Previous posts in this discussion:
PostUK and EU: Immigration and the Armed Forces (John Heelan, UK, 01/31/13 2:27 pm)
Istvan Simon (31 January) highlights some of the benefits of the UK belonging to the EU, but ignores some of the major disbenefits, such as being the target for unemployed immigrants seeking UK social payment that tend to be more available and generous than in other EU states. Soon the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants will be eased. Some analysts estimate that the UK population of those two national groups alone will reach 425,000 in two years' time. Each wave of immigrants brings with it an export of that nation's criminal elements. Already existing Eastern European criminal gangs are competing with those of previous immigrant waves, such as the Turks, Pakistanis, Caribbeans as well as with the UK indigenous criminal gangs. To this volatile mix will be added Bulgarian and Romanian gangs, with a reputation for a level of violence that substantially outstrips that of previous criminal-immigrants.
Istvan comments also that because the UK "has become a third-rate military power," membership of the EU enables the UK "to share the burden of its defense with its natural allies." JE rebutted that "Global Firepower puts the UK at #5 in the world, which is top-tier." Far from having any chauvinist feathers ruffled, I fully agree with Istvan and have been arguing that remedying such military weakness is, for me, the main reason for remaining within a modified EU.
The site referred to by JE ignores nuclear capability in its assessments. Even if it were included the UK would still remain relatively weak, since its nuclear capacity is almost entirely dependent on the goodwill of the US. Further, the website is incorrect is stating that the UK has an aircraft carrier, as it recently scrapped the last survivor and will not provide a replacement until 2017. Even that one will not have appropriate aircraft available that could use it for at least 2-3 years later and probably of non-UK manufacture. Moreover, there have been recent additional government announcements planning the reduction of the size of the professional front-line Army, hoping to make-up any shortfall with reservists. Many officers and other ranks currently serving in Afghanistan will receive their redundancy notices by email while still operating in theatre.
I predict substantial social unrest in the UK in the near future, stemming from discontented and unemployed military personnel; from the working classes badly affected by the government austerity programmes while observing the lack of control on big business and banks; from the growing number of unemployed recent graduates licking their financial wounds from the recent tripling of university fees: from the disadvantaged and pensioner communities that are seeing their incomes badly depleted by the planned reduction in benefits and so on. Government "bread & circuses" programmes to divert the anger will be fruitless.
The social outlook is bleak!
JE comments: This is the first time in this discussion that we've addressed the impact of EU immigration on the UK social safety net. I sense that John Heelan has articulated the concern of many in his country.