Time to move on from EU policies

Let us remind Ministers that in U.K. government the civil service provides continuity. They will carry on energetically implementing past policies until the Cabinet or a Minister with the authority tells them policy is changing. It is the job of Ministers to propose new directions, argue them through against civil service objections and sell them to Parliament and the public.

In a few areas Ministers have seized the initiative and changed policy from the overarching EU laws and decisions which came to dominate most areas in recent years. The notable decision to opt out of the EU approach to vaccine development an£ procurement shows what can be done. Yet in all too many other cases Ministers are still to change and improve the EU approach which governs.

The Treasury for example has still not removed VAT from a range of items where the U.K. thought it wrong impose the tax. Why is there still VAT on boiler controls, heat pumps, drought excluder and insulation for starters? Why are we still reporting under the debt and deficit rules of Maastricht? Can’t we have a pro growth anti inflation framework of our own to replace Maastricht austerity rules?

At DEFRA we still await details of how the U.K. is going to rebuild its fishing fleets and take control of our fish, catching sustainable quantities and landing them in the U.K. At Business there is no sign of a better regulation Bill to slim and improve the vast annals of EU legislation, some of which the U.K. opposed or wished to improve when first drafted. Pledging high standards is good, but improving the way they are defined and enforced would also be good. At the FCO There is little riposte to the abuses of trade between the EU and ourselves, particularly on the island of Ireland. We still do not have new procurement rules, nor a better self reliant energy policy.

We did not leave the EU to preserve all its legislative works from the outside. We left to make things better. Some Ministers need to alert officials to the huge opportunities which Brexit can bring.

163 Comments

  1. Cornish
    March 29, 2021

    Well, I can explain fish to you. British consumers don’t like to eat The kinds of fish we catch in our waters. We used to sell them to the EU but it’s no longer economic to do so thanks to your Brexit red tape. So we used to have free trade but now we just have borders and paperwork. I suspect the story is the same in other sectors of the economy. I doubt anyone except angry well off pensioners sees any good in your Brexit

    Reply Not true. See rising support for Megrin sole

    1. MiC
      March 29, 2021

      John’s central claim that European Union law “dominated most areas” is utter nonsense.

      This so-called seventy-five percent of UK law that Farage and others claim was made in Brussels does not include family and divorce, nor Town and Country Planning. Nor does it cover crime and sentencing. Heath, education and professional standards are outside its remit – as are land, property and inheritance, along with most tax bar VAT. Defence and security are not covered, and nor are electoral matters nor media regulation. Driving and parking rules and penalties appear to be for us too, along with contract, employment and trade union matters – except for health and safety. Notably, there is no European Union law on immigration from outside countries.

      It all seems to be getting rather hard to find. Surely the Leave campaigns would not have misled anyone though?

      There was, however a constitutional requirement on membership. It was that countries must have the rule of law and be democratic.

      The UK has no constitution requiring this, and is only ever an Act Of Parliament away from whatever tyranny a majority of MPs might desire.

      Is that to what the Tories really object about membership?

      1. jon livesey
        March 29, 2021

        So, if nothing changes, why are you and the other remainers so hysterical about it all?

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        March 29, 2021

        Following from yesterday both to MiC and Andy.

        The EU has deliberately spread rumours about a vaccine and caused its waste on a large scale. There is a big difference between the mistakes the UK made and the deliberate deaths the EU has caused in order to preserve the institution.

      3. Nick
        March 30, 2021

        Good lord. I honestly can’t believe you believe that.

        I appreciate people like the EU and don’t understand Brexit. However, that’s irrelevant. We voted to leave. Therefore, we need policies that are best for this country – more energy, less tax, less regulation.

        Sadly, the civil servants responsible for those policies are so wedded and obsessed with the EU that it seems we’re getting the precise opposite of why we voted to leave.

      4. Cliff Dixon
        April 7, 2021

        Actually, many of those areas are covered by EU law. Town and country planning are interfered with by CAP and Green directives (eg no dredging to stop flooding, subsidy to remove uphill woodland for grazing), defence by EU procurement rules etc.

    2. jerry
      March 29, 2021

      @Cornish; Nonsense, the British consumer do have an appetite for the traditional catch from traditional British fishing waters/areas, which might also explain the referendum result from the Cornish area, a clear majority to Leave!

      1. agricola
        March 29, 2021

        Jerry it is you who talks nonesense. The Brits have a very limited pallet where fish and shellfish are concerned. When did you last consume Monk fish, Oysters, Clams, Red Mullet, Razor Clams or Percebes prepared in your home. I could take you into Carrefour in Finestrat, Spain where all these items and many more are fresh on daily display, because the spanish eat them irrespective of social financial class. The fresh fish counter is at least 40 feet long and manned by expert fishmongers. Tescos fish stall, for that is the most it is, has been out of use for as long as my recent visit to the UK. If UK citizens demanded fish on the scale of their spanish counterparts, Tesco would cater for them.
        Anotber valid point, because of the small scale of fish retail in the UK, the resultant fresh fish and shellfish are very expensive. I know, I buy in both places. Cornish has a good point.

        1. jerry
          March 29, 2021

          @agricola; “The Brits have a very limited pallet where fish and shellfish are concerned.”

          EXACTLY! That is why they like the British traditional catch when it comes to Fish-n-Chips.
          Even when they love their packaged week or two on the Spanish Costa’s, flocking to the ‘English’ Fish-n-Chips bars, to have traditional British fare (compete with mushy peas), they do not as you say flocking to the Tapas bars to eat squid or octopus, nor any of the variety of fish you cite.

          Did you miss read what Cornish wrote, about the British and our fishing industry?

          British consumers don’t like to eat The kinds of fish we catch in our waters.

        2. jon livesey
          March 29, 2021

          Ah, so finally we find out what the EU was all about. The fiendish plot finally exposed. The entire thing, all fifty years, hundred billion smackers and three hundred million population.

          It was all about persuading the British to eat Monkfish.

        3. Andy
          March 29, 2021

          Why are you still in Spain? Haven’t the authorities deported you yet? Alongside all the other British migrants who are being sent back as a result of Brexit.

          Seems we have swapped Spanish nurses and doctors for raging pensioners.

          1. jerry
            March 30, 2021

            @Andy; “Alongside all the other British migrants who are being sent back as a result of Brexit.”

            Sorry for the additional comment Sir John but I really can’t allow Andy to get way with the above.

            Andy you really do not have a first clue when it comes to Spain! Yes some British expats are returning, and this has been going on for years, but it has little to do with Brexit – the reality eventually dawn for some, Spain is not necessarily a good retirement destination for the senior years, especially if away from family and younger friends, when joints or mind start playing up.

            No one is being deported due to Brexit, IF they are being deported it is because they refuse(d) to obtain the correct (but bureaucratic) resident/business papers, what is more this sort of thing was happening well before Brexit and not just to UK passport holders. I well remember in the early 1990s when many a West German living in Spain were ‘repatriated’ by the Spanish tax offices back to Germany (at the request of the German tax offices) or returned voluntarily, until they had sorted out their lapsed German tax affairs, some never to return -for what ever reason… Some very expensive villas were left empty for years, until I assume, a foreclosure sale!

    3. turboterrier
      March 29, 2021

      It does not help the fisherman’s cause when Sainsburyhave closed all their fresh fish counters. You can only buy pre packed.

