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Pound tumbles as Boris Johnson backs Brexit

Sterling set for biggest one-day fall since 2009 after London major backs campaign for UK to leave EU, helping FTSE 100 pass 6,000 mark.

Pound tumbles as Boris Johnson backs Brexit

Update: The pound has tumbled after mayor of London Boris Johnson gave his backing to the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, heightening investors' 'Brexit' fears.

Sterling fell 2% against the dollar to $1.412 after Johnson's move, set for its biggest one-day fall since March 2009. In his Telegraph column today, the Conservative MP dismissed the deal secured by prime minister David Cameron over the UK's continued membership of the EU. 'There is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go, because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says no,' he said.

'The reaction has been concentrated within the currency market since the Bank of England is now almost guaranteed not to raise interest rates in the first half of 2016 before the [referendum] vote,' said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets.

'The fact that gilt yields are flat and UK stocks are higher would suggest Brexit fear has not really taken hold. The vote is still four months away, and despite Mr Johnson's addition to the "out" campaign, the likelihood is that Britain will vote to remain in the EU.' 

The slump for the pound follows bearish trading for sterling since the turn of the year. It is the worst performing major global currency in 2016 so far. 'Sterling has endured significant selling pressure in recent months but how much can be attributed to Brexit fears is impossible to calculate,' said Ben Gutteridge, head of fund research at wealth managers Brewin Dolphin.

'Brexit will not have helped matters but the majority of the weakness should be ascribed to the Bank of England's more dovish rhetoric, as well as the ongoing concerns over our current account deficit.'

The pound's fall boosted the FTSE 100, whose members rely on overseas markets for around three-quarters of their earnings. The UK blue-chip index broke through the 6,000 mark, jumping 73 points, or 1.2%, higher at 6,023.

Miners were among the top risers, building on a strong rally from 12-year lows reached in January, as metal prices jumped. Anglo American (AAL) rose 7.5% to 469.5p, BHP Billiton (BLT) was up 5.6% at 773.6p, Glencore (GLEN) added 5.2% to 124.6p and Rio Tinto (RIO) was up 5.5% at £19.96.

'Mining stocks topping the FTSE this morning as commodities prices get a boost, despite a resilient dollar,' said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets. 'All are following the recent global equity rally, benefiting from bets that oversupply will begin to reduce as well as a return of risk-on appetite.'

Most stocks in the FTSE 100 made gains amid a broad-based rally. Among those to fall into the red were HSBC (HSBA), 2.6% lower at 438.2p after full-year profits of $20.4 billion for the year came in well below expectations.

'This is even more significant given the group had already reported numbers for the first nine months and, with the group slipping into loss-making territory during the fourth quarter, we are somewhat surprised that management had not deemed it necessary to issue a profit warning ahead of the results,' said Gary Greenwood, analyst at Shore Capital.

Sainsbury's (SBRY) was also in the red, down 2% at 255.9p, amid fears the supermarket could have to raise its bid for Argos owner Home Retail (HOME) following a rival offer from South African group Steinhoff International.

'Entering a bidding war with Steinhoff, noting the cash element of the new bidder, would show determination but may test the resolve of its shareholders and the assumption of not over-paying given the risks involved, said Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital.

47 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Feb 22, 2016 at 12:30

The population will indeed give its viewpoint over this vote which is turning in favour of departing from over ego eu leadership which can can alter at a stroke of a pen how we live in the uk .each country is different so changes that europe make can have reactions that might be ok in germany and france but not in the uk .go to france and you are in a country that is vastly different from britain .being an island race of people and individual means a lot to the brits so come out of this which can only be regarded as a mess up

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Dave Knight

Feb 22, 2016 at 14:41

Can one person's opinion have that much weight on currency markets?

Or is it just co-incidence that this movement happened on the same day?

I would have placed more importance on Donald Trump's win yesterday and Jeb Bush's withdrawal from the Presidential contest than on the Mayor of London's pontificating, no matter how good or bad the outcome is.

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Cynical Investor2

Feb 22, 2016 at 15:12

Scaremongering using the Currency now.

Strange Stocks are going the other way. Could it be Investors are buoyed at the prospect of EXIT, but that would be POSITIVE!!

