Port Talbot in the balance
A decision by the Tata Board about the future of steel-making in Port Talbot is expected imminently. The plant is currently losing around a million pounds a day.
We must be entirely clear that this crisis is brought about primarily by failures in Brussels:
Anti-Dumping Duties: The USA has introduced swingeing anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel, which have effectively protected steel production in the USA. The EU has done too little, too late – effectively inviting China to divert exports from the USA to the EU
Energy prices: A fundamental problem for the steel industry in the EU is that EU energy policies mean much higher prices than those faced by steel producers in the USA or China. As former Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani put it, “We are creating an industrial massacre in Europe”. Port Talbot is the latest example.
State Aids: As we learned in the seventies, state aid is never a long-term solution for an uncompetitive industry. But it could help the UK steel industry over a crisis and provide breathing space – if it weren’t against EU law.
Belgian police under pressure
I reported recently that Belgian police had arrested Faycal Chefou, who was suspected of being “the man in the hat” from Zaventum. Now, it seems, he was not the man. He has been released without charge, leaving the Belgian police with egg on their faces – and no credible suspect.
“Migrant flow halves”
Figures compiled by the UNHCR show migrant numbers via the Med falling by around half – from 57,000 in February to 25,000 this month (which is not yet over), suggesting some impact from the EU/Turkey deal (though this could represent a shift to other clandestine routes). Other reports speak of EU planners “beginning to create a framework to start deportations”. Expect fireworks if and when that starts.
“50 serious criminals from the EU come to Britain”
The Vote Leave team have identified fifty serious criminals from the EU who have come to Britain, arguing that the EU’s “free movement” is a major factor. Some forty-five are claimed to have re-offended.
I’m not sure quite how strong this point is. Senior former policeman Sir Hugh Orde argues that it would never be possible to identify and block every criminal seeking entry to the UK. But we all recall cases where, despite “EU cooperation”, criminal records of EU citizens were not made available until too late. Proper border controls might not stop every single undesirable – but they would certainly stop many.
EU judges to rule on UK data law
EU judges are expected to decide, before the referendum, to water down UK data law in a way that would make surveillance of terrorist suspects more difficult. This is an egregious example of our loss of sovereignty in the UK. If it happens, it will also be a powerful boost to the Leave campaign.
NUT Conference opposes teaching “British values”
This from the “You Couldn’t Make It Up” department. The NUT Conference has decided that teaching “British Values” is an act of “cultural supremacism” (honest – I’m not making this up) and that lessons on British values should be replaced by “International Values”. For good measure, they also reject the Government’s anti-radicalisation strategy. And in a (possibly) unrelated story, the new paper “New Day” headlines “Nine children a week arrested for gun crime”, some as young as ten. It is frightening that our children are being taught by teachers fundamentally opposed to British values.
Times “Expats quit Europe”
In what seems a classic piece of scaremongering, the Times reports on British expats coming home from Europe amid fears of health service costs and pensions. As if British people didn’t retire to the Costa Brava before 1973. I suspect that many of those who leave do so because of the economic disaster in Southern Europe – not because of Brexit.
Texts urge Brussels youths to fight the West
Apparently youths in the Jihadist hot-bed of Molenbeek in Brussels are receiving text messages urging them “to fight the West”. Recent events suggest they may not need too much urging.
….and on a happy note
The Telegraph letters column carries a couple of letters attacking wet Tory MP Anna Soubry for her recent and deeply misleading defence of EU membership, in which she argues against “the unknown risks of Brexit”. The letters section is headed “The known risks of staying in the EU are enough to justify leaving”.