It is good news that Sir John Major now recognises the need to change our immigration policy and for the UK to gain control over who we invite in to our country. When he rightly negotiated our opt out from the main point of the Maastricht Treaty, the Euro, he was also insistent that the UK kept control of its own borders. It is a pity Labour did not follow his wise course on these matters.
It is a sign of how seriously he takes it that he should make this the main topic of one of his rare interventions in UK public debate. He used to believe that we should not bang on about Europe. Instead today he acknowledges the central place migration and the EU has come to take in our national conversation.
The problem for those who wish us to stay in the EU is it is not just a question of migration and borders. Our current membership of the EU is incompatible with self government and full Parliamentary democracy, as so many decisions are made for us by the Brussels government. That is why the Conservative party opposed the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on principle and voted against all three.
Our current membership is damaging to our living standards, with the high fuel bills, the weak Eurozone economy and the downward pressure on wages. Our current membership is very bad for business. The EU’s energy policy is leading to the loss of plants in major heavy energy using industries, the fishing policy has led to the run down of our fishing ports, the tax and regulatory attack on financial services is beginning to push business outside the EU.
So our current EU membership does not just pose a problem over the pace of migration. It is bad for business, bad for living standards and bad for democracy. All these things need to be debated and addressed in a new relationship with the rest of the EU.