What are state aids?

One of the central stumbling blocks of the negotiations between the UK and the EU is said to be the issue of state aids. The EU has this idea that they can define and enforce a so called level playing field, though it usually looks more like a playing field that has been carefully prepared for the EU Home team to have an advantage.

Some seem to think it strange this apparently technical middle order issue has got in the way. They misunderstand just what the EU thinks state aid amounts to, or how far they think the playing field turf extends. The EU has long argued that most policies have a bearing on their single market, and that many policies can therefore be a state aid. Their single market stretches from trade policy to education and training, from employment policy to taxation, from energy to transport, from competition policy to digital policy. The market includes a heavily interventionist agricultural and fishing policy.

Their idea of state aid goes well beyond the payment of grants to businesses to help them be more competitive. It encompasses taxes, both the lower variety to boost something and the higher variety to stop something or keep it out. It includes wages and minimum wage policy, social support, route licencing, farm subsidies, product specifications and much else.

So when the EU says it needs to lock us in to prevent the UK gaining any competitive advantage from choosing better policies, it does so knowing that means wide ranging powers to limit the ability of the UK to govern itself. The EU has implied they might make some sacrifice of their requirement that the UK should accept the need to change its laws in many areas every time the EU does to avoid future undercutting. That would still leave a mighty planoply of powers and policies where the UK would have to observe all EU law at the point of departure.

The whole point of leaving the EU is to levy our own taxes, make our own laws, and create a better background for UK business and consumers. The UK government has said it has no wish nor intent to cut employment or environmental standards, but it should be wanting to change the rules of our fishing and agricultural policies, taking down some EU taxes, and looking at ways to foster more employment at home in making and growing things. This is why it is proving so difficult to negotiate, because the EU wants far more than a Free Trade Agreement. It wants control over our competitiveness and law making.

356 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    December 16, 2020

    “The whole point of leaving the EU is to levy our own taxes, make our own laws, and create a better background for UK business and consumers. The UK government has said it has no wish nor intent to cut employment”: – well we have rather a lot of unemployment now thanks to their absurd over reaction to covid more than Gordon Brown’s 2008 bank Boom and Bust. Yet they have not even really got going on their net zero carbon/expensive unreliable energy agenda or this doubtless appalling EU treaty that Boris clearly about sign up to.

    1. Everhopeful
      December 16, 2020

      Isn’t he already totally hamstrung by the Withdrawal thing he signed and everyone is very quiet about now?
      Fancy having to wonder whether your government is lying?

      1. Hope
        December 16, 2020

        Currently 4.9% unemployment and 14.6% unemployment for under 25s. This alone means Fake Tories are toast by 2024 as the position will get worse when furlough ends. Thismslf i flicting harm was caused by Johnson and his Govt. Not some inanimate virus no worse than a bad season of flu. Johnson decided to wreack havoc on the economy that would take generations to pay back. The same generation that is currently suffering high unemployment and it will become more severe.

        We saw at outset of pandemic every one of EU countries were for themselves including state aid and locking down borders! Action by commission, none. Did they all help each other for PPE even when Italy begged for help, no.

        And now Johnson is talking to EU about locking the U.K. to the EU state aid rule book! Has Germany ever been punished for breaking budget surplus rules? What happened when Greece was given a punishment beating by the EU?

        Any discussions are farcical based on history of EU. Johnson will need every tool in his tool box over the next few years including state aid for the unnecessary economic mess he has made.

    2. Hope
      December 16, 2020

      JR, explain to us what Gove announced last week in parliament and his answers to Liam Fox and Richard Drax MPs.

      Correct me if I am wrong. He said the WA and NIP applies whether there is a deal or no deal. He said EU acquis applies. ECJ applies. It does not just apply to N.Ireland but to any company that trades there. He said EU officials will be on U.K. Soil to monitor goods travelling across our own country. He tried to make it sound less important by saying “light touch” inspections. EU State aid applies to those U.K. Companies trading in N.Ireland.

      EU have the right to demand billions form the U.K. For leaving at amounts and at times it states, failure ECJ will arbitrate. This is not leaving at all. You voted for this!

      Germany did not/ does not have EU inspectors on its soil when the Berlin Wall came down. Germany allowed to get most of its energy from Russia when Germany fails to pay its “commitments” to NATO to protect it from Russia! Germany gave Greece a punishment beating and the rest of the EU countries watched! German led EU changed Italian govt with EU bureaucrats. Again, EU countries watched!

      So what are you writing about today? Your party and govt have already capitulated and betrayed the nation.

      The Fake negotiation is about how much of a beating the Fake Tory Govt will be able to Con its population to,accepting deform the EU!

      The truth please.

      1. margaret howard
        December 18, 2020

        Hope

        “The truth please.”

        With all the red herrings you have posted above you seem to find it difficult yourself to grasp a truth.

    3. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      +1

      Agree with the EU on anything is to cripple our economy and way of life going forward.

    4. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      European Union laws have very little impact upon taxation other than on VAT.

      Its laws generally are almost entirely limited to common sense consensus matters in uncontroversial areas by treaty in any case.

      However, to the puritanical absolutists, any law whatsoever, in which “foreigners” – as they call our kindred fellow Europeans – might have had a hand induces apoplexy, it appears.

      (The basis of our property law is French, from the Roman, incidentally. Take slow, deep breaths…)

      1. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Martin, Complete tosh. The TEU and TFEU are not “common sense” matters in “uncontroversial areas”, they are treaties that ride roughshod over the sovereignty of the EU’s sub-states. As the vote on the EU Constitution showed.

        And the Regulations, Directives, and Decisions, are neither common sense, nor uncontroversial, nor in many cases a consensus, and are certainly not treaties agreed by sovereign equals.

        You insist on calling “absolutist” the position of most of the rest of the world – 165 other countries. None of which would allow the EU to impose its laws on them, and certainly not new EU laws on them. Which is all Leaves expect.

        Hence there is nothing remotely “puritanical” about not being controlled by the EU. And what you appear to mean by your “absolutist” jibe is to have principles – the principles of obeying a legal national vote, of losers’ consent, and of refusing to change the definitions of the options after the vote.

      2. Mike Wilson
        December 16, 2020

        A ‘foreigner’ is someone who was not born in this country. I think it is reasonable to add ‘and who doesn’t live in this country’.

        My mum was born in Ireland and lived here from the age of 16 until she died. I have never thought of her as a foreigner.

        You seem to want to imbue the word ‘foreigner’ with some unpleasant connotations. It is a simple fact that people born and living in the countries in the EU are foreigners and I, for one, do not want them to have a say in governing this country. Notwithstanding the FACT they are foreigners, I regard them as ‘kindred’ people. I do not regard them as ‘kindred fellow Europeans’ because I don’t consider myself to be European. Europe is a continent. Asia is a continent. There isn’t a ‘European’ identity any more than there is an ‘Asian’ identity. Why not go the whole hog and have a ‘Global’ identity?

  2. Nigl
    December 16, 2020

    I trust you alleged meeting at No 10 went well. Please ensure we are not conned by the usual headline BS only to find the detail Sats its lies.

    Theresa May’s blatant dissembling springs to mind.

    1. Andy
      December 16, 2020

      Journalists have been briefed that ‘the Eueosceptics will be happy’. Unlikely. They have not been happy for 40 years.

      1. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        I have yet to see you happy, Andy. You are usually whining or engaging in (most often ageist) bigotry. That is when you are not threatening to steal from people, or to jail them, for their temerity in disagreeing with you. Other than that you just want the UK to disappear and become regions of a corrupt, undemocratic empire – hardly a happy prospect.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      Well Boris is surely better than Theres May (indeed who would not be?) but it will probably not be that dissimilar in its betrayal of a real Brexit

    3. Hope
      December 16, 2020

      The Lancaster speech was in line with leaving the EU. The Florence speech was about remaining as an associate member and backtracking on the first speech. It was clear to everyone. EU bragging it helped write the speech!

      JR and the others should have done everything possible to shame her and oust her. Johnson recently gave some those key players who betrayed the public mandate titles!

      At least May had the gumption to highlight in parliament the Govt’s Fake graphs and charts were produced to justify the policy decision. This continues. The current fake figures and charts after NINE months. She could identify this sort of practice from her own treachery.

    4. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      John’s piece illustrates yet another reason why having voted Leave is self-harming madness.

      Is any treaty with a large powerful entity by a lesser power generally even-handed?

      Take the UK’s extradition one with the US, for instance?

      Actually, I don’t think that the European Union is pressing the advantage – it is simply in a position to say that it will not derogate from its undertakings with the twenty-seven and to mean it.

      Now there’s a refreshing change.

      1. Billy Elliott
        December 16, 2020

        Yes Martin I 100 % agree with you what it comes to EU’s position.
        There seem to be many who thought that these negotiations would be between two equal entities. Clearly they are not.
        All talk about “EU not respecting our sovregnity” etc. may well be justified. But it doesen’t change the fact that EU is larger and more powerful entity as you mentioned.
        That is just how the world works.

      2. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Martin, Until you (or Andy) can say why protecting our independence from EU depredations is “self-harming madness” for the UK, but not for the other 165 countries in the rest of the world, you haven’t a leg to stand on.

        1. Grey Friar
          December 17, 2020

          Because we do almost half of our export trade with the EU, the other 165 countries do not. Because we are completely surrounded by EU states, the other 165 countries are not (except a few like Switz, Norway, which anyway follow EU law). Because as a European country we get to enjoy the huge benefits of cooperating with other European countries to create the world’s biggest and best trade bloc, which most of the other 165 countries look at enviously

          1. Edward2
            December 17, 2020

            The two nations that import the most into the EU are China and America.
            Both are not EU members and both are many thousands of miles away from Europe.

          2. NickC
            December 17, 2020

            Grey, Neither trade nor proximity are cause, nor even reasons, for us to forfeit our independence. Otherwise the EU must take over Russia, and Canada would absorb the USA. The bedrock of peace in the world is a respect for borders, sovereignty, and self-determination. And those principles come way above the EU’s petty desire for power based on bullying a neighbour using trade as a weapon.

          3. Lynn Atkinson
            December 17, 2020

            Funny that argument was not deployed when the EU states were entirely surrounded by the British Empire.
            Our export to the EU is 4% of our total trade.

      3. Mike Wilson
        December 16, 2020

        it is simply in a position to say that it will not derogate from its undertakings with the twenty-seven and to mean it.

        Now there’s a refreshing change.

        Indeed it is. If only Boris would not derogate from his undertakings and meant what he said. That, as you say, would be a refreshing change.

        Incidentally, the EU is not a ‘large, powerful entity’.

  3. Fedupsoutherner
    December 16, 2020

    I can’t help wondering why we had a vote in the first place when it would appear some in government have no intention of really leaving the EU. If Boris signs up to a deal it will be forever. This country will never be truly free. The EU will make sure we never prosper. Is it because this government abd indeed a Labour government are incapable of running our country without holding the EU’s hand? Boris is on the verge of making us slaves and the rest of the free world will wonder what the hell is going on. There is much anger out here John. Once again we see hiw out of touch politicians are with the electorate. We were given a choice but once again we get kicked in tge teeth while the political elite do what suits them. It makes my choice at the next GE really easy.

    1. Andy
      December 16, 2020

      You have left the EU. You are still moaning.

      Vote Leave promised that after leaving we would have a new deal with the EU which is better than EU membership. They lied to you. Am wondering when you will figure that out.

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Who said we would have a new deal with the EU that was better than EU membership?
        You say they lied to us.
        Who was it then andy?

      2. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Who currently controls our fish, Andy? That’s right, the EU. Which court remains the top court in the land? That’s right, the CJEU. And so on. We have not left. The EU has almost the same control over the UK as it did in 2016. Still, I suppose Remain ignorance is normal.

      3. Fedupsoutherner
        December 16, 2020

        It’s only a bad offer because of remainers like yourself who have let the EU know we will roll over and accept any deal. If our ministers and some short sighted people could find a bit of courage we could go far. People like you hold this country back. How come you aren’t living in France yet? You love it so much. You’ve had plenty of opportunity but you can’t find the gumption to go.

      4. Mike Wilson
        December 16, 2020

        You have left the EU. You are still moaning.

        We haven’t actually left yet. But you know that. We are still in the transition period where everything is the same. So, we have the right to moan about what leaving will actually look like.

        Vote Leave promised that after leaving we would have a new deal with the EU which is better than EU membership. They lied to you. Am wondering when you will figure that out.

