Only twenty days to Independence Day!
Dave feels the heat
Yesterday we had the first major “media event” for David Cameron on TV – although it was not quite a debate. Questions from the audience. And it didn’t go all his way. The Telegraph headlines “Angry Sky News audience rounds on Cameron as he is accused of scaremongering over Brexit”. Faisal Islam, the interviewer, got the laugh of the evening when he asked the Prime Minister “Which comes first? The Third World War, or the global Brexit recession?”.
But I was struck by the carefully crafted, lovingly pre-scripted sound-bite in his closing remarks: “Don’t roll the dice on Europe”. He’s trying to say “Brexit is a leap into the unknown. Don’t take the risk. Stay safe. Stick to the devil you know”. But staying in the EU is a leap into the unknown. The EU faces existential crises. The €uro, which has created depression across Southern Europe, with youth unemployment close to 50%. The massive immigration crisis, as Juncker has to go cap-in-hand to Ankara to plead for help. “Accelerated Turkish accession” (and a potential 79 million more immigrants) in the pipeline. And the plans for an EU Army, designed to side-line NATO, which is a huge threat to our security. The EU is a runaway train, and the biggest gamble is to stay on it. Let’s get off it on June 23rd.
The BBC, always pro-Brussels and anti-Brexit, chooses to headline the same story “We can control immigration, says Cameron”. I don’t know how Dave has the brass neck to repeat a proposition that is self-evidently false if we vote to Remain. But then his scaremongering is also self-evidently false, yet he manages to repeat it without a blush.
In a moderately worded but thinly-veiled threat, Angela Merkel steps into the Brexit debate, warning that you don’t get the best results from a negotiation if you’re not at the table. But if course in the post-Brexit negotiation that matters – over future UK/EU trade terms – we will be at the table. And we’ll have a very strong negotiating position, as the EU’s largest external customer, bar none.
We must expect more threats of punitive action, and death and destruction, from Brussels and Berlin in the next few weeks. But after Brexit, they’ll have to talk turkey. They need us.
“EU killers and rapists we’ve failed to deport”
The Mail leads with this story on the front page, saying that thousands of foreign criminals are “walking our streets and clogging up our jails”. It reports that despite Cameron’s promise to end this scandal, there are over 4000 of them, including 1000 Poles and 600 Romanians. And it argues that this fact undermines the case for Remain. Indeed it does. The Telegraph also carries the story, citing a Home Affairs Committee report.
Farage: “We’ll stand half an inch taller”
Nigel Farage has issued a clarion call to Britons to be proud of their country, and confident about its prospects as an independent nation, saying “We’ll stand half an inch taller” as a free nation. He’s right. Of course the economics matter – and we have a good case. But it’s a hearts-and-minds issue too.
Is the US tired of protecting Europe?
In a thoughtful article, Fraser Nelson worries that the USA is tiring of the burden of protecting the West – including Europe. Donald Trump has said so explicitly, and while he may not be elected, the mood is widely felt in Washington. It’s the worst time for the EU to be toying with the idea of an EU Army, which it wants to have but doesn’t want to pay for. Many in Brussels see a key objective of the EU Army being to side-line NATO. Another reason why the EU is a massive threat to our security.
“Brussels tries to help UK hedge funds”
The FT reports a Brussels initiative seeking to help London’s hedge funds, making it easier to reach investors in the continent and to complete the EU’s single capital market. This seems to be the work of British Commissioner Jonathan Hill (who looks set to be the 74th British job loss following Brexit – after 73 MEPs). Now I wonder why he’s announced that just three weeks before the UK Referendum?
EU policies “entice migrants”
The Times reports complaints by Libyan authorities that EU rescue policies in the Mediterranean are “enticing migrants”, since they hugely increase the chances of migrants making it to the European mainland. But we seem to be repeating the same mistakes in the English Channel.
The Express has a map of the UK indicating attitudes to Brexit by region. It is a very striking pattern.
A sense of otherness
The International New York Times carries the front page headline “In Britain, a sense of otherness over Europe” (different headline in the on-line version – same text). The piece compares British attitudes to EU membership with the Monty Python sketch “What did the Romans ever do for us?”. It’s a lightweight piece that doesn’t get anywhere near the real issues. And apparently the NYT (like so many others) doesn’t understand the difference between Europe and the EU.
EU Referendum: the view from Cornwall
The BBC’s Justin Webb offers us a pæan of praise for EU investment in Cornwall, which he says is making a huge difference to the Cornish economy. I daresay it is. But given that each pound we get from the EU costs Britain around £3, we’d do better to keep the money at home and do it ourselves.