Ed Miliband: ‘We didn’t get immigration right’


by Sunny Hundal    
8:15 am - March 6th 2013

      Share on Tumblr

The Labour party is to air a party political broadcast (above) tonight dedicated solely to tackling the thorny issue of immigration.

The PPB will precede a speech tomorrow by the shadow home secetary Yvette Cooper, who will give a speech with more specifics on what a Labour party would go on immigration if in government.

Miliband will talk about how Britain’s diversity is a source of our great strength as a country, but that migration needs to work for all and not just for some.

In the broadcast, Ed Miliband will say:
- Labour were wrong in the past to dismiss people’s concerns about immigration;
- Low-skill migration is too high and we need to bring it down;
- One Nation Labour would make English-language teaching a priority.

In the broadcast, Ed Miliband says:

I’m going to tell people what I believe. And I believe that diversity is good for Britain. But it’s got to be made to work for all and not just for some. And that means everybody taking responsibility, everybody playing their part and contributing to the country. That is what One Nation is all about, and that’s the Britain I want to build.

The Party Political Broadcast will air on Wednesday night in England only, on BBC2 (17:55), ITV1 (18:25) and BBC1 (18:55).

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Immigration ,News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Racist!

@1

Framing immigration the way tabloids do is racist.

Under One Nation, how will we deal with those recalcitrants who choose to speak another language other than English?

Unbelievable. Instead of fighting racism and giving those who hate racism a party to vote for, Labour is going to to try to split the bigot vote. Milliband is an utter disaster.

It’s a step in the right direction, but a little short on detail surely?

There was one reference to “proper management”, but only as an aside. What matters is ensuring that we have the infrastructure to cope with planned immigration levels, and this is where the Labour government failed so badly.

I’d like to hear more about the mechanics and less fluff about diversity.

Chris,
The point surely is that better management would lead to lower levels of resentment, thus lower levels of racism.

It’s the difference between practical action in pursuit of a stated aim, and simply saying “look at me, ain’t I wonderful”. Most people are NOT racists, so you may be a little less special than you think.

The broadcast is a little dog-whistly, it has to be said, but only a little.

I’m going to tell people what I believe. And I believe…

I hate this verbal tic so much. “I’ll tell you what I think. I think…”; “What I say is this, I say…”. Drives me round the bend.

@Jack C

“The point surely is that better management would lead to lower levels of resentment, thus lower levels of racism.”

This could not be further from the truth. Racism is not justified and making out that you are managing your way to lower levels of resentment is accepting the entirely fabricated case put forward by racists.

It’s striking in Britain that the areas where people are most likely to say that they have ‘concerns’ about immigration are those in which there are the fewest immigrants, even using the ridiculous language which defines Europeans who have moved house as ‘immigrants’.

Free movement of labour in the EU has helped bolster our economy and has also created marvellous opportunities for British people to live and work in other EU countries. There is no case against except on motivated purely by racism.

Incidentally, Labour’s belief that it has to pander to racists to get working class votes demonstrates graphically how little understanding Labour has for the British working class. Labour thinks working class people are bigots.

Chris @4:

Labour already has a considerable and entrenched bigot vote. Mrs. Duffy was a Labour supporter. This is why the Sun and the Daily Mail agree on immigration issues, using them as a dog-whistle for xenophobia and closeted racism.

Jack @6:

That could only be true if you bought the idea that very high levels of immigration are the reason for the bigotry. Net immigration could be negative and we’d still here calls for less of it.

/gah/ here = hear. D’oh.

Weasel words and spin from the Labour party as usual.
None of the main political parties in Britain can do much better.
Is he saying that there are a lot of people now living in the UK who were allowed to migrate here, who should really have been kept out? Who exactly is he talking about, or are we just meant to make our own guesses as to who these people might be? The African population mushroomed from quite little to what it is today in a couple of decades. Does he mean them? All the people from Nigeria and places like Ghana? They wern’t asylum seekers so they obviously got permission another way. On what grounds I’ve never been quite sure.
Or does he mean all the overseas spouses from the Indian subcontinent? Those numbers were about 17,000 a year the last time I checked. Quite a lot.

Anyway, I know the answer – Ed will say nothing of the sort, as the whole issue is one of management and spin.
It can’t really be any other way really.

From Ed ‘And that means everybody taking responsibility, everybody playing their part and contributing to the country. That is what One Nation is all about, and that’s the Britain I want to build.’

I’m not completely sure that means anything at all – it’s just filler. I don’t think everybody’s responsible for migration – sure, make your neighbours feel welcome, say hello and stuff, maybe wander over with a bottle of vino or tell them where the local tip is but other than that, i’ve got no part to play. What an odd thing to say. Is this Baldwin’s work? If so, it’s not very structured.