        The EU don’t want a deal. We couldn’t foresee the lengths they would go to in an attempt to make sure no other country leaves the fold.

        Never forget that Macron thinks the French would vote to leave given the chance.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      We got the Vote from “call me Dave Cameron”, but ‘only’ because he foolishly though he would win it. As I recall he promised to stay on, serve the second 50 notice the next day and deliver the result. But the cast rubber captain just abandoned ship. Needless to say he, the government and the civil service did not even bother to do any real preparation for a Brexit outcome. An act of gross negligence.

      In a war a military leader might perhaps have been shot for such negligence and dishonesty.

      1. Hope
        December 16, 2020

        Pure cowardice.

    3. Everhopeful
      December 16, 2020

      No Referendum = power to the right wing and UKIP.
      The BNP was very anti EU…so rid of them they had to be! Used UKIP for the ridding?
      Then post Ref…the bizarre demise of UKIP.

      So..promise the sheeple what they think they want and then make a plan.
      APPEAR to deliver the democratic goods but paddle like a swan beneath the surface in order to do anything but.

      Meanwhile 2 million commies have infiltrated western companies and academia.

      1. Martin in Cardiff
        December 16, 2020

        You really must grow out of this silliness of calling anyone who is not a right-wing fanatic a “commie”.

        1. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          After you stop calling anyone who voted to leave the EU or voted Conservative at the last election in dreadful abusive terms.
          After you Martin.

    4. Old Salt
      December 16, 2020

      Fedup-
      “It makes my choice at the next GE really easy.”
      Meanwhile the EU looks like getting their way for ever and a day with their new leather bound Treaty signed last year. Effectively BRINO with no MEP representation along with unknown payments. We may as well not have bothered also bearing in mind all the obstacles being put in our way of trade with the rest of the world.

    5. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Fedupsoutherner, I completely agree. There is nothing stopping us from being completely independent of the EU except our Remain civil service, and politicians afraid to make decisions without the EU to hold their hands. Our establishment is barking, as well as devious and dishonest. Why trust any vote from now on? We will not know which will be honoured and which will not.

    6. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      Government and a big chunk of the HoC is still fighting and manipulation the people that lent them our Freedom and Sovereignty.

    7. Timaction
      December 16, 2020

      They think we’re all stupid and believe the headline from the MSM. Not any more. We all look at the small print after 30 years of lying duopoly since Thatcher.

    8. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      Just think through what you mean by “really leaving” the European Union.

      Because it seems to me that you are dreaming of the UK’s being transported to another universe, where it had never existed, and the UK had instead developed a strong independent economy without it for the last forty-three years.

      Now please try to be reasonable and be honest.

      That isn’t possible, is it?

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Again you make up aspirations and requirements of those who voted leave.
        Just to be a citizen of an independent UK is all I require.

        Nations all over the world have fought and died to achieve that simple desire and many on the left of politics have stood side by side with those who struggled towards that ambition.

        Yet now here in the UK the left are totally opposed to the UK achieving independence.

      2. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        It is perfectly possible for the UK to be independent of the EU, Martin. Just as much as the 165 countries in the rest of the world. And it’s almost forty eight years of subjugation, not your “forty-three years”.

        So you be honest for a change and tell us why the UK – uniquely amongst all the other countries in the world – cannot be independent? What, in your estimation, is so reprehensible about the UK that we need to be ruled by the empire you idolise?

      3. Fedupsoutherner
        December 16, 2020

        Your comments are so stupid I can’t think why I’m bothering to reply.

  4. DOM
    December 16, 2020

    ‘and what there is NO confusion about’

  5. Lifelogic
    December 16, 2020

    Still some good news the government has finally abandoned “unconscious bias” training for civil servants. Any sensible employee forced to do this by their employer would surely resign.

    Indeed it would be a good plan for government to fire any staff who accept going on such a course and retain just those sensible employees who regard it as offensive and refuse to go.

    So looking at all cause mortality (without covid19) it is down, despite months of much reduced access to the NHS in other areas. The Covid death figures are very clearly very wrong and even innumerate PPE grad Matt Hancock must now this. Driven by fraudulent mass PCR testing with many false positive for political reasons.

    See Twitter Mike Yeardly, Dr Claire Craig and Joel Smalley, it is very clear what is really going on and what the liars in government are doing.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      Even Hancock must now know this.

      1. Everhopeful
        December 16, 2020

        Prob why he cries all the time?
        But why are they doing this?
        To implement The Great Reset?
        To impose authoritarian rule?
        To have a Bullingdon-club style chuckle at all us mugs? Custard pie lobbing.
        To do as they are told by the global elite?
        To boost big pharma?
        To create jobs for their mates?
        WHY?

        1. Everhopeful
          December 16, 2020

          Oh..or is a reset genuinely necessary because of the elite’s flagging wealth ops and the b awful mess they have got the economy into?
          The poor things need new income streams.
          Apparently for years now they have been lamenting the fact that new drugs (£££) are very difficult to “discover”. All inventables had been invented!
          Jiggery Greenery Pokery not to mention Hocus!

    2. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Lifelogic, The covid19 deaths are counted if covid19 is mentioned anywhere in parts 1a, 1b, 1c, (and possibly part 2 as well – the criteria are unclear) on the death certificate. It need not have caused the death. And in many cases it hasn’t. Which is why the ONS states the deaths as “involving” covid19.

      Perhaps JR can ask the government/ONS to compile extra stats which show covid19 as the only cause of death (ie covid19 specified in part 1a on the death certificate). But I guess the government would be too embarrassed to do that.

    3. Andy
      December 16, 2020

      Let me guess. Not only have you never been on unconscious bias training, but everything you know about it is gleaned from the Daily Mail or, worse, The Telegraph.

      Suffice to say unconscious bias training is not what you think it is. It is not about stopping people from being racist or sexist or homophobic.

      It is about showing you how you think and, in that, it is really quite useful. Genuinely I would urge you to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try it. You might learn something about yourself. I was a sceptic about it too but, actually, I found it quite revealing.

      1. thoughtless
        December 16, 2020

        “showing you how to think ”
        That sounds interesting.
        Who compiles the handouts for the
        “showing you how to think ” sesssions ?

      2. proof reader
        December 16, 2020

        to became you !
        Whose writing the Andy posts ?

      3. patterns
        December 16, 2020

        You can tell a lot from the written word.
        Age, gender, truthfulness, duplicity.
        Not everyone is able to do it though.
        You can tell even more from peoples speech
        and faces.

      4. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        If it is unconscious bias how can you prove someone has it and how can someone know if they have it?
        Presumably the person running the training course is unconscious bias free.
        Do they have a certificate to prove it?

        PS
        It failed to stop your hatred of old people.

      5. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        You? Never! A sceptic about the latest woke institutional fad?? Impossible!!

        Anyone telling me “how to think”, is actually telling me how they think. It may be useful to know the other person’s biases, but it isn’t about greater lucidity or rationality.

      6. rose
        December 16, 2020

        You should take a glance a the new woke Mail and Telegraph some time.

    4. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      Even better news is that Joe Biden has been acknowledged by the Republican leader of the Senate majority as the President Elect.

      Let’s hope that this destructive fantastical nonsense from the Trump camp will peter out now.

      It’s good that the UK is now faced with a stable, coherent consensus between the US and the European Union.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        December 16, 2020

        Deny us honest elections and you have to accept that the majority will get their way anyway.
        Your choice.

      2. rose
        December 16, 2020

        The unfortunate Senator to whom it fell to congratulate the fraudster, kept his eyes downcast and his voice low. His manner was perfunctory and it was obviously something which had to be got over with, as just a step in the process, but not the last.

    5. Stephen Priest
      December 16, 2020

      The media must Stop this pro lockdown nonsense. Actions speak louder that words. Beth Rigby and Kay Burley have demonstrated clearly that the entire media and political class know the The Corona hysteria is a load of nonsense.

      Dr JOHN LEE saw through the nonsense early on. He was once allowed to write in the Spectator.

      The clampdown that is just bureaucratic insanity: Dr JOHN LEE argues that putting London into Tier 3 lockdown could cripple the capital

      daily mail

    6. Zorro
      December 16, 2020

      I recommend Sucharit Bhakdi ‘Corona False Alarm?’ – one of the early prophets who identified the overblown reaction to COVID 19.

      Zorro

    7. DaveK
      December 16, 2020

      Do you think the armed services should be sacked?

  6. Nigl
    December 16, 2020

    Ps. I see the EU are looking to punish big Tech and almost at the same time Facebook announces it will switch users to ‘California outside the EUs jurisdiction.

    Anti American, anti big tech, anti competition, inward looking.

    I see a French worker was awarded €70k Having decided to return to work after a three years sabbatical, unsurprisingly his job had disappeared and he sued for loss ‘of face’ because what he was offered was unacceptable. Equally another worker was awarded a large amount because his company didn’t negotiate correctly his rights re turning his phone off out of work hours.

    Do we really want to be tied to this crap. I think not.

    1. Andy
      December 16, 2020

      You don’t because you are retired. For you the handouts from the state continue without having to lift a finger.

      But inability to escape from work is a real problem for many. When you were at work – I suspect, like most contributors here you’ve barely been near a work place in the last decade – it was easy for your day to finish when you left the office or factory. Not now. Your work is in your pocket. People can, and do, ping work emails every hour of the day and night and some employers expect them answered.

      As for Facebook etc – the EU is right to take on the tech giants. Congress is starting to flex its muscles too. Nobody objects to big, successful, companies. But sometimes companies become too big and too dominant and that is dangerous. Amazon and Apple and Google and Facebook all need breaking up. Hard rain is coming.

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Try living on the State pension andy.
        Most retired people paid in 30 plus years of NI contributions and at the same time contributed into another private pension.
        This income is taxed just like any income is.
        By retiring we are freeing up good jobs for youngsters like you.
        But I, like many oldies on here still work.

        1. Mike Wilson
          December 17, 2020

          48 years of paying in.

      2. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Andy, Unlike you I do not begrudge state pensioners their small pension – they’ve earned it through contributing to others all their working lives, including to previous generations of pensioners.

        But, as usual, you bigotry leads you astray. Young people are subsidised for 18 years (c50% for 21 years). But a state pensioner is only subsidised for 15 years (66 to average mortality of 81).

        1. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          Excellent point Nick.

        2. Lynn Atkinson
          December 17, 2020

          Young people have made no contribution to their subsidy. Old people have funded their own ‘subsidy’. They paid in good £‘ s and receive confetti.

    2. Mike Durrans
      December 16, 2020

      ++1

    3. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      No, but much of it is homegrown crap too.

    4. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      Great for parasitic lawyers, HR advisors and the likes. But makes everyone else and the country worse off.

    5. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      Employment law in the UK was always sovereign while a member country, as it is in the others.

      Only health and safety – where it overlaps – is shared.

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Wrong
        The EU imposed laws on many areas that affected our of Employment laws.

      2. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Rubbish, Martin. Most EU employment law is in the form of Directives which member states are obliged to adopt into national law. And it mainly derives from the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty. So employment law is not sovereign.

        1. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          Correct again Nick

    6. rose
      December 16, 2020

      But the EU isn’t a bit concerned about Big Tech’s censorship during and after the American election. There was major electoral interference. It is getting more and more like China in California and it is affecting all of us. Now, on top of not having been allowed to mention the laptop from hell, which the MSM are now reporting, we aren’t even allowed to refer to the electoral fraud and corruption, and more and more distinguished people are having their accounts shut down.

  7. Simeon
    December 16, 2020

    So, if you understand the EU’s position, then can we assume that the UK government also understands it? After all, you will have informed them of this fact, even if those in government hadn’t worked this out for themselves. And yet ‘negotiations’ are ongoing, and an agreement will be announced sooner or later – despite the fundamental truth that the EU won’t, because it can’t, compromise the integrity of the Single Market – a truth that has been there from the very beginning.

    You were obviously especially busy yesterday. Were you in meetings concerned with Brexit, or meetings concerned with the virus response? Either way, I very much hope the meetings were fruitful.

    1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      December 16, 2020

      Long gone are the days that leave campaigners like Nigel Farage held up the examples of Norway and Switzerland as shining examples of prosperity outside the EU.

