Calais Burning: Jungle Warfare
Today’s papers are full of alarming pictures of fires at “The Jungle” migrant camp in Calais. The EU has allowed the migrant crisis to get so far out of control that forceful police action may be the only solution.
Cameron caused a frisson of concern with his hysterical claim that Brexit would lead to “Jungle Camps” in the Home Counties. But in fact it is staying in the EU that carries the clear and present danger of uncontrolled mass immigration. Merkel will give EU passports to a million migrants. The Commission wants to fast-track Turkish accession and Turkey will obtain visa-free access to the Schengen zone next year. We need to take back control of our borders. The only way is Brexit.
Cameron declares war on the Grassroots
He’s already told his MPs to ignore their constituency associations. To Cameron, Conservative associations are the backwoodsmen. They’re red-faced Colonel Blimps with old-fashioned attitudes that would never do in Saint John’s Wood. To others, they’re the backbone of England.
But now the Telegraph reports a Conservative plan to cull 90% of their constituency associations. The excuse is “greater efficiency”. But Cameron is clearly exasperated that his “Remain” Campaign is being resisted by Party members and activists.
If Cameron’s primary objective is to destroy the Conservative Party, he’s going about it the right way. I’m glad I left it in 2012.
Is Matt Hancock plain ignorant?
(or just bending the truth?)
The Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP assures us that it will take “ten years of uncertainty” to renegotiate Britain’s trade links following Brexit, and he uses this outlandish claim to justify his use of the phrase “A leap in the dark”.
But it’s a very short leap – and it’s not very dark Other stay-mongers are fond of saying that Brexiteers “have no idea what life outside the EU will be like”. “What alternative do they offer?” ask the Remainians. So let’s tell them.
In any case, as Lord Lawson has said, it’s a very silly question. The alternative to being in the EU is not being in the EU. And far from being a mystery, it is in fact the current state of a hundred-plus countries around the world – most of whom are doing rather better, in economic terms, than the declining and dysfunctional EU. It is the state that Britain was in for centuries before we joined the “Common Market” less than half a century ago.
I don’t think that many Canadians or Australians or Singaporeans wake up in the morning scared to death because their countries are independent and not in the EU.
For the benefit of Mr. Hancock, let me set out the parameters of Britain post-Brexit. We shall have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and contrary to the government’s scare story, that will involve negotiation not “with 27 member-states” but with just one interlocutor – the EU itself. But imagine a worst case, where we failed to negotiate an FTA. Then, as Matt Hancock knows perfectly well (or ought to know), the default position is simply the WTO rules.
Arm’s-length trading on a WTO basis would be less advantageous that an FTA – but not much. For example, the duties payable on our exports to the EU under the Common External Tariff would be less than half our current net contributions to the EU budget. Dozens of countries around the world trade perfectly well with the EU on WTO terms. The three largest external suppliers into the EU are China, Russia and the USA. None of these has an FTA with the EU, but they trade with it very successfully nonetheless.
So of course we don’t know exactly what our terms will be – just as the Remainians don’t know exactly what the EU will look like in 2026 (if it still exists). But we do know that even the worst case would not be a major problem.
But this modest worst case won’t happen, because we shall have an FTA. And that won’t take ten years to negotiate. It is overwhelmingly in the interests of the EU to get trade terms agreed ASAP. After all, more EU jobs depend on that trade than British jobs. And we will become the EU’s largest external customer. Bar none.
If the Commission drags its feet in setting up the deal, EU industries – and especially the car industry – will be kicking their door down. We’re a hugely important customer, and they need trade to continue uninterrupted even more than we do. Meantime trade deals with third countries will be grandfathered.
I will do Matt Hancock the courtesy of assuming that he’s simply ignorant. But if (as I rather suspect) he knows the score, then he’s telling porkies.
“Staying in a reformed EU”
I wish I had a Pound for every time I’ve heard that phrase recently. “I take the view that we’d be better off staying in a reformed EU”, say the true believers (and the government’s pay-roll vote).
Please repeat after me, very loudly, “There is no reformed EU on offer”. Cameron started out with the laudable objective of reforming the whole system, to the benefit of all EU member-states – though even then his vision of a reformed EU was sadly lacking in ambition. But he’s delivered no such thing – just a few questionable tweaks to Britain’s position, which (if we stay) will soon be forgotten as the Brussels Juggernaut rolls on to Ever Closer Union.
While forests of paper and gallons of ink have been wasted debating the Cameron package, it has little meaning and less effect. Essentially we’re choosing to leave, or stay, in a European Union that is utterly unreformed, with all the problems we’ve faced for years – plus all the new problems that will arise from future legislation and future enlargement.
Every time we hear that mendacious phrase – “A reformed EU” – we should challenge it forcefully. Don’t let them get away with misrepresentation.