Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Say no to the butchers in Brussels

Sigh. It seems we must have a debate about immigration. Vote Leave have made Ukip's points based system part of their final push. Readers won't be surprised to learn that I think this is a foolish move. Not only does it categorically rule out a single market exit strategy, such a policy won't work for Britain as shall become apparent over the next few days.

And the reason it will become apparent is because Ukip made it a central feature of their abysmal general election campaign and now seasoned campaigners know where to find all the countermeasures to it. Intellectually and tactically this is a blunder. If vote leave persists in turning this into a referendum on immigration then it will lose.

But still, Vote Leave being a drag factor on the efforts of leavers is nothing at all new and so we shall just do as we have always done and make our case to those still receptive to different ideas.

And so if we are going to have a conversation about immigration let's get one thing straight. Freedom of movement is not open borders. You can't even begin to discuss policy unless you're getting the terminology right. Eureferendum.com explains.

As it happens I am none too concerned about freedom of movement. I expect if we leave we will keep it because we will stay in the EEA for the foreseeable future. It can be no other way from a practical standpoint. Moreover, I would like to see similar arrangements with Canada and Australia. And that's actually why we should leave. I don't see us getting such a deal while members of the EU.

I think we can have the best of both worlds. We are repeatedly told we cannot have our cake and eat it. Why not? Says who? And if, as the narrative holds it, that freedom of movement is unequivocally good, where is the objection to expanding that successful policy?

But what is absolutely clear, is that we do need a revolution in how we handle the effects of migration and we need more intelligent internationalist policies. Last year we saw a summer of death in the Mediterranean. What was largely under-reported was the equal number of deaths of people traversing the Sahara along with people subject to beatings and rape by people smugglers. We will see the same this year. And then there's a good reason why migrants would risk a sea crossing. The EU has allowed the closure of land routes.

There is a good chance we will see less of it this year though. Not because the problem has gone away but because the EU is getting better at hiding it - which has been an obvious priority for them this year since we are having this referendum. Human Rights Watch reports that the EU is taking some pretty gruesome moral shortcuts to slow migration. Sudan under International Criminal Court suspect Bashir commits countless atrocities yet EU funds its forces to stop the flow of migrants.

And why are they migrating? Well we could start by examining EU foreign policy. Between he grubby fishing deals stitched up by the EU in West Africa - to our eternal shame - and the boneheaded tinkering in African economies, the EU has made a royal mess of Africa.

Meanwhile Greece has been turned into a prison camp for refugees, largely hanging Greece out to dry. This is also the same EU happy to stitch up a a swapsie deal with Turkey while they are flattening Kurdish towns with artillery. And we should probably point how how the EU wrecked Libya without a hint of a reconstruction programme. Libya is routinely described by foreign policy analysts as the EU's own Iraq.

This is only a surface analysis but if you go digging into what the media cannot be bothered to report or even investigate, it makes utter hypocrites of europhiles who style themselves as progressive internationalists. The EU's hands are dripping with blood - not least as consequence of its own neo-imperialist actions in Africa.

If europhiles were half the internationalists they pretend to be they would be well aware of this but like everything else they say, it's just empty rhetoric. They talk about human rights but are willing to turn a blind eye when politically convenient.

We must not allow the Remain camp to take the moral high ground on this. It is the EU's own resistance to reform that means obsolete legal instruments from the last century remain untouched - and that is the reason we will keep counting the dead. The only way we will reform it is by leaving and adding pressure on the EU at the global level. For as long as we remain in the EU we will watch the perpetuation of this murderous policy - and it will be done in our name. Let's call remainers out for what they are. Lying hypocrites.

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