Cameron’s Calais claims crash and burn
Three weeks ago David Cameron, in an astonishing alarmist outburst, claimed that in the event of Brexit we should find that “The Jungle” Camp would move from Calais to the Home Counties. The French government was quick to dismiss this absurd idea. Then, in what seemed to be an orchestrated public relations exercise (remember that our Prime Minster used to be a PR man) the French Economics Minister Emmanuel Macron repeated the threat in forthright terms — oddly enough just the day before our Prime Minister David Cameron went to France to meet French President François Hollande. Suddenly, like a vampire emerging from a newly dug grave, the Calais threat got top billing.
But yesterday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve knocked it on the head, and said in quite clear terms that the British border controls in Calais will remain in place. Cazeneuve is not just being nice to the Brits (Heaven forfend!). He’s talking naked French self-interest. First, he says (as I have argued repeatedly) that if the UK Border Force moves back to Dover, then undocumented arrivals will simply be turned around and sent back — and Cazeneuve knows that France will have to accept them. Second, he sees the move creating a flood of additional migrants converging on Calais, and a consequent humanitarian crisis.
So another of the dire warnings of the Remainians bites the dust. This is not just nonsense — it is anti-British nonsense. And the Remainians are campaigning for an anti-British policy.
Gove and Boris: a double-barrelled assault
The two Tory big-beast Brexiteers, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, have been in action. Gove argues (rightly, in my view) that “The EU fuels terrorism and fascism”, pointing to the ease with which migrants and Jihadists can enter Europe, and cross Europe, and also to the rise of far-right parties and movements on the continent. He makes the case that we can best protect ourselves by controlling our borders — but we are unable to do that without Brexit.
Boris focuses on the issue of the head of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, who was “suspended” by the BCC after saying (in a personal capacity, though to a BCC audience) that he believed Britain would prosper after Brexit (as I reported on March 4th). There are reports (denied by Downing Street) that pressure was put on the BCC to suspend Mr. Longworth. Boris is quite rightly furious at what he sees as No. 10’s “bullying scandal”.
Chris Grayling puts in perspective. Would Mr. Longworth have been suspended, he asks, if he had instead spoken in favour of EU membership? Of course not.
It seems that Cameron and his Remainians have little sense of balance or proportionality, but are using some very unpleasant measures to suppress dissent. Certainly the Prime Minister gives the impression of a degree of panic.
EU to take over our coastguard?
The Express reports that the European Commission plans to take over our Coastguard, as part of its response to the unprecedented migrant crisis, in what the paper describes as “the biggest transfer of sovereignty since the €uro”. This illustrates a key argument of the Leave Campaign. The EU is not some steady and secure structure. Rather, it is an on-going process — a headlong, helter-skelter rush to a unitary state. Safety and stability for Britain are not secured by staying in, but by taking back control and setting our own course under our own institutions.
Labour voters urged to back Remain
Leading Labour figures have been urging Labour voters, and the Union Movement, to back Remain. Alan Johnson fears that the debate is being dominated by “Tory splits”, and says “The Tories are split on Europe; Labour is united”. Sorry Alan. It may be that the Labour establishment is united (more or less), though Corbyn and Momentum seem to be a bit lukewarm. But an awful lot of Labour voters are patriotic British men and women who believe we should take back control, and govern our own country through our own democratic institutions. You may be surprised on June 24th when we start to see the breakdown of who voted which way.
“GO!” Action Day
Yesterday, March 5th, saw up to 350 street stalls and related outreach activities across the country by the Grassroots Out Campaign “GO!”. Nigel Farage visited the street stall in Thornbury, after his keynote speech to the UKIP South West Conference (where I and other MEP colleagues also spoke). “GO!” is a cross-party campaign which has featured parliamentarians from Labour, Conservatives, UKIP and the DUP, and is attracting widespread support. A substantial proportion of the “GO!” campaigners on the streets yesterday were of course UKIP members. This initiative deserves our support.