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Feb 22, 2016 at 15:36

Britain in Europe has benefited from massive inward investment because we are inside Europe. The continuing collapse of the £ sterling is surely an indicator of the flight of foreign capital from the UK. Flight because of the imminent possibility of Brexit. Sadly, things can only get worse. By showing our national loss of resolve, and failure to understand the essential benefit of being a part of the European Union, we now have foreign investors queuing for the exit. This wouldn't matter so much, if it wasn't the case that we have a massive and continuing negative balance of trade with the rest of the world.

One of the problems has been that by refusing to join the common currency the UK failed to gain the full advantage of the European market. While membership of the Euro has assisted German industry to remain competitive and turned Germany into a European power house, non-membership has accelerated the devastation of British Industry. The wild fluctuations in the £/Eur exchange rate added an enormous burden of risk to trade between the £ and the Eur currency zones.

Incidentally, it is interesting to compare the wild gyrations of the GBP/EUR exchange rate with those of the Swedish SEK/EUR exchange rate. The indication there is of a managed and stable exchange rate that must have been of considerable benefit to Swedish industry.

Great to wrap oneself in the Union Jack, but a little pointless when the USA writes our foreign policy, and Europe is our principal trading partner.

As for Civil Servants and Bureaucrats, the very worst of both are frequently to be found in Britain. Any illusion that escaping from Europe will spare us from bureaucratic incompetence, is exactly that. Our bureaucratic problems, frequently blamed on Brussels, are generally wholly of our own making!

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Feb 22, 2016 at 15:43

Re Cynical Investor2.

Did you read the article?

"The pound's fall boosted the FTSE 100, whose members rely on overseas markets for around three-quarters of their earnings. The UK blue-chip index broke through the 6,000 mark, jumping 73 points, or 1.2%, higher at 6,023."

In other words, the weaker the £ the greater the £ value of FTSE 100 companies. Expressing it in Euros, would not produce the same cheery result!

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Richard Hunt

Feb 22, 2016 at 16:13

This is just too silly for comment. Who cares what Boris thinks or does it's really Camerons show, which he didn't need to stage since Ukip died anyway at the election. Scorn has been poured on to the Euro but is sterling really strong enough when the pressure comes on. So far I'm pleased, my shares are doing well, but we could do with a rest after the those shakyChinese and oil price collapsing. Do we really need the Boris pantomime? I assume he has shares in Randgold

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Feb 22, 2016 at 16:15

I would bring to every bodies notice how e u policy .fishing british waters by european countries has depleted fishing stocks around the british isles i was a suscriber of fishing news for many years and saw the tacs alloted to eu countries which slowly and severely effected fishing and turned the sea beds into a rake desolation .destroying habitat for breeding species of sea fish .

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David Andrews

Feb 22, 2016 at 16:36


"Britain in Europe has benefited from massive inward investment because we are inside Europe. The continuing collapse of the £ sterling is surely an indicator of the flight of foreign capital from the UK."

Inward investment builds factories, it is not liquid in an account and cannot therefore be withdrawn overnight or even over a couple of months, so I would rebut your comment on that point.

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Feb 22, 2016 at 16:54

The pound/fx market suffers because a moronic politician puts his weight behind the ""Brexit" campaign (really??), ergo the market is moronic too!! But we know that anyway!

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kenneth douglas

Feb 22, 2016 at 18:37

How quickly we jump to conclusions. Boris joining the out campaign had nowt to do with the pound falling, he is not seen in that relevance. The pounds been sinking for the last 4/5 months.

I can't really believe that we still have supporters of the Euro, outside of Blair and the rest of his pathetic party.

Pilgrim, what massive investment; the funding from the EU, is about 10% which is from our own funding, but with strings attached. Regarding companies investing in the UK, do you mean like the Steel Industries. Other companies that have settled here, have done so for their benefit, more than ours. They threaten to leave, but I doubt it very much, be course, we provide a highly skilled work force, and also Germany, France, Holland and the rest in the north of Europe, would not let them in to their countries.

We have prospered and been envied for a thousand years, we built an empire, we lived before the EU, and we will again.

Germany failed military, to rule Europe twice, they are now doing it via the back door, Brussels are a mere front, the admin / mouth piece. We have already seen the contempt against Cameron / Britain from the other European leaders, they are already gloating, and we have up to now,lived under a soft EU dictatorship, but will it always be a soft dictatorship! situations could change for the worst, and I for one, do not believe the leopard changes its spots.