      These totally sovereign countries understood that any access to OUR single market was not determined in Oslo or Bern but in Brussels. And now the sovereign UK has to understand that as well. It is free to go for WTO terms, and accept the damage.
      Brexit was/is the UK decision.
      However, having a mutual defence procedure against unfair competition in the UK market and the continental market should not be a difficult sovereign decision for the UK either. Believing in fairytales (like millions of Americans still believe their president has been cheated out of office) isn’t helpful.

      1. Billy Elliott
        December 16, 2020

        I have forgotten this. Did Nigel Farage really point to Norway and Switzerland as succesful examples outside EU? I mean both are in diffrent postion than UK but especially Norway with it’s oil and oil fund worth 1 trillion USD.

        However both have agreed to deal with Brussels in order to access single market.

        1. Peter van LEEUWEN
          December 16, 2020

          There are loads of youtube videos if you use keywords Farage and Norway and go to 2015 or before.
          A nice collection could be foud here:
          The Norwegian Option and the incredible ‘Leave EU’ lie machine

          1. Edward2
            December 16, 2020

            Yet the EU doesn’t demand similar rules are followed from their two biggest importers China and America.

          2. Lynn Atkinson
            December 17, 2020

            You should read the speech made by Jan Myrdal, whose parents were both Nobel Prize winners, at our 1990s Oxford Conferences. He was vehemently anti-EU, a lifelong Socialist. The transcript is on our website Freenations.
            He preempts your ‘arguments’ and hits you out of the park.

      2. Lynn Atkinson
        December 16, 2020

        We don’t want access to your market. We will not be buying mush EU produce either. If we do not get the clean Brexit we voted for democratically, we will get it anyway.
        You British politicians have been warned.

      3. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        PvL, Access to your single market is determined at the WTO, not Brussels. Tariffs are determined by Brussels. Likewise your access to our single market is assured by mutual respect for the WTO rules, but our tariffs will be in our power after we Leave.

        Norway and Switzerland were certainly held up as shining examples of prosperity outside the EU, but never as the ultimate aim for eurosceptics and Leaves – even Dr Richard North only promoted EFTA as an interim stopgap.

      4. rose
        December 16, 2020

        I thought the subjects and citizens of those two countries voted not to be in the EU and their politicians then did the dirty on them, putting them in the Schengen area and in the Single Market.

      5. Simeon
        December 16, 2020

        It is fair to say that detail is not Nigel Farage’s strength. Your criticism of him is perfectly fair.

        Your point about there being damage to the UK in the event that the WTO route was taken is fair in a limited way; short-term economic damage to certain sectors was inevitable, even as opportunties arose for other sectors. The net effect initially would inevitably have been negative, but in the medium- to long-term, the prospect of economic success was very real. Politically, however, the damage is done when the expressed will of the people in a free and democratic vote is subverted, and this damage far outweighs any economic damage, and indeed risks economic harm in and of itself.

        Your comment about believing in fairy tales might also be fair, depending on whom you are accusing. But this all said, what your post has to do with my own I have no idea. My comments were a criticism of the UK government position. What the EU does is its own business.

        As much as I do not like the EU, and as much as I think that it is an utterly misguided project, the EU is not to blame for successive UK governments wilfully misleading their citizens, and making policy that undermined the national interest and UK democracy. For their part, the UK electorate allowed themselves to be conned over many decades, until the referendum yielded a moment of clarity. But since that moment, the failure of the UK’s political class has been clear.

        This is a domestic issue that you are not in a position to speak into, mainly for your apparent inability to understand the matter at hand, which is political in nature, not economic, as you seem to believe.

      6. Mike Wilson
        December 17, 2020

        These totally sovereign countries understood that any access to OUR single market was not determined in Oslo or Bern but in Brussels. And now the sovereign UK has to understand that as well. It is free to go for WTO terms, and accept the damage.

        Well, I for one, could not give a (toss ed)about YOUR Single Market. Keep it. I want nothing to do with it. YOUR Single Market sells us twice as much as we sell to you. The only thing we will be if we have nothing to do with YOUR Single Market is a LOT better off. Please, please, please implore your politicians to implore Brussels to tell us to sling our hooks.

  8. Wil Pretty
    December 16, 2020

    A pound of flesh is too high a price for a trade deal.

    1. glen cullen
      December 16, 2020

      A trade that only involves 16% of companies that export to the EU

      1. John Hatfield
        December 16, 2020

        Only around 13 per cent of businesses actually trade directly with the EU.

        1. glen cullen
          December 16, 2020

          So the other 87% of companies have grin and bear it and comply

    2. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      +1

  9. GilesB
    December 16, 2020

    Surely it would have to work both ways. The EU would have to upgrade to our standards too, including maternity leave, minimum wage etc?

    Surely, Boris would never agree to it being one way, where we have to adopt their standards but they don’t have to match ours?

    1. Len Peel
      December 16, 2020

      Of course it will be one way. The EU is bigger and stronger, and the UK will have to knuckle under. That is the reality of “indepebdence”, humiliating but its what you voted for

      1. None of the Above
        December 16, 2020

        Absolute Tosh!

      2. Old Salt
        December 16, 2020

        GilesG-Len
        David and Goliath

        1. Old Salt
          December 16, 2020

          sorry GilesB

      3. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Len, No, it is not what I voted for. I voted to Leave the EU so that we could be independent of the EU. Remaining controlled by the EU, even if slightly less than in 2016, is clearly neither independence nor Leave. And there are plenty of other countries bigger than the UK, but that does not give them the excuse to rule us.

        1. Grey Friar
          December 17, 2020

          But you never were controlled by the EU. The UK, an independent country, chose to be a member of the EU, then it chose not to be. It was always free, it was never controlled

          1. NickC
            December 17, 2020

            Grey, Declaration 17 of Lisbon states that EU law has primacy over the law of member states. So we are quite definitely controlled by the EU whilst we are a sub-state of the EU. That the UK establishment chose to be controlled, does not alter the fact of control. And the only way to escape that control is to Leave. Which we have been prevented from doing so far. And, with the capitulations so far, never will.

          2. a-tracy
            December 18, 2020

            Giles, Len says above “The EU is bigger and stronger, and the UK will have to knuckle under. That is the reality of “indepebdence”

            then you say “But you never were controlled by the EU. The UK, an independent country, chose to be a member of the EU, then it chose not to be. It was always free, it was never controlled”

            So as an independent Country we will be more controlled than we were as a member?

      4. glen cullen
        December 16, 2020

        Its only a ‘trade’ deal there shouldn’t any reason to knuckle under……it should only be related to product and tariff – and thats if they wish to buy our product

        The EU impose nothing on China but allows their products in the EU without them knuckling under

      5. Timaction
        December 16, 2020

        No, no, no. China and America are bigger. It’s all about sovereignty and trade. Anyone trading with the EU agrees their rules. No one else wants anything to do with their bureaucracy. We voted out fool. Anything else leaves the Tory’s as toast.

      6. Northern Monkey
        December 16, 2020

        Sounds exactly the same as membership, did you also find that humiliating?

      7. John Hatfield
        December 16, 2020

        No it’s not.

      8. Richard1
        December 16, 2020

        this is a nonsense argument. the US is c. 14x the size of Australia’s economy. but they have a balanced, 2-way, mutually beneficial FTA. Australia is c. 8x the size of the NZ economy. But likewise there is a mutually beneficial FTA.

        If the EU, for whatever political reasons, do not wish to sign a balanced mutually beneficial and balanced FTA with the UK, then we should proceed to WTO terms.

        Please try to inform yourself a bit better before posting.

      9. Fedupsoutherner
        December 16, 2020

        It’s more like what you voted for. Anyone with a single brain cell can see that what the EU is proposing is NOT what we voted for. I have never heard such a stupid phrase when an intelligent person can see the obvious. If you really believe your statement to be true then I can only say you weren’t paying attention.

    2. Roy Grainger
      December 16, 2020

      One important one is when we ban the import/export of live animals – we were prohibited from doing this while we were in the EU. If the EU don’t follow suit our farmers will be at a disadvantage, so we can impose penalty tariffs on EU meat – that’s how the EU want it to work isn’t it ?

  10. Shirley M
    December 16, 2020

    The fact that the EU are so determined to have the ECJ and are resistant to an independent arbiter and court says it all really. Are they afraid of the EU and UK both being judged fairly?

    1. Andy
      December 16, 2020

      No. They’re not. They simply object to the U.K. wanting to lie and cheat. A fair concern considering who leads us.

      1. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Andy, And what happens when the EU and its court lie and cheat? Is that okay with you? Because you literally won’t allow that in your everyday life.

      2. Mike Wilson
        December 17, 2020

        They simply object to the U.K. wanting to lie and cheat.

        And we object to them wanting to lie, cheat and bully. Solution? An independent arbiter. Obviously.

    2. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      The ECJ has a record of being told to change the law on the fly to suit the latest needs of the Commission

      It is not an Independent Court and has no place in a free Democracy.

  11. Nigl
    December 16, 2020

    Ps how many ex EU trade agreements have we rolled over plus new ones. 50 plus? Didn’t Project Fear say no one would be interested in us post Brexit?

    Like the green agenda your bloggers rant about. Move on. You have lost

    1. Grey Friar
      December 16, 2020

      There are no new ones. Not one. A few EU deals are rolled over but not on such good terms. We will trade with Japan on EU terms (but not quite as good). But hey, freedom and blue passports!

      1. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Grey, There are about 57 new bilateral trade deals at the last count. All are at least as good as the EU ones they replace. But, hey, you prefer serfdom and bureaucracy!

    2. Andy
      December 16, 2020

      I read the ‘Liz Truss is our hero’ article too. It is funny because she isn’t. She has successfully rolled over some deals on the same terms we had before. Some are on worse terms. None are on significantly better terms. Even the Japan one – which she claims is better – is questionable because the figures produced by her department show it is worse. MPs have asked Truss to explain this and she refuses to answer.

      The really interesting thing is that every single trade deal we do impinges on our sovereignty. This is how trade deals work. You mutually agreed areas in which you cannot change things unilaterally. So Liz Truss is handing out our sovereignty to countries like Mexico, Vietnam, Kenya – and there has not been a peep from the sovereignty drama queens in Parliament. MPs also don’t get meaningful votes – or even proper debates – on Liz Truss’s deals, so they are being imposed on us. Whether or not they are any good.

      1. Richard1
        December 16, 2020

        you said there would be no trade deals with anyone until there was one with the EU. you were wrong. again.

      2. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        So first you used to say we would not gain any trade deals now we have agreed lots of trade deals you have moved on to saying well yes we have trade deals but I don’t think they are good.
        PS
        You do not understand sovereignty.
        Does Mexico have powers to make laws in the UK or the UK to make laws in Mexico?

      3. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Andy, A trade deal which modifies tariffs is nothing like the EU treaties. The TEU and TFEU amount to the constitution of a state (or empire). No ordinary trade treaty allows one side to make thousands of (or any) new law every year, nor to impose them on both (or all) parties. Your attempt to confuse the two is bad faith.

      4. Mike Wilson
        December 17, 2020

        How much are we paying to Japan for the trade deal? Not twelve, thousand million pounds by any chance? That’s the cost of our trade deal with the EU.

    3. None of the Above
      December 16, 2020

      A wonderful moment in the House of Lords last night, when Lord Callanan told Lord Adonis to move on and reminded him that he had lost.

  12. NickC
    December 16, 2020

    What are state aids? The state not interfering in our lives more than is minimally necessary for fairness. That would be the biggest state aid.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      Ask the landowners, sorry, “farmers”. They know all about it, and are expecting plenty more from the taxpayer via their very own government.

      1. John Hatfield
        December 16, 2020

        Britain sent £15.8 billion to Brussels during the country’s final year of European Union membership. The government could subsidise the farmers and still have change.

      2. Mike Wilson
        December 17, 2020

        I am perfectly happy for farmers to be subsidised to make sure we have enough food.

  13. Mark B
    December 16, 2020

    Good morning

    One of the central stumbling blocks of the negotiations between the UK and the EU is said to be the issue of state aids.

    And in an independent country, what business is it of theirs. The truth is, we will not be independent.

    If we are to cut subsidies, let us start with all those wind turbines on rich landowners land.

    1. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Mark B, Indeed you are correct – what business is it of the EU whether we give state aid or not? What we voted for was to Leave the EU, not leave the WTO. So as long as our trade policies comply with WTO rules, the EU can take a hike.

    2. Hope
      December 16, 2020

      Mark,
      I thought confirmation of Paris agreement was part of the trade deal so no divergence on energy. Further entrenched in Claimate Change Act. Ask yourself why would EU demand Paris agreement is followed by U.K.? So it is not more competitive than EU I suggest.