      1. jerry
        March 29, 2021

        @turboterrier; Nor does it help the fisherman’s cause either when some question pre-packed fish!

        1. Fedupsoutherner
          March 29, 2021

          Many of us buy prepacked fish if that’s all that’s available. However, opening some of the packs is a nightmare. Give me fresh from the counter anyday.

          1. jerry
            March 30, 2021

            @FUS; “opening some of the packs is a nightmare”

            A nightmare in what way, if the content is LQ or worse then take it back, if you mean the packaging, sorry, I suspect that might say more about you than the work of the packaging engineer!

            Not sure about fish but, I was once told (reliably) by a director who’s food company supplied major supermarkets, many of the meats and other products on offer at the deli & cheese counters were the same as went into the pre-packed, sourced from the same suppliers, basically in catering sizes or unsliced, for which the customer was foolish enough to pay extra for but the supermarkets had paid less for!

            It has been noticeable in my regular two supermarkets how little custom the ‘fresh’ counters have had in the last few years, I suspect most people simply got wise to the fact that they were buying the same products, thus the Covid restrictions simply accelerated inevitable closures.

      2. William Potter
        March 29, 2021

        Tesco’s have closed their fresh fish counter as well. I am now buying from Cornwall fish merchants on the internet.

    4. Denis Cooper
      March 29, 2021

      I’ve recently read the same kind of myth about meat:

      https://britishmeatindustry.org/industry/imports-exports/

      “British consumers tend to eat a limited range of meat cuts (for example, chops and steaks). When producers process a carcase, they have excess meat, which can’t be sold in the UK market and needs to be exported.”

      I suppose that before we joined the EEC British farmers only raised carefully selected breeds of cows and pigs and sheep which did not have those parts which would be rejected by British consumers.

      1. jerry
        March 29, 2021

        @Denis Cooper; I think you’ll find those unpopular cuts of meat have always gone into mass processed products such as pies, tinned meats when butchered commercially or, when the carcase were butchered in a retail setting, sold off cheaply by butchers for home stewing or for use in suet puddings, but how many people now spend hours in the kitchen making meat pies and puddings in preference to buying mass produced?

        You might want to disagree with what the British meat industry say, but there is nothing ‘odd’ about the quote you cite, even more so when so much production has moved from the UK to EU member countries.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 30, 2021

          I would have thought “can’t be sold in the UK market and needs to be exported” was clear enough.

          1. jerry
            March 30, 2021

            Denis, try reading my comment again!

            I was shocked to realise that an otherwise ‘traditional’ British tinned meat brand, that had been made in the Liverpool area since WW2 (under licence from US Hormel Corp), is now a “Product of Denmark”…

    5. agricola
      March 29, 2021

      Cornish a suggestion. There must be an association type organisation of cornish fishermen. Get them, via Rick Stein, an introduction to the Japanese Ambassador. Introductions are the way to open doors in Japan. Japan is one of the largest fish markets in the World. Plan A would be to fly the catch in twelve hours by chilled container Exeter to Tokyo. I consider it well worth detailed investigation because it would cease your reliance on the European market and put a smile on the faces of cornish fishermen.

      1. Mark in Brixham
        March 29, 2021

        That’s a good plan Agricola, but that was completely do-able before Brexit, the EU never stopped us exporting to Japan. We don’t do it because transport costs are high, and Japanese red tape is crazy. Brexit hasn’t helped one iota – Brexit has just made it much harder for us to export to our biggest and nearest market, the EU. There is literally nothing about Brexit that helps business people

        1. jerry
          March 30, 2021

          @Mark in Brixham; “Japanese red tape is crazy.”

          So basically the excuse is, some are just to lazy….

      2. Christine
        March 29, 2021

        Cornish fishermen had a huge export of crab meat to China until they introduced sanctions so it can be done.

    6. Original Richard
      March 29, 2021

      Cornish : “British consumers don’t like to eat The kinds of fish we catch in our waters.”

      Why should that be? Are the fish caught in our waters inedible and if so why are the EU fishermen so desperate to have access to our waters?

      Cornish : “We used to sell them to the EU but it’s no longer economic to do so thanks to your Brexit red tape.”

      It’s not “Brexit red tape” but EU red tape that is hindering our exports to the EU which to be honest is perfectly understandable as they are so upset at losing a large net contributor.

      If Brexit brings about fewer food miles caused by shipping fish back and forth across the channel and additional jobs in the UK from setting up our own fish processing facilities then I’m all for Brexit.

      Hopefully it will reduce our £100bn/YEAR trading deficit with the EU.

      1. jon livesey
        March 29, 2021

        And remember that the whole fishing issue is about less than one percent of our trade and much less than that as a percentage of GDP.

        It’s almost as if Berlin, sorry Brussels, singled out fishing to be victimized so that people like MiC and Andy would have something to complain about.

        Something to go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, about,which in the end is economically a rounding error.

      2. Fedupsoutherner
        March 29, 2021

        Well said Original Richard.

    7. dixie
      March 29, 2021

      Huh – cod, haddock, mackerel, sea bass are all in my freezer. Then there is sole, bream, plaice plus scallop and sometimes lobster which we have on occasion.
      There is a difference between don’t like and can’t get or can’t afford.

      1. SM
        March 29, 2021

        Exactly – prior to the Brexit referendum, when I lived in Hertfordshire, the Waitrose fish counter only stocked Canadian frozen lobster (tasteless) and no crab or fresh prawns. Neither the large Tesco nor Sainsbury’s offered any fresh fish. A weekly fish vendor came with catch from the Suffolk coast and always had queues for fresh UK fish/shellfish and delicious smoked salmon from somewhere in Wales.

      2. Alan Jutson
        March 29, 2021

        +1

    8. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      Cornish, Your “EU empire good, independent UK bad” argument remains feeble. But then Remains never learn. The UK is incapable of feeding itself, so overpopulated are we (particularly England). We can eat everything we produce or catch, and then some. Don’t worry so much!

    9. ian@Barkham
      March 29, 2021

      @Cornish – you are confusing the UK Citizen with the UK Supermarkets. Only one Supermarket chain appears at the moment to offer UK produce( Morrisons). The Other supermarkets by deep frozen fish from far flung countries that is thawed out and called fresh. As @turboterrier has said Sainsbury have removed fish altogether.
      First the supermarkets destroyed the local Fish Monger, now they are walking away.
      I ask you why do we import Cod from China.
      As for me I get really fabulous fish delivered direct from Cornwall – the difference between that at what some call fresh puts it on another level

    10. Stred
      March 29, 2021

      Any answers?
      I often buy Scottish mussels, which are much better than French and Spanish. But the UK doesn’t have class A waters or purification . The EU has even banned farmed molluscs. If I can eat them, cooked, in the UK whether in the EU or not, what has changed? Was I buying Scottish mussels that had been purified in France and brought back?

      What has been done about the 15 Dutch and Russian mega trawlers that are taking most of the fish in protected British waters, while small British boats are rigorously inspected. Have these boats, which are bound to bi-catch bass and even dolphins, been licensed and still damaging stocks?

