Coffee House

Is David Cameron still afraid of Brexit?

4 August 2014

12:04 PM

4 August 2014

12:04 PM

Boris Johnson’s speech this week is one of the few domestic issues really animating Westminster. He will argue that the UK should not be ‘frightened’ of leaving the EU, supposedly in contrast to David Cameron, who has always made clear that he wants to remain in the bloc.

But it’s worth remembering that Cameron himself has started to shift recently on how he’d vote in the 2017 referendum. When he returned to the Commons after losing his fight against Jean-Claude Juncker’s bid to become President of the European Commission, Cameron changed his language on that vote. Where previously he had argued that there was no doubt he’d be voting to stay in the European Union because he knew that his renegotiation of Britain’ relationship with Europe would be successful, the Prime Minister introduced the conditional into his line on the vote. He told Douglas Carswell:

‘Well I have set out my approach which is to always follow the national interest, now I think it is in the national interest to renegotiate our position in Europe, to secure the changes that I have set out, and I don’t start a negotiation believing that I won’t achieve those things, I set out wanting to achieve them, wanting to come back to this country, but I will always do what is in the national interest.’

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This was a sufficiently significant shift from Cameron to please eurosceptics. And his appointment of Philip Hammond as Foreign Secretary in the reshuffle was another shift that suggested the Prime Minister was at the very least not afraid to appoint someone who is themselves not afraid to leave the EU.

So Boris’ speech is coming at a less convenient time than it could have done for the Prime Minister. He has at least hinted that he might have to consider a Brexit, however reluctantly. But the question is whether the Prime Minister is able to convince European leaders that he really is serious about getting serious reform, to the extent that Britain could leave if they fail to deliver. At the moment those he discusses these matters with seem to oscillate between irritation at his ‘threats’ and sufficient disbelief that those threats are sincere to continue thwarting his ambitions on matters such as Juncker.


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Show comments
  • global city

    A danse macabre for British independence is being played out here amongst the Bullingdon club boys. It was decided decades ago by the establishment that we are going to remain in the project for ever… they intend that we won’t escape as THEY have their place at the top table, even though we all lose our democracy.

  • global city

    A danse macabre for British independence is being played out here amongst the Bullingdon club boys. It was decided decades ago by the establishment that we are going to remain in the project for ever… they intend that we won’t escape as THEY have their place at the top table, even though we all lose our democracy.

    • Thomtids

      That was the price that they paid for their place at the Top Table – us.

      • global city

        Their entrance fee was our liberties. They willingly, happily paid it.

        • Thomtids

          And expect us to go on voting for them to keep propping up their Empire-building. So it was our historic freedoms AND money.

  • Thomtids

    The weasel-words which keep cropping up, as used by Cameron, are “I will do what is in the National Interest”. As he believes beyond argument that remaining within the European Union is the ultimate interest, and the only one to the majority of MPs who are deeply committed to ensuring the disappearance of a political unit we know as the United Kingdom, he will do nothing worth even considering.
    The EU is not going to allow any change worth having.

  • rolandfleming

    Cameron clearly doesn’t have a clue how the EU politics works. It is already months too late to start negotiating in time for 2017. EU politics operates on glacial timescales. Alliances are built slowly and steadily. You can’t ‘essay crisis’ a major change to the fundamental fabric of the EU. If he thinks he can just stroll in and secure significant reforms he’s deeply naive. Most of the EU really wouldn’t care that much if the UK were to leave. The case for reform has to be made in terms of the benefits to all members, not in terms of British exceptionalism. The case has to be made persistently, clearly, persuasively in public and behind the scenes.

    Anyway, the whole thing is moot as the chances of a Cameron majority remain pretty slim.

  • Pier66

    The EU will not negotiate a substantially different relationship for the UK alone; and it will not reform sufficiently for it to be in the British interest to stay. The biggest issue for British voters is uncontrollable immigration, but the free movement of people will not be changed

  • Picquet

    “Brexit”, eh? Oh dear.

  • Mike

    Contrary to comments posted here mass immigration is by far the number 1 issue affecting the country and even ethnic groups who have lived in the country for 40+ years agree with that.

    Excessive and uncontrolled immigration affects EVERY aspect of life in the UK including the extra costs and burdens on schools, health care, housing, dilution of our culture and local council costs.

    Compare this massive cost for the UK to retired ex-pats emigrating to Spain or France for example. Ex-pats cost their adopted countries NO extra money to the infrastructure of health care as the UK government pays 3k5 per annum for their health care which is less than what it would cost if they still lived in the UK. There’s no housing benefits, obviously no schooling to pay for as there aren’t any kids. In fact, there aren’t any benefits claimable by retired pensioners in Spain or France whilst the opposite is true as that they contribute to the local economy with foreign exchange for food, energy and local taxation.

