Immigration and the Election 52


The Conservative Party is well and truly reverting to type in its efforts to beat back the Lib Dems and win an overall majority. Every time I see a Tory on television, they are banging on about immigration and putting more people in jail. I am rather grateful to the election campaign for reminding me just how unpleasant the Tories really are.

Whatever your views, I do not see how anybody can disagree that the Lib Dems deserve credit for bringing out into the open the question of what we do about Britian’s illegal immigrants. I have long argued for an amnesty.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/09/the_arrogance_o_1.html

Nobody has attempted to answer Nick Clegg’s question as to what you do with these illegal immigrants if you do not regularise them. In the second debate David Cameron interjected

“You deport them” to which Nick Clegg replied “You do not even know where they live”.

The problem is immense. The Tories are repeatedly claiming that the Lib Dem amnesty would apply to 600,000 people and their potential partners. I do not know what the Tories mean by the figure – is it meant to be illegal immigrants who have been here more than ten years, as in the Lib Dem proposal? As a total for illegal immigrants, it is too small. By definition nobody knows the exact total, but clues like money transfer remittances show it is well over a million.

Is Cameron seriously suggesting we deport over a million people? To find them would require a security operation and security service powers that would destroy civil liberties in this country forever. You would need vast internment camps. You would need countries willing to take them back, and then at least 4,000 return jumbo jet flights full of coerced prisoners.

You would, of course, also cause the total collapse of the hotel and hospitality, catering, cleaning service, agriculture and domestic service industries in this country, with selective shortages in areas of computing, construction and other skilled work also.

Most people in London know illegal immigrants. Round here, they are our neighbours. In the kind of places the Camerons and Baroness Scotland live, they are the maids. Who is serving and cooking the restaurant food, and scrubbing the toilets? It is a nonsense to pretend it is not happening.

There are three alternatives – an amnesty, a Nazi scale round-up and deportation programme, or we pretend it is not happening and continue to exploit these people who are working, usually through exploitative agencies, at below the minimum wage.

The reason that immigration from non-EU countries got out of control is very poor visa issuing decisions in visa sections abroad. A quite extraordinary amount of that was conditioned by the government’s strange tolerance, for a decade, of literally hundreds of entirely bogus language schools, and other colleges offering very low level further education courses. But the majority of illegal immigrants entered as visitors.

Perhaps the most important factor – and one I have not seen commented on anywhere – has been the catastrophic decline in the staffing of visa sections abroad. Here I speak from experience, as somebody who has line managed two visa sections, one of them then the fifth biggest in the world (Accra). In all I worked in four visa posts, and was literally manning the barricades at the British High Commission in Lagos on the first day that Nigerians needed visas to come to the UK.

There has been a reduction of colossal proportions in the number of visa applications abroad which are ever seen by a full time career immigration officer. Currently the percentage of visa issue decisions abroad taken by a career immigration officer is below 5%.

In much of the world, receipt of visa applications and initial sift has been privatised, with Tier 1 issues (no problem, straight visa) being agreed by young unqualified staff with no qualifications, either 2 or 3 weeks training, and on very low salaries.

Where applications do come to regular civil service staff for decision, the grade, age, qualification, salary scale and experience of those staff are much lower than they used to be. UK Visas is a joint FCO/Home Office(UKBA) operation. When I first was involved in visa sections, all visa issues were decided at the lowest at what was then called Grade 9 executive level. Now most front line visa staff are what used to be called Grade 10 clerical level. I have managed staff engaged in issuing and refusing visas, whose judgement I would not trust in deciding what class to post a letter.

I would stress that the numerous terrible decisions being made are by no means all issues. It is bad decision making, not one way decision making, which is the problem. Many a British business has lost a contract due to the inexplicable refusal of a visa to an important foreign visitor for them.

The same delegation of visa work to lower pay grades affects the immigration service/UKBA. It surprises people when I say that some of the most intelligent and best read people I ever worked with were senior immigration officers. Paul Williams and Colin Eborall I hope will not mind me mentioning them in this context, and both went on to be Chief Immigration Officers at Heathrow and higher. Like many other immigration officers I worked with, they made a great effort to understand the culture of the people in the country where they were based, and they made sensible decisions without a drop of prejudice.

But the number of seasoned career immigration officers posted abroad has fallen drastically as a percentage of the staff of visa sections, quite simply due to purblind cost cutting. The emphasis is all on what it costs to process a visa, even though those costs are self-evidently as nought compared to the cost to the economy of bad decisions.

