Racism Poisons the Entire Brexit Debate 483

It appears sadly impossible not to comment on Brexit at the moment; the astonishing scale of the government defeat in Parliament yesterday and the appalling self-serving behaviour of politicians on all sides compels attention.

The first and most obvious point is this; had Theresa May any honour, she would simply resign after her major political objective was rebuffed so dramatically by the legislature. But honour appears to be entirely out of fashion, so I shall not refer to it again today.

Parliament now appears ready to vote that it has confidence in the government when, clearly, it does not. This is because MPs wish to keep their jobs and careers intact. So from hereon the UK proceeds under the lie that it has a government which has a majority in Westminster for its views.

Even more remarkably, Theresa May has no intention of seeking a proposal that could command a majority. She seeks to move forward with cross-party discussions which exclude the leadership of other parties. She also insists that such discussions must be limited by her infamous “red lines” – but within those constraints, there is no deal materially different to the deal Parliament has just rejected which will ever be available.

The truth of course is that May’s “red lines” were in fact motivated by the only consistent strand that can be traced through Theresa May’s political career – hatred of immigrants. If you are going to end freedom of movement, then you have to leave the single market. That is very plainly the rule on which the single market was predicated, and the EU have repeated that ad nauseam in all negotiations. You cannot “cherry pick” to end free movement and keep free market access.

All of May’s “red lines” can be traced to a single source. If you ask “If you end EU immigration, what are the necessary consequences?” you get May’s red lines. Their basis is racism.

Both the SNP and Labour parties had put forward ideas that were broadly compatible. The Labour Party wants customs union, effective single market participation, and retention of worker and environmental protections. The SNP suggested permanent customs union and EEA membership. With minor differences, both these approaches are broadly “Norway plus” and both would limit the effects on the economy and remove the need for a hard border with Ireland.

But there was one major difference. The SNP accepted that single market membership must entail freedom of movement, and boldly argued that EU immigration is a good thing. The Labour Party position is entirely dishonest and predicated on a pretence that you can have single market access without freedom of movement – a position which is a lie.

The Labour Party has a large number of voters frequently described as “white working class”. The phrase is continually deployed as an euphemism for “racist”, which is highly unfair to the very many white working class people who do not share those attitudes. The desire not to alienate what I prefer to call the “John Mann voter” causes many in the Labour Party to adopt this dishonesty about the immigration consequences of single market access.

But it is worse than that. Many at the heart of what I might call “Old Labour” still harbour the dark thoughts that led in my youth to support from many trade union members for the views of Enoch Powell – the idea that immigrants depress wages and damage the working class. Unfortunately both Jeremy Corbyn and John MacDonnell, for both of whom I have much respect in general, still harbour this dinosaur opinion.

In July, Jeremy Corbyn said that immigration “would be a managed thing on the basis of the skills required… What there wouldn’t be is whole-scale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industries.”

Here Jeremy is putting forward a line on immigration “a managed thing on the basis of skills required” that is identical to the Tory line and plainly rules out free movement. Further he is promoting anti-immigrant myths. The economy is not a thing of fixed size with a limited number of jobs. Dynamic EU immigration has been entirely responsible for all growth in our economy this last decade; without it we would have been plunged into the deepest and still continuing recession. The cause of poverty is the obscene proportion of national wealth looted by the super wealthy, not the poor immigrant. The answer to the particular question Jeremy addressed is the establishment, or possibly post-Thatcher re-establishment, of strong legal protections for working conditions in the construction industry, to protect all workers there. The answer is not to attack Central European immigrants.

Until the Labour Party accepts the need to challenge anti-immigrant views head-on, it will continue to talk nonsense on Brexit.

For good measure, Nicola Sturgeon also played politics with a statement after last night’s vote which, remarkably, did not mention the word “Independence” at all. Sturgeon now appears entirely focused on keeping England and Wales inside the European Union against the will of the English and Welsh people, as opposed to having a clear and fixed aim of achieving Scottish Independence from this debacle.

[Update: Subsequently, at 5.32 am. Nicola corrected her position with the following tweet, presumably having absorbed party concerns overnight at her original key omission:

The criticism therefore falls, though it still worries me her first reaction was wrong.]

