back to article Brexit makes life harder for an Internet of Things startup

At about the time when my startup will be wanting to sell to the EU at scale, Brexit may make 80 per cent of that market harder (more expensive) to reach. I run a green-tech startup, OpenTRV, selling smart radiator valves. Our natural core market is the EU (including the UK), which comprises about 500 million people and about …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge

    Harder life for IoT

    Am I the only person feeling relieved?

    Better security, less rubbish in landfill - what's not to like?

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      CE marking

      You do what everyone else does who has brains. You hire a 3rd party compliance company like TUV to guide you through CE Marking and to perform the tests needed to generate the documentation.

      Been there, done that with multiple products & multiple startups.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: CE marking

        And there is no need to assume that CE will be needed in the EU after Brexit, it will be, FULL STOP.

        Even goods coming from China etc. must have CE approval, if they are to be sold in Europe. As said above, go to TÜV or an equivalent and get it tested.

        1. razorfishsl

          Re: CE marking


          You have a very poor understanding of test houses and certification

      2. Aitor 1

        Re: CE marking

        Or you build in china and ask for the serious testing required.

      3. strum Silver badge

        Re: CE marking

        TUV are expensive - and they do have a habit of always finding something extra you need to do, to gain compliance.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: CE marking

          We put our industrial touch PC through testing, it passed with flying colours first time through (CE) and cleared IP67 and IP69K. All without problems or the need to recertify.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Harder life for IoT

      Am I the only person feeling relieved?

      Ordinarily I;d agree with that sentiment ...

      Except that, in this case, you'll find that this isn't one of those "solution looking for a problem" devices, and yes security has been considered, and no it's not actually internet connected (unless you decide to extend it to make it so).

      In this case, the OpenTRV project is to produce a smart radiator valve which is actually smart - it maintains room temperature based on occupancy and a simple "hot-cold" dial. Each valve can signal by radio (one way at the moment) to a remote relay to turn the boiler on only when there is at least one rad needing heat.

      And it's all designed to be cheap - so it's within the grasp of those who would most benefit from the savings on heating bills it could bring. IIRC the target price when it goes on general sale is something like £150 for five valve heads and a boiler relay - which is considerably less than any of the commercial offerings currently available.

      But switching to geek mode - it's all open. So if you want to hack it and do your own thing, you can :-)

      You'll find more info over at

  2. jb99

    I wouldn't worry

    I wouldn't worry about this.

    THE EU project is falling apart, the EU won't exist in anything like it's current form in 10 years. The UK is just the first country to extract themselves from the failing mess

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: I wouldn't worry

      THE EU project is falling apart, the EU won't exist in anything like it's current form in 10 years.

      So you're saying there won't be just one period of uncertainty for a few years, but a continuous crisis going on for a decade or more - but that's nothing to worry about?

      Do you juggle chainsaws for relaxation?

      1. JustNiz

        Re: I wouldn't worry

        The world is an inherently uncertain place. To believe anything else is ridiculous naivety.

        The EU is a failed experiment. By the time it inevitably implodes, exactly because of Brexit, the UK will already be in a more stable, independent position than the middle of the storm, and will even be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that the EU imploding will leave independent outsiders with.

        Think of it this way:The EU is the Titanic. Its destiny is inevitable. Would you rather be on the big ship still listening to and beleiving in the ridiculous "unsinkable" claims even though the sea is slowly but clearly filling the ship up, or would you rather have already safely transferred to an admittedly smaller ship while the iceberg was still looming on the horizon?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wouldn't worry -@JustNiz

          Regardless of whether or not they are actually correct, making blanket statements like "The EU is a failed experiment" without adducing any evidence has no value whatsoever.

          The previous version of the EU was Bismarck's creation of Germany based on a customs union, and adding states and statelets by, basically, saying "Do you want to join us and have free trade with Prussia or do you want your crappy little country to go down the pan?" Even Bavaria gave in eventually. Germany then went through a number of major crises including the little contretemps from 1934 to 1945 but nobody called it a "failed experiment", and the breaking up by the Soviet Union and separating of Pomerania and Prussia ended up with a reunification - after a lot of misery for the East Germans.

          The US had a destructive Civil War and still has separatist movements, but nobody but a few crazies calls it a "failed experiment."

