The most striking feature of Cameron’s much-vaunted speech today is his almost obsessive focus on EU migration.
He knows full well that the majority of immigrants arriving in the UK are from outside the EU. And, importantly, we set the rules for non-EU migration at a national level — no need to bring the EU into it at all!
So why does he focus on the free movement of EU citizens as if that was the main problem? It’s even more odd when you remember two further facts: there are roughly as many UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU as there are EU citizens living here; and EU migrants to the UK contribute far more to the Exchequer than they cost us.
I can only think of one reason, and I’m afraid it’s the same old story: his agenda is less about the national interest and more about placating his own eurosceptic backbenchers. The more domestic issues Cameron can blame on Brussels, the less likely his party is to rebel against him — or so he hopes.
- UPDATE: It didn’t take long… Enraged euro-rebels threaten trouble after Cameron’s immigration speech fails to satisfy