    11. Christine
      March 29, 2021

      We now have over 5 million EU country citizens plus millions of Asian’s living here so your argument that the British don’t eat home caught species doesn’t stand scrutiny. The number of foreign-born people living here is larger than the population of many European countries. I think the main reason people don’t buy fish is the cost of it. When I can buy a joint of pork for £2 a kilo why would I pay more times this amount for fish? Decades ago fish used to be very cheap, in fact, oysters used to be one of the staple food for the people of London.

    12. Hope
      March 29, 2021

      JR, suggest you article by Timothy Bradshaw in con woman. He paints a dire picture of Johnson’s appeasement to remain under EU control, despite his spin to con people to the contrary.

      Perhaps you could tell us which parts of the betrayal are wrong, starting with fisheries and DeFra failing the nation.

    13. Julian Flood
      March 29, 2021

      If youever see it on a menu, opt for red gurnard. It’s the best white fish you will ever taste.

      JF

    14. No Longer Anonymous
      March 29, 2021

      We used to eat such fish (what other fish did we eat in the past ?) and many people here are happy to go to Europe and eat these foods.

      We need to get our nation on a healthier diet pronto.

  2. Ian Wragg
    March 29, 2021

    It will be an uphill battle as the civil Serpents want to keep us aligned so we can seamlessly rejoin at a later date.
    It’s up to peoe like yourself to make it happen.
    The CS will go for dynamic alignment of all things EU if we’re not careful.

    1. MiC
      March 29, 2021

      As an illustration to Getting Things Done, might I point to the excellent work done – by Japanese and by Dutch teams I think – towards reopening the Suez Canal?

      The canal authorities could, of course, instead have chucked scores of billions at a team of hundreds of the Tories’ beloved “consultants” from Britain, and no doubt would have got nothing for their money even a year from now.

      Fortunately they were wiser in their choices.

      Reply I think it is a Japanese ship so of course they should sort it out

      1. agricola
        March 29, 2021

        Mic, don’t underestimate the Egyptians, they built the Pyramids.

        1. Ian Wragg
          March 29, 2021

          I thought that was Wimpeys.

        2. Fred.H
          March 29, 2021

          but they all seem to have holes in the middle !

      2. graham1946
        March 29, 2021

        The Dutch are the world experts at heavy lifting/salvage and have the knowledge and equipment. Always been the case – horses for courses. Not our kind of thing. A man with a boast and a length of chain will not do.

      3. MiC
        March 29, 2021

        It actually seems that it was the Dutch, who were the main players in achieving this John.

      4. Fedupsoutherner
        March 29, 2021

        What a pathetic post. There are many disasters around the world where British rescuers help and I haven’t heard any country turn our help down. Stop implying that everything this country does is rubbish.

    2. ian@Barkham
      March 29, 2021

      @Ian Wragg – I think you mean keep together the meaningless empires so as to stay employed. Even the HoC is complicit, it doesn’t like being part of the process of Government. It still see itself as just a mechanism for implementing rules and laws handed to them from their Overlords elsewhere.

      1. jerry
        March 29, 2021

        Some truth in that ian@Barkham. I wonder if the only way to break away these meaningless empires might require nothing less than a root and branch reorganisation, break up pyramids, whilst the Covid workplace restrictions and lockdowns have highlighted just how out of date Parliament, especially the HoC’s, had become given that an MP often has legitimate work related reasons to be away from the House but had to obtain a pairing, even permission to be away!

    3. Ian Wragg
      March 29, 2021

      Good article by Roger Bootle in today’s Telegraph. He asks the same questions. Also from Tim Martin of Wetherspoons trashing the idea of Covid passports for pubs.
      The latest wheeze by the non Conservative government to ban over 70s from driving more than 30 miles in daylight only is a sure vote winner.
      This pandemic has addled the brains of lawmakers, I think it’s time for a clearout.

      1. Alan Jutson
        March 29, 2021

        Ian

        As posted yesterday, the 65-75 year olds are the safest drivers according to the Governments own statistics.

  3. David Peddy
    March 29, 2021

    We count on you ,Sir JR ,to keep raising these issues, not just here but most vitally , in the House

  4. Mark B
    March 29, 2021

    Good morning.

    We haven’t changed because we haven’t left. All that has been done is we have exchanged one set of treaty controls for another and labeled it a ‘deal’ to disguise the fact. The aim is to Remain as close to the EU as possible so that the UK can slip back in at the earliest moment.

    You, Sir John, and all the other supposed Leavers, including Nigel Farage, have been had !

    1. ian@Barkham
      March 29, 2021

      @Mark B, and the EU itself not only doesn’t recognise that they are refusing to ratify any part of the Treaty. People in high places are still engendering the EU to believe we never meant to leave. As with all things EU hold back, do nothing and it will wear those with other thoughts to give up and submit to the Control and Rule. That’s modern warfare for you.

    2. glen cullen
      March 29, 2021

      Correct – The great national con is that after six years following the referendum nothing has really changed….and that was the plan, a bit of flag waving here and a name change there, a few more committees and no one will notice

    3. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      Mark B, Yes, it’s BINO. And the capitulation over Northern Ireland in particular is outrageous.

      And you can see it happening again over vaccines. The EU has a tantrum because the UK has done better. The EU then invents concepts such as “reciprocity” and “blackmail” to describe normal commercial contracts. And Boris falls for it. Again.

  5. agricola
    March 29, 2021

    Plus ca change c’.est plus la meme chose, I hope I quote correctly, its been a long time.
    It surprises me that a government task force or separate ministerial task forces were not set up to weed the patch of all the EU mal herbas residing on their respective lawns. Parliament is full of redundant lawyers, it should be easy, or is it that like their civil service staff they like the malign EU law we still operate under. Even more serious, did we agree to retain it during the five years of so called negotiation. The EU are still talking of level playing fields and symetry, is this to remind us of what was agreed or just a prayer that we do not become too competetive.
    As the ERG was the driving force for leave in the CP could they be re constituted to do just what you suggest and set fire to the tails of the malingerers.

  6. agricola
    March 29, 2021

    Contrary to the lethargy you highlight around government for resetting the law and the way various ministries operate, I would highlight the opposite in the department for international trade. Liz Truss and her department have seemingly gone flat out and with great success in opening up new opportunities worldwide for UK commercial endeavour. This and our covid vaccine response must be creating real concern in sclerotic Brussels.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 29, 2021

      You need to look beyond the press releases and articles puffing up her efforts to the numbers for projected benefits to the UK economy. You would find for example that while a free trade deal with the US is publicly represented as some kind of cornucopia its overall economic impact would in fact be negligible.

      On page 32 here:

      https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/869592/UK_US_FTA_negotiations.pdf

      “A trade agreement with the US could increase UK GDP in the long run by around 0.07% (within a range of between 0.02% and 0.15%) or 0.16% (between 0.05% and 0.36%) under scenario 1 and scenario 2 respectively. This is equivalent to an increase of £1.6 billion or £3.4 billion compared to its 2018 level.”

      So it wouldn’t really matter if President Biden set his face against a preferential trade deal with the UK because we abrogated parts or all of the Irish Protocol, that is just another yarn being spun by the Irish government and the EU and their treacherous supporters in the UK.

      Economic assessments of other potential trade deals with countries around the world are available on her department’s website, and none of them amount to much. They may be nice to have just for the sake of closer and friendlier relations with those countries but they are of little economic significance, and some may even be slightly negative for our own economy.