          Let's have your evidence. And while you're at it remember the supposed reply of the Chinese historian asked about the long term significance of the French Revolution: "Much too early to say."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wouldn't worry

      I agree you have other things to worry about... like learning the grammar of your own language before you make predictions on 27 other countries that have never made a decision as stupid as brexit.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wouldn't worry


        Before criticising other peoples grammar, check your own.

        1. I am the liquor

          Re: I wouldn't worry

          "Before criticising other peoples grammar, check your own."

          Any post criticising another poster's spelling, grammar or punctuation is certain to contain a spelling, grammar or punctuation error of its own. It's like a law of physics or something.

          1. ratfox Silver badge

            Re: I wouldn't worry

            "Before criticising other peoples grammar, check your own."

            Any post criticising another poster's spelling, grammar or punctuation is certain to contain a spelling, grammar or punctuation error of its own. It's like a law of physics or something.

            Indeed. In this case: "peoples grammar".

          2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

            Re: I wouldn't worry

            Yes, it's called Muphry's Law:

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            I'd have thought Linguistics, if anything.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wouldn't worry

      the EU won't exist in anything like it's current form in 10 years

      But one thing won't change: whatever reforms or improvement 10 years free of UK obstructionism brings, you still won't be allowed back in. Not in 20 years, not in 30.

      PS: probably won't have the brexiteers wet dream trade deal either

    4. oxfordmale78

      Re: I wouldn't worry

      You can't run a business by sticking your head in the sand and hoping your problem will go away. The EU will undoubtedly look different in 10 years, however, the reports on the death of the EU are great exaggerated. The single market and its associated custom union are highly beneficial for its members. Just wait until British exporters find out the overhead of rules of origin documentation, the EU red tape is a minor inconvenience compared to that.

      1. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: I wouldn't worry

        "The single market and its associated custom union are highly beneficial for its members."

        They are not. There is some efficiency in free movement of goods and lack of currency exchange but those benefits are not huge.

        The customs union provides huge benefit to industries which are unable to complete in a global market, but, that is no benefit to members. They pay every penny that protection costs. An expensive scheme for pretending dead wood is still alive.

        1. oxfordmale78

          Re: I wouldn't worry

          Rules or origin compliance costs add between 5 and 15% to the price of the final product. Good luck competing with other vendors that do not incur this costs.

        2. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: I wouldn't worry

          but, that is no benefit to members

          It makes you wonder why anyone even bothers trading within the EU, then, if the only significant advantage it provides is on the global market.

        3. Paul Shirley

          Re: I wouldn't worry

          "The single market and its associated custom union are highly beneficial for its members."

          They are not.

          Interesting. When a brexiteer has a wet dream about trade deals it's guaranteed to be great. When the EU has an actual concrete 'trade deal' it's automatically a failure?

          Day 1 of brexit negotiations may end very quickly when you have no actual choice when offered 4 or 0 of the 4 freedoms as the base deal.

          1. inmypjs Silver badge

            Re: I wouldn't worry

            "When the EU has an actual concrete 'trade deal' it's automatically a failure?"

            Funny how you think of a customs union as a trade 'deal' when much of its aim is to discourage trade with the rest of the world.

            Discouraging imports by tariffs and other measures and so enabling and encouraging inefficient local production is not a viable long term solution - it just ends up making you poorer.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I wouldn't worry

              "Discouraging imports by tariffs and other measures and so enabling and encouraging inefficient local production is not a viable long term solution - it just ends up making you poorer."

              Scuse me? Who's getting poorer courtesy of corporate offshoring of the UK's manufacturing, call centre, and other similar sectors? Who'd be less poor than they currently are, if those jobs were still in the UK?

              1. Andrew Meredith

                Re: I wouldn't worry

                "Who'd be less poor than they currently are, if those jobs were still in the UK?"

                Erm .. the people who would be doing those jobs rather than being on the dole maybe ?

                The taxpayers who don't have to foot the bill for the aforementioned dole.

                The stock holders of the companies that no longer have a problem employing experienced people in those sectors because the junior jobs are no longer farmed off to the far east.

                other than that .. naah ya right.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Are we seeing a problem where there is none?

    Look at the array of logos found on the boxes of many pieces of electronic equipment. Some of them read like the Star Wars opening crawl (FCC, CE, TUV Rhineland, BS1234, Chinese and Japanese symbols), yet as they're all there they logically can't conflict.

