There was an article of such mendacious delusion by James Forsyth in The Times yesterday that one wonders whether it was drafted in Tufton Street* – it almost certainly was. The facts are very different. Abandoning Freedom of Movement from and to Continental Europe is overwhelmingly negative for Britain.
Twenty-seven sovereign members of the European Union, and two or three others which also benefit from Freedom of Movement, look across the 30 kilometres of water that physically divide us and see again evidence that we’ve taken leave of our senses.
Established working relationships for Brits in continental Europe and for Europeans from these countries here have been shattered by Brexit and by the policies which have been implemented to enforce its xenophobic absurdities.
Forsyth argues that opening our doors to those freeing repression in Hong Kong shows that our immigration policy is now “liberal”. Preposterous nonsense. In the main Hong Kongers worried about the increasing restrictions on their freedoms will look not to perfidious Albion, the once colonial master who let them down, but to welcoming countries like Canada and Australia. The Chinese communities of Vancouver or Melbourne are familiar and offer infinitely better cultural, family and employment options than Little England.
There is ample research to show unequivocally that Brexit was won on the platform of anti immigration prejudice and xenophobia – especially anti Muslim. Lies were told about the threat of Turkish immigration, for example, which hugely helped the Faragist anti Islam cause. It is no exaggeration at all to say that one of the decisive factors in the “Leave” vote was the sexual crimes of Muslims in Rotherham – something with no Europe connection at all.
The mutually beneficial freedom of movement between Britain and our then fellow members of the EU had no downsides at all. At every level – from surgeons to fruit pickers – it worked. And the other way of course. A new generation of young Brits is being denied the opportunities their elder siblings and parents had to travel freely, live and work in thirty European countries. What an utterly bigoted and foolish country we have become.
* Tufton Street (or roads nearby) is the home of nine hard Right “think tanks”. Most have strong links to the Conservative Right. All are pro Brexit and variously anti-immigration and “libertarian”. They are:
- The Adam Smith Institute
- Brexit Central
- The Centre for Policy Studies
- The Global Warming Policy Foundation
- The Institute for Economic Affairs
- Leave means Leave
- The Office of Peter Whittle (The New Culture Forum)
- The Tax Payers’ Alliance
One thought on “Britain’s abandonment of Freedom of Movement from and to Europe was bigoted and foolish”
Agriculture, trade and fishing in Britain are in crisis due to Brexit. Sky News had a piece yesterday about the plight of Daffodil growers in Cornwall. Britain once supplied 95% of Daffodils to Europe and home consumption. Now without freedom of movement farmers cannot get sufficient seasonal workers to come and pick them. The work is too hard in inclement weather for local people and farmers relied on EU labour.
Cornwall now has acres of rotting flowers costing thousands. The government fails to understand that seasonal workers do not want to jump through several bureaucratic hoops and complete paperwork in order to obtain a three-month seasonal work visa in the UK. Much easier to work in Holland or Spain for the same pay.
The amount of paperwork required now for trade exports to Europe is simply not worth the candle.
These are not teething problems as Johnson suggested they are structural obstacles to prosperity. The men and women in Tufton Street have yet to grasp the extent of the damage they have done to their country.