After the Coalition government was formed, but before he joined it as a Minister, Mr Boles wrote an interesting book entitled “Which Way’s up?” At the time the press sensationalised one conclusion, that a second Conservativc-Lib Dem Coalition would be a good idea after 2010. This was a conclusion which the rest of the Conservative party did not share and was never going to be adopted as an aim.
There were, however, other surprising and more influential thoughts in the book . None more so than on the topic of migration. Here, arch moderniser Mr Boles said he had changed his mind on the subject when he became a Westminster Councillor. “I began to discover the downside of mass immigration” he wrote. “I had to help the council wrestle with the pressure on social housing from asylum seekers and other migrants” “It made it impossible for young adult children to find accommodation in the communities in which they had grown up…” “It was (also) plain that,for decades, we had failed to integrate recent immigrants into our society or pass on our values to them and their children…”
He went on to say we could not afford to allow many more to join the NSH queue or require school places. He wanted more of the jobs available to go to people already settled here. He concluded “Britain needs a new immigration settlement, involving tighter controls on the number of people who can move into the UK every year (from both inside and outside the EU)….and more intensive efforts to ensure all who do settle in Britain adopt British values…”
Step by step this government is cutting the ways the system can be used or abused as Mr Boles wished. Yesterday the government announced further restrictions on access to out of work benefits for EU migrants, limiting it to three months of benefits after the first three months of receiving nothing. This follows reductions in eligibility for housing benefit. 750 bogus Colleges have been closed down. New arrivals cannot join housing lists when they arrive. Health tourism is being discouraged.
Some reading this want to go further faster with these changes. There are two main constraints. The first is EU law, which does intrude on our welfare and benefits policy and will continue to do so until we have a successful renegotiation or a vote to leave. The second is coalition with the Lib Dems who have been more reluctant to accept this is a major issue that needs tackling. Yesterday was another step 0n a journey that many voters have said they wish to government to tread.