Daily Debrief March 2nd

The Immigration Crisis worsens

Migrant arrivals so far this year are many times higher than the same period last year.  A story in the Guardian warns that the EU’s response is wholly inadequate: “Failure to tackle the refugee crisis risks disaster”.

NATO Commander: “Putin is weaponising refugees to destabilise Europe”.  Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, fears that Russia is deliberately using the migrant crisis to destabilise Europe.  And the EU seems to have no response.  One of the main failings of the EU project is its impotence in the face of a crisis.  It can neither make decisions, nor implement them.

We in the UK are well-placed to resist this Russian tactic – but only if and when we leave the EU.

Rt. Hon. Sir Nicholas Soames fails to understand the EU project

Soames argues that his Grandfather Sir Winston Churchill loved Europe, and would have wanted to support it.  But he then concludes that Sir Winston would have opposed Brexit.  Like many blinkered europhiles, Soames is conflating two quite different issues.  Of course we, like Sir Winston, want to be good friends, allies and trading partners of our continental neighbours.  But that is not at all the same thing as agreeing for our country to be governed by undemocratic and unaccountable foreign institutions.

After Brexit, we will still have military cooperation within NATO, and bilateral intergovernmental defence arrangements with France.  We shall still be the continent’s most important trading partner.

We do nothing to help and support our continental friends by acquiescing in their disastrous policy errors.  The over-regulation, the Schengen/refugee débâcle; the €uro disaster; the energy policy crisis.  We will do far more for them by showing them the benefits of freedom, democracy and global engagement.  As a great statesman once said “We shall save ourselves by our exertions, and Europe by our example”.

Clamp-down on e-cigarettes

The Times reports that the EU will go ahead to impose punitive taxes on e-cigarettes.  But e-cigarettes have been shown to help smokers give up smoking, and they are vastly safer than regular cigarettes.  They are a massive boost to public health, and represent a way to cut the misery – and the cost – of smoking-induced disease.  But the Commission, consumed by anti-tobacco prejudice, ignores the benefits and is determined to tax them anyway.  Yet another reason why we’ll be Better Off Out.

Is “Remain” really government policy?

In a thoughtful article in yesterday’s Telegraph, the redoubtable Kate Hoey MP argues that since collective Cabinet Responsibility has been set aside for the referendum, there can be no “government policy” one way or the other. We merely have the personal opinion of the Prime Minister and some of his ministerial colleagues to go on.  This is a subtle constitutional point, and I don’t want to venture an opinion.  But it is scandalous that Cameron has got the Civil Service to campaign, in effect, on one side of this great issue.  We The People see our taxes and our resources devoted to an attempt to deny us independence and democracy.  Shameful.

Better deal? Second referendum?

The Rt. Hon. William Hague – the former eurosceptic – writes a thoughtful article in yesterday’s Telegraph, asking “What are the chances of a better deal after voting Out? Zero”.

He’s right.  And utterly wrong.

Various people have discussed the possibility of pursuing further negotiations with the EU after a Leave vote.  But Hague is insisting that this is impossible.  Of course his message really means: “Understand that Brexit is a one-way street – there’s no way back.  Be afraid – be very afraid”.  Personally, after voting to leave, there’s no way I’d want to come back.  But some regard an initial “Leave” vote as a mere negotiating tactic.  Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave has suggested it.

The EU institutions are following the Hague line, in a clear attempt to frighten the undecided by stressing the finality of the decision, and thus to ensure a “Stay” outcome.  But the precedents are all against them.  Again and again, when EU member-states vote the “wrong” way, Brussels insists they vote again, until they get the right answer.  I’ve heard this described as “biased finality”.  If you vote the “right” way, there’s no way you’ll ever get a second vote.

My fear is not that we won’t have a way back.  Rather, I fear that after a “Leave” vote, we’ll be pressed to change our minds.  We’ll find Cameron saying “Clearly my deal was not good enough for the British people.  I’ve listened.  I’ve got the message.  I accept that now.  So I’ll go and get a better deal”.  And we must not underestimate what a huge blow Brexit will be to Brussels.  Whatever they say now, I have no doubt that they’ll try every subterfuge and blandishment to persuade us to change our minds, and to get a second referendum.

People sometimes ask me what will be the point of UKIP after a “Leave” vote.  Clearly our first task will be to keep the government honest, and to insist that Leave means Leave.

But there will certainly be new negotiations after a Leave vote.  Not to find a way to keep us in the EU, but to agree the terms on which we leave, and the terms on which we subsequently trade with the rump-EU.  And as I have argued in this column on previous days, there will be overwhelming economic and industrial pressure on the European Commission to reach a timely and favourable trade deal.

So I’m sorry, William, but you’re wrong.  The chances of a better deal with the EU after a Leave vote are not zero.  They are 100%.  And it won’t be EU membership – of any kind.  It’ll be a free Trade Agreement, pure and simple.

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20 Responses to Daily Debrief March 2nd

  1. catalanbrian says:

    Perhaps you would be kind enough to answer these four simple questions

    1) How does UKIP propose dealing with the refugee crisis?
    2) How is the UK better placed outside the EU to deal with Putin’s alleged plan of destabilisation?
    3) Please explain what you mean by the “undemocratic and unaccountable foreign institutions?
    4) Please explain why after Brexit (if indeed that happens) the EU will become “the rump EU”.? Surely ” the rump” is the bit left over after the majority has left, or do I not understand plain English

    • 1 UKIP would support turning back the boats, Australian style. Within weeks, the boats (and the drownings and trafficking) would stop). We would certainly control our own borders. We share the government’s view that humanitarian objectives are better served by supporting facilities for refugees in the region rather than putting up an “All Welcome” sign in Europe (though we feel that total UK spending on Foreign Aid is disproportionate).

      2 Outside the EU, we could control our borders, and therefore Putin’s cunning plan would not affect us.

      3. The EU in theory cannot be democratic. As John Stuart Mill said “Where peoples lack fellow feeling, and especially where they speak and read different languages, the common public opinion necessary for representative government cannot exist”. There is no European “demos”. And in practice it is clear that the European Institutions are remote and unaccountable, that they harbour a contempt for public opinion — and they are seen to be so by citizens.

      4. The EU minus the UK will be greatly diminished, both economically and psychologically. It is also falling apart under the weight of its internal contradictions. I think the terms “rump” or “remnant” would be entirely appropriate.

      • John Poynton says:

        There is perhaps a further dimension to this, but it depends on how we go about controlling our borders. Putting up walls and fences as absolute barriers is unlikely to work or be politically sustainable, particularly as we already have a porous border with the Republic of Ireland and may yet find we have one with Scotland. The key is to ensure we log everyone in and out (we need the physical barriers for that purpose of course, but supported by spot ID checks within the UK) so that we can produce a list every day of those who have overstayed their visas. Only those on blacklists need then be refused entry on arrival.
        A few years ago there was the case of a Jamaican woman who arrived on our shores intending to donate a kidney to her brother in hospital waiting for it. The border guard did not believe her story and turned her away. Only after protests was this decision overturned. My point here is that the existing procedure is unacceptable from the points of view of both visitor and guard. We are expecting our border police to make speculative decisions, which is an act of prejudice. Surely one of the reasons we want our freedom back is so that we can treat people in a civilised manner (unlike our current panicky and insecure government). That was not a civilised manner. What should have happened was that the guard issue a three month visitors visa on the spot and wish her a pleasant visit. Only if she had not departed in time should the alarm bells start ringing, and at that point her name and face should be put up on the internet so everyone can know. Over-stayers would not be allowed access to employment or buy or rent property, and it would then be a comparatively straightforward job for the police to find her and send her on her way.
        I think we all agree that neither refugees nor economic migrants should be granted British citizenship or Permanent Leave to Remain (PLR) under any circumstances. That means we do not have to distinguish between them, which we know is a major problem. It also means we can be much more relaxed and allow them to visit, and that we could set up at least one refugee camp here in the UK (preferably in Scotland!). Those whom we know to represent a terrorist threat would be on the blacklists. Such camps need not be internment camps. Once the ‘visitors’ have been given visas, or new refugee passports where necessary, in return for bio-identification they could come and go at will. The point is that their only access to shelter and support would be back at the camp. Those who do not return to camp when required would be posted on the internet and tracked down, as well as lose their right to a visa out of the camp.
        Of course it is preferable, both for us and for the refugees, that camps are set up in countries in the region they come from. But this requires negotiation with possible host countries and work on our part to set them up and run them. They are not going to appear of their own accord! They should be British sovereign territory, like military bases overseas, and have an airstrip so we can transfer new arrivals out there as soon as we have processed them after arrival in the UK camp. We will have to pay for them out of the aid budget of course, but it will be worth it if we end up with an effective and humane way of providing basic care to these unfortunate people. It would also, as you say, discourage chancers from coming in the first place.