    (CE is pretty useless anyway, if the manufacturer promises that they follow the guidelines then they can stamp the CE logo onto it.)

  4. PyroBrit

    CE = Chinese Export

    Took me a while to realise it stood for something else other than Chinese Export.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: CE = Chinese Export

      @PyroBrit The devil is in the detail - or, in this case, the kerning. CE, or Conformité Européenne, has been a mandatory marking since the mid eighties. Some Chinese manufacturers have sneakily appropriated it, modifying the logo ever so very slightly, and claiming that it stands for China Export. Who'da’thunk it? Dodgy Chinese company ripping something off and claiming that it's original and nothing to do with whatever they were copying in the first place?

      I digress. The ‘real’ CE logo, that is Conformité Européenne, has wider spacing - put two circles side by side (more or less) and the left curves form the C and the E. In the dodgy rip off, the circles would overlap because the letters C and E have been jammed up against one another.

      In the one you get some assurance that checks have been made, and rules have been abided by. In the other you get a warning that the item is complete crap and made with no care whatsoever, or concern for rules that might prevent it from spontaneously combusting.

      I’ll bet that some of you already knew this, others will be paying more attention to the kerning in future, and most couldn’t give a crap. Okay. The nerdgasm is now over.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: CE = Chinese Export

        In the dodgy rip off, the circles would overlap because the letters C and E have been jammed up against one another.

        So, keming, not kerning.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: CE = Chinese Export

          Whilst the chinese aren't great respecters of intellectual property (neither was the USA until recently and only in some areas), if the mark is registered there, its entirely possible to start enforcing via passing off laws (they do exist there)

          The driver is political will to do so....

          OTOH I've seen plenty of substandard EU-made stuff with CE logos. It's a safety declaration, not a reliability one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CE = Chinese Export

        The Raspberry Pi website used to have a long writeup on this kind of thing on their website which, if I recall correctly, concluded that the "China Export" logo stuff was a bit of a myth. But I may recall incorrectly, and have been unable to confirm, as I haven't been able to find these writeups for a while.

        Anybody else remember them?

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          This link might clear up some confusion.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is a US company. It manages to sell its IoT gadgets (Nest) into the UK and rest of EU. They comply with whatever standards/regulations/testing/type approval are required in that market.

    "The simple answer is dull: no drastic changes are likely."

    Should have been the subtitle of the story.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      I think Google can probably afford the extra compliance steps

      A small UK start-up may not have those sort of resources so would be by default giving the market to the larger multi-nationals

      1. maffski

        Except that small UK startup is already having to comply with CE. This will only be a problem if the UK removes itself from current legislation and then imposes new rules which are equally onerous but entirely different.

        1. Just Enough

          "equally onerous but entirely different."

          Well they don't have to be onerous, they just have to be different to be an additional burden to industry and barrier to trade from both sides.

          But of course, this was exactly what the Brexiteers promised. A land of hope and glory, free from all that terrible foreign EU red-tape, holding back our superior industries. Now we can be free, make up our own regulations, and pretend the rest of Europe doesn't exist and doesn't matter! We can start trading with the colonies again in inches and shillings and the British Empire will once again rule the waves! Hurrah!

          Or not.

    2. oxfordmale78

      There are mutual recognition of conformity assessments in place between European Union and other countries such as USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel, Outside the EU, the UK will have to get a similar treaty in place.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        "Outside the EU, the UK will have to get a similar treatyies in place."

        Remember the UK will also have to wait in line rather than use the fast track lane reserved for representatives of major markets/trading bloc's - the EU is a market of over 500m people, a Brexit UK circa 60m with no preferential access to other markets...

  6. Bob Rocket

    Blue Guide link

    the link for the blue guide needs ?locale=en on the end

  7. Nano nano

    Don't you know that it's different for pies ?

    However, if you are making Melton Mowbray pies or other foods with naming currently protected by EU rules, you need to think again ...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You'll just get a Britain only equivalent, accepted all over the Empire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kitemark?

      You'll just get a Britain only equivalent, accepted all over the Empire World


    2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Kitemark?

      Great, I here there is a huge market opportunities in the Falklands and St Helena

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Kitemark?

        The Falklands market doubled once the penguins started receiving pocket money. The problem is that they only ever spend it on fish.