Finally, I would say that I have no doubt that New Labour allowed immigrant communities to expand massively quite deliberately, as they know they benefit in elections.

Immigration. It needs an amnesty for those already here, and firm controls on new immigration administered by a truly professional and competent cadre of immigration officers. The problem is not those who apply as migrants, for which I have no great argument with the points system. Immigration is good for the UK and good for the economy. There will continue to be large scale immigration from the EU for some time yet.

The problem is those who apply as visitors or low level students and then become illegal immigrants. What we need to be able better to do is distinguish between genuine visitors and students, and those whose intention is to immigrate. That is the biggest problem, and that is where it is not rules or laws that need to be changed, but the civil service that needs to be better staffed and resourced.


52 thoughts on “Immigration and the Election

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  • Jon

    @Albert, my line of reasoning was mainly to explain what Craig meant, rather than adding anything new to the debate. But it happens that it is my view also that an amnesty is the only way to deal with this. You seem to support the current deportations without any extra loss of liberty – but what do you think the Border Agency and its predecessors has been doing since the advent of economic migration? The whole point of discussing the amnesty is that given the current balance of police power, finding where overstaying visitors are faster, in order to deport them, is not possible.

    I do think that quite a lot of the debate – not just from the BNP – has thought that we’re presently not doing anything to remove visit overstayers. “Just deport them” is what we’re *trying* to do at the moment, and it’s not working.

    @Steve, no-one is calling you a Nazi for discussing immigration, and no-one is calling you a Nazi for wanting overstayers deported. As I explained to Albert, what was meant by this comment was that in order to deport all 0.5-1.0m overstayers, a huge increase in police powers would be required, to the extent that the police would start looking like jackbooted thugs, and not officers bound by the laws of the state.

    > “Easy round them up and ship them home its as easy as that.”

    The comments I made above are a reasonable reply to your opening remarks – we are doing that already. But “rounding them up” needs to know where to look, it needs to involve a legal process that is fair to both sides, and it needs to have countries willing to receive these persons.

    I can’t see how the Lib Dem amnesty would encourage an increased level of illegal immigration. People need to have been in the UK for a number of years, and they are only proposing to do the amnesty once. People therefore won’t be able to visit the UK, overstay, and then claim amnesty retrospectively, as they would have to have documented history of being in the country for some years, and would be deported if their documentation turns out to be fabricated.

    There is a paradox here, to be sure. One the one hand, people such as yourself are keen to see the deportation of immigrants without permission to remain. On the other hand, often the same political grouping holds the ‘law-abiding taxpayer’ in great esteem, positing that they are daily under threat from a great crowd of unwashed ne’erdowells. But the wonderful part is that the illegal immigrants, most of whom are working, could be turned into law-abiding taxpayers. This gives us some great advantages:

    * an army of people willing to undertake community service across the country to apologise for their misdemeanour;

    * 0.5-1.0 million people who can all become taxpayers

    * a substantial boost to the economy when it is most required

    * a huge dent in the ability of law-breaking companies and criminal gangs to exploit a vulnerable group.

    The only other thing I would offer is – if you were a manual worker in an area in the world where there was no work, would you not want to come to the UK to work? Between breaking British immigration law and not providing for your family, which would you choose?

    Slightly off-topic: I learnt the word “regularise” this week.

  • Mark

    ‘But the wonderful part is that the illegal immigrants, most of whom are working, could be turned into law-abiding taxpayers’.

    Jon- you are talking thru your hat. You assume that visa overstayers by definition pay no taxes. That assumes that the DWP (which issues NI numbers) works in co-operation with the Home Office & Borders Agency, which certainly isn’t the case. My wife is a legal non EU immigrant, and was able to get legitimate work very easily using a temporary NI number, based on her date of birth. The interview she attended for a full NI number was perfunctory, to say the least- one of the other immigrants there that day was trying to get a permanent NI number by using an expired Jamaican passport. I saw no evidence that the DWP employees cared about this in the slightest. Like lowly graded civil servants everywhere, they have targets to meet, and shopping visa overstayers to the Borders Agency certainly wasn’t one of them.

    ‘Foreign Students’ (most of whom, as Craig points out, attend visa mills, not genuine colleges) are allowed to work up to 16 hours a week, so the DWP is obliged to issue NI numbers to them. Thereafter, that NI number can be used in perpetuity, either by the original owner of it, or by a friend or relative impersonating them.

