Today’s story is Steel
There is virtually only a single story on today’s papers: steel. And the government doesn’t come out looking very good. The Times writes of “A chaotic steel response costing 40,000 jobs”. The Guardian speaks of “Ministers in disarray”. The FT quotes Tata as saying “the (UK steel) business is worth nothing” – not very helpful as ministers start looking for a buyer. Having spent the early part of my career in a sales environment, I can see the problem in a sales pitch which says: “Previous owner believes this business is worth nothing – would you like to buy it?”. One can only imagine the pain in Port Talbot as steel workers read these headlines.
The EU angle is starting to emerge
The BBC Today Programme this morning specifically cited EU rules as a barrier to a solution for the steel industry. Meantime the Telegraph runs a headline featuring the EU: “EU row over deal to save steel”. This is a very damaging story for the government. It reports that the UK was instrumental in blocking proposals in Brussels for more aggressive anti-dumping tariffs against Chinese steel. If true, steelworkers will surely never forgive the government. The paper quotes Simon Boyd of Reidsteel: “While we remain in the EU, the UK government can do little to tackle the dumping of cheap steel or unfair state aid rules”.
Ministers in emergency meeting
The Telegraph and other papers report plans for an emergency Ministers’ meeting on steel today. There is little they can do in the short term on state aid rules or anti-dumping tariffs. But they could at least remove George Osborne’ iniquitous “Carbon Floor Price” which makes UK energy even more expensive than costs on the Continent – that’s an own goal that should be corrected immediately. Beyond that, we can expect a dogged refusal by Ministers to recognise that Brussels is the problem, and that the steel crisis is the best argument for Brexit.
UKIP launches by-election campaign
UKIP will launch its campaign for the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough by-election today, appropriately enough in a local steelworks, introducing candidate Steven Winstone, a local businessman and metals trader. I expect to be there at 11:00 a.m.
Turks “shoot to kill” migrants
Away from steel, the Times reports that Turks have adopted a “shoot to kill” policy as they seek to deter migrants. The paper quotes a human rights organisation claiming that sixteen migrants, including three children, have been shot in the last four months by Turkish border guards. Of course all decent people will condemn these shootings. Yet given the massive stress of migrant movements in the region, and the pressures on Turkey, the story seems to have a dreadful inevitability about it, and adds to the urgency of finding a solution in Syria which will allow Syrians to remain there.
“The public must be told the truth about immigration”
The Telegraph carries this story. It reports that the UK Statistics Authority (there’s another quango we hadn’t heard of) has written to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to demand that it clarify immigration figures in the face of widespread speculation that current official figures are wide of the mark. The UKSA calls for this clarification ahead of the EU Referendum. Watch this space.
“Migrant sex attack gangs could come to Britain”
Nigel Farage is quoted in the Daily Express warning that the sort of migrant sex attack gangs who caused outrage in Cologne could come to Britain under EU rules. Migrants currently in Germany could obtain EU passports within three years, and the UK would be powerless to deny them entry (unless we leave the EU first). Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave strongly endorses this view. Given that the primary Cheer-Leader for the Remain Campaign, David Cameron, is constantly insisting that we need EU membership for our security, this warning is a timely reality check. It is becoming ever clearer that in terms of border controls, and removing terrorist suspects, and preventing undesirable elements coming to our country, national security absolutely requires that we leave the EU and reassert our independence.