Weekend round up

Trump and the Republican civil war

art-gop-civil-war-cartoon

As the BBC discussed this week the Republican party is now caught up in a civil war, with the party establishment fighting off the Tea party. Much of the GOP recognise that no matter how popular Trump might appear, all the demographics are against him and ultimately he has only a very slim chance of defeating Hilary. While yes some polls do put him ahead, its always dangerous to read too much into such polls this early in the campaign. The suspicion is that once its set as Hilary v’s Trump and once its broken down on a state by state level, she will pull a good deal ahead. More crucially the GOP is forced to ask, even if we can get him elected, is that a good thing? A ill-mannered egomaniac buffoon who goes around insulting people is simply not a credible candidate for President of the United States.

Events however took a shock turn with governor Chris Christie endorsing Trump. In essence this shows that the GOP faces a sort of “prisoner dilemma”. If they all stick together and oppose Trump they should be able to deny him the nomination (although that risks him running as an independent). But individually it may be in their interests to slither on over to the winning side. Within the next few days and weeks the rest of the GOP will face this choice. Some, notably Cruz, Rubio and Bush will almost certainly opt to avoid any endorsement for the time being, but longer term they might be forced too.

Fox news faces an interesting dilemma. They do not like Trump one bit, largely because he can’t be controlled and is a danger to their interests. He is in essence a Frankenstein monster of their creation which they may have to now destroy…or fire Megan Kelly (who all the same might want to brush up on her resume just in case!). However, backing Hilary would create “issues”. Fox has spent the last twenty odd years portraying her as the wicked witch of the West. So they would have to come out and say “Benghazi, e-mails, whitewater, oh that was all just a pile of BS we put out to distract you while our corporate buddies raided your pension funds”. Well we all know what happened to the boy who cried wolf….he got a job on Fox!

As I see it there are four possible end games to this:

Scenario #1 (the most likely), Hilary trounces Trump in the election, sweeping into power taking control of congress too. Regardless of whether Obama gets his nominee to the Supreme court through, Hilary will do so and likely replace one or two other justice’s during her term. While she doesn’t turn the US into a socialist republic (as Fox would have you believe), she does continue on the policies of Obama, cementing in Obamacare and gets his modest background check rules on guns pushed through. In the fallout that follows the GOP faces inward and in the ensuing political blood bath the party splits.

Scenario #2, Rubio pulls a rabbit out of his butt and manages to beat Trump. Being the egomanic bully that he is, Trump runs as an independent, costing Rubio (who actually has a half decent chance of beating Hilary) the election. In the post mortem that follows, again the GOP implodes and splits.

Scenario #3, Trump, somehow manages to get elected, quickly proves to be dreadful at the job, even worse than James Buchanan, alienates US allies, starts (and loses) an economic war with the likes of China and tries to enact racist national socialist policies which quickly put him on collision course with both Congress and the Supreme court (regardless of who gets Scalia’s job, a vague glance at the constitution says you can’t discriminate against Mexicans or Muslims). He might prove to be so unpopular that democrat leaning states consider temporary (or permanent) succession. In he end, he is removed from office under the terms of the 25th amendment (probably after he attempts to start an actual war with China or Russia!). In the political bloodbath that follows the GOP splits.

Scenario #4, the CIA, NSA, Mossad, FSB, the mob….or whoever does this sort of cloak and dagger stuff in China terminates his campaign “with extreme prejudice” (and I mean way worse than anything that comes out of his mouth). In the wake of this his VC (likely Christy or Palin….now it all starts to make sense!) gets the job….although chances are they’ll take out both of em too just to be sure, in which case Rubio gets the job and probably beats Hilary.

So rather worryingly the only scenario now where the GOP holds it together (and wins the election) involves Trump getting whacked….which I’m hoping his own security are aware of!

The Tory party split

unnamed

And speaking of break ups…. there’s the war within the Tory party. Cameron is now withholding documents from anti-EU cabinet members. This probably makes sense as they’ll inevitably go through said documents and try to put a pro-UKIP spin on it. For example, recent migration figures came out showing a drop in migration rates into the UK, which inevitably the right wing press spun to suggest the opposite was true. However cutting off minsters like this represents a break with protocol.