    The idea that ‘regularising’ illegals will significantly increase tax & NI receipts is complete rubbish. What will increase however is the outlay on the full range of welfare benefits, some of which are at present too ‘risky’ for illegals to claim, as doing so is more likely to put them on the state’s defective radar.

    Craig does make several good points about the near impossibility of deporting large numbers of illegals, about the collapse of effective visa application handling in embassies and consulates abroad, and about NuLab’s complicity in turning a blind eye to overstayers from the ‘new commonwealth’, who constitute a useful vote bank in some areas(look at Hazel Blears!). But I would disagree with him over the desirability of a general amnesty. Given that the countries ‘exporting’ migrants here benefit from their remittances, amnesties should ideally be country -specific, and should be given in return for tangible benefits accruing to the UK.For example, at present, China refuses to accept the return of Chinese nationals convicted of offences in the UK, on the basis that the offenders may be ‘overseas Chinese’. An amnesty for Chinese overstayers of long standing, and no criminal record, could thus be tied to an undertaking by the PRC to accept in return, and without question, the UK’s deportation of convicted criminals of Chinese nationality.

  • technicolour

    What I miss from Mark’s comment is Craig’s insight that ‘illegal immigrants’ form the backbone of our cleaning, food preparation and childcare services; not to mention our cockle picking industry.

    What I further miss is the knowledge that benefits in this country are pathetic and the system punitive. Anyone sane, including an ‘illegal immigrant’, would prefer to work.

    ‘Ah, but there aren’t enough jobs for them, these days’ people cry. But there are plenty of jobs. We do not have enough teachers, nurses, doctors, road sweepers or carers. What they mean is that ‘we do not have enough money to pay more people to do these jobs’.

    Not only does this mean a reliance on underpaid, exploited workers for our basic services, it is patently untrue. The money is there. It is just being sucked out of communities by war, corporations and banks.

    In the meantime fiddle around suggesting how we can deport more people, by all means. The government has already claimed it’s deporting one person every six minutes (I think they must have meant ‘hours’).

    Finally I know of two previously ‘illegal immigrants’, one from Brazil, and one from Burma. Both came here without English; one started work as a cleaner, the other as a fruit packer. One is now a psychologist and the other a professional care worker. People who talk about ‘illegal immigrants’ without compassion or understanding are being forced to wear a very narrow and painful pair of spectacles. By whom, I wonder.

  • Richard Robinson

    “What I miss from Mark’s comment is Craig’s insight that ‘illegal immigrants’ form the backbone of our cleaning, food preparation and childcare services; not to mention our cockle picking industry.”

    Ah, I fear you overstate slightly. The cocklepickers died because they didn’t have the local knowledge you need to survive out on the quicksands. Poor exploited sods.

    People in situations like that are the victims, and getting all aerated about how toughly to deal with them is a distraction. We should go for the people that make the profits on their work, and their fear. Tough on Mafia, tough on the causes of Mafia …

  • Alfred

    Freeborn,

    The absence of a paper trail is no evidence of the absence of a crime.

    Criminals do not normally create a paper trail the better to ensure their own conviction.

    Even David Irving, convicted Holocaust denier, acknowledges that several million Jews were executed on the Western front: a conclusion he bases on intercepts of German radio communications that were decrypted by Turing’s group at Bletchley Park. In this, his current assessment is in line with that of Jewish Holocaust scholar, the late Raul Hilberg.

    A problem with Holocaust denial laws, apart from the fact that they infringe a basic democratic freedom, is that they encourage Holocaust denial. For if the occurrence of the Holocaust is supported by valid historical evidence, what need is there to outlaw denial? If the evidence is plain and uncontroversial, denialists will be seen for what they are, deluded fools.

    But perhaps the creation of Holocaust deniers is the point of Holocaust denial laws, in which case such laws are doubly vile: they infringe liberty and induce false belief.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Steve, be mellow. Remember The White Ship and The Mountains of Madness.

    Btw, I assume you are a different person from ‘Stevie’ and the two ‘Stephens’, who also post hereabouts from time-to-time. Are you the chap who wanted to have a Lincolnshire sausage fry-up? Or was that someone else again?

    Anyway, whether or not you’re into herby sausages… the world is a complicated place and people, even more so. Dig it.

