Coffee House

Will Nick Clegg take advantage of Britain’s growing EU and immigration anxiety?

18 February 2013

12:41 PM

18 February 2013

12:41 PM

Today’s Financial Times paints a poor picture for pro-Europeans: half of those polled want to leave the EU and just a third want to remain in. Plus, 41 per cent of those in favour of a Brexit will ‘definitely’ vote no even after a renegotiation, which suggests a tough challenge for the In campaign to swing some opinions. However, it’s also worth noting that the EU only ranks 15th on the FT’s list of important issues; healthcare and education are at the top of the list, with immigration coming in at eighth.

YouGov has recently carried out some polling on immigration, with some interesting findings in the European context. When questioned on the rights of EU citizens to work in other member states, just over half stated that it is a ‘bad thing and it would be better if the rules were change’. 70 per cent also stated that the rules are not tough enough regarding immigration inside the European Union — compared to 73 per cent from countries outside the EU. On Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, just under half believe their citizens shouldn’t have the right to live and work in the UK, compared to 20 per cent who state there is nothing wrong with Britain welcoming the new citizens.

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These frustrations create both a problem and an opportunity for Nick Clegg. As James reported in his political column last week, a (delayed) repositioning speech on immigration is in preparation:

‘Nick Clegg is currently preparing a big speech on immigration; it would have been given last week but for the Eastleigh by-election. He wants to address the fact that even those voters with an open mind towards his party, view it as soft on immigration. In 2015, there’ll be no repeat of the last manifesto’s promise of earned amnesty for illegal immigrants. But some in the Clegg circle want to go further than that. One influential member of it has come to the view that transition controls on new EU members, which limit the right of free movement, should last for 20 years not seven. This wonk suggests that if Turkey ever did join, then transition controls would have to be based on per capita GDP to prevent an unsustainable level of immigration.’

The polling above shows the scale of voter discontentment; and Britain’s relationship with the EU looks set to change regardless of any renegotiation’s outcome. Clegg has much to gain with the electorate by repositioning his party’s stances on both Europe and immigration.

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Show comments
  • bengeo

    By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

    February 10, 2013, 9:08 p.m.

    LONDON — For David Cameron, the worst-case scenario for Britain’s future looks something like this:

    It’s 2018, and he’s in his second term as prime minister. Against his advice, his country has just ripped up its membership card in the European Union, alienating its biggest trading partner and closest neighbours. That prompts Washington to seek a new ally to advocate U.S. interests across the Atlantic; suddenly, the Anglo-American “special relationship” is a little less special.

    Great Britain is also a little less great. To Cameron’s dismay, Scotland has separated from England and Wales to become an independent nation. A marriage that had held for more than three centuries is over, the rights to North Sea oil are in dispute and Britain’s four nuclear submarines have been banished from their home bases in the Scottish lochs.

    The vision of a Britain diminished in size at home and in influence abroad is a bleak one. But it’s a nightmare Cameron and his compatriots could wake up to, depending on the outcome of two momentous referendums that voters here could face in the next five years.

  • Wilhelm

    If you want to know why Britain had a Empire 60 years ago and now we’re a vassal sate of islam, African immigrants and Cultural Marxism. Take a look at Deuteronomy 28.

    https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/deut/28?lang=eng

  • James Strong

    Clegg is pro-EU and pro-immigration, so if he changes his position he would just be showing what an unprincipled man he is.
    The honourable course would be to state his position clearly to the electorate and give them a chance to make their decision based on true knowledge of the candidates’ and party’s beliefs.
    I hope the electorate would reject Clegg’s position.
    But to change his position or, worse, pretend to change his position to attract votes should leave him open to scorn and derision.

    • Austin Barry

      “..But to change his position or, worse, pretend to change his position to attract votes should leave him open to scorn and derision.”

      Er, shouldn’t that be ‘..open to more scorn and derision..’

      Clegg is a man who deserves as much scorn and derison as is available from your local supplier.

      He is, to use that lovely old word, a mountebank.

  • http://twitter.com/mabst6 Mabs Gadd

    Britain is becoming more and more rude populations as more and more rude people coming from Europe don’t know how to say excuse me, please and thank you..

    • Fak_Zakaix

      Does it matter if they say it in Bulgarian? The gesture is important.

  • Bill Hughes

    We have been told so many lies by successive governments why should we expect this lot to be any different. When we first joined we were told it was a trading alliance (common market) by Ted Heath, how on earth have we now reached the situation whereby we are being governed by a bunch of misfits (MEP’s) whose expenses far out weigh those of our own elected government, even including their false claims, and who really haven’t got a clue. Those who wish to remain in the E.U. should seriously consider whether to remain in the U.K. where the vast majority of the electorate want out, or move to a country that wants to be in. There must be plenty of room in some of the newer member states as a substantial amount of their populations are here claiming benefits.

