Why immigration has become a millstone around the Tory neck


5:44 pm - September 1st 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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Tory peer Lord Ashcroft has published some big research on immigration today, trailed in the Sunday Times and Conservative Home. He says:

In a poll of more than 20,000 people I found that six in ten thought immigration had produced more disadvantages than advantages for the country as a whole; only 17 per cent thought the pros outweighed the cons. The biggest concerns were the idea of migrants claiming benefits or using public services without having contributed in return, and added pressure on schools and hospitals.

On the positive side, the idea of migrants doing jobs that British people are not prepared to do, and being prepared to work harder for lower wages, were seen as the biggest advantages.

Public opinion on immigration, then, is more varied, and certainly more nuanced, than is sometimes supposed. Those who take the most favourable view often regard opponents as backward-looking and fearful of change. Those who are most concerned think supporters of immigration are insulated from its more challenging consequences.

Lord Ashcroft has segmented Britons into groups depending on how they react to immigration and why they fear it. This is useful if you want to convince them, as myself and people like British Future do. There is a danger that left-wing responses to anti-immigration rhetoric lump people together and tar them with the same brush. The aim of people who want to change minds on immigration should be to understand what Britons think, understand where they stand on the issue, and take that as a starting point to convince them. And each group (except the hardcore racists) will have to be spoken to in different ways.

Anyway, I have two points to make in response to Lord Ashcroft.

1) The public are far more nuanced (confused?) on immigration than even Lord Ashcroft lets on. For example, he finds that 60% of Britons think immigration has made produced more disadvantages for the country than not. BUT – an earlier poll by Lord Ashcorft found that 70% of all Britons think becoming a multicultural country was a good thing for the UK. Confused? You shouldn’t be – people come out with wildly contradictory answers depending on what you ask them. So all is not lost.

2) He says that voters don’t trust even the Tories on immigration. I’ve repeatedly referred to this as the Immigration Frankenstein Monster, and this graph illustrates the problem for the Tories.

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Even as immigration is falling – Britons trust the Tories less on dealing with it. Essentially, the Tories went so far in creating a conspiracy-like fear of immigration that the public don’t believe any politician can deal with it. They don’t trust most politicians and plainly believe immigration is rising not falling.

There is a point here for Labour: trying to ape the Conservatives doesn’t get you anywhere either, because the public don’t believe you’re being serious and are just pandering. Plus, you just feed the monster and make life even more difficult for yourself further down the line. This is why I think Ed Miliband’s direction (to deal with it as an issue of exploitation of low wage workers) is more credible and likely to work.

There is a point here for the Tories: You created this monster and now it’s devouring you. Tough luck.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


seems to be more a survey of public ignorance on the matter – in that the opinions held are not based in fact. If Labour want to do anything on this, they need to be correcting the public perception and getting the facts across, not pandering further to deliberately misleading right-wing propaganda.

You all need to get out of London more. Immigration is a big subject, but sorry to disappoint the left of centre groups, but travelling around the country I can tell you that your supposed core supporters want immigration stopped until we can show a need.

The Tories will always be chasing their own tail on immigration after making vastly over-ambitious claims in the run up to the elections about how they were going to reduce net migration to the 10’s of thousands instead of the 100’s of thousands.

Now they are stuck with that, and have had the short, sharp shock of coming to terms with the reality on the ground. And now they are stuck with a real conundrum – if they don’t reach their self-imposed targets they will look like liars and/or incompetents. So they will use any means necessary – even means which are damaging to the UK economy as a whole – to get the numbers right.

There are three types of migrants – discounting those who now have settlement in the UK:

1. Those who are here illegally because they arrived illegally and stayed under the radar, or arrived on a visa but overstayed.

2. Those who are here legally from other EEA countries;

3. Those who are here legally on work or student visas.

Doing something about illegals is an extraordinarily costly exercise. First you have to track them down. Then you have to arrest and detain them. Then, depending on the length of time they have been in the UK, they will make a claim that to remove them from the UK after so long is a disproportionate interference with their Art. 8 rights. Then they will launch Judicial Review proceedings, and be released on bail. Then you have to brief the Treasury Solicitors to deal with the JR. And the proceedings will drag on for months, if not years.

Doing something about EEA nationals is a fruitless exercise. They have the right to free movement, same as we have the right to free movement in other EEA countries. Unless and until we pull out of the EEA, we are stuck with it.

Finally, there are those who come here to work or study, or as visitors. They pay all their taxes and national insurance, consume our products, pay hefty tuition fees, have no recourse to public funds or benefits, and generally contribute to the economy. But as they are on temporary visas, they are the only ones that the UKBA can really have any meaningful control over. So the UKBA moves the goalposts every five minutes making it extremely difficult for them to renew their visas once they are here, imposing ever-increasing constraints on them, and succeeds in discouraging them from staying (and anyone who hears their stories of unfair and unjust treatment from even bothering to come in the first place)

Yet these are the people we want to be encouraging here, those with money in their pockets from educated backgrounds, who want to create something that contributes to our economy and society.

So we end up penalising the right type of immigrant while doing little other than sending the racist vans round to get rid of the illegals/overstayers.

Bonkers. But there we have it. It’s quantity, not quality, that counts, right?

Depressing to note that many people appear to have fallen for the “migrants come to the UK to claim benefits” and “lots of migrants claim benefits” when numerous academic studies and even DWP own figures shows the opposite ie far less likely to claim than native population and that people come here to work.

