less difference than was forecast but is probably negative, although it does give us regulatory freedom.

      So we’ll have to see where it ends up. But despite the question marks the potential benefits are far greater than you have made out.

    • Arthur Wrightiss
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Shrinking trade block I think you mean.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        was that stinking or mistyped?

    • SM
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      The world’s biggest trading bloc, since last month, is AsiaPacific, according to the BBC.

    • IanT
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      That is slowly killing us Len – read the blog!

    • formula57
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      @ Len Peel – if it is the Evil Empire to which you refer, that is not just a trade bloc though and even confined to trade, it does much harm. Where are the German motor manufacturers’ factories in Greece, for example, to help reverse the de-industrialization of that blighted country?

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      We will not lose any place, we will trade as many other nations do and do so competitively, WTO. We will just pay tariffs, which, net of import and export to the eurocracy, will cost us less than the net 10 billion a year we pay for the so called free trade single market. Clearly you haven’t read the article with an open mind, it is something remainers tend to do I find.

    • NickC
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Literally, Len, it is not. And the harder you Remains and the EU make it to trade fairly, the less likely we are to buy EU stuff. Your choice.

    • DavidJ
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      The EU is not simply a trade bloc. It seeks absolute control over us in all matters and we had little or no influence in its plans for us. Trade must take second place to regaining our sovereignty. We will survive and prosper.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t you actually READ what Sir John writes, rather than trotting out your propaganda based on a complete ignorance of the facts? And if you aren’t prepared to do that, why not go to another website that reflects your own prejudices?

    • John Hatfield
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      We lose our place in the biggest transnational trade bloc the planet’s ever seen and a trade deficit of some €125 billion pa.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      not another obsessive…

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Len, What’s the point in remaining in “the biggest transnational trade bloc the planet’s ever seen” when it means :

      1) We have a trading deficit with this bloc of £100bn/YEAR and rising, evidencing membership is not working for us.

      2) We pay an ever increasingly large membership fee to the trading bloc to subsidise competitor nations’ infrastructure and corporates to move their factories out of the UK.

      3) We subject ourselves to laws and policies (trade, fiscal, taxation, energy, environmental, foreign, military, immigration etc.) made by people we cannot elect and cannot remove and whose decisions may well be detrimental to our economy.

      4) We lose our assets (fishing grounds)?

  11. GilesB
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The EU will benefit significantly from a trade deal given the deficit in goods, saving billions a year that the U.K. government would receive without a trade deal.

    Given the limited extent of the EU single market for services, deal or no deal makes little difference. The Financial Services industry seems well-prepared.

    The savings in paperwork are marginal.. Without a deal, there will be customs declarations. With a trade deal there will be rules of origin declarations. Either way there will be sanitary and phyto-sanitary checks at the border.

    Would there be any benefits to the U.K. from a trade deal?

    • DavidJ
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      No benefits that will not be paid for by giving over control to the EU. WTO is fine.

  12. Sakara Gold
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The balance of payments problem has been exacerbated by the recent lack of UK forward inward investment by foreign companies wishing to use the tax breaks on offer and our highly skilled workforce to manufacture products that can be exported from here into the EU.

    Nobody is going to make big investment decisions in the current climate of uncertainty over Brexit. The huge national debt, at £2 trillion now in excess of 100% of GDP, is a further disincentive to such companies investing here. Further QE is unlikely to force interest rates below zero here – and cannot stimulate an economy ravaged by the Chinese plague virus pandemic

    It looks like the global economy is now teetering on the edge of a financial cliff, where the next crash will not only wipe away hundreds of trillions in wealth and destroy confidence in central banks and fiat money, but abolish the voodoo “science” that is modern economics and which keeps people employed.

    As I have blogged here many times, buy gold.

    reply This site does not give investment advice

    • Dennis
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      If the global economy crashes won’t all those people having gold see their investment drop as they will be selling it in place of their devalued fiat currency which, having to sell it, will make the price of gold drop, perhaps crash?

      OK, I’m not an economist.

  13. Sharon
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    “The UK has been selling off foreign assets to pay the bills. In 2019 the UK sold £165bn of foreign assets.”

    This defies logic…why would anyone choose to belong to a club that meant selling off the family silver, furniture and all.

    Theses bods that are so keen to keep us in the EU at all costs – this statement of yours shows that no cost is too high. Why? They must have vested interests or the promise of something good. How selfish and irresponsible.

    I hate what our membership has done to this country and pray that Boris has the strength of character to do the right thing – for once!