    A professor at Cambridge has just published his study on the effects of mass immigration and it doesn’t look at all good for the left. Contrary to what idiots like Clegg were preaching, because these immigrants are not self sufficient like the ex-pat pensioners, they actually cost the country dearly due to the massive increase in providing services for them and their families. Statistically, they also tend to have twice as many kids dependant on state support in benefits. As they havent been paying in for years into the system and neither have their parents or grand parents, there’s no reservoir of investment that happened before they came over. At a stroke, there’s an immediate short fall in taxes to pay for the healthcare, schooling and housing simply due to the numbers being let in. Lets dispell this myth that they pay their own way, because they don’t and can’t. The load on the system far exceeds the tax & NI they might be paying whilst the complete opposite is true of ex-pats in Spain.

    I’ve long berated benefits ministers of all flavours that the best way to solve this ‘attraction’ for the UK is to remove most benefits from everyone or at a minimum make rules that require 10 years of contributions madatory before you can draw a benefit. So far that has fallen on deaf ears but if implemented, at a stroke it would focus the minds of our own workshy and be unnatractive for benefit tourists looking for a quick hand out to come to the UK.

    For those who we need, we can easily have employers pay a bond to cover the extra costs that will be refundable after 10 years of working in the UK. None of these approaches are racist and are purely good fiscal common sense and prudence rather than Britain having the p*** taken from it by those out for freebies.

  • Kennie

    “but I will always do what is in the national interest.”
    What Cameron prétends is in the National interest and what the people think is in the National interest are probably very different things.

  • Archibald Heatherington

    Dear Mr. Juncker,

    As it is you who makes our laws, please would you institute the constituency boundary reform so callously vetoed by Clegg? You do, after all, believe in democracy.

    Oh, wait. . . No you don’t, you’re a megalomaniacal federalist dictator. My mistake.

  • Polly Radial

    Is it conceivable that David Cameron is a filthy, lying, spineless piece of dog dirt?

    • Jacques Strap

      100%

  • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

    Clearly the other EU members don’t take us seriously, and why would they if Cameron declares, long before he’s even started his renegotiation, that, whatever the outcome, he’s recommending staying in?

    I have been astonished to hear all the party leaders declaring at one time or the other, that “you don’t start a negotiation by holding a gun to the other parties’ heads.” Perhaps this is a manifestation of the professionalization of politics, in which none of the party leaders have ever done anything other than politics, but this is gob-smacking naivety! “Holding a gun to the other parties’ heads is PRECISELY how you start a negotiation!

    “You may not like what I’m demanding, but if you don’t give it to me, we can’t do business,” is the essence of negotiation, as any businessman knows (but none of the party leaders have ever been businessmen).

    Think of haggling in a market — which is really just negotiation in its most basic form. My asking price is £7.50. You say to me, “I’ll give you £10 for two.” Given that I would rather have £10 than nothing, I’ll agree as long as I’m certain that refusing will simply make the customer walk away.

    But if you start the conversation by making it clear that you are going to buy two items, regardless of what the outcome of the bartering is, you bet it’s going to cost you £15.

    Trust me on this one. I’m a market trader!

    Discus: This is the second time I’ve written this post. I cannot believe my first was deleted in its entirety because of — what? I haven’t the faintest idea! It wasn’t abusive. It wasn’t libellous. It contained no offensive language. Because I wrote “gob-smacking”? Just what kind of prudes are you at Discus?

    • Andy

      But the EU loves British gold.

    • jameslc

      Cameron gave away his negotiating power when he called for a referendum.

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        How?

  • misomiso

    Cameron and Boris both want to stay. This is all just smoke and mirrors by the Tory’s.

    The only thing that will convince the doubters he is serious about reform is taking back control of our borders.

    We can have free movement with some countries, but it should be in the control of the British Government.

    • Jacques Strap

      No it should be in the control of the British people.

    • Holly

      Cameron IS NOT a Tory!

  • cambridgeelephant

    There are worms in our back lawn with more backbone than Cameron.

    I wouldn’t rely on anything he said.

  • Torybushhug

    Reasons to pull out;
    + Many independent nations prosper, they are not in any sense isolated
    + UK will benefit from local responsive leadership
    + No net billions going to the EU
    + We can exploit the existing trading clubs – the commonwealth and the European nations not in the EU
    + Many independent nations negotiate FTA’s no problem. For example Turkey with the UE and Morocco with the US
    + A fleet of foot responsive economy will attract more business not less
    + Do not fall for the chicken licken arguments along the lines we cannot possibly deal with cross border crime unless members of the EU (plenty independent nations manage perfectly well) or that new will whither away as we cannot shape EU rules – does Japan and S Korea shape EU rules, do we shape Brazillian rules?

