The Times goes Tabloid


Two academics, Caitlin Milazzo  and Matthew Goodwin, have followed the progress of UKIP closely, and over the last year or so have conducted a large number of interviews with elected members, staff and supporters.  While maintaining a spirit of impartial enquiry, they have always come across as broadly sympathetic to the Party, and I myself was happy to talk to them.

All the more pity, then, that the serialisation of their book (“UKIP: Inside the Campaign to Redraw the Map of British Politics”) in The Times seems to have dropped the cloak of academic impartiality, and adopted the worst aspects of tabloid journalism.  Moreover it is difficult to believe that the timing is anything more than a deliberate effort by The Times – never a friend of the Party – to damage UKIP’s prospects in the up-coming Oldham by-election.  There, I think, it will fail.

The book (as serialised) takes the typical debates on policy and nuances of approach, which are the small change of all political parties, and seeks to turn them into a titanic battle of wills between Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell.  Nigel and Douglas are both larger-than-life characters – one the charismatic leader of an insurgent party, populist in a good way, and one of the best communicators in British politics; the other, the party’s only Westminster MP (for now), a political philosopher with a much more restrained and intellectual style.

One issue in particular was highlighted as an area of conflict: that of immigration.  There is of course room for legitimate debate about the emphasis which we as a party should put on the question.  Is it right to place great emphasis on an issue which we know is a #1 concern on the doorstep?  Or do we risk having our opponents characterise us as cruel and heartless – or worse?

There are those who say our primary purpose is to secure the independence of our country, and that immigration is a secondary issue.  Yet as with so many of our problems in Britain, the EU is at the heart of our immigration issue, and cannot be ignored.

But surely we must recognise it as an unalloyed good for the British body politic that UKIP, almost single-handed, has brought this key public policy issue out of the closet and into the public square. It is scandalous that for years no one could raise the immigration issue, however moderately, without a torrent of accusations of racism.  Now at least we can discuss it rationally.

And indeed few can argue that UKIP’s immigration policy is anything but fair, balanced and reasonable.  By contrast I would argue that the immigration policy which our current Conservative government is operating is in effect (if not in intention) highly discriminatory.  Because of EU free movement rules, we discriminate in favour of unskilled or low-skilled (and predominantly white) Eastern Europeans, and against (for example) brain surgeons and software engineers from Commonwealth countries, many of whom are non-white.  We’re starting to see resentment amongst ethnic British citizens who find that they can’t get a visa to bring in mother-in-law for a family wedding, while Europeans with no UK connections can come freely.

UKIP on the other hand wants (A) an agreed limit on annual migration, to ensure that it doesn’t place undue strain on social cohesion and social infrastructure, while at the same time allowing employers to fill skill shortages and bring in essential staff; (B) within the overall limit, a selection process based solely on skills and qualifications – a points-based system on the Australian model.  Absolutely no discrimination on grounds of race, colour or ethnicity.  It is a policy which all of us in the Party can embrace with confidence and pride, knowing that it responds to a key theme of public concern.

Now let me stray off-piste (My favourite Terry Wogan line, by the way: “Suivez la piste!  Follow that drunken woman!”) and venture a personal view which goes some way beyond party policy.  We have obligations in international law to offer asylum to those with a well-founded fear of their lives.  But the rules were drawn up, and the obligations entered into, when no one envisaged mass migration on the scale we are seeing today.

The theory is that we assess each individual applicant, determine whether they have a genuine claim, and deal with them accordingly.  But we now face (on a very conservative estimate) at least a million arrivals in Europe in a year.  Some of these people would qualify as refugees.  Most are economic migrants.  Many have no identification papers.  Many have deliberately thrown away their papers in transit.  Some have been schooled by traffickers in the answers they should give.  Others have obtained false passports – reported to be readily available in the Balkans and the Eastern Med.

