Post-Referendum Debrief August 26th

Article 50 to be triggered early next year?

According to a report in The Guardian Article 50 may be triggered in early 2017.

The report states that leading Brexit campaigner and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith claims members of the cabinet, including Theresa May, are keen to start the formal process of leaving the European Union early in 2017.

Hew was reported as saying Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty should be triggered in the first quarter of the new year to provide focus and a two-year deadline for Brexit negotiations.

Key figures are keen to get the ball rolling – Brexit means Brexit after all. The quicker we trigger the process, the quicker we can reach independence.

Brexit ‘shock’ fades

A piece in The Independent says UK consumer confidence rose the most in more than three years this month as the initial ‘shoc’k from the Brexit vote faded.

An index of sentiment by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research jumped to 109.8 from 106.6 in July, which was a three-year low.

So no doom and gloom there then? But wait a minute – Stephen Harmston, head of reports at YouGov is quoted as saying: “For all the talk of doom and gloom – both in the months leading up to the referendum and in the days following it – most consumers have yet to feel much tangible impact of the vote.”

He then goes on to say: “Everything could change once details of the deal to leave the EU emerge and the process of extracting ourselves from the Union become a reality.”

Meanwhile those of us confident in Britain will continue to build a strong, stable economy to prove the doubters wrong.

People were offered a choice!

So says John Humphreys in a clash with Labour leader hopeful Owen Smith, who has, of course called for a second referendum.

The broadcaster said: “So what you’re saying to 17million people – 17,410,742 – what you’re saying to them is ‘sorry we didn’t like the way you voted last time, we’ll have another referendum’.” 

Exactly. Smith’s call for a second vote is outrageous. We have moved on – the public isn’t stupid. It voted OUT. Now let’s get on with it.

Post-Brexit tourism boost

The media today also focuses on The Prime Minister’s pledge that Brexit will create ‘real opportunities for growth’ in the tourism sector as she announced a new £40m fund for tourism projects across the country.

She said: “The British people’s decision to leave the European Union creates real opportunities for growth and we will work in close partnership with the tourism industry, to ensure it continues to thrive as negotiations on the UK’s exit progress.” 

It will be a shot in the arm to our tourism trade and contrasts with myy previous debrief which looked at the problems France was having with tourism .

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Post-Referendum Debrief August 24th

When Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit!

Labour leadership ‘hopeful’ Owen Smith has said if he is elected, the party will oppose triggering Article 50 until the Government commits to a second vote.

With a blatant disregard for the will of the people (the UK voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent), Mr Smith is quoted on the BBC’s website as saying, “It would be irresponsible of Theresa May to simply trigger Article 50 and sleepwalk out of the deal. Labour still believes that we should be a part of the European Union.

“Under my leadership, Labour won’t give the Tories a blank cheque.

“We will vote in Parliament to block any attempt to invoke Article 50 until Theresa May commits to a second referendum or a general election on whatever EU exit deal emerges at the end of the process.”

With the current Labour leader seemingly unsure where he stands, the whole party seems somewhat confused about what it really believes, as well as the democratic process.

Demand for new homes has soared since the referendum 

A report in The Daily Mail reveals demand  for new homes has soared since Britain voted to leave the EU.

Persimmon, which specialises in family homes, said the number visiting its sites and reserving a home has jumped by a fifth since the referendum.

That somewhat defies the doom and gloom forecasts from the former Chancellor and the rest of the Project Fear team?

The developer said reservations of homes since July 1 were up 17 per cent on the same period last year and Persimmon, whose brands include Charles Church and Westbury, also posted bumper results for the first six months of the year. Profits were up 29 per cent to £352.3m.

Meanwhile, in a separate report, HM Revenue and Customs showed the housing market held steady after the EU referendum.

French tourism blow

An intersting read in The Daily Express today – it reports one million fewer visitors went to the French capital in the first six months of 2016 compared to the year before, sparked by terror and safety fears, as well as claims the chic city is dirty and blighted by striking workers.

