AS the only major party not yet to have sold us down the river, Ukip is perhaps the least undeserving of our votes at the next election.
But its policy on immigration remains open to question. It focuses solely upon that fraction of inward flow which can be laid at the door of the EU, ignoring the larger number of non-EU migrants.
In the latter group, spouses and other relatives joining UK citizens or residents still form a significant proportion of those coming here to settle permanently. This may be seen as too much of a political hot potato to address, but would the situation be very different for our large EU population after we left the EU?
As Nigel Farage acknowledges, it is likely they would be free to remain. If there is still an economic advantage in being here then they, like those of non-European descent, would have an incentive to bring in spouses from their source counties rather than finding them here. Net EU migration may fall off substantially after its initial surge and with changing economic circumstances, but the scope for reducing it much below this through our own efforts in exiting the Union may be limited.
The price of leaving would be to renounce our reciprocal right to colonise mainland Europe. The value of this to date has been limited and we might doubt how welcome we would be if we exercised it on a large scale. Nevertheless, we remain an overpopulated island heavily dependent upon food imports which are far from being reliable enough for such a critical role.
This is a compelling reason to oppose population growth through net immigration, but it is also a reason not to give up lightly our access to less densely populated lands.
From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn.
I tend to agree with what George Osborne had to say in his Autumn Statement with one exception. I am not adverse to sending money abroad providing it is going to needy people or those suffering from some tropical affliction that they can’t avoid.
But £12bn? It is time a proper appraisal of overseas aid spending was done by an independent body without any ties to the Government. I am amazed that this exercise has not been carried out before.
Is the Government afraid that this money is going to be found to be propping up presidents and other heads of state who always appear in the media to be living beyond their means?