When, on Question Time recently, I asked how Simon Schama knew that a particular asylum applicant was Syrian, he replied “Of course he was Syrian – he spoke Arabic!” – as though Arabic were not a widespread language spoken across the Middle East and North Africa.  I suggest that it is simply impossible to deliver any kind of fair analysis of the refugee status of these huge numbers.  Simply as an administrative process, it becomes impossible on this scale, as several European countries seem to be finding out.  Then consider the venal lawyers who will facilitate appeals processes in the name of “Human Rights”, and we shall have a process that lasts decades, and places impossible strains on our immigration services and courts.

The only solution, it seems to me, is to control our borders, and prevent arrivals.  Yes, rescue the drowning in the Med – but don’t bring them to Europe.  Yes – provide facilities for asylum applications at British Embassies abroad, and in locations close to war zones and refugee camps.  But let no migrant seek to come to the UK without a visa.

I dismiss out-of-hand the talk of “climate refugees” (as though there had been no floods or droughts or wars before 1970).  But I do expect further large-scale migration in coming decades, resulting from population pressures, wars, the growth of Islamic extremism, and downright bad governance and corruption.  But the old systems of asylum and immigration are broken, and cannot be patched together.  It’s time for new thinking.






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Triple Green Fantasy – Guest Blog By Alex Henney


Without knowing what they were doing, Blair and Ed Miliband bound us into absurd ambitions to decarbonise our electric industry. Blair signed the UK up to the most demanding targets under the Renewables Directive of achieving 15% of all energy consumption from renewables by 2020, which translates into a target of 30% of electricity generation. Miliband got Parliament to pass the Climate Change Act 2008 which requires the UK to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.

We have pretended that expensively subsidised new cut wood chips from the US counts as biomass, regardless of the fact that they produce more CO2 than gas and (allowing for loss of carbon sequestration) more than coal. Even by DECC’s standards of ignorant incompetence and disregard for consumers’ money, this was crass. Next, in our gloomy climate solar panels are inefficient, expensive, erratic and do not produce electricity when demand is greatest in winter early evenings.

The only volume source of renewable electricity is wind, but it is expensive. Onshore wind costs twice the market price and disfigures the countryside, while offshore wind is about three times. Wind (and solar) have to be backed up with dispatchable coal or gas plant, which is not only expensive, but when such plants cycle to balance wind their thermal efficiency drops and CO2 emissions go up. Consequently wind does not mitigate CO2 as it claims on the tin. In a leaked letter to cabinet colleagues Secretary of State Amber Rudd has warned of impending failure by 25% to meet the renewables target (as will France, Netherlands, and Poland). Apart from words about “community generation” and yet more verbiage about the goodness of combined heat and power (but little is developed), the final string to our decarbonising bow is the attempt to build the most expensive nuclear plant in the world. As he kow towed to the Chinese for money, Cameron ignorantly claimed it will provide cheap electricity.

The cost consequences of what dreamy former Secretary of State Ed Davey claimed was “Britain leading the world” are now coming home to roost in higher electricity bills, more fuel poverty, and contributing to loss of jobs in iron and steel companies and a tyre company so far. And all of this is to no end. Exporting industrial jobs to China and other countries which generate electricity predominantly from coal increases CO2 emissions – FANTASY ONE.

The SECOND FANTASY is that Britain is “leading the way” by closing coal plants. No one is following and gives not a damn what we do. Germany and the Netherlands have recently commissioned ten new coal plants. China, India, and numerous other countries including Poland have made clear that they are going to increase coal generation; according to the International Energy Agency there are 500 coal plants around the world in various stages of planning and construction. In a move that is cynical even by the standards of the oil industry, a number of oil companies have declared how concerned they are to limit CO2 emissions and argued for a carbon tax. This would hit coal harder than the gas they want to sell in ever increasing volumes.

Dane Bjorn Lomborg has just estimated from an analysis of the country submissions that the vastly expensive commitments by the EU for the forthcoming climate charade Paris Conference of Parties will reduce the temperature increase at the end of the century by 0.05oC. He comments “The emissions reductions promised until 2030 will do little to stabilise the climate and their impact will be undetectable for many decades.” The fantasists are running the asylum.