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      But it doesn’t. France and Germany have both tightened their domestic laws relating to foreign investment and company ownership in 2020. The UK could do the same, but the UK government has chosen not to.

      For the majority of the last 30 years, that government has been John Redwood’s Conservative party. If you want someone to blame for the situation, blame the people who could have done something about it (John Redwood and the rest of his party) but have consistenly chosen not to.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        15 years out of 30 was Blair and Browns Labour administration.
        4 more was the lib dem conservative coalition.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

          Blair/Brown was 13 years not 15, and the coalition was still led by a Conservative Prime Minister. 27 years in Downing St out of the last 40, including the last 10. Plenty of opportunity for the Conservatives to do something about limiting foreign ownership of UK companies and industries, but they have consistently chosen not to, and I note that you are unable to argue against that point.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 9, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            Why limit ownership of companies in the world?
            That is usually done by undemocratic closed nations that impoverish their people.
            You are able to buy products property and shares in nearly every nation.
            You can own and operate a company in nearly every nation.
            It is a fundamental freedom.

          • NickC
            Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            Pete, Which Conservative Prime Minister led the coalition? I’d be interested to know. Personally, I could not tell the difference between Clegg and Cameron. I still can’t.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Yes..but you speak of OUR assets not politician’s PERSONAL assets.
      Think of Heath.
      EU compliance is very remunerative.
      And no one ever says a word.
      As I said before….Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell.
      Not hot enough by half!

    • Simeon
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      It is not just membership of the EU that is reponsible. It is the country, and certainly the state, living beyond its means. The US also has an appalling BoP, but it’s not part of the EU. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no doubt that being in the EU has been bad for democracy in this country (even if I don’t think democracy is a good idea in the first place); it has had an infantilising effect on our politicians, and in turn, the politicians have infantilised the population – who have been complicit in, and have even demanded, it; and it has been an overall negative for our economy, even if some have made off like bandits.

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Self-sufficiency is indeed the way forward and has been for many years despite the push for more globalisation. Global trade is great for the exotic but for the routine is like a catheter draining our country’s wealth.

    We have three conundrums on our journey to self sufficiency, 1) cost of production in this country which is linked to our 2) low productivity and finally 3) business’ concern for profit over the community. Our past trade barons built villages for their workforces to increase their own profits, our current titans negotiate short term bonus incentives while picking up a salary.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      NS which UK business titans are you accusing of our last sentence? JCB? BAE? John Lewis? Swire? I’m curious who you’ve looked into?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        A-tracey perm anyone from the FTSE 250 and tell me what they do long term and for their workforce

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          Out of the FTSE 250 companies which ones particularly are the size of the old ‘trade barons’ you talk about? This is your accusation not mine.

          I wouldn’t have thought building tied housing would be encouraged now, the boss owning your Home that you have to rent from them and never own it. Do you run your own company and hire people? Do you build houses for them?

          I suspect most of these companies pay Employer’s National Insurance for their employee’s, Class 1A NI, sort out their payroll taxes, pay at minimum NEST and possibly extra benefit packages; when you checked why businesses moved out of the UK because some of the businesses like Ford said we priced our workforce out compared to Turkey. Germany was protected from 1945 to the early 1990s with most others having to pay for the chaos they created in their two world wars plus cover the cost of the peacekeeping force nato. As a result the joke is transit sales have risen exponentially in the UK.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      The globalists want self sufficiency at a local level.
      They want the UK to “rewild”its farms. As in forests with deer etc.
      But mainly they want a world wide food cooperative.
      And we all know from history what happens next!
      Do MPs know. Do they know the plan? Do they remember the consequences in Russia, China, France?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      That was mere enlightened self interest ( captive and submissive workforce) plus the desire to emulate the declining squirearchy.
      Sunlight Village…Bourneville etc.
      Far better to live in your very own squalid hut.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        I agree. But people must stop relying on these big builders who rip people off especially using the government right to buy schemes putting the price of homes up much more than they would without the scheme as people just wouldn’t get the mortgages. They should never have sold Council Housing cheap and especially not to people who had lived in those houses on fully funded housing benefit for 18 years or more.

  15. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    Regaining control, as in really gaining control would allow the UK to prosper.

    Even with tariffs we are better off. If by the very fact the UK buys more from the EU than it is ‘permitted’ to sell to the EU, the UK’s tariff revenue would be greater than the tariff expenditure going the other way.

    The inhibitor to World trade is not the tariffs but the contrived regulatory hoops introduced to thwart trade. The EU has shown itself to be a master at these, their so-called standards are not there to benefit the consumer but to hinder imports. The main reason for this barrier is that under WTO rules they don’t get to charge what they like in tariffs.