It seems to me the ultimate solution is plain. Scotland should become Independent and remain in the EU as its citizens overwhelmingly wish. England and Wales should leave the EU as its citizens wish (by a very clear majority if you take out Scotland and Northern Ireland). England and Wales should move to a Norway style relationship broadly as proposed by the Labour Party, with the racists told they cannot have everything they want. Northern Ireland should finally return to Ireland. Some bits of that will happen sooner than others – Scottish Independence in particular – but in a decade or so, I expect all that will have finally happened. If politicians were not so conniving and self-interested, we could get there a lot sooner.

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483 thoughts on “Racism Poisons the Entire Brexit Debate

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  • Tony Little

    My only question from this article is the politics around Nicola Sturgeon’s position and statements. First, I do agree that it is not Scotland’s role to prevent rUK (in effect England) leaving the EU if it wants to, but given the plethora of information now available to the electorate, there is no way of knowing whether that is still the case. So, perhaps a FIRST Referendum organized honestly and without interference might give us this clarity.

    That having been said, I am concerned (albeit with a small “c”) that the SNP position currently appears to be to try to avoid talking about Independence. This is important to me as I feel it is critical that a second Independence referendum must be held before the formal Brexit of 29/3. Of course, there is a “danger” that IR2 is called and before it goes ahead Brexit is cancelled, or a EUR2 is called, both of which would undermine the IR2 call. In such a scenario, would it be politically astute to go ahead with the vote? I honestly do not know if such a situation would reduce the possible YES vote. Maybe this is the dilemma for the SNP/NS?

    I think there are still things to play out, but time is critical and any window of opportunity is closing fast. I hope someone in the SNP is on the ball.

  • Twaiti

    I don’t understand the objection to controlled immigration. Here in Australia we have it. In what way is it racist to not just allow anyone in?
    But the UK has exemptions from free movement already (is that racist?) so I’m not totally sure they need to leave the EU anyhow.

    • H.S.MARKS

      Dumping people in an internment camp on an island or in a fenced internment camp in the outback in utterly dire conditions with awful abuse is as racist as it gets. Controlled immigration ? What exactly is Australia’s problem a lack of space ? You live in a country the size of the fucking Moon with the population of The Netherlands !

      • Dr Noel Furlong

        Australia has a bruising rascist history including the still ongoing genocide of Aboriginal people , a “White Australia” policy banning non-Europeans until the 1970’s, and its current refugee policy towards boat arrivals is virtually criminal.

        The irony of this history and current boat arrival refugee policy is that Australia now has one of the highest rates of immigration in the world and highest proportion of citizens born overseas, and is in fact quite generous to refugees that arrive by plane.

        The original question remains- why is it so bad to have controls on immigration, based on a countries need? Most research indicates that immigration does not have a negative affect on wages, except in some studies that show suppression at the lower end of wages and education levels- the very people who voted for Brexit.

        Logic would suggest that a surplus of cheap labour (from countries where wages are often 1/5 of UK wages) would supress wages, the famous supply and demand. Average wages are less than they were a decade ago, since the GFC and after a years of record immigration. You’ll have a hard time convincing the poorest, least educated people that their shitty wages are not at all affected by a surplus of people willing to work for less, and purely affected by macro economic fiscal policy.

        • Simon

          There’s no easy answer to this stuff. Australia hatched the white Australia policy at around the time it was a social laboratory for workers and womens rights. In the rash of workplace legislation in the early 1900s, it can be difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.

      • bj

        Besides, the Aborigines never controlled the immigration that came across their border either.

    • Clark

      Twaiti, it isn’t about “controlled immigration”. EU citizens have been able to live and work anywhere in the EU. The change being proposed is like saying that people in the Northern Territory can’t move to and work in Queensland.

      • Alex Westlake

        To my knowledge the neither the Northern Territory nor Queensland are, or were ever sovereign nations.