Just a thought, Had we not had such a dynamic leadership in Churchill, and they had decided to have a Referendum, of appeasement or war, would we have had so many weak, sniveling,on their hands and knee's then I wonder.

Just a thought.

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Feb 22, 2016 at 18:40

The EU has a political agenda which was never really talked about in the UK and which the majority of us don't want. Fortunately we avoided the Euro by the skin of our teeth otherwise Britain would most likely now be bankrupt much the same as Greece. Only by keeping control of our own currency and good governance have we been able to increase employment and GDP. Europe has not moved forward since 2008.

It really is time to get out of these political shackles imposed by the EU and let Britain and its hard-working families prosper once more.

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Feb 22, 2016 at 18:49

Boris for Brexit is good for staying in because he comes across as a mini Trump and no one really takes him seriously (except the banks!) .

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Feb 22, 2016 at 21:10

I grew up in a Britain in which almost all the goods in the shops, and the cars on the road were made in Britain. The economy struggled to rebuild after the strain of the second world war, but with exchange controls, and protectionism both wealth and employment increased. The tied relationship with our colonies, or if you like the British Empire, provided secure access to commodities and a market for British products, not all of which were to the highest standards.

We frequently enjoyed a positive balance of trade, and held leading positions in many of the emergent technologies. Everything from railways, to synthetic fibres, to electronics, to aircraft etc.etc.

Now, we have lost almost all of it. We have sold or exported our industries. It is well over thirty years since we last enjoyed a positive balance of trade, and we live in total dependence to foreigners. We are no longer self sufficient in manufactured goods, in energy or in food production. We survive in large part by looking for anything we can sell, because without it, we cannot meet our total dependence on imported materials. We are living in an unsustainable dream.

Our only comfort is that many of our neighbouring countries have passed through a similar process of de-industrialization and asset stripping.

There has been a theory that we are living in a post industrial age, but this is largely an illusion, we still rely on many of the same industrial products, the difference being that whereas formerly we made them and they contributed to our economy, now we import them. The environmental damage from the industries remains substantially unchanged, only the geographical location of the emissions has moved.

Whereas slowly but surely industrialization spread wealth, skills and knowledge throughout a broad spread of our citizens, diminished opportunities in industry are reversing the process and leading to a trend of increasing disparity in wealth, a more unequal Britain.

And now we have this lunatic idea, that if we wrap ourselves in the Union Jack, that somehow we can reverse the process, we can go back to a half remembered world of another England, that close our eyes and hope, somehow it can all come back again. Bring back hanging and the birch, prosecute homosexuals and find a Fullers tea room, recognise England again! But it is all illusion. We need Europe, and with luck we can rebuild together some of the things that make this corner of the world rather special, and that our children can continue to hope. And we need the Scots, but they are right to see that their interests lie in Europe and we will lose them too. Without the Saltire, no more Union Jack, no more United Kingdom. St Georges cross?

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Feb 22, 2016 at 22:40

That buffoon Boris will now cost all holidaymakers going abroad a mint just because of his selfish arrogant believe that it is him who should be in No 10.

Assuming the PM had failed in his hard work negotiating for the benefit of UK with the EU with the result that the PM would now support Brexit, the backstabbing Boris would now sure to support the "In" vote.

Instead of showing sparking team spirit for the good and benefit of the nation, Boris is all about disgraceful selfish himself.

Sadly, if the "Out" vote wins in June, that would probably not only put egocentric Boris in No 10, but that will also end united Great Britain as the Scots will then surely be wanting another referendum.

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David Andrews

Feb 22, 2016 at 23:03


It would be tremendously interesting to see another Scottish referendum - and listen to the political rhetoric - under current economic circumstances.

I can't really see what holiday-makers exchange-rates have to do with any important political decisions.

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Dave Knight

Feb 23, 2016 at 15:25

@ Nick.

As I understand it, everyone has a free vote on this, regardless of party politics, whether you happen to be in the cabinet, or even Mayor of London. Boris hasn't made any difference to what's happened to the pound over the last few days, or do you think that his statement of which way he will vote carries more weight than that of the Prime Minister?

In common with most of us that knew of a UK pre-EU, he has had his viewpoint coloured by events of the last 40 years or so. As Pilgrim points out, despite his (IMHO - misguided opinion) there was a Great Britain for nearly a thousand years, and a UK for the past several centuries. We did well enough without the EU for all that time, and there is no reason to believe we will not do so again if the vote leave campaign wins.