The THIRD FANTASY is the widespread belief among many of the political classes and their supplicants among renewables developers for subsidies, state climate scientists for grants, and consultants for assignments, who are all on the green gravy train and now comprise a substantial vested interest after electric consumers’ money, that cutting CO2 will save the planet from “global warming”. Figures of 3-4oC above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century are bandied around, and it is claimed that for safety we must limit the increase to 2oC. Let us be clear, there has been no global warming for nearly 20 years; the frequency of serious hurricanes and cyclones has been reducing; the sea level is rising at the same rate as for the last 200 or so years; the winter of 1929/30 was wetter than that of 2013/14; and the other hobgoblins with which green alarmists try and frighten us are phantoms of their imagination.

Led by promoters of specious “science” (notably the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Met Office, which has descended to spin, PR, and on occasions downright dishonesty), we have ignorant people prattling a mindless mantra of group think about “climate change”. These include the Vatican, the Queen’s elder son, Ministers of the Crown, the Governor of the Bank of England, a Supreme Court judge and various other lawyers, all spurred on by those on the green gravy train. The mantra is fraudulent because a number of leading “climate scientists” are well aware of increasing empirical evidence that climate sensitivity to CO2 is lower than claimed by the IPCC and consequently the prospects of significant warming is remote. (But they keep quiet to avoid disturbing the gravy train). Indeed some solar physicists surmise we are in for a period of cooling.

People who indulge in unrealistic fantasies come up against reality and in the private sector pay the cost. But regrettably in the political sphere we the public pay the cost for the fantasies and the fantasies get off scot free.

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We’re not cutting emissions .. we’re just exporting them


I’ve spent best part of ten years arguing against the theory of man-made climate change – and had great fun doing so.  There are powerful arguments to say that mankind has little impact on climate – not least the obvious point that the slight warming over the last hundred years is exactly comparable to repeated warmings that have occurred every thousand years or so throughout the current Interglacial (and arguably for much longer).

In response, the Warmists merely appeal to authority – which is no basis for doing science.  They parrot the canard (sorry about the mixed avian metaphors) that “97% of scientists agree”, despite that fraudulent claim having been comprehensively and repeatedly debunked.  One can have hours of fun debating the issue, but sadly the closed minds stay closed, and no progress is made.

I’m finding that a different line of argument gains more traction.  It goes like this: “I don’t care whether you believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming or not.  Even if you’re right about it, the fact is that our current ‘green’ policies  are doing more harm than good.  They are failing to cut global CO2 emissions – indeed they may be increasing them – and at the same time they are doing massive economic damage, leaving us less well placed, economically, to do the sort of adaptation that would be needed if you were right about climate change”.

My good friend and former colleague Eija-Riitta Korhola was a Finnish MEP for my first fifteen years in the parliament, from 1999 to 2014, and she still revisits us from time to time.  At a recent meeting of the European Energy Forum, she spoke with typical courage and clarity: “We’re not cutting emissions – we’re merely exporting them”.

The picture above shows Eija-Riitta and me, with a copy of her recent PhD Thesis “Climate Change as a Political Process: The Rise and Fall of the Kyoto Protocol”

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the argument, so I’ll put it briefly.  Our green aspirations have led to very high energy prices, making European economies uncompetitive,  We are driving energy-intensive industries – steel, aluminium, glass, chemicals, cement, petroleum refining – out of the EU altogether, taking their jobs and their investment with them,.  Frequently they go to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, where they produce more CO2 per unit of output.  Sources in the steel industry claim that a ton of steel made in Shanghai produces twice as much CO2 as the same ton of steel made in Sheffield.  And we have a British government DECC report confirming that imported refined petroleum products imply 35% higher emissions than those refined at home.