  9. Starace Silver badge

    I feel dumber for having read this

    So the key point is there is nothing to worry about?

    Yet somehow wrapped with a misleading headline and a load of scary what-ifs.

    Note: I have occasionally been involved with CE and other test processes in house or carried out by a third party. None of these things are scary. An extra one on the list isn't a worry, even in the extremely unlikely event that the UK diverged from the CE process.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I feel dumber for having read this

      Yes, the key point is that there is nothing to worry about. Unless you are a brexiter.

      Because leaving the EU but remaining in EFTA means open borders and open borders is not what brexiters were promised.

      There is some disappointment on the way.

      1. JohnA34

        Re: I feel dumber for having read this

        UK is not in the EFTA and left the EFTA in 1972. Current EFTA members are: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. I think you mean the UK being in the current EEA (European Economic Area) would mean 'open borders' for EEA persons.

  10. bigiain

    so it boils down to nothing much changes and we won't be able to make up our own rules in the future as we need to keep them compatible with CE (which we'll have less influence on) so we haven't "taken back our sovereignty" in any way - if anything we've given some control away.

    I suspect this will turn out to be the case in many more areas while in others we've taken a machine gun to both feet.

    Go Brexit!!!!

  11. steamnut

    It may be better; or even worse.

    As someone who generally designs and manufactures one or two items per contract, the whole CE regime has been a costly problem. The main reason is not the CE legislation in itself but the way UK civil servants gold plate them.

    A good example of this is the WEEE directive. In the beginning it was costing me over £600 per year to register with a UK Producer company. In Europe, small companies registered directly with their Government agencies. After one of No 10's red-tape campaigns this was changed based on the weight on manufactured per year (at best 80Kg in my case).

    The batteries directive was better from the start with a weight based qualification value. Someone seems to have been listening.

    But, CE testing is a PITA as it favours larger manufacturers.

    Here is a typical example: I design and manufacture a control box for a customer. I sell an item for £2,000 with, if I'm lucky, £1,000 profit. The test-lab cost of CE testing is upwards of £6,000. No profit in that scenario.

    Add to that the requirement of keeping documentary evidence and traceability of all the parts that I use against the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances ( RoHS ) legislation which now includes Conflict Minerals.

    Now, if I made lots of these, and they were identical, then I could have one unit tested and then sell the others with CE marks on them. The CE testing costs can be amortised. That's what the TRV manufacturer is doing.

    My units are all one-offs (sometimes three - whahey!) so I have to self-certify. That is, I say that I have designed and tested the equipment against the standards and they meet or exceed them. If someone challenges them then I could me asked to prove it. I have limited test equipment but nothing approaching that of a CE test house so my testing will always be "suspect".

    Somewhere along the line we ought to have a lower limit like we do for WEEE and battery directives. I'm not asking for carte-blanch; I still think basic standards are necessary, but at least some wiggle room that allows me to modify my units on-site without initiating a new paper trail.

    And finally, we pay (at least we do while we are in the EU), for all of the various directives to be created. Why, oh why, do I have to pay to download the directive pdfs? With so many directives in force, and changes and updates almost every year it adds up to a lot of money. The downloads are over €200 EACH and I probably need 10 of them for electronic goods. Again, this practice favours the larger companies.

    In summary, I think we should keep the EU/CE standards; that does seem sensible. But, for small companies making low-volume products for UK consumption only (ie no export) then let's put some fairness into the system.

    Reducing the the massive CE/EU overheads on small companies will allow them to grow into larger companies more quickly.

    1. kyndair

      Re: It may be better; or even worse.

      If you are paying to download the directives and regulations then you need to go direct to the EUR-LEX website and get them for free. For hte complex technical regulations/directives they also do consolidated versions that include all updates to date over the original.

      If you meant you pay for the updates for standards then yes that can get expensive, the cheapest option is when the standard is adopted from ISO in which case buying from ISO is the cheapest way by far. If it is a EN standard then shop around as the difference is price between BS EN or DIN EN etc, can be enormous.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It may be better; or even worse.

      Last time I looked at this (admittedly a few years), it was entirely possible for low-volume (e.g. one off) products to be self certified using e.g. a Technical Construction File.

      Has that changed?

      If it hasn't, then testing (which can be expensive, but can also help show that a product is fit for purpose) isn't the only route to getting a CE mark.

      1. H in The Hague

        Re: It may be better; or even worse.