As it stands, Brussels makes the rules and we just rubber stamp them. If we leave, we are free to choose the ones we wish to adopt, and reject those we don't. That's sovereignty and British Government.

True, there will be many EU regs we cannot avoid, as cross-border rules apply all over the world. Let me give you an example, from my experience as a motorcyclist.

In about 1973 (can't remember exactly) the state of California (yes, the USA) decreed that all motorcycles sold in that state had to have the gearchange on the left, so that the rear brake was on the right. The reasoning behind this was so that your average dumb American driver could use the same foot to operate the brake on his Harley as he does in his Buick (other makes are available) thus avoiding confusion for the terminally stupid. As a result, all Japanese (who in fairness already did it this way) American, British and - indeed - EUROPEAN manufacturers were forced to put their gear levers on the left or not sell in California (and pretty soon after anywhere in the good ol' US of A). As a result of rules made outside of the EU (California remember) we therefore have uniformity as a result of cross-border trading, and if the EU made it possible to sell bikes in Europe with right foot changes legally again, it wouldn't happen anyway.

Going back even further in history. Everyone used to drive, ride, or march on the left. A practice adopted by the Romans so that if attacked in column, the shields were all to the wild and woolly left, and the sword hand was towards the (paved) open space to the right. Who changed this almost universal practice?

Napolean, who just to be bloody minded and different chose to march his men on the right. That's why all mainland European countries now drive on the right. Blame it on Napolean. He didn't have to get the EU commission to rubber stamp it either. It's another cross-border thing. If Germany wanted to change to driving on the left now, do you think it would happen?

Fact is, we can choose to do so, Frau Merkel can't.

Anyway, the point of this diatribe?

Use the EU regulations and policies that suit us, and when sensible to allow us to participate in other markets, and go our own sweet way when they don't. We can't do that as a full EU member. Sorry but in my mind (made up about 1990 and won't be swayed by whatever David Cameron says) there is only one sensible way to go.

They don't really want us anyway.

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Feb 23, 2016 at 17:17

European Union is all about "checks and balances" which means safeguarding real democracy. To date it served us well as we had no European wars since the EU was established and it was established for that very reason.

Those politicians who wants to leave the EU may have an agenda to be future Napoleons, Hitlers or Stalins, but they can not do that inside the EU.

To feel free now and in the future we must have "checks and balances".

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David Andrews

Feb 23, 2016 at 17:34

"To date it served us well as we had no European wars since the EU was established "

The break-up of Yugoslavia was more than a little street-fight and that particularly highlighted the inability of the EU to:

1) Make decisions any quicker than the seasons change

2) Take any effective action

It's not war but exactly the same major fault-lines are on display with the migrant crisis.

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Dave Knight

Feb 23, 2016 at 17:43

@David Andrews

A point I was going to make but you beat me to it.

Instead of wars we now just force the Greeks into slavery. Don't matter if you live in Brussels.

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Feb 23, 2016 at 17:49

@ David Andrews

You are absolutely right about EU's inability to act united as they have great fault lines and regrettably they never showed leadership qualities.

However, Yugoslavia was outside the EU and it was left to Blair and Clinton to end it within NATO.

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Dave Knight

Feb 23, 2016 at 17:50

I could have also added little skirmishes brought about by the IRA and Basque seperatists, never mind all the stuff happening east of the old GDR. OK, that's not strictly anything to do with the EU, but it's on our doorstep.

If people of any race, religion, ethnicity, etc want a fight, they'll find someone to pick it with. Just look at Iraq/Syria. Being the wrong sort of Muslim is all you need to be to get dragged into that.

So if Lichtenstein declares war on Germany because of the percieved "sun-bed crisis" in Tenerife, don't be surprised.

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David Andrews

Feb 23, 2016 at 18:10


The EU was deeply involved in Yugoslavia but failed totally. I recall the efforts to get a "united EU solution" and it was like herding cats. Total failure,total humiliation for a grouping that was hoping to show what the new European political "super-power" could achieve.