Chris & Chris N:

I don’t presume to know what lies behind every individual bigot’s bigotry, and nor do I think it can be immediately eradicated.

My point is that you can disagree with recent immigration levels without being a bigot.

We know that Labour managed it badly because they under-estimated the figures badly. This led to pressures on infrastructure. It was incompetence, and that had side-effects.

Had immigration being managed properly there would have been fewer associated problems.

Half of the ethnic minorities in Britain live in London, where only 45pc of the resident population is now white British.

How come then those recent press reports saying schools in London have dramatically improved over the last decade and are now out-performing schools in other parts of the country?

“In 1997, just 16% of its students got five GCSES at grades A-C, the league table measure then. Last year, 71% passed at least 5 GCSES at grades A*-C including English and Maths.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21534863

“London schools have improved so rapidly over the past 10 years that even children in the city’s poorest neighbourhoods can expect to do better than the average pupil living outside the capital.”
[FT 13 January 2013]

Those kids will be well behaved and motivated.

Those London results bode reasonably well for the future.

“We didn’t get immigration right in government”

You can say that again. Immigration, both Labour and the Conservatives has been terrible.

There is nothing wrong with other countries nationals coming here. They bring skills and labour, but this HAS to be subject to a few criteria. Firstly, they have to have a job in the bag already. Secondly, there has to be a need for their skills here. If we have an over supply of nurse techs, then we don’t need more coming in. Thirdly, you can’t receive benefits until you are a UK resident (3 years I think) and have been working during that time. There is simply no justification for paying out to people who are not residents and who have made no contribution to the UK.

A recap from the BBC website in May 2011:

The number of low-skilled workers born outside the UK more than doubled between 2002 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The figures show that almost 20% of low-skilled jobs are held by workers born abroad, up from 9% in 2002.

Workers coming to the UK from eastern or central European countries were the biggest single factor in the rise.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13561094

18. Renie Anjeh

The comments on this page, especially from @9 and @1, is a clear example of why the Labour Party needs to expand its voting base. Talking about immigration management is not racist, discriminating against people because of their race is racist. I remember doorknocking in Tottenham, Ilford, Corby and also Eltham. The people who have been concerned about immigration, where far from racist in fact they were very nice but concerned about jobs, wages, living standards, housing and the pressure about public services and the effect that high immigration was having on these things. Instead of calling everyone under the Sun a ‘racist’ or a ‘bigot’, address their concerns and look at the effects that some immigration is having on those concerns. Ed Miliband is spot on.

If people want an honest debate they’ll stop using the word ‘immigration’ and start using the word ‘foreigners’.

This is all about placating the imaginary fears of the ignorant. People don’t like foreigners and the major parties need their votes. Miliband and Cameron should admit they can’t be Prime Minister without pandering to arseholes.

Xenophobia isn’t entirely a matter of irrational prejudices – it’s a matter of expectations, language nuances and trust:

As Fukuyama wrote: “people who do not trust one another will end up cooperating only under a system of formal rules and regulations, which have to be negotiated, agreed to, litigated and enforced, sometimes by coercive means. . . .Widespread distrust in a society . . . imposes a kind of tax on all forms of economic activity, a tax that high-trust societies do not have to pay.” from Francis Fukuyama: Trust; (1995) p27.

It tends to get overlooked nowadays that Disraeli – PM in 1868 and 1874-80 – was the grandson of immigrants to Britain.

As he wrote in his novel Tancred in 1847: London is a modern Babylon.

The number of low-skilled workers born outside the UK more than doubled between 2002 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The figures show that almost 20% of low-skilled jobs are held by workers born abroad, up from 9% in 2002.

As an aside, it is not exactly uncommon now to advertise for vacancies for common low-skilled labour jobs, which will be situated in the UK, in Eastern European countries. Eastern European applicants also have less hurdles to clear in the application process too. This is presumably because you can pay them less and exploit them easier, since they might not be all that well informed on their rights as workers within the UK.

@13

I don’t presume to know what lies behind every individual bigot’s bigotry, and nor do I think it can be immediately eradicated.

This, basically. Who here thinks Gillian Duffy was purely motivated by a knee-jerk dislike of funny smelling sausages appearing in the local market, and not say worried that her Grandchild’s quality of life was going to eroded by immigrants being shipped in and exploited for cheap labour and thus pricing everyone with dependants in the UK out of the jobs market?
We’re told that we need immigration because we have an aging population, meanwhile our youth unemployment continues to rise. Surely if the problem that immigration solves is too many retirees to workers, then you would expect to see youth unemployment falling, no?

19: “This is all about placating the imaginary fears of the ignorant. People don’t like foreigners”

And another one. All this says is: “I’m better than most people, because I don’t discriminate.” Can you see the irony?

By the way, there has not yet been a defence of Labour’s management of immigration when in government. Why is that?

