Mark Carney Brexit warning
The Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney has issued a dire warning of the consequences of Brexit, reported in most of the media. Of course his comments should carry the same health warning as all the others. He starts with the assumption that Brexit would slow growth, and reaches the conclusion that Brexit would slow growth. I don’t believe that he was deliberately put up to it by the government, but it clearly reflects the establishment consensus.
Let’s look at the proposition. We have the Pound, the currency of the fifth largest world economy, which is doing reasonably well. They have the €uro, which is the dysfunctional currency of a dysfunctional EU, and is facing political opposition and existential threats across southern Europe. It seems to me that the more distance we put between ourselves and the €urozone, the better the medium-term prospects for the Pound.
There has been an immediate angry response from the Leave Campaign, which has actually called for Carney’s resignation, for taking a political stance, comparing it with the forced resignation of John Longworth from the BCC when he challenged the establishment gloom about Brexit. John Redwood has rightly pointed out that the Bank of England has a dreadful record when it comes to forecasting. In Carney’s warning, we see establishment group-think on the march.
Major: Tory Leavers “risk becoming like UKIP” over immigration
Sir John Major (I recall I sat on his selection committee in Huntingdon all those years ago) has warned Eurosceptic Tories that “they risk morphing into UKIP” by banging on about immigration. No John. But they do risk becoming relevant to voters’ concerns – and to an extent they vindicate the approach that UKIP has taken for years. Major warns that we shall exclude “doctors and nurses, and the builders and plumbers we need”. No John. But we will select immigrants with skills we need – like doctors and nurses and plumbers – and exclude the unskilled, the welfare scroungers, the health tourists. We shall get the immigrants we need, not just any old Europeans who want to come.
Immigration figures shock
The government has published ONS figures to try to explain the huge disparity between the official immigration figures for EU migrants, and the number of NI cards issues. And the papers are hugely shocked. The Sun: “Great Migrant Swindle”quoting Priti Patel who says that “the scale and impact of migration is out-of-control”. Express: “Britain’s 1.5 million hidden Migrants”. Telegraph: “0.9 million the official number; 2.4 m the real number”, adding that 1.5 million additional and unrecorded migrants arrived in the last five years.
In a related story the Telegraph reports that the numbers of Eastern European benefit claimants have doubled in five years. There were 24,000 in 2010. There are 55,000 now. In a sub-headline, the paper says “The extra EU migrants the ONS has found down the back of a sofa are six Newcastles.”
This will add to public concern over immigration, and should tend to boost the Leave campaign.
Vote Leave to challenge the ITV Farage/Cameron Brexit show
Yesterday I reported that David Cameron had refused point blank to have a blue-on-blue head-to-head debate with Boris or Gove. The Mail headlines the story under the banner “What are you so scared of, Dave?” However Cameron had agreed to a Brexit programme with Nigel Farage on ITV. Not a debate, but a half-hour interview each. Now in an extraordinary twist, the official VOTE LEAVE Campaign has threatened to take ITV to court, insisting the plan is illegal as they’re the official leave campaign recognised by the Electoral Commission, and UKIP and Nigel Farage are not.
I firmly believe that all those campaigning for Leave should now be working together, whether part of the official campaign or not. UKIP is vital to the Leave campaign, as it is the only player on the Leave side able to mobilise large numbers of doorstep campaigners. Yet there have been rumours that Vote Leave, dominated as it is by Tories, has an important secondary objective – and that is to exclude UKIP, as far as possible, from the campaign. Some see Vote Leave as a Tory plot to neutralise UKIP. I don’t like conspiracy theories, but this proposed legal attempt to exclude Nigel Farage from the debate, and to deny him airtime, rather lends credibility to the rumours.
Britain “has given £2.7 billion in aid to ten most corrupt countries”
Cameron will be rueing the day he described Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt” – and not just because of the diplomatic spat that ensued. His remark has focused attention on the Foreign Aid we give to corrupt régimes. The Indy reports that £2.7 billion has been given to the world’s ten most corrupt countries under Cameron’s Premiership. One wonders how much of this money has ended up in Swiss bank accounts. UKIP has consistently argued that Britain’s bloated foreign aid budget should be radically pruned, and limited to emergency relief. This report underlines the urgency of doing so.
Yet Cameron has now explicitly stated that we should continue giving aid to corrupt countries even though some of it is used for illicit ends. Appallingly irresponsible (and possibly illegal).
Italy “Shackled to the €urozone”
The €urozone crisis hasn’t gone away – and it won’t be over until the €uro is dismantled or re-engineered. Ambrose Evans Pritchard writes a timely piece on the damage the €uro is doing to Italy, and the serious threat to Italy’s banks. The Greek €uro crisis is also expected to flare up through the summer.
EU anti-smuggler mission “failing”
A House of Lords report says that the EU’s “Sophia” anti-smuggler operation off the Libyan coast is failing to have any material effect. By destroying wooden boats, the operation has forced smugglers to use rubber dinghies instead. This increases fatalities without disrupting the smugglers’ business model.
High Court challenge over Tory election expenses
The Electoral Commission is planning to take the Conservative Party to court over its election expenses issue. An on-going investigation by Channel 4 claims that the Tory General Election “Battle Bus” expenses which should have been constituency-specific (items like activists’ hotel bills, for example) were mis-reported as national, not local expenses, which could put many Tory constituency associations in trouble. This morning the BBC reported a constituency-specific letter, saying “Vote Conservative in Torbay”, and interviewed a lawyer who said that despite the fact that the candidate was not named, an appeal to vote “in Torbay” amounted to local constituency spending.