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Feb 23, 2016 at 20:08

For 2016 the net contributions to the EU from the UK (after deducting what we get back in grants ) is estimated as £6.6Billion. That's over £250 from each UK family for our friends across the channel.


merci beaucoup la Grande-Bretagne

danke danke Großbritannien

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Cynical Investor2

Feb 23, 2016 at 21:16

Look at it as a Franchise ,EU Ltd, Any Business Person operating a Franchise who fails to make a profit will go bust or have to inject valuable capital to keep afloat in the hope things will improve...MAD.

UK Ltd not only pays the Annual Subs but runs a regular Trade Deficit. Is this Trading of the Mad-house.

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Feb 23, 2016 at 22:53

@Dave Knight,

Have another crumpet.

But note, Great Britain is the name of the major island of the British Isles and it has existed for millions of years. The UK, the United Kingdom has only existed since the time of King James the first (or the sixth of Scotland), a little over 400 years. If Scotland declares independence, and the principality of Wales and the Province of Northern Ireland remain together with England, that may be known as a British Union, but it would, of course, not be a 'United Kingdom'.

The chequered course of political, religious, industrial and social evolution which brought Britain great power and wealth was a unique path through history. We are not the same Society, and beyond the British Isles, it is not the same world with the same opportunities. There is no similarity between the opportunities available to the Victorians, and those available today.

I think that there is little doubt that we could have charted a better course through the 20th century and to the present day, but the story has been one of progressive decline in terms of British global power and influence.

In today's world our foreign policies are directed largely by the USA, through the Presidency and the executive triumvirate, the CIA, the State Department and the Pentagon. Shortly, it seems, it will be President D Trump or H Clinton who provide our dominant political leadership. A pity our votes don't get counted there.

Perhaps Europe provides a safer home for British culture and history, and for so long as we are members, we do have a political and democratic voice. We do vote for the European Parliament, and our elected ministers do get a fair audience.

Time and history travel in only one direction. However seductive the past seems, whatever the nostalgia, we can never return to earlier circumstances and earlier times.

Don't be a little Englander, there is no road back. We need Europe.

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Dave Knight

Feb 24, 2016 at 11:30

@ Pilgrim (and anyone else not bored with this thread yet)

The fishing industry.

The steel industry.

Farming/Common Agricultural Policy.

Mercury filled crappy light bulbs.

The Euro.

The European Court of Human Rights.

Open borders and immigration (of the illegal sort).

Laws made in Brussels.

Floods (because we aren't allowed to dredge rivers any more).

The Eurovision Song Contest.

I rest my case.

Britain became an island around 450,000 years ago once the ice age had left the Channel behind it. Sorry my timeline was a little out! The concept of "Britain" came a bit later on but is acknowledged as pre-Roman.

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Feb 24, 2016 at 11:54

The lower pound could be good for britain if the pound falls to be on parr i am not being fisshy here. with the dollar.just trying to explain about the rewards for britain .increased demand for british made goods .americans arriving in such a suit of clothes even the pilgrims would be impressed.the globe standing room only .brits staying in the uk holidaying in devon .exchange rates bad.masses of other things to beneifit britain ,great

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Cynical Investor2

Feb 24, 2016 at 13:44

Dave Knight, quite agree with this postscript.

Today the French Government have announced a reduction in Taxes to help Farmers due to collapse in Commodity prices. Now doubt our annual Subscription will fund!!

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Feb 24, 2016 at 15:02

Brussels does not make the laws. The UK has the same function as other EU countries in this process.

The UK (not the EU) took a leading part in setting up the European Court and we will (rightly) remain members of this, whether or not we stay in the EU.

If we leave the EU and want to export to any part of the EU or the European free trade association (Norway etc) we MUST comply with EU legislation which will develop without any input from us e.g the EC Machinery Directive transposed into the UK by the Supply of Machinery (safety) regulations(SMSR) etc.

British Standards have generally been updated/superseded by European Norms(EN) - again with our full input, which has resulted in amendments.

Are we seriously saying that we will rescind al this UK law and standards and reproduce/update all machinery etc laws and BS's in total isolation whilst other countries take over our exports?

The same principles apply to building products, etc.

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Cynical Investor2

Feb 24, 2016 at 15:54

There are some British Standards which have been diminished due to EU Regulation......British Cereals Scheme for one.

Most know Regulations/ Directives are "interpreted" differently from one State to another. Building products are France Cement is in 35kg bags in UK 25kg. So the argument is flawed.

The fact is EU needs UK whereas our Entrepreneural skills will always see us through.