Eastern Europeans working here may be in low-skilled jobs, but most of them are very clearly not “low-skilled” as individuals.
It’s just that our low-skilled jobs pay better than many of their higher skilled ones.

So the bottom 10-20% of our workforce is competing (well, it’s no competition really) with people who are far better educated and motivated.

Whom, as an employer, would you prefer?

I despise poor people, I think they’re a blight upon our society and fully approve of importing highly skilled, efficient, cheap labour so that poor Brits can face a life on benefits, in transient low grade housing, churning out kids for a life of crime with no education, no opportunities and just drink & smoke themselves into an early grave. I’ll definately vote Labour, they’re great.

*sigh*

In any other area, we on the left are the first to point to the negative consequences of allowing free markets to decide everything, and to defend a role for government in regulating or shaping markets (e.g. in labour and housing), in planning the provision of public services, etc. Yet when it comes to immigration, anyone who rejects a rabidly libertarian position according to which employers should be allowed to employ any*one* they like, any*where* they like, on any *terms* they like (including housing them in slums and paying poverty wages) – with all the implications that has for driving down wages, increasing pressure on public services, etc. – is condemned as a racist by the likes of Chris @ 4 and @ 8.

On the evidence so far, Labour deserve credit for trying to shift the terms of the debate on immigration by focusing on workers’ rights, low pay, training etc. rather than race/religion.

Bob B @ 14:

“Half of the ethnic minorities in Britain live in London, where only 45pc of the resident population is now white British.

How come then those recent press reports saying schools in London have dramatically improved over the last decade and are now out-performing schools in other parts of the country?”

I acceopt it’s a rhetorical question, Bob, but I answered it here http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2013/01/18/immigration-education-and-prosperity-building-on-the-london-success-story/; basically, immigration has been great for London.

Too little too late.

In the news:

“BEIJING—China is losing its competitive edge as a low-cost manufacturing base, new data suggest, with makers of everything from handbags to shirts to basic electronic components relocating to cheaper locales like Southeast Asia.”
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323783704578245241751969774.html

Germany has retained manufacturing for longer than other west European countries so we should ask: how come?

Part of the answer is not just a matter of comparative unit labour costs or the structure and prevailing sentiments of financial markets and institutions. Germany has a competitive advantage is certain kinds of specialist machines – like printing machinery, some machine tools, bottle-labelling machines etc.

My concern is that the “short-termism” of financial markets will be used as a scapegoating factor to divert attention from other issues affecting competitive edge. Design, quality and skill shortages affect competitive edge, not just unit labour costs.

British companies used to design and build nuclear power stations but now we are hoping a French company (EDF) will invest to build Britain’s next nuclear power station when successive governments since WW2 poured multi-millions of taxpayers’ money into pioneering nuclear power.

OTOH Britain maintains a competitive edge in designing and building grand prix racing cars. Among Britain’s more successful big industries are pharmaceuticals and defense equipment – both of which are highly regulated and both depend very largely on sales to government agencies, which doesn’t say much for all that stuff about deregulation and the stifling effect of government bureaucracy, to mention other favoured scapegoats.

With the reports in the mid 1990s of the losses accumulated by Credit Lyonnais in France – the biggest bank there and state owned – I think we need to be a bit more sceptical about creating a public sector investment bank.

Any chance David’s still available?

@25:

Well said GO.

A cynic might think that Chris and his ilk have questionable motives. Perhaps:

a) They’re not really concerned about racism, they just want to advertise their own saintliness.
b) Burnishing their own self-image is more important to them than the concerns of others.

I hope not.

My comment is more of an advice on a productive perspective to current immigration state of our great Britain.
This will require further research to establish this advice:
The level of illegal immigrants can be observed to be of great benefit to the country. There are various routes of attracting best hands (skilled/talented people)by UKBA such as the talent route, tier 1 general etc; this signifies that the country really need foreign skilled professionals.
The government needs to ascertain and screen the illegal migrants because some of these migrants are quality skilled professionals the country require for its economy advancement.
Thank you.

The liberal European imperialists of the EU have got the working class chasing their tails in pursuit of ever lower wages and ever more meagre welfare. This is the neo-liberal wet dream in practise.

Labour should never have signed up to an EU that did not guarantee full employment and a standard minimum living wage across the piece. Mass economic migration and its attendant miseries and injustices (buying workers off the shelf never having had to pay for their education or training from countries that can ill afford to lose them) is a feature of late, decadent, capitalism. It would not be a feature of socialism.

Labour should pledge to renegotiate the founding treaties of the EU in accordance with socialist principles not the current neo-liberal ones that are turning european workers into itinerants and forcing privatisation of everything.

@32. Pal Joey

Why on earth would Labour want to re-negotiate EU treaties in line with Socialist principles?

@ 30

“A cynic might think that Chris and his ilk have questionable motives.”

…just as Chris cynically assumes that anyone who talks about controlling immigration must secretly be motivated by racism. I reject both flavours of cynicism. I reckon Ed Miliband really is concerned about the exploitation of migrant workers and about the negative consequences for workers in general, and for society as a whole, of a thriving market in cheap imported labour. And I reckon Chris really is worried about racism being dressed up as ‘legitimate concerns’, and justifiably so given the history of debate over immigration in this country. I would just say to Chris: if you think these supposedly legitimate concerns are just a smokescreen for racism, don’t just call your opponents names – debunk their concerns.

35. Renie Anjeh

@32 – That is completely unrealistic. Firstly, the EU has done so much on the working time directive, the social chapter and many of our employers’ rights. Secondly, how on earth will the renegotiation on EU treaties in accordance to socialist principles happen – it won’t, not even Francois Hollande would support it. Thirdly, if Labour wants to try and make reform in relation to the EU then it must pledge to revisit the free movement of labour directive. Although, the Free Movement is a good idea in principle, in practice there are problems because the poorest countries in the EU lose a lot of the skilled workforce for wealthier countries and that is not fair. That also relates to the problem of immigration management. Labour should call for a minimum level of GDP before a country can use the free movement of labour.

Anecdotal evidence alert.

I’m one of those people living in an area with a large immigrant population who doesn’t personally feel terribly concerned about immigration. But I did find myself a bit lost for words some years ago when a friend told me how all the workers at her stepdad’s firm – they were bus drivers, I think – had been sacked and replaced by cheaper Polish workers.

Maybe I could have come back with some figures about the net benefit of immigration to the economy as a whole, but that wouldn’t have changed the fact that her stepdad had been left out of work because of an influx of cheap migrant labour.

Now, the problem there was not evil foreigners. It was a lack of workers’ rights/labour market regulation leading to the distortion of the market by immigrant labour. That’s just the sort of problem the Left ought to be addressing, and we can’t run scared of these issues for fear of being called racists. Again, I applaud Ed Miliband for trying to frame the debate in these terms.

I had lunch at this church support centre for ”marginalized and socially excluded people” in Camborne in west Cornwall last week. I’ve been travelling about visiting these kinds of places just to see what they’re like.

Anyway, in general conversation with some of the unemployed and homeless or hostel living people there, I asked about local work. It was daffodil time I was told, a big industry locally it seems …. but that ”was all Lithuanians and Polish nowadays.”
They wont take on locals as they prefer the foreign labour.
How true that is I have no idea. Maybe it’s just an excuse to mask their reason for being unemployed and eating free food at a church charity.

I was told that after work time down at the big Tesco in town, I’d see ”loads of them” all getting some shopping after a day in the fields. It’s a hard job apparently. Lots of bending down working the rows of flowers all day. Migrant labour has had a dramatic affect on communities that used to do this kind of work seasonally. Too much work for minimal pay.
The foreigners move in and out of these kinds of areas as the different harvests and seasons roll around.

…just on this point about cynically ascribing racist motives to people who talk about controlling immigration: I suppose I’m inclined to do this myself when it’s a right-winger doing so. But that’s because there’s no principled free-market case to be made against the free movement of workers within a lightly-regulated international labour market. There’s no free-market objection to employers seeking a competitive advantage by hiring foreign workers to pick fruit for £4.00 an hour; or to local landlords profiting from a surge in demand by asking higher prices for poorer-quality housing. Hence I can’t think of any reason *other* than xenophobia/racism for a right-winger to worry about immigration.

Small “c” conservatism would be one reason, though this isn’t restricted to the “right”.

40. Richard W

Anyone could be excused for thinking there was some sort of nationality bar on UK workers crossing the channel to seek work elsewhere. You know that single market thingy does not just work one way. Of course, that would mean getting off their backside, quitting whining and blaming other people. Obviously too much to ask because their chosen job should just appear at the end of their street. Much easier to blame foreigners than look in the mirror. We get all the myths about migrant workers because that is the way people rationalise being out-competed. It is much easier to believe migrant workers have some huge advantages than accept the truth of their own inadequacies.

We constantly hear from some quarters about low pay for UK workers (not true). Pay should be higher(good) because low paid workers have valuable skills that deserve higher compensation (questionable). We can just wish it into being because that would be fair. The abstract concept of fairness usually defined by the person making the case. Well if pay is so low and skills are so high then obtaining higher wages elsewhere in the single market should not be a problem.

Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Austria are all in the single market and not part of the troubled EZ periphery. Could it be some people are not as valuable as we are led to believe. UK businesses do not want migrant workers because they are cheaper, they want them because they are better. However, there are few votes for politicians telling the truth.

41. Shatterface

The way to stop immigrant labour ‘driving down wages’ is to raise and enforce the national minimum wage.

Police employers before borders.

42. Shatterface

Anyone could be excused for thinking there was some sort of nationality bar on UK workers crossing the channel to seek work elsewhere. You know that single market thingy does not just work one way. Of course, that would mean getting off their backside, quitting whining and blaming other people.

Ah, yes, the Norman Tebbit/Marcus Brigstock argument: immigration is good because the British working class are lazy cunts.

@ 41 Shatterface

As I understand it, that is just the direction Miliband is trying to take the debate in. Enforcement of the minimum wage is certainly one of the things Labour are talking about. So is legislation on gangmasters. I believe one of the policy proposals is precisely to ‘police’ employers by making non-payment of the minimum wage an issue for the police rather than just the HMRC.

I’m a member of the Labour Party and I disagree with everything Ed Miliband is saying. Immigration policy was one of the few things Labour actually got right from 1997-2010.

45. Richard W

@ 42. Shatterface

Ah, yes, the single market where people do not actually move. They find absolutely nothing wrong with German cars moving across borders to their local dealership, but people moving is beyond comprehension. If people remaining statically frozen in time to the one place forever makes no sense internally, it makes no sense externally when the EU is a single market. How absurd would it sound if we tried to stop internal migration by preventing people in Birmingham moving to Manchester for work. Weird lines that we drew on maps during the 20th century does not make the attitude any more coherent. If restrictive county borders would be absurd so are national borders.

For an alternative perspective, try this submission on the economic impact of immigration by Robert Rowthorn, professor emeritus of economics in Cambridge University, to the HoL Select Committee on Economic Affairs, session 2009/10:

This submission examines these claims. It concludes that the economic consequences of large-scale immigration are mostly minor, negative or transient, that the interests of more vulnerable sections of the domestic population may well be damaged, and that any economic benefits are unlikely to bear comparison with its substantial impact on population growth. Such findings are in line with those from other developed countries.

Although it does not benefit the UK population as a whole, large-scale immigration does benefit migrants, their families and sometimes their countries of origin. It can be argued that UK migration policy should take the interests of these other parties. This issue is not addressed in the present submission.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/82/7100902.htm

@ Chris

“I’m a member of the Labour Party and I disagree with everything Ed Miliband is saying.”

May I suggest that you read this in order to get an idea of the sort of policy approach Labour seem to be talking about:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/mar/05/labour-crackdown-employers-exploiting-migrants

Something has gone desperately wrong if avowedly left-wing anti-racists end up attacking the Labour party for pursuing an immigration policy based around preventing the exploitation of foreign workers.

Can’t you just agree to disagree that such exploitation sometimes has negative knock-on effects (e.g. downward pressure on other workers’ wages), and get behind the proposals themselves?

“make it illegal for employers to provide unsuitable and unreasonable accommodation, including cramming migrants into small units, by making it explicit in the national minimum wage regulations”

“tougher enforcement of minimum wage legislation by using the police rather than HMRC”

“extend the gangmasters legislation that tackles the employment of illegal migrants by extending it to other sectors including care, construction and hospitality”

This from the BBC website is saying that Britain’s migration figures may be little more than informed guesswork and goes on to present what data there is on annual inward and outward migration and the balance.

FWIW I don’t believe that electoral sentiment has no concerns about the economic and social pressures flowing from the contribution to population growth from annual net inward migration of around 200,000 people:

The population of England and Wales has risen by 3.7 million in a decade – the largest increase since records began The growth was fuelled by increased life expectancy, a rise in fertility rates and immigration
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19646459

For starters, it is widely recognised that there is a chronic shortage of social housing.

This is one of the social consequences of population growth pressures in London:

Something quite remarkable happened in London in the first decade of the new millennium. The number of white British people in the capital fell by 620,000 – equivalent to the entire population of Glasgow moving out.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21511904

Selling a house or apartment in London can bring the wherewithal to buy a better place in another urban area away from London or in the country so the pressures on housing are transferred and homes to buy elsewhere become less available for local people.

The British working class are not all “lazy cunts” though there are plenty of examples.
But, to repeat myself, the reason that the Poles etc. are better is that those who come here do not come from the bottom 10-20% of the Polish workforce.

@ Chris again

Chris Bryant was just on BBC Breakfast, and made two specific comments about Labour’s time in office:

- the ‘points system’ to control low-skilled non-EU immigration was a good thing, but should have been introduced earlier

- it was right to apply transitional controls on migration from Eastern Europe from 2007 onwards, but again, that should have been done earlier

I wonder what you make of that as someone who thinks the last Labour government got it right on immigration? Surely if these are policies you approve of, you agree that ideally they should have been introduced earlier; while if these are policies you disapprove of, you can’t maintain that the last Labour government got everything right on immigration?