        "Last time I looked at this (admittedly a few years), it was entirely possible for low-volume (e.g. one off) products to be self certified using e.g. a Technical Construction File.

        Has that changed?"

        I'm not an expert but I think it depends on the product. As far as I'm aware you can self-certify less hazardous kit like a desk lamp for domestic use, but need third-party certification for something like a chainsaw or safety equipment - seems reasonable enough. I think you always need the tech construction file (or be able to put it together when asked) but then any competent manufacturer would have that anyway.

        It's actually worth having a gander at the directives, available free of charge from However, if they refer to non-EU standards (IEC, ISO, etc) you would have to buy those from the relevant standards body.

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: It may be better; or even worse.

        Has that changed?

        No, but you are missing the point.

        At any time, someone could walk into steamnut's office and ask "that flurblewidget you made for Bloggs & Co 5 years ago ? Let's have a look at your records for CE marking it - we've had a complaint". They can then start picking apart his justification for having put a CE mark on it. So steamnut needs to be able to show, to whatever degree of evidence is needed, that he did in fact design it right and it does in fact qualify for having a CE mark.

        Just a simple thing like "does it emit more electromagnetic interference than is allowed ?" isn't simple to answer unless you have actually paid more than the selling price of the flurblewidget to have it professionally tested. Using the technical file, you can say that it shouldn't have too-high emissions, but without actual testing then you can't be sure. The sort of kit to do the testing yourself isn't cheap, so unless you are doing a lot of it then that won't necessarily help.

        While steamnut may have chosen good quality parts (all CE marked themselves where appropriate) and purchased them from a reputable source, and assembled them with care into a carefully designed system housed in a nice screened box - there's still no guarantee that it won't knock out next door's telly. Personally, I've knocked up an audio amplifier (well, stuffed a transformed, rectifier, and some amplifier modules in a box) which proceeded to do a good impression of a (roughly) 5MHz signal generator. A colleague tell of how in the past they had to certify all their products to new standards and setup a facility in a salt mine (in theory, a nice radio-quiet environment) - where they found that everything picked up Radio 2 due to a piece of wire left behind in a shaft that was resonant at just the right frequency to re-broadcast the signal down the mine.

        TL;DR version. Yes you can use a technical file, but in the absence of actual authoritative test results, you can always be open to "not good enough, here's a fine for selling non-compliant equipment with a CE mark".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It may be better; or even worse.

          "in the absence of actual authoritative test results, you can always be open to "not good enough, here's a fine for selling non-compliant equipment with a CE mark"."

          Got any examples of that happening?

          Got any UK examples of any CE-marking infringements resulting in import bans, let alone prosecution?

          I'll be very pleasantly surprised if such examples exist.

          PLT kit would be an obvious candidate for banning or prosecution (as you are clearly aware).

          I realise that responsible manufacturers and integrators follow the "testing" route, for good reason. But for others, the TCF route exists, and is valid when used appropriately.

    3. Dave Bell

      Re: It may be better; or even worse.

      "The main reason is not the CE legislation in itself but the way UK civil servants gold plate them."

      The UK had problems when area-based farm subsidies were introduced. We didn't have a central tax record of who owned what. So some rules had to be set on the measurement and the use of records that did exist. Those rules set a higher precision standard than anywhere else in the EU, one that on real-sized British fields needed an precision of distance measurement of less than a metre,

      What official figures that existed, from Ordnance Survey mapping, assumed a horizontal plane surface. A 5m height difference across a field led to a bigger error in those figures than was allowed if you measured the field.

      People on the inside noticed, protested, and were ignored. It may have been part of the same pettifogging desire to be sure that nobody gets a penny more than they are entitled to which drives the current handling of benefits and state pensions.

      So I reckon this happens at the Sir Humphrey level, where neither the civil servants nor the politicians are likely to have post-GCSE qualifications in science and engineering matters.

      1. H in The Hague

        Re: It may be better; or even worse.

        "So I reckon this happens at the Sir Humphrey level, where neither the civil servants ..."

        What? Unelected bureaucrats imposing regulations? In Britain? But they kept telling me only the EU did that.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

    There has been a steady stream of "what will happen to poor old me now brexit happened".

    The people who are clearly still sore at having a democratic decision made, seem to forget that this is EXACTLY what the politicians are talking about when the say we need to negotiate our way out of Europe.