Certainly when it comes to EU workers (I won’t call them immigrants until Brits stop calling fellow citizens in France, Spain, Germany etc “expats”!), they pay more into the public purse then they receive not only in benefits, but also when public services are considered.

But looking at it from a more positive angle, I suppose it means that IF it were possible to educate the general population on the facts, then perhaps attitudes would be more positive?

There is no ‘confusion’ between liking elements of other cultures and thinking that *overall* immigration has been bad for the UK.

The number of people who want zero immigration is tiny – the number who want open borders is pretty small too.

The vast majority agree with UKIP and want *controlled* immigration.

Open borders vs closed borders is a straw man argument – that is not what the vast majority of people are discussing.

Sunny:

“tar them with the same brush”

Er…given its history, that’s one metaphor we could all quietly drop from our discussions about race and immigration.

7. Derek Hattons Tailor

I don’t see any contradiction between thinking

“Immigration is not beneficial to the country as a whole” – which is a judgement about the economic impact of immigration at National/societal level, possibly based on the reality that, overall, the rich gain the most economic benefit from migration.

and thinking

“Multiculturalism is generally a good thing” – which is clearly about positive personal experience of other cultures, which are not limited to the rich.

What that says is the majority are not convinced that unmanaged immigration is beneficial, but don’t translate that into a general dislike of individual migrants. Or, more cynically, perhaps the benefits of multiculturalism were broadcast more loudly and more often than the economic case for migration.

Either way, I don’t see it as any more confused than public opinion on any other issue.

8. Derek Hattons Tailor

@3 “have no recourse to public funds or benefits, and generally contribute to the economy.”

Councils have a statutory duty to house migrant families, schools have a statutory duty to educate their children, they can use the NHS. These are “benefits” in the sense of public services paid for by taxpayers and consumed free at the point of use. The fact that they cannot claim JSA (even if true) is irrelevant, it is small beer compared to the cost of the above.
And everyone “generally contributes to the economy” so stating that migrants do is meaningless.

@6 TONE
>Sunny:
>
>“tar them with the same brush”
>
>Er…given its history, that’s one metaphor we could all >quietly drop from our discussions about race and >immigration.

What history is that Tone?

Or do you think tar=black so must be racist?

@8 I think the poster was referring to people like my Indonesian friend (engineer with top ranked MBA, speaks 4 European languages inc English), who is here on the highly skilled migrant visa. She pays the same tax & NI as the rest of us, but if she lost her job, she would not be entitled to any out of work of benefits. She doesn’t have any children and would never qualify for social housing, but yes she does use the NHS, but she’s very healthy, so not a heavy user.

There are studies showing EU workers are net contributors to the public purse even when receipt of public services are taken into account. Some useful links in following article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/06/uk-benefits-eu-migrants-what-crisis

Councils do not have a statutory right to house ALL migrant families; only those that meet whatever eligibility criteria is set by the council for social housing (same criteria locals need to meet). There will be many “migrant” (see my earlier comment re “expats”) families who do not qualify for social housing.

…an earlier poll by Lord Ashcorft found that 70% of all Britons think becoming a multicultural country was a good thing for the UK. Confused?

No, because I’d bet my boots that men and women in the street tend to have a different idea of “multiculturalism” than politicians, commentators and wonks. To the former, I suspect that it involves minority cultures contributing to the preexisting (new shops, new restaurants) and an end to widespread, overt bigotry against different peoples. To political elites, it tends to involve mass immigration and communalism.

Even as immigration is falling – Britons trust the Tories less on dealing with it.

Perhaps it has something to do with their showing no sign of meeting their targets.

10. Rebecca Taylor

Why shouldn’t all immigrants be high skilled contributors like your friend?

Who cares what the ‘average’ for all immigrants is, when we could be in a position to limit immigration to admit the good ones and to exclude the bad?

13. Derek Hattons Tailor

@10 And there are studies which show they have a best a small positive impact. Given that it is practically impossible to attribute the cost of public services by group or individual any calculation is going to contain large amounts of guesswork anyway.
Your friend is not typical of migrant profiles, who mostly do low skilled work, or indeed of the UK workforce generally, so I’m not sure what her example really tells us. Perhaps the question might be, given the massive expansion of higher education under the last government, why do we still need to import highly skilled workers when the whole point of expanding higher education was to upskill the workforce to take the higher value jobs in the globalised economy ?

You are contradicting yourself on housing, if the criteria are the same as for locals then migrant families will generally go to the top of the list, as councils have a strange aversion to seeing women and children on the streets.

Believe it or not home countries generally call their migrants “expats” too.

BenSix,

I was contrasting this finding: six in ten thought immigration had produced more disadvantages than advantages for the country as a whole

with this finding: 70% of all Britons think becoming a multicultural country was a good thing for the UK

Regardless of what political elites think, Britons themselves have different responses on the same issue depending on what you ask them.

@13 Indeed it’s not possible to attribute perfectly for each individual, but to draw broad conclusions from the profile of different migrants. For example the typical profile of a worker from the newer EU countries is a young, single, healthy person with no kids and a very high employment rate; such a profile is not a heavy user of public services.

