Thursday 21 April 2016

"It would have been unneighbourly"

I thought the following was a particularly interesting section from the second episode of Nick Robinson's Europe: Them or Us

The 'takeaway message' from it (for me) was that it was the Blair government's fault that such huge numbers of new EU citizens flooded into the UK to that Labour government's (apparent) complete surprise. Other EU countries chose not to allow such influxes into their countries - and we could have done the same. Even the Polish government didn't expect us to allow it. So it wasn't the EU's fault; it was our own incompetent government's. 

NICK ROBINSON: The EU would gain 100 million new citizens with new rights to live and travel and work where they liked, with consequences for them, and us too.

NEWSREADER: Poland, early morning October 2004. A group of men are gathering, ready to come to Britain. Last May, their country joined the European Union. Now they have the right to work here. 

POLISH WORKER: I'm happy that I am leaving to work. Work normally, for normal money.

RADEK SIKORSKI, Polish Defence Minister 2005: I was very pleasantly surprised that Britain didn't take advantage of its right to impose a seven-year transitional period. 

JACK STRAW: We got evidence that if we lifted the immediate restrictions on free movement, rather than having a phase-in period of seven years, the net effect on migration to the UK would only be 13,000. 

TONY BLAIR: Here were hundreds of thousands of people, rather than what we thought, so it was a big, big difference. 

NICK ROBINSON: Germany didn't allow Poles and other East Europeans to work in their country for seven years. It was a power Tony Blair's government had, but chose not to use. One of Blair's ministers said, it would have been unneighbourly. 

TONY BLAIR: I personally don't think we have suffered from these people coming in. I think on the contrary. They've come in. They are hard-working, determined, committed people, and have really worked hard in this country. 

JACK STRAW: The research was wrong and our judgement based on the research was heroically wrong. 


  1. would be interesting to know WHOSE research was wrong. And whether those researchers are now involved in predicting what will happen in 2030 if we leave the EU. :) But economists and social researchers walk away from their disasters much like doctors bury their mistakes.

    1. It was apparently a Home Office-commissioned report led by Prof Christian Dustmann.

      It didn't stop him in his tracks though. He was back with that 2014 report claiming that EU immigration has boosted public finances by £20billion.

      And the BBC are still using him. This was from last year, where he was again arguing that a growing immigrant population helps:

      And 'PM' had him on to discuss the 'far-right' protests in Cologne earlier this year. He talked of Mrs Merkel's "generosity". He said he was "very confident" that the EU would sort out the difficulties caused by some "different views" on immigration, particularly from the newer EU countries.

      You obviously can't keep a 'right-thinking' BBC expert down!

  2. Isn't he the guy from the Migration Observatory - the EU funded pro-migration lobby body mascarading as an academic unit?

  3. This is more old news dressed up as revelation. It's more of an attempt to dismiss concerns about rapid, mass immigration by saying, "Yeah, it happened, but it turned out okay."

    I won't have time to watch this until the weekend, and even then I will probably have strong drink at hand.

  4. I'm finally watching this now, and I see that this episode's theme is "It's Thatcher's Fault!" A whole lot of energy placing blame squarely on her shoulders, and painting her in a rather bad light. Nobody said it outright, but the subtext was that Thatcher handled it all badly and was a bit of a hypocrite. Nice touch showing Nigel Lawson describing one speech as xenophobic. It possibly even caused her downfall.

    I find it curious that Robinson's approach is to convince Right-wingers that the EU is not only something conservatives can support (Churchill introduced the vision, what's your problem?), but the two main reasons it might not be as beneficial as possible for Britain are: It's the fault of Little Englanders that Britain wasn't in from the beginning, and Thatcher is to blame for eroding national sovereignty, so conservatives can't really complain about Socialist Europe. Never mind that Eurocrat after Eurocrat featured kept saying that the money paid into the EU isn't really Britain's money, it's theirs.

    Robinson whispered quietly a few times that Labour was also skeptical of Europe, and indeed Corbyn is only faking support now, but the entire documentary rehash sure seems aimed squarely at convincing people on the Right that the problems with the EU aren't what they think.

    PS: Not sure how helpful it was to show William Hague talking about "never again" being half way into a European project they didn't believe in, yet he is now a Remainiac.

    1. I think you're right about this, David, and I'll try and prove it.


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