As one or two of the Sunday newspapers discuss, there is every possibility that the Tory party could split over this referendum. Win or loose, Cameron will almost certainly face a challenge to his leadership. The markets show increasing signs of nervousness. Rating agencies are threatening a downgrade, the G20 warning of a decade of economic limbo for the UK, while Brexit is negotiated (which will not be quick and will leave millions of brit’s stuck in limbo). Meanwhile university leaders are worried about the impact on research funding, while defence chiefs warn that Brexit will put at risk British security.

With the stakes this high, its likely that things will get nasty, particularly as we get close to referendum day. If the result is leave, I can’t see Cameron surviving as PM. While if its stay, I can’s see how his wayward ministers can remain in government. And as the likes of Boris or IDS are unlikely to be happy on the backbenches, its likely the party will split. Cameron may well have just chosen the EU as the hill on which he and his party end up dying on.

Another victim of Tory cuts

Another story people may have missed was Welsh police deliberately running over a dog on the A55. While some of the media did pick up on this, they failed to point out that this dog was in effect another victim of Tory cuts. Normal procedure for dealing with a stray animal on the road is to form a rolling blockade, bring traffic to a stop, deal with the animal and then restart traffic.

However, this process is costly and both council and police budgets have come under strain recently. I recall pointing out some time ago how police and councils were trying to get the victims of traffic accidents to pay for the costs associated with the aftermath of an accident (even if it wasn’t the drivers fault!). Of course, this is a dangerous thing to do as it simply encourages people who get into difficulty to not call the police and opt for a “big society” solution (a BBC reporter mentions how she ended up facing the wrong way on the hard shoulder after a skid on some oil and wisely called the police to help her turn around safely….which she then got billed for!). Obviously this increases the risk of accidents, which is precisely why they shouldn’t be doing this!

Similarly the advice now to dog owners is, if your dog gets loose on the road, don’t call the police, they’ll just run him over. Instead, go out onto an active motorway and try to retrieve the dog yourself. Yes, you’ll probably cause a pileup, but at least you’ll save Osborne a few bob.

So when you hear Osborne and Cameron talking about the need to find “inventive” ways to save on government spending, this is what they are talking about.

Irish Election results – populists dodging responsibly

110941143-c840b9e4-c018-404e-aa10-5547698cab0c

Understanding Irish politics

The results of the Irish election show a resounding defeat for the Irish labour party. This is not really a surprise, much like the Tories operation liberal shield, its inevitable the smaller party will suffer worst in a situation where a government pursues unpopular policies. Despite the austerity, its likely Fine Gael will still be the largest party, although they won’t have enough votes, even if we include the obvious candidates, to form a coalition government.

This raises the question that has been asked since the start of the campaign. Will Fianna Fail go for a coalition with Sinn Fein? Certainly the party blamed for causing the recession had a remarkably good showing (perhaps showing how short forgetful many people are!). Sinn Fein say they are ruling out any coalition. This is not surprising given that as a party of protest, they’ll quickly lose support if they ever have to live up to the wild promises they’ve been making. But if a party isn’t prepared to go into government, what’s the point of voting for them? They can oppose the government for free by standing outside the Dail with a placard! Why do we need to pay them a salary to do this inside the house?

But the alternative to stopping Sinn Fein would be an unholy alliance between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. The question is, will this just prove to be a bridge too far? Its possible Fine Gale will pull together enough independents to form a minority government, however a quick review of the results suggests that this is likely impossible. Most of the independents are running on an anti-government or anti-austernity platform and clearly will not go into government. Even adding all of them together, one struggles to come up with a majority.

Clearly, FF know have decided not a good time to be in government (lots of unpopular decisions will need to be made and they don’t want to renege on promises that quite frankly they should never have made) and like SF (who’ve spent the last five years just make all sorts of wild promises) they are seeking to dodge responsibility, likely meaning a hung parliament. An early election is a real possibility. But again, if FF (or SF) aren’t prepared to go into government, what’s the point of voting for them? Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks.