You seem to misunderstand me re social housing. My point was that not all migrant families will qualify for social housing. You seem not only to assume that every migrant family would qualify, but that unless housed by their local council they would all be homeless. Could you explain why in your opinion no migrant family can afford to rent privately or buy property?

“people come out with wildly contradictory answers depending on what you ask them.”

Not just what, but how! The same question can be framed in different ways and so produce a different answer, also 20k is no-where near enough on such a massive subject.
I would agree 100% with this; “The biggest concerns were the idea of migrants claiming benefits or using public services without having contributed in return, and added pressure on schools and hospitals.” It is the cost of this which is now putting pressure on all benefits claimants, the lack of honesty with the public by government, in it’s failure to explain EU legislation is holding it back and instead produce a raft of measures to claw money back and call it ‘reform’ is scandalous, as is ID Smith’s misuse of statistics.

Being prepared to work harder for low wages is great…for employers.
Carry on!

18. Man on Clapham Omnibus

10. Rebecca Taylor

The problem with most of the posts at this site is there appears to be a default position that immigration is in someway ‘good’.Yours is a classic.

But there are serious question and observations.eg

1. how our country is failing to educate its own to a sufficient level such that there is a demand for foreign labour/expertise.

2. the way discussions are predicated on the assumption that immigration is required for growth and whether the growth paradigm is now an anachronism.

3. no-one really takes seriously the idea that expertise coming into this country represents a net development loss to the donor state.Or,come to that, that there is a net loss of resource (be it housing/employment etc) to the indigenous population anytime someone new enters the country. Whether that loss can get offset by a gain will be dependent on a number of factors.

4. no-one seems to consider the implications of asymmetric population and economic growth ,the long term effects that might have and its relation to other states and to the ongoing development of 3rd world underdevelopment.

5. Who picks the fruit in Poland??

1. how our country is failing to educate its own to a sufficient level such that there is a demand for foreign labour/expertise.

The two are not related – and learn some basic economics – immigrants also increase the size of the economy.

2) you can discuss whether growth is redundant – no one is stopping you.

3) wut?

4) developing countries benefit from their people immigrating to developed countries

5) the market takes care of it

20. Mark Thompson

Net migration went up recently.

So long as net migration is positive, the number of migrants is increasing.

Your spin is dreadful. Show some humility and respect the fact is, it is not wanted anymore by the British public.

Just deal with it. Remind me again, how big is England?

Remind me again, how crowded is England?

@17 cjcj

“Being prepared to work harder for low wages is great…for employers. Carry on”

Its good for everyone. It makes the UK more efficient making our goods cheaper both for UK consumption and export.

Would you prefer to see a high wage low productivity workforce?

22. Man on Clapham Omnibus

19. Sunny Hundal

1. how our country is failing to educate its own to a sufficient level such that there is a demand for foreign labour/expertise.

‘The two are not related – and learn some basic economics – immigrants also increase the size of the economy’

So when industry complains that school leavers don’t have the right qualifications and when industry leaves the UK because of a lack of skilled labour ,the two are not related.
I think you’ll find that there is an established and widespread belief amongst the informed there is a relationship between educational attainment and economic success.

As to increasing the size of the economy this is just more non thinking on your part. I guess some people like more roads more pollution more crowded spaces. Just as well you aren’t interested in green issues.

‘2) you can discuss whether growth is redundant – no one is stopping you.’

I would suggest that resource limitations will make the idea of an ever growing economy that just sucks more resources and people is unachievable in the medium term.

‘3) wut?’

If someone comes to live in this country then there are immediate losses to the incumbent population. This is undeniable. Those loses may be made up over time but that isn’t assured.

‘4) developing countries benefit from their people immigrating to developed countries’

The implication of this is if everyone left a country the economy would overheat!
Another mantra on your part. So when the NHS was staffed with Indian doctors that helped India did it?

‘5) the market takes care of it’

Your mate George Osbourne couldn’t have put it better!
The market also takes care of 0 hrs contracts ,low pay and once upon a time sent kids down the mine. The market has also created the biggest divide between rich and poor.

@ Fungus
Its good for everyone. It makes the UK more efficient making our goods cheaper both for UK consumption and export.
Making cheap goods? We don’t sell at cost plus mark up, if we did everything would be cheaper. We pay what the market dictates, which means when we have a recession, like now, all goods come down by 75%, but still retain a profit?
Would you prefer to see a high wage low productivity workforce?
I would prefer a workforce that paid wages equal to weekly bills? Why should the taxpayer have to pay the rent for working people? The average weekly expense is £320, not including food, clothing and travel. This means to cut welfare we need a weekly wage of £10 an hour 40 hr week! Bring the wages of over paid directors down to off set inflation!
Have a look at; http://youtu.be/TzEEgtOFFlM for an understanding of where this and previous government is coming from!

@23 Bill

Indeed we pay what the market dictates and economic theory dictates that goods will cost less if they are made by a low cost highly productive workforce.

You will argue like cjcj that if productivity increases and wages go down it will mean extra profits for employers. Will guess what – the market notices these extra profits and competition increases resulting in more supply. More supply = lower costs.

You would prefer a workforce who are paid equal to their monthly bills. Surely this is the wrong way round. Surely you tailor your bills to your income. I do agree that tax credits and child benefit is absurd and should be scrapped. Then employers could pay more to the lower paid, less to the higher paid and the Govt wouldn’t have to administer the redistribution of wealth.