  • RavenRandom

    Do we gain or lose from economically from being in the EU? Most studies have shown that economically it’s not clear and most assume actual impact of leaving would be minimal.
    Do we gain or lose politically from being in the EU? That seems a lot clearer, we lose power to the EU. This is demonstrated again and again.
    To me that looks like we should leave the EU. At the very least we voted in the 1970s to join a free trade area and not a federal super state. If we are to be in a federal super state then the British people deserve their chance to vote for or against… are you listening Labour?

  • duyfken

    Saying that Cameron’s advice to Carswell “was a sufficiently significant shift from Cameron to please eurosceptics” is simplistic. It may please some Tory MPs who profess to be “eurosceptic” but there are various shades in that spectrum. I would be astonished were those in the public with true eurosceptic outlook to be influenced by anything Cameron says on the subject – except increased scepticism.

  • ButcombeMan

    Cameron lacks the drive & leadership skill to reform the EU. It would need a much wider appeal over the whole EU, pointing out what is wrong and how the EU needs major reform to meet the needs of citizens. It needs hard work and forming alliances, neither his forte.

    So in absence of that sort of Cameron, the EU is unreformable to meet UK needs. The UK does have special needs, for historic, language & cultural reasons the UK will always be, far too attractive a destination for economic migrants, hence the line up at Calais.
    The Uk social infrastructure, needs protection.
    Did you ever hear Cameron, or any other UK parliamentary politician, spell it out, properly make the case?
    Of course not LibLabCon are all in it together. All hopeless.

    • Blindsideflanker

      Very true, if Cameron was at all interested in reforming the EU he would have established a working party to do the ground work on it right from the get go, but he didn’t, he waited until UKIP was a threat to his party, then gave the most EU fanatical Government department the job of reviewing EU competencies. Not surprisingly the Foreign Office found nothing wrong with the EU treaties they had negotiated.

      This shows that Cameron, contrary to what he said at the time, was happy to buckle under the Lisbon treaty, didn’t have the motivation to do any forward planning, and when had his hand force by UKIP, did a slimy political trick of getting the answer he wanted by carefully selecting the department to do the review, which all makes you have a strong belief that he is settting us up for a Wilson con.

    • Conway

      Clegg has demonstrated how out of touch with public opinion he is – he’s going to give a speech saying free movement is a very good thing!

  • TrulyDisqusted

    ‘Well I have set out my approach which is to always follow the national interest, now I think it is in the national interest to renegotiate our position in Europe, to secure the changes that I have set out, and I don’t start a negotiation believing that I won’t achieve those things, I set out wanting to achieve them, wanting to come back to this country, but I will always do what is in the national interest.’

    Do you see what Dave just there?

    He made a statement so devoid of everything, that he thinks he can get away with anything.

    What changes has he set out that he wants to secure?

    What list of items is he renegotiating on?

    The above is a nothing statement, so carefully crafted that it can only have been crafted to deceive.

    The Day Dave or any of the LibLabCon ever act in the interests of this nation, I’ll not only buy a hat, but I’ll eat it.

    The EU Project has taken 60 years and thousands of Actors to get it this far, does anyone really believe for a microsecond that it’s behind-the-scenes Directors are going to let a two-bit amateur like Dave de-rail all of their hard work and lies?

    It’s more than his life’s worth, and Dave knows it.

    So, the pantomime rolls on…

  • http://www.brandaware.co.uk/ Paddy Briggs

    Playing Party politics with Britain’s future. Boris will say anything, take any position, renege on any promise, to further his cause. He perceives Cam’s successor post an election defeat as needy to be a strong Eurosceptic. So that’s how Boris positions himself. Ambition does strange things…

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    I really can’t make up my mind whether this significant change in attitude to the EU reflects a sea change in the Conservative Party or is just a blatant con to win back the UKIP vote. The cynic in me says the latter.

    • TrulyDisqusted

      Oh, it’s most certainly the latter.

      Politics is a BUSINESS and Dave’s business is winning votes by hook or by crook.

      Today, he’s a crook!

      • Alexsandr

        whats puzzles me is why he thinks he can get away with it.

        • Aberrant_Apostrophe

          Because his paymasters, spin doctors and focus groups have told him he can. Anyway, you don’t really think he’s in control do you?

        • Holly

          We have to ensure he doesn’t.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    “appoint someone who is themselves not afraid…” Good grief, how ugly! Pity to see such an egregious error of agreement in the Speccie.