    The EU always was and remains a protectionist block not a trading block.

  16. George Brooks.
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    And we can thank the Remainers for 5 more wasted years running our trade deficit up to a staggering level. Your diary today illustrates very clearly why the EU have been so uncooperative in the trade talks and will continue to be so until we close them down and concentrate on building our economy back up again.

    Remainers say tariffs will be a disaster. Yes, they will be for the German and French motor industry who will lose out to Japan with whom we have a trade deal. Spain, Holland, Denmark and Ireland will all suffer greatly as our farmers regain the home market.

    The list goes on but gets little mention in the media. End the talks, Boris, and let’s move forward

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Whatever happens now will be an anticlimax

    The imbalance of trade with the EU is but one foul effect of being tied to the EU. This diary has listed most of the others over the years

    Boris should be aware that he is living on borrowed time as PM — Any concessions he throws at the EU will make that time shorter.

    • steve
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris


      But to be honest, Bryan, even if Boris didn’t cave in to the EU, he’d still be on borrowed time.

      He’s just too dangerous to have in office, and nearly everyone in the land is less than happy with his talking to the EU and handling of covid.

      Just because Boris hasn’t yet sold us out doesn’t mean he won’t do so next year. He has to go now before he screws this country up for good.

  18. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Any clauses in any trade agreement with the EU is simply the lack of confidence and will-power in our own Government to govern.

    • bill brown
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink


      As we do not know what they will contain, you have no knowledge what they will contain, so you do write a lot of nonsense

      • steve
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        bill brown

        I take it you don’t play chess.

        • bill brown
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink


          Actually I do

      • NickC
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Bill, That’s untrue. We already mostly know what the deal will contain because the sticking points are so few.

  19. Tabulazero
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    In short, the UK has been relying for years on the kindness of strangers.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Who are the strangers Tabulazero the UK have been relying on? 😂

    • NickC
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Well, according to your fellow Remains, Tab, we have been run by Remain governments for 40+ years because the electorate is Remain, and has voted them in. That means we are a colony of the EU empire (viz: Verhofstadt’s staffers’ boasts) and have been relying on the kindness of strangers because of Remain policies.

  20. Mike Durrans
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    My sentiments entirely.

    I have always bought home grown from farm shops and eaten seasonal as the eu tasteless forced trash is not worth the money.

    Support the British Farmer NOW!

    You could also copy me and dont buy Eu goods either if you can find what you need from else where in the world .

    • steve
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Mike Durrans


      I stopped buying EU produce years ago. Recently stopped buying Irish foods as well after the Irish press insulted our country.

      Nothing wrong with home grown & seasonal food, in fact that’s how it used to be before the EEC.

      Personally I don’t mind paying extra for British produce. And I find it tastes better.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      I was looking for some good cheese today and bought British. It’s great. No more continental stuff for me.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Why is Boris Johnson scurrying over to Brussels today? Is it his Chamberlain moment? Does he have his piece of paper ready to brandish on his return?

    • NickC
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Brian, Regretfully many in the Tory party do not have principles – they do not understand that giving away sovereignty for mere trade violates both the UK’s independence, and the Leave vote.

  22. Mick
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I see Boris is off to the lions den and we all know how a pride of lions attack there victims, so I hope Boris as a big game hunter with him because they’ll come at him from all sides like they did with Thatcher, Major, Blair, Cameron and May , just walk now and trade on WTO

  23. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    We have a 29bn deficit in goods trade with Germany under the EU single market and a 8bn surplus in good trade with USA under WTO rules. The conclusion is obvious except to Remainers apparently.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, lets stop exporting the hundreds of billions worth to the European Union and increase that deficit to £29 +~400 billion, shall we Roy?

      • M P B
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        When I was first introduced to economics in school, we were taught to think on the basis of adjoining farms and their workers
        One farm sells a large share of its produce to neighbours, a very significant sum but in returns actually buys an even bigger amount of adjoining farms output.
        Given each farm can be self sufficient or buy necessary non produced items elsewhere, then a true fee market exists.
        Suddenly the farm next door doesn’t buy from us then we simply don’t buy from them, simple economics and basic morality.
        But farmers always keep to the code because nobody knows what tomorrow brings!
        Got it?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Silly assumption that all customers in Europe will suddenly refuse to buy anything from the UK
        Ridiculous idea.