The 6.4 per cent drop has cost £644m (€750) in lost revenue in just half a year.

Mind you, the country still remains the most popular tourist destination in the world, attracting 84.5m visitors last year with 16m headed for Paris.

More migrant problems

Thousands of Chechen migrants are slipping into Germany through an unmanned Polish crosspoint normally used for businessmen and tourists.

The Daily Express reports that Germany shut down border crossings into the country from the western Balkan migrant route into south Germany after 1.1 million refugees entered last year after the Government’s open door policy was introduced.

In reaction to the closures the migrant route has now moved east through Poland, which shares the largest border with Germany – leaving the nation open to terrorists entering the state.

Official statistics reveal the number of illegal crossings has catapulted out of control between the twinned towns of Germany’s Frankfurt an der Oder, east of Berlin in Brandenburg state, and Poland’s Slubice, which are linked by an unmanned bridge over the Oder river.

And this quote from a German federal police officer says it all –  “We have no idea if they stay in Germany or if they travel on to other countries. “We simply have no idea.”


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Phobia and Professor Merrifield

I had an amusing exchange of Tweets today with a constituent of mine, a certain Professor Michael Merrifield of Nottingham University.  He is a Professor of Astronomy – but he seems to be very knowledgeable about any other subject you care to mention.  And he is committed to left-liberal, right-on, politically-correct views almost to the point of self-parody.  I have had exchanges with him on Twitter several times, and it is flattering to think that he is able to devote so much time to the study and discussion of my observations.

Today, on the subject of Islamophobia, I Tweeted “A phobia is an irrational fear. Given recent atrocities, I don’t think that fear of Islamists is necessarily irrational”.  The good Professor replied: “Fear of the many due to the evil of the few is an irrational phobia” (note the tautology – not so good from an academic). “Stirring up such fears is worse”.  Given the recent sequence of appalling and indiscriminate Islamist attacks in which hundreds of people have died, plus the assaults on women in Germany and Sweden, I don’t think there’s any question of “stirring up such fears”.  They are entirely reasonable fears, and most commentators agree that it is only a matter of time before we experience similar attacks in the UK.

In reply to another participant (“The G-Man”), Merrifield says “I disagree, but that is arguably not phobic. This, however, is: (quoting my original Tweet, above)”.  Later, for good measure Merrifield adds “Roger Helmer is very welcome to express all his phobias: I would much prefer his irrationality remain in the public eye”.  Amusing, this, since so far as I know I have no phobias at all (though I’m not keen on spiders).  I responded “You are desperately trying to hang the label ‘phobic’ on anyone who disagrees with you. But it won’t wash”.  To which Merrifield weakly retorts “No anyone, just phobics”.

I have run into trouble previously over the misuse of this term “phobia”, which quite simply means “an irrational fear”.  I took considerable stick on social media for questioning the use of the term “homophobia”.  Of course no one doubts that homosexuals are subject to prejudice, discrimination and even on occasion violence, and all decent people (yes Michael, that includes me) will deprecate and condemn such attitudes and behaviour.  But this is not about substance, but about semantics.  It’s about the proper use of the term “phobia”.  Prejudice against homosexuals exists, but I know of no evidence that it is motivated by fear, and therefore it cannot be a phobia.  Much resentment is caused by the way the word “homophobic” is applied indiscriminately as a term of abuse to anyone who dares question the current modish political correctness in this area.

The problem with the use of “phobia” in “Islamophobia” is not (as with “homophobia”) about the element of fear, but about the element of irrationality.  I have argued that fears of Islamic terrorism are perfectly rational and rooted in experience.

