Idiot twattery

Two million UK citizens working abroad could become illegal immigrants overnight if Britain were to leave the European Union, former attorney general Dominic Grieve has warned.

Yes, why not, let’s make the assumption that only one law would change, not several at the same time.

Twat.

London is now France’s what, third, fifth, largest city? So they’d all be illegals as well, right? So there’s a deal to be done there.

61 thoughts on “Idiot twattery”

  1. David Jones’ link to the Richard North post and associated document are pretty much all the riposte one needs to this blatant piece of scaremongering. However, it’s important for UKIP supporters to realize this is but the first salvo of a long struggle which may not lead to the victory they take for granted.

    In the event Cameron wins and doesn’t renege on his promise for a Referendum in 2017 this is one of the more polite canards that will be rolled out to the mass of Low information voters in the country for whom Europe is a side issue – UKIP votersa and candidates need to make the point that Grieve is either a man with limited understanding of the issues or is being wilfully deceptive in his omission of nuance. Frothing at the mouth won’t cut it.

  2. Tim, I thought you were a liberal, but apparently it’s fine with you if citizens go back to being pawns to be used in bargains struck between states.

  3. BinG

    Actually I take the opposite view of this post. By suggesting a deal is done whereby immigrants stay and – whisper it – can keep coming he has stepped right into the fire.
    But he is correct, our Polish plumbers are here to sat and will.keep coming; which is good.

  4. Right. The entire bleeding little England point of leaving the “EUSSR” is surely to kick out all the frogs, krauts, polacks, wops, dagos and so on that are destroying the British way of life. How that might possibly happen without millions of limey immigrants elsewhere being asked to sling their hooks is beyond me.

  5. Most people are happy to see immigrants coming, but they have to be the right ones.

    If you’re here to work and to make a net contribution to the exchequer, welcome, have a seat, is there anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable?

    If you’re here to claim benefits, or to work in low-paid or part-time work (below the income tax threshold) while expecting other taxpayers to top up your income with in-work benefits and educate your large family at a cost of £6,000 per sprog per year, then no you’re not welcome.

    Under current EU rules, we don’t get to choose.

  6. BiG: “How that might possibly happen without millions of limey immigrants elsewhere being asked to sling their hooks is beyond me.”

    Well, have you read the link in that first comment?

  7. Bloke in Germany

    Are you providing a holiday home for Richard Murphy? – you and he should go into business – the manufacture and demolition of straw men.

  8. @Julia, yes, and it’s legalese bluster. The rights of British citizens in forrin are a matter for the government of forrin. If forrin is in the EU while Britain is, then forrin cannot (absent very restricted circumstances) throw the Brits out. If Britain leaves the EU then forrin is no longer bound to treaty obligations to Britain not to throw Brits out.

    Go ahead and have your referendum (because you will lose it – the largest number of voices in a largely one-sided talking shop does not a majority make), as long as Brits in forrin also get a vote.

  9. bloke (not) in spain

    “London is now France’s what, third, fifth, largest city? ”

    Sometimes it’s worth checking.

    The french consulate reckons there’s about 300,000 living in London. But “The consulate defines London as the city plus “the south eastern quadrant of the UK including Kent, Oxfordshire and maybe Sussex too.
    This is quite a generous description of the London area – it includes Oxford, a city in its own right about 60 miles away from London. Kent and Sussex meanwhile, stretch right down to the English Channel.”

    “the 2011 Census says there are 86,000 people in London who hold French passports.”

    So perhaps not. Unless you want to say some English cities are, in fact, French.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26823489

  10. We want THE RIGHT SORT of immigrants do we?

    So, BinG, B (n) in S, Bloke in Costa Rica, Bilbaoboy, Bloke in Italy, are YOU the right sort of immigrant? If we ask certain immigrants here to sling their hooks, should YOU be asked to sling yours? If not, which Brits should be?

  11. bloke (not) in spain

    “Go ahead and have your referendum (because you will lose it – the largest number of voices in a largely one-sided talking shop does not a majority make), as long as Brits in forrin also get a vote.”

    Interesting point of view, BiG. Do you think you should be entitled to vote? I don’t think I should. Despite physically being here, at the moment, for all intents & purposes the Uk’s no longer my home. Why should I have a say in its affairs?