Matt Ridley makes essentially the same point: “Wind makes electricity expensive and unreliable, and doesn’t cut emissions”.

When will the establishment get the message?  Wars aside, renewable energy represents probably the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of mankind.

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Islam is a religion of peace


Islam is a religion of peace.  ISIL Terrorists are “a minority of a minority”.  They have perverted a religion of peace and love in an attempt to justify their macabre Mediæval death cult.  Or so we are told by our leaders, as they seek to sow the seeds of social cohesion in seemingly bare and barren soil.

Of course we know that the Koran preaches death in unequivocal terms for non-believers, and seems to justify all sorts of barbarity. One quote to catch the flavour: Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”.  But then again, there are blood-curdling verses in the Bible – certainly in the Old Testament – which few Christians or Jews would seek to justify today.  We understand that these are not the words of modern, civilised people, but of ancient tribal societies who lived in very different circumstances, and by very different standards.

I have sometimes made the same point with regard to the IRA.  Yes, the IRA were evil terrorists – but we would hardly condemn all Catholics because the IRA claimed to come from Catholic roots.  Following the Paris atrocities, the Muslim Council of Great Britain deserves credit for publishing full-page ads to reassure the British public that the attacks “do not reflect the Islamic faith”.

But perhaps we need to test the proposition that ISIL’s attitudes represent “a minority of a minority” amongst Muslims, and in this context I was interested (and not a little alarmed) to find a web-site called “Wiser Monkeys“, which pulls together published research from reputable polling organisations, and shines a light on attitudes in Muslim society more generally in Britain. It does not make comfortable reading.

In a 2015 poll for Survation, 39% of Muslims think the police and MI5 contribute to the radicalisation of young Muslims. 28% sympathise with young Muslims who leave the UK to fight in Syria. And a massive 40% do not think that Muslims have any obligation to condemn acts of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.

Fewer than half of all Muslims agree that the Holocaust happened (NOP 2006) while nearly half (46%) believe that 9/11 was a US/Jewish conspiracy, and 35% “don’t know”, leaving only one in five who recognise the reality.  And indeed, almost unbelievably, there are already voices claiming that the recent Paris attacks were “staged” by the French authorities to present Muslims in a bad light. Sickening. 

35% of young Muslims (25% overall) believe that suicide bombings are justified (Pew 2006). 16% believe that suicide attacks against Israelis are justified, while an alarming 37% see Jews in Britain as “legitimate targets” (Populus 2006).  The Federation of Student Islamic Societies, 2005, finds that 18% of Muslim students would not inform the police that a fellow Muslim is planning a terror attack.  45% agree that clerics preaching violence against the West represent “mainstream Islam” (ComRes 2015).

There are many more statistics telling the same story.  It’s probably true that terrorists are indeed a tiny minority.  But in their own social context there are alarming numbers who broadly sympathise with them, and tend to justify and legitimise their activities.  The research suggests that large sections of Muslim opinion in this country give comfort to terrorism and radicalisation.

It is true that not all Muslims are terrorists – though it is also true that all ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists claim to be Muslim.  And it is alarming to see the extent of sympathy for their attitudes in the wider Muslim society.

It would be interesting (but difficult) to carry out similar research amongst the hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants currently arriving in Europe, but it seems unlikely that they would be any less sympathetic to Islamic Terrorism.  A curious case of cognitive dissonance: they want to come to Europe and Britain as a safe haven from their war-torn homelands, and for the prosperity and employment they expect to find here – yet many regard the UK as “The Little Satan“, and sympathise with those who wish to undermine the basis of our free society.

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Israel and the West Bank


Meeting pupils at a Druze school in Northern Israel

During week commencing November 2nd I went to Israel to speak at the International Leaders’ Summit, a joint project supported by the Heritage Foundation.  While there, we took the opportunity to visit a Druze school in Northern Israel, a high-tech business incubator in Nazareth designed for Arab Israelis, and Ariel University.

