Tory donors pledge £5 million to Brexit
The Telegraph reports that the Midlands Industrial Council has pledged four to five million pounds to the Leave Campaign. The MIC has for many years been a significant donor to the Conservative Party, but is said to be “incandescent with rage” at Cameron’s decision to spend £9 million of taxpayers’ money on a pro-EU leaflet (thousands of which are being sent back by irate voters to 10 Downing Street). When will Cameron learn to stop spitting in the faces of his party’s supporters?
Leave Campaign decision tomorrow: The Electoral Commission is expected to announce tomorrow its decision on the official campaign group for Leave. Main candidates are Vote Leave, the Westminster-centric group which includes some cabinet ministers, and Grassroots Out (GO!), supported by UKIP and Leave.EU. But the over-riding priority, whoever gets the designation, is that we all get behind a unified campaign for an independent Britain
Funding limits: The Electoral Commission imposes spending limits on participants in the Campaign. The designated Leave and Remain campaigns can spend £7 million each. But major political parties are also allowed a spending limit, determined by their recent share of the vote. UKIP will be in able to spend up to £4 million – small and large donations gratefully accepted.
IMF threatens dire consequences for Brexit
The IMF has warned of “severe consequences” from Brexit. This comes as no surprise, for two reasons.
First of all, the IMF is widely seen as a cheer-leader for Brussels. It is largely staffed by Europeans, with close links to the EU institutions. It has attracted severe criticism because it has appeared to spend more resources and effort on saving Greece and the €urozone than on its broader global remit. Indeed frustration with the IMF was a factor prompting China to create an Asian equivalent, the AIIB. The current head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, is a former French Foreign Minister. So to paraphrase Mandy Rice Davies, “She would say that, wouldn’t she?”.
The second reason to doubt the IMF’s advice is that it’s frequently wrong – most notably, perhaps, with its recent dire warnings that Osborne’s spending cuts would lead to financial collapse in the UK. When the opposite happened, it was obliged to eat its words.
Osborne attacked for latching on to IMF warning
George Osborne jumped on the IMF report with unseemly haste – and attracted the fury of Brexit campaigners. Lord Lamont described the IMF report as “assertions for which there is no real evidence”. Other called it scaremongering.
The Great Escape
Martin Schulz, the German Socialist President of the European parliament, has warned that Brexit could cause the implosion of the EU, by prompting other member-states to seek “escape referendums”. His choice of the word “escape” is a very telling Freudian Slip, and casts the Remain Camp in the rôle of Stockholm Syndrome victims. But for once I believe that Schulz is absolutely right. Brexit will trigger an explosion of freedom and democracy across the continent, and the political map of Europe will look very different. This is why I have said so often that Brexit will not be an end but a beginning, and why we will not only save ourselves by our exertions, but also save Europe by our example. This is the greatest political battle of our lifetimes, and offers the greatest prize.
MEP demands “No more referendums”: In a related story, leading German Green MEP Rebecca Harms says there should be no more referendums on EU issues, because “direct democracy is a threat to the EU”. She might be more accurate if she said that the EU is a threat to democracy. Our group in the parliament is actually called “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy”, and we’d rather preserve democracy than preserve the EU.
Beatrix von Storch joins the EFDD
Yesterday we welcomed AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) MEP Beatrix von Storch to the EFDD Group. Previously with the ECR (the Conservative group), she is a very effective and active member of the European parliament, and a Vice-President of her party, and we are delighted to have her on board. More generally, we feel a strong affinity for the eurosceptic AfD, which has surged in German polls since the start of Angela Merkel’s ill-judged migrant policy.
“Migrants brought in to UK for £100”
The Mail reports that migrants are being brought into the UK illegally for as little as £100. The basic cost of £100 seems though to be the exception, and a crossing (they report) can cost up to £13,500. Smugglers are reportedly turning to quieter routes and entry points like Hull and Portsmouth.
The Telegraph reports the story as “Migrants’ £10,000 ticket to UK”: http://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20160413/281513635315606.