  12. Bloke in Germany

    And of course the EU really likes referenda and shows complete confidence in their ability to win them – how many reversals of ‘No’ votes have we seen over the past 25 years? And on Lisbon, they had such confidence that of the 27 countries they only had a referendum in one – and lost first time (In Ireland of all places!) round – Good to see you getting a pre-emptive strike in early, though!

  13. bloke (not) in spain

    “So, B (n) in S, are YOU the right sort of immigrant? If we ask certain immigrants here to sling their hooks, should YOU be asked to sling yours?”
    Think that deserves an answer, Ironman. From me, at least. As a UK national I regard myself as a guest in whichever country I’m in. If it came to the crunch, I’d have to hand in the UK passport & apply for nationality in whichever country would have me

  14. Bloke in Germany said: ” If forrin is in the EU while Britain is, then forrin cannot (absent very restricted circumstances) throw the Brits out. If Britain leaves the EU then forrin is no longer bound to treaty obligations to Britain not to throw Brits out.”

    No but forrin still in the EU is bound by the EU treaties which I would guess include residency rights if you’ve been in the country long enough, whether you came from another EU country or not.

  15. @Bloke in Germany
    For me the main point of leaving the EU is because the Euro has caused massive unemployment in Southern Europe.
    Of course being able to choose who comes here is a good idea, no more convicted murderers sounds nice.

  16. @Gareth,

    Those EU-guaranteed residency rights would no longer apply to persons who found themselves non EU citizens. In the case of Germany, Para. 4 Aufenthaltsgesetz – everyone except those that EU legislation says don’t need them (which is essentially EU+EEA citizens) needs residency papers, the issue of which is at the sole discretion of the local government.

    So actually, if Brexit then Hessen starts throwing out Brits, it’s not clear the federal government could stop them.

  17. @David, to what extent is southern European unemployment due to the euro, and to what extent is it due to southern Europe being southern Europe? Blaming the euro seems rather post hoc, ergo propter hoc to me. Spain had massively high unemployment plenty of times before the euro (and before EU), Greece has had unsustainable public debts plenty of times before the euro (and defaulted its way out), and Italy has had unsustainable public debts plenty of times before the euro (and printed its way out).

  18. How about looking at it from the basis of “how many Brits living in forrin get their sole income in the form of benefits from said forrin state?”.

    I assume that all the “blokes in wherever” either work and contribute or are living on pensions / savings. I know quite a lot of ex pats living in Europe and not one of them receives a f*cking cent from the governments of the countries in which they live, and all pay taxes, either direct or indirect .. So getting rid of them would be something of a pyhrric (sp?) victory, unlike the UK getting shot of loads of imported dole-bludgers.

  19. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “But he is correct, our Polish plumbers are here to sat and will.keep coming; which is good.”

    Name one good thing about Polish plumbers moving to the UK.

  20. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “If Britain leaves the EU then forrin is no longer bound to treaty obligations to Britain not to throw Brits out.”

    Which is entirely right and proper.

    “Go ahead and have your referendum (because you will lose it – the largest number of voices in a largely one-sided talking shop does not a majority make), as long as Brits in forrin also get a vote.”

    Well let’s see when we have a vote. The fact that Cameron won’t give us one, just as no one else has either since the start, suggests that UKIP would win.

  21. BiG: So actually, if Brexit then Hessen starts throwing out Brits, it’s not clear the federal government could stop them

    Well that’s a bit tendentious, wouldn’t you say? The Einwohnermeldeamt in Frankfurt/Main could just as legitimately decline to register newcomers from Saxony since there is no formal and specific relationship between the UK and any of the Bundesländer.

    For my part I’m not bothered – I haven’t renewed my Reisepass since it was a distinctive green thing to keep alongside my navy blue one. Who wants two of the shameful little burgundy-coloured objects? After Brexit I’ll be down to Belgrave Square like a shot, though.

  22. B (n) in Spain

    I do indeed think it deserves an answer; you haven’t given one. The proposition was the UK wants (not hypothetical) the right sort of immigrant. So ARE you the right sort? What you would do IF one day your host country changed its mind etc is very interesting, but a different question.

  23. This is also a good reason (although not a perfect guarantee) for having dual citizenship (e.g. Irish and UK), so that if Brexit ever happened then you still have the right of free movement within the EU.