Advertisements

Public asked to settle Tory internal feud

Cartoon-by-David-Simonds.-009

So the referendum is on and battle lines are drawn….. within the Tory party! We can expect a vast level of drivel over the next few weeks.

For example, I was planning on doing a sweepstake to see how long before the “Vote Leave” group (who portray themselves as more intellectual less bigoted version of the UKIP raving loony brigade) would take to play the race card. Well it took them less than 24 hrs, with IDS claiming that being in the EU raises the risk of a Paris style attack on the UK. Clearly this was meant to imply “get out Europe before more darkies get in”.

However I would point out that the Europe is an overwhelmingly Christian continent and the vast bulk of migrants and visitors from the EU are Christian. Indeed the demographics of the UK have a larger proportion of Muslims than the EU. Furthermore the vast majority of Muslims are not linked to terrorism. As Peter Sutherland recently pointed out (in relation to the US), of the 780,000 Muslims taken in by the US since 9/11 only 3 have engaged in any form of terrorism (and one of them was white and the other two could have been stopped by harsher gun laws!).

So this raises the question did Cameron do enough. My view is he shouldn’t have bothered and the rest of the EU should have told him to feck off. Clearly against BS like the example above there is very little he can do to counter this and convince the morons who read tabloids. The leave campaign will be fought with half baked myths and outright lies and its very difficult to win a fight against an opponent who constantly talks bollix.

Much of his “reforms amounted to statements of the blindingly obvious, e.g. that the UK would not be forced to join the Euro (ya! Sure that was always a risk! And in any event there would have to be a referendum, same as there was in every other country that joined the Euro). Or that UK would be forced to accept further EU integration (all EU treaties are passed by unanimous agreement of all member states, and most hold referendums internally to endorse such measures, this was never a risk!).

Only someone who went through EU treaties with a copy of the Daily Mail in hand would believe any of these measures were actually necessary. I mean while he was at it, why didn’t he secure an assurance that all pensioners won’t be required by Brussels to buy an EU approved dildo or butt plug and have them permanently inserted where the sun don’t shine. I mean what if they EU brings in a rule requiring that, what protection do we have?

Jokes aside, the one substantial reform was on benefits. And I would still question whether this is legal as it stinks of discrimination. Its entirely possible it will fall foul of the European or UK courts at some point in the future. And what’s to stop other EU states applying reverse discrimination to UK citizens, such as pensioners in Spain? My guess is, as part of the deal this is in the pipeline, on condition that the other EU states wait to spring that surprise after the referendum.

Also there’s the matter of implementing it. The UK benefit’s IT system is already struggling to cope with the universal credit system, this additional complication will make matters worse and it will inevitably cost money. Indeed, it is reasonable to assume it will cost more money to implement these changes than will be saved by denying a tiny number of migrants some benefits. My guess is that the first labour or lib dem government in power will quickly drop these measures for simple reasons of cost efficiency.

The dangers of Appeasement

Let us be clear, this was not a “renegotiation” of the UK’s EU membership, it was a hostage taking. In which Cameron walked into Brussels and threatened to cut his own throat unless they gave him what he wanted. Amusing as it would be to let him go ahead and do this, the EU has bigger fish to right now (Putin, Syria, Greece, a possible lunatic tea party nut in the white house)…and he might get blood on the carpet and then they’d need to have an argument about who was going to clean up the mess.

However this act of appeasement was very dangerous, as history tells us that appeasement of an aggressor simply makes them come back for more. Already the no camp is using this to argue that they’ll get an even better deal out of Brussels if they vote to leave. Of course they won’t, the EU will have every incentive to hold the UK’s feet to the flames, as the Greeks found out a few months back. And further along the line, its likely other euroskeptic parties in other countries will also now demand a “renegotiation”, resulting in changes to the EU that the UK doesn’t want.

So all in all, I’d say this was a massive mistake by the EU and for Cameron. His government has blundered from one self inflicted crisis to the next and so far he’s been lucky. I wonder if his luck is about to run out, as there is every chance that this referendum could break the Tory party. And the blame for that will lie squarely with him.

