David Cameron and Enoch Powell are or were very different kinds of politician. Dr Cable’s recent abuse of the Conservative party was designed to equate current Conservative thinking on migration with the “rivers of blood” extremism of Mr Powell’s most infamous speech. It shows a lack of respect for the Prime Minister he serves, and a lack of knowledge of Mr Powell’s general work on government and the EU.
As always with people like Dr Cable his rude remarks are loaded with contradictions and errors. Two years ago Dr Cable was happy to sign up to a government decision to put off for another two years opening our borders fully to Bulgarians and Romanians. Why was it the case that two years ago this deed was neither damaging to our relationships with eastern European countries, nor Powell like?
Now that Mr Cameron and Mrs May are trying to find legal ways to prevent overloading our welfare system by too many new arrivals, Dr Cable changes tack and accuses them of Powellite tendencies. They are seeking to implement the Coalition agreed policy of curbing immigration, something he signed up to at the beginning. How does he propose to hit the government’s target for reduced migration, as he disagrees with the measures needed to achieve it? Where does he think the UK is suddenly going to get a large amount of extra public cash to provide generous public services and benefits to more new arrivals? What is he suggesting we cut in our public budgets to make this extra cash available? One of the left of centre think tanks is already saying we do need to give more cash to local authorities likely to receive new migrants.
Dr Cable is also clearly against the UK government seeking to change the EU rules to give a country like the UK more control over its own benefit system and borders. Does he not read his emails or talk to his own constituents? I cannot believe his voters are keen on all this close EU integration that many people write to me to complain about.