  • Mark

    Technicolour-

    Two points; firstly, not all UK benefits are ‘pathetic’, as you state. The deal here for non citizens is far better than in France, for instance- as the denizens of Sangatte know full well. There are legal immigrants (and some Brits with large families) living in the same part of London as Craig whose monthly income from Local Housing Allowance alone is well in excess of the average monthly UK income . The reimbursements allowable for rent payments incurred by welfare recipients in the UK are unparalled elsewhere in Europe.

    Secondly, I’m not lacking in compassion for all illegal immigrants- and I’m not wearing ‘Daily Mail’ style blinkers either, as you imply. However countries, like individuals, are likely to ruin themselves if they dispense their compassion indiscrimately. And an amnesty applicable to every foreigner who has stuck it out here for 10 years sans a criminal record strikes me as inherently indiscriminate.

  • Sam

    Illegals appear to be easy to exploit due to economic desperation. Not that I support the minimum wage, as it is price fixing and antithesis to a free market. Nor do I like welfare, it doesn’t work at least in my limited experience.

    I suspect many of the professionals made unemployed during the recent economic debacle will disagree about the attitude of natives to jobs expressed in the post here. There is a minority of dumb idiots propped up by the benefit system, but that has its price – being the state’s bitch.

    However it is disingenous to tar all of a group with the same brush. Things like this:

    http://i41.tinypic.com/10pmw3o.jpg

    and this:

    http://i40.tinypic.com/2ds3gio.jpg

    both taken during the recent recession, suggest there is more to the job market than Craig and co appear to acknowledge.

    Anecdotally the queues for jobs outside new retail stores reminded me of Depression-era bread lines. It isn’t a joke for those of us that aren’t eligible for welfare…

  • Alfred

    Nearly every one of 1.67m jobs created since 1997 is reported to have gone to a foreigner:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1264333/GENERAL-ELECTION-2010-Under-Labour-nearly-UK-jobs-taken-foreigners.html#ixzz0n12eM4Fw

    which may explain why there seems to be no one of non-European origin in the queue of job seekers shown in the pictures to which Sam has provided links.

    The implication is that among those seeking work, nearly all immigrants have succeeded, whereas, as we know, eight million Brits have not. Does that mean that the native population is discriminated against because they are underqualified, because they are overqualified or what?

    But in any case the existence of an army of the unemployed and the partly employed amounting to 20% of the workforce at a time when immigration has been allowed out of control is testimony to the staggering ineptitude of the Blair-Brown government. If Labor win a single seat tomorrow it will be one more than they deserve.

  • glenn

    Hello Alfred,

    You get a lot of replies, and must consider yourself very much up against it, and you have my sympathy on that score. I’ve been in such environments myself, and it is difficult. Hats off to you for staying around.

    With that in mind, I entirely understand that you might have missed a reply above which I should have stated more clearly, and I will attempt to do so below.

    You wrote:

    “To argue that dealing with law breakers according to the law is somehow being Nazi is idiotic.”

    Surely you are familiar with the fact that nothing the Nazis did to the Jews was actually illegal. Laws were codified, and generously interpreted by the legal system to make sure whatever took place was (arguably, maybe, but still arguably) legal.

    In the same manner, John Wu and Alberto Gonzales assured the Bush regime that that there was nothing wrong with torture, up to and including crushing the testicles of the child of a “suspect” in front of him, in order to get him to talk.

    We’ve had much on this blog about Lord Goldsmith and his assurance about the legality of the Iraq adventure.

    All legal. So why should Mr. Murray be “idiotic” to talk about Nazis while the government is still remaining in the framework of the law, as you imply he is?

    Being a Nazi while remaining within the law is exactly how they got their agenda acted upon, and anyone who knows anything about regimes, history and extremism in politics should find that totally obvious. “Idiotic” indeed!

  • Alfred

    Glenn,

    I probably characterized Craig’s assertion as “idiotic” because he had characterized what I had said as “pathetic,” although I’ve got over that now.

    Re: Nazi rule, it is correct to say that Hitler ruled by decree, i.e., Nazi Germany had a government of men not laws. True, Hitler’s power to rule by decree was the result of a legal change, i.e., the “Enabling Act”. But once that Act was in place, Hitler could do what he pleased. If his actions were dependent on legislation, it was legislation by a rubber stamp legislature, although I did not believe that any rubber stamp was used before the night of the long knives (1934) or the deportation and execution of Jews. But I would be interested to know if I am wrong.

    If Craig believes that Cameron would seek to rule by decree I would characterize that as, well, um… paranoid, anyhow.