      Paris agreement is a transfer of jobs and industry to China and other alleged poor countries who have nuclear and space programmes!

      Trump was the only leader who leads to do what I said right for his country.

      I think JR is starting to people for mugs.

    3. Grey Friar
      December 16, 2020

      What the UK does with state aid is no business of the EU. Unless the UK is asking for tariff-free trade with the EU, which the UK is and which comes at a price. Unless the UK is asking for a special deal for hauliers, which the UK is and which comes at a price. Unless the UK is asking for recognition of its qualifications in the EU, which the UK is and which comes at a price. Unless the UK is asking for a sweetheart deal for its banks in the EU, which the UK is and which comes at a price. Unless the UK is asking for a whole lot more things it used to enjoy as a member but Brexiters never understood, which the UK is and which comes at a price. OK?

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Yet is doesn’t demand those rules when allowing Chinese and American imports into the EU.

        1. Grey Friar
          December 17, 2020

          China, America not asking for tariff free trade, haulier rights, qualification recognition, banks etc

          1. Edward2
            December 17, 2020

            Rubbish
            We dont get tariff free trade now and we paid over 15 billion in the last year in membership fees..
            America and China don’t pay billions in fees.

          2. NickC
            December 17, 2020

            Rubbish, Grey, there is, for example, an EU-USA agreement on insurance where the regulatory regime of each side is mutually respected. There are numerous other mutual agreements between countries – mutual – and without just one side controlling the other.

      2. NickC
        December 17, 2020

        Grey, Using the same “logic”, the UK will make rules which the EU must obey. That’s not how trade agreements work. Not a single one of your list has to result in EU control over the UK. For example, haulage rights would be mutually swapped – the UK is not asking for a concession from the EU, that the UK would not give to the EU. I don’t know whether you really don’t understand this, or you’re just cynically making excuses for the usual EU bullying and power grab. In either case no one is fooled by you.

  14. Sir Joe Soap
    December 16, 2020

    Do NOT be bounced into a pre Xmas vote. Demand 1 calendar month to study and debate

    1. Andy
      December 16, 2020

      What difference will that make? The Eurosceptics had three months to study the withdrawal agreement – and none of them bothered.

      1. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Andy, Yes I did bother. But from your comments about the WA, you obviously haven’t.

    2. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      After 4 or more year without acceptance of the UK leaving EU rule, having a ‘Clean Break’ then revisiting the concept of a FTA is now the preferable direction

  15. Ian Wragg
    December 16, 2020

    It wants control……….
    And it very much looks like they’re going to get it.
    Boris wants a deL at any price and he will accept a fudge of vague words which the EU can interpret as agreement whilst telling us what a great deal he’s got.
    Churchill no. Halifax yes.

    1. Everhopeful
      December 16, 2020

      When he said “oven ready” I expect he meant exactly that!
      All decided, signed and sealed months ago.
      All of this is just shadow boxing to convince us that there is a battle to be won.

    2. Old Salt
      December 16, 2020

      Ian
      +1

    3. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Ian, Let us hope that Reform really is here to stay.

    4. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      +1

    5. Old Salt
      December 16, 2020

      Ian-
      The EU are well on the way to retaining control judging by the agreements made thus far. The signed WA/Treaty paves the way.

  16. David Peddy
    December 16, 2020

    Quite right .
    The EU and the Single Market is simply a protectionist racket

    1. glen cullen
      December 16, 2020

      +1

    2. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      +1

  17. Roy Grainger
    December 16, 2020

    We should agree the same state aid clauses as are in the EU FTAs with Canada and Japan. Or sign a recoprocal clause and immediately challenge the massive state aid they give to their farmers.

    1. GilesB
      December 16, 2020

      The state aid provisions of the WTO are fine.

      No need for a single word more.

  18. Sakara Gold
    December 16, 2020

    They do seem to have offered have offered free access to their “single market” provided we move on the “level playing field”

    Is there any posible compromise that is acceptable? From what I have read this morning, they may have decided to let us keep our fish

    1. None of the Above
      December 16, 2020

      Very Big of them.

    2. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Sakara, Well, that’s big of them! Fancy the EU allowing us to keep our fish. Simply amazing!

      You may not realise it but we have access to the EU’s single market already via WTO rules.

    3. Original Richard
      December 16, 2020

      Every WTO country has free access to the EU’s single market.

      The USA, China and Japan, for instance, do not pay the EU a fee for their companies to export to the EU’s single market.

      Only net contributing members, such as was the UK, pay a fee for this access.

      If you mean, there will be tarrifs, then I would be happy for these to be applied bearing in mind that we have a £100bn/YEAR trading deficit from the EU and there are other non-EU countries from whom we can buy more cheaply once we do not have to apply the EU’s protectionist import tarrifs.

      It is our right under international law to have control of our fishing grounds so there’s no “may” about it unless the Conservative Party wishes to commit electoral suicide and give away our fishing gronds for the second time.

    4. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      Yes, if the French fishers aren’t happy then they’ll just blockade Calais.

      Operation Stack v.2.0 anyone.

      1. Original Richard
        December 16, 2020

        “Yes”, we’ve had French internal disputes before causing French fishers to blockade Channel ports causing chaos.

        And the French did nothing to keep the Channel ports open quite against EU rules to keep borders open.

        1. Mike Wilson
          December 17, 2020

          Oh please let them do it. Could you ask them to do all the ports that carry trade from the EU to us. That would get the thing sorted out in no time.

      2. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        That will go down well with French exporters.

      3. NickC
        December 16, 2020

        Well, Martin, the people of Calais rather rely on Calais. Whereas we don’t.

      4. Lynn Atkinson
        December 16, 2020

        Who cares?

    5. GilesB
      December 16, 2020

      We would do much better to pay tariffs. And they pay us on their exports to the U.K.

      The single market doesn’t in practice include services, so that’s no loss.

      The paperwork, and checks, for paying tariffs is no more onerous than the paperwork for Rules of Origin necessary under any deal

  19. Dave Andrews
    December 16, 2020

    Why should the EU care whether the UK introduces measures to make unfair competition? Their stated opinion is that the UK will be severely impacted by leaving the EU, so not in any position to offer competition. Plus, the UK record on state aid is far lower than France or Germany.
    Their objective is to prove themselves right by showing the UK will be damaged by leaving, in order to discourage others from doing the same. Above all, they want a damaging deal for the UK. If that can’t be achieved, then it’s no deal. If that wrecks Irish beef farmer livelihood, then that’s a cost they are willing to bear. The only reason French fishermen matter is because they will kick off if they don’t get their way.
    A good deal for both is the last thing they want.

  20. Nigl
    December 16, 2020

    Ps to the anti green lobby yesterday. Heat pumps can be vertical so don’t need large gardens. Off grid solar systems, panels, hybrid converter, battery bank are here now and the technology and unit cost will only improve.

    For the ‘only when the wind blows/sun is out’ brigade check out a massive battery complex in Victoria Australia looking to even out the flows.

    We need these on the East coast, for instance linked to the London Array. This is the future almost here now. Regrettably your deniers are not.

    1. Everhopeful
      December 16, 2020

      Why?

    2. Wil Pretty
      December 16, 2020

      Nigl –
      If you look at the current performance of the (still) largest battery backup of the world, made by Tesla in South Australia, it still is peanuts:
      150 MW can be delivered for about 1 hour 15 minutes (189 MWh).
      Costs: £ 100 million.

      The London Array supplies 50,000 MWh in a week
      You would need 260 of these to cover the windless week we had recently.
      That is 3 batteries per 2 wind turbines.
      Each turbine cost £13Million, battery backup £150 Million per turbine.
      That is the true cost of winds intermittency.

    3. glen cullen
      December 16, 2020

      Its not fully ready ‘now’ and its not affordable ‘now’

      But we are being asked to purchase it NOW

      1. glen cullen
        December 16, 2020

        Being FORCED to purchase it now

    4. Know-Dice
      December 16, 2020

      Nigl,

      I think the word “almost” is the key factor with current battery technology.

      Certainly to make wind power viable you need some sort of storage for the electrical power generated. What it will be in 5-10years time I don’t know, but I’m sure that it will not be lithium-ion technology…

      1. DaveK
        December 16, 2020

        Currently (pun intended), the best form of storage is pumped storage. Look at Denmark and Norway.

    5. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Nig1, Do you bother doing any calculations or are you satisfied by hand waving? Such a battery holds enough energy to power our current grid demand (if it could discharge at that rate) for 0.65 minutes.

      So to back up 80% of an enlarged grid (enough to heat homes and charge BEVs as well as existing demand) of 120GW demand for a week (no wind for a week in winter is quite common) requires about 36,000 such batteries. And then they all have to be re-charged – which would take at least a week and demand as much energy as the grid uses over again (ie, double the 120GW demand) – so where’s that coming from?

    6. agricola
      December 16, 2020

      Why not have a treaty with Morocco to set up a massive solar electricity producing array in a desert location. Use that electricity to produce Hydrogen, ship it to the UK for use in a new set of domestic heaters and cookers. If you make enough of it you could use it for the propulsion of private and public transport. Morocco was randomly chosen, there being many other options. Think about it.

      1. Martin in Cardiff
        December 16, 2020

        Morocco would rather have a treaty with the European Union to do that.

        And to cable the electricity directly to it, perhaps?

        But not a bad shout in principle.

      2. DaveK
        December 16, 2020

        Why not! Maybe because we are standing on a lump of rock with centuries worth of energy resources denied us by untechnical virtue signallers. For the first time in human history we are purposely going backwards with energy to satisfy people who wish to destroy us. Utter madness. “This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal (energy) and fish at the same time.”

    7. ChrisS
      December 16, 2020

      As someone who has investigated heat pumps for my own house, I can tell Nigl that the cost of boring the necessary holes and installing the pipes is prohibitive.

      If we were going to use vertical bores, we would be better off to go for geo-thermal heating which uses minimum electricity and is otherwise “free.” Regrettably, I could not find anyone in the UK who would bore the necessary pair of holes for less than £25,000, possibly much more, depending on the depth required.

      It does make one wonder whether the kind of small nuclear heat generator used to power long-range spacecraft could be designed and encapsulated in concrete and buried deep. That would be too expensive for individual houses but could possibly work for housing developments.

  21. Lifelogic
    December 16, 2020

    You say “the EU wants far more than a Free Trade Agreement. It wants control over our competitiveness and law making.”

    Indeed it does and Boris is idiotically going to accept these restrictions and so betray the nation. Then on top of this burden he is going to lumber the nation with Queen Carrie and Theresa (9% support) May’s net zero carbon lunacy and expensive energy agenda, very restrictive and damaging employment laws, a dire state monopoly NHS that has (and is ) failing so appallingly, a huge, largely unproductive and parasitic state sector, a counter productive lockdown and lunacies like HS2.

  22. Leslie Singleton
    December 16, 2020

    Dear Sir John–Is it or is not still the case that we are talkimg average WTO tariffs of 4% on Exports to the EU of 11% of (arguably an inflated) GDP? That’s less than 1/2% (and decreasing by reason of Le Chatelier’s principle). If this is right, and I am always happy to be educated if it is wrong, what is all the fuss and palaver about?

  23. James Bertram
    December 16, 2020

    BrexitFacts4EU.org today reminds us that the trade rules that the EU want apply to the running of ALL UK business whether such businesses trade with the EU or not, or whether they export or not.
    Any such trade deal under ‘the level playing field’ rules thus stops us acting as an independent sovereign country.
    https://facts4eu.org/news/2020_dec_widgits#comments

    1. Old Salt
      December 16, 2020

      James Bertram-
      BRINO- When will people wake up the fact that we are being conned IMHO?

    2. glen cullen
      December 16, 2020

      +1

    3. ian@Barkham
      December 16, 2020

      +1

      Its a one sided Demand for Rule

    4. Leslie Singleton
      December 16, 2020

      Dear James–If that is true, and it sounds as if it is, it is just plain ridiculous and goes to show the danger in making ANY concessions without eyes in the back of your head. Do the Government ever read any of this stuff??

  24. Lifelogic
    December 16, 2020

    The excellent Michael Yeardon on Twitter the other day:-

    “Anyone unsure what’s the extent of excess deaths in autumn/winter arising from SARS-CoV-2 should read this by Jonathan Engler. Spoiler: there aren’t any.
    Surely that’s impossible if we’re on the midst of a 2nd wave of a respiratory virus pandemic?
    Quite. You’re being lied to.”

