ANOTHER day, another initiative from David Cameron.
Don’t knock it. . .all right then, I will. This time it is to make sure people from the rest of the EU do not come here and live off our benefit system and the NHS.
This is partly, or even mainly because Romania and Bulgaria join the EU next year and the Tories are frightened there will be an influx from those countries who will be living off our state.
They may well have a point but have left it a bit late. First it was the Conservatives who fought for this. They wanted an increase in the number of countries in the EU because that would prevent the emergence of a European state. Widening, not deepening, was the phrase. A catchy saying but they did not look at the possible consequences, which with no borders means the population of new member states could go where they like. Some countries did foresee this and put in special rules, but not the UK.
Second, much of what Mr Cameron is saying will happen, won’t happen. Preventing other European members from using the NHS will be all but impossible, unless of course we all have identity cards. Oh no, not identity cards. How else will doctors know whether to treat a person, or send them packing, or leave them by the roadside?
This is even if they could forego the Hippocratic oath all doctors have to take. The same problems will exist with benefits and housing. There are rules and the rules are not entirely decided by our Government. That may be wrong but a series of British Governments, including those when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, did agree to them.
I recognise there could be a potential problem with the number of members of new states wanting to enjoy the pleasant benefits and weather of the UK. But we are not able, at present, to prevent EU immigration, at least not easily.
Ironically the UK opted out of the agreement, called the Schengen agreement, that tore down all borders, but it seems to make little difference.
But preventing too many coming to the country in the first place might make more sense that trying to create a two-tier welfare state.
LAST summer, which seems an age away, Bedfordshire Police was looking to outsource many of its backroom functions to G4S. Many members of the police, the police unions and the Police Authority, were worried by the plan. This newspaper, and this columnist, was also opposed to it. An alternative, in-house plan was added to the options, but seemed to have little chance of success, against the allure of a global security firm.
Then came the G4S Olympic fiasco, followed by the election of a Police and Crime Commissioner for the county, Olly Martins.
And, lo and behold, things have changed. The outsourcing proposal has been dropped and it looks like the alternative in-house proposition will be adopted.
Hurray for common sense, I say.
And well done to the PCC and the Chief Constable. The only grit in this new, tasty oyster is what I promised, fool that I am. So sceptical of the procedure was I that I said if the internal option is adopted I would head off to the Police HQ in my shorts and trainers and run 100 yards, doing my Usain Bolt impression.
I am not being let off the hook.