THe last few days have seen a lot of comments on various on-line editions of newspapers regarding the small matter of immigration from other EU countries into the UK.
Much of this is ill informed. Most of the people we take in do not come from other EU countries.
All of it, however is highly understandable and, whilst I do not always agree with the logic, I am with most of them in spirit. So what is this spirit thing that seems to be upsetting so many people? Well, my guess (it can be no more) is that at last people are thinking about the sovereignty of the UK Parliament. In other words, it is not so much immigration per se that is making people angry (I typed “cross” and realised it had to be stronger than that) as the feeling that our government has no control over EU immigration or the way these people are treated once they arrive.
If they come from somewhere else, our government has the ability to say “no” and, sometimes, to say “sorry but you do not qualify for such-and-such a benefit”. We may not be happy at the decisions the government takes but at least we can vote them out if we get cross enough – which we can’t do with the EU monster. So why the “sometimes”? Well, these guys from any country can, and do, appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn decisions made by our government and judiciary.
And that, of course,raises other questions about sovereignty because (and this is another area which is much misunderstood) the ECHR has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU and we could opt out of that tomorrow if we wanted to.
Where does this lead me? Well, to a referendum to ask the electorate of the UK two questions:
EU – in or out?
ECHR (in this case the European Convention on Human Rights) – in or out?
Meanwhile, from deepest Devon, it seems to me that all our rulers are doing is “shaking it all about”.
Thanks to a number of other commitments plus (I may as well admit this) health issues which are not going to go away even if they are held at bay, I took the basic decision to stop blogging very often. I think this is probably a mistake as the advantage of the blog is that I can have a good rant and no one can stop me. Today I want to rant about tribal politics (again).
The coalition is falling apart. That is not to say that it will not continue to run the country until the next election but that the two parties have become so concerned about their “identity” that they are putting that ahead of everything else – and firmly ahead of the national interest.
Why does Nick Clegg need “yellow water” between him and David Cameron? Yes, they have their different opinions – I have different opinions from my wife but we have been working together as a team for over thirty years.
This determination on the part of the LibDems to rubbish policies enacted by the Coalition and WITH WHICH THEY AGREED PREVIOUSLY is, to say the least, distasteful.
Equally so is the right end rump of the old Tory Party which should come as no surprise to anyone. The big surprise in UK politicis is that there is still a Conservative Party. What happened to the Whigs? What happened to the old Liberals? What is happening today to the Labour Party (and could be happening to the Lib-Dems)? They all got stuck in a social and cultural moment in history while both society and culture have moved on. The Tories, however, have always moved with the times – well, nearly always. At the same time they have had to contend with “the old guard” every inch of the way. Usually, in the end, thy dealt with this in a pretty brutal fashion. Think Harold Macmillan and the night of the long knives:
Now that doesn’t work. Communications are to good and too fast. An idiot management committee in a constituency somewhere in the country can create havoc. This debacle about Crispin Blunt is a case in point. My guess is that it will do little harm to the Conservative election prospects in Reigate and Banstead but the message it has sent out (despite the management committee being rightly trounced by the other members) will do great damage in the marginal seats.
Elections are lost and won by the votes of extremely small numbers of people. Some of you may remember that I worked out that after the last election had less than 18,000 voters out of an electorate of 46,000,000 voted for a different candidate (and it did not matter which different candidate) we would not have had a coalition between the Tories and the LD’s. It really does seem that there are some Tories who will do whatever it takes to make the Conservatives unelectable. Hmmm.