This is what happens if you have a high cost unproductive workforce: http://www.pure-orange.net/cgi-bin/anyboard.cgi/bscporch?cmd=get&cG=7363839393&v=2

Sunny Hundal makes no comment on social housing. Where I live (South Yorkshire) a Labour heartland the Labour vote was in meltdown in 2010. This is core vote area.

As at date a single man has nearly no chance in the bidding process for a Council tenancy as they will be neither ‘vulnerable’ or at ‘risk’.

At April 2013 for a one bedroom property Local Housing Allowance £80, Housing Association rent £75, Council rent £65.

Now work out when you take into account marginal rates of tax/National Insurance how many hours of work are needed to make up the difference plus travel costs and meals at or close to minimum wage.

Sunny, why don’t you blog about the dearth of social housing rather than the market which is dysfunctional and you know it.

Ask me how many economists it takes to change a light bulb.

The two are not related – and learn some basic economics – immigrants also increase the size of the economy.

Or at any rate, one certainly hopes they increase the size of the economy–that is, the absolute size. But that isn’t really the issue. The question is whether they increase the per capita size of the economy, and how they affect the distribution of resources throughout the economy. If the size of the economy grows, but people become worse off as individuals, either because the economy did not grow as fast as the population, or because the economic impact of immigration reduces the quantity of resources available to them, then they have a perfectly legitimate utilitarian reason for opposing mass immigration, if that is to be your standard.

27. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 15 I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. Yes, migrants tend to young and dynamic. By definition they are likely to be healthy, so are their non-migrant equivalents, so what ? And many migrants do have children, why do you think the schools are all short of places ? (On the BBC as I type so hardly right wing propaganda).

And I’m not assuming all migrant families will use social housing. My own father was a migrant and has never lived in social housing. My point was, given that social housing is a limited resource, the more people who are entitled to it, the greater the unmet demand will be

@19

Er, you learn some basic economise. I think it’s Michael Porter (the Diamond IIRC) that directly links investment in skilled workforces – viz higher education – and national economic success. But I’m sure he’s not the only one, are you suggesting economic success and education are unrelated ? Why do governments bother with it then ?

Importing slave labour or heroin also “increases the size of the economy” – so what ?

The benefits of economic growth accrue disproportionately to the rich. Discuss.

28. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 24 “You will argue like cjcj that if productivity increases and wages go down it will mean extra profits for employers. Will guess what – the market notices these extra profits and competition increases resulting in more supply. More supply = lower costs.”

That’s bollocks. Cost and price are unrelated. When costs go down, prices rarely follow (banking, oil, power and housing are 4 random examples of the opposite). Markets are efficient at making profit, not at reducing prices. Even if the markets “notices” what can the market do ? The corporates operate as global cartels and decide what price we will pay by shutting down competition. Go into a supermarket, thousands of lines, 80% of which are owned by a handful of corporates.
Even in the public sector – has all that outsourcing and greater “efficiency” resulted in lower tax ?

“Yes, migrants tend to young and dynamic. By definition they are likely to be healthy, so are their non-migrant equivalents, so what ?”

The ‘so what’ is that migrants are all:
1) young, healthy single people, either unskilled EEA workers or highly skilled non-EEA workers;
2) illegal immigrants (normally overstayers on tourist visas);
3) refugees;
4) spouses of UK/EEA nationals.

Groups 3 and 4 are allowed in for moral, not economic reasons, so the economic argument isn’t relevant.

Group 1 are of significant economic benefit.

Group 2 would exist even if we abolished all legal migration, unless we also abolished all tourism.

Studies by groups such as Migrationwatch look at all groups in aggregate; obviously refugees will tend to show lower human capital at least initially. But the only group where the decision should be based on economics is group 1, and for them, the economics more than stacks up.

“Go into a supermarket, thousands of lines, 80% of which are owned by a handful of corporates.”

And neither the supermarkets nor the large food & drinks companies make very big margins (IIRC Tesco’s is 3% compared to Apple’s 50%), and food is cheaper than ever.

30. Just Visiting

BBC Newsnight reported that within 2 years or so there will be a significant shortfall of primary school places.

It was not so long ago that the falling UK birth-rate meant primary schools were under-used.

It will cost a fair bit to expand schools.

Are the increasing numbers of kids due to immigration, or are natives having more kids pro rata than before?

Wonder if anyone here has already found some sources on the increase already ?

@30. Just Visiting

25% of UK births are to mothers who were not born here. High birth rate seems to be a cultural thing – something we removed from British culture and meant we were really well placed to build a sustainable future for the UK. Then our borders were thrown open…

Farmers rarely have livestock from cradle to grave (slaughter) – they buy in and sell on – the UK’s political class want to treat we plebs in the same way. Forget families etc, they want to import labour and hope it dies off/leaves before pensions kick in.

@28

Where did I say price was related to costs??? I said excess profits leads to increased supply – that is what causes prices to drop.

The four examples you chose – have there costs actually gone down??

As for public sector efficiency – that does not mean we pay less tax – it is not a market!!!

33. Man on Clapham Omnibus

31. Paul Perrin

where do your figures come from?

34. Man on Clapham Omnibus

27. Derek Hattons Tailor

‘My point was, given that social housing is a limited resource, the more people who are entitled to it, the greater the unmet demand will be.’