    The headline grabbing nonsense about immigration is just sound bites for the masses, the real deals will be on things like this.


    And while i get down voted for being pro brexit, can anyone tell me why this guy in the article doesn't know that non EU goods are sold in the UK and in the EU. Samsung et all make electronics outside of this region. Perhaps looking at how a larger more established company does business will be more productive than blogging like a petulant teenager something that essentially says "not much is like to change soon, keep calm and carry on".

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

      Well 1. There does not seem to be any sign of negotiation. Just a lot of floundering. Any agreement that would allow free access to the single market, seem to come with the requirement of free movement of people so is a red line among many in the government. If we go the WTO route, we will have accept that there will be a increase in regulation cost to sell to one of the worlds largest markets.

      2. What is good for Samsung/Google/Apple etc is not necessarily good to a small startup trying to enter the market. The former can absorb the costs because they already sell to a large market. A European startup can apply one rule and sell to 500 million people. A UK startup can either try and grow in a smaller UK only market or add costs trying to expand into the larger custom union and meeting both UK and EU regulation(assuming they diverge and UK certification is not automatically accepted in the EU). This puts any UK only start-up at an initial greater disadvantage than say one in Germany

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

        There does not seem to be any sign of negotiation. Just a lot of floundering

        That's because negotiations can't begin until the Article 50 letter's plopped onto the Commission's doormat.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

          And we've got to hire and brief hundreds of experienced trade negotiators before then, but unfortunately all of them went to work for the EU after 1992 and now (according to Farage et al), they're living it high at the taxpayers' expense, snouts in the trough of the gravy train, raking it in and mixing metaphors like there's no tomorrow.

        2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

          Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

          We are not asking for a definitive statement, just an indication of what direction the government favors.

          That does not require Article 50, but I think the problem is that the three stooges who campaigned to leave, and are now responsible for negotiation are suddenly faced with the reality rather than their fantasy world they espoused during the campaign.

          In the mean time industry and investment will suffer due to uncertainty

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

      It's a democratic decision, but it's a non-binding referendum which is just used to guide government policy and doesn't actually give the government the mandate to go ahead and to leave the EU. If you want a true democratic process then there has to be another referendum later on when government policy has been formed, this time binding.

      Why was it non-binding? Why was there no supermajority? Who knows, ask Cameron. Perhaps he couldn't quite make the link between one nation Toryism and not setting a referendum up to provoke a constitutional crisis because he's a bit dim.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

        "Why was it non-binding? Why was there no supermajority?"

        That's easy. He was expecting a Remain majority.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

          That's easy. He was expecting a Remain majority.

          It would have given certainty to the result, whichever way it went, and not have triggered a constitutional crisis. There are still court cases running over whether the referendum gives a mandate to pull the UK out of the EU or not.

          But he doesn't really care, he forbid civil servants from making a contingency plan for Brexit, took a chance on the referendum and screwed it up, walked out on the 24th despite promising to stay on leading the negotiation, and has left his job as MP today despite promising to stay on as a backbencher. I hope whoever is fool enough to have employed him regrets it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

            "I hope whoever is fool enough to have employed him regrets it."

            Chaos sells newspapers. Johnson and Gove must be very pleased with themselves, Cameron can go back to writing in the Guardian and making money on the talk circuit (it's already been suggested he's leaving Parliament so he won't have to declare his sources of income, like Blair.)

            David Davis was in the House of Lords admitting that this leaving the EU thing is going to be enormously complicated and that he has lawyers giving him conflicting advice. As usual, the comprehensive-educated guy is going to carry the can while the OEs and the PPEs will float above it all. Which is extremely fitting when you remember that we were voted out by people many of whom went to either comprehensives or secondary moderns at the behest of people who went to schools charging north of £30000 a year.

            Product standards? ISO? IEC? ENs? Johnson's knowledge of this seems to be limited to fantasies about bent bananas.

            And if anybody wishes to downvote this, I challenge you to show where anything in this post is actually wrong.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another "oh think of the children" BS story.

        While perhaps not legally binding, given that it was the first time we were asked since 1975 and it has been a political hot potato for years, there is no politician who would dare to go against it.

        Having another referendum after the exit deal is on the table is not only idiotic, but its impossible... Y'know article 50 etc

      3. Jess

        Re: Why was there no supermajority?