I also visited the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. I am reasonably well-informed about the history of the Holocaust (and a bit of an old cynic), but nonetheless I was deeply moved by what I saw there.  It was desperate, agonising, pitiful, humbling.

There is no avoiding the fact that there are deeply-rooted disputes in the region.  I have constituents writing to me from time to time criticising Israel, and sometimes calling for the suspension of trade arrangements between the EU and Israel.

I usually reply that the problems are by no means solely down to Israel.  For a start, it was the UK (and the international community) going right back to the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which promised the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine.  Britain cannot escape responsibility for its part in creating the State of Israel — and inevitably displacing some Palestinians.

Then there are the surrounding Arab States (who have done so little to respond to the current Syrian migrant crisis).  They have allowed large numbers of displaced Palestinian refugees to remain as refugees in their countries not just for years, but for generations.  No other refugees in the world have hereditary status, where the children and grandchildren of the original refugees remain refugees, seemingly forever.

Imagine if we in Britain took the 30,000 Syrian refugees that Cameron has promised to accept, but kept them separate for sixty years, unable to integrate and become part of society.  Human rights groups would be up in arms — yet they have little to say about that situation in the Middle East.  I am told that the UN has spent more money on Palestinian refugees over the years than on all other refugee situations put together.

Of course many commentators also blame Israel, not least for its heavy-handed response to terrorist actions and rockets from Gaza.  They have a point, and I would not condone the Israeli action.  But we must set it in context.  Israel is a small country surrounded both by states and by terrorist groups that are dedicated to its destruction.  It cannot afford to take risks with its security.  Its first defeat may be its last.

Then of course there are the Palestinians themselves.  Ten years ago, the Israeli forces unilaterally, as a gesture of goodwill, pulled out of the Gaza strip, after 38 years.  The international community poured aid into Gaza: there was talk of it becoming “the Singapore of the Middle East”.  But what happened? The people of Gaza elected what amounts to a terrorist government.  Instead of promoting the prosperity of the people, Hamas focused with ideological intensity on a single task — attacking Israel.  The outcome was predictable, and hugely damaging to the people of Gaza.  Hamas is resisting calls for a new election.

Then we come to the question of the West Bank. Taken with the Golan Heights and part of Jerusalem, this is called by some “the Occupied Territories”.  This is clearly a pejorative term, seeking to imply that right lies only with the Palestinians, and that the Israelis have ridden roughshod over Palestinian lands.  The truth is somewhat more complicated.

The original Balfour Declaration proposed a relatively large state of Israel including the current borders, the West Bank and a big chunk of land on the East of the Jordan as well.  The state as established included the West Bank.  This left Israel as a narrow strip of land, no more than forty miles from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.  (To get some perspective, Israel’s land area is less than twice that of Yorkshire).  But in 1949, the UN, seeking to meet the reasonable demands of the Palestinians, proposed that the West Bank be assigned to the Palestinians. Israel accepted this proposal.  But the six Arab countries around Israel, negotiating on behalf of the Palestinians, resolutely refused to accept the offer.

If Israel would agree to Palestinian demands, and hand over control of the West Bank, the remaining “Waist” of Israel, containing both the capital City Tel-Aviv, and Ben Gurion International Airport, would be a flat strip of land between the mountains and the Med, scarcely ten miles wide.  I have stood on the hills overlooking that strip, and the airport, the city and the sea are clearly visible.

If the West Bank were under PA control, and hostile states or militias allowed access to those hills, with rockets and heavy weapons, then the heart of Israel would be simply indefensible.  It would be strategically unsustainable.  This is an existential issue for Israel: it simply cannot allow the enemy access to those hills.

So today the position of the West Bank is ambiguous.  The Arabs and Palestinians argue that the land was offered to them by the UN, and that they are therefore entitled to it.  Israel points out that it offered to accept the deal, but the deal was never concluded.