I for one was deceived in wiser now.

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Feb 24, 2016 at 16:05

@Ripped Off ,

I can't understand why you would think we need to change our manufacturing and safety standards. Of course we will continue to use the same British standards as well as European Norms and the International (IEC) standards whether we are in the EU or not. Remember other countries have all helped to form these universal standards including American Underwriters and Asia. We live in an international world.

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Cynical Investor2

Feb 24, 2016 at 16:13

John_r agree, wasn't it Margaret Thatcher who promoted the GLOBAL ECONOMY, presumably because she wanted us to have a Major roll!!

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Dave Knight

Feb 24, 2016 at 17:09

@ RippedOff

"Brussels does not make the laws. The UK has the same function as other EU countries in this process."

So why do we have to give prisoners the vote? (something else I missed from my earlier list).

Answers in less than three bound volumes please.

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Feb 24, 2016 at 18:13

Cynical Investor2

Are you are effectively proposing that we update our BSs (in some cases more than 25yrs out of date) – this will keep quite a few people employed (unproductively)? And we must comply with EN when exporting to EU/EFTA. In that case we would have at least 2 standards of drill, dumper, light fitting, etc. By adopting ENs, we are in practice complying with EC legislation. Isn't this what you want to get away from? But if you want to go your own/independent way, it follows that you want nothing to do with these standards.

You will find that every country needs the EU/EFTA more than these organisations need any given country – that’s why we all had to apply to be allowed in.

I believe you will find that the EC cement requirements deal with quality and not bag weight. 25kg bags were brought about by the HSE (UK!) to reduce lifting injuries. Another instance where the EC is wrongly 'blamed'. I would say if they had introduced this change then they could claim it as an achievement. But as one (UK) delivery driver told me "I can now carry one bag under each arm"!! So we can always find someone, somewhere who will find a way round a rule.


I think I've covered your post in the above.

Dave Knight,

“So why do we have to give prisoners the vote?”

Have a look at my earlier post, this is nothing to do with the EC, but is a widely held misunderstanding.

I hope no one is going to raise the ‘straight banana requirement’!

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Cynical Investor2

Feb 24, 2016 at 18:51

Ripped off

British Standards were revered as being the Best in the World, it was the uptake of New and Revised Regulations from the " Club" which have, in some cases, reduced Standards. The British Cereals Certification Scheme , which I have some knowledge, was significantly higher than the EEC imposed Standard. The EEC scheme mirrored what, in particular, the French wanted.

Other industries have had their own cross to bear with the plethora of Regulations/Directives. I can give another current Directive which is causing many hundreds of small beverage makers serious problems to the point where they may cease business causing the loss of jobs and environment benefits. These small businesses have enjoyed from the UK Exchequer, for many years a Customs Tax allowance, now under Regulations made in Brussels they are to either be withdrawn or the UK will be Fined. Ironically the French Wine producers are not being pursued. Do you call this a Fair Market?

The belief that leaving EU will bring about an abandonment of Regulations is just fear-mongering. China embraces regulations applicable to the markets it serves, why do you believe we will be any different.

The EU will become an Albatross around the UK's neck.

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Dave Knight

Feb 24, 2016 at 18:59

@ RippOff.

You are undoubtedly right, in that the EC/EU did not directly issue an edict that we should give prisoners the vote, It's the European Court of Human Rights.

However, have a quick look at Wikipedia here:

"The relationship between the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is an issue in European Union law and human rights law. The European Court of Justice rules on European Union (EU) law while the European Court of Human Rights rules on European Convention on Human Rights which covers the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Cases cannot be brought in ECtHR against the European Union but the Court has ruled that states cannot escape their human rights obligations by saying that they were implementing EU law."

Effectively, it's all so intertwined that it more or less is a mouthpiece for the EU anyway.

Anyway, we still shouldn't let prisoners vote, but we SHOULD let kids play conkers in the playground without having to wear hard hats and bulletproof goggles. Or was that something else?......

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Feb 25, 2016 at 02:24

@Dave Knight

Too much Wincarnis, or was it Babycham?

Let me address your story of half truths and prejudices!

1) The fishing industry. Yes I agree we could do with a revised treaty on fishing access. But this needs to cover all North Sea and European waters and should also address other International abuses. Sadly the poor condition of British waters and depletion of our fish stocks, both within Europe and around British overseas territories owes more to incompetence and inattention of our politicians and Civil servants than to Europe or other countries. We have mismanaged both local and remote fisheries (as in Falklands waters) and licensed fishing practices that cause wanton harm to the marine environment, and particularly so for demersal species.