Merrifield’s reference to “Fear of the many due to the evil of the few” is what I call “The IRA argument”.  It goes like this.  All IRA terrorists (more or less), are, or were, both Irish and Roman Catholic.  But it does not and cannot follow that all Irish people and/or all Catholics are terrorists, or sympathise with terrorists.  On the contrary, my experience suggests that the great majority of Irish people, and of Catholics, abominate the tactics of the IRA, and utterly repudiate them.  Is there a read-across here to Islamic terrorism?  I fear not, for various reasons.

  • Islamic terrorists have a well-funded and widespread international organisation, ISIL, which purports to be a state, and has indeed some of the attributes of a state.  It has an aggressive programme of recruitment and proselytisation, and there is a huge Muslim diaspora in which its recruitment takes place
  • ISIL is overtly dedicated to the overthrow of established, democratic Western governments and their replacement by a worldwide Islamic Caliphate, implementing Sharia Law for all.  However unrealistic this objective may be, they are clearly serious about pursuing it
  • ISIL urges, and implements, the murder of non-believers, and especially of homosexuals, and it carries out and promotes the large-scale mutilation of women.  If Professor Merrifield wishes to challenge assaults on human rights, he might like to start in Raqqa.  But promotion of female genital mutilation is not limited to ISIL.  A senior Muslim cleric in Russia has just called for mass FGM.
  • We have just seen the belated jailing of hate preacher Anjem Choudary  It is credibly reported that a number of mosques in Britain have provided a platform for hate preachers who spread their message of intolerance, alienation and violence.  It is difficult to exonerate the faith of Islam entirely for the behaviour of Islamic terrorists when Islam’s places of worship are used in this way.  There are also reports that some mosques have been recruitment centres for ISIL.
  • Following Choudary’s prison sentence, social media are reportedly awash with hate videos from him and his disciples.  Presumably someone out there is watching them.  Are they part of Merrifield’s “the few”?
  • Reputable opinion studies amongst British Muslims have shown an alarming degree of sympathy with Islamist fighters that runs well into double figure percentages on some measures.  For example more than a quarter of British Muslims sympathised with the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. (Are they also part of “the few”, Michael?).

Against this background it is impossible to dismiss Islamic terrorism as the work of a handful of deranged individuals.  Merrifield in another Tweet said “Basing a case against a religion on the actions of a small number of terrorists is phobic”. No Michael. It’s not phobic – it’s just a bad line of argument, which is why I didn’t and wouldn’t do it.  I spent four years of my earlier business career in a Muslim country – Malaysia – and have a high regard for many of the Muslims I met and worked with there.

I absolutely defend the right of any individual to hold any religious beliefs of their choosing (provided they don’t directly infringe the rights of others – as for example the Muslim position on apostasy), or to have no religion.  I am not making a case against any religion.  But I am making a case against mass immigration of Muslims from Syria and elsewhere, because they have a view of human rights which is incompatible with Western values, and represents a threat to our society.  And because while only a few of them may be active terrorists, it is likely that a significant proportion will have some sympathy with Islamism.  And most of them will have attitudes to human rights, women’s rights and minorities which are just plain unacceptable and dangerous.



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Post-Brexit Debrief August 19th

Post-Brexit sales boom

In the first round of hard data post-Brexit, retail sales have boomed – up 1.4% against an estimate of 0.2%.  Amongst a raft of positive economic news, the Telegraph says “Shoppers shrugged off June’s shock Brexit vote”.   The Express says “Brexit Boom: Retail sales grew post-referendum as voters went on a shopping spree”.   Both the Pound and the FTSE responded positively to the news.  Another Project Fear prognostication is overturned.   Indeed the Mail headlines “Project Cheer”

Calais Mayor admits violence is “out of control”

The Express headlines “Send in army to stop migrant violence”.  It reports that the Mayor of Calais has finally admitted that the situation is out of control, and has called for more support from the civil authority.

It says that British truckers have called for the Army to be deployed , while a separate piece cites UKIP defence spokesman Mike Hookem MEP, who says “The French government clearly need to bring in the military to help resolve this situation”.