  24. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Somehow I just can’t see Boris having enough gumption to deliver a real Brexit. The signs are there that he is weakening. It will be to our detriment and the shock of many other countries that he has gone against the will of the majority who voted for a clean break. Other sovereign nations will look at us abd be astounded that this potentially great country is going to continue to be under the thumb of France abd Germany. What a comedown. How dare he reduce us to virtial slaves.

  25. beresford
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Apparently Tier 2 pubs are now putting on live music as the ‘substantial meal’ nonsense doesn’t apply for alcohol served at a ‘concert’. I guess they could also run a darts contest and pretend to be a sports venue, or show a film (cinema). Other pubs have expressed concern at the amount of food they are having to throw away. Meanwhile in Tier 3, where even meticulously socially-distanced pubs can’t open, I am off to the Leisure Centre to do a group exercise class outdoors in winter because the government won’t let us use the spaced facilities which were created indoors at great expense. If I die of pneumonia, will I be logged as a ‘covid death’?

  26. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The single biggest mistake of Government has been to delay the wishes and request of the UK electorate for the last 4 years.

    The UK Government has been fudging playing semantics, simply because it was not accepting of the idea the UK should be governed by its own elected representatives. The government and the HoC were frightened that they would have to show their abilities and do some work. It was always easier to rubber stamp some one else’s directives.

    We should have just left EU, then negotiated any trade with them afterwards. That way everything would have been sorted years ago. That is still the best proposition today, leave on the 31st then talk about trade.

    But of course the UK and the EU are not negotiating a trade arrangement, that would be to easy, the talks are only about who rules, who’s laws and regulations and who is responsible for the governance of them. Something NO other country in the World has had to discuss to trade with the EU. Both China and the US sell individually significantly more to the EU than the UK, yet neither is obliged or required to submit to their rule at any level.

    • NickC
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Ian, An excellent analysis of where we are. Thank you.

  27. Wil Pretty
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    When I commenced working on the Food Industry in 1970, all the machinery in our factory was UK made.
    When I retired, none was.
    The UK manufacturers could not compete with Germany for quality nor Italy for price.
    Our manufacturing needs to be reborn.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Wil Pretty – that was to be expected. In the 1970s no Asian country and others had the skill to make those machines. They quickly learned and with lower wages, but good wages in those societies, a high waged society like the UK was finished.

      What can the UK make which can compete with China and others? Very little it seems.

    • steve
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      bill brown

      It does not break international law. Do not believe what the left wing BBC says.

    • steve
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Will Pretty

      “Our manufacturing needs to be reborn.”


      Indeed so. Only this time not for obscene profit but for the good and prestige of the country. Cheap labour must be abolished. If business owners don’t like the idea of making a comfortable living….they can bugger off elsewhere as far as I’m concerned. We have a country to rebuild and make as self sufficient as possible.

  28. None of the Above
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    It is right that the PM gives the EU every possible chance to see reality but I doubt that they will. I used to think that the EU were pragmatic, even if self serving (business is business).
    I am now convinced that they are a fanatical ideological organisation with little sense of reality outside there own echo chamber. I am glad that we have left.
    The EU is showing the signs and symptoms of the worst case of corporate ‘Group Think’ that I have ever witnessed.
    It now remains only that Boris should kick over the traces and tidy up the Statute Book.

  29. ukretired123
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Boris in Brussels is of deep concern as Yanis Varoufakis the Greek ex-Finance Minister warned how they will use unfair high-pressure tactics to get what they want. Boris is a wounded man after Cv19 and is not a details man.
    He will sell anything he comes back with as a success but folks around the country will be unconvinced and will punish the Conservatives sadly.
    He needs to come back and get them to come here instead and respect Sovereignty.

    • ukretired123
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      ‘foggy head’ is his get out of gaol card!

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Apparently in 2018 Boris said “If Donald Trump was negotiating Brexit, he would create chaos right at the start of negotiations”.
        The “madman” approach to make one’s enemies believe you would go to any lengths..
        Didn’t really work did it?

  30. Newmania
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The US is our largest single export market….
    Is it ?
    The USA Accounts for 15.5% of lour exports
    The EU accounts for 43%
    Sir John`s words might be better expressed as follows “ The US is not our largest single export market”
    BOP ..hilarity, many basic errors but lets just do one . Total net household wealth – including property, cash savings and shares, pensions and possessions– increased by 15% to £12.8tn in the two-year period ending in June 2016, ( O N S ) .So roughly, the UK increased out wealth by £750 billion a year ( that’s the capital stock) in that period .Our net sales of those capital £77 billion a year in the same period
    So even if we took John Redwood`s bizarre misrepresentation of the importance of Balance Of Payments his emergency is a fiction . The good news is t hat Johnny Foreigner owns less and less of the UK every year !
    As so often, I cannot help wondering if Sir John really believes his own posts .

    reply Yes the US is our largest single country partner market as the blog says, comparing US to Germany

  31. William Long
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I am afraid I view Boris’s trip to Brussels with a great deal of foreboding. If the Eurocrats had the same understanding of and respect for basic economics as you do, they would have settled long ago. The fact that they haven’t says it all.