2) The steel industry. The whole European steel industry, not just the UK's, has felt the pressure of global competition. Developed economies need a degree of protectionism if they are to prevent industries from international migration. The heroes of the City of London who extol the virtues of free trade forget that they are denying British workers the possibility of contributing to our national output. The result, as shown recently with the closure in Redcar, is that we shutdown internal production in Britain in favour of an increase in the deficit on the balance of trade. Relatively high costs for local labour is a question affecting the distribution of wealth and opportunity within Britain, whereas the substitution of imports for domestic manufacture makes the Nation as a whole poorer. An example of corner-shop economics at its worst.

3) Farming/Common Agricultural Policy. We import most of our food. Our farmers, and many farmers both in Britain and in much of the rest of Europe have been struggling to survive in recent years. Cheap food is good politics, but bad news for farmers. If we want to keep farmers on the land, then, in today's world we have to pay them enough to keep farming.

4) Mercury filled crappy light bulbs. Get with it! They saved a lot of energy compared with conventional filament bulbs. More remarkably pricing rapidly became competitive with their less efficient forbears. Now the same is happening with the even more efficient LED bulbs, which consume only about 10% of the energy of filament bulbs for the same light emission, and have service lives 10 times as long. What's to complain about?

5) The Euro. The story here goes something like the famous newspaper headline "Fog in Channel, Continent isolated." Failing to participate in the Eurozone, whatever its difficulties, has has greatly harmed Britain's participation in the European market. The instability of the currency exchange rate and the costs of currency hedges, are serious deterrents to cross channel business. In the last three months alone the £ has lost 11.4% against the Euro. While the Euro enjoys considerable fiscal stress between the various European economies, it is interesting to note that it has served the interests of its strongest component economy, Germany, very well.

6) The European Court of Human Rights. To which rights do you really object? Bring back the birch, or the death penalty?

7) Open borders and immigration (of the illegal sort).

Britain adopted a more liberal attitude to migrants from the new accession states immediately upon accession than did much of the rest of Europe. This was home grown incompetence. And Margaret Thatcher was significantly to blame when she pressed to broaden Europe, rather than deepening it. By welcoming new member states starting from a much lower level of economic development a pressure of trans-european migration became inevitable.

But that's legal migration.

The strictly illegal stuff is not so much the fault of Europe. We are not in the Schengen zone, and illegals in Britain is a strictly British problem. If our Home Secretaries and Immigration controls did a more effective job, we would not have the scale of problem that we do. Not Europe’s fault, our fault.

8) Laws made in Brussels. Good Union Jack stuff here. But we take part in the formation of European Law, and generally, it has enriched and improved law in Britain. The laws represent a wider range of interests than is often the case in Britain.

9) Floods (because we aren't allowed to dredge rivers any more). Nonsense. We dredge our rivers as necessary. European law has no major input here. It has improved the water quality of our beaches, and in consequence you are a little less likely to catch a nasty bug after a splash in the Briny!

10) The Eurovision Song Contest. I can't stand this either, but it has nothing to do with our membership of the EU. In any case, why do we choose such crap entries?

Now take another crumpet. I hope that that helps!

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Dave Knight

Feb 25, 2016 at 18:48


Points 1, 2 & 3) So how much good has membership of the EU done in respect of any of these problems?

4) Agreed, LED is probably the best option, but a) I don't worry about the energy consumption of my light bulbs, and b) we now have a stockpile of mercury filled crappy lightbulbs because the old filament ones were banned before LED ones were invented, and no-one wants to buy them.

5)The Euro is a currency doomed to disaster and it's only a matter of time. We were and still are better off out.

6) Yes to both.

7) Much of our problem would be dealt with if France actually had the ba!!s to deport the illegals filling the Jungle. Like they did with Sangatte - not! Why should we have to deal with it when the French (substitute any European country of your choice en route) could either give the immigrants asylum or deport them? Problem solved.

8) Why should the people of Lichtenstein, Bulgaria or Portugal decide on British laws? Accept what works well for us and bin the rest.

