The Elephant in the Room: Migration from Romania and Bulgaria
UKIP leader Nigel Farage says his party will campaign very hard on the fact that on January 1, 2014 the United Kingdom will open the doors to 29 million migrants from "the very poor countries of Bulgaria and Romania". File photo
By Rob Burberry
Whether they like it or not, throughout 2013, Britain's politicians have an elephant in the room. It's an elephant no politician wants to sensibly talk about.
Just like Eric Pickles, the Communities Minister who got in his own pickle this week on the Daily Politics show. It all surrounds the relaxation of 'transitional arrangements' applied when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. In short, whilst the two countries may have joined the European Union, some countries including the UK put in a restriction effectively blocking the migration of Romanians and Bulgarians.
Cast your mind back to the expansion of the EU in 2004. Government officials estimated only 'tens of thousands' would migrate to the UK. In fact, hundreds of thousands did. the The graph towards the bottom of this BBC article on the 2011 Census demonstrates this fact perfectly using Polish nationals as an example.
So when Eric Pickles refuses to discuss the figures he has been shown, is it because he thinks the estimates are too low? Too high? About right?! He wouldn't say yesterday and no Conservative politician will say anything concrete on this all year. They don't want to talk about it.
The fact is, to the regular guy down the pub, the looming migration boom from Romania and Bulgaria is of grave concern. By failing to talk about it, Conservative politicians yet again hand the trump card to UKIP. Just ask the Conservatives own Lord Ashcroft, who last month said: "For those drawn to it, UKIP's primary attraction is that it will say things that need to be said but others are scared to say." Eric Pickles is certainly too scared, but he's not the only one – Theresa May is at it too, although perhaps she's a little more honest than Pickles.
Only in November, the Home Secretary admitted to the Daily Telegraph she was powerless, impotent to stop thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians flocking to the UK. There it is, cold as today's snow that Britain is not in full control of it's destiny having handed it over to the Eurocrats.
Are we right to be concerned about the migration, or will just a few hundred pass through Britain's borders from 1st January 2014? For the answers, we need to look at the data, the reasons why Romanians and Bulgarians will indeed flock to the UK. This unofficial piece provides interesting financial data.
So for now, David Cameron will make false and empty promises on an EU referendum, Theresa May will tell us she's powerless and Eric Pickles will refuse to discuss figures.
The Year of the Snake may begin next month, but for the Conservatives it's going to be the Year of the Elephant in the room.
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