‘Twenty-six million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?’ asks the Ukip poster for the euro-elections, beside a Lord Kitchener-style pointing finger. Obviously, Ukip thinks the answer is ‘Ours’. But this isn’t true. Twenty-six million people are not looking for British jobs, but for jobs in general. And even those who do want jobs in Britain are not trying to take jobs from people who have them (though this might sometimes be the effect): they just want jobs. If Ukip is opposed to unrestricted EU immigration, it should direct its anger at the politicians who support this policy, not at the blameless people who, like most of us, want work. The poster illustrates a psychological problem for those of us — myself included — who would instinctively prefer not to be in the EU. The good reason to feel this way is because we want to govern ourselves once again and be a freer part of a wider world. Ukip has recently produced a respectable pamphlet along these lines. The bad reason is because of hating foreigners. In a referendum campaign, it will become clear which reason dominates the ‘Get Out’ side. If it is the latter, it will lose, and deserve to.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in this week’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.
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