    Our system is archaic junk and we have never understood how to do referendums. The side wanting the change should have faced a mandatory 60% threshold vote. For 2 years very nasty Brexiters have been writing comments on Youtube expressing total contempt for anyone who did not vote for BREXIT. Insisting that they are the voice of the people. Insisting that 50% of the country should just shut up. You would think by their arrogance that they had won by a 70% landslide but even with billboards and double decker buses displaying triple decker lies they still could not achieve a clear 5% majority.
    Personally I refused to vote. Why ?
    Because Two Positions represented by Two Etonian Right Wing cliques doth not make a democracy.
    The Leave were offering a 19th Century version of Britain.
    The Remain were offering a 1950s version of Britain.
    As a person born in 1963 living in the 21st Century neither was acceptable to me.
    As a nation we had a chance to want to be like Norway (probably the best country in the world) but we are apparently too dumb to make that choice.

    • marvellousMRchops

      We didn’t hear anything from the ‘Remainers’ during the referendum precisely because their arrogant, southern bias would not allow them to even entertain the idea that ‘the people’ could think differently. What followed the result was a concerted effort by the MSM to demonise the Brexit voter – ‘they didn’t know what they were voting for’, ‘poor little Englander’s, ‘racist scum’ and on and on and on. All in the name of ‘democracy’.

      Regardless of the debate, however one sided it has been portrayed – EU good – Brexit bad – the one thing I know for sure – those critical of the EU ‘project – throughout Europe – are the poor.

      • Andyoldlabour


        “Regardless of the debate, however one sided it has been portrayed – EU good – Brexit bad – the one thing I know for sure – those critical of the EU ‘project – throughout Europe – are the poor.”

        Exactly right, and it doen’t by any means refer to less educated people either, it can mean people with degrees working in science/engineering etc, where they have seen wages drop from C£28K down to around C£16K, that means just above minimum wage.
        Austerity cuts across Europe, engineered by the EU who control and oversee/sign off national budgets – just look at Italy and Greece and possibly France unless Macron reverses his measures to placate the “gilets jaune”.
        If the UK leaves, then we certainly will not be the last – and that is what the EU is fearful about.

        • marvellousMRchops

          Yes indeed Andyoldlabour – something that ‘New Labour’ has no interest in.

        • Casual Observer

          The Austerity is less to do with the EU, than it is with a credit boom that was allowed to get out of control by politicians who preferred to ride the wave rather than damp it down.

          • Jo Dominich

            Quite right, Austerity has absolutely nothing to do with the EU – it is the Cameron Government who introduced it which gave him just the excuse he needed to implement Universal Credit which is a total and utter mess designed too prevent people claiming and putting every obstacle in the way to ensure that. It has been perpetrated by May. It is a totally home grown UK Tory Government policy which has made the poor and vulnerable significantly poorer, increased homelessness and made the rich very much richer. To blame the EU is really utter rubbish.

          • marvellousMRchops

            Projected austerity post Brexit – £80 million
            Austerity caused by last banking bailout – £800 million

      • Deb O'Nair

        “We didn’t hear anything from the ‘Remainers’ during the referendum”

        That’s because Farage and Johnson dominated the media coverage. Farage got more coverage than the PM. Additionally media coverage was dominated by UKIP and Tory brexiteers on one side and unpopular Tory cabinet members on the other while Labour had a sensible campaign supporting remain which was largely ignored by the media, who then attempted to blame Brexit on them in the days following the vote for ‘not doing enough’.

        • marvellousMRchops

          “We didn’t hear anything from the ‘Remainers’ during the referendum”
          I will qualify my statement by adding ‘in contrast to after the referendum’. ‘Farage dominated the media coverage…’ – what in a ‘the BBC portrayed him in a positive kind of way’ – since when has that ever happened.’ Labour had a sensible campaign’ – you mean in a ‘lets keep quiet and hope no one notices us’. I thought Labour’s message was to implement the result of the referendum out of respect for democracy – not a we are staying in the EU and will campaign for a second referendum.

          • Deb O'Nair

            Stop arguing with verifiable facts by attempting to crudely re-interpret what I said by putting words in my mouth. That is not how to make an argument.

          • David

            Surely the 1975 referendum where we voted 67% to 33% in favour of remaining in Europe. Surely that result is sacrosanct for all time. The people decided, let’s respect their wishes.