  • xDemosthenesx

    This canard that Hammond is a eurosceptic or is beloved by eurosceptics needs to be stopped. The grey nothingness that is Hammond has never had an opinion in his life that has not been handed down to him form above.

    Cameron is a EU man to his bones, even political necessity and survival won’t shift him.

    Boris trying to play bad cop is also transparent, dangling the carrot to the Tory loyalists who hang around hoping for him to sweep in as a saviour. Bad news, he is almost as EU Blue as Cameron.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      Hammond is indeed said to have principles of the Groucho Marx variety – which is possibly the reason for his recent elevation and his getting on well with Cameron.

      • Makroon

        Yes, why can’t Hammond see sense and take his opinions ready packaged and incoherent from the pub-bore bloke, like the kipper fraternity ?
        You know it makes (non) sense.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          One wouldn’t mind so much what the fellow’s views/principles were so long as they were consistent and reliable – again, rather like Cameron… But keep on deluding yourself that UKIP supporters are just “pub bores” or geriatrics or oddballs hankering for the 1950s (pick your own tired cliché) since chaps like you do so love your preconceptions.

    • Lady Magdalene

      Check out Hammond’s voting record on The Bruges Group site and you will find that he supported the transfer of powers to the EU 62% of the time.
      NO EU sceptic he.

      • Conway

        Same with pretend EU sceptic Owen Paterson. How can any EU sceptic vote against affirming the sovereignty of Parliament and for giving the EU more money?

  • Lady Magdalene

    The EU will not negotiate a substantially different relationship for the UK alone; and it will not reform sufficiently for it to be in the British interest to stay. The biggest issue for British voters is uncontrollable immigration, but the free movement of people will not be changed.
    Cameron will resign rather than hold a Referendum which he may lose. By resigning, he will keep his “promise” to hold a Referendum by the end of 2017 or resign. And the Referendum will then be postponed whilst the new PM settles in, builds alliances blah blah blah.

    Cameron has repeatedly said he will NEVER advocate leaving the EU and he will never take us out. Scared of Brexit – you bet he is and so are the people who control him.

    • Geronimo von Huxley

      White Lady stupid. Geronimo sit with elders, then Geronimo make decision. Tribe happy. Always stupid woman and man in tribe. Geronimo send to front line to fight white man. Tribe more happy after fight. Now I take scalp.

      • Wessex Man

        Di******.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Unquestionably the daftest of your gibberish spouting sockpuppets laddie. Will you be scalping the goat? Or will you simply hand him over to Dalai, Dado, You_Kid etc etc.

        • telemachus

          As Morgan you just do not cut the mustard

    • telemachus

      This is all idle summer tittle tattle
      There will be no referendum because the party in power in 2017 is dedicated to burgeoning and successful membership of Europe with the UK at the centre

      • RavenRandom

        Yep the self-perpetuating nepotistic Oxbridge elite are too cowardly to give us a choice.

      • Andy

        Fascists in power wouldn’t allow a referendum.

      • The Masked Marvel

        What would be really funny is if (hypothetically, of course) it was obvious by March of next year that the Tories had no chance, and Cameron held a referendum right then out of spite and Labour had to come into government with an Out result hanging over their heads. They’d be shown for the undemocratic authoritarians they are right from the start. The BBC would probably demand another referendum, explaining that the public voted the wrong way because the issue was too complicated and wasn’t explained properly.

    • E Roberts

      Never cease to be amused by the claim that Britain is supposedly the victim of ‘uncontrolled immigration’… try being Italy. Also not convinced it is the biggest issue for British voters at all…

      • Raddiy

        So our uncontrolled immigration is not as bad as the uncontrolled immigration of Italy in absolute numbers, and this somehow causes you to break out into a bout of belly laughing.

        I am sure those in this country suffering wage depression, difficult in affording a home of their own, or gaining access to the NHS, due to the unrealistic population growth in the unskilled workforce, will be rolling in the aisles at your profound and inciteful analysis.

        • E Roberts

          Insightful?

          My main point was that the UKIP fringe invariably touts ‘uncontrolled immigration’ as the main obsession of the nation just because it’s theirs… it isn’t.

          It was the same in the 60s – instead of Powell, we now have Farage, using astonishingly similar language. Thank goodness we allowed those immigrants in because we are the better for it.

          • WatTylersGhost

            Go live in Tower Hamlets

            • E Roberts

              That’s like asking a 19th Century businessman to live in Shoreditch.

              • WatTylersGhost

                Too good for Tower Hamlets are we Mr Roberts? Good enough for white trash though, eh?

