The former Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, is to address an audience of British business lobbyists in London on Wednesday 28th November 2012 in which he will argue that the UK would lose power and influence if it leaves the European Union.
The Daily Telegraph, a UK newspaper, reports that
Mr Blair will tell an audience gathered by pro-European lobby group Business in
New Europe that, in the 21st century, the UK has a choice between 'power and
irrelevance'. He will say that, if the UK leaves the EU, then it will lose what
remaining influence it has in the world.
However, Telegraph columnist
Jeff Randall argues that those Eurosceptics who want the UK to leave the
European Union will be delighted that Mr Blair is supporting the other side of
the argument. Mr Randall says that Mr Blair is now so toxic in the eyes of
British voters that his endorsement will push voters in the other direction. He
says that Mr Blair 'opened the door in 2004 to workers from accession states,
insisting that the impact on our jobs market and social infrastructure would be
minimal' and added 'Those who challenged this orthodoxy were condemned as
racists and bigots.'
Mr Randall suggests that Mr Blair allowed mass
immigration from within and outside the EU as a 'wheeze' or electoral trick
because '80 per cent of first generation immigrants vote Labour'.
Randall says that Britain's membership of the EU is good news for big business
but not so for small and medium sized businesses or workers. He says that, for
big business, 'there are clear advantages to being part of a borderless EU, not
least access to a pool of educated young people whose presence in Britain helps
suppress local wage rates.'
Mr Randall says that the Confederation of
British Industry, which is supportive of British membership of the EU, is
'dressing up grubby self-reward in the haute couture of national interest.' He
says 'It calls on the government to help create a better skilled British
workforce yet there is no incentive for UK companies to invest in
indigenous staff and train them properly if they have the alternative of hiring
foreigners whose schooling has been funded by somebody else.'
2009, a former advisor to Mr Blair's Labour government told London newspaper The
Evening Standard, that the Labour Party had increased the level of immigration
into the UK between the year 2000 and 2009 in order to make Britain 'truly
multicultural' and to render the arguments against immigration made by those on
the right 'out-of-date'. Some estimates suggest that 5.5m people from elsewhere
settled in the UK between 1997 and 2010 when Labour was voted out of
A YouGov poll carried out in October 2012 suggested that the
Labour Party had lost the support of 'millions' of its core voters because of
the party's immigration policy during between 2000 and 2009. The poll showed
that 5m people who used to be Labour voters had ceased to support Labour and, of
these, 78% wanted the UK to cut net immigration to zero. The poll also showed
that even among those that still support Labour, 66% want zero net
In 2011, Mr Blair defended his record on immigration. He
told the Eastern Eye newspaper that immigration had made the country stronger.
He said 'It's been a very positive thing and there is no way for a country like
Britain to succeed in future unless it is open to people of different colours,
faiths and cultures…I think the majority of people in Britain today are not
prejudiced and can understand the benefits of migration.'
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