My eye’s recently been caught by a string of stories from Vote Leave, blatantly scaremongering about Turkey. Yet Boris Johnson and Douglas Carswell were both founder-members of Conservative Friends of Turkey, whose aims include to “Lobby in favour of Turkish membership of the EU”: have they had a politically-convenient change of heart?
The messaging has been blunt. The front page of Vote Leave’s web site currently (29 May 2016) leads with “Turkey joining the EU means even more stress on our country”. There have been posters from them saying Turkey is joining the EU, and an infographic on facebook showing a map of Europe with showing the population of Turkey as 77 Million, and an arrow from there to the UK, as if the entire population of Turkey is coming here. That makes UKIP’s wildly exaggerated claims about migration from Romania and Bulgaria a few years back seem moderate.
Resentment at EU restrictions on fishing is leading many in the fishing industry to want to vote out. Their resentment is real, but their conclusion is wrong…
It is a sadly familiar story. The once-thriving British fishing industry now greatly reduced owing to EU fishing quotas, and, adding insult to injury, there are even regulations that require some fish to be thrown back into the sea. A news spot on Radio 4 recently showed Newlyn fishermen firmly behind Brexit. But this is the wrong conclusion: it attacks the EU at the time when the EU is acting to help the situation.
There’s been a persistent claim that EU membership costs the UK £350 Million per week. The snag is that it doesn’t, and the experience of Norway highlights the fact that there would be no big savings to spend elsewhere if we left the EU, but there would be big losses.
The “£350 Million a week” figure for the cost of EU membership has been very persistent. It is even on the livery of the Vote.Leave battlebus (which just happens to be made in Germany). There have been claims that this could be spent on all sorts of things, such as the NHS or British farming. But things are not quite what they seem.
StrongerIN have rightly seized on his words: his actions smack of political opportunism, and sound as if his support for leaving the EU and his personal ambition to become Prime Minister are closely linked.
An immediate riposte is that the mechanisms of the EU do limit the ability of Maverick politicians to play opportunistic games of rabble-rousing. This is no bad thing. People might claim it as undemocratic, but democracy does assume that voters are well-informed and rational: manipulative games also undermine democracy.
But Johnson’s narrative gets the whole thing horribly wrong.
Research at the London School of Economics is suggesting that downward pressure on low wages has come from the fallout of the economic difficulties of 2008 rather than immigration. Although migrants are being blamed, they suggest that migrants have actually helped the situation.
The LSE study, written about in The Guardian is a stark challenge to the view that migrants have been pushing down wages. It shows the Brexit argument against migrants to be very wide of the mark. My reading of this is that the fear is real, but we are in danger of making things worse by reacting out of that fear.