Cameron is running out of excuses on migration.
Last week, we were told again what we already knew: that EU migrants are a multi-billion-pound benefit to the UK, as well as being less likely to claim benefits, less likely to be out of work, and more highly educated than domestic workers.
This week we’ve seen another government myth busted. The European Court of Justice (which provides interpretations of EU law so that national courts can settle disputes that have a European dimension) has confirmed that there’s no EU requirement to pay anyone who travels here just to claim benefits.
The writing is on the wall. There is no need to challenge the basic principle of free movement in the EU. If there are problems or abuses connected to it, it’s entirely down to us to fix them.
Let’s hope Cameron is willing to put in the effort to make those fixes — instead of playing the Brussels blame game as a sop to his own backbenchers.
Update (14 November): Great to hear that not only do the Lib Dems still exist, but they still agree with us on Europe. Their sole remaining MEP, Catherine Bearder, wrote a positive piece on a left-wing blog yesterday:
The claim that these issues must be dealt with in a grand renegotiation with ‘Brussels’ is a misconception that has been deliberately peddled by the Tories — and lapped up by the red tops — in order to create a straw man which they can then claim to have knocked down. The problem facing Cameron is that the European court has gone and knocked it down for him too early.
Exactly so. Though, if one was feeling uncharitable, one might wonder why the Lib Dems are still happily propping up a Tory government indulging in some quite mad antics on this subject, apparently failing to moderate them at all!