        Probably because any result was a win for the Tories.

        Decisive remain: The UKIP and Leave Tories would have been shut up and returned to the fold.

        Narrow remain. They could whinge and whine to the EU and keep threatening that we may leave to get what they want.

        Decisive leave: All the other UK wide parties would be out of the picture for a decade, they would get powers they want back. If it involved leaving the EEA, then their rich mates would not be the ones suffering (and they will probably do all right on the currency markets etc, anyway), and those that would be suffering had been warned about the consequences and had made it clear they are not afraid to face them.

        Narrow Leave (which we got): As a decisive leave, but with the added bonus they can do what they like and justify it quite easily.

    3. Zippy's Sausage Factory


      Negotiations can't start until Britain triggers article 50 and may not even start until the two years are up depending how you interpret EU law.

      For "non EU goods" to be sold in the UK and the EU, they need to abide by both UK and EU law. The restrictions of having a more specific UK set of laws that aren't harmonised with the EU means that there will be a higher bar to entry into this market for UK companies.

      In terms of how "larger more established companies" do business, some Japanese companies have in fact been looking into this very thing. Which is why they've threatened to move their European HQs out of the UK if it leaves the EU.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Given that goods made all over the world are imported into the EU under the CE mark it doesn't seem to be a critical factor. Unless the standards change what you're making now that meets them will continue to meet them unless you change the product. If the standards change then, irrespective of whether we're in the EU or not the product might have to change to meet them. This is Brexit-neutral as far as selling into the EU is concerned.

    What wouldn't be Brexit-neutral would be a UK-only standard which is incompatible with CE in some way, then you'd have to make two different products to sell into different markets. Do you think that's a likely event? Or do you think it more likely that the CE standards will continue to be accepted in the UK, either under the CE mark or some UK-only mark with equivalent standards?

    Not being in the customs union would appear to be the real problem.

  14. The Electron


    "The CE mark is still a valid indication of adherence to valid useful standards. Indeed, plenty of non-EU countries can accept the CE mark as is, or at least the test results that supported it, to get a local equivalent."

    The CE mark is meaningless. Take Plasma Televisions and Power Line Networking for example. Plasma televisions cannot meet the Class B requirements for emissions, so they should never have been placed on the market for consumers to purchase. Power Line Networking/Power Line Technology failed EN55022 by such a level, it qualified for its own broadcasting licence. PLN/PLT should never have made it out of the factory. Instead, the big businesses behind it, with corrupt collusion from the EU, made up their own "standard" and rail-roaded it through CENELEC after all of the other standards bodies told them to f*ck-off! Prior to that, PLN/PLT manufacturers simply placed lots of xxxxx's on their Declarations of Conformity. With no Market Surveillance or enforcement, you can stick a CE label on anything, and no-one will bother to check!

    Post Brexit? One can only hope that Ofcom loses its excuse that the EU regulations prevent them from acting, and we in the UK can start banning and scrapping this crap!

    1. Toltec

      Re: Tosh!

      You can take my Panasonic plasma out of my cold dead hands, well, at least until they make an OLED TV small enough or I buy a bigger house...

    2. 8Ace

      Re: Tosh!

      Spoken like a true pissed off radio ham with local interference issues !

  15. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Header photo

    Obviously an issue with the headphone jack, there...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brexit makes life harder.


    1. Yugguy

      Re: Brexit makes life harder.

      Not for me it doesn't son.

  17. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    "Brexit makes life harder for an Internet of Things startup"

    That's the first thing I've heard about Brexit that I'd regard as a positive that might actually be true...

  18. martinusher Silver badge

    What about the North American market?

    To sell your products in the US you'd need UL certification, probably FCC and the Canadian equivalent and so on. Its not a big deal, its what everyone has to do.

    This kind of "the slightest disturbance to the status quo could destroy my business plan" mindset is indicative of a weak offering.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: What about the North American market?

      It is however an added expense and cost.

      Again a startup is not likely to want to enter all markets at the start due to the cost of regulation. They are more likely to want to grow in their home market, then expand to other trading areas when they can support the extra regulation cost.

      That has not changed.

      The key difference is that for UK based start-ups the home market has shrunk from 500 million to 60 million. That is not devastating, but it will have an effect.