  32. agricola
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Yes this we have known of for a long time Telling us only emphasises our inability to take things to a logical conclusion. In 2016 we gave government the tools to achieve a redress of this balance, but politicians have squandered the opportunity because their detached arrogance convinced themselves that they knew best. We now possibly have a government that respects the referendum, but at this point in time nothing is certain. They will not be forgiven should they fail to completely return our sovereignty, where our only attachment to the EU is a matter of geography.

  33. Alan Jutson
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    No point in speculating about anything until Boris has returned from Brussels, then we will have a better idea on what we can do, or be allowed to do.

  34. Lifelogic
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Charles Moore sound as usual today.

    “In BBC parlance, a “breakthrough” in EU negotiations always means agreement, regardless of whether what is agreed is any good for Britain. Thus a surrender can be hailed as a victory – and would be this week, even if (which seems highly unlikely) we gave away all our fish plus Northern Ireland.”

    Similarly with all the expensive energy and job destroying, green lunacy the BBC push endlessly. No more White Christmases from the Met office. About 20 years back we were told there would be no more skiing in Europe soon. Loads of snow currently in my favourite Italian resort alas we are not allowed to go.

  35. Andy
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Part of the reason for the huge trade deficit is that the EU (a large part of it) have an artificial currency that is undervalued. One size does not fit all and the various countries in the EuroZone require a currency that better reflects their economic situation. Using the Dollar as a yardstick the Euro should have a value for Greece of about 35 cents: for Germany a value of $2.35 would be more appropriate. At $1.20 the Euro gives Germany a huge competitive advantage. The Government, after 1st January, should apply a 10% Tariff to Cars but should also impose a 50% Anti-Dumping Duty of all EuroZone made Cars. By using this legal mechanism we could radically address the trade deficit. I also believe that the EU will lose its market for agricultural products because they are vastly overpriced.

  36. glen cullen
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Wise words Sir John wise words

    But do we have the PM, cabinet ministers and government to take up the opportunities

    I fear we’re going to be so bogged down complying with Boris’s green agenda that not things else will matter

  37. glen cullen
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    If our balance of payments was a KPI against MP salary things would change

    For too long MPs play with other peoples money without any consequence

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps one of the new parties will offer that glen, we will align MPs pay with KPIs lol.

  38. JoolsB
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Johnson needs to recruit you John to tour the airwaves to stress these facts to the public. All we hear from the remainers, politicians and media alike is doom and gloom about what a disaster everything will be if we don’t get a deal from food price increases and shortage of medicines to long queues of lorries at Dover. There is almost never anyone to counteract their claims. Instead of surrounding himself with a bunch of inexperienced incompetents, Johnson should be using your knowledge and experience and the handful of MPs like you to get out there and bang the drum about the wonderful opportunities which await us once completely free from the shackles of the EU.

    Your country needs you John!

  39. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    Just a few days after giving the French £28m to stop Migrants – – “several dozen” arrive on Monday, Nice how vague the figure is – considering the numbers of CV19 “patients” is exactly calculated daily from all over the UK.

    Plus – – on the radio this morning – all these people joyously waiting for their jab of “whatever juice” with one saying she was so excited she had her sleeves rolled up already – – “As it means I can go and hug my grandchildren”. REALLY? When did the govt announce that the jab frees us?

    Control chips on their way ( from China presumably? )

  40. formula57
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    “We need to regain market share in areas like food to reduce the deficit.” – agreed: food and energy security ought to drive trade policy.

    Despite the damaging refusal of the May the quisling Government to plan for post-Brexit, one trusts the Government now has well-developed plans.

  41. M P B
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Balance of payments liabilities to non UK suppliers are generally paid for at the customers bank in £ which is then sold to buy the currency used by the supplier. With EU Eurozone suppliers we buy Euro and given a 40 year trade deficit this weakens our currency and makes £ vulnerable.

    The UK Government with BoE support has allowed this to continue without presenting it as a concern or fact to voters.