Blonde ambition

Boris Johnson’s stage managed defection to the no camp was clearly based more on his ambitions to become PM than his political leanings. If the country vote’s to leave Cameron’s goose is likely to be cooked and with his economic plans in tatters I suspect Osborne will throw his toys out the pram and return to his coffin to regenerate. However, as Johnson’s own father pointed out, it could well be a career ending decision if the Tory party splits and he ends up head of some sort of UKIP lite party (like UKIP but with 25% less racism!).

Also one has to ask, would it actually be a good idea to be PM in the event of Brexit? As recent drops in the value of Sterling should foretell, there will be an expensive post-Brexit economic correction, probably a recession and whoever is PM will likely get the blame, as it will be all to obvious that it was the “leave” campaign who was responsible. Scotland will likely become independent (bringing the UK to an end) and hence his reign as PM is likely to be short and painful, as come the next election labour will likely win (even if labour hasn’t replaced Corybn with someone like Benn or Burnham they still have a chance in such circumstances).

The fact remains Cameron should never have agreed to this referendum, which was purely an exercise in solving an internal battle within the Tory party, which could have been solved much more easily by telling them all to stop reading the tabloids.

Weekend blogging catchup

Rumble in the EU Jungle

pg-29-calais-2-ap

Coming to a field in Surrey?

David Cameron suggested this week that the current border arrangements with France could be rescinded in the event of a vote to leave the EU. This would mean migrants won’t meet a UK border guard until they were across the channel and thus they would become the UK’s problem and not France. As a result he was accused of scaremongering. While this may be true to some degree, but I think the key point missed in this debate was that a vote to leave the EU will have implications well beyond EU treaties.

In essence if the UK votes to leave, all bets are off. Many of the treaties and agreements the UK has signed with its neighbours, allies and trading partners over the last fifty years (relating to migration, defence, trade, etc.) were negotiated on the basis that the UK was a member of the EU. Inevitably they will have to be renegotiated and it is very unlikely the UK will get such a good a deal as a non-EU member. The US for example has made it clear that a vote to leave the EU will invalidate current trade treaties between the UK and the US. A UK of 60 million simply will not get as good a deal as an EU of 500 million.

One could draw a parallel with the Scottish independence debate. The SNP and the Tories both thought they would have each other over the same barrel in the event of a Yes vote. In truth compromise would be necessary. The idea that the Scot’s could share the pound was always absurd, as was the notion that they could gain independence or EU membership according to such an aggressive timetable as put forward by the SNP. Equally however, the rUK could not afford to antagonise a now independent country who controlled most of the Britain’s fossil fuels, water and renewable electricity supply….not unless they fancied going through a winter without heating and electricity!

So similarly, there will have to be some negotiation in the event of Brexit. The only difference is that the EU (or the US, or China) will very firmly have the UK over a barrel, with the UK holding very few if any cards. The UK will need to establish trade deals and do so quickly or risk mass capital flight out of the country. Indeed, speaking of energy, the generally UK imports more gas from pipelines cross the Channel than it sends the other way and electrical imports from France are critical to balancing the grid in southern England. Inevitably, on many issues that come up the UK will probably have to make most of the concessions. Not least because the EU (and in particular the French) will have various “nuclear” options with which they can use to very quickly bring the UK to heel (withdrawing passport controls at Calais being one of those).

Another flash point is Northern Ireland. The good Friday agreement only works because there’s an open border. The minute you put in border controls, it breaks down, it would have to be re-negotiated and my guess is that Sinn Fein will probably demand a border poll as the price for even starting such negotiations. And maintaining an open border means that all a migrant needs to do is hop on a plane to Dublin (and Ryanair do direct flights from Sofia or Marrakech to Dublin for around 30 euro, Turkish Airlines fly’s direct Dublin to Ankara, although ticket prices are a little higher), get on a bus (and there are buses outside Dublin airport direct to Belfast) and you’re across the border and into the UK.