      But the most notable omission is any economic assessment of Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the EU, with civil servants in three departments – trade, business and Treasury – all denying any knowledge of any such assessment even when approached through formal Freedom of Information Requests.

    2. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      Agricola, That’s true. The vaccine program (Government/Oxford/A-Z) has been excellent; as has the rollout of international trade deals (that is, if you think such trade deals are worthwhile – which I don’t).

    3. Andy
      March 29, 2021

      Liz Truss has – with great fanfare – photocopied deals we had as EU members. Some of them she has retained on the same terms. Many are on worse terms. None of on significantly better terms. She has done precisely no significant new deals.

      Apparently she is, by the standards of this government, a success.

      Yet she still won’t publish the impact asses

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 30, 2021

        Untrue, there are plenty of economic assessments on her department’s website.

        However there is no assessment of Boris Johnson’s “Canada style” free trade deal with the EU, maybe because they know it is rubbish and are too embarrassed to publish the truth about it.

  7. Sea_Warrior
    March 29, 2021

    Then Boris needs to call in his Cabinet ministers, one-by-one, and ask them to lay out their post-Brexit benefit realisation plans. Or maybe the parliamentary party could make the same demand.

    1. Andy
      March 29, 2021

      Perhaps you should have done that before you screwed over millions of people.

      1. jerry
        March 29, 2021

        @Andy; You never learn, do you?! Perhaps had the EU federalist been more honest in the past, “before you screwed over millions of people”, lying through your collective teeth that there was no agenda to create a federated entity akin to a United States of Europe. Heck some even had the nerve to question the mental health of senior British politicians (both left and right) who dared to tell the truth about the Treaty of Rome. In short people like you brought Brexit upon yourselves, many who voted to leave in 2016 do not hate the EU per se, they hated being lied to by the EU (federalists).

      2. Sea_Warrior
        March 29, 2021

        Leave won because we had more millions of votes than your lot. We have just seen one big benefit of being out: not having to subordinate our vaccination programme to the incompetents in Brussels.

        1. MiC
          March 29, 2021

          Remember the tale of the tortoise and the hare, eh?

          The European Union countries are in notable instances doing better than the UK in getting people the two shots.

          1. jerry
            March 30, 2021

            @MiC; How utterly deceptive of you, I note what you did there…

            The EU might well have got two shots into a few hundred thousand more people than the UK has but what use is that in a pandemic when the vast majority of people in the EU have not had their first shot (hence why parts of France has and all of Germany might, have to go back into lockdown), unlike the UK were millions now have at least a first level of defence – with research suggesting that the first dose gives a higher than expected protection.

        2. Andy
          March 29, 2021

          127,000 dead courtesy of the incompetents in Westminster.

          1. jerry
            March 30, 2021

            @Andy; “the incompetents in Westminster.”

            Not Westminster, the dither and delay came from within Downing Street and the hard right of the governing party, a majority at Westminster would have gone further, faster, and be far less ideological in their response – for example on T&T.

      3. NickC
        March 29, 2021

        We did detail the advantages of being independent, Andy. And the electorate preferred independence to subjugation by your EU empire. They still do. Didn’t you notice?

        1. Andy
          March 29, 2021

          We always have been independent. I noticed mainly how xenophobic old people are.

          1. jerry
            March 30, 2021

            @Andy; “We [the UK} always have been independent”

            Nonsense, with respect (whilst minding your own phobias) you need to read up on the Treaty of Rome, Maastricht and Lisbon. Even the many UK opt-outs were doing nothing but delaying our eventual opt-ins, hence why one of the first things Cameron did in 2010 was disbanded the Civil Service team created by the Blair government to prepare for the UK’s adoption of the €uro currency!

          2. NickC
            March 30, 2021

            Yet again, Andy, you repeat the Remain falsehood that the UK was independent in the EU. We were not, as Declaration 17 of the Lisbon Treaty made clear (“[EU] law has primacy” over UK law).

  8. Grey Friar
    March 29, 2021

    I can help you here. No changes are being made because business is desperate to stick to EU rules to keep as much access as possible to our biggest markets. Your wild fantasies about trade deals with markets on the other side of the world were enough to fool people into voting Leave at the referendum but they cut no ice in the real world of trade. Brexit is lose lose, the only question is how much we lose. Stick to EU rules and we lose least. Re-join the EU and at last we can start to move forward again as a country

    1. IanT
      March 29, 2021

      British companies have always had to understand the requirements of their overseas customers (and their regulatory requirements). They did that before the EEC/EU existed, they’ve done that for non-EU clients all through our membership of the EU – and they will continue to do it now. Nothing new and nothing that cannot be mastered.

      And nothing to do with the way we govern ourselves either….

    2. Richard1
      March 29, 2021

      One of the major points of debate in the referendum was trade policy. Remain said it would not be possible to negotiate independent trade deals, and if we did they would be far inferior to those made via the EU. For several years afterwards loud remainers would taunt the govt over where the trade deals were. We had some on this site. But they’ve shut up now because They were completely wrong. The govt has replicated or rolled over almost all of the EU 3rd country trade deals, improved some and made major steps to new ones such as the CPTPP.

    3. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      Grey, Our biggest market (by far) is our own domestic market – as I have pointed out before, even though you are a slow learner. Second comes the rest of the world. The EU is third and last. And by re-joining the EU we don’t “move forward as a country” we cease to be an independent country at all.

      1. hefner
        March 29, 2021

        NickC, I am afraid I have to ask you what you think about these two points:
        First, what is being exported might not be what is being consumed in the UK, and it might have different ‘values’. Compare not only percentage of traded volume but also percentage of actual traded monetary value and the actual intrinsic value of such a trade (ex. is selling a British education (via setting up a British-type school in a foreign country) or a financial service of more or less value to the UK than selling some British-caught fish or a British-made car or British-made weapons? Would you consider all these things equivalent in your accounting?)
        Second and more important, there is not a country called ‘the world’: there are outside the EU27 a bit more than 160 countries with which the UK can trade. These countries are likely to have different international ‘weights’, different tastes, different needs, different views about the UK, different currencies, … So to pretend as you have been doing for months now that it is as easy (or even easier) to trade with these 160+ countries than with the EU27 with their common references is, how would I put it, a bit naive.

        Where fortunately you are not so naive is that you very reasonably question Liz Truss’ multiple trade agreements. Are they really better than what the UK had with them (160+ countries) via the EU (as most of them appear to be replica of what was ongoing before Brexit) or is it like in the case of the Japan-UK trade deal mainly smoke and mirrors likely to be more beneficial to Japan than it is to the UK?

        You can call me Remoaner till you are hoarse but I would really appreciate MPs (and possibly you) actually addressing this type of questions.

      2. MiC
        March 29, 2021

        The RoW is not one market it is hundreds.

        The European Union is ONE.

        IT is the UK’s second market.

        1. NickC
          March 30, 2021

          Martin, Well at least you now accept that our domestic market is far and away our largest market (around 6 times bigger than the EU market). That fact demolishes Grey’s case. So you’re actually forced to agree with me.