    But I agree that rendition, torture, and assassination appear to have been adopted by the US without explicit legal justification, although I may be wrong. The Patriot Act may have served the same function as the Nazi Enabling Act – I have little knowledge of these matters.

    While Blair may have been mis-informed about the legality of the Iraq war, it seems to me that his action in launching the war was legal under the British Parliamentary tradition, since there was no motion of non-confidence.

    But perhaps I am unduly sanguine about Cameron. I know almost nothing about him. He seems, as someone said, a person your mother would like, but rather lacking in force of personality.

    However, I actually approve of the fact that he was educated at Eton and Oxford, just like William Ewart Gladstone. Whether the ethical traditions of those establishments today are as they were in the 19th century, I have no idea. But one would hope that Cameron’s privileged background and excellent education have imbued him with respect for Parliamentary tradition, or the British Constitution, if you like, and a strong sense of duty integrity.

    But perhaps we will find that he is as anxious as Tony Blair to please the people who can make him richer than he already is after he leaves office.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    A slogan for today: ‘Cameron is Jedward’.

    Oh damn, that’ll get him even more vacuous votes, won’t it.

    Glenn, I think you may agree that it’s stimulating and intellectually pleasurable to engage in discourse with Alfred, largely because of his erudition and because he tends to avoid tossing out personal insults, so even if one disagrees with some of his basic premises, there’s no need for him to feel up against it.

    Alfred, I find that it’s best to be wary of quoting from The Daily Mail about specifically ‘immigrants’. They don’t have a very good record on the subject, either in terms of veracity or in terms of good faith. They do publish some good material on a variety of other subjects, so I’m not condemning them out of hand, by any means, but on ‘immigrants’ they’re a deeply compromised source.

  • steve

    May to compare the liberal and compassionate laws relating to immigration and the human rights act to those laws made by hitler to kill jews is ridiculous. The laws are very fair and not draconian at all with so many loop holes and opportunities to appeal they are more or less pointless. You are seeing things through rose coloured specs people who enter the UK illegally or overstay are criminals. And to stay and work they are committing further offences signing false statements, Having false documents, Obtaining goods by deception. It is an escalating spiral. You should see how hard it is to get a bank account these days? Persons who have such disregard for the law then find it very easy to justify other minor law infringements. Hitler was a brutal tyrant and to compare anyone who has genuine concern for the law and immigration numbers is wrong and a typical NuLabour smear and distraction technique. I agree totally that it wont make a penny for anyone and will cost us money for all the reasons mentioned before. I appreciate that it sounds cruel to restrict immigration and stop people entering the UK or deport illegals but London is full to bursting point and do we really want are green belt suburds built on to accomodate the world. If you have travelled widely other than on package holidays then you will know that other than America everyone wants to come to the UK you dont get thousands qeueing outside other EU embassies sleeping rough for days. UK is seen as a soft touch and an amnesty would just act as a further magnet for more

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Full to bursting-point…? Have you eaten too many sausages, Steve.

    Oh, everybody’s said everything there is to be said. What’s the point? But here goes.

    My (Pakistani) cousin, who has been to visit us six times over the past decade or more was refused a visa because (a single woman, living at home looking afetr her parents) she doesn’t have enough dosh in the bank. She’s always gone back on-time, has never overstayed, has never done anything illegal.

    My sister-in-law’s (Indian) brother (who has never done anything illegal) got a visa to visit England to see his suddenly terminally-ill father. He had all the appropriate papers and yet was detained deliberately and needlessly at Heathrow for five hours, while his father slipped into unconsciousness. Such stores are legion. Please don’t tell me this is compassionate.

    On the tactical level, Craig’s right, it needs sorted so that it works properly.

    On th strategic level, the distorted nature of the global economy and the systemic reliance of our economies on the generation of war needs addressed.

    Finally, I’m afraid this is what has happened in history, over centuries. It is NOT just the UK! Think about Syria, absorbing millions of Iraqi refugees who were made refugees by our government(s). How many did ‘we’ take? A handfull. Even translators for the Army couldn’t get in, and instead were murdered as collaborators in Iraq by anti-occupation forces. Think about Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, who took millions of refugees during the 1980s-1990s, refugees of our wars with the Soviets. Many of these refugees remain in those countries; in Pakistan as a cohort they’ve done rather well!

    Our state’s actions have resulted in the the generation of millions of refugees/ asylum-seekers.

    I’m afraid the results are clear.

    The world is at bursting-point.

