37 days till Independence Day
EU Commission admits that Turkey deal will allow criminals into Europe
EU leaders have admitted that the proposed visa-waiver deal with Turkey, due to come into effect at the end of June, will allow criminals and terrorists easier access to Europe, and increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks. Foreign terrorists and criminals are likely to seek Turkish passports to facilitate entry to Europe.
Dearlove warns in immigration, Turkey and the EU
On March 24th, on the comments of Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, who argued that Britain’s security would not be compromised by Brexit, and indeed that in some respects (e.g. border control) it would be strengthened. Yesterday he spoke in the BBC’s day of Radio 4 programmes on immigration, and he made some telling remarks.
The EU/Turkey migrant deal, allowing Turks visa-free access to the Schengen Area in exchange for Turkey seeking to control immigrants, is “perverse”, and he likened it to “storing gasoline next to the fire you are trying to put out”. He has a point. In order to stem the flow of migrants, we give 79 million Turks the right to come to Europe. Folly, or what? For good measure, he added that unless the EU got a grip on immigration (and it shows little sign of doing so) it would face populist up-risings. Let’s hope someone out there is listening.
Sir Roger Carr’s “Big Battalions”
In contrast to Sir Richard Dearlove, we have Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems, telling us that we should stay in the EU because “We need the big battalions to help buttress Europe’s peace dividend”. There is a great deal of emotional waffle about the Second World War, and the benefits of peace, which he attributes to the EU rather than the Transatlantic Alliance. He speaks of “the prospects for prosperity, security and global authority offered by EU membership”, and “the value of collective strength”. Strangely, despite seventeen years in Brussels I have never been aware of these benefits.
Only one point he’s missed in his analysis. The EU doesn’t have Big Battalions. NATO does. That is why NATO matters as a defence alliance, and the EU does not. Stalin famously and sarcastically asked “How many divisions does the Pope have?”. We could ask the same question of Brussels. But the Commission exerts considerable patronage, and no doubt Sir Roger has in mind the business opportunities for BAE in Europe. He needs to be singing from the Commission’s hymn-sheet.
“Mass immigration costs Britain £17 billion a year”
The Express leads on a report from think-tank Migration Watch, claiming that mass immigration is costing Britain £17 billion a year, or £63 per household. (Google asked me if I meant “million”, not billion. No guys. Billion). The report claims that Britain could save £1.2 billion a year on these costs by leaving the EU.
Boris Johnson says that mass immigration has led to NHS waiting times that are “a scandal”.
David Cameron’s plot to keep us in the EU
The Daily Mail reports a secret letter claimed to show that David Cameron was plotting a campaign with big business (and government suppliers) to keep Britain in the EU, at the same time as he was assuring the House of Commons that he “ruled nothing out” and could be prepared to campaign for Brexit. He is said to have asked FTSE 500 companies to put warnings against Brexit in their annual reports. The Mail piece quotes Gisela Stuart MP accusing the PM of being “knee-deep in conspiracy”, and Steve Baker MP: “This is proof that big corporates are being asked to gang up on hard-working British families to try to bully them into staying in the EU”.
Osborne sails close to the wind
George Osborne has said that the bank of England’s analysis “proves beyond doubt that a vote for Brexit is a vote for a poorer UK”. This assertion is not merely false. It amounts to a deliberate lie. Osborne knows, or ought to know, that a rather large number of highly respected business people and economists take the opposite view. Osborne is entitled to have his own view, but it is downright false to say that his view has been “proved beyond doubt”. It is in fact strongly disputed.
Osborne also accuses Leave campaigners of being “conspiracy theorists”.
Roger Bootle on Group-Think
In a thoughtful piece for the Telegraph, engagingly entitled “Yes – the IMF and 200+ economists can be wrong”. Bootle says “They aren’t umpteen different voices – they’re victims of group-think” (and, I would add, the Emperor’s Clothes syndrome). He particularly reminds us of the famous 1981 letter in which 364 economists (one for each day of the year, nearly) assured Margaret Thatcher that her policies were a disaster – just as the economy turned the corner. And it’s also worth recalling that much more recently the IMF was spectacularly wrong over Osborne’s “austerity”, and had to eat humble pie and apologise.
In fact all the usual suspects who fifteen years ago warned of the dangers of staying out of the €uro are at it again. Wrong then. Wrong now.
Mark Carney adds a helpful comment, saying that Brexit campaigners are “in denial” over the economic risks. But of course Mr. Carney is in denial over the opportunities.
Bank of England does contingency planning
The Times reports that the Bank of England is holding daily meetings with British banks to ensure that they are prepared to deal with any market volatility resulting from Brexit. My first thought was “There they go – spreading gloom and despondency, talking up problems not opportunities”. But we should be glad that they recognise the real possibility of Brexit, and that they’re seriously looking at the practicalities.
Why media folk should back Brexit
The Telegraph reports that the EU’s plans for a Digital Single Market could cost the media industry “billions”. It could result in a dramatic reduction of investment in TV production, and Britain, which has a leading position in the industry, is most at risk. While the EU will claim that the move will be good for consumers, the industry expects higher prices and a poorer range of content. Let’s get out before we get hit.
David Cameron – stop digging!
Around a hundred Tory MPs are expected to launch a no-confidence motion in Cameron after the referendum, win or lose. While they might lose the confidence vote, they could then paralyse the government’s business (it has a tiny majority) unless Cameron agrees to go well in advance of the next General Election. The objective is to get a new, Eurosceptic leader in place in time for the election.
The usual advice is “When in a hole, stop digging”. Cameron has dug himself into a hole over the EU, and can’t find a way out.