    1. RichardM
      December 16, 2020

      So hospital admissions are rising and reaching record levels all over Europe and you claim we already have herd immunity, and believe one anti vaxxer who claims it’s all a hoax.
      Beyond pathetic, Zerologic.

      1. Martin in Cardiff
        December 16, 2020

        Pretending to believe nonsense can still serve as a moral excuse for reprehensible actions or intentions, even if it does make you look a bit dim and gullible.

        You won’t get people to give up their apparent misconceptions for precisely that reason.

        1. NickC
          December 17, 2020

          Martin, “Cases” are not deaths. The issue was covid19 deaths, but that has segued seamlessly into “cases”. There are many “cases” of colds, and even some deaths where a cold is the last straw for a vulnerable old person, but we don’t ruin the whole economy for them.

      2. Lifelogic
        December 16, 2020

        Many area are very clearly at herd immunity levels, why else has it died back in these areas? This is all clear if you just look at the figures, no question about it. We are not anti-vaccination just anti ones that might well cause more harm than good.

        1. DaveK
          December 16, 2020

          MICs comment is pure projection. Richard may like to produce actual figures instead of hand wringing as it doesn’t tally with NHS figures.

    2. mancunius
      December 16, 2020

      All being pepped up by deliberately fraudulent pseudo-tests that – as an Austrian MP scornfully demonstrated in the Parliament in Vienna on Monday – enable a drop of coca-cola to test positive for coronavirus.

  25. Andy
    December 16, 2020

    It is amusing that four years on hard right Conservatives – the disaster capitalists of politics – have turned into Corbynites, arguing about how much money they can lob at their favoured industries. (Their favoured industries are ones owned by their friends).

    None of you voted leave in 2016 with even half a notion that state aid was what you cared about. You mostly cared about how many foreigners live here – and, frankly, the thinking of the average Brexiteer did not go beyond that.

    You didn’t think about trade at all. Nor sovereignty – which you mostly still can’t define. You mostly thought about how your towns don’t look like they used to on 1950s TV shows. And that is why we have Brexit.

    1. Sharon
      December 16, 2020

      Andy

      Why are you so rude?

      You have no idea what was going on in the mind of someone wanting to leave the EU. And to assume all were stupid, shows your arrogance and ignorance of leavers.

      1. Alan Paul Joyce
        December 16, 2020

        Dear Mr. Redwood,

        @Sharon,

        Rudeness is often because someone has one or more or even all of the following:

        Low self-esteem.
        Personal problems.
        Learned behaviour.
        A Personality disorder.
        Cultural differences.
        ‘Brain strain’ which can be due to excessive use of social media.
        Emotional Immaturity And Low Emotional Intelligence.

      2. Martin in Cardiff
        December 16, 2020

        See my reply to Richard M above.

        1. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          Where you rant but supply no facts figures nor sources.

          Come on bill brown agree with me for once !

      3. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        I agree Sharon and it the main reason why Remain lost.
        A totally negative campaign based on Project Fear with added insults aimed at anyone who dared to say they wanted to leave the EU.

        1. a-tracy
          December 18, 2020

          Check out a HuffPost article by Scott Stabile “Inherent in the need to be right is the desire — consciously or not — to put ourselves above others, to make them wrong in order to appease our own insecurities and our ego’s need to be perfect.

          Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the love in that? There are so many healthier choices we can make than needing to be right.”

    2. Roy Grainger
      December 16, 2020

      Coming from someone who opposes homes being built for poor people and immigrants in his own leafdy middle-class part of the home counties I’d have thought you’d approve of towns looking like they did in the 1950s.

    3. Nigl
      December 16, 2020

      Actually I thought about it in much more detail than you give me credit for, indeed to the extent that much of what you spout is, like this, tosh.

    4. Mark Leigh
      December 16, 2020

      It is amusing that four years on hard right Conservatives

      You are ‘avin a larf…..

    5. Glenn Vaughan
      December 16, 2020

      Andy

      Your latest message demonstrates that the “average” Brexiteer has a marked advantage over you i.e. the ability to think!

    6. IanT
      December 16, 2020

      You are right Andy – our towns don’t look like they did in the fifties. Go on YouTube and look at films from back then and see how many German and French cars you can spot.

    7. agricola
      December 16, 2020

      What a naive little parochial rant.

    8. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Andy, You’re projecting – simply because you didn’t think about these things does not mean that Leaves didn’t. You’re also re-cycling old Remain propaganda from before the vote. It didn’t work then, so why do you think it’ll work now? Magic? We voted to be independent of the EU. Even you should be able to understand that.

    9. Richard1
      December 16, 2020

      of course there was extensive discussion about trade in the EU referendum. It literally came up in every debate and opinion piece. Also, opinion polls show that the main reason people voted for Brexit was sovereignty. Control over immigration was an issue but less important.

      you haven’t read – or more likely haven’t understood – the points made by Sir John. The ‘level playing field’ isn’t mainly or even mostly about lobbing money to industry. its about the EU trying to tie the UK, now a non-member, into a regulatory and political straightjacket. Most remain voters don’t want that now we are out.

    10. No Longer Anonymous
      December 16, 2020

      “…about how many foreigners live here”

      Finally. The penny seems to have dropped. It was all about the numbers and not about racism.

      Mass/uncontrolled immigration is a crucially important issue when it comes to things like energy rationing and a nation’s carbon footprint. It also destabilises communities though not so much wealthy ones where the professional migrants go.

      Dan Hodges had it right in the MoS this Sunday. The march towards Brexit was the working class telling the perceived ruling elite to start doing what they were voted to do – to properly enforce the borders – or else.

      They didn’t and so here we are. THAT is why we have Brexit.

      And ‘sovereignty’. Well here’s my take on what it means: it defines where the buck stops and Brexit brings the buck within our own borders once more. Westminster is now directly accountable for everything that goes right and everything that goes wrong.

      1. Andy
        December 16, 2020

        But your argument falls down because there is simply no way to tell whether or not someone is foreign unless you ask them. And I doubt any of the 17.4m went around asking strangers whether or not they are foreigners.

        So how did you reach the judgement that there are ‘too many?’ Was it – perhaps – by seeing your local town has lots of people in it who don’t look like you? And, if that’s the case, why do you think the people who don’t look like you are not British? And do you also make the mistake of assuming the people who do look like you are British? How do you know?

        1. No Longer Anonymous
          December 16, 2020

          Housing shortages, schools shortages, NHS shortages, soon to be energy shortages …

          I could go on and on. But please don’t disparage the working classes as they have produced far FAR more brown babies, musical fusions and changes in our language and culture than yours.

    11. Edward2
      December 16, 2020

      Did you read the actual article before you vented andy?
      Amazing how you know why 17 million people voted to leave the EU and know why millions more voted in a Conservative government with a huge majority whilst your favoured hard left remainer parties had a truly dreadful election.

      1. dixie
        December 16, 2020

        Andy doesn’t have to read the article, he is a troll – he is not here to debate, he is here to disrupt.

        1. DaveK
          December 16, 2020

          Which is why I am perplexed that he gets half a dozen posts of rubbish per thread unless he and MIC are sock puppets to prevent an echo chamber.

    12. Mike Wilson
      December 16, 2020

      You mostly cared about how many foreigners live here

      You are up on your hobby horse again. But you refuse to answer this simple question.

      How many more foreigners do you want to live here?

      It’s an easy question – why don’t you ever answer it? We have a population of about 67 million. What do you think that figure should be – now?

      And where should the houses be built to accommodate them?

      1. Andy
        December 16, 2020

        As I have said before, I wouldn’t put a number on it.

        Why? Because the one thing we know for certain is that given the opportunity to move to the UK and to live here without restriction the vast majority of people simply don’t. Under EU freedom of movement rules in theory 450m people could have come here. And yet more than 99% of them didn’t.

        I know you think the entire world wants to move to your grim town, to live 14 to a room in a mouldy bedsit, and claim £4.10 a week to live the high life while enjoying the glorious British weather and the warm welcome from locals – like yourself – but most people in the world would probably prefer to impale themselves rather than experience such misery.

        Plus if we run out of space we could always deport whinging pensioners to Ascension Island. No foreigners there.

        1. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          As expected.
          You will not put a number on it.
          Half a million a year.
          Err..cannot say.
          Five million a year?
          Err…cannot say.
          Truly pathetic.
          Wave your virtue signalling flag andy.
          Thats all you’ve got

        2. Mike Wilson
          December 17, 2020

          As I have said before, I wouldn’t put a number on it.

          You won’t put a number on it – and then explain that no-one really wants to come here. Yet, so many DO come here. Weird eh? Some even risk their lives in rubber dinghies to come here. What are they like?
          And, of course, notwithstanding your offensive stereotypes, many come here, do very well, build good lives for themselves and their families and don’t live in mouldy bedsits at all.

          And, and this is a funny thing, I have met many people in my life who have moved here from other countries – and they won’t have a bad word said about this country or its people. Unlike, of course, YOU!

          So, given all your posturing and verbosity, I will keep asking you to put a number on it whenever you throw around your childish slurs about people not liking foreigners.

          I love foreigners. I even married one. What I am concerned about is our population. Not WHO is here, but HOW MANY are here. Because, as far as I am concerned, on the whole we have enough. Many areas of the country are highly urbanised and house building is out of control. Where I used to live, once a pleasant market town, is now an urban jungle. NOBODY who lived there wanted that. The government forced the local council to do it. It is Mr. Redwood’s constituency.

      2. Mike Wilson
        December 16, 2020

        And answer came there none.

    13. rose
      December 16, 2020

      You are going off at a tangent. We voted for independence. Pure and simple.

  26. The Prangwizard
    December 16, 2020

    It is of absolute importance that we are not in any way required to accept any law or guideline from the EU after 31st December. If we are Boris will have betrayed the people although kept himself in line with the globalist elites and our oppressors.

    Will you resign from the Conservatives if he does Sir John, or will you find an excuse to stay? Could you possibly remain loyal to such a leader?

    As I understand it parliament has the sovereign right to overturn any imposition but if it allowed in the first place it may never be overturned given the time it takes to do such things and the pressure to prevent it will be powerful.

    1. rose
      December 16, 2020

      We are already subject to officials from a foreign power standing over ours in N Ireland. Those controls may also extend into the Mainland.

      We simply must get out, right out, and do away with the WA. A very good border would be in the Celtic Sea, not the Irish Sea, across it, not down it.

  27. George Brooks.
    December 16, 2020

    Very well explained Sir John, so why on earth are we still talking to the EU? It has been as plain as a pike staff that they want to wreck Brexit and keep control over us.

    Will all you back-benchers rise up and ensure Boris walks away and we don’t get a fudged deal slipped through over Christmas. He got away with it last year to escape the grip of the Remainers. It won’t work again and we could end up in worst of all worlds. ”Under their control with absolutely no say in the future”.

  28. Roy Grainger
    December 16, 2020

    So far UK has signed 57 continuity trade agreements covering 93% of trade from such agreements, with more to come.

    At this point Margaret and her fellow Reaminers need to apologise for claiming that no such agreements would be signed because countries were waiting to see what was in the UK/EU agreement, that such agreements would take many years to negotiate, and that agreements with the likes of Japan would be on much worse terms because the UK is so much smaller and weaker than the EU. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Amazingly wrong. Almost as if they had no clue at all what they were talking about and just wrote down what they *hoped* would happen and are now staying quet about it.

  29. Caterpillar
    December 16, 2020

    Final paragraph, “This is why it is proving so difficult to negotiate” – surely these characteristics of the EU have been known throughout, so one must wonder why have Conservatives negotiated at all? Four and a half years since the vote, this is pathetic.

  30. Mike Durrans
    December 16, 2020

    Your right Andy! When I was child murder was unknown, assault was negligible and people worked to earn their living, I understand that sounds alien to modern youth but it serves to illustrate how far our island has been degraded by a lot of the unwanted from the rest of the world

    1. Mike Wilson
      December 17, 2020

      One must assume you are being ironic. When were you a child. Did you never hear of the Moors Murderers? Peter Sutcliffe. All home grown.

  31. None of the Above
    December 16, 2020

    Any morsels of comfort we might receive from tariff free trade will be far outweighed by the crushing and suffocating injuries to our economy and our marine environment from EU rules. We must leave on New Years Eve and trade on WTO terms.
    The only thing I would approve signing would be a Christmas greetings card and we must repeal any and all legislation which allows jurisdiction by any courts other than ours.