                • Kennybhoy

                  Oh you are a thick wee socialist. lol

                • telemachus

                  You see
                  More and more folk see the moral degeneracy visited on us by the UKIP cabal

                • Kennybhoy

                  And you really are a nasty wee socialist troll…

                • global city

                  Nah, it’s the same small but fanatical numpties increasing their thrashing about.

                • Bernard from Bucks

                  I’m not sure it is a ‘Mr.’ Roberts. It sounds very much like a Sally Roberts from ConHome?

              • Kennybhoy

                :-)

              • Pier66

                Shoreditch…. Oh my god!

            • Mike

              And many other ghettos scattered around the UK but the elite left don’t live there so they don’t know what its like.

          • Aberrant_Apostrophe

            I assume the first ‘we’ refers to the ruling ‘elite’, because the British public have never had a referendum on uncontrolled immigration. As for the second ‘we’, I assume you mean immigrants and employers/exploiters of cheap labour? As for benefits to the Country as a whole, GDP may have gone up slightly, but GDP/capita has gone down – not to mention the detrimental impact uncontrolled immigration has had on public services such as schools and hospitals, and society generally.

            • E Roberts

              Your assumptions are both wrong. The first we doesn’t refer to a ruling elite as I am neither of those things so couldn’t possibly speak for them, a fact I am rather pleased about. As for the second ‘we’, it refers to us as a nation of 65m people.
              GDP/capita has gone down since the start of the financial crisis; it has not gone down since immigration of the 1960s. As a historian, I tend to view further back than one or two electoral cycles.

              • Aberrant_Apostrophe

                Ah, so it’s the Royal ‘we’. That explains a lot.

                • E Roberts

                  So I am not allowed to claim that we, as a nation, have benefited from immigration? That kind of sentence construction is the preserve of UKIP, is it, with its claims to speak for the British people being tired of immigration?

                  If I am not allowed to make such a simple claim – which you are perfectly entitled to dispute – that explains a lot. Or rather, it reaffirms what I invariably find when debating with UKIPites: only one truth will be permitted and it’s the one promulgated by the shrill battalions of Nigel’s self-proclaimed “People’s Army”.

                  Apparently he’s allowed to say ‘we’.

                • Aberrant_Apostrophe

                  Of course you are allowed to claim that ‘this nation has benefitted from immigration’, as are other people who claim the exact opposite. I – and others – am just pointing out that ‘we’ needs qualifying, as some will certainly benefit, such as employers and immigrants themselves, whilst other will not, such as those people unable to get a job because they have a family to support as opposed to living 20 in a room, or taking weeks to see their GP, or being able to afford a house.

                • E Roberts

                  So why the inflammatory, snide reference to the Royal ‘we’?

                  I know about the pressures on housing and GPs and the NHS and schooling; since relocating out of south London last year, I have been astonished to find I can get an appointment same day with my own doctor (as opposed to 3 weeks’ time with a locum)… Immigration is as uncontrolled in Essex as in London but it’s less crowded…

                • Aberrant_Apostrophe

                  I mentioned ‘we’ because you hadn’t qualified it. Still, glad to learn that you recognise there are pressures on services and that immigration is uncontrolled…

          • Smithersjones2013

            Complete and utter garbage! In the 1960’s as throughout the 20th century there was no immigration problem in today’s terms because net migration was neutral. For the whole century there were marginally fewer immigrants to this country than emigrants from this country.

            That changed with the Blair government and since the average net immigration into this country has been 200,000 per year. Under Blair and Brown 2.5 million immigrants net (over 5 million in total) entered this country. Under the coalition the net migration has continued at the same rate with over 800,000 net (over double that in total) being given entry to this country in four years with a high likelihood it will pass 1 million net by next May.

            At no point in the 20th Century did we have a 15 year influx of immigrants increasing the population by 5%. Now it should be within the wit of all but sub intellects to realise that considering our financial situation a constant increase in population (particularly as the domestic birth rate is also picking up) at such levels is going to seriously impact housing, job availability and public sector services unless it is associated with a strong and balanced expansion of the economy. Given we have not built the necessary accommodation to meet such expanding demand in decades, public finances are in turmoil and we have just been through the Great Recession as Cameron likes to call it the idea that we have a policy of uncontrolled immigration is plain lunacy.

            Now given that legally the Government cannot stop European migrants coming to this country means it is uncontrolled however much bovine excrement you spout decrying it.

            Furthermore, Ipsos Mori provide a well respected Issues Index which has been around for many decades. Immigration is currently the issue that is concerning most of those who respond to the poll with 36% naming immigration ahead of 32% naming the economy and 27% naming the NHS.

            http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3424/The-EconomistIpsos-MORI-Issues-Index-July-2014.aspx

            So you can see that all your assertions are wrong!