Of course no one can claim an intrinsic right to a territory simply because their long-ago forefathers happened to live in it.  Otherwise the USA would have to be handed back to the aboriginal Americans.  Nonetheless the Jewish claim on the West Bank is remarkably compelling.  The old name of the territory is Judea and Samaria.  Judea.  The clue is in the name.  These are the lands where the Jewish patriarchs and prophets lived and built their nation.  This is the land where Jesus Christ (remember he was a Jew) lived and walked and preached.

For Christians at least, these are the names from Sunday School.  Jericho.  Bethlehem.  Hebron.  Carmel.  Indeed the main North-South road through the West Bank is known by the Jews as “The Road of our Fathers” since so much of their history took place along it.

Today, the West Bank is a complicated patchwork of areas broadly controlled by Israel but extensively under the administration of the Palestinian Authority (PA).  I understand that over 95% of West Bank Palestinians live in areas under PA administration.

We then come to the issue of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which defy a number of UN resolutions.  The word “settlements” in this context is clearly pejorative.  It suggests homesteaders and squatters intent on a land-grab.

The reality which I have seen is rather different.  Forget the negative connotations of “settlements”: these are simply towns and suburbs, where new housing is needed because of population pressure — just as is the case in the UK.  And why does Israel have this population pressure?  A key cause is the growing level of anti-Semitic attacks across Europe, which is motivating European Jews to emigrate to Israel.

It is important to recognise how small the area is, and how short the distances.  The West Bank border is only five or six miles from Tel-Aviv — well within the normal suburban commuting distance for a major capital city.  Telling Israel not to build there is like telling the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, that he can build in Canary Wharf but not at Chiswick.

So why does Israel deserve our support (as I believe it does)?  Because it is an enlightened, democratic country committed to ideals of freedom and pluralism — and also committed to enterprise and free markets.  This is in contrast to the surrounding nations which are tribal, theocratic, Mediæval.  And the results, in economic terms, are self-evident.  Per capita GDP is around $36,000, much the same as the EU.  At Number 33 on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom it’s in the top 20% of countries.  This compares to Egypt, say, at 124th.

I’ve seen comments on social media arguing that while Palestinians in Israeli-invested businesses in the West Bank earn much higher wages than in comparable jobs elsewhere, maybe if they were independent, they would do better.  The last ten years in Gaza argue against that position.  More generally, there is no other country in the region with so few natural resources which has done half as well.

There is a high-tech revolution going on in Israel.  As well as large numbers of successful tech start-ups, major US semiconductor firms are there.  They joke that the Intel slogan should be changed from “Intel inside” to “Israel inside”.  Or put it another way — anyone who seriously wants to boycott Israel had better abandon technology and the internet.

Which brings me to a current issue.  The EU, in its wisdom, is proposing to require products made in those West Bank factories to be labelled as such.  There can be only one reason for doing this: to enable the politically correct (and the politically misguided) to boycott these West Bank products.

I have accordingly written to Commissioner Frederica Mogherini, “High Representative for Foreign Affairs for the EU”, calling her to go to the West Bank, as I have, and to see for herself.  We brought back from the West Bank an invitation from the Principal of Ariel University for Commissioner Mogherini to visit the University and to address a mixed audience of Arab and Jewish students.

I put it to her that if we want to put pressure on both sides to negotiate, it seems strange that we provide massive funding to one side while punishing the other.  I expressed my concern about the 30,000 Palestinians whose jobs were at risk, and I said that I believed the best way to make progress was to support investment and employment and inter-communal relations in the West Bank.

We shall see how she replies.


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The Brexit Referendum


The first thing to say about Cameron’s promise of a Brexit referendum is that he would never have offered it without UKIP’s stunning success in the 2014 euro-elections, where we became the leading party in terms of vote share and number of MEPs.  Of course Cameron was also under pressure within his own party, but it is clear that the rise and rise of UKIP focused his mind on the issue.