    The moral of the story? People are not sausages.

  • technicolour

    Mark: re housing benefit – yes there’s an ongoing scam by many private landlords (many of whom own multiple houses) to charge up to double the going rate for a flat when they know the person’s going to be on benefits. More exploitation. The answer is, as Richard says, to deal with the exploiters.

  • Jon

    @Steve – sigh – I am happy to talk things over with you, but you’ve repeated your complaint about the Nazi comparison apparently without reading my response to it at [May 4, 2010 12:00 PM].

    Whether the laws are draconion at present is another matter. And whilst I am not sure whether they are or not, I am firmly of the view that their implementation is draconion: Craig will tell you that Uzbekistan is regarded by the Home Offfice as a safe location for repatriation of asylum seekers, for example. And children are separated from their parents, and essentially thrown into jail – evidence links are available on the net if you want them. The status quo is not compassionate.

    In any case, we were talking specifically about the “deport them all” policy, not the status quo. I don’t see how it can be facilitated without requiring new police powers to knock in the front doors of people living in multi-cultural neighbourhoods, en masse. Your second generation Asian and Far Eastern naturalised communities are not going to thank you for supporting that; I suspect they’re quite partial to their front doors, just as I am mine.

  • Jon

    PS. The art of paragraphing helps the readers eyes from going out of focus 😉

  • technicolour

    ‘Draconian’? Women asylum seekers in Yarls Wood Detention Centre recently went on hunger strike for 5 weeks. That’s how bad the conditions are.

  • Alfred

    Suhayl,

    You said,

    “I find that it’s best to be wary of quoting from The Daily Mail about specifically ‘immigrants’. They don’t have a very good record on the subject, either in terms of veracity or in terms of good faith.”

    My quote from the Mail was this:

    “Nearly every one of 1.67m jobs created since 1997 is reported to have gone to a foreigner”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1264333/GENERAL-ELECTION-2010-Under-Labour-nearly-UK-jobs-taken-foreigners.html#ixzz0n12eM4Fw

    Here’s Andrew Neil’s interpretation:

    Thursday’s exchange on the Daily Politics with Home Office Minister Phil Woolas has generated some controversy so, in the calm of the aftermath, I have looked again at his response.

    “Using figures from the Labour Force Survey compiled by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) I put to him a finding from the latest survey available (Q3, 2009): that employment among those of working age (16-64) has risen by almost 1.7m since 1997 (what politicians like to describe as 1.7m extra jobs “created” — the exact figure for the rise in employment is 1.67m); but that the number of foreign-born workers in the labour force has increased by over 1.64m.

    This doesn’t mean that all the additional jobs have gone to the foreign-born; but it does mean that the rise in employment among the indigenous population (of all races, colours and creeds) since 1997 has been de minimus, since the rise in overall employment has almost been matched by an increase in the foreign-born labour force. So it is hard to argue that the rise in employment since 1997 has meant, to coin a phrase, “British jobs for British workers”.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/dailypolitics/andrewneil/2010/04/immigration_ministers_figures.html?page=17

    Not exactly how the Mail puts it, but the point remains. New jobs in Britain have gone overwhelmingly to foreign-born workers, most of whom can be described as immigrants, while 20% (currently) of the British workforce is unemployed or underemployed.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    So there is chronic systemic unemployment in the British workforce. This is Thatcher’s/ capitalism’s ‘lumpenprol’ legacy, not that of immigrants. Immigrants actually create net jobs. They buy things, they expand businesses, they open businesses, they provide jobs for British people. The Daily Mail’s (and Andrew Neil is a very bad example of a journalist) is disingenuous in presenting ‘facts and figures’. It’s as though there were a picture and they show you only the cloud in the far right-hand corner, not the flowers, the buildings, the people, the blue sky. And they say, “Look! There’s a cloud. Since that cloud appeared, 10 billion immigrants have come to Britain. This proves that clouds are a product of immigration.”

    People are not out of work (I’m not talking just about the current recession, but more generally) because of immigrants, they’re out of work largely because of a cruddy economic system that has failed several generations of British people.

    Alfred, do a handstand. The world appears different, no?

  • glenn

    Suhayl Saadi: Yes, I agree very much – Alfred is worth talking to precisely because he doesn’t immediately descend into petty insults and bickering. In fact, it takes him a good few prods to even start going there. So one can actually talk about the subject matter without each side trying its hand at a more polished form of the usual brush-off of one’s personally dismissed political view.

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