The election, as I blogged here, was dominated by the 'I' word - immigration. The subject came up in the leaders' debates and Tory party activists were so overwhelmed on the doorstep, they urged Tory HQ to up its priority in their election strategy.
Cameron had promised to get tough:
The coalition introduced a cap in June, but obviously only for non-EU immigrants. So what, one wonders, is David Cameron going to try to do to avoid the population hitting his target of 70 million*, given that we cannot control our borders within the EU? Well today we have the answer. He wants another country to join the EU as soon as possible, thus giving another 75 million extra people the right to settle in the UK:
Saying he opposed a rise in immigration which would take the population above 70 million, Mr Cameron said that limits needed to be imposed to ensure public services did not become overwhelmed.“In the last decade, net immigration in some years has been sort of 200,000, so implying a 2 million increase over a decade, which I think is too much.
We would like to see net immigration in the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands. I don’t think that’s unrealistic.
That’s the sort of figure it was in the 1990s and I think we should see that again.
I’m in favour of immigration, we’ve benefited from immigration, but I think the pressures – particularly on our public services – have been very great."
David Cameron has promised to "fight" for Turkey's membership of the European Union, saying he is "angry" at the slow pace of negotiations.Cameron could impose immigration restrictions on new members, but these can only last for a maximum of 7 years. So unless he's prepared to tear up the basic EU principle of free movement of labour (no chance) then he's clearly committed to more immigration. So much for pre-election promises.
A European Union without Turkey at its heart was "not stronger but weaker... not more secure but less... not richer but poorer".
Mr Cameron added: "I'm here to make the case for Turkey's membership of the EU. And to fight for it."
And if Cameron wants a glimpse of what Turkish immigration to the UK may look like, he may want to consider this article, which reports that German police have been forced to bring in Turkish Police to patrol their streets in areas of Turkish immigrants:
The police union for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) stunned Germans this week when it announced it would bring policemen from Turkey to help patrol the turbulent streets of some immigrant neighbourhoods in NRW cities. With this announcement, the state’s police administration is admitting domestic police forces can no longer handle violent Turkish and other youths of immigrant backgrounds inhabiting these quarters.Which may partially account for Germany's 'double standards' over Turkey membership:
“It can’t go on like this any longer,” said the union’s chairman, Erich Rettinghaus, in the German national newspaper, Die Welt. “Perhaps it is a good measure. One should try it out. The new NRW Interior Minister is from Duisburg and knows the problems.” According to Die Welt, the Turkish police would patrol the immigrant Turkish areas in their own uniforms together with German policemen.
[Cameron] accused ...Berlin of double standards for expecting Ankara to guard Europe's borders as a Nato member while closing the door to EU membership.Cameron is right in that sense, Turkey is a democratic state; and by being outside of the EU it will remain one.
The prime minister [said] that Turkey must be made to feel welcome in Europe because it is a secular and democratic state.
*It's worth noting that the magic 70 million figure is based upon a projection by the Office for National Statistics, of what would happen by 2029 if the peak of migration to Britain between 2005 and 2008 were sustained every year for the next 20 years. This would require a new Poland joining the EU every three years. Unlikely but with Cameron as PM who knows?