Meantime Merkel defends her “open-door” policy


Under increasing political pressure at home ahead of general election next year, Angela Merkel has sought to defend her open-door migrant policy, against increasing public resistance.  She is arguing that Jihadist violence had come to Germany before the policy was in place.  Maybe so, but the policy has brought vastly more numbers, of whom some are Jihadists and many may be sympathisers.  The anti-immigration anti-EU party AfD seems likely to benefit at the polls.

Merkel won’t be helped by reports that migrants in Germany are refusing to work, on the preposterous grounds that they are “Angela Merkel’s guests”.

“City abandons hope of full Single Market access”

The FT reports that senior figures in the City are studying the post-Brexit options, and have rightly recognised that “full Single Market access” (which would almost certainly include free movement and EU budget contributions) is not an option – indeed it would hardly be Brexit at all.  Nor do they seem to favour “the Norway option” which also involves subjection to EU rules plus EU budget contributions.  They are looking at  the same sort of “sectoral agreement” which the Swiss have (similar structure, but of course not exactly the same sectoral deals).

The fact is that the UK has a large trade deficit in goods with the continent, which gives us a strong negotiating position.  But we have an advantage on trade in services.  It seems to me we should say “OK – we’ll give you free access to our market – but in exchange for your advantage on trade in goods, we want an agreement for trade in services – and particularly for “passporting” of financial services, which is at the heart of the City’s concerns”.

Frankfurt eyes UK financial services

The Express reports the thoughts of Thomas Schaefer, Finance Minister in the State of Hesse (which includes Frankfurt), who openly admits that the German city is seeking to attract financial firms from London.

You can’t blame them for that – it’s just common sense.  But I believe they may be underestimating the strengths of the City.  The depth and breadth of financial expertise and support services create a “critical mass” which will be difficult to replicate elsewhere. Meantime (see above) the City, in collaboration with the British government, is getting ready for the Brexit negotiations.

EU students rush for UK universities

The Telegraph reports a surge in applications from EU students to attend UK universities ahead of Brexit – up 11% to a new record. Several thoughts here: education is a major “invisible export” for the UK, and any post-Brexit immigration policy must allow foreign students to come – while ensuring that they also go home afterwards.  But it is also a scandal that non-British EU students can claim the UK’s generous student loans – and in many cases fail to repay them.  Ever.

One of the “benefits” of EU membership touted by the Remainians was the opportunity for British students to study across the EU.  Indeed.  They can go to Strasbourg, or Stockholm, or the Sorbonne.  But they can also go to Sydney or Singapore or San Francisco – with the benefits of sunshine and the English language.  The idea that you can’t travel abroad unless you subject yourself to supra-national governance is palpably absurd.

Italian Referendum “Could be bigger than Brexit”

Italy faces its own referendum in October.  It’s not strictly speaking an EU referendum — it’s about constitutional changes. But in the current anti-government, anti-Brussels mood, it could well be an escape-valve for voter resentment, possibly leading to the fall of the Italian government.  Italy currently faces huge problems of debt, youth unemployment, growth and productivity.  The Five Star Movement, which could benefit from the result, is demanding a referendum on €uro membership.  Some commentators see this as a trigger for a wider EU break-up.

EU woos Algeria

The EU is reportedly cosying up to Algeria, in an attempt to secure gas supplies and also to help to contain the migrant crisis.

Comedy of Errors

The New European” (hands up who’s bought a copy – no? – I thought not) headlines “Brexit turns the Fringe into a comedy of errors”.   Other papers have highlighted the use made of the Brexit vote by comedians in Edinburgh.

