A migrant deal with Turkey?
This morning’s news is that the March 17th/18th European Council has reached agreement on the Turkey migrant deal. Agreement, that is, between 28 member states – but not so far, Turkey.
As Turkey was expecting six billion Euros, early visa-free access and fast-track EU membership, they will not be impressed that all the good bits, (from their perspective), have been dropped. The scheme in any case, looks unworkable.
Last night on BBC Question Time I stressed the immigration implications of the Turkey deal and got a very positive audience reaction. Turkey will be a key factor in the Brexit debate.
David Owen back Brexit
David Owen – former Europhile, former Social Democrat, former Foreign Minister – has come out for Brexit. He points to the potential disaster of Turkish accession. He faults David Cameron for his blind support for Angela Merkel’s migrant plans. And most interestingly, for a former Foreign Secretary, he believes taking back control of our foreign policy will be one of the biggest benefits of Brexit.
Osborne’s budget for survival (his)
This was not a “budget for the long term,” nor was it a “a budget for future generations.” As Roger Bootle writes, it was a budget for three months. A desperate attempt to ensure a Remain vote in June, (though disabled voters may not be impressed).
Because Osborne knows that his job, and his boss’s job, depend on winning the Referendum. Just now, that looks a bit dodgy.
It’s interesting to speculate on how many voters with no real interest in the EU may vote to leave, just to punish the government of the day. I suspect a significant number.
Trump on the ‘Top Ten Risk’ list
The Economist has published a list of the top ten risks to the global economy and The Donald is right up there, behind a Cold War but level with Jihadism. Given The Economist’s unswerving support for Brussels, we should perhaps be relived that while Brexit is on the list, it is not up there with a Trump Presidency.
Big companies must be smarting
Large companies have dutifully come forward to supporting the Government position on Remain. So they must be shocked to find their loyalty and help have been rewarded in the Budget, with a £10 billion tax hit.
As Allister Heath remarks in The Telegraph, Osborne’s tax-grab is likely to cost pro-EU multi-nationals more than Brexit ever would, even under the Government’s ‘Project Fear’ scenarios.
Cynical timing on the Tampon Tax
So Cameron has gone to Brussels and raised the issue of the ‘Tampon Tax‘ – the fact we are unable under EU rules to reduce the VAT below five per cent. It seems he will get a positive reaction.
But he could have done this any time in the last six years. The fact he does so within 100 days of the EU referendum shows this is a cynically choreographed ploy to enable him to come back and say – “Look we can achieve change in the EU.”
If we vote to Remain, there will be no more concessions, As Nigel Farage remarked, the mere fact that we have to ask Brussels’ permission to make a minor tax adjustment makes the case for taking back control.
In any case Cameron only has agreement in principle. His concession could be overturned by other member states, or indeed, by the European Parliament.