38 days to Independence Day
Was Boris right?
Boris has copped a lot of flak for “comparing the EU to Hitler”. The Times reports that Field Marshall Lord Bramall, a former Head of the Armed Forces, has attacked Johnson and dismissed his claims as “simply laughable”. The “i” has a front page headline “Boris under fire for Hitler Jibe” adding for good measure “The Leave Campaign is losing its moral compass”. But it’s not all bad news for Boris. IDS has robustly defended him, while the Mail reports that “top Tory Bexiteers back Boris”, arguing that he was merely telling the truth.
So who’s right? Boris would have been wrong if he’d said “The EU is as bad as the Nazis”. But he didn’t say that. The headline writers have taken a thoughtful historical perspective and turned it into an alarmist story. It was hardly a “Hitler jibe”. Boris argues that Europe was unified under the Romans two thousand years ago (true, more or less), and that subsequently others, perhaps based on the idea of a Roman “Golden Age”, have attempted to reunify it. We could have a long debate as to whether that theory is right, but it’s not absurd or improper. After all, the very word “Fascist” harks back to ancient Rome.
Certainly Napoleon, Hitler and the EU have attempted to reunify Europe – in very different ways. So I think Boris was right – although we could debate whether his comments were helpful, given the deliberately hostile reporting in some quarters.
It would clearly be wrong to say that “The EU is like the Third Reich”, or that “the EU is like the USSR”. Yet there are clearly parallels between the EU and the USSR. Whether you look at the Commissars with their black limousines and five-year plans, or consider the attempt to impose one currency, one government, one identity, one economic and fiscal policy and one political philosophy on disparate nation states, the parallels are evident. But they should not be pushed too far. So far as I know, no one is pulling out fingernails in a Brussels Lubyanka.
Hundreds of business leaders back Brexit
The Telegraph carries a letter from 300+ businessman arguing for Brexit, and pointing to the stifling costs of over-regulation in the EU which they say affects every one of the UK’s 5.4 million businesses. Brexit, they say, would create jobs (and also, I would add, save the jobs under threat in energy-intensive businesses). The same piece reports a government minister saying that “3 million EU citizens could have to be deported” after Brexit. This is not only wrong – it looks like a deliberate lie.
Interestingly, one of the signatories of the letter is David Sismey, an MD of Goldman Sachs – despite the fact that the Bank is bank-rolling the Remain Campaign.
Cameron writes for the Mirror
David Cameron has written a piece for the Mirror (could this be a first?) saying “Don’t take a punt on our future” – as though staying on board the EU’s runaway train were not the riskiest punt possible. But of course the Mirror is up to its neck in the Remain Campaign, so in this case Cameron is preaching to the choir.
Cameron “Brexit will hit the poorest hardest”
The BBC reports Cameron as saying “Brexit will hit the poorest hardest”. Perhaps he doesn’t understand the impact of mass immigration on lower-skilled British workers, and the wage compression it causes. He certainly fails to grasp the economic benefits of Brexit, which will increase prosperity across the board.
Soaring cost of migrant children
The Express carries a headline “Soaring cost of migrant children”, putting a £3.2 billion price tag on the education of 700,000 children from the EU, and adding that this is another reason we have to vote to leave the EU. It adds, rightly, that similar problems will be reflected in housing and health.
UK “losing sight of economy amid poll focus”
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has written to Business Secretary Sajid Javid complaining that the government “is losing sight of the economy” as it focuses on the Brexit Referendum. Interestingly, it attributes the reluctance of businesses to make investment decisions not on Brexit uncertainty (as the Remain side claims) but on the lack of government attention and support. Others have said that routine government business is paralysed by the referendum.
CBI “uncertainty affecting economy”
If the ICAEW attributes lack of investment to lack of government focus, the CBI reliably blames Brexit uncertainty. But they would say that, wouldn’t they?
28 million households to get leaflet on registration for referendum
I mentioned the government’s voter registration campaign yesterday. Today The Mail reports that 28 million-plus homes in the UK are to receive a voter registration leaflet ahead of the referendum.
UK exports to the Single Market down 20% in ten years
The Mail reports that British exports to the EU have declined nearly 20% in the last ten years, arguing that this demonstrates the failure of the Single Market and claiming the “Brexit will create jobs”. The Sun also carries the story, quoting John Longworth as saying that no EU policy has over-promised and under-performed so much as the Single Market.
Andrea Leadsom MP: “Carney will regret warnings”
Andrea Leadsom is an Energy Minister who makes a good deal more sense than many Conservative MPs. She has dismissed the dire economic warnings from Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England as dangerous, saying he will come to regret them. Sound lady.