This is a little more encouraging, but only a little

In all my criticisms of Nigel Farage and UKIP, I have always made clear that I would prefer to be praising them for pushing the right agenda.  So it’s nice to be able to say that Farage’s op-ed in the Telegraph this evening represents something of an improvement for the UKIP leader.  It’s far from perfect, but it is better than much of what we have seen in recent months.

The major and worrying problem is that Farage is still riding his immigration hobby horse and trying to suggest that leaving the EU is the antidote to this country’s migration issues.  This is disingenuous and risky for EUsceptic credibility because, as has been explained at a superficial level on this blog but in greater detail on EU Referendum, leaving the EU will not resolve our immigration problems.

No one is proposing leaving the Council of Europe (which includes a much wider range of countries that are not in the EU),  and we are still party to conventions and standards of the International Labour Organisation (contrary to the understanding of the UK’s Attorney General).  UK involvement in both of these means even after a Brexit we will still be bound to observing certain conditions on immigration.  This is another example of the global governance agenda that makes the EU little more than ‘Little Europe‘ – a proxy for handing down regulations and directives that the UK has had no opportunity to shape at the global top table where they originate.

Further, because it would be political suicide to attempt to sell to the British people the idea that the UK should not be part of the Single Market now or after Brexit, we would almost certainly have to maintain Single Market access through membership of the EEA – perhaps via EFTA – which would mean we would still be bound by the ‘four freedoms’, which include the freedom of movement and freedom of establishment.  As Richard has explained, this means the UK would be required to permit Bulgarian and Romanian workers to take up residence here in any case.  Farage is only outfoxing himself by not understanding this and shaping his policy accordingly.

But at least Farage has dared once again to reference leaving the EU.  He has at least aligned that imperative with the fact that as EU members we are effectively powerless and cannot change rules that cause this country harm or our people frustration.  He needs to go further in stressing the core issue as being about ‘Who should run Britain‘ and he needs to get off the immigration bandwagon because under scrutiny people will discover his ‘solution’ is nothing of the sort.  It’s a lot more complicated than simply leaving Brussels behind.

Farage’s time would be better spent countering the EuroFUD on economics and dragging the debate and argument to where it should be, on governance.  The whole Brexit issue is about one thing – sovereignty.

The whole EUsceptic side needs to rally around that issue, own it, hammer home the reality continuously to expose and deconstruct the lies of the CBI, Open Europe ad the other proxies for the EUphile side, and make ‘Who should run Britain‘ the defining issue of the campaign.  The current immigration focus may be convenient for Farage to score some easy hits, but it will damage UKIP eventually and that represents a huge risk to the EUsceptic cause; because as Farage clearly has no comprehension of our true situation, it follows that he can have no credible solution either.

8 Responses to “This is a little more encouraging, but only a little”

  1. 1 Andrew Duffin 28/11/2013 at 9:23 am

    “…the UK would be required to permit Bulgarian and Romanian workers to take up residence here…”

    I’m sure you are correct.

    But would we be required to pay them generous UK benefits, without question or quibble, as soon as they step off the boat (or, more likely, as soon as they climb out of the rusty Transit)?

    I think it’s the EU that enforces that, no?

  2. 2 Ken Adams 28/11/2013 at 9:45 am

    I get the argument that during a referendum campaign we will need to address the questions about our future relationship with the EU and that joining the EFTA and the EEA would undercut the fear mongers and offer a smooth transition out of the EU.

    But that is during a referendum campaign, unfortunately the one on offer from Cameron should he win the next election is not going to be a true in or out referendum but a referendum about staying in with new settlement after a renegotiation.

    I think UKIP are the force that is going to actually get us a real in or out referendum there is no alternative, remove or neuter them and there will be no chance for you to put your well thought out arguments into practice during a referendum campaign.

  3. 3 Richard North 28/11/2013 at 9:47 am

    We are not required to pay them benefits (generous or otherwise) as soon as they step off the boat .. etc.. That is something of a red herring, but one deliberately fostered to keep the people angry. That is Daily Mail territory, where readers are kept constantly in a state of red mist, without it ever being explained what the actual problems are, where the pinch-points are, and what the remedies are.

    Not least of the problems is the chaotic state of UK law for dealing with the homeless, so that when migrants who have acquired the right of residence turn up with children and are statutorily homeless, the local authority is obliged to find accommodation for them. This is not EU law, but domestic law. It was a mess before the migrants turned up, and it is a mess now.

    In effect, here and elsewhere, the migrants (as a part of a larger problem) are showing up the cracks in an already ramshackle system. Take away the migrants and you still have a problem, and then other problems as well.

    Thus, what is happening is attention is being focused on one area of discontent. No real solutions are being proposed, and there is no real analysis of the problems. And soon enough, the people will be offered another set of problems to get angry with, and the caravan will move on, the previous set of problems unresolved.

  4. 4 Richard North 28/11/2013 at 9:58 am

    Ken Adams – as near certain as I can be, there is going to be no 2017 referendum, with or without Mr Cameron. The greater likelihood is a treaty referendum in 2018-19, when the question will be “yes-no” not “in-out”. That will then lead to an “in-out” some time later, most likely around 2021-22.

    Fortunately, some of us with a better strategic understanding than the Muppets in UKIP are actually thinking things through so that, by the time the day comes when we are fighting referendums (rather than losing general elections), we will actually have some weapons with which to fight. And the EFTA/EEA (“Norway Option”) is one of them.

    It is then, during a referendum campaign that such ideas come to the fore, so they must be thought out in advance. The last thing we will need is loose cannon UKIPites sounding off with ill-thought-out ideas that spook the uncommitted voters, driving them into the “in” camp and losing us the referendum.

  5. 5 dave ward 28/11/2013 at 12:34 pm

    “Not least of the problems is the chaotic state of UK law for dealing with the homeless”

    Richard – if that is a reason for the UK being the destination of choice for “economic migrants”, then surely it must be one of the few things our government can actually do something about, without worrying about the EU imposing fines or whatever? Other than that, have you identified which EU regulations our CP infested civil service are imposing with greater zeal than other countries? Surely if there are common standards for benefits etc, there should be no incentive for people to trek half way across Europe in order to come here.

  6. 6 angela ellis-jones 28/11/2013 at 12:51 pm

    Dave Ward – could you please give me details of what you know about Common Purpose in the Civil Service.I’m at – this is not relevant to this particular AM item,so better to deal with it off-site

  7. 7 Richard North 28/11/2013 at 2:35 pm

    Dave Ward – there aren’t common standards for benefits, etc. There are EU rules which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of nationality, so that the UK cannot treat migrants differently from the rest of the population. Thus, what tends to happen (and is happening to an extent) is that migration is showing up the cracks in already failing policies

  8. 8 Ken Adams 30/11/2013 at 10:07 am

    Dr North
    Yes I agree fully with your ideas about referendum campaign strategy, (I would be a fool not to) my point was really about getting to the referendum.

    I cannot see how we are going to get to that point without a lot of pressure on the political parties, let us assume Labour are in power, with or without the LibDems, why would they call a referendum in 2021? unless forced to do so. UKIP whatever their failings are creating pressure by taking votes.

    I know there is supposed to be a referendum lock on treaty change but it is not automatic, as I understand ministers need not call a referendum if THEY consider the changes are not “significant”

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