This is true but extends to everything pretty much eg. private housing, roads, schools. The extent to which supply can catch up over time depends largely on a number of economic/geographical factors, not simply demand. House building is a case in point. In a real sense someone coming into this country who rents, buys or occupies is inhibiting the opportunity of the indigenous population to do the same. So to with road space ,medical access and every other element of UK society.

Sunny’s Tory outburst, that ‘the market takes care of it’ is unfortunately just not true.

@2

Still worrying about the purity of your precious fluids, dennis?

In a real sense someone coming into this country who rents, buys or occupies is inhibiting the opportunity of the indigenous population to do the same

Dude. They’re enriching the indigenous population by doing so! New immigrants aren’t the ones who bought houses for ten pounds in 1950…

37. Man on Clapham Omnibus

36. john b

maybe if you could expand your one liner I might be able to understand your argument. If you have an issue with what is said maybe you could explain that too.

@ Fungus
“You would prefer a workforce who are paid equal to their monthly bills. Surely this is the wrong way round. Surely you tailor your bills to your income.”

Hang on while I tell Gas, Electric, Rent/ Mortgage and Water I can only pay them £2 each a week as my wages dictate this amount! This bills and Council Tax average £300 a week, therefore we should be paying £10 an hour for 40 hours! Even then people would have to find food, clothing and travel?

@ john b
“And neither the supermarkets nor the large food & drinks companies make very big margins (IIRC Tesco’s is 3% compared to Apple’s 50%), and food is cheaper than ever.”

In the Uk alone, Tesco profits were £2,400 million+ in 2012?
I would like to see wages linked to profits in ALL companies across the board, directors included. This would allow people to pay their own way and have welfare, as intended, for the needy and deserving. This will not happen either under Torylition or Labour, as they are working to EU / UN policies, which is why they all seem similar!

@ Just Visiting
“Are the increasing numbers of kids due to immigration, or are natives having more kids pro rata than before?”

There was a comment on a site not so long ago, about a local council (Anglian) had to spend £60 million on a new school because of the immigrant population. This will have to happen more wide-spread now and Gove is supplying funding for’Free Schools’ in places they have a surplus of places?

“Dude. They’re enriching the indigenous population by doing so! New immigrants aren’t the ones who bought houses for ten pounds in 1950…”

In 1950 £10 was a lot of money, approx 2 weeks wages, you could also buy a lot more with it?
The average immigrant rent’s, they also send a fair proportion of their income HOME! This does not help our economy or enrich the indigenous. In a lot of cases, we help them send money home, we pay for their children who aren’t here?

You can cut and spin this issue so many ways you can come to whatever conclusion you want to.
I just walked home through Croydon’s Surrey Street Market, which is far (far) more culturally diverse than it ever was, even twenty years ago.
One question you could ask people is how they like such places and whether more places should become like that. White people are probably a minority there, and it’s rather shabby and poor, as places that attract new poor immigrants often are. There’s certainly a bit of ”ghetto” about it. Whether you think that’s fabulous or not will be to personal taste. If you don’t know that area, I’d say it’s become more like Brixton, Peckham, Tottenham and other inner city places like that. There’s a lot of ‘bedsitland’ there and transience more than settled communities.

In my workplace nearby, a majority of the staff seem to be immigrants. It’s a giant well known store. A low pay, ”low culture” kind of place, and if you’re unlucky you can find yourself stuck with some youngsters playing ”grime” on the delivery van radios and talking street patois on their phones all day.
But at least they’re working for their wages.

So what people should be asked, is how would they like their town (say Eastbourne for example) to have the Croydon experience. If they say they don’t fancy it really, them they are to be condemned as racists (I think). Is that right?

Another ”big problem” that immigration has brought us is the divisiveness of race politics. I listened to Dotun Adebayo’s sunday evening programme on BBC radio London the other night, where they had Simon Woolley from Operation Black Vote in the studio and they were discussing ”black leaders” and asking who were they and where were they.

I really like Dotun generally, but he does some lousy programmes on his sunday night spot when they talk of issues for the Afro-Caribbean community.
Simon Woolley and OBV are the problem IMO.
Or one of the problems.

This week OBV are bringing over Jesse Jackson to speak to audiences in London and Birmingham. Events that are alrerady oversubscribed. A lot of people want to go and hear Jesse Jackson’s useless outdated race politics.
The radio programme is still on the i-player.
If you’re going to talk about immigration you are going to have to get into the politics and sort that kind of thing out.
But that can’t be done, because the likes of OBV won’t have it. They will cut up rough before allowing any differing views to be publicly aired.

@33. Man on Clapham Omnibus

The figures are all over the place… here is one story about them:-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9634127/One-in-four-British-babies-born-to-foreign-mothers.html

And remember the argument being presented in favour of migrants (struggle to get here, so hard working etc) only applies to first generation – an argument which puts *all* kids born here in the ‘lazy british worker’ category…

The seeds of our own destruction may already have been sewn – and those who support this destruction deny it, but secretly rejoice.

45. Man on Clapham Omnibus

44. Paul Perrin

Thanks for the reference. I had a chance to briefly check out government data , which confirms that the high birth rates are a combination of higher fertility and increased proportion of foreign-born women of child-bearing age living in the UK .