  • Andy

    If 50 percent of people think this then they should vote UKIP. honestly send a message.

  • Andy

    I’ve got a good idea everyone abandon the 3 main party’s and vote UKIP sort out the problem!

  • Smithersjones2013

    Remember the 3rd Rule Of Politics

    Beware Libdems baring promises or statistics. They LIE!

  • Colonel Mustard

    I hope Mijnheer Clegg takes advantage of EU immigration policy by emigrating to Spain and not troubling us again.

  • Daniel Maris

    A load of nonsense. Just the usual spin. To vote for accession of Turkey would be an act of insanity. I am not sure I believe the Turks still want it – it just gets them a bit of a sympathy vote for being consistently denied accession. Who would want the EU’s (porous) borders to be extended to Iraq? Our PM that’s who! Amazing!!

    • telemachus

      We all need to strive to mend fences with the Muslim world destroyed by the coalition support of Israel and our pounding of the Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan etc
      What better way than binding Turkey into the Western democratic world

      • James Strong

        We need to mend fences to make them strong enough to keep the Muslim world out.
        Muslim countries are backward compard to the West because they are dominated by a backward belief system.
        There should be no welcome for their ideas or the people who espouse them in the UK.

        • Fak_Zakaix

          The Muslims are no more bigoted than the Orthodox Jews who live in the Borough of Barnet.

          • alabenn

            The Orthodox Jews did not blow up buses and trains in London, unlike Muslims who are still plotting to do more.
            Both these religions belong in the distant past.
            Oops got to go there’s a fairy in the bottom of the garden.

            • Fak_Zakaix

              No, but they were in the thick of the Bolshevik international conspiracy.

              • Andy

                Old Hat. The Bolshies never bombed London Tubes and Buses like Muslims.

              • Hexhamgeezer

                ‘They’ were not present in the sense of a jewish group or voice, merely as a disparate number of people unlike !$lam’s slaves who are present as a conscious group working against their hosts.

                But you knew that anyway didn’t you?

                • Fak_Zakaix

                  No, how could I know if I am not a historian specialized on this particular topic. And if there seems to be not one monograph on the subject (Jews & communism) written by an academic historian. Don’t you agree that the subject would make for an interesting book? But there is none. Why?

          • Jebediah

            Comparing them to a (supposed) bad thing does not make them good. Why he’s a much a much a murderer as Harold Shipman.

        • telemachus

          They are here we should espouse and celebrate their presence rather than antagonise
          We create a lot of the Abu Hamza mentality

          • Fergus Pickering

            N we don’t. They feel like that anyway.

            • telemachus

              I have many good Muslim friends who are indistinguishable in views from my Christian English friends

              • Colonel Mustard

                So what? You think you are some benchmark you big-headed, arrogant twerp?

              • Hexhamgeezer

                liar

          • Jebediah

            Slimey coward. We should appease a violent minority?

            • telemachus

              My point is that our attitude radicalises them

              • Colonel Mustard

                Tripe.

          • Colonel Mustard

            No, you odious little creep, evil people are not forced to act as they do. And you do plenty of antagonising here so wind your neck in.

      • Austin Barry

        The best approach to the Muslim world is that of the West with respect to Syria: leave it to resolve own its inherent political and theocratic contradictions, and, as a bonus, destroy its own infrastructure. A kind of malign neglect. Islam is not, and never will be, the West’s friend so a realpolitik approach is warranted.

        • telemachus

          We both have the same God
          We need to spend time forging links not antagonising

          • James Strong

            We certainly do not have the same God.
            The Muslim Allah is a vile, vicious intolerant bigot.
            If a human behaved like him in polite civilsed company he would be shunned; in less polite company he’d be beaten up.

            • telemachus

              This is absolutely the reverse of the truth
              The three Abrahamic faiths have a loving god
              In all religions there are zealous bigots who are probably not believers

          • Fergus Pickering

            Well I don’t know what God you espouse, Tele, old son, but Allah cuts no ice with me, no more thsn it does with Pope Benedict.

            • telemachus

              There is but one god for you, for me, for the Pope, for the Afghan President, for Netanyahu
              It is the interpretation of alienation that has led to the hatred templates

      • Andy

        Well Blair’s & Brown’s policy of ‘bomb the b******’ was so enlightened.

        • telemachus

          Not Brown
          Israeli’s friend the warmonger Blair maybe

          • Wessex Man

            Remind me who was Chancellor and shared the Cabinet Meetings of Blair’s Wars?