    • fedz08 says:

      The remainians need to explain what will happen to the UK , if the Brexit vote fails, in an unreformed EU. Things will never be the same following a vote to stay in.

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Pink News…

    “The European Union is too insular, too bureaucratic and too indifferent to injustice. A more internationalist, globally-engaged UK will be an even more effective champion of LGBT rights around the world.”

    well, you know?

  3. davidbuckingham says:

    Sorry Roger I can’t resist….. just for a start….
    1. If the UK leaves the EU and the EU collapses, the subject of Putin’s anger will evaporate. As will the Kafkaesque fortress attitude to the world. Putin would have to deal with a powerful diplomatic and military response with real teeth from NATO and a Europe that has its feet on the ground.
    2. See above plus by not having an open border to Turkey.
    3. Can’t be a serious question. Not on this forum.
    4. The rump is the unimportant remnant, the hind part. QED. In plain English. I’m talking about the EU here, not Europe.

  4. davidbuckingham says:

    sorry that was a reply to catalanbrian

  5. davidbuckingham says:

    BTW: I reckon Scaremongering is really just plain Lying.
    To be distinguished from pointing out an Inconvenient Truth.

  6. Shieldsman says:

    Davidbuckingham, perhaps that sneering individual catalanbrian could suggest a country willing to take in say 250,000 poorly educated migrants (not refugees), house clothe and feed them, plus subsistence. Would it be the country in which he is resident?

    The United Nations is getting involved again in its role of World Government. UNHCR, has warned EU leaders that the continent is facing a “self-induced humanitarian crisis,” with over 24,000 people stuck on the Macedonian border, and with as many arrivals in two months of 2016 as in the first six of last year.
    One of the greatest migrations in history is underway. An uncontrolled migrant (some refugees) invasion of Europe is taking place. Germany has acted unilaterally with its open door policy and the migrants have blasted a hole through Schengen, deciding which country will be their final destination. It is a disaster unfolding to which the Brussels politburo has no answer.

    A destitute Greece and the poorer eastern EU member states lie on the migrant trail and finding difficulty in coping with the influx are putting up barriers. They don’t want the migrants and the migrants have their eyes on greener pastures to the north.

    There are millions more migrants in Asia and Africa who will join the trek as long as the trail remains open. So in this politically correct socialist European Union will any one have the nerve to put the cork in the bottle?

    And David Cameron wants us to stay in this chaotic empire.

    • catalanbrian says:

      Shieldsman. Perhaps you should be aware that this sneering individual has some information for you. The total number of immigrants (i.e those born outside the UK) living in the UK represents 11.3% of the total population. The same figure for Spain is 14%. Of those percentages teh percentage of Non EU immigrants to each country is 7.7% (UK) and 8.9% (Spain). Thus I think that the answer to your rather ill informed comment is that Spain is already doing rather better than the UK