    In 2019 the UK sold £165bn of foreign assets, but here’s the rub. These are not assets held by a wealthy nation, they are holdings of foreign currency, € and Polish Zloty for example, bought by the UK Government using funds generated from running continuous deficits. Borrowed money again, used to create an asset to support a deficit!

    As for the Investment Account, this deficit on income puts pressure on both £ and UK companies with no foreign earnings, ie the home marmet. It makes them less attractive to foreign and domestic investors.

    Leaving the EU tariffs behind and focusing on a trade policy based on reducing our multiple deficits, Government and Trade would be a start. Otherwise the great EU facilitated redistribution of voter wealth between member states will continue until £ no longer exists. Our standard of living will continue to fall, average wages falling in real terms against inflation with less and less disposable income.

    A large section of the public may well feel better off today with the reported additional circa £100 billion held by savers as a Covid windfall ready for a spending spree!! But how much will it ultimately cost the UK Government in terms of Foreign Assets or rather how much more will the Government have to borrow, but at least the € will benefit.
    This will not end well!

  42. ChrisS
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The government and civil service are always very poor at publicising what they are doing to improve our market position in trade around the world. Whether this is because they are doing very little or just keeping quiet is open to conjecture. The one exception is Liz Trust who is a very hard working minister and often appears on the media announcing progress over new trade deals..

    What we need is a published national strategy in all the areas you have mentioned above to improve our trade deficit. The farming and fishing industry then needs to be signed up to it and money and manpower can be allocated to deliver it. There still isn’t a published, joined-up plan to rebuild our fishing industry, is there ? Does one exist ? or is it being kept under wraps awaiting the outcome of the deal/no deal talks ? I sincerely hope it is the latter.

    Another example : we are very dependent on the Netherlands for cut flowers and plants, These are high-value products that could just as well be grown here – after all, the Dutch climate is hardly better than that of middle England and transport costs must be significant. I don’t confess to know what we need to expand this sector but greenhouses spring to mind. They can be built fairly quickly and would require no more than a small percentage of one month’s Brexit dividend to finance and erect.

    But we have no idea if there is a plan let alone know what the objectives are !

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Does Liz Truss have her own page on the Conservative Website listing her achievements as Minister? If not she should do, we shouldn’t have to rely on twitter people like Robert Kimbell or Jefferson_MFG.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Can I add we can’t trust the British media to give us any good news and trade progress we have to resort to twitter, that’s just sad.

  43. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Here is a nice compromise which I just read by the European Commission:

    “If that deal is not in place on January 1, then we have a no-deal situation. That does not exclude that negotiations can continue – from our side – and it does not exclude that we can continue on the basis of the mandate that is given to us.”

    This comes after, at least for the moment, the EU27 are not willing to change anything to Mr Barnier’s madate for negotiations, including red lines.

    • Heavensent
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes Peter- let’s ageee to disagree and pick up the pieces again in a year or two

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      This is what should have happened in 2016. David Cameron should have taken us straight out, without the WA, and we could have talked about a trade agreement at our leisure. Then we might have found we don’t really need one, as we don’t with our biggest partner, America.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        You are totally correct rose.
        Sadly the forces of Remain have conspired to stopus from leaving.
        Over 4 years now.

  44. miami.mode
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    When the Greek crisis emerged more than 10 years ago a well known columnist in a UK national newspaper pointed out that you should never ever underestimate the determination of the EU rulers to destroy the jobs and livelihoods of millions of its citizens in order to maintain the project.

    This still holds true today and should be a warning to Boris Johnson that he is dealing with fanatics.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      +1. The vested interests of bureaucrats and pressure groups win out over the interests of their citizens. As we saw with the EURO, ERM, CAP, fishing, daft energy policies, diesel cars, the spewing of red tape everywhere, OTT health and safely, OTT daft employment laws, landfill rules, carbon taxes, recycling lunacy, over taxation of supplies from outside the EU ……

    • Fred H
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink


    • Old Salt
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      + 1

  45. Ian
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    We only want to get the hell out,
    This talk years of more talk
    The hell with these stupid people, that is ours as well as there’s.
    We are perfectly with in our rights.
    Talk no longer

    • Heavensabove
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Ian you still don’t get it- we can’t stray too far away ’cause the next generation is going to rejoin

      • Sharon
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink


        I’m not so sure about the next generation wanting to rejoin – apparently the youngsters who weren’t quite old enough to vote in 2016 have been reading up and researching the EU. They don’t like what they see.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Even worse.
        We had a divorce …
        And this is the “remarriage”….

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        The next generation can’t rejoin, because they will never get debt to GDP ratio down to 60%, as required by the Maastricht Treaty.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 9, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          others were allowed to cheat and join.