    I seem to recall that about 1/5 of the UK have an Irish grandparent, which is sufficient to claim Irish Citizenship under the Irish constitution, which includes those in Northern Ireland.

    The Irish might have joined the old-EEC because Britain was going in back in the day, but I doubt they would wish to exit with the UK (although it is possible, I highly doubt it)

  24. …getting rid of them would be something of a Pyrrhic victory, unlike the UK getting shot of loads of imported dole-bludgers
    In the real world, unemployment among EU immigrants to the UK is less than among the natives. Collectively, the immigrants are substantial net contributors to the exchequer.

  25. PaulB,

    It’s wonderful that immigrants are collectively net contributors, but why not enforce it individually?

    Consider the system used in Singapore: your Filipino maid can come to the country, but she can’t bring her family with her; she can only remit money home. Similar rules apply in the UAE states. These are some of the richest countries in the world.

  26. @AndrewM, because you need to pay bureaucrats to vet and presumably re-vet all ex-pats living in your country. And 95%+ of that vetting is going to come back positive. So it’s cheaper to have some people abusing the system (same as with welfare). Increasing compliance causes more costs than are saved through the increased compliance.

  27. The Meissen Bison

    BiG: Why not just vet the ones making claims on the state?

    And don’t overlook the fact that the risk of being subjected to vetting is a disincentive in its own right.

    One of the reasons that the UK has an illegal immigrant problem is the utter uselessness of the UKBA in controlling and vetting movements of people across UK borders.

  28. “Greece has had unsustainable public debts plenty of times before the euro”

    I’m afraid I can’t agree with you there. Greece’s debt WAS sustainable before the Euro, because greece sustained it. Deprived of i) a realistic pricing mechanism by having a single ECB base rate and ii) deprived by the single currency of a means of re-pricing it has sunk into this nightmare.

    No, sorry, it IS the Euro.

  29. @TMB, because you have to spend effort in identifying those making claims on the state.

    Does someone claiming child benefit count as making a claim on the state? (Believe it or not, the payment of child benefit to EU citizens became a cause celebre for the red tops in Germany last year.) Would it be worth vetting all mothers claiming their £18 whatever a week it is? Wouldn’t you save even more money by catching fraudulent child benefit claims by British citizens?

    @Ironman, if the ECB base rate supposedly determines what Greece pays on its debt (which it does not) why cannot Argentina issue unlimited dollar bonds at 1%?

    Greece was also in default for most of the 1950s and 1960s, wasn’t it? Was that the fault of the euro?

  30. What about those not making a claim on the state but not paying their dues to the state? Probably more of them than the former. A lot of the time you don’t even know they are there (and you never will know they are there or not until you reintroduce functional exit checks), so how do you vet them?

  31. I’m not saying that you are technically correct, but Greece has been bankrupt about 20-times over the last 2 millennia.

    Previously they were able to buckle down, devalue the Drachma and let inflation take its toll on debts while it was forced into primary surplus.

    If Greece was a person they would be effectively credit blacklisted, but since they are a country there is the pretence that they are always good for the money, presumably because a country (unlike a person) cannot die.

    Not sure about that you know, indeed I suspect that Iraq might be about to give us a little Austro-Hungarian experience of our own.

  32. What about those not making a claim on the state but not paying their dues to the state? Probably more of them than the former. A lot of the time you don’t even know they are there (and you never will know they are there or not until you reintroduce functional exit checks), so how do you vet them?

    Isn’t this what is supposed to be happening this Easter? The introduction of functional exit checks?

  33. @So Much for Subtlety
    “Name one good thing about Polish plumbers moving to the UK”

    Plumbing.

    I was talking recently to a someone in the house building trade (one of the big UK builders). I asked them about why the UK does not build enough houses. Partly, it is profit maximisation (the builders don’t want to flood the market), but more significantly it is the planning (as Tim often says, give out more chits to build houses).

    What surprised me the most, though, was his response to my question “so, make planning easier to get & we’d have more houses built?”.

    “No”, he said, “because all the Polish builders who would build them have gone home. Will take at least 2 years to get them to come back, much longer if we have to train Brits to do it instead”.

  34. bloke (not) in spain

    I’ve given you the answer, Ironman. If I intend adopting their nationality, I must be intending to make myself the sort of immigrant they want & would wish to keep. Why else would I do it? Why do you think I left the UK? I’m more productive elsewhere.

