Only 16 days until Independence Day!
Tory wars drag on
Yesterday our Conservative Prime Minister saw fit to share a platform with Harriet Harman, and the leaders of the Lib Dems and the Green party, to attack Boris Johnson and the Leave Campaign. Not a very edifying sight – a Tory Prime Minister attacking senior Party colleagues. But perhaps not quite so bizarre as to see Sir John Major dragged out of retirement – like a zombie rising from the grave – to appear on the Andrew Marr show to shower Boris with gratuitous insults – “The Court Jester….deceitful …squalid”. Clearly Adams the cartoonist saw the zombie connexion as well.
“An economic con trick”: The Prime Minister accuses Boris, and the Leave Campaign, of “perpetrating an economic con trick” on the British people. But hang on a minute, Dave. It isn’t a con trick to question your exaggerated worst-case assumptions. It isn’t a con trick to challenge the same phalanx of “experts” who in the late nineties were telling us that disaster would ensue if we failed to join the €uro. And in any case, the real economic con trick is the EU itself. It’s a job destruction machine.
“An extra £2.4 billion”: Meantime Boris pointed to an additional £2.4 billion which we could have to send to Brussels if we remain. The Remain Camp assures us that we have opt-outs which will defend us from this extra impost – but bitter experience shows that Brussels funds a way of imposing costs, come what may.
Three new polls show a lead for Leave
Three recent polls show Leave ahead. This appears to be a response to the ^poor performance of David Cameron in his recent Sky TV interview. It also suggests that the increasingly blood-curdling warnings of the Remain Camp are simply not credible.
The Pound wobbles: The BBC reports “Pound falls as polls indicate more support for Brexit”. The report leaps on a relatively small move in Sterling, much of which was soon recovered. Of course we expect some volatility in the markets as they assess the impact of Brexit. The Indy also carries the story. But a huge weight of responsibility rests on the shoulders of David Cameron and the Remain campaign. They have predicted a massive economic shock: the danger is that such irresponsible predictions can become self-fulfilling.
Business opinion shifts towards Brexit: Szu Ping Chan in the Telegraph reports that while most business opinion still favours Remain, there has been a significant shift towards Brexit. A survey of 350 FTSE Board Members in December showed 70% rated Brexit “potentially damaging”. That figure was down to 43% last month.
Could Westminster scupper a Brexit poll win?
The Times and the Express carry reports that pro-EU MPs could block Brexit by opposing all the enabling measures which would have to accompany our renegotiation of trading relations with the EU. I hope they think better of it: it would amount virtually to a declaration of civil war. The people will not stand for it.
Worries over illegal immigrants crossing the Channel continue. British fishermen report that they are regularly offered 20 or 25 times an average day’s pay to bring migrants across the Channel to quiet south coast ports or beaches. One wrote to the Home Office – but got a boiler-plate letter in return assuring him that there was no problem.
Nigel cops some stick: Former Tory co-Chairman Sayeeda Warsi has written to the Guardian, along with Doreen Lawrence and Shami Chakrabarti, to attack Nigel Farage’s comments on migrants and sexual assaults like the one that took place in Cologne in New Year’s Eve. They demanded an apology, saying his remarks were “too close for comfort to the race-hate laws”. But let’s think about the facts. Young men are disproportionately represented amongst recent migrants. Many of them come from countries and cultures where attitudes to women are, by Western standards, discriminatory and unacceptable. Immigrants were credibly reported to be behind the attacks in Cologne, and similar attacks elsewhere in Germany. Other attacks involving migrants have occurred for example in Sweden, where many migrants have arrived. It is reported that the Swedish police, motivated by mis-placed political correctness, sought to play down the events and the involvement of migrants.
Of course no one suggests that all migrants, or most migrants, are involved in such offences. But the fact remains that the attacks took place, and that they involved migrants. This is a legitimate matter for public concern, and therefore for political comment. To suggest that a politician mentioning these concerns should apologise, or still less that he should be threatened with race-hate laws, is preposterous.
Turkish attitudes to women: While on the subject of Islamic attitudes to women, it is worth noting that Turkish President Erdogan has recently said that women who fail to have children are “incomplete“. He also reportedly said that contraception has no place in Islam, and that it is intended to put women on an equal footing with men (as though that were self-evidently a bad thing). Of course President Erdogan is entitled to his opinion. But these are not the sort of attitudes which most of us would want to import wholesale into Europe.
A couple of articles worth reading
Boris writes a good piece, thoughtfully entitled “You must vote to Leave, or wake up with the worst hangover in history”. Meantime Roger Bootle does an excellent analysis of why the establishment scare stories have got it wrong: “Group-think and the true importance of imports”. Both worth a read.