  46. Grey Friar
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    So your message to British consumers is that you intend to use tariff policy to make things they wnt to buy which we do not produce in the UK more expensive. I wonder why you prefer not to say that openly?

    Reply No, I wish to make them cheaper by getting rid of EU tariffs!

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Amazing your failure to note the obvious, we will trade with the world as we do now, so no change to import costs except a reduction where eu tariffs are exorbitant, as they are on many non eu products that the eurocracy wish to make less competitive against their own nations products. Imports from the eu may be more expensive, but as we dont have to pay our annual bung then equivalent savings in our economy will compensate, and of course other suppliers from the real world will be able to offer alternatives at competitive prices. Win win.

  47. Arthur Wrightiss
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    If the EU was in negotiations with China for a free trade deal, would the EU deliberately disrespect China’s sovereignty and exclusive economic zone around their coast ?

    • Grey Friar
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      It certainly would not Arthur! That is because China is big and strong. So what does that tell you about how the UK is viewed nowadays?

      • NickC
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Grey, Indeed. And what does that tell you about the morality of the EU? – that it does what’s expedient rather than what’s right.

  48. Mark
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Net zero can only make our balance of payments worse. We urgently need to stop pursuing this unicorn that will kill off our export earning industry and leave us importing more goods that we will no longer produce.

  49. beresford
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    It is being reported that the EU have agreed not to interprete the WA as allowing them to blockade food supplies between mainland Britain and NI, and in return we have said we no longer need the controversial clauses of the IMB. If true this is a vindication of the IMB and a rebuttal of the hysterical Remoaners who were determined to let the EU point a loaded gun at our heads.

  50. bill brown
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    It ws so nice to see that the government has now decidedn ot to break international law on the WA treaty, by withdrawing parts of the Internal Market bill, that a lot of contributors defended on this blog so vigorously.

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      So nice to see NI being given away for nothing.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 9, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Gove needs to explain how he has kept Northern Ireland in a free and open the United Kingdom and only isolated Southern Ireland from our United Kingdom? If the EU want to check goods movements from Northern Ireland to Southern Ireland then there are dockets and digital trails to do this, it wouldn’t hurt to check the odd vehicle when you think it was Ireland that was shipping all those poor people that died in the back of one of their HGVs.

        I read something about Northern Ireland not being allowed meat products made in the RUK what is this? Northern Ireland manufacturing their own sausages etc from their local farms should be happening anyway shouldn’t it?

        Is this what HS2 is about and Boris Bridge, a way of the EU bypassing the United Kingdom to get their products into Southern Ireland.

    • ChrisS
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      We defended the clauses in the IMB because at the time they were a necessary safety measure. As the EU has, at least in this area, come to its senses, they are no longer needed. It is a vindication of the strategy of standing firm and not surrendering to bullying from Brussels.

      As long as Boris holds firm over, fishing and the so-called level playing field, they will also back down and realise that they need a TFA after all, but probably not until the some way into the new year.

    • NickC
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      That’s because your EU empire was trying to break up the UK, Bill.

  51. forthurst
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    One of the benefits of leaving the EU will be the cost savings arising from our no longer requiring large numbers of civil servants to oversee compliance with Brussels diktats. Telling our farmers and fishermen what they can and can’t provide in response to demand or telling local people that they must accept flooding in order to protect the molluscs lurking in stagnant pools will no longer be required. This gives rise to another problem: what will all those civil servants with Arts degrees and therefore no useful skills do? A programme of skilling will be required bearing in mind the ability levels of such people:
    harvesting vegetables and gutting fish might be suitable, useful jobs that add value to the economy.

    • Fernando Ferreira
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Dear Forthurst,

      Please send all those hated HMG civil servants to fill the new pristine 50,000 HMRC border agent vacancies: you’ll need them on the job next 1 January 2021!!
      Have a nice Brexit, and don’t forget: the EU is about to leave forever the Glorious UK Single Market and Customs Union…

      With my very best regards,

      Fernando Ferreira

  52. John Hatfield
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I wish you were in the Cabinet John, preferably Prime Minister.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      JH – I don’t know about that. If he , as PM, would be like he is here he would not like to answer interesting and pertinent questions so no much chance of change.

  53. Alan Paul Joyce
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    All the pieces of the puzzle seem to be clicking nicely into place ready for Boris to visit Brussels and declare Brexit done. Except it’s BRINO.