          Moreover the EU market is NOT “one” it is 27 – many state laws are additional to EU laws, and languages are various, so the differences ensure the EU market is not “one”. James Dyson explained that. So did the insurance experts during the Referendum. The RoW has the advantage of not being subject to EU rules; and without a trade deal, any one RoW country trades using WTO rules – it’s probably easier to trade with Australia, Canada etc, than with France.

    4. agricola
      March 29, 2021

      Grey Friar, what a defeatist suggestion, the horse has bolted, tasted freedom and even experienced the vaccine results of freedom. I do not see it returning to the tether ever again.

    5. None of the Above
      March 29, 2021

      Poppycock.

    6. Longinus
      March 29, 2021

      So the trade deals negotiated with countries around the world by Liz Truss and potential membership of Transpacific Trade Block are a wild fantasy? The EU makes up an ever decreasing proportion of our international trade and is increasingly irrelevant.

      1. Mark in Brixham
        March 29, 2021

        She hasn’t negotiated even one trade deal, all she has done is persuade a few – but not all – countries to give us the same terms we always had when we were in the EU.

    7. Peter2
      March 29, 2021

      It isnt a wild fantasy on trade deals GF.
      Many have been signed and more are close to being signed.
      Although many nations trade without a formal trade deal.

    8. glen cullen
      March 29, 2021

      ‘business is desperate to stick to EU rule’

      That will be the 11% that trade with the EU and not the other 89% that don’t !

  9. Nig l
    March 29, 2021

    It has been obvious for some time so well said and keep pushing. I guess you (the ERG) have broken cover because quiet diplomacy is not working. I look forward to ‘a blizzard’ of probing questions. PMQT seems a good place to start.

    The well sourced comment yesterday in the Times about Le Pen being an extremist shows that the civil service continues to fight against the Brexit vote and weak and uninspiring ministers, and there are too many of them, let’s not forget below their Secretaries of State, to force through change.

    The Treasury started project fear and obviously continues to push back. Ask Sunak the specific questions on the basis the voters want answers.

  10. bill brown
    March 29, 2021

    Sir JR,

    The answer on the single fish the sole is just unnecessary and still does not dispute the point raised

    1. dixie
      March 29, 2021

      I suggest the phrase “not true” disputes the incorrect point made quite succinctly.

    2. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      Bill Brown, Still hankering after “more EU”? Even though the EU ideology is shot to pieces with the ongoing impoverishment of the south of your EU empire, the mercantilism of Germany, the dodgy EU banks, the Target2 imbalances, and the EU’s very own vax fiasco?

  11. Nig l
    March 29, 2021

    And in other news this nannying government is banning 2 for 1 offers in Easter eggs. Do they really think punishing children on one of their great treats will make any difference. Of course not, once again their parents will have to pay extra.

    Of course when you are millionaire ministers that won’t effect you.

  12. bill brown
    March 29, 2021

    Sir JR,

    Your comment on the EU top meeting in Brussls is quite interesting.

    The EU have produced 77 million vaccinations for their own market and exported 88 million.
    How many have we exported? now that you are talking about free trade.
    This does not, however, excuse all the silly comments coming from Brussels and adhering to commercial contracts.
    We have to live with our friends and allies and make the best of working with them now and in the future, we are still part of Europe and that will not change.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 29, 2021

      The EU has quickly taught us that it is a mistake to depend on them for anything of critical importance.

      1. Julian Flood
        March 29, 2021

        A friend of mine used to work for British Gas. There was, in his time, a sharing agreement for imported LNG which sent imports in times of shortage to the countries which were going to suffer most. Guess which EU country could be counted on to grab supplies regardless.

        Then look at the new agreements on gas supply 2024/5 in the UK. The second biggest supplier of UK electricity is going to be that same country. And if there’s a shortage?

        Invest in candles.

        JF

    2. IanT
      March 29, 2021

      I’ve found this whole discussion about “our” vaccines (both EU & UK) somewhat puzzling. The vaccines are commercial products produced by private companies and then sold to their customers. Their manufacturing processes are often complex with components and processes scattered across national borders (like many other products these days – such as cars and processed foods).

      The EU doesn’t ‘own’ the vaccines made inside it’s borders – the manufacturers do.
      The fact that the EU ordered late and relied on some suppliers who were unable to deliver quickly, is a common occurrence in industry – where deciding the best partners and process can make a huge difference in Time to Market.

      The UK managed their product purchasing very well and the EU much less so – simple as that.

    3. dixie
      March 29, 2021

      The EU have not exported any vaccines because the EU have not produced any. Private companies have been producing vaccines and attempting to ship them under contract though the EU has been actively disrupting those contracts and also those supplies bound for Covax operations in developing countries.

    4. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      Bill, We still have to live with our enemy too – the EU empire.

    5. Longinus
      March 29, 2021

      The EU do not produce anything, the private sector does.

    6. Peter2
      March 29, 2021

      The EU haven’t produced nor exported any vaccines bill.
      It is independent individual companies that have done this.

    7. Original Richard
      March 29, 2021

      bill brown : “The EU have produced 77 million vaccinations for their own market and exported 88 million. How many have we exported?”

      Physical exports of the CV19 vaccine have not been necessary because Oxford AstraZeneca have gone far better by engaging with governments, multilateral organisations and other partners around the world to ensure broad and equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic.

  13. oldtimer
    March 29, 2021

    This government is too pre-occupied with virtue signalling from “protecting the NHS” to the implementation of ill-conceived green policies to bother with such trivialities as building a more efficient economy.

  14. Bryan Harris
    March 29, 2021

    Well said

    Where have some of these ministers been – Why were they not preparing for ways to use our new found freedoms? Why haven’t they acted ?
    They certainly had enough notice.

    Such things should count against them when the annual pay appraisal system comes in (if ever)

  15. Lifelogic
    March 29, 2021

    Indeed the first thing we need to change is the idiotic net zero carbon agenda and cull subsidies for electric cars and so called renewables.

    If heat pumps are to be VAT free so should gas and oil boilers as heat pumps confer little or no real advantage. Heat pumps give perhaps two to three times the heat but use electricity which wastes loads heat at the power station. Electricity is far more expensive than gas for a good reason. Heat pumps are rather expensive, slow to heat up and need larger radiators too, but are getting cheaper. Let them compete on a level playing field please.

    1. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      Lifelogic, The government does not believe its own green hoax propaganda. BEIS projections show that electricity production (around 40Mtoe) will be substantially constant between 2020 and 2040. That means they are relying on Andy’s lower power toasters to power perhaps 80% of cars and 20% of homes by 2040. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be hilarious.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 29, 2021

        Indeed and all those heat pumps.

      2. Andy
        March 29, 2021

        By the 2040s my generation will be in our 70s and your generation will mostly be dead. So for you lot it isn’t serious at all.

        1. NickC
          March 30, 2021

          Going to work in a toaster, Andy?

    2. john waugh
      March 29, 2021

      Sir John is saying we do not have a self sufficient energy policy.
      I find the whole situation on electrical power from generation to end users with all the proposals frequently mentioned to be incomprehensible . Well if there is no policy on which to anchor our thinking ,all we have is
      a complete muddle .
      In the April issue of E&T the Institution of Engineering and Technology publication a chartered engineer with
      39 years experience in the electricity supply industry describes the renewable threat to grid stability due to the
      fluctuating output of renewables ,leading to the conclusion that a substantial increase in nuclear generation is the only realistic answer.