  19. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    The CE mark says the equipment meets the appropriate regulations of an approved standard of an EU country - such as the relevent British Standard. So, just stick the BS Kite on it. F'rinstance, complying to BS 7671 complies to IEC 60364.

  20. Chris Evans

    Wishful thinking!

    "Unless the UK and EU have a really major falling out, the UK is likely to be able to continue to contribute and influence."

    That is wishful thinking on two counts, we may or may not have a nasty divorce but I can't see our influence being anything other than significantly reduced

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    European electrical standards usually simply adopt IEC standards, so as long as the UK stays in the IEC we continue to have influence.

    If David Davis happens to read this, I'm retired but would be happy to explain this stuff to civil servants for very fairly extortionate moderate daily rates. Payable in Euros only, please.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Long-term there is likely to be some loss of influence on setting new standards where the UK would not, post-Brexit, have an automatic right to participate in EU working groups."

    Instead it will have direct access to the UN groups from which those EU groups take their direction.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You downvoters do realise that the EU is largely a translation service for United Nations standards organisations and technical groups, yes? The UNECE does most of the heavy lifting for regulation and technical standards in Europe, while other UN organisations deal with other technical and regulatory decisions. Within the EU, the UK has very little influence on these standards. Outside, it gets to join in the decision-making process directly.

      1. kyndair

        Only in certain limited areas, otherwise it takes from iso or make up is own stuff having various technical committee's looking at all sorts of things including food, toys and cosmetics. Other countries even use the EU work instead of doing it themselves to save money.

        While it's possible the UK may do this it will still mean an increase in the civil service to manage everything and had been noted elsewhere or civil service always does things in the most onerous way possible.

  23. razorfishsl

    The "CE" mark is not worth the paper it is written on.

    It is a mark of "compliance", problem is you can "self certify" your compliance.

    1. H in The Hague

      Some CE marks are based on self-certification, others on third party certification. Obviously anyone can build/import crap kit and put a CE (or Kitemark, GS, etc.) sticker on it without meeting the standards, place it on the market, and try and get away with that.

      On the whole noncompliance will only be discovered if there's a problem and Trading Standards investigate. But they've had their budgets cut in recent years (

  24. Jess

    Wouldn't new startups be better off in the RoI at present?

    If the UK leaves the EEA, then wouldn't businesses with an EU market be better off moving to the first decent industrial estate over the border on the main route to Dublin?

    It seems unlikely that the British Isles freedom of movement that predates the EU/EEC would be abolished. (Though I can't see any way around having border controls, which means that promise may have been a softener for the EFTA/EEA option.)

    Therefore you can hire EEA and UK staff with no worries about the future.

    In fact it might even be sensible to have a location either side of the border, in the worst case scenario, the NI location could become the UK office, and the bulk of the staff could work in the RoI.

    Of course if the Government were to actually state an intention to stay in the EEA, then all the stagnation will be swept away and the erosion of investment would stop.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From a Yank

    Brexit made me smile. All the Remain arguments I have heard over there, before the vote, and since, have been economic. To my ear it sounds like the Remainers are saying, "I don't mind the German jackboot being on my throat as long I can continue business as usual and make a lot of money."

    Very Vichy. Shame.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: From a Yank

      Sorry to mention this, but this is 2017 not 1918/1940.

    2. Yugguy

      Re: From a Yank

      You'll get a billion downvotes for any post that isn't rabidly Remain on here.

      But have an upvote from me.

  26. david 12 Bronze badge

    NO change for us

    We manufacture and export CE certified objects into the EU.

    I'm not aware of anything about it that would be cheaper, easier, or more profitable if we were located inside the EU:

    I'm not aware of anything that will be more expensive, harder, or less profitiable for you, outside the EU.

  27. phillupson

    I find all this talk of a 500 million market vs 60 million and how we'll struggle to be quite interesting. Can anyone name a Google/Amazon/VMWare/Starbucks/Apple sized company that has been created in the EU and grown to such dominant global levels? Siemens, Rolls Royce etc.. pre-date the EU, so those don't count. Of course, listing global companies that have grown out of countries not in the EU is extremely easy, so why exactly are people worried? The only problem I can genuinely see is that now, once our politicians have pissed us off completely and couldn't get a job in a sandwich shop they can no longer guarantee an EU job where nobody can vote them out, I should just about sleep okay though.

  28. lampbus

    EU company that has done quite well :


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