However as to seeds of destruction I do not follow. Subsequent generation kids are UK citizens and as such are subject to similar trials and tribulations as any other individual(subject to institutional racism and class) If you are implying in some way that these individuals are in some way less than able to pull their weight in comparison to their (white) contemporaries I would suggest you consider a recent report revealing that poor white kids are now half as likely as boys from impoverished Chinese or Indian families to get good qualifications and far less likely to succeed than boys from the worst-off black Caribbean or African families.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2409433/Poor-white-children-fall-Benefits-culture-blamed-failures-school.html#ixzz2dwHCKA7c

Add to that a further report suggesting that poor children have reading ages some 30 months behind rich kids and I think you will agree that any ‘seeds’ are firmly rooted in contemporary class and poverty rather than the makeup of the UK population.

@38 Bill,

So you think employers should be forced to pay employees based on employees outgoings rather than market rates? That is bonkers.

I also note you quote costs as being the average costs which are presumably for households. I’d be interested to know if the average rental cost includes social housing in the figures. Why should someone automatically get paid to cover the costs of an average household? If you earn below average wages then live in a below average area.

And of course there are various benefits for the less well off such as tax credits. In fact 44 per cent of non-retired households get benefits other than child benefit, pensioner-age benefits, and social housing provision.

47. Man on Clapham Omnibus

46. Fungus

Everybody should at least be on a living wage or equivalent.
Market rates are a complete myth simply because there are so many distortions. Directors don’t get market rates and neither do Banksters. Their salaries are largely agreed upon via a small pool of other Banksters and Directors which is the main reason their salaries have risen by vast amounts whilst everyone else’s have dropped to the floor.

Fungus
“And of course there are various benefits for the less well off such as tax credits. In fact 44 per cent of non-retired households get benefits other than child benefit, pensioner-age benefits, and social housing provision.”

The IDEA is everybody fend for themselves, if government want to stop welfare, they need to give people the means to exist! The reason the welfare bill is so high, RENTS to under-paid workers! The weekly figures I gave before; Gas £20, Electric £25, Water £17, Council tax £19, Rent £185 = £266; This is before food, clothing or travel. Social housing is fast disappearing, this and Labour government don’t want Social homes, they prefer to give taxpayers money to HA’s to build affordable housing? Affordable to whom? The BIG problem is, more and more are earning less and less, the whole country is becoming below average, except for UTILITY BILLS!

*45. Man on Clapham Omnibus

I am saying quite the opposite. ‘Immigration’ is promoted as good on the basis that individuals who immigrate are supposedly better than that average UK born – and so will ‘bail us out’ of a disaster in the making.

However that would only apply to the individual who actually made the journey. Their off-spring will be born here and ‘just like the rest of us’.

So any good that individual does is wiped out by the ‘normality’ and ‘averageness’ of any children they have here.

Unless you are suggesting that native white folk are inferior to descendants of migrants – so deserve to be replaced by the children of immigrants?

If it is really being suggested that ‘natives’ are inferior to children of immigrants, then I think you maybe laying the ground for a real race war.

On this logic (immigrants are better than natives) then either immigrants who the have children are a net cost to the country (as would be everyone, native or immigrant, who has children here), or it is a scheme to replace ‘natives’ with a ‘better’ race – if so whose benefit is this for?

There’s a difference between multiculturalism and immigration sunny.

I think pre-97 the British people had been largely “won around” to having a multicultural society with managed immigration.

Labour screwed that up when, in order to “rub the rights face in diversity” they secretly opened the doors wide and literally transformed whole swathes of the country.

Four million migrants. People (and not just white Britons) felt “culture shock”. Not because they were inherently racist but because it is a normal, evolved human response to feel alienated when your community is transformed almost overnight by incomers from foreign “tribes”.

As a Sikh from a pre-97 settled community you should be angry about the damage done to community relations and multiculturalism by this cavalier disregard for social dynamics. You should not conflate multiculturalism (which was disgracefully used to bang the drum for this reckless policy) with “immigration”. You should acknowledge that the positions adopted to “flatten out” racist resistance to managed immigration were abused (“that bigoted woman”) in the name of this disasterous policy which has set the “British Family” back a generation or more.

51. Man on Clapham Omnibus

49. Paul Perrin

My position on this is I think fairly straightforward.

Firstly everyone wherever they come is basically the same.
What makes them look/be different is entirely due to their environment,upbringing and any advantages they may enjoyed.
Educational success is to be applauded from whomever it comes.

I do believe the whole immigration issue is driven by capitalism although this fact is often clouded by political and social artifacts (eg made up notions such as multiculturalism)

Historically,Capitalist expansion has required the use of foreign labour firstly through local enslavement as part of the colonial process through the wholesale theft of foreign land and conversion of the local population to the cash nexus.A process that still continues where farmers are turfed off their land,often at gunpoint, to allow access to big ,often US, agricultural firms .

The second form of capitalist exploitation has involved the overt use of slavery.

The third form of capitalist exploitation has been to use foreign workers as a source of cheap labour to run initially such services as the buses and the National Health system.In downturns they serve to be the first to be laid off and the last to be hired. They help to reduce the value of labour and hence are attractive to capitalist enterprises .

Cheap Labour continues to be a theme with the use of temporary agricultural workers from abroad.
This does not discount the merit of many educated and entrepreneurial immigrants that continue to value add in this country, but questions do arise as to why the UK can’t generate its own.

From the above perspective a number of conclusions emerge.