Yvette Cooper, meanwhile, is pointing to the perverse outcomes that come from a simple-minded ‘crackdown’ on net migration:

“Legitimate university students are included in the target even though they bring billions into Britain – and those are being squeezed.

“Yet student visitor visas aren’t included – and growing abuse in that category is being ignored…The Borders Inspector has already warned this route is open to abuse for those who are coming not to study but for low-skilled work instead”

That’s about right, isn’t it: a positive defence of the contribution made by genuine migrant students, together with a warning about possible abuse of a loophole?

Put all that together with the policy proposals I mentioned above:

“make it illegal for employers to provide unsuitable and unreasonable accommodation, including cramming migrants into small units, by making it explicit in the national minimum wage regulations”

“tougher enforcement of minimum wage legislation by using the police rather than HMRC”

“extend the gangmasters legislation that tackles the employment of illegal migrants by extending it to other sectors including care, construction and hospitality”

- and I struggle to see just what there is to object to (so far) in terms of the policies Labour are coming forward with. We’re moving the debate in the right direction here – towards an understanding that immigration per se is not a problem, but immigration driven by an exploitative market in low-skilled labour is.

@22 ‘And another one. All this says is: “I’m better than most people, because I don’t discriminate.”’

Couldn’t agree more. People who don’t discriminate are better than those who do.

People who don’t discriminate are better than those who do.

Paradoxically, this is itself an act of discrimination, meaning that if you espouse it you automatically classify yourself in the latter category.

I just posted this link on the ‘benefits tourism’ thread, but some of it’s relevant to this discussion too:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/06/uk-benefits-eu-migrants-what-crisis?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Again, a neat demonstration that a broadly positive attitude to immigration, and a robust debunking of negative myths, is perfectly consistent with the recognition of areas in which policy might be improved.

Aside from a minority of entrenched racists, arguing about immigration is code for insecurities about jobs and housing.
There is no doubt that London and the South east are overcrowded, with immigrants both from abroad and the the rest of the UK. This is because, thanks to govt subsidies of billions of pounds (bailouts, QE and HMRC sanctioned tax evasion/avoidance) the finance industries which form 9% of the economy and their support are the only source of employment.
What we need is not “affordable” housing, ie that which gets sold to landlords and rented out at exorbitant rates, but social housing, council housing, call it what you will. And we need hundreds of thousands of them in the S.East alone. But there’s nowhere to build without wrecking the transport, water and social infrastructure.
So how about having a govt that talked less about “immigrants”, most of whom come from the EU and cannot be legally prevented, and started re-balancing the economy towards the other 99% of the employment economy who are largely based outside the South east. That might ease the pressure on the South east, maybe move substantial parts of govt out of london too.
Immigration is not the problem, Governmental cowardice over housing and the financial industries is

I’m going to tell people what I believe. And I believe this is the funniest Party Political Broadcast I have seen for years. Since “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” Obviously Ed is apologising to those people who were thinking that who were being accused of racism by Labour supporters at the time.

My Sikh friend and I (Oim not racialist!) were across the floor laughing.

37. Damon- You don’t know if the fruit/veg picking has been taken over by foreigners? I saw a documentary about it on TV years ago. By that guy with the strange eyes who was downstairs at the Dragons Den. Before then Couriers who used to earn 500 quid a week were priced out by foreign people doing the same job for 250. It was worth it to them they could even send money back home! I would do it if I were them. And what about the building industry? Where have you been?

We were laughing a lot when we saw this last night. Especially the camera which is trying to escape from being focused on Ed’s face. It goes one way, then the other… fantastic.

Personally it doesn’t bother me. The more the merrier. Nothin I dislike more in the UK than towns full of Inglish people. I don’t like Tony Blair but his vision of multi racial Ingland is the same as mine. I think all these Inglish might start changing their minds when all these Romanian babes turn up too. They are smokin! Polish chicks have the blonde down but these Romanians have dark and dusky to a T! And the racist Poles who come here are shaking the soft locals up for not being militant enough against people of colour!

This country is great. It is really funny.

And what about British property hunters pricing locals out of their houses in Bulgaria? and mid France? and Spain? Its enough to make you racialist.

Anyway, nuff from me- You have been involved in what I believe you call “Identity Politics” for a long time, what do you think about this broadcast Sunny?

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 53 Tim J

“Paradoxically, this is itself an act of discrimination, meaning that if you espouse it you automatically classify yourself in the latter category.”

Specious. From context it’s clear we’re talking about discrimination on grounds of race/religion/nationality, i.e. prejudice, which is different from judging individuals based on their actions and views even if both can be described with the same term.

“The dilemma posed by immigration is that it actually benefits the most privileged in our society, while those who fear they will lose out – and are sometimes right – are people at the bottom.”

