Thirteen days to Independence Day!
The ITV Brexit debate
Last night three leavers (Boris, Gisella Stuart and Andrea Leadsom) faced off against three remainers (Amber Rudd, Angela Eagle and Nicola Sturgeon. Who won? I’d say Leave had it by a nose. And the Spectator agrees with me (no surprise there). In the BBC’s account, the outers were all on one script (I think that means they had a consistent message) while the remainers were more interested in attacking Boris personally.
I thought that Andrea Leadsom had a particularly good debate – she’s one to watch.
The remain side kept hinting that we were “cutting ourselves off from our largest export market”, as though trade would stop after Brexit. That’s a bigger lie than the Leave “exaggerations” they complain of. And Sturgeon’s solution to every problem was “an end to austerity and more investment in public services” – in other words, she’d want to spend more and borrow more. Apparently her solution to the immigration crisis is to let ’em all come – and to supply ‘em all with schools, houses and healthcare at the tax-payers’ expense.
Major Blair scare in Belfast
Yesterday I reported “Osborne terrorises Scotland”. Yesterday it was the turn of Northern Ireland. Two grumpy old men – ex-Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair – went to frighten the horses (and the voters) in Belfast. John Major has earned a great deal of respect – indeed almost reverence – by broadly standing aside, as an elder statesman, from today’s contentious issues. Yesterday he put that reputation at risk.
He was very concerned about a possible break-up of the UK after Brexit. He obviously hasn’t read the research I highlighted yesterday, showing that a majority of Scots would not see Brexit as a reason to secede from the UK. Much was also made of the border issue. Let’s be honest – there will need to be border controls, and that may cause some inconvenience. But it’s not a reason to give up democratic control of our country. Many EU member-states have borders with non-EU states. And the North/South Irish border was managed perfectly well before we both joined the EU.
Only 25% of voters believe Brexit will make them worse off
The key Remain message that Brexit will mean economic disaster is failing to gain traction with voters. Only a quarter believe the claims, according to research reported in the Guardian. Meanwhile 10% believe Brexit will make them better off (including yours truly). This is a huge failure for Cameron and the Remain Team. Despite warnings from all the experts and all the international figures and organisations, the public are just not buying it (and, I suspect, are getting rather bored with it). They’re right. The wisdom of crowds.
Britain’s security better outside the EU
John Hayes MP represents South Holland and the Deepings, on my East Midlands patch, and in days long gone I did a certain amount of work with him. He also happens to be the current Security Minister. And he has intervened in the Brexit debate to say that Britain’s security can be better protected if we leave the EU – for all the reasons we have discussed, and especially the control of our borders. As Security Minister, he is uniquely placed to understand the issue, and deserves to be listened to.
“Migrant seized every six minutes”
The Express devotes most of its from page to this headline, highlighting the massive level of illegal immigration. And that, of course, is only the ones we catch. Compare and contrast with the estimate that we need to build a new house every four minutes, day and night, to house new immigrants at the current rate.
Cyprus selling EU passports
Apparently Cyprus is selling EU passports for just €4000. Bulgaria, Malta and Spain offer similar schemes, and there are credible reports that EU passports are available for sale in Croatia and Romania. On the same page is a story that Italy has 600 boats to control migrants; Greece 203; Spain 147. And Britain? Three.
It is clear that the EU is unable to control its borders – so we in the UK must control ours, which means Brexit. We have illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, immigrants with forged papers, immigrants with purchased passports. Spain has given out EU passports in mass amnesties. Germany will eventually solve its migrant problem by giving EU passports to up to a million migrants. Then Juncker doesn’t have to set up a quota system – the new passport holders will go where they want, and we won’t be able to stop them.
Sovereignty is a real issue, not just a state of mind
It’s all too easy to dismiss sovereignty as just nice, rather nostalgic emotional froth. But Ambrose Evans Pritchard gives it a hard edge. In a well-argued piece he shows how the ECJ has taken the Lisbon Treaty and over-interpreted it to a point where it (and Brussels) can over-rule almost any decision of the Westminster parliament. There is too much detail to summarise – but the piece is well worth reading.
National Grid emergency back-up costs rise four-fold
The costs to the National Grid of securing energy supplies has increased to £150 million, as they are obliged to do deals to keep coal plants running as back-up to intermittent renewables. This is in the context of closures of both nuclear and coal power plants. So how is this a European story? Both our over-commitment to unreliable and intermittent renewables, and our coal plant closures, are the direct result of EU energy policies. Emissions targets. Renewables targets. The Large Combustion Plant Directive.
We can’t promise to put this right after Brexit – first we’ll have to persuade our parliament to repeal the disastrous 2008 Climate Change Act. But after Brexit, the UK will at least be free to look at that.