Boris enters the ring for the third time, carrying a small red cape. He stares Cameron in they eye, taunting him with the cape and goading him to react. Under the cloth, he grips his weapon- the immigration debate.
Weakened by the humiliation of last week’s by-elections and the prospect of more of the same from Rochester on November 20th, the Tory leadership was already hurting. Then, still bruised from the UKip defections, and amidst dissatisfied murmuring from his once loyal audience, David Cameron has had to endure a vicious, barbed attack from behind- from those whom he might have hoped he could trust.
Despite Boris’ faintly ridiculous presentation (that well-crafted, charismatic Façade) this is a serious matter and London’s Mayor has mortal intent. Last week he told us (via David Marr) that the Tory manifesto pledge to cut immigration by 100,000 was a “great deception”. Now he he informs us via The Telegraph that Cameron’s UK immigration system is “out of control” and that Britain has become a “magnet for the hordes at Calais”.
With a flourish, he shows his superiority over his poor dumb opponent and reveals the simplicity of the dilemma it faces:- We can get our traditional Tory voters back, he says, if we just impose quotas for EU migration. Olé!
[Immigration barrister note: Yea, but: there is no legal way, within the EU, to impose quotas on community citizens entering the UK].
The practicalities are unimportant. Because politics is about getting power and power is about getting votes, and votes can be got by the flamboyant actions, and overblown promises of larger-than-life personalities. By the time the lies and consequences are revealed- well, its too late. The careers of the more thoughtful (and principled?) discussants will lie broken and defeated, alongside the promises of the moment.
Whilst there is nothing surprising here, what is interesting is the marked increase in tempo- a dual attempt to stir the crowd generally into a frenzy of immigration hatred, and Tory Supporters in particular, into intolerable feelings of discontent with their current leadership. One thing is surely clear- Boris smells blood, and senses a leadership competition coming soon.
Love and Marriage; Horse and Carriage; “Immigrant” and “Illegal”; “Asylum-seeker” and “failed”; Politicians and unprincipled, power-hungry egotists.
This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com