    We are being played for fools yet again by your party.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Upon Boris’s return –
      ‘My good friends, for the third time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany (Brussels) bringing peace with honour (EU deal). I believe it is “peace for our time”. (BRINO) ‘

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Seems – so just as I expected.

  54. John Davis
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I do sometimes wonder how much we should be charging the EU for access to our market…

    • Old Salt
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      + 1

  55. Everhopeful
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Why does Hancock keep crying??
    It’s poor old Joe Public that should be crying!
    But we just have to soldier on….

    • Fred H
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      He’s trying and failing to pretend to be clever and representing a ‘wonderful’ government. Most of us would be in tears.

  56. glen cullen
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Your speech today Sir John and that of Sammy Wilson MP were both succinct and informative

    The behaviour of our government today is positivity undemocratic

    Sir John I despair

    • ukretired123
      Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Agreed Sir John has the courage from conviction to stand up for the UK and face down MPs and Labour etc supporting the EU rather than the voters! Basic sense.

  57. Barbara
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I have heard a lot about what our concessions are – nothing at all about theirs. If, indeed, there are any.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 9, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      we’ve tried and tried to undo the ropes tying us to them. Better to just cut them.

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an idea. Why don’t we jack up our WTO tariffs and then negotiate trade deals with everybody else except the EU? That would be WTO compliant and teach the European Commission a sharp lesson.

    We could go further and express our willingness to do trade deals with individual Member States willing to defy the EC.

  59. rose
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Is it as bad as it looks? The BBC is crowing that Northern Ireland is now in the CU and the SM. Has Gove given her away altogether? I never trusted Gove on NI.

  60. a-tracy
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Is it true that Gove said this ‘Ireland will enjoy the best of both worlds: access to the EU single market and at the same time unfettered access to the rest of the UK market.”?

    How much is this costing Ireland this unfettered access to the UK Market? Your party are treating us like mugs. They are behaving appallingly to the English, if you keep walking all over us to provide extra perks and benefits to the other nations in the Dis-united Kingdom that Blair and Labour created then don’t be surprised when things start to change in England as they did in Scotland to end Labour up there.

  61. GeorgeP
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I doubt the the UK’s new Global Tariff is much different to the EU’s Common External Tariff to be honest. Tweaked here and there and a few simplifications but that’s it. Under the UK’s Global Tariff, oranges will attract a tariff of 12%. Why? Could it be that the trade deal has been done and we have been told that we cannot lower or abolish tariffs that protect EU producers from competition abroad?

  62. dazed not confused
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Brexit has been achieved more or less by Redwood and Farage ( like him or not ) and an overwhelming number of voters.
    Time to look now at the more pressing subject of The Great Reset.
    Everyone needs to share information on this.
    Open discussion. Pros and cons.

  63. glen cullen
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    The Tories never really closed the door on remaining in the EU and BRINO – and that’s been the problem since the referendum

    And now Boris showing his true colours

  64. XY
    Posted December 9, 2020 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Yes indeed. The EU’s bleating that we are asking for tariff-free access to THEIR market is a joke. And one which we never seem to pull them up on, our politicians let them spout rubbish and make threats without firing back.

    With the trade deficit as it is with the EU, allowing them a FTA with tariff-free access is ridiculous – and expecting us to “make concessions” (aka give up our sovereignty) is adding insult to injury.

    I am praying for WTO. If the PM and team get us out on WTO terms, making the EU obviously having failed to negotiate in good faith and being able to show that we did so… that would actually be a good outcome.

    However, we’ve been here before with May. I won’t believe it until it’s done.

    And even then… the next pro-remain (or pro-rejoin) government may be the next thing to worry about. The EU may even be waiting for that to happen before signing a full FTA with us, hoping that someone will be in charge who will capitulate as may did – there are plenty of candidates in the current crop of MPs.

    Why on Earth are our politicians so economically-illiterate or self-serving that they continually drive us towards the EU? It’s the worst thing we could possibly do. Is it that they want EU jobs in future? Are they really prepare to put self over country to that extent? I’d be interested in your views – perhaps a piece on “remainer motivations”?

  65. a-tracy
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    With the trade deficit and so many HGV’s arriving by Ferry and through the Tunnel fully laden into Kent that are foreign-registered, who then have reduced rates for deliveries going back into Europe through low empty van return load charges, just how many British owned trucks go across to Europe each day in comparison to foreign-registered trucks?

    How many EU trucks on driving on British roads each day, compared to UK registered trucks on EU roads that pay tolls to travel in those countries?

    I read today that the EU is wanting to conflate road traffic with fishing, won’t that damage their journeys full of their produce on our roads more as we import more than we export?

  • 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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