    1. None of the Above
      December 16, 2020

      I respectfully recommend that you heed the advice given by Lord Callanan to Lord Adonis in the HoL last night.

      1. None of the Above
        December 16, 2020

        Sorry, clicked on the wrong box. This comment is meant as a reply to Andy at 8:00 am.

  32. RichardM
    December 16, 2020

    The state aid rules that Japan has imposed on the UK in the new trade deal is far more restrictive than the the ones set by the EU.
    The WTO also prevents industry subsidies of the type being proposed by ministers.
    Oh and the Geneva convention also prevents you waging wars in the way you would like. Sovereignty, eh ?

  33. ukretired123
    December 16, 2020

    EU “wants control over our competitiveness and law making”. Spot on Sir John!

  34. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    December 16, 2020

    Nice comment from Bertie Ahern in today’s politico dot eu. Here a quote:

    ““If you and I were members of a golf club and we paid our fee for the year, and then we went out every Saturday morning to find somebody else who pays nothing and is not a member ahead of us getting preference, any reasonable person would reject that,” he said. “That’s effectively what the British are looking for.”

    1. Alan Jutson
      December 16, 2020

      Peter

      Please do get it right, this is not the situation at all.

      The EU golf Club wants all of the population to pay a membership fee, even those who do not play golf, and are not interested in its so called facilities.

      As an individual you can simply join another golf club and play there, but only your old EU golf club still require you to continue to pay membership fees, not only for yourself, but all other members of your family as well.

      Of course if you choose to go back and play at the EU golf Club as a guest, then you pay what is required for the day you play, as indeed you would with any other golf course in the World.

      Remember that not all Golf clubs have the same rules or facilities, hence you pay the money, you make your choice.
      Many of us find the EU golf Club rather too expensive and the rules rather restrictive, hence, we made a choice to leave and go somewhere else.

      All golf clubland courses are different, with different facilities, and different membership rules.

      But one clubs rules are not imposed on any others.

    2. Richard1
      December 16, 2020

      a better analogy would be you and I are members of a golf club, you decide to leave, still playing at our club from time to time according to the rules and paying, but we insist that you can’t join other golf clubs and if you do you must still wear a certain kind of trousers when playing.

    3. Edward2
      December 16, 2020

      Strange golf club.
      28 members and none pay the same membership fees.
      Nine pay in lots.
      The rest pay in nothing.
      Some of those who pay nothing in actually takes money out of the golf club every year since they joined.
      All get a vote.
      If you leave you have to pay a huge fee.

      1. Peter van LEEUWEN
        December 16, 2020

        @Edward2:
        You’re once again mistaken – all pay 1% of GDP.

        You now pay 0%. When you left you only had to settle your previous account – happens in any club.

        1. Sir Joe Soap
          December 16, 2020

          I think you’d find the fancy golf clubs are made by the richest member and sold to some other members with money loaned by the rich one. The members then discovered they didn’t much like golf anyway, but are stuck in the club to pay back the rich member.

        2. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          Totally wrong Peter.
          Some pay in.
          Some are net recipients.
          Why deny it?

    4. Mark B
      December 16, 2020

      That is what the political class and Establishment ate looking for. The people just want to Leave and become a self governing country once more.

      PvL

      Please do not confuse us with them

    5. rose
      December 16, 2020

      Says the country which has only just become a net contributor, of the country which was the 2nd largest contributor, and also bailed out his country when she didn’t have to! The presumption of the Southern Irish is unfathomable. They have certainly backed the wrong horse this time.

    6. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      PvL, No it’s not what we are looking for. We (but not me!) are looking for a trade for trade deal, where you can have tariff free access to our market in return for our having tariff free access to your market. And what we object to is the EU imposing EU rules on us, where you would reject the UK imposing our rules on the EU. Do not pretend that you do not know this, it would shame you.

      1. Peter van LEEUWEN
        December 16, 2020

        @NickC: We (EU27) don’s allow any tariff free access to our market without having our rules kept. That was clear from the start.
        You are a totally sovereign country not to accept that and go for WTO rules. If your country (“best democracy in the world”, “mother of parlianments”) decides differently and negotiates a deal, that again is its sovereign decision. All cards are in British hands.

        1. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          So how is it that the two biggest importers into the EU are China and America?

    7. Lynn Atkinson
      December 16, 2020

      We are SO HAPPY to play on our own golf course and leave yours for your members. That is what the majority of the British people voted for. Unfortunately politicians are of a much lower calibre and have been found out, as has the ‘civil service’.

      We will replace them shortly.

    8. Mike Wilson
      December 17, 2020

      “If you and I were members of a golf club and we paid our fee for the year, and then we went out every Saturday morning to find somebody else who pays nothing and is not a member ahead of us getting preference, any reasonable person would reject that,” he said. “That’s effectively what the British are looking for.”

      Because someone says something does not make it have value or meaning. What would have meaning is a comparison where Company A and Company B buy goods off each other. Company A sells Company B £100 of goods each year. Company B sells £200 of goods to Company A each year – but wants to charge Company A a fee for buying their goods off them. Why should Company A, which buys twice as many goods from Company B as Company B buys from them, pay Company B a fee each year?

    9. a-tracy
      December 18, 2020

      Isn’t Bertie a Southern Irish ex leader? How much did Ireland have to give up to be in the Common Travel Area? To be able to export into the UK when they got their independence? How much to vote in UK elections and referendums? They don’t have to keep corporation tax alignment or much else it seems they got their cake and ate it.

  35. Alan Jutson
    December 16, 2020

    The more talks go on the more it looks like a deal at any price.

  36. Newmania
    December 16, 2020

    . The UK government has said it has no wish nor intent to cut employment or environmental standards…..

    Well jolly good show! The EU bounders should just take their word for it. Gentleman`s and shake and we are all done here, John.
    Europe is unavoidably concerned about corporation tax levels, environmental and social standards .This is , let me explain, is a major economy trading in vast volumes into the world’s largest and most advanced Free Trade area. It is not a game of marbles in which “You jolly well said …” works.

    *Bangs head on desk*

    1. Richard1
      December 16, 2020

      you are correct in saying that the EU wishes to extend its remit into areas such as corporation tax. we have been assured for decades in the UK that this wasn’t the case and never would be. its one of the strongest arguments for Brexit.

    2. Edward2
      December 16, 2020

      Yet they allow in every year hundreds of billions worth of products from certain nations with dreadful human rights records and nations that are not even democracies.

    3. NickC
      December 16, 2020

      Newmania, It’s none of the EU’s business any more how we run our country. And if the EU doesn’t like the competition then tough – maybe they’ll have to copy us if we do something better. That’s what competition is. We swap tariff free access to each others market, which is the trade deal. Or we don’t, which is no deal. No EU rules imposed on the UK at all – that’s what Leave means.

      *Bangs head on desk*

    4. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      I think that the Scots found out pretty smartish what a Tory “pledge” is.

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Like their pledge of a once in a generation referendum.

      2. dixie
        December 18, 2020

        What pledge was that?

    5. Mike Wilson
      December 17, 2020

      Europe is unavoidably concerned about corporation tax levels

      Oh, do stop talking bolleaux. Ireland has much lower corporation tax than us. Level playing field?

  37. Nivek
    December 16, 2020

    “One of the central stumbling blocks of the negotiations between the UK and the EU is said to be…” (emphasis added)

    Like others, I find it hard to believe that Mr. Johnson has not already reached an agreement with the EU, at least in substance.

    Based on some of his utterances this year, I believe that he desires to sign a treaty that supports, in particular, his climate change agenda. Putting this agenda into international law might, I imagine, hinder the party that wins the next UK general election (even the Brexit Party) from overturning that agenda without successfully renegotiating with the EU. This would most likely, I believe, put this agenda beyond the reach of the British electorate.

    Of course I am speculating, but, with only about a fortnight to go, there appears to be nothing else to do.

  38. None of the Above
    December 16, 2020

    With reference to rumours of the possibility of a path to a deal with the EU, it is always worth noting the differences in what each side release to the media. It is significant that the EU always comments first and the UK comes in afterwards with a correction. We can afford to wait for the EU to recognise reality because a WTO arrangement is the default position.

    Sign nothing Prime Minister, The European Commission cannot be trusted.

  39. A.Sedgwick
    December 16, 2020

    “Don’t believe all you hear” – oh yes you should.

  40. glen cullen
    December 16, 2020

    State Aid is a political decision and not related to international trade

    Look no further for evidence that this UK/EU deal is political not trade

    The USA might slap on extra tariffs if they perceive an unfair advantage but wouldn’t tell or attempt a countries own policies/laws on industry support

    Remember only 16% of companies export to the EU but this political deal will effect everyone

    This isn’t leaving the European Union

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      No, the millions of “white van” tradesmen generally do not export to the European Union.

      If you’re going to use figures then use relevant ones.

      1. glen cullen
        December 16, 2020

        I was just pointing out that 84% of UK companies do absolutely zero export trade with the EU but have to comply with every rule & regulation imposed by the EU

      2. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Glen has.
        He has illustrated how few UK companies export to the EU.
        And hinted just how much of our GDP is produced internally.

      3. Fred H
        December 17, 2020

        and they probably voted to Leave, eh? Martin?

  41. Jack Falstaff
    December 16, 2020

    I no longer feel emotionally equipped to cope with the daily brain-battering of tripe from the media about Brexit deals.

    I’m sorry, but nobody is listening to either you or us Sir John.

    So why not cheer us up with some of your seasonal creative writing again this year?

    Now more than ever we need a psychological boost, so what better time than this?

  42. ian@Barkham
    December 16, 2020

    Sir John

    I am continually amazed and impressed by your tireless efforts – Thank you

    The EU continually confuses and miss-represents things to suit their own preferences. If a ‘level-playing-field’ was really a concern they should first practice what the preach.

    There are many illustrations but mentioning the big one. The CAP, while it is right and responsible for a government to secure its food resource even though it is done with vast taxpayers subsidies. It falls down when that same immense subsidy is used to fund the export of the same products, it undermines World markets. In realty the EU is weaponizing food to destroy other Countries. The EU’s internal market, is not only about protection at home it is about aggressively attacking everyone else.

  43. Ian Wilson
    December 16, 2020

    Methinks the EU doth protest too much. Wasn’t selling Concordes to the British & French national airlines at £1 each state aid?

  44. agricola
    December 16, 2020

    It all hangs on what the EU interprets as a sovereign state. They have not yet got their heads around the fact that an important member has left their club and become a sovereign state. They look upon all the controls they exert within the EU as transferable to the UK in independence and the ECJ as being there to ensure compliance. Just like the old USSR minus the gulags for the present.

    Their arrogance also sweeps aside all the state aid infringements they have with the WTO. They wield power they do not have. They should be politely told to go sling their hook.

  45. ian@Barkham
    December 16, 2020

    As reported at the BBC
    Mrs von der Leyen – She said that negotiators had agreed a “strong mechanism” to ensure neither side lowers their environmental or social standards, which was a “big step forwards”.

    This is back to front – environmental or social standards. Germany this year opened a new coal fired power generator. Most social rights, employment, basic minimum wage, maternity leave and so on are vastly higher in the UK as a norm than what is found on average through out the EU States. Even the ECHR amounts to the EU Commissions giving back rights to EU Citizens that would under English Law would never have been removed in the first place.

    These talks keep repeating them selves there is no such thing as a level playing field, or fishing rights. Just who is the bigger bully with a right to rule

    1. rose
      December 16, 2020

      Germany also tears up her ancient forests to mine dirty brown coal. (Lignite.)

    2. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      Sounds like we are not really going to leave at all. The economy is in a dire mess due to total incompetence in dealing with Covid and the appallingly run, funded and structured NHS, then Boris proposes an insane green crap agenda, an idiotic cave in on Brexit, government waste wherever you look and endless red tape to strange any survivors.

      Should go well, election in four years or less.

  46. ChrisS
    December 16, 2020

    I’m sure that most of us posting here were hoping to hear a first hand report on what was said to the ERG group last evening in Downing Street.

    It has become increasingly clear that Brussels is running scared. They are terrified that we will make a success on the global stage which will be deeply embarrassing and cause member states to rightly question the whole direction of the project. That much is obvious.

    As we reach the end of the end game, there is a substantial risk of our government signing up to things that might seem innocuous but which the EU will interpret in their own way that is disadantageous to the UK. It might be that the text is designed for that purpose.