  35. BinG

    The pricing mechanism is the exchange rate. It’s debt is trading at such unsustainable levels because it’s currency is pegge to a level that suits others but not Greece.

    I’ll repeat, it DID sustain it before the Euro.

    I did not have you down as an ideologue who ignored evidence. But hen the Euro fantasy has taken a large number of good men along with it.

  36. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Ironman, I assume I am in some sense the right sort of immigrant in that the Costa Rican government has granted me resident status based in no small part on the contribution I make to the Costa Rican economy (I’m in the “skilled foreign worker” category). If I keep my nose clean, pay my taxes and demonstrate I will not be a burden on the State they will be more than happy to let me stay. It’s also worth noting that last time I checked Costa Rica wasn’t in the EU, so whether the UK stays or goes is immaterial to me.

  37. And then we could could go through all the examples, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal. The damage the Euro has caused has been immense. It may appear to be a fine thing viewed from Frankfurt; not so great from most vantage points, however.

  38. But the thing is they haven’t always been able to devalue the Drachma, and in terms of the subsequent “buckling down, pulling up of socks”, etc, Greece is an, ahem, serial defaulter.

    The reason for this is we have only had properly floating exchange rates since, what 1971? The floating fiat currency is, in terms of human history, the experiment. The fixed rate (usually done by precious metal standard, and still needed swingeing capital controls to maintain it) is the norm for the last, what, 2000 years.

    And just in case you thought I was an ideologue: there are clearly problems with the way the euro is set up. It doesn’t have a proper central bank for starters. That means the commercial banking sector is (as Greece is demonstrating) totally dependent on their governments, whereas they should be backstopped by the central bank. Were that the case, we could let the Greek government go bust (and find out the hard way what that primary surplus territory feels like). Instead we can’t because if the Greek government goes bust Greece has no banks any more.

  39. portemat,

    “No”, he said, “because all the Polish builders who would build them have gone home.

    They’ll come back if the price is high enough. Supply & demand is a real thing.

  40. tldr: There was basically no such thing as a currency market until Bretton Woods got killed off. International settlements were done in precious metal. Even the world dollarization under Bretton woods was effectively the use of precious metal because the dollar was gold-standardized.

  41. Bloke in Costa Rica. Good for you. You clearly are and can prove it.

    Bloke in Spain talks about making himself the Right Sort. As I my question was whether you ARE the right sort, that would seem presently to be a No from him.

    My point is: we bang on about ‘the right sort’ as if we’re unique. Do we ever though look at all those pensioner Brits moving to the sun, adding nothing to their host country except their dubious presence?

  42. @Ironman,

    For the same reason, Brits abroad are expats, everyone else abroad is an immigrant. It’s about being the “right sort”, y’see.

  43. Steady on Ironman, what’s wrong with pensioner Brits?

    My parents, having retired to Cyprus many years ago, are spending their wedge there, and have always been most welcome.

    Indeed, Cyprus used to offer special (very special) tax rates to expats.

  44. “For the same reason, Brits abroad are expats, everyone else abroad is an immigrant. It’s about being the “right sort”, y’see.”

    I get very shirty with people who accuse me of being an “expat”. Along with this sometimes goes a presumption that I’m on some cushdy ticket with schooling, housing and so on, and an insidious notion that I would refer to the UK as “home” and will move back.

    But I’m not an expat. I am an immigrant. End of.

  45. @abacab, I am exactly the same, a mobile European, immigrant in Germany, going where the work takes me. Quite unlike the expats I know in insurance or other vastly overpaid low-skilled work – sent overseas by their British company with a bunch of freebies (housing, schools you mention, free plane tickets “home” twice a year on top) to help them on their way.

    I guess that’s the difference between an expat and an immigrant. If you’re an expat, your employer will buy your house off you when you relocate (and help you buy another one where they send you). Everyone else is an immigrant.