            • E Roberts

              It’s a long post so I scanned it; I have to work.

              36% is not that impressive, but I will accept that it’s the biggest single issue currently governing respondents’ minds. I also respect Ipsos so no complaints from me about your sourcing.

              Let’s see what the numbers are when Labour and Tory aren’t united in talking up the issue and trying to out-UKIP UKIP? After all, a clear majority want the death penalty back when a policeman or child is killed, but when such stories disappear from the media, support for the DP drops massively.

              • Smithersjones2013

                Hmmm 36% is the vote share that the last two governments have been elected with..

                Doing a quick check of the Mori Archives Immigration has ranged from 20% to 45% in their poll since 2003 (in 1997 it was at just 3-5%) long before UKIP had appeared even as a real force in the Euro elections and therefore I’m pretty confident Immigration will have featured in the top five issues (out of around 40 listed) exercising the electorate consistently for the last 11 years.

                Other issues such as climate change on the other hand barely register but Westminster bangs on and on and on about them

                As such your attempts to dismiss it as an issue just do not hold water.

                • E Roberts

                  I thought I had accepted your points and agree that it does register very high. I do believe that it will fall back, but that’s my opinion. Just don’t claim that I am dismissing it when I haven’t.

                  I think you’ll find that the present government secured over 50% of the vote.

                • Wessex Man

                  I thought you could only scan the comment as you had to work?

                • E Roberts

                  touche

                  Late lunch

                • Alexsandr

                  burp!

                • Smithersjones2013

                  Actually nobody voted for the current government. I didn’t see the box for ‘Coalition’ on the ballot anyway? It was a backroom deal offered by the party that won the election with 36% of the vote and given that half of those who voted Libdem immediately decamped to Labour in disgust at the Coalition agreement, I certainly wouldn’t be making claims about how many people actually ever supported this government at all.

                  My reason for reinforcing my point was simple. You are trying to dismiss the immigration issue as a flash in the pan caused by UKIP scaremongering and Tory Labour attempts to mitigate the issue that will go away if Westminster just stops talking about it when in reality it predates the rise of UKIP (and is a driver for their rise) and is a longstanding issue that hasn’t gone away in over ten years.

            • Count Dooku

              Most of what you say is correct, but immigration is not responsible for our lack of housing (planning constraints and lack of building), poor public finances (overspending by HMG), and employment (currently the highest rate ever, unemployment also falling).

              There’s an argument that immigration depresses wages for unskilled native workers, but surprisingly no one ever makes that point. Maybe it’s because a lot of the existing “native” low skilled workers are already immigrants….

              • Wessex Man

                Of course it is, Have you never thought that we are being asked accommodate a city the size of Portsmouth every year?

                Are you happy to see this country become a concrete jungle. How are we going to teach the Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Ambulance Staff, Firemen and Police to keep up with such an influx? The simple answer is that we can’t and that’s why the country is falling to pieces.

                • Count Dooku

                  The country isn’t falling to pieces. We have improving health outcomes, lower crime rates, more access to goods and services etc than at any point in our history. London, which has the highest concentration of migrants, now has the best performing state schools in the country!

                  We can massively increase housing stock within London and the SE just by building on brownfield and building up by two floors, but it takes forever to get planning permission.

                • Smithersjones2013

                  And what are the government and personal debt figures currently?

                • Count Dooku

                  PESA? Not familiar with that particular acronym.

                  A lot of those successes are happening with reductions in public spending. Our deficit is also falling, albeit slowly. Personal debt is falling very quickly per capita, and falling as a percentage of GDP.

                  PS: Companies find it expensive to build on blownfield because of loony environmental regulations and planning permission. All HMG failures, nothing to do with migration.

                • Wessex Man

                  Good for you! Still waiting for contact to make an appointment for a MRI scan three months after My doctor orderd one for me. Granson being bussed 20 miles to a differents school to his sister because there’s now a waiting list for that school.

                  Then you go and contradict your own argument by stating “but it takes forever to get planning permission.2

                  Don’t even get me started on journey times om our roads, I suggest to come down here to the west country and try to figure why there’s no bus service etc!

                • Count Dooku

                  I went to school and university in the west country. There are few migrants there and public service there was sh*te when I was there. It’s because it’s remote, nothing to do with migration!

                  Ironically, if you trebled the population of Devon, you would probably get better public services as the per capita cost of them would reduce. I live in central London and can see my NHS GP on the same day if I have an “emergency”. Or private within the hour. Bus to work comes every minute during rush hour.

                • E Roberts

                  yes, yes, yes. Thank you.

                • E Roberts

                  Check national origin of just about everyone who treated me on the NHS when I still lived in London; 5% born British, if that.

