UKIP supporters are frothing madly at data showing that 600,000 EU citizens are living in the UK claiming welfare – the answer according to the fruitcakes is to stop them coming here. It is a populist line but a nasty one. On twitter I am lambasted: “You diss non-working Brits and ex-pats, but then defend benefit claiming EU folks.” Of course I do nothing of the sort. It is just that I am not an economic illiterate.
Do I enjoy EU citizens turning up her to claim benefits? Of course not. But I am minded that there are many British ex-pats living in the EU enjoying a range of state benefits paid for by the taxpayers of France, Spain, etc. This is not a one way matter as UKIP tries to pretend.
But there is a bigger issue. I am equally disgusted by our home grown welfare bums on Benefits Street. Frankly I “diss” all welfare bums equally wherever they were born. The way to deal with all welfare bums living in the UK is to drastically scale back the level of largesse of the British welfare state – reinvesting the savings in increase sing the thresh-hold at which all workers pay tax.
The answer is not as UKIP pretends simply to stop other EU citizens claiming welfare payments and State benefits (such as the NHS) here. Aside from the problems that would cause our ex-pats when other countries showed reciprocity, it would deter those from outside the UK who wish to come here to work but might take a few weeks to find work.
For the reality is that British workers simply refuse to take low paid jobs. Those jobs are filled by migrant workers from the rest of the EU. Adopt UKIP policies and British businesses would not be able to employ workers who would allow them to remain profitable. We would all be worse off – something Nigel Farage has admitted.
Showing real compassion to those who wish to work (by arguing for tax cuts for them), but also a grasp of basic economics (I'd like British businesses to thrive) I find myself concluding that UKIP is increasingly a party of populists, economic illiterates and frankly just very nasty people.