This week, we learned unequivocally that the government is willing to abandon its election pledge to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands in order to remain in the European Union.
The Treasury’s much mocked propaganda exercise this week, which had such manipulated statistics that Gordon Brown would have blushed to produce them, let one very important cat out of the bag.
If we remain in the European Union then we can expect an average of over 200,000 EU migrants per year for the rest of this parliament – Gordon Brown.
It is difficult to believe that this is news to the Treasury and reasonable to assume that they must have known about this information for some time.
Given that no attempt was made in the renegotiation to change the free movement of people then it would have been impossible for the government to meet the Conservative party’s election pledge on immigration numbers.
Even these numbers present a highly optimistic scenario based on current trends.
As a result of the grotesque failure of the euro and the massive levels of youth unemployment in countries like Greece and Spain, we are likely to see ever greater numbers of young Europeans coming to Britain to look for work, joining those who have come in such numbers from countries like Bulgaria and Romania.
Yet the true significance of the abandonment of one of the key pledges on which we, the Conservatives, were re-elected in 2015 is not simply the impact it will have on immigration to the UK and the understandable fury of voters, but what it tells us about the willingness of those who want to remain in the UK to make any concessions necessary, whatever their previous promises.
In short, have we been stitched up? Was the whole renegotiation a sham from start to finish?
The Remain camp has been keen to put as much clear-water between the renegotiation and the referendum campaign as possible and understandably so. We should not allow them that luxury.
In his Bloomberg speech in 2013, which many of us applauded, David Cameron made some bold assertions about future EU direction including that “power must be able to flow back to member states “, that “people feel that the EU is heading in a direction that they never signed up to” and “why can’t we have what we voted to join – a common market”.
Yet the results of the renegotiation produce so little that it resulted in the worst day’s publicity for this government and a huge thumbs down from British voters. (Telegraph)