  7. John Poynton says:

    Overnight on Brexit it seems to me that nothing will change except that payments to and from will cease. And we can easily commit to replacing the latter £ for £ out of the savings.
    My presumption therefore is that all trading and security arrangements as well as all the laws on our statute book wherever derived will continue as now by default. It will require separate positive action by either Brussels or ourselves to change them. It would be interesting to have a legal opinion on this. If I’m right, that would skewer Cameron and his fear tactics completely!
    By default therefore we will still be trading with the Single Market on a zero tariff basis after Brexit. But even if in the extremely unlikely event Brussels did start to raise tariffs against us, upon which we would obviously respond in equal measure, that would surely be to our advantage given the £89 bn goods trade deficit we had with the EU last year, as Ruth Lea reported at he GO rally last week. They would be cutting off their nose to spite their face! It would be a return to protectionism, albeit forced upon us, but very much to our benefit. Trade volumes in both directions would be lower, but many more jobs would be created from import substitution than would be lost from exports. In addition we would get an additional fiscal revenue stream from the import tariffs we impose in return. Many countries around the world pursue protectionism for these benefits deliberately! We don’t need a new deal with the EU. Let them come to us for one if they want one. Physical access is guaranteed under WTO rules anyway, so we are only talking about tariffs.
    I see Cameron is still airily saying that Brexit would cause unemployment, but gives no logical argument to support this. Here are at least three solid logical reasons why Brexit will be good for both jobs and wages:
    1). We have seen that Brexit will probably result in a devaluation of Sterling. This will be a repeat of the exit from the ERM in 1992, which set up ten years of solid economic growth. With inflation on the floor and unemployment probably rising again, now is the prefect time for a devaluation as the inflationary pressures will just be absorbed, just as they were in the early 90s. Jobs would be created both from increased exports and from a Buy British trend to import substitution. Wages would also rise as a result.
    2). Most jobs are created by SME’s. SME’s struggle inside the EU because of all the red tape and pernicious regulation, as well as through the fact they cannot afford the time or cost of lobbying Brussels to protected themselves from perverse big business and national interests. Even if some multinationals did divert new investment to the continent as a result of tariffs, the jobs we would lose here are few compared to the new jobs that would be created by SME’s. So on balance good for jobs and good for wages.
    3). Surely simple logic and price theory tells us that if you restrict immigration the laour market will tighten. Again, good for jobs and good for wages.

  8. Jane Davies says:

    ” Again and again, when EU member-states vote the “wrong” way, Brussels insists they vote again, until they get the right answer. I’ve heard this described as “biased finality”.

    Biased finality? Bugger being politically correct, just call it what it is …….dictatorship.

  9. Chris Newton says:

    If the country votes to stay (I hope not) The Eu has according to the ‘five presidents report’ a plan to ‘wipe the floor’ with us, a group of 19 countries will form a bloc. There will be nothing we can do, they will impose masses of immigrants on us and wack us with £bn’s of charges. The 19 countries will out vote us if we try to complain. It will be too late.
    When we leave we may have problems to deal with but the big difference is we will be in control and be able to do something about it.

  10. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Whats BMW’s Herr Flick emailing the workers at Rolls Royce for? Oh, messaging via the back door from mutti?

  11. I want to say that i am hugely enjoying the daily briefings.
    Thank you, Roger, for taking the time for us.

  12. A Benedict says:

    I have been reading Roger’s briefings for some time now and agree with just about everything he says.
    Today I read his “CV”. What a pity that this country does not have ministers with his vast worldwide experience running the Government, rather than the likes of the “nearly grown up schoolboys” Cameron and Osborne et al.

  13. davidbuckingham says:

    Roger, is there any way of safeguarding against having a second referendum foisted upon us by Cameron and Brussels? What would the mechanics of it be?

  14. Alan Wheatley says:

    Re Churchill, I refere to Norman Daves claimend book, “EUROPE a history”, in which he says:-

    “Churchill’s strategic vision postulated a ‘fraternal association’ off three interlocking circles made up of the British Commonwealth, the ‘European Union” and the United States”

    It is clear, at least to some of us, in the aftermath of WW2 Churchill was very much in favour of a “United States of Europe” and that the UK was not to be part of it.

  15. Pingback: Daily Debrief March 5th | Roger Helmer MEP

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