9) European laws prohibit the widening of rivers (though not - apparently - the deepening of them) but the hoops our authorities have to go through to avoid harming a subspecies of newt or water-vole make it too much of an issue, so they don't bother, and we get floods where we never used to. And I'm sure those living on the Somerset Levels are really happy thet the beach downstream is a clean one.

10) Sense of humour?

Judging by the lengrth of your replies you have too much time on your hands.

And I don't have prejudices (except for Man Utd supporters) just strongly held opinions formed by many years of experience of the worst the EU has thrown at us.

I'm off for another crumpet.

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Feb 26, 2016 at 10:27

I thought the real pupose of the CFL lamp was to rescue Philips Lighting from extinction. European governments united and forced us to buy these inferior light sources which only became bright after the need for them had passed. ( My solution was to leave them on all evening. I believe Philips has now sold 80% of its lighting business.

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Dave Knight

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:57


As noted, the rule-makers in Brussels always seem to have a sub-plot too.

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Feb 26, 2016 at 12:59

Open warfare in calais from thousands of migrants france will be forced to vote based on the recent trouble in the eu from these migrants what can happen next .i think that the eu ministers have got an ace up their sleeve .they will take a u-turn and give an impression that they are going to ban further incursion by migrants into the eu .everyone will say then the troubles are over and britain can stay in the uk .not so easy .and their are a multitude of reasons why briton should leave the eu . the eu now have become impossible to live with their rules and regulations that have turned red tape into very dull colour indeed .

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Feb 26, 2016 at 14:43

The Economist "A tale of two cities" article quoted Robert Ford, an expert on public opinion: "the more qualification someone has, the more pro-European he or she is likely to be". Following that thought, YouGov polls came up with the same answers.

The Tale of two cities story they referred to are Cambridge and Peterborough. "Many in Cambridge see incomers as highly educated Germans and Swedes bringing their expertise to research projects while in Peterborough the incomers are Lithuanian potato pickers" wrote The Economist.

Following that Matthew Goodwin, a political scientist says: "This spills into questions of identity. People without higher education are more likely to call themselves English than British; the former label-much stronger in Peterborough than in Cambridge-functions as a badge of perceived exclusion".

That is all very well about European incomers, but "in" or "out" will not solve immigration crisis like the Calais jungle problem where thousands from Asia and Africa gather year after year non-stop. As their numbers over the years are always high suggests they must be succeeding, which tells us that our own borders are not fit for its purpose.

This upcoming referendum is only an argument between the Conservative Party. We were taken into the EU by Wilson's Labour Government so following that Margaret Thatcher not blessed with team spirit genes despised the EU. If only then Margaret Thatcher and her successors taken a central stage in the EU we would now run Europe in our own liking. Instead of that, what we have today is a Communist schooled German Chancellor, Merkel with an international utopian vision in charge ruining not only her own country Germany, but the whole of Europe.

Sadly, Boris and his misguided friends instead of staying and fighting our corner, they are planning to run away for good. But, history show us due to the geographic position of Britain to Europe we will always be involved no matter which sides win.

Further to that thought, the French will celebrate when we go (De Gaulle never wanted us in) and the Germans will be left with the French and the Italians; what a thought!

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Feb 26, 2016 at 16:41

Maybe the Germans will leave too? (Not serious!) Just anther thought...

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Feb 26, 2016 at 23:09

@ Nick

Your blog is so long I can't really be certain what your point is.

However if you are convinced that the EU cannot manage on its own without Britain then I agree with you.

However Britain right now is better on its own. Brexit is the only sensible solution.

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Cynical Investor2

Feb 27, 2016 at 00:22

john_r &co

You should read the article on page 12 of Friday's Daily Express.

It shows how informed and successful Business people regard the EU and how growth and prosperity would improve Outside of the "Club"

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Feb 27, 2016 at 12:07

I agree with Prince Philip.

"The Daily Express is a bloody awful newspaper".

Do you really read that stuff?

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Feb 28, 2016 at 11:54

@ Cynical Investor2

It's pretty much the same in this weeks Daily Telegraph business pages.

The only pro euro voice I see is Lagarde and we all know how wrong she can be. This weekend one economic advisor summed it up '' We have a choice between a global Britain and inward looking insular EU ....... failing to to confront any of the challenges it faces".

And now Deutsche Boerse is making a play for part of London's financial action before we detach ourselves. Perhaps they also think our future is more secure outside.

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