Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 28 September 2017

Freedom of movement is once again confirmed as the impossible issue of our time

You can see why Theresa May said in Florence that the British wished the European Union well in its plans for greater integration, while choosing a different path ourselves. There is no point in causing antagonism over what we cannot prevent. But in fact greater European integration will do great harm to all Europeans, including us. The rise of AfD in the German elections was caused almost entirely by Mrs Merkel’s extraordinary decision to admit a million Middle Eastern migrants in a year. The spread of the Schengen area — proposed by Jean-Claude Juncker — combined with recrudescent migrant pressure can only confirm freedom of movement as the impossible issue of our time. The attempt to support the euro with banking union and pan-eurozone economic government will continue to penalise the poorer members, while ultimately enraging German voters who have to take on everyone else’s debts. Yes, we have an interest in EU stability. But no, it will not be achieved by the Merkel/Macron/Juncker visions.

‘Celebrities urge National Trust to ban fox hunting’, was the strange headline in Monday’s Times. Strange, because fox hunting is already banned by the law of the land. What the anti-hunting lobbies are trying to stop is trail-hunting on the Trust’s 600,000 acres, which is, of course, legal, and will remain so unless and until we are so mad that we forbid all ownership of hounds. There will be a vote on the matter at the National Trust’s AGM in Swindon on 21 October. All National Trust members wishing to attend, or vote postally, have to register by 15 October. There is quite a history of attempted coups of this sort at the Trust. In 1990, an extreme-left Labour MP, Jeremy Corbyn by name, sponsored a resolution to ban all hunting (which was then legal) on Trust land.

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