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Post-referendum Debrief August 18th

Positive post-Brexit jobs news

City AM sums it up “Jobs miracle defies Brexit doomsayers”.   The FT, a little more measured, has “Fall in jobless claims confounds forecast of culls after Brexit vote”, adding “The labour report was much stronger than we expected, and surprisingly robust”.  Another Project Fear prognostication bites the dust.  I have previously reported on a series on industries who have (rather surprised and even shame-faced) admitted that the anticipated Brexit slow-down has failed to materialise, so it was encouraging to read in yesterday’s Telegraph “Car sales showed no signs of slowing down in the first half of the year, and dealers are confident of further growth despite the EU referendum.”   But with the lower pound, we may anticipate an advantage for UK manufacturers.

No post-Brexit recession

A key plank of Project Fear was the forecast that Britain could face a post-Brexit recession – a point repeated endlessly by George Osborne & Mark Carney, amongst others.  But now ratings Agency Moody’s (which stripped the UK of its Triple-A credit rating after the EU vote) has said that it no longer foresees a post-Brexit recession.   And the stock market is in positive territory – now higher than before the EU vote.

“London dines out on Brexit Bonanza”

In a heartening headline, the London Evening Standard leads with “London dines out on Brexit bonanza.”  It speaks of “London’s remarkable post-Brexit boom” as tourists and locals alike dine out.  Tourism has been boosted by the lower pound.  Takings are robust in the hospitality business (though it has to be admitted that many of the employees in hotels and restaurants are migrants from the EU or elsewhere).

“2.2 million EU migrants working in Britain”

The Express reports latest figures showing that 2.2 million EU migrants are working in Britain – and the figure is up by 238,000 in the last twelve months.  The total figure for foreign workers is now 3.45 million – over a tenth of the workforce.  And workers from the eight former Communist countries in the EU number a million.  Of course no one suggests that these workers should be sent home – and many UK businesses would struggle if they lost them.  Nonetheless it is vital that we take control of our borders so that we can decide the rate at which immigration is allowed, and ensure that only workers with necessary skills are admitted.

German Minister recognises the economic importance of UK

During the EU referendum, we heard all kinds of sabre-rattling from Brussels, and the Remainians were keen to insist that the EU would “punish” the UK for having the temerity to leave.  I, on the other hand (along with other Brexiteers) insisted that EU/UK trade was so vital for the continent that they simply could not afford to be without a UK free trade deal.  We pointed to the huge trade deficit which the UK has with the rest of the EU.  Remainians tried to wriggle out of this self-evident fact by insisting that although UK exports to Europe were much less than imports, nonetheless our exports amounted to a higher percentage of our GDP than did continental exports to the UK as a proportion of their GDP (as though we bought our dinner with percentages, not money).

Now, it seems, the Leave position has been endorsed by no less a person that Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Roth, who said that Britain could be given a “special status”.  He added “Given Britain’s size, significance and its long membership of the EU, there will probably be a special status which only bears limited comparison with other countries that have never belonged to the EU”.

“London banks eye continental locations”

It’s not all good news.  The Indy (of course it has to be the Indy) reports that major international banks based in London are looking at contingency plans, and renting office space on the continent, while they wait to see the detail of any new trade deal between the UK and the EU.  Of course large commercial organisations are entitled to consider future developments and to make contingency plans – they would be irresponsible not to do so.  Nonetheless I believe that the City’s strengths in financial markets will be sufficient to weather the storm – and that workable trading arrangements will be put in place.  This report sounds rather like a desperate attempt by the Indy to keep project Fear on life support.

Norway writes down its UK property assets

Norway’s massive sovereign wealth fund has written down its property assets in the UK by 5%, citing uncertainty after the Brexit vote.  This is maybe a responsible and conservative decision – but it’s worth noting that UK house prices continued to rise in the run-up to the Referendum, up 8.7% year-on-year in June, compared to 8.5% in May.