              • Smithersjones2013

                I agree that the immigration policy does not directly contribute to the government’s failure (another area of systemic negligence going back over a decade) to build enough houses. However it certainly exacerbates the problems in the housing and accommodation sectors.

                Adding 200,000 people to the population every year creates increased demand for accommodation. If that accommodation is not built then it will force the price of accommodation upwards.

                Where do most of the immigrants head for? London. Where is it most impossible for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder? London. Where is the most expensive place in the country to rent. London.

                Immigration ‘policy’ is in large part responsible for such phenomena.

                Maybe it’s because a lot of the existing “native” low skilled workers are already immigrants….

                Given the government is dishing out citizenships at record levels (how they mask the real impact of immigration) I think you’ll find most of them are now British citizens.(but former immigrants)

                • Count Dooku

                  You can’t mask the net migration numbers by counting migrants as UK nationals. As you well know, UKBA and the ONS don’t make a distinction on nationality. You’ve correctly and consistently used net migration, so let’s not conflate the issue.

                  Also, London is ridiculously expensive for a number of reasons. I would argue that immigration is probably low on the impact scale. London still doesn’t have as high a population as it did prior to WW1, when housing was much cheaper.

                  You can blame recently cheap Sterling, ultra-low interest rates, a fast recovering economy and the UK’s laissez-faire attitude to plutocrats using property to launder money (thus boosting foreign non-resident demand) before you can blame immigration. Tokyo has some of the highest real estate prices in the world with zero net migration.

              • Fergus Pickering

                What do you mean, ‘nobody ever makes that point’? I heard Rod Liddle make exactly that point. Immigration is good for rich folks and bad for poor folks.

              • E Roberts

                spot on

          • berosos_bubos

            Examples please.

        • Kennybhoy

          I take it from that second paragraph that you are a socialist…?

        • global city

          Would you be happy to remain in the EU without any other changes as long as they conceded ‘free movement’?

      • roger

        You amaze me. Why do you think UKIP came top in the European elections if it wasn’t about uncontrolled immigration ?

        • E Roberts

          The claim was that “uncontrollable immigration” is “the biggest issue for British voters”.

          If that were true, they’d have done better than 27%.
          If that were true, their polling would now not be half that.
          If that were true, they’d actually get a majority at next year’s GE; instead, they’ll struggle to get a single, solitary MP.

          Perhaps, as I suggested, the rest of Britain doesn’t share UKIP’s obsession with immigration?

          • Aberrant_Apostrophe

            I think you’ll find it’s the ‘uncontrolled’ part that people are upset about, i.e. loss of sovereignty, not immigration per se, although that is causing problems in its own right.

            • E Roberts

              I agree; if the pitch had just been about immigration, an even greater majority of British people would have found UKIP unpalatable.

              My points remain, however. Even couched in those terms, UKIP are not an electoral force.

              • Kennybhoy

                “…UKIP are not an electoral force.”

                You were doing very well until this…

                • E Roberts

                  I maintain they won’t win an MP.

                  They may alter a number of parliamentary results at the next GE so could be considered a ‘force’ in that sense, but I don’t think they will win a seat themselves, even if they do poll 12% nationally (as they currently are, though that’s already below half what they managed a few months ago)…

            • Alexsandr

              Its also the failed multi cultural thing. people dont like the fact we have ghettos in our towns and cities. And find the Birmingham Trojan Horse scandal distressing.

              • Kennybhoy

                “Its also the failed multi cultural thing….”

                Bullseye.

          • Wessex Man

            Still not working, how do you know that the rest of Britain doesn’t share Ukips ‘obession’ you know no more than Ukip.

            Ukip topped the national poll by some distance, I would say that if you had an opinion poll with such numbers you would probably accept it. Thenagain reading your previous comments we may have to wait until the GE.

          • roger

            You are contradicting yourself on this site. You accept that the IPSOS poll puts this issue top of peoples concerns on one hand and deny it on the next. Everyone I know thinks it madness that we cannot control both the numbers and quality of people coming in. Since UKIPs success the main parties are at last realising that they must come up with answers to this number one concern. As this blog demonstrates you are in the minority here. Stop digging and be consistent.

            • E Roberts

              As F. Scott Fitzgerald put it, the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time. I wasn’t being inconsistent, merely acknowledging the strength of the other side’s arguments in one or two regards, specifically that the polling quoted is unimpeachable (though not, in my view, a guide to future polling).

              Secondly, you offered two comments that seem to reveal everything about your approach to polling, surveys and politics: “everyone I know” and “this blog demonstrates you are in the minority here”. Chuckle.