Firstly,whilst it is attractive to many ‘economic refugees’ to emigrate to this country in search of economic betterment, it nonetheless represents a net loss of valuable skill and labour to the donor country. It is part,in my view, of the continuing process of the development of underdevelopment, a process which continues to increase world poverty.

Secondly whilst notions of ‘multiculturalism’ abound, particular amongst the Bollinger swigging classes, it is my view that the UK is a deeply racist country and this will indeed provide opportunities for social fracturing as capitalism continues to crumble.
Anyone that disagrees with this view, letters and postcards to Doreen Lawrence please!

Thirdly, there is the general question of what is the optimal population for a country. There is a view, which Sunny earlier referenced, which sees the physical space of the UK as an extension of the capitalist market.However this view is not without spatial/geographical consequence. A consistent influx of new recruits to the labour market will create further demand more supporting infrastructure, more homes,more roads more services. Like capitalism’s incessant need to exhaust minerals so to will it eat into available land and put pressure on once preserved green space .One only needs to look at the south east to appreciate this process. Whilst rich, the south east is highly overcrowded and not particularly a pleasant place to live in. However, this may well be the blueprint for future UK geography;smaller homes,more roads,more pollution and more social anomy.

Because of the above I think it ridiculous to support a process which concentrates wealth for a small elite, ratchets increasing numbers into a diminishing geography whilst leaving vast swathes of the world without valuable entrepreneurs and skills.

Not only is it not ‘Left’ to support increasing immigration ,I would argue it supports the fundamental racism necessary to preserve our capitalist way of life.

@51. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Yes your view is very straight forward ‘capital is to blame for everything’ – I am not sure why you took more than one line to say it though.

Man on Clapham Omnibus 51
“One only needs to look at the south east to appreciate this process. Whilst rich, the south east is highly overcrowded and not particularly a pleasant place to live in. However, this may well be the blueprint for future UK geography;smaller homes,more roads,more pollution and more social anomy.”
Perhaps this is why they changed planning laws? Have you read Boris Johnson’s book ‘Interim_London_Housing_Design’, a very good insight into his view of London and the SE as a whole. You can understand now why he wants all those ethnics out! He will have to knock down 5 to build one. It’s more akin to a rambling LA than an English rural countryside, his own ‘little’ country?

@48 Bill,

Firstly your figures seem a bit high to say the least.

£45/week for utilities = £2,340. This is much higher than the average bill of £1,420 reported here: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/aug/27/simplified-gas-and-electricity-tariffs.

Water rates at £17/week? This totals £884 per year which is way to high, although your council tax figure seems low.

All of this is irrelevant though. Employers should pay wages at the market rate, not based on the cost of living.
Like I wrote previously, benefits to those in work should be scrapped. This should result in employers having to pay more to attract the workers they require.

How exactly can workers be ‘under paid’? Surely if they were under paid they wiould work elsewhere for higher wages.

@51 MoCO

“A process that still continues where farmers are turfed off their land,often at gunpoint, to allow access to big ,often US, agricultural firms”

I was not aware this was going on. Do you have evidence?

“The third form of capitalist exploitation has been to use foreign workers as a source of cheap labour to run initially such services as the buses and the National Health system ”

How exactly is this exploitation? The workers are more than happy to to these jobs.

55. Man on Clapham Omnibus

54. Fungus

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/mar/02/african-governments-land-deals

http://www.voanews.com/content/un-report-land-grab-deals-hurt-locals/1560599.html

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Third_World/Losing_Farm.html

http://www.bangkokpost.com/blogs/index.php/2012/05/25/foreign-land-grab-threat-not-just-an-ill?blog=64

I seem to remember an article in the Guardian, about a month a ago, when, with armed support from the local police, agents on behalf of a major multinational bulldozed farmsteads of the indigenous farmers and left them standing by the side of the road.

The problem is that mechanised farming needs large amounts of contiguous land which is why buying up little plots one at a time just doesn’t work. The wonderful IMF helps in this process by making 3rd world loans contingent on the subject country fire selling their assets including land.

You end up with acres upon acres of monoculture cash crop alongside starving erstwhile native farmers earning a dollar a day.

Google ‘foreign land grab’ or something similar for more info.

The term exploitation has no negative connotation in the way I am using it. However, it is entirely appropriate to use it ,I think, when individuals are utilised at below subsistence wages, a common occurrence amongst those hiring immigrants on the margin.I’m sure that for those original immigrants a job in the NHS was manna from heaven.

Watching the BBC3 programme ”Free Speech” about Syria last night showed just how much immigration has changed the look and sound of places like Hackney where the show was broadcast from. The young studio audience looked and sounded nothing like Hackney would have done in the 1960’s and 70’s. There was no one with an accent like Alf Garnett or Steptoe and Son, it was more people sounding a bit like Ali G or having overseas accents.
And everyone it seemed was ”anti-war” and rated Mehdi Hassan the highest of the panelists on it. The Tory was the one to boo and be most scathing of. Which is great if you like that modern kind of extreme inner city diversity, where the shared common culture amongst the different cultural backgrounds is in the street-wise urban hip-hop influenced youth culture.

For many people, that is the ideal kind of modern culture, with the old one either sidelined or having moved out to Essex and the outer suburbs.
I can understand why English reactionaries have never liked it though. The Daily Mail and its readership for example.