The Three Brexiteers

Not a novel by Alexandre Dumas, but the sorry saga of Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis, respectively running the Foreign Office, International Trade and the Brexit Department.  We’ve been regaled with turf-war stories about the three of them for some time, as clearly their responsibilities overlap, creating an ideal ground for conflict.  I don’t propose to analyse all the twists and turns, but I do recommend a thoughtful piece by Philip Johnston.  He looks at the structure and concludes that it was designed by Theresa May to create chaos.  Was her objective to see the Brexit planning hit a brick wall, providing an excuse to revisit the decision?  Or was it merely a way of responding to the voters whilst ensuring that decision-making remained securely in Number Ten?  We shall see.

“Race hate crimes up after Brexit vote”

The Remainians lost the argument and the referendum – but now they’re seeking to adopt the moral high ground by blaming the Brexit vote for a rise in reported “race hate” crimes.  There is of course no possible excuse for hate crimes of any kind – but there are also many other factors in play beside the Brexit vote.  May I suggest:

  • The broadening of the definition – any incident is now a race hate crime if you want it to be.
  • The intense media coverage of the issue leading to increased reporting levels
  • Race hate crimes may be an (unjustified) reaction to the horrific spate of terrorist atrocities we have seen on our TV screens in recent months.
  • Race hate crimes may be a response to the rapid growth of legal and illegal immigration (which Brexit seeks to resolve)
  • They may be a response (again unjustified) to the large numbers of reported sexual assaults on European women by migrants.

It is both facile and prejudicial to attribute the reported rise solely or primarily to the Brexit vote when so many complex and inter-related factors are in play.  It appears to be part of an organised effort to portray Brexit voters as ignorant, isolated and racist.  “Spiked” has an interesting and thoughtful analysis of this trend.  http://www.spiked-

Migrant problems in Paris

The Mail reports that French police have removed 900 migrants from camps in Paris – but they are rapidly filling up again as a hundred a day arrive. Europe’s migrant crisis shows no sign of abating.  Thank heaven we have the English Channel.  All we need now is to police it (and, of course, Brexit).






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Post-Referendum Debrief August 16th

PM means business on Brexit?

So says The Independent, which claims Teresa May wants to put an end to ‘Government by headline’.

Writer Andrew Grice reports: “I think the pro-EU optimists will be disappointed, and expect that May will invoke Article 50 next January or February. Why? Because the rest of the EU is already furious enough about what it sees as foot-dragging in London.

“Other EU leaders have already given May extra time. When the Conservative Party leadership election was due to end in September, she planned to trigger Article 50 early next year and did not bring the date forward when she became PM in July. Any further delay might be counterproductive for Britain.

“Although the European Commission and May’s EU counterparts cannot force us to start formal negotiations, they can make life very difficult for us when we eventually do. And it is “when,” not “if”.

Of course, we must remember the Government has a tiny  majority of 12 – the PM has to reassure the Tory back benchers who voted for Brexit.

EU citizens left in limbo

An interesting report by the BBC, among others, on EU citizens in the UK.

Leading Vote Leave figure Gisela Stuart says EU citizens in the UK have been “left in limbo” since the referendum.

The Labour MP will head a research project on how to protect their rights after the UK leaves the EU.

The cross-party inquiry, for centre-left think tank British Future, will examine what kind of legal status could be granted to EU citizens in the UK.

And those British citizens living in the EU should also have their rights protected.

Wooing the Scots

Meanwhile, a report in The Financial Times reveals British ministers are in Scotland to reassure them on a Brexit future.

Andrew Dunlop, Scotland minister, arrived in Inverness on Monday to discuss Brexit with sectors including tourism, energy and food and drink, while David Mundell, Scotland secretary, met local governments last week and will visit Borders farmers on Wednesday.


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Post-Referendum Debrief August 12th

It’s the Glorious Twelfth – but if you’re not out shooting, here are some thoughts on the Referendum aftermath.

CBI calls for focus on US trade relationship

The CBI confirms that the UK remains the largest foreign investor in the USA. $449 billion of UK investment supports a million jobs in the USA, a quarter of which are in manufacturing. However Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s Director General,  points out the need for careful handling of the UK/US trade relationship. She gave a very up-beat analysis on the BBC Today programme this morning, but recognised that the Brexit vote had caused a degree of uncertainty.

