The scale of Channel migration continues to grow. While those on the Left have been outraged at conditions at a centre in Manston, the more concerning trend is the surge of Albanian male migrants – whose applications for asylum tend to be overwhelmingly rejected, with the success rate for last year running at a mere 14% (misinterpreted by the BBC). A Commons Select Committee was told that the UK had now received about 1% of Albania’s working age male population – an astonishing statistic. At the same time 90% of asylum applications from Albanian women and children are granted – why?
Overall, the UK asylum regime is vastly more generous than the French. Successful asylum applications in the UK have risen from 24% in 2018 to 73% for men last year (females rose from 40% to 80%). A major reason is that on leaving the EU’s Dublin convention in 2021, UK courts no longer reject applications because they arrive from another EU country.
Channel migrant numbers are projected to reach 50,000 by the end of the year, vastly more than last year. The Conservatives’ failure to address this problem not only betrays the concerns of the electorate to reduce immigration, but represents an abject capitulation to the left-wing establishment and campaign groups whose support they will never enjoy.
Gunpowder Treason against campaign promises?
Other Brexit opportunities continue to be squandered. In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionist Party has called for the triggering of Article 16. This is a significant step, as the UUP has previously withheld from supporting the more revisionist positions of the DUP and TUV. Meanwhile the Secretary of State for NI is delaying his legal obligation to call a new election as long as possible. It remains possible that legislation may be introduced to cancel the obligation as the Irish government wishes.
Meanwhile, in food regulation Britain threatens to become even more restrictive than the EU – and Briefings contributor Catherine McBride highlights how needless protectionism makes mutually-beneficial trade deals with the rest of the world harder. The renewed moratorium on fracking and questions over the future of nuclear investment represent yet further failures on the strategic energy policy front.
The US has its mid-term elections this week. The polls are tight – the national climate favours Republicans, but several of the states in contention are more favourable for Democrats. The backlash against new restrictions on abortion are now less important to US voters than the high rate of inflation.
Taking a grimmer turn in an already grim conflict
Elsewhere, the European Commission mulls reforming debt and deficit rules. These have historically been at the centre of intra-Eurozone conflict, and monetary policy will be a fierce battleground in the coming months as the EU heads into recession with inflation of 10.7%. Poland may clash with Brussels over nuclear procurement, as it chooses the US’s Westinghouse over EU-based rivals to build its first new plant.
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This week, co-editor Graham Gudgin writes on the low impact that EU membership had on UK economic growth historically – something we also explore in Key Points this week.
EU membership did not accelerate economic growth in the UK?, by Graham Gudgin
This article, originally published in 2017, argues that the widely held view that EU membership improved the economic growth record of the UK is not correct. The UK certainly did better relative to the existing EU member states but this was entirely due to the dramatic slowdown in these states after the 1970s.
“A better counterfactual for the UK economy is the USA. In this case, UK GDP per head has remained close to 72% of the US level throughout the post-war period. There is no sign that joining the EU improved UK economic growth relative to the USA. The only small improvement came after 2000 and was due to a minor slow-down in US growth.”
UKRAINE ROUND UP Nov 2022, by Adrian Hill
Former paratrooper and diplomat, Adrian Hill monitors the latest military and diplomatic moves in Ukraine. Ground movements are limited but Putin continues a bombardment with cruise missiles and drones but over two-thirds of his stock of the former have now been used.
“Russia’s remaining effective troops are clinging to the west bank of the west bank of the Dnipro River at Kherson. Where is the logic in letting off a nuclear weapon? A small change of wind would wipe them out. Have they even been supplied with NCB warfare protective clothing and breathing apparatus? More than doubtful.”
Pessimists are wrong. Brexit not in peril, by Brian Morris
For some right-wing commentors the end of the short and inglorious reign of born-again Brexiteer Truss marks the end of Brexit. Are they right? Should we really give up on Brexit?
“Sir Kier was badly burned by Brexit. His disgraceful attempts to frustrate the democratic vote and support for a second referendum, make him the least likely leader to lead the country back into the EU. Why on earth would he choose the uncertainty of a second referendum, his time supporting Jeremy Corbyn and role fighting Brexit being dragged once more into the spotlight?”
As we note on the website, former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, recently claimed that Brexit had reduced the size of the UK economy from 90% of the German level to only 70%. Even pro-Remain economists regard this as bonkers. The decline Carney refers to is entirely the fall in the value of Sterling relative to the Euro (which itself cannot convincingly be laid at the door of Brexit).
However, it is wrong to assume that the size of an economy reflects exchange rates (which fluctuate from day to day). Properly measured, and taking into account changes in prices, the UK has in fact grown a little faster than Germany since the 2016 referendum.
A distinct but related point was made by economist Derrick Berthelsen writing for The Critic magazine. As readers of this site will be aware, we’ve covered (and debunked) claims made by the Treasury, OBR and others that Brexit will result in something like a 4% loss of GDP over the long term, representing the lost opportunities of European trade. But even on a generous view of the Single Market, if membership of the EU added a mere 1% to GDP over 20 years, it is hard to see how leaving the EU could cause long-term losses of 4% over a similar timeframe.
We are also on Twitter, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
Discussion also continues over on Facebook.
How you can help
There is much about Britain’s relationship with Europe that remains to be decided. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency – for example, in rural areas, articles on the threat to British agriculture. Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
As Boris Johnson said in in his post-election address, it is also time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU benefits the UK economy and our own democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
A Cambridge PhD Student
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge