What next Mr. Gove? Martians flooding your A&E departments?


It is always useful to know what you’re talking about when invoking possible EU expansions in any debate about Europe and European membership.

  • The Dutch army and society were traumatized when poor UN organization and a British/French/American No Bombing deal forced our DutchBat soldiers to witness helplessly how a Serbian massacre got underway at Srebrenica in 1994. The Dutch have been taking extra attention of Balkan goings on ever since.
  • Inside the past year, Erdogan has first interned and then expelled (or: allowed to slip away) two critical Dutch journalists working from Turkey. The first was Mrs. Geerdink, an expert on Turkish-Kurdish relations working from Diarbakir (Turkish Kurdistan); the second was the Dutch & Turkish columnist Ebru Umar staying with her Turkish parents in a sea resort. The Dutch governments have been closely involved in all kinds of talks about Turkey joining the EU since the formal EU procedure for that was started around 2005; that is because like Germany, we have a substantial segment of Dutch citizens from Turkish descent (holding obligatory Turkish passports as well, and voting in Turkish elections).

The UK doesn’t have those kind of reasons to pay attention on the question of Turkish or Balkan countries joining the EU, and possibly “flooding” our countries with people seeking income and (health) services. So the knowledge about the probability of that happening (even in London government circles, as it turns out) is bound to be less assured.

Even with the Migration deal between the EU and Turkey speeding up the Visa-free travel by Turkish citizens (the necessary biometric passports still cost dearly; something nobody mentions), the probability of Turks massively traveling to Europe is one-sided at best: Turkish Kurds having been bombed out of their houses, neighbourhoods by Turkish collective punishment are likely to seek refuge in more tolerant climates.

And the probability of the completely dysfunctional Bosnian state (locked in spite and rivalry between its three ethnic parts), or corrupt Albania joining EU anytime soon is zero.

We Dutch, taking close attention of Turkish goings-on (if that weakens, Erdogan obliges by blunt actions to reawaken us), were therefore gobsmacked when Mr. Gove, former Education Secretary, spouted fact-free suppositions about what will happen to countries staying in the EU in the next 5 to 10 years. If he himself doesn’t check his facts before grandstanding, what is the quality of the Education he was responsible for the past five years?

I bet a lot of pollsters and statisticians rate the possibility of Mars joining (and flooding) the EU in that time-frame higher than Turkey of Bosnia or Albania. And if Mr. Gove predicts a “War of the Worlds”, he is turning red:

  • either as a secret member of the Fabian Society, like novelist H.G. Wells,
  • or from shame about dishonoring the excellent name British education had up to now.

To quote the KAL cartoon in this weekend’s The Economist, Mr. Gove’s speech has “Trump” or “trumped-up” written all over it.


* Dr. Bernard Aris is a historian, a D66 parliamentary researcher and a LibDem supporting member.

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  • Mick Taylor 23rd May '16 - 4:19pm

    Well, Peter Martin, you will be in good company. Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen and Rupert Murdoch all want us to leave. I may be cynical but I really don’t believe any of them wish the UK well.

  • Mick Taylor,
    Tony Blair, George Osborne, Peter Mandelson David Cameron etc. All support remain. Neither side is all sweetness and light.

    The argument is about the EU not goodies and baddies.

  • I don’t think much of Gove either but a pole taken in Turkey apparently says 12 million people would like to come to the UK if borders open. And it’s ok it’s unlikely to happen soon but people are still coming from Eastern Europe everyday and we are full to capacity as it is. Where i Iive we have more migrants than most areas plus those who are being forced out of London. We have no Social housing left and even the private rentals are drying up. We actually now have a situation where job ads are only asking for Polish speakers. Surely that can’t be legal? I’m not a far right racist and I have no problem with people coming here to work. My 7yr olds best friend is Polish but our infrastructure can not take much more. We have to draw a line some where.

  • Stevan Rose 23rd May '16 - 9:14pm

    Julia, that was a Daily Express poll of 2685 Turks, the question was “If Turkey becomes a full member of the EU, and Britain remains in the EU, would you, or any member of your family, consider relocating to Britain?” and 424 said they would consider it. Which they translated to 12 million Turks say they’ll come to the UK…. planning to move to Britain. Unfortunately “424 Turks say they might think about coming to the UK but would probably go to Germany or the Netherlands given the choice” doesn’t suit the Express agenda. This isn’t even twisting the truth, it’s an outright lie as shown in their own evidence they hope readers don’t look at.

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