Then of course there’s the issue of NATO. There are many who would argue that the EU is the glue that joins NATO together. Of the European nations in NATO only two, Iceland and Norway. are not members of the EU. And both are part of the Schengen area and have free trade agreements with the EU (quite unlike the sort of arrangements UKIP want, both agree to the imposition of EU legislation to maintain their trading status with the EU), plus they have very specific reasons for being in NATO (i.e. they are vulnerable to invasion and lack the means to defend themselves). Given events in the US (i.e. if a loon like Trump or a leftie like Bernie Sanders became president) if NATO starts taking a more Europe led approach, it is by no means guaranteed that the UK can remain a member of NATO.

The problem is that UKIP seem to think that they’ll get everything their own way, they can keep all of the current agreements and be lavished with gifts. They will often try to claim that the EU has more to lose than the UK, even thought in reality the complete opposite is true.

Dr C*nt and the Medics

_86751959_86644041

Tory smugness drone Jeremy Hcunt has a problem with his junior doctors, whom he is now at war with. It would seem that the doctors think that working 18 hour shifts seven days a week might endanger patient safety. But what would they know, its not as if they’ve got medical degrees or something….oh, wait, apparently they do!

Also it would seem they are a tad upset as it would seem they’d signed these things called “contracts” a few years ago, which my dictionary tells me is merely “A bidding agreement which is legally enforceable”. Unfortunately, the doctors should have perhaps read the Ferengi rules of acquisition (number 17) which states “A contract is a contract is a contract… but only between Ferengi”….or perhaps between Tories!

Also it would appear that our Mr Hcunt is unfamiliar with this thing called “capitalism”. There is plenty of demand for doctors overseas, or in Scotland (where these new contracts don’t apply) and it would be all too easy for any doctors who don’t like these contracts to simply leave and go overseas, after the NHS spending all the money it costs to train them in the first place. And with the sort of tight border controls the bigot brigade are demanding its doubtful enough replacements can be drafted in from overseas to replace them. In short, the NHS in England is being set up to fail….

…which beg’s the question, is this the whole point of the this doctor’s strike? The Tories, who don’t use the NHS (they all have private health care) want it to fail so that they can privatise it, same way they did with the UK’s energy market and railways under Thatcher.

US election – why Rand Paul’s plight tells us a lot

high-ground-600-la

In the US primary races the democrats Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton are neck and neck. As one commentator puts itBernie is a bit fuzzy on historical events since Woodstock” . Meanwhile the Republican battle is dominated by Trump and Cruz (a Canadian visitor who seems to think he should be president). Several candidates lagging in the polls have dropped out. Unusually one of these was the libertarian Rand Paul. His father tended to perform reasonably well attracting a near cult like following. But this time the Paulestinians seem to have deserted Rand Paul. This begs the question why?

Rand-and-the-GOP

I would argue the reason why was that it was always myth that a large chuck of the republicans subscribed to libertarianism. As I’ve discussed in the past, if anything right wing parties like the Republicans are the ideological enemies of libertarians, as many Republican’s, and in particular those in the Tea Party, advocate big government and authoritarian policies.

For example, immigration, which many Republicans want to stop. However this means the state putting a guy at the border checking people’s papers are in order, faceless bureaucrats centrally planning the economy (by deciding how many should be allowed in) and employers facing government interference in who they hire (e.g. don’t hire this young fellow from Poland with a degree and relevant experience, no you have to take Bob from the job centre down the road who likes to sniff glue and was sacked from his last job for laziness). Similarly the GOP wants to allow intrusive government surveillance of the sort that we’re more familiar reading about in 1984. The fact is, the GOP is not a libertarian friendly party, this is why the US has a separate libertarian party.

So why were all those Tea baggers flocking to Rand or Ron Paul in previous elections? Well it might have something to do with dog whistle politics. Often both Paul’s would say things that sounded a little bit racist, such as wanted to repeal equality laws or expressing support for the Confederates in the Civil war on the basis of “state rights”. Now both claimed that no, they weren’t being racist, it just this is how they interpreted these issues from a libertarian prospective. I would argue however, that what was actually happening was that the many racists in the GOP were decoding these speeches as a nod and a wink from the Paul’s along the lines of “we don’t like Nig%ers neither”.

