Express: “98% say NO to EU deal”
The Express headlines its own phone poll, concluding that 98% of respondents want the government to get on with implementing Brexit, rather than getting bogged down in interminable negotiations. It quotes John Redwood as saying that contrary to the attitude of the bureaucrats, we have a very strong negotiating position, and we should get on with the job. The government and Theresa May seem to think that we can have meaningful negotiations with Brussels ahead of Article 50 – or perhaps even that we should have an agreed post-Brexit deal in place before we trigger Article 50. That’s just not practical – EU leaders have ruled it out, and for once they’re right – and it’s a recipe for indefinite delay.
Time to bite the bullet, Theresa.
“May’s Brexit fudge”
Following the same theme, Rupert Myers in the Telegraph argues that our Prime Minister is becoming increasingly enigmatic about Brexit, and may even be starting to think about a second EU referendum after a few “concessions” from Brussels (for example, the proposed seven-year “emergency brake” on immigration). Sometimes people ask me what UKIP is for, now that we’ve won the Brexit referendum. But the opera is not over until the fat lady sings, and Brexit is not over until we are definitively out of the EU, with our own laws, our own borders, and no EU budget contributions. We want a free trade deal, not the straitjacket of Single Market membership.
May to meet Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny
The BBC reports that Theresa may will be meeting her Irish counterpart Enda Kenny, when discussion is likely to focus on Brexit, and on border issues. As I remarked yesterday, the obvious solution to the border problem would be a UK/EU free trade deal, which is in everyone’s interests, and would obviate the need for customs posts at the Irish border.
Top scientist: No Evidence of “Brexit penalties” for science
Royal Society President Sir Venki Ramakrishnan yesterday said that there was no evidence that British scientists were being by-passed for grant funding as a result of Brexit, nor that it would be more difficult to attract foreign researchers to the UK, insisting that the quality of British research would guarantee its future.
During the campaign, British science, like British academia, was strongly pro-Remain. Sir Venki says that this was understandable, since scientists, like business people, appreciate stability and may be worried by change. But despite the broad pro-Remain consensus in the scientific community, a number have broken cover to express contrary views. Prof Nick Donaldson of University College London argues that Brexit will attract more medical research to the UK when we’re free of restrictive EU regulation. Sir Venki’s comments add weight to such views.
Germany: Terror attacks fuel anxiety on immigration and EU
Many papers, including the Washington Times , report that the recent spate of terror attacks in Germany, several carried out by immigrants who may have ISIL connections, has fuelled fears of immigration, adding to the widespread concerns already felt about the large-scale immigration which has recently taken place. Daniel Johnson in the Mail argues that public reaction to these attacks, coming as they do after a widely reported spate of sexual attacks on women perpetrated by immigrants, could represent an existential threat to the EU itself.
Angela Merkel faces a general election in 2017. The current mood in Germany suggests that the anti-EU, anti-immigration party Alternative fuer Deutschland could do well.
…But Juncker still backs free movement: Able as always to sense public opinion – and then ignore it – EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has gone out of his way to insist that the EU principle of free movement is “inviolable” (although with the creation of border controls across the Schengen area, it’s been thoroughly violated already). Well done Jean Claude. How many feet can you put in your mouth at the same time?
SAS ready to evacuate Brits from Turkey
The SAS is reportedly prepared to evacuate British citizens from Turkey in the event of a second coup attempt. Turkey is looking less and less like the ideal EU accession state.
Meantime the Mail reports (no big surprise here) that the turmoil in Turkey threatens the EU/Ankara migrant deal. Who’d have thought it?
RyanAir “to shift focus to Europe”
Michael O’Leary is always amusing to listen to, committed EU remainer though he is. Now he tells us that the airline is “shifting its focus to Europe”. Of course this is predicated on his assumption that traffic levels will drop in the UK – and credit to him for putting his money where his mouth is (he seems to have rather a lot of both). But what he’ll in fact find is that Brexit will have a positive influence on trade and investment in the UK. And he’ll need to shift his focus back to the UK PDQ.
Syrian Refugees: “Scotland is depressing and full of old people waiting to die”
The Express reports on Syrian refugees who have been re-homed in the Isle of Bute, and seem less than happy with the location. Wonderful as Scotland is, one wonders whether the Isle of Bute is the ideal place for foreigners from a very different culture to build a new life. Perhaps I should reassure my Scottish readers that I personally have the highest regard for Scotland, having been born on Burns Night – and having also been responsible years ago for marketing Scotch whisky in several Asian countries.