              As the Economist recently wrote about the “Yes” campaigners in Scotland, “Yes Scotland may have a
              larger online presence… but this is polluted by “cyber-nationalists”: bloggers who
              harass unionists, peddle conspiracy theories and generally undermine the
              cause.” They might have been writing about UKIP’s legion of online posters on this forum and that of the Daily Telegraph.

          • berosos_bubos

            Or perhaps they have been the victims of a smear campaign.

            • E Roberts

              That old chestnut.

      • Holly

        Until about eighteen months ago I would have probably agreed with you.
        Now, the British voters have finally sussed that many of the country’s problems…squeaking housing, schools, welfare,health service, and our inability to control our borders/who can stay here, are down to our membership in Europe.
        Cameron has not got a handle on this, and until he does, he does not have my vote.

        • E Roberts

          That’s fair enough though I think we have bigger issues than immigration – a refusal to build enough houses, a scandalous refusal to use empty properties or develop brownfield sites, tinkering with our education system, a bizarre commitment to the NHS as originally envisaged but without increased funding, etc. etc.

          No one is claiming that immigration brings no difficulties; I just happen to believe that now, as in the 1960s, many of the natives are annoyed about a lot of things and park the blame for much of it at the door of those who were least responsible for creating the mess (the new arrivals).

          • Alexsandr

            well your first issue is housing. why do you think there is a housing shortage? nothing to do with immigration.
            education. many find schools full of kids whose english is poor. again nothing to do with immigration. Birmingham trojan horse. Nothing to do with Immigration.

            NHS. Loads coming with no contribution history. So the pressure on the NHS is nothing to do with immigration.

            • E Roberts

              Like I said, I didn’t say it was problem-free; the school where we lived had over 50% non-English speaking kids. I just believe that the benefits outweigh the problems.

              And no, housing has absolutely nothing to do with immigration. We can house everyone quite happily but would rather pursue perverse housing policies that encourage empty homes and escalating house prices while leaving much of our society homeless or under-housed.

              As for the NHS, try getting treated without seeing an immigrant.

              • Alexsandr

                so we build over the south east. What will that do the the environment of those who live there. Developed areas are hotter than countryside -how will we cope with that.
                where will the run off go. Or do we expect a repeat of datchet this February each tine it rains a bit?
                where will all the energy for these homes come from. We are short of generating capacity now. Where will the cars go. how do we put in more rail capacity? more GP’s, hospitals etc.

                • Conway

                  What about the water they will need and the food? It will only need an external shock to food imports and everybody will be in trouble.

          • Holly

            This ‘refusal to build enough houses has just coincided with the housebuilding stats showing the fastest rate for nearly eleven years (2003)….

            As for ‘tinkering’ with education, well I doubt teachers and their unions would call it that, but hey, there ya go.

            The NHS was never intended to do so much for so many, PLUS the new arrivals of many thousands of people, with no slowdown in sight.
            All in all I reckon it all brings quite a lot of ‘difficulties’ when they are all hitting the fan at once….I’d even go so far as calling it an unmitigated mess.

          • Kennybhoy

            “… many of the natives are annoyed about a lot of things and park the blame …”

            Spot on. It is a proxy issue. But the real issue is much much bigger than the list you provide. It is one of morale, of faith…

      • In2minds

        ” not convinced it is the biggest issue for British voters at all…” – Try being Britain?

        • E Roberts

          ??

        • Wessex Man

          I think E. Roberts may be in Britain, just not in the real world. To suggest that ‘an even greater majority of British people would have found UKip unpalatable’ even after that party wins a national election shows a childlike belief that E.Roberts knows better than the rest of us.

          • Andy

            Funny things is I never remember the Fascist Labour Party asking the British people if uncontrolled mass immigration was alright by them. I think it is fair to say the policy was just rammed down the throats of the electorate.

      • berosos_bubos

        So our schools are full up, our trains are full up, our roads are full up, our airports are full up, our hospitals are full up , our prisons are full up and our taxes are up but we are not victims of immigration ?

      • Fergus Pickering

        What is the biggest issue, O wise one?

    • Pier66

      I m quite agree with you….but if we’ll have a referendum then will be up to us decided
      to go out.. I would like to have an earlier referendum… 2017 it’s too late
      so now it’s up to Tory Party try to put pression on Cameron to call an earlier referendum
      Ynwa

    • global city

      The democratic and constitutional issues at stake are infinitely more important than immigrants… I really hope that the British people can understand that. If we can regain the first lot then the second once again simply becomes an issue of current policy. Without those first things then nothing is possibly changed, ever!

      UKIP concentrating on immigration is sending us down a cul-de-sac of pointless and impotent navel gazing

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