  16. Richard1
    March 29, 2021

    It cannot be denied that Brexit has thrown up some problems – in NI, in fishing, in financial services, in other services given restrictions on movement etc. It is too early to say how serious they will be and whether they can be more than offset by the advantages of Brexit such as the saving of money, trade independence and regulatory freedom.

    An early test point as to the success of Brexit will be the next election. If by then we continue to see the difficulties we now have, and no serious attempt has been made to take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit, a viable strategy for Labour, perhaps in electoral pact with the LibDems and SNP, will be to rejoin the single market and go to the Norway model. After all they will say, this would solve all the problems there are at a stroke and what have you done that you couldn’t have done if we were in the single market? No referendum would be needed of course.

    I suggest Conservative MPs as a body start to feel the pressure for results. The test will be a simple one – has the U.K. across a broad range of measures outperformed the eurozone and what has the govt done due to Brexit that it couldn’t have done otherwise?

    1. Mark B
      March 30, 2021

      I and Mike Stallard argued for membership of the EEA as this would negate many of the problems we have and still allow us to open FTA’s with other nations reducing our dependence on the EU. Many here argued against. Now we have the spectre of that very thing happening because the factions within the Tory Party could not see the harm and in order to keep the party together we got a BREXIT that no one wanted. I never voted for a ‘deal’ but a ‘deal’ had to be done to stop all out war. The Tories put themselves before their nation.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 30, 2021

        As repeatedly pointed out at the time staying in the EEA would not have given the Irish government its desired answer to the largely invented problem of the Irish land border, as was made very clear in this Sky broadcast of November 24 2017, which can still be watched:

        https://news.sky.com/video/is-the-norway-sweden-border-a-solution-for-ireland-11141058

        “Is the Norway-Sweden border a solution for Ireland?”

        Note Helen McEntee, from 3 minutes in:

        “We have been very very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”.

        Now, over three years later, reflecting on the absurd extreme and intransigent position adopted by the Irish government it crosses my mind that her comprehensive rejection of “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland” must surely have encompassed rejection of the Belfast Agreement, which would obviously be a dead letter in the absence of the border.

  17. Dave Andrews
    March 29, 2021

    I hardly feel myself oppressed by the VAT on insulation. Employer’s NI on the other hand? Why are companies penalised for employing people, when I thought this was a social good to be encouraged? We could have got rid of it in or out of the EU.

    1. glen cullen
      March 29, 2021

      We are indeed taxed to death without any rhyme or reason

      1. Fred.H
        March 29, 2021

        One thing that is for certain – we can’t escape death or taxes – we’ve had the death, now for the taxes!

  18. Everhopeful
    March 29, 2021

    Boris’s Brexit “commitment”was more about him winning the election.
    No doubt his main aim was to inflict “ Lockdown” misery on us.
    Why would the trifling details of becoming a sovereign country matter to him?

  19. ian@Barkham
    March 29, 2021

    Good morning Sir John
    Agree.
    It is down to Government (and the trouble is they do it as well) to dismantle the empire building safety net that comes with every minor well meaning idea. The new ethos should be ‘Just because we can it doesn’t mean we should’ and that should apply to every minutiae in every nook and cranny that demands and regulates the taxpayers money.

  20. Alan Jutson
    March 29, 2021

    Its the mindset that now needs to be changed JR, after 45 years of politicians not needing to think ahead because that was done for them, many would now be confused, or even dare I say it frightened to now act or think in the Countries best interests, for fear of being blamed if it all goes wrong.

    Politicians have had 4 years to put a sensible plan together, instead many have simply attempted to bury their heads in the sand, and made excuses whilst they allowed themselves to be talked around in circles by the EU instead of simply walking away on our own terms, and with our own plan.

    1. glen cullen
      March 29, 2021

      Maybe some politicians have been elected beyond their ability….or even beyond their competence or understanding – lets be honest most MPs are parachuted into their position by the party machine

      1. Mark B
        March 30, 2021

        Mine certainly was. Never worked in the Private Sector in his entire life. Only State or party jobs.

        1. Alan Jutson
          March 30, 2021

          True enough for too many Mark.

  21. The Prangwizard
    March 29, 2021

    Why omit the responsibility of the PM in all this. Answer, that would be disloyal so we will never get that.

    Many Ministers are probably waiting on him but he probably hasn’t got the nerve or wish to give wholesale direction to break away. He keeps referring to his EU frieends even in the face of constant hostilty from them so nothing happens. He still wishes to be under their direction.

    1. glen cullen
      March 29, 2021

      He’s proven to be a bit of a coward and I don’t use that word lighly

  22. William Long
    March 29, 2021

    Sadly the number of Cabinet Ministers who have the character and energy to take on their officials and insist on a departure from the EU past is very small. I am afraid our main hope remains the small number of, mostly Conservative, backbenchers who really believe we are better outside the EU and that diverging from its rulebook is the best way forwrd.
    You mention DEFRA and fishing and I find the failure here particularly disapointing. I remember attending a Vote Leave rally in Plymouth addressed by George Eustice and being convinced that if there was someone who intended to change things, and could be expected to do so if given the chance, it was he, but I am afraid I must admit to being wrong, but there were quite a few fishermen in the hall who I think were taken in too.
    Roger Bootle’s Monday article in The Daily telegraph covers this topic and is well worth reading.

  23. Lets Buy British
    March 29, 2021

    Appalling, Boris needs to get on with things which only need to be relatively small but totemic ( whilst bigger projects take their course ) like banning certain types of fishing that’s raping our sea bed and destroying a UK asset. This proposal should not take long , the Govt does not need to set up a committee that will report back in 12 months time. The time it’s taking to get things moving would see a private business go into liquidation. Govt needs to act faster. I don’t think Covid can be blamed. Is Boris suffering from long Covid ?
    What about the Double Irish tax loophole. Its costing the UK £15 billion in lost tax. I understand that the treasury is looking at a strategy to combat this loophole and a committee will report back at the end of the year. What ! A year ! Worst still the treasury appears to be contemplating a mild defence against this loophole whereas a full blooded attack is available to the Govt set out by Briefings for Britain. The Irish Republic is just one big offshore tax haven for the US. It’s not be benefiting the UK. We are losing jobs and tax revenues to the ROI. Boris needs to put a stop to it. Or is he afraid of the Americans. Deep down they are only our friends when they want something or they get the better part of any agreement just like the EU but with less vitriole.

  24. GeorgeP
    March 29, 2021

    The WA & TCA created a myriad of committees to manage our ongoing relationship with the European Union. All well and good, but who sits on these committees? Who is looking after our national interest in the face of intense hostility from our ‘friends and partners’? If there is no transparency then it would be easy to assume that ‘remainer/rejoiner’ civil servants are building cosy relationships with their opposite numbers in Brussels…

    1. Stred
      March 29, 2021

      Civil servants and quangocrats in favour of the EU will sit on the committees. That’s why they invented them. It’s Yes Prime Minister become reality.

    2. NickC
      March 29, 2021

      George, True, the EU is very definitely not our friend. Even many Remains now see the EU empire for what it is. Neither the WA nor the T&CA are working. They need to be scrapped in favour of plain WTO rules, so we are not beholden to the EU in any way.

