Myths vs Facts - clarifying BBC Question Time 17/01/13

The Commentator team picks apart the myths and presents the facts from BBC Question Time

by COMMENTATOR FACT CHECK on 17 January 2013 22:35

As the Internet continues to slaughter the high street, Islamist terrorists continue to slaughter foreign nationals and innocent civilians in predominantly Muslim countries across the world.

Mali and Algeria only arose at the end of today's programme, but writing for us in October 2012, Douglas Davis warned about the spread of violence to nations like Algeria and even Nigeria. It’s no surprise to some that we are currently engaging a newly invigorated Al Qaeda, and anyone who thinks we can continue to avoid this conflict is gravely mistaken.

While much of today’s Question Time hinged on the issue of British high street chains going bust, the conversation quickly shifted to Romania and Bulgaria’s ascension to the European Union – a fact that would, critics say, create at least a 50,000 person per year influx into the UK.

Farage talked about Bulgaria, but let’s not forget about the dire condition that Romanians also find themselves in. Would anyone blame them for packing their bags now?

We find ourselves on the immigration issue. Big one for Farage, who correctly made the assertion that EU nationals can arrive in Britain and claim benefits from day one. But is immigration just about the freedom of movement? Rory Broomfield, deputy director for the Freedom Association interestingly notes the impact on public services and communities:

“In 2009 there were 10 schools where no pupils speak English as a first language; in inner London, 55 percent of all primary school pupils did not speak English as a first language in 2010… since 2000, employment of non-UK born workers aged 16 and over has increased… from 2.1 million to over 4.1 million.”

Many have argued however, that immigration is the very key to growth, highlighting that It has been estimated that open borders could lead to a boost in world GDP of between 50-150%.

Europe. Referendum. Speeches (or lack thereof). What’s clear on this topic is that the plurality of Brits want a choice. Caroline Flint claimed the issue isn’t about the national interest, and that the Tories are ‘boxing Cameron in’. In reality, it’s the public that is boxing Cameron in with more and more people in favour of a plebiscite on the topic. If something doesn’t happen soon, they’ll be boxing Cameron up at the polling stations. Is it any wonder UKIP continue to rise in the polls?

The Brixit naysayers argue that the UK cannot be a Norway or a Switzerland because, “Norway has oil and Switzerland is a tax haven” – but the facts dictate that if Britain lowered and flattened taxes and properly exploited the vast reserves of shale gas that lay beneath British soil – we could grow faster than our counterparts abroad.

Finally, Farage effectively let his side down with the ignorant yet populist rant on 'not getting involved in foreign wars that aren't in the British national interest'. Failing to support his own commitment to freedom and democracy any further outside of Land's End, and appallingly, failing to understand the workings of geopolitics and how the Islamists are simply seeking to use Africa as a base for their global operations, Farage effectively wants Britain to lay down.

A quite simple rule of thumb that Farage should stick to is that if you end up on the same side as Owen Jones - you're probably wrong. In fact, you definitely are. Definitely. 

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