    We are approaching the point of maximum danger and Bill Cash and our host should be invited in to study the text before Boris signs up to it. Once it has been signed off and presented to Parliament we will be past the point where even a comma or full stop cannot be changed. It will then be too late.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      Indeed.

    2. dixie
      December 17, 2020

      Some days ago I heard an MEP say that the EU has adopted such a harsh and punitive position because they feared we would out-compete them.

      Boris must not sign any trade agreement with the EU and we must become their worst nightmare.

  47. glen cullen
    December 16, 2020

    Has a new deadline been released yet ?

    Or is the new negotiation policy to continue talking until a deal completed – no matter how long that takes

    I can see extension on the horizon

  48. glen cullen
    December 16, 2020

    BBC reporting that the areas of ECJ involvement have been settled – can only mean we’ve caved

    1. Robert Mcdonald
      December 16, 2020

      A BBC report ! Joking ?

      1. rose
        December 16, 2020

        I heard one of the broadcasters saying the “governance” had been settled.
        Isn’t that supposed to mean arbitration?

        1. glen cullen
          December 16, 2020

          Heard the same thing – but the report hasn’t been pick-up by any other news agency…….very strange

    2. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      +1

  49. Mike Stallard
    December 16, 2020

    In the spring, it is vital that our country gets back to work and starts to rebuild. This means freedom to make money and to get ideas off the ground. At the moment there is far too much government interference.

    Green ideas are a real stumbling block: no to fracking, to oil, half hearted support for nuclear power and consequent threatened failure of electricity. Wind farms are a total waste of space because the wind doesn’t blow all the time.
    Electric cars are expensive and you cannot fill them up if you do not have a garage with a power point. The Mayor of London has two cars and lots of cycle lanes. Has anyone ever seen him on a bike?

    And then there is the railway scandal…

  50. bigneil(newercomp)
    December 16, 2020

    Heard on the radio earlier that the “housing plan” is for 300,ooo houses to be built – mainly in the Midlands and North EVERY year – for the next TEN years. No use wondering who they are for – The replacements coming in with hands out. Who will be paying for those new houses – NOT THEM – – US.
    So – over 3 million houses – with inevitably the roads, schools, Hospitals, shops, water supply, electricity supply and obviously the sewage from 10+ million people. And not long ago you had an article wanting farmers to “grow more food here in the UK” . . . . WHERE ???

    1. rose
      December 16, 2020

      The immigration minister told the House today we are spending £1 billion a year on illegal immigrants. And still the opposition want more. Particularly in the devocracies. He said several times he could do with some help from them in putting the men up, and “the children”. Apparently Glasgow is the only Scottish authority which does. And still the virtuous rage overflowed.

  51. Richard1
    December 16, 2020

    good summary. I have heard several EU politicians in recent weeks add “taxes” to the level playing field. (NB this is another mission creep of the EU which we assured in the referendum by Remain would never happen). So I suppose future Chancellors of the Exchequer would need to run budgets by the EU commission before presenting them to Parliament to confirm the ‘level playing field’ hadn’t been upset.

    It is a nonsense demand and must be rejected. Given how relatively thin this deal is – no coverage of services – WTO will make little difference and will have the mercantalist benefit of higher revenues from tariffs. So if the EU sticks to the political subjugation demand of the level playing field, Boris must say no. Toss them a fish or two instead.

  52. No Longer Anonymous
    December 16, 2020

    O/T please.

    BBC interviewer and camera crew mask-less in a pub doing a report for the news this morning, there were pub staff present.

    “It’s OK. We don’t have to wear masks because we’re not customers.”

    So. Not only does this disease discern whether you’re eating a scotch egg or a bag of peanuts, standing up with a mask on or sitting down without, it can also tell that you’re a BBC reporter and not a customer and will either leave you alone if you don’t already have it or stop you infecting pub staff if you do.

    Wow.

    How come we never had BBC journalists reporting from up close during the ebola outbreak in Africa ?

    **** Ans – we are dealing with a syndemic, that’s why.

    1. rose
      December 16, 2020

      The media should never have been given essential worker status.

    2. Mark B
      December 17, 2020

      Great post and a good reply from Rose.

  53. Original Richard
    December 16, 2020

    Isn’t the EU’s CAP an enormous state aid project?

    And if the EU wants a “level playing field” shouldn’t we insist as a start that the EU legislates a minumum wage matching ours throughout the EU?

    1. Robert Mcdonald
      December 16, 2020

      But we all know the playing field the eu want … and probably need .. is one sloping down to their level.

    2. hefner
      December 16, 2020

      It is being discussed (see the Proposed Minimum Wage Directive at europarl.europa.eu) and for your information it already exists in 21 of EU27 countries. And the UK one is (at PPP) lower than the one in Bulgaria, Slovenia, France and Portugal.

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Nice to hear they discuss it hef.

      2. Lynn Atkinson
        December 17, 2020

        You still here Hefner? I thought you were moving to your beloved EU.

      3. Original Richard
        December 17, 2020

        Using PPP is just a fudge.

        Are German cars cheaper in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Portugal?

        Do they get their Barbados holidays cheaper by living in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Portugal?

  54. glen cullen
    December 16, 2020

    Follow the clever money; brexit odds of deal before 31st December

    Yes – 2/7 and No – 5/2

    Do the betting offices know something we don’t

    1. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2020

      There will surely be a deal (it will almost certainly be an appalling non Brexit one) but will it be signed and agreed before 31st Dec or not. Perhaps delayed a bit with a few weeks extension?

      I will not be betting.

    2. miami.mode
      December 16, 2020

      Nothing really to do with bookmakers.

      They adjust the odds in relation to the amount of money placed on a particular outcome. Blame the punters.

    3. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      You do realise that a deal can be struck at any time after that date too?

      It would just mean a period of disruption until that happened.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        December 16, 2020

        Any ‘trade deal’ is reversible. It’s ‘treaties’ that are a problem as we have seen and Boris has no mandate to conclude a Treaty.
        I personally don’t care what trade deal the idiot signs up to. We will sack him at the first opportunity, and as you know no parliament can bind its successors.

        1. glen cullen
          December 16, 2020

          Concur

  55. mancunius
    December 16, 2020

    Boris Johnson is insane to accept any agreement at all with the EU at this stage. He would be indicating his naivete by insufficiently scrutinising and understanding the agreement (as he so cavalierly did with the WA/NI agreement), and showing undignified subservience to Brussels in subjugating parliamentary sovereignty to the will of the Commission, by disallowing adequate time for debate in the HoC – an act of flagrant disrespect for the parliament and the people of the UK.
    Out out out. No treaty. It is after all not a CETA FTA he is planning to sign, but an ‘association/ partnership agreement’. And we all know how the EU understands that – as a chain to shackle us to their doorstep. We neither need nor want it, and if it is passed, the consequences will be dire – for the Tory Party as well. Away with it.

    1. Multi-ID
      December 16, 2020

      Too bad- you guy’s are bunched

  56. Andy
    December 16, 2020

    As the EU are so concerned about fair competition and state aid they will surely be against a country having a manipulated currency. As Germany is running a current account surplus of 8%, illegal under EU Law, the UK, USA, Australia, China etc would be well within WTO rules to impose anti-dumping duties on all Eurozone goods. I doubt the German car industry will fair that well with the 10% tariff plus a 30-50% anti-dumping duty. We should impose such a duty from 1st January in the name of fair competition.

    1. Edward2
      December 16, 2020

      Well said “nice Andy”

    2. rose
      December 16, 2020

      This applies also to China.

  57. Mark J
    December 16, 2020

    As someone said on another forum. The EU only wants a level playing field on THEIR terms, not ours. Therefore if anything has been agreed regarding state aid and “a level playing field”, you can be certain it has come at a disadvantage to us.

    Which then makes one wonder what else Boris will surrender to, from his supposed ‘red lines’.

    What is not understood by those in charge, is that a deal is preferable. However, that deal should NOT come at any cost – just to appease the EU. Surrender chunks our sovereignty just to get a deal will end up annoying many Brexiteers, and many of the red wall supporters – whom lent you their vote at the last election. Play your cards right and provide a proper Brexit on our terms, they may well vote for you again in 2024.

    As the old saying goes: ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’. It’s just a shame that Boris is just another that trots that line out, however doesn’t stand by it. If he did, he would have walked away by now.

  58. BJC
    December 16, 2020

    ………all backed up by the ECJ, the self-appointed guardians of their treaties and Mr Johnson’s unnecessary commitment to the ECHR; an organisation that can’t bring a case against the EU, while the EU has decided to ignore judgements they don’t like, anyway. Of course, (unenforceable) ECHR principles are still an integral part of the EU doctrine, so when (if?) we block the ECJ they can now use the ECHR court to pull us back into line. “Level playing field”?………I think not!

    I will repeat, the EU never negotiates the matter in hand; their aim is to set broad principles and precedents they can apply elsewhere to further their own ambitions. It’s clear that from the EU’s perspective the negotiations haven’t been about trade, but about proving their worth to European governments, so they can maintain their iron grip on them. What better way can there be than having the independent spirit of the UK crushed into subjugation by accepting that the EU way is the only way? It begs the question, why are we so intent on helping them do it?

  59. Christine
    December 16, 2020

    So just like the Withdrawal Agreement the so-called deal will be rushed through parliament on Monday, pushed through the HoLs on Wednesday and given royal assent the same day. Something so important to our country needs proper scrutiny. We haven’t waited four and a half years for a bad deal to be slipped in under cover of Christmas. If the Government tries this then vote for a delay and trade on WTO in the meantime. Your party will not be forgiven if our country is sold out.

    1. margaret howard
      December 16, 2020

      Christine

      ” We haven’t waited four and a half years for a bad deal to be slipped in under cover of Christmas.”

      But you voted for a proven liar and manipulator giving him a huge majority to boot. What did you expect? How do you think he got away with things no ordinary, honest human being does? You got what you wanted so take it on the chin.

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Yet parties that had a manifesto saying they were pro EU failed.

      2. Fedupsoutherner
        December 16, 2020

        Care to explain church going May then Margaret?

        1. Fred H
          December 17, 2020

          the devil looks after his own?

      3. Christine
        December 17, 2020

        Margaret Howard – For your information, I didn’t vote for this Government so don’t presume to lecture me on what I voted for. I voted for Brexit and I haven’t for one moment doubted I made the right decision. The quicker we get away from nasty people like you who hate our country and want to thwart the democratic vote the better.

        1. margaret howard
          December 17, 2020

          Christine

          Not that old stereotype again – you disagree with my view therefore you hate your country blah blah blah.

          As for your ‘democratic’ vote – there is nothing democratic in a system that allows 17m people to decide the future of 70m in perpetuity.

          Unlike an election when we can change our minds a few years later, this referendum has led us permanently into a calamity that is becoming more inescapable by the day.

          Unfortunately there seems to be no way I can ‘thwart’ it!

          1. Edward2
            December 17, 2020

            Oh come off it Margaret.
            You know that there is an electorate.
            18 years old or over.
            A UK citizen.
            And voting isn’t compulsory.
            Babies voting??
            Come on get real.

          2. Lynn Atkinson
            December 17, 2020

            But Margaret you wanted 16m people to deprive 70 million people of their citizenship, democracy, country, sackable lawmakers in perpetuity.

          3. margaret howard
            December 18, 2020

            Lynn

            Is that what you Brexiteers have in store for the rest of us?

  60. Howard
    December 16, 2020

    Same old same old that’s not going to change anything- the EU is a club of 27 and we are one- so if anyone thinks that we are going to get our way to cherry pick or have cake and eat it is all pie in the sky. Barnier is the mastet negotiater- they are going to drag these talks into no-mans land on 1st January and hold the situation for four or five weeks just until enough chaos has been created for the British public to sit up and take notice- after that it will be easiest deal ever- as Dr Fox predicted

    1. rose
      December 16, 2020

      Fox said it should be the easiest deal in history if the politics were right. You alter the meaning by leaving out the rest. Perhaps you intended to.

      1. hefner
        December 16, 2020

        Using the fuller quote would show that presently the politics are not right. So what do you want the UK Government to do?
        Do you really think that crying on a daily basis on Sir John’s shoulder will improve things?

        1. rose
          December 16, 2020

          I want the Government to do what I wanted it to do in June 2016: send a polite letter to the EU and repeal the 1972 Act. Then leave. I didn’t particularly want an FTA as I don’t trust the EU to honour one, and there was always a danger of our people tying us in beyond trade.