Obviously once such individuals were presented with an actual racist to vote for (two of them in fact), they quickly switched support to Trump or Cruz and Rand Paul found his base evaporating. This theory would also serve to explain why many of the other Republicans are struggling in the polls. Many of them try to tap into this “small government” Tea Party types by talking about downscaling the government by cutting X number of departments (then forgetting how many they planned to cut). However, they don’t seem to understand that very few Americans actually want this, its the racist code words that some are reacting too.

The fact is that they two candidates leading the polls are very much big government national socialists. While Cruz or Trump might cut back some parts of the state (the bit that does important things like rescue people from hurricanes or provides medical care to wounded veterans), in reality they are running on a ticket of expanding government, with more surveillance and government powers, more FBI/CIA agents, more border guards and with bans on gay marriage or abortion. In short Trump and Cruz want a US government that is so big and so authoritarian it is allowed to come into your home, up the stairs and dictate what consenting adults can do in private.

All this is very worrying. Two decades of Fox News lies has created a Frankenstein monster that is now out of control, much as how similar Daily Mail bigotry in the UK now threatens the very survival of the United Kingdom (given the very real possibility of the UK breaking up if the UK votes to leave the EU).

If there are any nuclear options for the grandee’s of the GOP to play, now is the time. I would advocate all of the established candidates pulling out and endorsing one of their own (likely Kaisch or Rubio) as the challenger to the Tea Party candidates. Furthermore they should make it clear that if their guy loses to Trump or Cruz they will all leave the party and either endorse Hilary or Michael Blomberg as well as handing them control of all of the GOP superpac’s, all but guaranteeing the Tea Party candidate will lose and lose badly.

Irish Election – A fight in more ways than one

a1CaojOEeXIAALzrW

A bit of a boob from Sinn Fein!

One has to contrast events in the US with those in Ireland. An election was announced on the 6th of February with polling day on the 26th. A twenty day campaign, although the country has been in defacto election mode for a month or two now. Even so compare that with the two years of campaigning in the US. American doesn’t have a democracy, they have an elaborate system where you pile more and more money onto a weighting scales and the one who says the dumbest things and has the biggest pile wins. No wonder Trump is out in front!

Of course its not that we don’t have problems of our own in Ireland. They’re called “Sinn Fein”. Like many populists parties they’ve been promising everything under the sun. Abolition of water charges and other unpopular austerity measures, 100,000 new homes…while at the same time cutting taxes. They’re even promising an extra holiday! It is a manifesto that only appeals to those who are poor at maths…. which unfortunately appears to be about a fifth of the electorate. The other parties have all vowed not to form a coalition with Sinn Fein, even if they have to go to the polls again or enter into a grand coalition (that said, I won’t be surprised if one of them reneges on that after election day). A grand coalition is a possibility as its likely the Irish labour party are likely to go the way of the lib dems (inevitably blamed for everything the past coalition did, even tho it was the other bigger parties idea in the first place).

And it is for good reason that Sinn Fein should be kept from power as there has been a spate of recent murders in Ireland, which are believed to be linked to fighting between republican controlled gangs with SF or IRA links. In most countries politicians say I’m not a crook. SF politicians have to say, well I’m not a crook any more and I forget where my victims are buried.

Judge Scalia no more

Tom the Dancing Bug

One of the most right-wing and outspoken of the US supreme court judges, Judge Scalia died in his sleep on Saturday. This is quite a significant event, as it provides Obama with the opportunity to change the balance of the Supreme court towards a more liberal view point.

That said, Scalia was so far to the right, you could put G. W. Bush on the Supreme court and it would still pull the court to the left. He was so far too the right that he was treated as a cartoon figure by some comedians. This is the guy who allowed the US Supreme court to ignore the “well regulated” bit of the 2nd amendment and effectively decide it meant “no regulation” of guns. He recently voted against Obama’s climate change mitigation plans, which has the potential to all but guarantee that Florida drowns. Quite apart from handing the US presidency to Bush, even though Gore had clearly won the most votes (minor pesky detail that!).