So he has promised to seek “reform” of the EU.  He seems unaware of (or unconcerned about) the fact that for forty years, British politicians have argued that “we should stay in the EU and fight for reform”, and yet have abysmally failed to achieve any meaningful reform.  Harold Wilson in 1975 claimed to have a new deal, but his few cosmetic changes are long forgotten: the dogs have barked, and the EU juggernaut has moved on.  The EU simply doesn’t do reform.

Nor have there been meaningful reforms in recent years.  Instead, an ever-rising tide of regulation and red tape which is trammelling industry and economic growth.

Those who study the Heritage Foundation’s annual “Index of Economic Freedom” will noted the strong correlation between economic freedom, and growth and prosperity.  The EU is moving in the opposite direction, and its long-term relative economic decline speaks volumes about policy failure.

Indeed, the EU has developed a narrative of failure.  The Common Fisheries policy – always about to be reformed – has decimated fish stocks and destroyed the British fishing industry, both on the water, and land-based processing.  The euro currency has been (as Lord Lawson has said) “the most disastrous political adventure of the post-war era”, spreading poverty and despair over large parts of Southern Europe.  And today we see the debacle of the immigration crisis, exacerbated by the EU’s inept response: Angela Merkel said “Let ‘em all come”, but in weeks the high-flown rhetoric had collapsed into razor wire and holding camps.

Those still clinging to the European dream seek to frighten us.  Leaving the EU would be “a leap in the dark” –  despite the fact that most countries for most of history have been independent, and that countries like Canada and Norway and Singapore and Korea do very nicely without abandoning their independence.

“Three and a half million jobs are at risk”.  This canard has been repeatedly debunked, not least by the NIESR which originally produced the figure.   The jobs depend on trade, not membership, and trade will continue.

“We need to be in the Single Market”.  But the Single Market is merely an old-fashioned Customs Union overlaid by a mountain of excessive regulation.  Countries like China, Russia, and the USA have no difficulty exporting into the EU (and they don’t even have preferential trade agreements).  Neither does Korea (which does have an FTA, as the UK will have when we leave).

“We won’t be part of TTIP”.  Indeed, not.  But outside the EU we should have had a UK/US trade deal decades ago.  And if Switzerland and even little Iceland can reach trade deals with China, the UK as a top-ten economy can certainly do so.

So, to the negotiations.  I believe that David Cameron has backed himself into a corner.  In the UK, he’s raised expectations of a new deal.  In Brussels and across the EU, he’s finding that there is no appetite for treaty change, which anyway could not be delivered within his 2017 time-scale.  So he’s asked for more than Brussels will offer, but it’s still far short of what the country and his critics expect.

UKIP (and many other eurosceptics) want a relationship based solely on free trade and voluntary intergovernmental negotiation.  We want to be good neighbours, not bad tenants.  That is more than Cameron is prepared to ask.  But he should at least ask for reinstatement of the Maastricht opt-outs that Major negotiated and Blair gave away – especially on employment law.  We also want national control back on energy, environment, and Health & Safety.  He must insist on border control, for a nation which cannot control its borders is no nation at all.  He must demand a full and unequivocal Westminster veto on EU legislative proposals.  And we need our fisheries back.

Cameron will not demand these things, and Brussels could not countenance them. That is why we must leave.

What will be the outcome of the referendum?  The euro crisis, nightly on our television screens like some malign soap-opera, certainly helps the out case, as does the immigration crisis – immigration is at the top of the list of voter concerns.  But the out side has another ace-in-the-hole, and that’s differential turnout.  To paraphrase Yeats, “The ins lack all conviction, while the outs are filled with passionate intensity”.

Those who support EU membership do so mostly on the basis that “I suppose we have to”, whereas the eurosceptics believe passionately in the independence and self-determination of our country – and in the economic benefits of freedom.

Six months ago, I feared we would lose the referendum.  But today, I’m increasingly optimistic that we shall win.

This article appears at

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Jerusalem Leaders’ Summit


My speech starts about 20 minutes in…

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