David Cameron has been promising for years that the Tories would get net immigration down into the tens of thousands whilst every year it goes up and up with net immigration for the 12 months to quarter three of this year standing at 336,000 people. Knowing that it is impossible to prevent unlimited immigration from the EU without leaving, Cameron decided that discouraging EU immigrants coming here for work by removing their right to in-work benefits whilst leaving full access to benefits for unemployed EU immigrants would be just as effective as removing the rights of nearly half a billion citizens of EU member states to live here.
Philip Hammond has told a meeting of EU foreign ministers that the British government is ready to drop Cameron's "demand" for restricting benefits if they can suggest something else equally ineffectual that they can mislead voters into believing is in our interests for long enough to get them to vote to stay in the EU:
We haven’t heard any alternative suggestions that will deliver the same effect [remove benefits from working immigrants but not unemployment benefits, child tax credit, child benefit, council tax rebate, housing benefit, disability benefit, sickness benefit, maternity benefit, etc] in a different way.Compromising on a compromise that would, at best, result in a compromise on the compromised compromise is so pathetically weak that it's embarrassing.
But we have made very clear if people have other ideas that will deliver on this very important agenda for British people we are absolutely prepared to listen to them and we are prepared to enter into a dialogue about them, but at the moment the only proposition on the table is our four-year proposal.
David Cameron's spokesman responded to Boris Johnson's pronouncement that the UK should seek a Danish-style opt-out on EU immigration by incorrectly claiming that Denmark's opt-out is on the "niche" issue of restrictions on second home ownership. Denmark actually has permanent and automatic opt-outs on adoption of the €uro, defence, justice and home affairs and EU citizenship. Securing such an opt-out (which has already been ruled out) would require treaty change (which has also been ruled out).
There is only one way to limit EU immigration and that is to leave the EU and introduce a fair and unbiased points-based system like the one they use in Australia that doesn't discriminate against people because of their nationality.
|Image credit: Guido|