But if you called the audience mix the result of immigration, you’d be challenged on that because most of those people aren’t immigrants at all. They are the children and grandchildren of immigrants so aren’t meant to be even included in the discussion of immigration.

This was the programme.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b039sn21/Free_Speech_Series_2_Syria_Crisis_Free_Speech_Special/

57. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 29 So young, healthy parents with children apparently don’t exist in the migrant population ? Explain the young Polish couple with children that live 2 houses down the road from me then ?

and

“food is cheaper than ever”

Er, where do you shop ? Most things in the supermarket are 2-3 times what they were a few years ago. Supermarkets generate profit through market share, not margin. And don’t believe the hype – margins on some lines are huge.

@ 32 “The four examples you chose – have there costs actually gone down??”

Banking – significantly due to IT and economies of scale
Oil – google it, oil prices are obviously volatile, when they go up, fuel prices also go up, but not vice versa
Housing – hard to tell but I’d guess that technology means building one is less labour intensive than it was 20 years ago
Power – related to oil costs

“Where did I say price was related to costs??? I said excess profits leads to increased supply – that is what causes prices to drop.”

Prices drop when the market shakes out and a few big players exploit their dominance. Economies of scale reduce cost, but price setting means the result is higher profit, not lower prices.

You seem to believe that markets increase “efficiency” and this is fed back to consumers as lower prices rather than going into the pockets of global corporates ? If you are right, have you a theory to explain how their wealth is increasing spectacularly by the day ?

@57 Any evidence supporting your claim on the margins at supermarkets?

Tesco’s accounts: http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=164

This shows a UK trading profit of 5.21%. Do you think this shows excess profits?

Banking: The main cost is labour. Labour costs have been coming down beacuse of the downturn in financial services. Bonuses have been slashed, but then so have revenues since 2008. I assume you are referring to retail banking – well the cost of my bank accounts has not changed, how about yours?

“If you are right, have you a theory to explain how their wealth is increasing spectacularly by the day ?”

Whose wealth is increasing spectacularly by the day? The big corporate companies? Who owns them?

The “little people” overall have far greater combined wealth than they had in the past.

Oil – yes prices are volatile due to political factors. However the cost of extraction has increased hugely. The easy oil has all been found. Hence the interest in expensive fracking.

Housing: The main cost is the land. this is increasing. There are many developers including listed major players and small private outfits competing for land. Competition is fierce. You now admit ‘hard to say but I guess…’ You are clearly just making stuff up.

You have

59. Derek Hattons Tailor

Trading profit can be manipulated (I’m a chartered accountant BTW) which is how Starbucks appear to make no profit on UK operations. And 5% of a large turnover is still a large amount of money. As I said up thread mass market retailing is about market share and volumes, not margin.

Banking – IT and centralisation have reduced labour costs significantly (In both retail and investment/merchant). No, bank charges haven’t gone down (which is my whole point, the decrease in cost is *not* reducing prices, which seems to be your understanding of economics)

Big corporates are owned by institutional investors (effectively owned by each other) and/or private equity (the super rich). The shareholder democracy is a myth, very few individuals have significant shareholdings. Collective wealth of the “little people” may have gone up in absolute terms but relatively they are getting a decreasing slice of the cake.

Oil – Due to rising oil prices, extractions which were uneconomic in the past may now become economic. This is why smaller/more expensive reserves are being exploited.

Rises in land prices do not explain why house prices are many multiples higher than general inflation. If house prices had followed general inflation since the 1970s the average house would now cost about £50K. Admittedly it is a complex market with many factors affecting supply/demand. There is no real competition in the new build housing market due to high entry barriers (land prices and planning permission).

You have just read a few economics websites and are pushing a half baked Friedman Esque apology for a failing market system.

60. Just Visiting

> No, bank charges haven’t gone down

They have – we don’t lose 3-days interest when transferring money anymore online. ( thanks to ‘Faster Payments Service’)

Small beer on any one account – but across the whole UK – that’s £hundreds of millions that bank customers are better off by.

61. Derek Hattons Tailor

That isn’t a charge going down, that’s called “technology”.

@59

“(I’m a chartered accountant BTW)”

Well that makes two of us.

Yes 5% of a large turn over is still a large amount of money. But it is the margin which is the point. Tesco’s can’t make their prices much cheaper – and this is due to competition. Low margin = cheap prices for consimers.

Are the banks making super profits for the risks involved? There have been quite a few bank problems recently – you may have noticed.

Absaloutely correct on oil – the cost of extraction has gone up. Again oil companies are not making super profits.

“Big corporates are owned by institutional investors (effectively owned by each other) and/or private equity (the super rich). ”

Effectively owned by each other? What total bollocks! Pension funds/fund managers (institional investors) are not big corporates. They are investment vehicles.

“There is no real competition in the new build housing market due to high entry barriers (land prices and planning permission).”

Really? There are quite a few listed developers on the stock exchange as well as thousands of small developers. The only barrier to entry is raising capital to fund the build. Many individauls and companies have access to such funding.

When I was involved in a regeneration project for a local authority we recived tenders from over 15 developers for the scheme – they were all desperate for work. We got a much better deal than we expected. I suspect the margin was very small.

“You have just read a few economics websites and are pushing a half baked Friedman Esque apology for a failing market system.”

No, it is not rocket science to understand how markets work. If there is profit to be made people will look to jump on the bandwagon, eventually reducing the size of profit.


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