          • Andy

            Tut, tut, tut. You will be sacked from Labour Party Head Office speaking like that. After all YOU voted for him. I never did.

            Mind, you also supported the Prime Mentalist too. Doesn’t say very much about your sense of judgement.

            • telemachus

              The message is filtering
              Blair was a revisionist
              The charismatic one is back on message

        • telemachus

          not Brown
          Mebbe Israel’s friend the warmonger TB

          • Colonel Mustard

            Another brazen lie. Brown was the longest serving chancellor in modern history from 1997 to 2007 so as a key member of cabinet doesn’t escape implication in Labour’s wars. And even your socialist pals in Wiki don’t rate him much:-

            “In the 1997 election and subsequently, Brown pledged to not increase the basic or higher rates of income tax. Over his Chancellorship, he reduced the basic rate from 23% to 20%. However, in all but his final budget, Brown increased the tax thresholds in line with inflation, rather than earnings, resulting in fiscal drag. Corporation tax fell under Brown, from a main rate of 33% to 28%, and from 24% to 19% for small businesses. In 1999, he introduced a lower tax band of 10%. He abolished this 10% tax band in his last budget in 2007 to reduce the basic rate from 22% to 20%, increasing tax for 5 million people and, according to the calculations of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, leaving those earning between £5,000 and £18,000 as the biggest losers. According to the OECD UK taxation has increased from a 39.3% share of gross domestic product in 1997 to 42.4% in 2006, going to a higher level than Germany. This increase has mainly been attributed to active government policy, and not simply to the growing economy.”

            You are still full of it, telemachus, and unable to discern between propaganda and fact.

      • Fergus Pickering

        I have no desire to mend fences with the Isamic world. Choosing between Israel and Isam, wow, that’s a difficult one. Of course telemachus, you are a man, r some sort of man at least, so I don’ts suppose Islam’s attitude to women bothers you quite as much as it might..

        • telemachus

          one thing at a time
          First we fix Netanyahu
          Then the 2 state solution
          Then emancipation

          • Fergus Pickering

            And then the muslim women are truly screwed.

            • telemachus

              No
              Liken it to medieval Chritian attitudes to women
              Not many years ago we were locking women up for asking for the vote
              There is still a glass ceiling in business

              • Fergus Pickering

                Only 500 years to wait, then.

                • telemachus

                  It took Africa 50 years to catch up 2 millenia
                  I am a born optimist

      • Colonel Mustard

        Nauseous. You really are a dissembling little creep. Who began the “pounding of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan”? Blair, whom you and your stinking party now choose to disown, having clamoured for him like teenage girls when “things could only get better”. And look at those around him, happy to triumph and gloat in his victory (as always) – still sitting on the opposition front bench.

        Your lies get more brazen and offensive every day, like your stinking party.

    • ButcombeMan

      Daniel
      There are some truly barmy Europhiles, even in the Tory party. Within the last two weeks, Ken Clarke, on the Today programme was pushing for EU expansion and including the Maghreb in the same breath.

      I have not seen any of the hacks/reptiles pick up on this and point out the lunacy, that is why I keep mentioning Ken’s stupidity here.

  • http://twitter.com/arcofprosperity Thomas Widmann/AoP

    I don’t see any EU and immigration anxiety in Scotland (or rather, the only anxieties are that we might get chucked out of the EU after independence, and how to attract more immigration).

    • Smithersjones2013

      Presumably thats because virtually no immigrants want to go to Scotland and most probably haven’t even heard of it!

      • Wessex Man

        Or more likely they’ve checked the Scottish Parliament web-site and seen that they will probably replace the Englsih as the most racially attacked group.

        You would have had to apply to join the EU if you had got your “independence” anyhow if you hadn’t chickened out of voting to become Salmons’s Soviet Socialist Republic of Scotland, when you realised we wouldn’t be there to pick up your tab!

    • Fergus Pickering

      You want more muslims? You can have some of ours, friend. Free of bloody charge.

    • Austin Barry

      Halal haggis is available in Scotland, although I’m not sure about infibulation and clitoridectomy. Hopefully, though, the Scots welcome will be more generous than that meted out to the Islamic terrorists at Glasgow airport a few years ago, which betrayed a rather robust interpretation of community interaction.

  • LB

    healthcare and education are at the top of the list, with immigration coming in at eighth.

    ==========

    And hacking and horse meat bringing up the rear.

    • Smithersjones2013

      with immigration coming in at eighth

      Convenient considering in the regular issues lists by Yougov and Mori Immigration invariably is in the top three neck and neck with Health and always ahead of Education

      It wouldn’t be that the FT are spinning or using ‘tailored’ poll results now would it particularly as the economy has been topping every other such index for years now?

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