Friday, 11 March 2011

Doing Nothing Is The New Getting Tough

One of the consequences of the Daily Express' recent 'out of EU' campaign is that, probably inevitably, the Daily Mail appears to have taken a harder stance against the EU itself (perhaps it has realised that EU stories sell papers). Not so long ago, stories on immigration barely mentioned the EU element, not any longer.

Today we have another such story in the Mail, one which has a 'The Tories think we really are stupid' element to it:
The ‘mistake’ of giving millions of new EU citizens immediate rights to work in Britain will not be repeated, Damian Green vowed last night.
Ooooh are the Tories going to get tough on the EU and immigration (are they hell), so how does Damian Green propose to avoid Labour's mistake of letting immigration run riot:
The immigration minister said the toughest possible restrictions...would apply to nations trying to join the union.

They include Turkey, Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Montenegro.

So the possible restrictions only apply to new states; controlling immigration from states who are already members is of course not possible. Even here with new states there's a catch, as the article points out. There is a transitional period where restrictions can be applied, to help limit the initial impact on the Labour market:
The transitional arrangements in the Accession Treaties of 16 April 2003...provide that for the first two years following accession access to the labour markets of the EU Member States that formed part of the EU before the respective accessions will depend on the national law and policy of those Member States. In practical terms, this means that a worker from one of the Member States that acceded is likely to need a work permit.

National measures may be extended for a further period of three years. After that, an EU-Member State that applied national measures can continue to apply such national measures for a further two years if it notifies to the Commission serious disturbances in its labour market.

It's during the transitional period that the Tories intend to impose the strictest possible (what the EU let's us do in other words) restrictions. But then the transitional period expires:

The transitional arrangements cannot extend beyond an absolute maximum of seven years.
Because of course the free movement of workers is a fundamental part of the EU.

So there you have it, the Tories' idea of getting tough, is to do nothing about current EU immigration, and ask the EU commission nicely if we can limit immigration for 7 years from new member states. And when the 7 years expires nothing. So we will be in the same position as under Labour but with a 7 year hiatus instead.

What a deeply insulting and patronising party the Tories are. I think it's time to use a new word in anger that Witterings from Witney has posted about - it's all bollitics.


  1. The Tories idea of 'getting tough on Europe' has always been to talk about getting tough on Europe and do absolutely nothing, or worse, bend over.

    It's all for the consumption of their followers who seem to swallow it time after time and never learn.

    They've got a long history of it.

  2. Thanks for the link TBF, although whilst I would love to claim the kudos of its invention, I cannot.

    It does, however, sum up politics deliciously!