Despite the sneers of the MSM pundits, a real tsunami of migrants and “benefit tourists” from Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia — not just Romania and Bulgaria — threatens Britain, thanks to ongoing Labor and Tory policies on social benefits and EU membership.
The Progressive choir among the chattering classes in Europe and the United States has been chortling triumphantly about the failure of a massive flood of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria to materialize at airports in the United Kingdom on January 1. The BBC, The Guardian, The Mirror, The Economist, the New York Times, and the other usual members of the establishment media cartel were filled with stories, editorials, and commentaries claiming that the absence of an immense invasion of migrants on the first day of 2014 proved that widely expressed fears of huge waves of aliens were hysterical fantasies inspired by xenophobia and racism.
However, the critics of the expanded European Union immigration policies have not claimed that the January 1 date itself would necessarily produce immediate huge numbers of new immigrants pouring into the country; rather they have pointed out that large numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians have already entered and that many more of the nearly 30 million inhabitants of these two EU members — among Europe’s poorest — are certain to follow, unless action is taken to restrict entry.
When Bulgaria and Romania were admitted to the European Union in 2007, their citizens gained the right to visa-free travel throughout the EU. However, the U.K. was one of nine EU member countries that placed a seven-year restriction barring citizens from the two countries from coming to work or applying for benefits. They have been allowed to work in the U.K. only if they are self-employed or are filling a position for which no British worker is available. At least, that’s how it was supposed to work. But a considerable multitude of Romanians and Bulgarians found ways around those restrictions. Although concerns about the social and economic impacts of the migrants have sparked heated debate in the other eight countries as well (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, and Spain), the fiercest political battling has been in Britain, which has experienced the heaviest influxes from Bulgaria and Romania, as well as from other poor EU countries, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, thanks to the U.K.’s generous welfare payments, housing assistance, income support, healthcare, and other state benefits.
New Lies for Old
The sneers and jeers from the Labour Party and the Progressive media choir are not likely to play well with average Brits; neither are the assurances from the same sources likely to be believed that the potential migrant flood is nothing to worry about. British voters remember well the same arguments and promises that the Labour government of Tony Blair made with the European enlargement of 2004, when eight former communist countries (Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) were admitted to the EU. The Blair government predicted that only 13,000 migrants per year would come to Britain from the new accession states. In 2007, the government was forced to admit that it had wildly underestimated and that actually 683,000 migrants had come since 2004.
Moreover, it also had to admit that it had grossly misrepresented the facts about foreign nationals taking British jobs. It had “miscounted” in an earlier report that stated only 800,000 foreign workers had gained jobs in England since 1997; the real total was considerably higher: 1.1 million. Somehow, the bureaucrats at the Office of National Statistics had failed to add in a column of 300,000! This meant that foreigners had taken 40 percent of the 2.7 million jobs created during the decade from 1997-2007. Whether due to incompetency or mendacity, the repeated “miscounts” and wildly wrong miscalculations, estimates, and promises regarding EU migration have destroyed British trust in the politicians. With Britain still mired in an economic recession and with high unemployment levels, especially among young people, most British voters do not look favorably on another influx of low-skilled, low-paid, EU migrants.
EU migration, and British dissatisfaction with the EU in general, played a major part in the rejection of continued Labour Party rule in 2010 and the election of the Conservative Party’s David Cameron as prime minister. Over the past couple of years, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has repeatedly offered public mea culpas for having “gotten it wrong” on immigration, and has again and again promised that Labour can now be trusted to get it right. Voters are not likely to buy it.
However, Cameron has his own credibility problem on this issue. With the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and his own Conservative Party attacking his support for the EU, EU enlargement, and EU migration, David Cameron has been making speeches and writing op-eds aimed at convincing a wide swath of doubting voters that he truly cares about British sovereignty and the devastating effects of uncontrolled EU migration. But many of those same voters well remember Cameron’s infamous bait and switch on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. After posing as a Eurosceptic and promising he would hold a national referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Cameron did a 180-degree flip and refused voters the right to turn down the treaty that transferred huge new powers to the EU.
On November 27, William Dartmouth, a member of the European Parliament for the UKIP, responded in the Financial Times to an earlier op-ed in the paper by Cameron in which the prime minister attempted to strike a hardline pose on EU migration.
Sir, With reference to David Cameron’s article “Free movement within Europe needs to be less free” (November 27): the Conservative party manifesto for the last European election in 2009 stated: “Our MEPs will support the further enlargement of the EU, including to Ukraine, Belarus, Turkey, Georgia and the countries of the Balkans, if they wish to achieve EU membership, however distant that prospect may be in some cases.”
Does Cameron’s article mean that these reckless policies — in their present form — have been formally and publicly repudiated?
Unfortunately, Cameron’s newfound attachment to national sovereignty and sensible immigration is likely nothing more than political rhetoric intended for damage control. His anti-EU statements are aimed at stopping his losses in the 2014 local elections and elections for members of the European Parliament, as well as the 2015 general elections.
Other countries that are holding talks with Brussels to join the EU include Turkey, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. In the past, Cameron has repeatedly endorsed the widest possible expansion of the EU and full migration rights for the new members. Cameron’s all-out support for Turkey’s membership in the EU is particularly likely to come home to bite him. With nearly 80 million poor Muslims in Turkey, its EU accession would guarantee continuous waves of mass migration.
In December, Ankara and Brussels reached a new milestone in Turkey’s stalled EU accession, with Brussels agreeing to allow Turkish citizens to enjoy visa-free travel throughout the EU within three-and-a-half years. For its part, Turkey agreed to permit the EU to send back illegal immigrants who enter the EU from Turkish territories. This will, supposedly, provide some solution to the problem posed by Turkey as an established major conduit for illegal migration into Europe from Africa and the Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, and Syria. But it is a very lopsided tradeoff at best.
The history of widespread visa-free travel abuses within the EU by “benefit tourists” and those who illegally stay and work has become a major issue throughout Europe, and especially in the United Kingdom. A much-heralded report by the EU that purported to prove there was no significant problem with benefit tourism has been shown to have been a purely pro-immigration paid propaganda piece masquerading as impartial research.
Like John McCain, George W. Bush, and other Republican leaders in the United States, Prime Minister Cameron and other Conservative Party establishment candidates have tactically “moved to the right” on immigration for election purposes, but can be counted on to reverse direction and return to their pro-EU integration course, if they succeed in fooling the voters once again.