There is a fairly well-known academic paper, often cited in the economics literature, by Donald MacDougall on: “The Benefits and Costs of Private Investment from Abroad – a theoretical approach” (Economic Record 1960). This is available online but with a pay-barrier.

The paper applies impeccably orthodox neoclassic economic theory to model inward investment and concludes that, assuming unchanged terms of trade, inward investment will tend to depress the returns to capital on existing investments while improving the earnings of the other primary factors of production: labour and land. Much the same theoretical model can be adapted to analyse net inflows of labour leading to symmetrical conclusions: the net inflow of labour will tend to depress the earnings of labour while improving the earnings of the other primary factors: capital and land.

Donald MacDougall took over from Sir Alec Cairncross as chief economic adviser in HM Treasury for 1969-73: in other words, he was one of Ed Balls’s predecessors. Successive British governments have sought to attract inward investment.

MacDougall’s paper is presumably known to Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and Ed Miliband, all of whom have degrees in economics.

59. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Labour were wrong in the past to dismiss people’s concerns about immigration;

What?

They passed five separate acts on the matter, how the fuck is that ‘dismissing people’ – allowing the terminally stupid to live in their bizarre little simulacrum won’t do them any good in the long term.

They need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the reality of a globalized market, the sooner they adjust and compete the better for all.

Low-skill migration is too high and we need to bring it down

Migration can’t be ‘too high’ anymore than the supply of Playstations or Toyotas can be ‘too high’, as has been proven time and time again unless you’re a consistent communist and believe the allocation of labour should be centrally planned (which would mean you would also stop people from leaving, try putting that in an EDM and see what happens) then there isn’t a whole lot the state can do about the free movement of said factor of production.

@40

All that.

60. Dislecksick

Personal Musings:

Reasons I like Immigration

Freedom for all
Cheaper when I want to clean my car
I can go elsewhere and work if I want to – 2 way street
Better choice of girlfriend – have only dated E European since 2004! Far, far better choice of partner, not taken over by feminist entitlement complexes, drinks less, screws around less, and accepts you for what you are, a man, without making you guilty for it, and new rules make the “she wants a greencard” racist argument redundant.

Reasons against Immigration

Hundred of unemployed Somalians making a council house the impossible dream.
Gangs of predatory pedo’s targetting young white girls in care homes.
3rd World immigration purely happened to create political shift towards Labour – there was no economic argument to importing illiterate unskilled workers.
Losing cultural identity. I am British, and I fear when I am an old man, we will be a small minority in the Islamic Republic of great Britain.

I have no problem with European peoples coming here as they share our values broadly. Why on earth we invited the 3rd world over here I have no idea. The EE’s are broadly respectful and assimilate well, whereas it seems to me the others just leech the system and look for ways to exploit our youth, our generosity and just basically shaft us in every way possible.

Yes, this may make me a racist, but it’s what I see every day. I would argue it’s not, because it’s a culture which gives people their values, not skin colour, but even so probably by modern definition that still makes me a racist

That’s OK because that word ceases to have any meaning or effect on me any more.

@59:
“Migration can’t be ‘too high’”

Of course it can, and this is the crux of the matter. Just think about it:

1) Zero nett immigration would have zero impact on infrastructure, schools, hospitals, housing etc.
2) Nett immigration of 2 million per month over the next year would be calamitous.
3) Therefore, somewhere above zero, nett immigration becomes “too high”.

Labour wildly under-estimated immigration from EE, causing pressures and failures in the system. It was shocking bad planning, and they’re right to reflect on that (assuming they are).

62. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

No, it can’t, you’re confusing my positive statement with your normative statement.

The supply of foreign labour is no different to the supply of foreign goods and capital – all are subject to the irrefutable law of supply and demand, if you can discredit that law I and the entirety of those working in economics would be extremely interested to read your work.

It can be higher than you’d like it to be, but it cannot, as a positive statement of fact, be too high in the medium to long run, it is literally impossible.

Incidentally your first claim about ‘zero migration’ is nonsense, this ‘ceteris paribus of the madhouse’ is indeed the crux of the matter.

You’re missing the point.

Take as just one example, the administration of immigration.

Because nett immigration was significantly under-estimated, the authorities were under-resourced and unable to process applications in a timely manner, or at all (as a result we’ve had to have more than one amnesty).

In practical terms, nett immigration was “too high” for the system to cope. If there is a gap between the number of immigrants arriving, and the number of immigrants that can be comfortably absorbed, difficulties will arise.

Oh, and my claim about “zero nett immigration” is not nonsense, it’s self-evident fact. Schools, hospitals, etc do not need to plan for an increase of zero.

This is not to say that “zero nett immigration” is a good thing. You can see that surely?

64. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

There is no point to miss, you’re making a value laden claim and presenting it as a positive statement with no evidence to back it up.

In short your unsubstantiated opinion does not represent a point.

Ironically of course you’re claiming a failure of central planning – that the state simply cannot compete with the dynamism of the market; the circular logic of which appears to be lost on you.

Oh and your claim about “zero nett immigration” is nonsense. Even given “zero nett immigration” there remain a myriad of factors to be accounted for, natural population growth, internal migrations, fluctuations in the business cycle affecting tax revenue, deficit spending or lack thereof – all other things do not remain equal out of kindly convenience to the fantasy world in your head.

And net is spelled with one t.

I don’t think I can simplify it any further (oh, and both “nett” and “net” are valid, though the former used to be the convention).

I am indeed claiming a failure of central planning, I’m not sure why you think it’s ironic. It is a fact that Labour significantly under-estimated immigration from Eastern Europe. That’s mismanagement.

And on the zero question, why are you bringing in irrelevancies? It’s this simple:

School A needs to plan ahead based on projected pupil numbers. If there is no increase or decrease as a result of immigration, then the school will not be affected by immigration. Simple really.

Yes, numbers will be affected by other things, but they’re not relevant.

66. Just Visiting

anyone who cares about having evidence based views on immigration, should read the BBC link in Bob B’s post 48.

It’s scarey that in thid big data/internet driven world, that the numbers the govt depends on are based on such flimsy methods.

DisgustedofTunbridgeWells:

“What? They passed five separate acts on the matter,”

Good point. Indeed they did. They took the anti-migration thing very seriously, actually, and made a lot of noise about it. Predictably, however, the tabloids continued to shout “open door policy” repetitively (and always will, by the way) and so naturally people who trust the tabloids believe Labour did have such a policy. Labour seem to be admitting to having a policy that it is easily provable they never had. This is surely very unwise, even if focus groups and polls suggest apologies are in order. It may result in the Party being held responsible wholesale for the presence of unpopular ethnic minorities in the UK.

Apologising for the shambolic mess that immigration related departments got themselves into (in no small part because of endlessly changing dictats from Labour politicians trying to sound tough) would be a different matter.

I don’t agree with the libertarians on here that migration should be left to the free market, though. If it were (to Africa and Asia in particular) we would have rather serious problems. There would be a very intense and rapid process of free-market-driven wage levelling between Lagos, Shenzhen and Birmingham, which would, for example, create vast shanty town slums on any available wasteland or flood plain…

68. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

I don’t think I can simplify it any further (oh, and both “nett” and “net” are valid, though the former used to be the convention).

There is nothing to simplify, in the worlds of Wolfgang Pauli you’re not even wrong. It’s just nonsense built atop more nonsense.

If I see Dickens I’ll be sure to let him know you’re keeping the tradition alive.

I am indeed claiming a failure of central planning, I’m not sure why you think it’s ironic. It is a fact that Labour significantly under-estimated immigration from Eastern Europe.

Lets put aside the fact you’ve failed to provide any evidence for this ‘significant under estimation’. What is your answer to this alleged ‘failure’ of central planning? Yet more central planning; in addition to the raft of legislation (including the much vaunted points system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Points-based_immigration_system_(United_Kingdom) ) that according to you and just about everyone else obsessed with this stuff, has all failed.

That’s mismanagement.

It is not the state’s business to manage the ebb and flow of the market, unless it happens to be a communist state. The state can’t ‘mismanage’ the flow of factors any more than I can ‘mismanage’ Goldman Sachs balance sheet.

School A needs to plan ahead based on projected pupil numbers. If there is no increase or decrease as a result of immigration, then the school will not be affected by immigration. Simple really. Yes, numbers will be affected by other things, but they’re not relevant.

Hold on a minute, because you’ve accepted my argument there haven’t you, let us revisit your original claim.

Zero nett immigration would have zero impact on infrastructure, schools, hospitals, housing etc.

So you’ve gone from ‘zero impact’ which I told you was the ceteris paribus of the loony bin to, ostensibly ‘not affected as a result of net migration’ (a situation that of course, can never occur).

Incidentally the ONS disagrees that internal flows are ‘not relevant’ because they spend their time projecting exactly that.

A statistical release on school capacity was published on 9 January 2012 (OSR01/2012) and included local authorities’ own forecasts of future pupil numbers, based on local level information, such as inter-authority migration of pupils.

http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/datasets/a00201305/pupil-projections-future-trends-in-pupil-number-dec2011

You should probably tell them they’re wasting their time.

Fwiw, immigrants use far fewer public services than they actually pay for – http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/research/mrpd/research/EvidenceMyths.html#seven

69. Mattyboy-1965

Ed Miliband: ‘We didn’t get immigration right’

No shit Sherlock?!!??


Reactions: Twitter, blogs




Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.