Letter to the Times - The Centre Ground has Shifted
As published 13 May 2013
Sir, Daniel Finkelstein (Opinion, May 8) should appreciate that views regarded as right-wing some years ago now reflect the views of a majority and should more accurately be described as centrist. The political centre ground on both immigration and Europe has shifted.
Most people want strict controls on migrants to our country — after all, no one has provided a convincing explanation why, since 1999, over 250,000 net migrants (mostly non-EU) should have been allowed to settle in the UK every year. This was four times the figure of the previous two decades.
On Europe most people are “eurosceptic”. They have serious doubts about the EU and want radically to reshape our relationship so that it is based primarily on the single market without interference in other policy areas.
Before the European elections in May 2014 we will need to see that tough border controls are in place and immigration has been returned to pre-Labour levels; that the powers we shall bring back from Brussels are substantive and identified; and there is a firm guarantee of a referendum. Most critical of all, of course, the economy will need to be tangibly on the upturn.
Geoffrey Van Orden MBE MEP (Conservative)
88 Rectory Lane
Chelmsford CM1 1RF