Anyway, needless to say, the GOP nominee’s aren’t seeing the funny side of it and are suggesting that Obama should not appoint a replacement (even thought its entirely within his right, the Constitution makes no mention of any pause in election years, indeed it seems to imply he should do so promptly). The Republicans have threatened to fight it right the way through Congress….of course they’d never dream of replacing a Supreme court justice in a presidential election year…of course Bush did this very thing in 2009…and Reagan did in 1988…..

Cameron’s EU window dressing

window-boxes

David Cameron claims he’s close to getting the other EU states to agree to an “emergency brake” on benefit payments. He seems to think this will win him the EU vote that he must surely regret agreeing too. Clearly he’s not reading the same newspaper headlines I’m reading, because almost nobody else seems to think that these “reforms” will effect the outcome of the referendum.

Let us analyse what’s proposed. He claims that the other EU states will allow him to stop benefit payments if he can prove the country is being “overwhelmed”. Well given that the vast majority of EU migrants work and pay taxes and the amount spent on them is tiny compared to what the country pulls in when they pay tax, it would take some doing for him to be able to argue this and get all the EU countries to agree in future to let him apply “the brake”.

Indeed the latest draft suggests “the brake” will be applied straight after the referendum for four years, then presumably withdrawn when it becomes obvious that most of those it would effect are simply finding ways around it (e.g. lie and claim you’ve been here for 4 years with a few easily faked utility bills, getting a British passport or simply stop paying tax (as one of the main benefits to be effected will be tax credits)) and the fall in tax revenue and greater spending on benefits fraud means its costing more than it saves.

Also there’s the small matter of the courts, both those in Strasbourg or London, who could well decide that such a “brake” was illegal. The recent ruling regarding the bedroom tax being a case in point. It’s very likely that sometime before those four years are up that it will have been stopped by the courts. Also, as I’ve pointed out before, what about non-doms? Is Cameron really suggesting that a billionaire non-dom should pay very little tax because he doesn’t use the UK’s social welfare system, but a Polish builder who also isn’t allowed to use it does have to pay tax.

So in essence and much as I predicted a couple of years ago, Cameron is trying to get something that will be utterly meaningless and impossible to actually implement. But he’s counting on holding the referendum before the UKIP bigot brigade smell a rat and realise they’ve been had. His actions are predictable because its quite clear has neither he, nor his advisers have any clue how the EU works, nor have they even bothered to read any recent EU treaties.

The are many arguments for leaving the EU, although most of them simply don’t add up. Hence, why the “out” campaign plan on stoking people’s fears over Islam and plan to fight the referendum over the issue of non-EU migrants in Calais. And on that point, its worth remembering that much of the immigration debate relates to non-EU migrants. Of course I’d argue that if there’s one thing that demonstrates why we need an EU its the recent refugee crisis. This crisis is a crisis because migrants and refugees have been exploiting the Schengen passport free zone (which is not an exclusively EU idea, Norway and Switzerland). But a lack of co-operation by EU states (largely because many governments, including the UK, are playing a game of beggar thy neighbour to avoid having to do anything that might upset the bigot brigade back home) has prevented them from resolving the crisis.

If the UK left the EU, then the rest of the EU would have even less of an incentive than they already have to do anything. I could envisage Hungary and Greece organizing shuttle buses directly to the channel ports (with the French withdrawing all security from the tunnel) in the hope that they’ll abscond and become Britain’s problem and not the EU’s. And there will be nothing to stop the desperate from simply using other tactics to get in the country…such as simply buying an airplane ticket or smuggling themselves in on a freighter.

And a study by the LSE suggests that leaving the EU would increase the influx of non-Europeans into the UK (i.e. more scary Muslims, Africans and Asians to put that in Bigot speak). This is not surprising given that the economic pressure put on the UK economy by leaving would mean the country would have to maintain a liberal immigration policy, or risk curbing economic growth and falling quickly behind the rest of Europe.

Ultimately if Cameron wants to win this vote, he needs to confront the bigot brigade within his own party and insist that any referendum is fought on the genuine issues of whether the UK is better off in or out. I would even go so far as threatening to cancel the referendum if any of them so much as mentions the word “migrant”. Of course that would require Cameron himself to be honest and not trying to con the public.