A senior US trade lawyer on the same show said that there would be no immediate impact, but that future US investments in Europe might start to go to Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin – although this depended on the terms agreed for UK/EU trade. The issue of uncertainty is a real one – and another reason why Theresa May’s government should get on and invoke Article 50 as soon as possible.

The political mood in the USA is currently very negative on trade mega-deals, which means that prospects for TTIP (the proposed EU/US trade deal) are poor. Ironically it may be easier to do a more straightforward UK/US deal than an EU/US deal.

Insurers coping with Brexit

The FT reports that after initial Brexit worries, the insurance industry is “peeping out from behind the clouds”. More than that – share prices have recovered and the insurance index has moved back above its pre-crisis level. Yet another industry (a contributor to the Today business news this morning made the same point about the advertising industry) where an initial wobble was replaced by a realisation that the sky hasn’t fallen, and a resumption of business as usual. A reproach to the merchants of Project Fear.

Minister’s “secret meeting” with Tata

The Times reports that Business Secretary Greg Clark flew to India on Wednesday for a “secret” meeting (but now, apparently, not very secret) with Cyrus Mistry, head of Tata Steel, amid increasing concerns over Port Talbot. One has to wish him well. The continuing uncertainty over steel production is a huge burden for the Port Talbot workforce.

Germany moves to tighten security

The New York Times reports on German proposals to tighten security in the face of public anxiety over terrorist attacks. The measures on the whole seem reasonable but incremental. In particular I can find no confirmation of suggestions yesterday that Germany will “Ban the Burqa” (which some say would require a change to the freedom of religion rights in the German Constitution). Germany received over 1.1 million migrants last year, of whom 400,000+ have applied for asylum.

France: “Let refugees into your homes”

France is reportedly overwhelmed by immigrant numbers, with the 147 reception centres across France overflowing. So the government is appealing to citizens to take refugees into their homes. Good luck with that one, guys.

Young people fear unemployment, not Brexit

A survey by Politico’s of youth activists across Europe showed that over 80% were concerned about youth unemployment, while only 4% cited concerns over Brexit. . None saw Donald Trump as a threat, by the way.

Greek banks in panic mode

Greek banks have decided to offer greatly enhanced deposit rates in a desperate attempt to bring back funds that have been moved elsewhere. Mind you, “greatly enhanced” is relative. In this case, 1.3% for six months fixed, up from a previous 0.8%.

Voter fraud and political correctness

A new report from former Minister Eric Pickles, commissioned by the government, claims that widespread voter fraud in Muslim communities is allowed to flourish because political correctness deters any efforts to address the problem. . Few will be surprised at this news, but it is important for two reasons. First, it illustrates the way in which some immigrant communities bring with them practices and values which are at odds with the British way of life. And secondly, because it amounts to official recognition of the problem, which in turn should fully legitimise efforts to eradicate such practices. We have already seen in Rotherham and elsewhere the dire consequences of turning a blind eye to abuses within minority communities.

The Express reports that the police are “too scared” to stop vote-rigging in Muslim areas.

Of course this is not a Brexit issue – although it may be seen as a European issue, since similar problems are experienced across Europe. But it is very relevant to immigration, which of course is a key EU issue. Overwhelmingly British voters believe that the law is the law, and that it should be the same for all British citizens and indeed everyone in the country, citizen or not.

Forget QE – cut taxes instead

Fraser Nelson writes a cogent plea in the Telegraph saying that monetary policy has run its course, and we need fiscal initiatives to drive growth.

The fall of UKIP?

“The New European” (no, I hadn’t heard of it either) carries a story entitled “The Fall of UKIP”, by Professor Matthew Goodwin. OK, so we’re having a leadership election – on a rather more measured basis than the Labour Party can manage. But I think we can say with Mark Twain that “reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated”.

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