Time for truth


How embarrassing for David Cameron: The government ordered eight reports to assess if there was need to renegotiate powers from Brussels back to London. And it turns out that, broadly speaking, there is not much need for this as the balance of powers is mostly correct. (see: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7b4fb994-9409-11e3-a0e1-00144feab7de.html#axzz2tBnuQmVs)

This comes after weeks of Cameron talking openly about the need to restrict EU immigration. One of the cornerstones of the EU’s success has been the free movement of people and workers within the Union. Of course the anti- European UKIP party immediately denounced the Whitehall papers as “Whitewash documents”.

But the facts can be verified independently. At University College London (UCL) Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini of “Immigration Centre of migration research” (CReAM) researched the numbers and came to the conclusion that EU immigrants have consistently contributed positively to the UK over the past ten years.  And no, they did not unfairly claim benefits from UK public purse. On the contrary: “EU immigrants have paid more in taxes than taken out in benefits”, says Dustmann: “About 34 percent more.” (see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1113/051113-migration-report)

According to rumours in Westminster, Downing Streets was thinking about publishing the results of the reports selectively in order not to anger furiously anti-European Tory  backbenchers further. So here they are in any case: https://www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences.

It is becoming dangerous for David Cameron to get more and more entangled in right wing populist lies. For two reasons: He will never be xenophobic enough for the anti- European UKIP voters and he is too bound to “big business” who brought his Tory party to power thinking he will guarantee a pragmatic pro-European course for the UK.

The pro-EU campaign is gaining more and more support in business circles. At a recent debate in London on the future of the UK's relationship with the EU, representatives from multinational companies noted that a UK exit from the bloc would leave a much-diminished country as the lasting legacy of the ruling Conservative party.

The CBI business lobby group published a report last November claiming 78% of British businesses want Britain to stay in the EU. “The UK could survive outside the EU, but none of the alternatives offers a better deal,” said CBI director general John Cridland at the time. Some business leaders have already come out in open support of the need for Britain to stay a member of the European Union. Douglas Flint, chairman of HSBC, said Europe needs reform, but also committed member states: “It is important that the product of this process of change in Europe is a stronger EU with Britain at its heart.”

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© 2018 Tessa Szyszkowitz