  46. Questions that get me super wound-up (and about which I should probably just chill out about):

    1. Are you going home for christmas? Sarcastic reply: “Yes, I’m staying here”
    2a. Wow, salaries are so high here. (you wouldn’t have said that at the exchange rate 15 years ago)
    2b. Wow, everything’s so expensive here. (ditto)
    2c. Wow, taxes are so low here. (ever heard of user fees?).
    3. Americans asking “do you have healthcare” when they mean “is there an NHS/compulsory health insurance” Sarcastic reply, “yes, we have doctors and hospitals and stuff”.
    4. Are you sending your kids to an international school? (No. Don’t want them to mix with expat brats. And it would cost 1/3 of my net salary) Is it really so expensive? (err, largely captive audience where the majority of parents are paying with someone else’s money, so duh).
    5. Do you often get back home? (most evenings, yes). No, i mean to the UK? (No. Was hoping this year to keep off the prison island, but then my sister decided to get married, so we’ll have to be there for a weekend. Maybe we’ll get lucky next year and won’t have to go.).
    6. Isn’t it difficult with the language? (No. It’s possible to make more effort than just speaking English loudly and slowly).
    7. Locals asking if I understand the local lingo when I’ve just been using it to speak to them.

  47. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “I am exactly the same, a mobile European, immigrant in Germany, going where the work takes me.”

    So you are not an immigrant. You are simply mobile. An immigrant would have a commitment to live and stay in Germany.

    An ex-pat is someone who is temporarily resident overseas. An immigrant is someone who is not coming back. See the difference?

  48. So Much for Subtlety

    portemat – ““No”, he said, “because all the Polish builders who would build them have gone home. Will take at least 2 years to get them to come back, much longer if we have to train Brits to do it instead”.”

    So we could train some of our NEETs to be plumbers. Or we could import a bunch of people from overseas to do it cheaply instead.

    Explain to me why the latter is beneficial to Britain as a whole? Why is having my home broken into and my DVD stolen by da yoof who could be in work a good thing?

  49. “London is now France’s what, third, fifth, largest city?” – probably not. Higher estimate of quarter million would be about 3% of London population, which seems unlikely, just don’t meet that many Frenchies in the street. Other estimates are lower (< 100K).

    This beeb article lends against the claim – perhaps London is about 20th biggest French city by population. We should not forget Montreal and Quebec also.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26823489

  50. bloke (not) in spain

    ” just don’t meet that many Frenchies in the street.”

    True. But it only takes the one, doesn’t it?

  51. @abacab – brilliant! Where are you? Switzerland?

    @SMFS, I’d count property ownership and having the passport as commitment (alongside the employment), but I’m already on my fourth country and won’t be tied down. Even HMRC let go of me.

    Actually I was expecting someone to explain to me patiently why Greece would not be fucked up if they weren’t in the euro.

  52. I get very shirty with people who accuse me of being an “expat”. Along with this sometimes goes a presumption that I’m on some cushdy ticket with schooling, housing and so on, and an insidious notion that I would refer to the UK as “home” and will move back.

    Well, I don’t know where you are but this will depend a lot on the location. It’s pretty easy to call yourself an immigrant when living in somewhere like France or Germany, but if you found yourself posted to somewhere like Nigeria or Sakhalin you’d be making damned sure you were considered an expat and *would* be leaving at some point.

    I agree that the schools and housing, etc. does take the piss in a lot of locations, but I think it’s a combination of attracting the right people (no high-flyer in the UK will take his kids out of school and into an incompatible curriculum), economics (who is going to buy a place in Luanda for a 3 year assignment, or rent it out of net salary if it isn’t included?), and throwbacks to previous eras where the whole world was a shithole and expats needed assistance everywhere (nowadays, Singapore, KL, and Dubai are advanced enough that people ought to be able to take local deals).

  53. @BiG – Yes, I am a Bloke in Switzerland

    @Tim Newman – oh, agreed about going to sh1tholes, absolutely. Almost nobody would go if that wasn’t the deal. And almost no Westerners “immigrate” to places like Nigera or Sakhalin. Or Wales.

    Since I’m planning to have my ashes scattered from the Jungfraujoch to be skied upon by rich people and emerge at the glacier snout in 1000 years time, staying here until the heat death of the Universe is certainly on the cards.

    As a result, when people are too maladroit to read my body language on the question of international schools and try to push me further, I simply tell them that, even if I could afford it or some other bugger was dumb enough to pay for it for me, I wouldn’t do it because it is the WORST thing I could possibly ever do for my kids from an integration perspective. That way lies expat social circles, schlepping the kids across the country to meet their friends who will be buggering off somewhere else 6 months later, and socialising with people who consider themselves expats and whinge about their gracious host country, as whiny expat types are wont to do…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *