Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An intelligent Labour view on the need to reform EU immigration law

When someone links to a view expressed by a member of an opposing political party, it usually means that the person linked to has gone off-message and attacked their own side. I'll admit that I sometimes link to people who have done this. As Ted Heath once said,

"I do not often attack the Labour party - they do it so well themselves."

However, the piece I'm linking to in this post is not an example.

Kevin Meagher has an article on "Labour Uncut" this week about the current EU migration rules, which is partly a response to the valedictory speech yesterday from outgoing EU Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso. The article is called

 "Blind Defenders of Free Movement sound like US gun nuts."

It is a refreshingly bipartisan (from a British viewpoint) and thought-provoking argument that the modern impact of EU freedom of movement rules is having a much wider and more dramatic impact than was originally intended and that these rules should be reformed.

As he argues convincingly,

"Just like US gun nuts defending their “right to bear arms,” there is a qualitative difference between the original intention and the modern manifestation of this “freedom”. Just as a single-shot musket is not the same thing as an automatic assault rifle, the pace and volume of migration in the EU over the last decade is not what the signatories of the Treaty of Rome and the Single European Act intended, or envisioned ever happening.

Our EU partners need to be reminded of this and David Cameron is absolutely right to seek to do so. And a Labour government will face exactly the same dilemmas, so there is little for Ed Miliband to gain by seeing Cameron fail in his bid to restore some sanity to the free movement regime."

You can read the whole article here.


Jim said...

Free movement of people (one of the 4 main freedoms) is the absolute core of the single market. So we would still face this issue regardless of if we left the EU or not. Leaving the EU will not be an event, it will be more of a process, a process that will take very many years. Step one is to invoke article 50, and its well within our interest to remain part of the single market (the EEA) and the easiest way to do that is to apply to rejoin EFTA. EFTA/EEA was always designed as a "stepping stone" into the EU, though any stepping stone in, serves just as well as a stepping stone out.

The thing that drives all immigration are the push and pull factors, reduce the factors pulling people into the UK from other nations and low and behold less want to come.

Anyone who thinks that leaving the EU will end our immigration woes, is indeed going to be disappointed.

Chris Whiteside said...

I am sure you are right that leaving the EU would not automatically make the issue of immigration an easy one to deal with.

There would still be some very difficult balances to strike.