      1. glen cullen
        March 29, 2021

        You’re missing the point the WA and the T&CA are working exceptionally well ……for the EU

  25. a-tracy
    March 29, 2021

    What is most surprising is the Ministers at the head of these ministries you speak of were leavers.
    Treasury – Sunak
    Defra – Eustice
    FCO – Raab
    I think they need to step up and answer these questions you ask.
    Also, I’d add why isn’t Eustice doing a British Fish campaign, how much organisation would that take to get the supermarket leaders together and a joint advertising campaign with British fish wholesalers?
    Why are we allowing cheese, fish to be imported when our exports have reportedly made it impossible to export to the EU [level the playing field]?

    1. None of the Above
      March 29, 2021

      Talking of cheese, when are we going to protect the producers in the Cheddar Gorge area?

      Clearly, there are some people who seem unable to accept that the intransigence of the EU is a chronic condition; they need to accept that the ‘Playground Politics’ will continue ad infinitum and realise that they way forward is to open up non EU markets.
      Even if the ‘Trade and Cooperation’ Agreement had dramatically increased our fishing quotas, the barriers created by the EU would have still existed.
      It is all very well to lament the passing of the single market but it should remembered that the advantages it offered were substituted by several billion pounds of tax payers money.
      It is time to move on.

      1. None of the Above
        March 29, 2021

        Apologies; delete ‘substituted’ and insert ‘subsidised’.

  26. glen cullen
    March 29, 2021

    No sarcasm intended, but isn’t our current government policy and the signed EU agreements all about keeping a level playing field and ever-closer alignment of laws, regulations and directives.
    We have now exactly what this government wanted therefore there isn’t any likelihood of any change ?

    1. Dave Andrews
      March 29, 2021

      Never mind about the level playing field with the EU. Can we have one within the UK? I mean, a system where foreign companies pay the same tax as UK companies? Currently, they can whisk away their profits tax free whereas UK companies have to pay corporation tax.
      To make it worse, the CT is schedule to go up!

    2. Everhopeful
      March 29, 2021

      +1

    3. Alan Jutson
      March 29, 2021

      Glen

      Thank Mrs May for that.

      The disappointing fact was that Boris proceeded with it.

  27. Peter
    March 29, 2021

    ‘We left to make things better.‘

    I think we ‘left’ so that government could claim to have delivered ‘Brexit’.

    The way the agreement was carefully timed and rushed through Parliament suggests that government would prefer to simply move on now. So ministers are not looking to implement radical change. They still seem fearful of upsetting ‘our friends’ in the EU.

  28. Andy
    March 29, 2021

    We will not let Brexitists move on from Brexit.

    You all made false promises and the more it becomes evident the scale and the extent by which you misled the British public the greater their wrath will go.

    Many Brexitists in Parliament who were looking forward to comfortable retirements will instead be spending their latter years in cells.

    1. Glenn Vaughan
      March 29, 2021

      “Many Brexitists in Parliament…..will instead be spending their latter years in cells.” Andy

      The UK is not the fascist state that you so evidently crave.

  29. Beenthere
    March 29, 2021

    Yeah it’s all a side show- now we’re looking for equivalency with them to deal in financial and banking matters- but we had all of that before we left. Next we’ll be looking for freer movement of people and a reduction in paperwork for goods imports exports- in other words right back to where we started- as I said it’s all a side show

  30. Alan Holmes
    March 29, 2021

    Yes we left the EU to make things better and since then things have got 50 times worse entirely and completely because of the government and the craven MPs that never quuestion what is going on.

  31. BJC
    March 29, 2021

    The fundamental reason they’re not moving on from EU policies is that they’re not trained in the finer art of management, i.e. they haven’t got a clue how to introduce change or challenge the current dogma. Added to this, the all-powerful Civil Service tasked with implementing any changes, isn’t going to put itself out to support an administration they view as little more than an irritation and just passing through; they rather like their little fiefdoms.

    The answer is to invest in ongoing training in the principles of inspirational management that support good results and deal with the signs of poor performance. In addition, take advantage of the experienced managers with proven track records, who have recently been thrown away like an old sock. Success will breed more success and produce results more rapidly as confidence rises. Ms Truss is a fine example!

    1. Iago
      March 29, 2021

      Who can fire the permanent secretaries (plus the next three levels down)? I realise this is academic.
      Good morning, head of the civil service, please bring me the immediate resignation of the Governor of the Bank of England and, when you have done that, bring me yours.

      1. Mark B
        March 30, 2021

        +1

        That and cut the money supply.

  32. formula57
    March 29, 2021

    Ministers have had five years notice of the possibility of departing from the policies of the Evil Empire and very much longer as to the need. That they have failed to act surely constitutes gross negligence and another betrayal of the British people.

  33. Denis Cooper
    March 29, 2021

    Personally I’m in no great rush to change everything that we have inherited from the EU; we have unlimited time stretching out before us, and I envisage that we will gradually change laws and regulations as becomes necessary over a period of many years, prioritising the changes which would be most beneficial and tidying us the rest as occasion arises.

    I’m far more concerned with keeping the UK together in the face of the Irish Protocol agreed by Boris Johnson, and arguably that will be easier while we are still in close regulatory alignment with the EU.

    Does it not concern Tory MPs that their leader is accused of “betrayal” and described as an “appeaser”?

    https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/will-appeaser-johnson-revoke-the-irish-protocol-have-a-guess/

    “Will appeaser Johnson revoke the Irish Protocol? Have a guess!”

    1. Lets Buy British
      March 29, 2021

      Quite right. Diplomacy and turning the other cheek gets you nowhere with bullies.

      Within the framework of the Northern Island Protocol the Govt must tell the EU that NI is part of the EU and that they may only suggest and advise but any final decisions will be made by the UK & NI only. If the EU fail to accept this proposal then tell them that the only other option is to rescind the treaty which is not fit for purpose. A simple electronic system is all that is required for tax, etc. We will not be free of the EU until this treaty is smashed. Treaties don’t last for ever and this one has run its course

    2. jon livesey
      March 29, 2021

      Whether a country stays in one political unit depends on the perceived self-interest of the people that live there. It would be a very strange World in which one agreement or document cold split a nation that didn’t want to be split. Quite the reverse. Such documents usually record such a split; they don’t cause it.

      If a few customs posts cause a split with NI, then that split was coming anyway. If Sturgeon manages to get her “super-majority” then that is a decision made by individual Scottish voters, not by Brexit.

  34. jon livesey
    March 29, 2021

    I understand JR’s concerns with law, but I think that they are overdone. A Government is an organization with a limited bandwidth, so that it cannot do everything all at once.

    I would say that after four years of negotiation, exposed to the pettiness and nastiness of the Europeans all that time, HMG got a pretty good sense of what kind of obnoxious behaviour would spring forth in January. So they probably decided to devote the first quarter of 2021 to fielding the EU’s underhand tricks, and left more permanent change to when things settled down.

    We are just getting a sense of just how unpleasant the Europeans are to deal with – the press outside the UK is waking up to that as well – but May, Boris and Frost will have known what was coming.

  35. jon livesey
    March 29, 2021

    Oh, and watch those Covid numbers. It won’t be long now before we are being told that the EU has been such a good friend to us that we have a massive moral duty to bail them out with vaccines.