        2. Edward2
          December 16, 2020

          What an odd post hef.
          Are those that hope for a no deal outcome suddenly not allowed to argue their case?

  61. ian@Barkham
    December 16, 2020

    “This is why it is proving so difficult to negotiate, because the EU wants far more than a Free Trade Agreement. It wants control over our competitiveness and law making. ”

    Even more worrying for the UK, is the EU wants these controls on the 94% of the UK GDP that doesn’t trade or have any intention of trading with the EU. While at the same time maintaining their own predatory rules of engagement. More than just unfair, it is a disingenuous insulting suggestion.

    1. Old Salt
      December 16, 2020

      ian
      +1
      As you say it’s all about control.

  62. John Hatfield
    December 16, 2020

    I hope you have emphasised this to our wobbly Prime Minister, John.

  63. Martin W D T Ward
    December 16, 2020

    In Peter Colville’s comment on p34 of the main section of the last Sunday Times, I was dumbfounded by the revelation (to me anyway!) that:-
    “Allied to the apparent insistence that the EU will be able to spend billions that we cannot in state aid, so long as it is done via the pan-European institutions, and it is exactly the opposite of a level playing field.”

    This would appear to mean that not only would we be shackled in the ways you describe below but the EU would be able to subsidise their industries and businesses against us at will provided they funnel it through pan-European institutions.

    Either I have misunderstood the EU proposals or (unlikely!) am I one of the few to have previously not picked up this further element of a playing field tilted against us?

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      December 16, 2020

      So what are you going to do about it from this now-powerless, non-member country then?

      1. Edward2
        December 16, 2020

        Why are we powerless?
        Is Canada powerless?
        Is New Zealand powerless?
        Is Japan powerless?
        Is South Korea powerless?.

        1. ed2
          December 17, 2020

          Canada is full of Chinese troops, Australia has just past a law allowing the same. Anglo elites are obsessed with surrendering to big powers in advance’

          1. Edward2
            December 17, 2020

            Slight exaggeration there ed2 !
            Australia and Canda are not full of Chinese troops.

    2. rose
      December 16, 2020

      It has always been like this. Why else was John Major made to break up BR into mad bits, separating the track from the stock? That was under competition law, not state aid, but the principle was the same: one rule for us and no rules for them.

      1. Mark B
        December 17, 2020

        Sane to with Royal Mail.

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      December 17, 2020

      This is correct. Of course they can skew their ‘playing field’ as they like but by signing a deal Boris will allow them to veto any attempt by the U.K. to compete.

  64. bill brown
    December 16, 2020

    Sir JR

    “Control of our law making” you are using extreme wrds again to describe what teh EU is trying to do.
    Readig this blog an in particular your twitter account, I would like to observe that it is very close to “Project Fear” that you seem to be writing about all the eime but just with a reverse argumentation.
    If, you criticise the other side, then do not use their methods, which you are currnetly doiing both on twitter and in this blog, when historical facts are rather squeezed to the limit about what we can blame on the eu.
    TRY AND BE MORE BALANCE IT MIGHT JUST PAY OFF?

    1. Derek
      December 16, 2020

      Well I am fearful and have been so for the past four and a half years. Fearing that Brexit will be lost and we shall be chained to the Brussels sinking ship for ever or until we drown in their dictatorial bureaucracy. What have they done to deserve our friendly approach to our leaving? NOTHING.
      Wake up and smell new Brutishness in the air. The time for ‘balance’ is over and way past its sell-by date because the EU have never ever put any “balance” into their own requirements. Instead demanding the status quo remain, using our Nation as their personal cash-cow and now deservedly, they must cry into their spilt milk.

    2. Edward2
      December 16, 2020

      Control of law making is a central feature of every independent nation on Earth.
      Does Canada or Mexico allow the USA to impose laws on them?
      Can New Zealand make laws in Australia?
      Does South Africa allow any other African nation to make its laws?
      These are all examples of nations that have decided voluntarily to work together with mutually advantageous agreements to facilitate trade and co operation but they would never allow either side that power.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        December 17, 2020

        South Africa is in the African Union, modelled on the EU; no borders, soon to have a single currency; the Afro. Amazed you did not know that.

        1. Edward2
          December 17, 2020

          But they will not allow anyone to make their laws.

    3. Fedupsoutherner
      December 16, 2020

      Try and be less rude. It might just pay off.

    4. ukretired123
      December 16, 2020

      Bill Brown East of Brussels ….

    5. Lynn Atkinson
      December 16, 2020

      The vast majority of British people demand that our Parliament is Sovereign (exclusively has the power to make our laws) and that we can sack our parliament, it’s called `democracy’.

      If this is extreme ‘from where you are sitting’ Bull, I suggest that you are sitting in such an extreme position that you have no balance.

      1. bill brown
        December 17, 2020

        Lynn Atkinson

        I agree with you , it is the way the communication is done that bothers me.

        1. Lynn Atkinson
          December 17, 2020

          Perhaps if you were English speaking you would not struggle so.

        2. Edward2
          December 17, 2020

          Communication is a side issue compared to who makes the law in a nation.

  65. miami.mode
    December 16, 2020

    The EU has obviously been studying the Humpty Dumpty playbook.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

  66. Derek
    December 16, 2020

    Why oh why couldn’t’ we have just left in 2016 and then proceeded to talk trade deals!
    It is always the problem when Government, civil servants and the public sector get involved in any “talks” or negotiations. Time does not matter. In fact the longer the better so they can procrastinate ’til kingdom come. It’s in their DNA to delay and waste time talking about talks and going away to review again what has been reviewed already.
    Once we had left, the whole process should have been handled by a JOINT team of Private Sector representative experts with Government Minister(s) and their subject relevant Civil Service managers with the objective clearly marked beforehand together with an end date to deal or to walk away.
    The reason we are still waiting 4 years and six months after the vote, has been a deliberate attempt to scuttle Brexit in its entirety.
    Sadly it appears it still goes on and if we do, on Jan 1st 2012, actually achieve the Brexit we voted for, I shall believe miracles do happen. Please let it be so.

  67. gregory martin
    December 16, 2020

    Maybe its time for a dealbreaker.
    I am pondering the effectiveness of a ‘Special Forces’ type of Shock and Awe visit to the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg to seize ledgers, deposits and assets to reclaim our investment. It should not be seen as an act of war, nor an attack upon a Nato ally, as 0.5% is not a qualifying subscription in my book. It may concentrate minds at home and away as to our determination in recovering that which is ours.
    The media coverage, and repeated replays, would absolutely make this a special Christmas to remember.
    TIC

    1. hefner
      December 16, 2020

      ‘Curiouser and curiouser’ said Alice.

    2. Martin in Cardiff
      December 17, 2020

      It would simply be a common crime and treated as such, quite rightly.

  68. acorn
    December 16, 2020

    What a gay week we are having. Locally I am watching how a country falls apart. Yesterday the outfit repairing our access road, managed to sever the HV cable that feeds our district’s transformer. SSE plugged in a mobile generator to restore supply. Unfortunately it ran out of diesel several hours later to the amazement of SSE personnel. Later, the diggers from hell, managed to sever the fibre internet connection to our local cabinet.

    A whole Ward of voters are now isolated from the digital universe, Which will cause incalculable mental distress. They are now praying that the diggers from hell manage to miss the gas and water pipes.

    1. Mark B
      December 17, 2020

      No chance.

      First they came for your lecky. Then they came for your internet. They will have your gas, your water and probably your first born as well.

      Great read and good luck mate

      🙂

    2. Martin in Cardiff
      December 17, 2020

      Yes, that’s the private sector for you.

  69. rose
    December 16, 2020

    Frau von der Leyen was in something of a controlled rage today, and she coined a new EU bureaucratic euphemism: Predictability and Stability. This actually means they hang on to our waters and control them.

    The PM wasn’t in a rage at all, so I took hers as a good sign.

  70. Truth
    December 16, 2020

    Tap into google or duckduck go or whatever

    “You will own nothing and you will be happy”

    Read it

    Then see if you can work out why you wont have a charging point for a car near by.

  71. Sea_Warrior
    December 16, 2020

    Successful Brexiteering demands being different from the EU – not being forced to be the same.

  72. Iain Moore
    December 16, 2020

    Unicef has sought to humiliate us by saying children are going hungry here and stepping in and giving out food parcels.

    As we give Unicef a shed load of money from our Aid budget…. (The UK is the second largest government donor to UNICEF. In 2016, DFID provided a total £355m to UNICEF, which comprised £48m core funding and £307m non-core contributions (including £173m humanitarian emergency funding)),….. why should we fund them and permit them to humiliate us with our own money?

    This is a perfect opportunity to tell them to naff off. If they say things are so bad here, and putting it all across the news, then the Government should say …’well in that case we must cancel our contributions and invest it in our own people. Goodbye!’

    Of course like a lot of things any rat bag organisation can grandstand and insult us and the British establishment will love them for it. It has been very obvious that the Government hasn’t seen anything worth defending in the culture wars that have descended on us. Rewrite our history and tell all that we are a bunch of White supremacist racists? No problem. Tear down statues? No problem . Burn the Union flag on the Cenotaph ? A slap on the wrist. British Library denouncing authors? No problem. National Trust going all woke? No problem. We are mugs , we pay for all these people and organisations and they take pleasure in insulting us, and the Government keeps throwing our tax payers money at them.

    Is there anything the Conservative Government can be stirred into conserving?

  73. ed2
    December 17, 2020

    Why is both PM and opposition totally blind to the scientific fact that lockdowns have made zero difference anywhere in the world?

  74. Lindsay McDougall
    December 17, 2020

    Yes, yes, yes. So why are we still negotiating? It’s futile.

    1. Old Salt
      December 17, 2020

      When two parties represent completely opposite values – one striving for independence and sovereignty, the other for domination and subjugation – there is nothing to negotiate about.

  75. Original Richard
    December 17, 2020

    I understand that the EU does not consider money given by an EU institution (as opposed to a national state), such as their CAP, as “state aid”.

    Hence I presume if we were to devolve fully and have an English Parliament, then the UK government could give aid to farmers and industries etc. without breaking any of the EU’s “state aid” regulations?

  76. John Partington
    December 17, 2020

    The EU are still trying to keep the UK under its jurisdiction by stealth. I hope our negotiators tell them NO and we go to WTO rules for trading. Also the terrible WA needs to be ditched.

  77. XY
    December 18, 2020

    I have hoped for a long time that the new team in No10 are simply going through the motions of negotiation, playing for no deal. Then get the WA cancelled once the FTPA, HoL and boundary reforms are in place.

    I still hope so. However, i think if it were so then the UK would have an “unreasonable demand” of its own, rather than the UK red lines consisting of barriers against EU unreasonable demands. After all, if the EU were to capitulate on those demands now then we would be left with a FTA and a bad WA (although the FTA *should* fix some of the problems of the WA, in theory at least).

    So I still have fears that this is a pantomime, designed with misdirection in mind (Look at all the work we’re doing fighting the EU on fishing” while they sell us out on State aid and LPF).

    We will have time to see the analysis and debate it before we next vote. Farage will make a meal of any backsliding and he will be right to do so. The only saving grace is that the govt should know that the Conservative Party may be finished if it gets this even slightly wrong. They know that WTO won’t sink them, but even one wrong word in a FTA just might.

  78. XY
    December 19, 2020

    Yes State aid is the big issue remaining. I suspect fishing is a misdirection technique designed to have people take their eye off the ball in the real game.

    We should have no doubt that anything the EU can do to us, they will. If they have the power to slap tariffs on without reciprocation then they will find every excuse to do so. Hopefully our exporters will simply find better markets after Brexit – a tariff makes no difference if no-one exports to the EU, they’re welcome to 100% of nothing.

    What they are really after is tariff-free access to our markets though. All the bleating about us having access to their so-called single market is typical politician-speak. We don’t care about their SM, with only 7% of our GDP coming from trade in goods with the EU.

    And the lack of a substantial agreement around services, especially financial services, is extremely worrying. We must not give them what they want and get little in return in areas of concern to us.

    So WTO it must be. Any further deals need to be on a case by case basis and only if it’s in our interests.

    After all I have seen over the 4.5 years I have come to loathe the EU and all it stands for. A FTA would be as much a geopolitical issue as anything else, since it has little impact on trade in reality – and simply put: I don’t trust the EU as allies. Leave and stay away. WTO please.

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