  36. Denis Cooper
    March 29, 2021

    Oh look, this chap who used to advise Theresa May has come up with a brilliant solution to the problem of the Irish protocol, and, guess what, it would involve the perpetual subjugation to swathes of EU laws of either the whole of the UK – as Theresa May wanted – or maybe just Northern Ireland – as Boris Johnson agreed.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-northern-ireland-protocol-border-checks-eu-uk-agreement/

    “How to fix Brexit’s Northern Ireland protocol problem”

  37. Margaret Brandreth-
    March 29, 2021

    I believe that the British people will eat fish which are available, however you must realise that their are trends in eating habits . I personally don’t like monk fish and octopus, yet 20 years ago these sea creatures were must have’s for the socially’ in people.’ Many more of us are not eating as much meat and therefore fish is the only first class protein available . As far as EU directives are concerned the process of continuation is a mere habit where it is easier to still do the same. There are many examples of peoples’ opinions which highlight the attitudes of pinning them in a certain time and place and a change of mind or a mental evolutionary process cannot even be considered , An example of this ” is a leopard never changes its spots ” or” the future is for the young and their ideas.” or ” what was it like in your day? ” For goodness sake , this is everybody’s day: young and old and now is the time for UK to stand up to what it wants and needs for prosperity and the making of a diverse sustainable future.

  38. David Brown
    March 29, 2021

    A future GOV can easily reinstate all EU law so leaving is only a short term old folks fairy tail.
    Sightly off topic I see the Moderna Vaccine is the worlds most expensive because the US manufacturer wants to make a big profit out of a medical supply in line with all the big US pharmaceutical companies.
    Yet the UK Gov wants to do a trade deal with the US inc pharmaceutical supplies that will cost the NHS a fortune. The idea of the NHS having a bonus increase of funding by 300million after so called Brexit will be dwarfed by the massive increase in pharmaceutical costs with a US trade deal. Any trade deal with the US should be scrapped by a future Gov .

    1. jon livesey
      March 29, 2021

      Pretty much complete nonsense. What is really going to happen, announced this morning, is that 60m dozes of the Novovax vaccine will be manufactured in the UK by GSK.

      Remainers are falling over their own feet on this issue because they imagine that there is a “vaccine factory” where vaccines have to be manufactured. That isn’t how it works. Once a vaccine has been developed and the active ingredients suplied, then manufacturing the vaccine and bottling it in dozes is a standard pharmaceutical operation any certified manufacturer can carry out. That is why the AZ vaccine is being manufactured all over the World, from Belgium to India, using active ingredients supplied from the UK.

      1. jon livesey
        March 30, 2021

        Oh, and I totally missed a significant part of the story. Originally the UK contract for the Novovax vaccine was to have been manufactured – that is, prepared from active ingredients and put into vials – in Europe, for delivery to the UK. The deal for GSK to do that part of the job, in the UK, was a later decision.

        So Boris and his team win again. Not only did they get ahead of the pack on obtaining this vaccine, but they also made the deal von Leyden-proof by switching the manufacturing part from the EU to the UK, which is also another boost to the UK pharma industry.

    2. graham1946
      March 30, 2021

      There will be no trade deal with the USA while Biden is in the White House and even less chance when Harris takes over when he becomes too much of an embarrassment. That is good. We don’t need one, we trade in surplus. A trade deal will flood this country with cheap and nasty American products and we will end up like we did in the EU with a big deficit. Leave well alone and do trade deals around the world where we need them but not this one.

  39. kb
    March 29, 2021

    Corporations such Amazon and eBay route their sales through Ireland, Luxembourg and other countries to avoid paying UK corporation tax. Several years ago this was estimated to cost the UK £10bn a year and will be more than that by now. They were using one of the EU “pillars” of Freedom of Establishment.
    As a result, the GDP per capita of Ireland is now way above that of the UK. Now that we have left no-one mentions this anymore. Presumably we can now close this loophole which allows US corporations and Ireland to bleed the country dry. Why no action on this?

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 30, 2021

      https://euobserver.com/opinion/151169

      “Why you shouldn’t trust Ireland’s economic statistics”

      “Ireland is the only EU member state which avoided recession in 2020. A miracle? No – Ireland is the European Union’s tax haven.

      The country uses an incentive system for intangible asset transfers on a scale that distorts its own national accounts.

      Irish statistics have little in common with the actual picture of the economy – artificial transactions account for 20 percent of GDP.”

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    March 30, 2021

    Well said.
    – All of the EU laws and the UK laws passed as a result of EU Directives after 1st January 1993, when the Maastricht Treaty passed into UK law, should be up for review / cancellation.
    – The Northern Ireland protocol should be scrapped entirely; no ifs, no buts.
    – The UK’s disastrous balance of payments deficits with the EU – both capital and current – should be reduced.

    And if it becomes necessary to withdraw from the International Law on Treaties, which Lord Caradon signed on our behalf in 1970, bring it on.

  41. a-tracy
    March 30, 2021

    Polly Toynbee makes some interesting points today, however, she contradicts herself. She speaks of bad employment practice in the UK as though it only started happening since January 2021. But the Uber, DPD, Deliveroo workers agreements were set up whilst in the EU and often by foreign owned companies.

    I know a couple of retired people who do zero-hours contract work to suit themselves, they say when they are available and not, they accrue holiday pay pro-rata as do all zero-hours workers. They don’t pay employee’s NI but the employer pays employers NI on their behalf even though they are over 65.

    Polly talks of agency temps but most agency temps only do this work whilst looking for full time permanent work and need days off to seek those jobs, I interview people that are temping whilst looking for a more preferred role full-time. The people that employ temps pay over the odds on hourly rates and their holiday pay so any company that keeps this going for a long time are poor Managers and bosses and should really be investigated by their own Management boards. I personally think bank nursing is one of the biggest causes of problems in NHS recruitment that and 12 hour working shifts (far too long and possibly a cause of the errors that spark such large claims for negligence in the NHS).

  42. Pauline Baxter
    March 30, 2021

    You are right to remind Ministers to take control over their civil servants and to change the mindset away from EU imposed objectives.
    Doesn’t the Government also need reminding to act positively to boost productivity in all areas. To manufacture our own products, grow our own food. Have our own fishing fleet and waters, land our own fish. The list goes on and on.
    I can think of nothing POSITIVE that Boris Johnson’s Administration has done for Britain, as an Independent Sovereign Nation with it’s own Resources.

  43. a-tracy
    April 7, 2021

    EU Policies, what about sorting out UK policies John.

    Are you aware of just how difficult it is to get UK goods to N.Ireland? Don’t tell me this is down to Brexit this is down to your governments’ decisions within inter-UK trade. Is this deliberately being made a complete hassle taking hours to sort out so that N Ireland rejoins S Ireland?

    EORI x 2, declaration of each item, commercial invoice (isn’t one intercompany movement), ENS, MRN, GMR, CSV. TSS did as much as they can do, sorry.

  44. XY
    April 7, 2021

    Sunak is too busy enforcing stupid laws like IR35 etc ed
    Eustace is a remainer.

    Many are hoping that we can rejoin easily if we change nothing.

    We could really do with people like John Redwood in government. Sadly, it seems the left/liberal wing of the party has been in the ascendancy for years. Probably because they’ve convinced the party that’s the only way to get elected.

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