          • marvellousMRchops

            And don’t treat me with contempt for mentioning the ‘F’ word either. I am neither a supporter of Farage or UKIP but I do know my own mind and can see the how the establishment has used the media to hijack the ‘peoples vote’ to stop Brexit.
            – including the PLP of the Labour party – going against the views of the membership’s elected leader.

            Do you know any Labour voters who voted to leave? Do you know the views of Tony Benn on the EU?

            And your verifiable facts are…………..

      • Jo Dominich

        Marvelous, Umm not sure about the veracity of your statement here. The MSM was awash with the Brexit lies and pushing Brexit at any cost – including printing all the claims that have now proven to be lies. The Remain camp however, were not arrogant people but intelligent people who realised the UK economy would be significantly poorer post Brexit with the loss of many jobs – yesterday’s debate had Tory MPs stating just this case. It is the Brexiteers I am afraid, who are so blinkered and influenced by the MSM that they are unable to see clearly the consequences of the No Deal Brexit we are heading towards.

        • marvellousMRchops

          Now you seem to be conflating ‘project fear’ with verifiable facts. Utter tosh. No one can and has stated as fact the effect of Brexit on jobs and the economy And once again your subconscious bias of remain = intelligent, leave = stupid (by inference), arrogant and blinkered. The cherry on top of your intelligent debate surely must be the idea that Brexiteers are influenced by the MSM – who are doing what exactly – espousing the virtues of a ‘no deal Brexit’. What are you watching?

          Far from heading towards a no deal Brexit – we are heading for a second referendum.

          “The leftwing case for Brexit is strategic and clear. The EU is not – and cannot become – a democracy. Instead, it provides the most hospitable ecosystem in the developed world for rentier monopoly corporations, tax-dodging elites and organised crime. It has an executive so powerful it could crush the leftwing government of Greece; a legislature so weak that it cannot effectively determine laws or control its own civil service. A judiciary that, in the Laval and Viking judgments, subordinated workers’ right to strike to an employer’s right do business freely.

          Its central bank is committed, by treaty, to favour deflation and stagnation over growth. State aid to stricken industries is prohibited. The austerity we deride in Britain as a political choice is, in fact, written into the EU treaty as a non-negotiable obligation. So are the economic principles of the Thatcher era. A Corbyn-led Labour government would have to implement its manifesto in defiance of EU law.” Paul Mason – 2016

          • Jo Dominich

            Marvellous there are very clear projections as it happens. Read various economic and financial reports, the recent IMF report, Mark Carney’s statement and just look at how many companies are now making preparations to leave the UK on the basis of a No Brexit scenario (which is what will happen because Murdoch who controls most of the Press and is the official propaganda machine for the Tory Party want it) – the all heil the Totalitarian, single party Government that will follow. I lost my job to Brexit as have already, thousands of other people. Even the Government has made clear some of the catastrophic consequences of a No Deal Brexit – i.e. drugs shortages, food shortages, a breakdown of the housing market – these all come from the Government itself. You see, there is a large elephant in the room isn’t there? The PM realised a No Deal would be disastrous so she unilaterally went to Brussels and signed her own deal at the 11th hour which has no been comprehensively rejected by Parliament. May has now said the red lines stay, she has told EU diplomats she is not coming to the table with anything new or different, the EU has stated negotiations are closed so No Deal here we come because May is totally incapable of doing what is right for the British nation and seems intent on blaming everyone and anyone for her own chronic failures and the failures of her Government. She has said she will not rule out a No Deal yet Last week when the CBI rounded on her, Phillip Hammond told the CBI they would not be implementing a No Deal. So, what is May up to? No removal of her red lines, no taking No Deal off the table and no concessions in terms of negotiations. So, Hammond tells CBI it will not be a No Deal scenario and May is actively pursuing that course. Would the Lady stand up and tell the nation precisely how she intends to sort this mess out?

    • Clark

      H.S.MARKS – “The side wanting the change should have faced a mandatory 60% threshold vote.”

      Agreed, or an absolute majority of the electorate; either approach is usual for far-reaching constitutional changes.

      You should have got out and voted; neither “Leave” nor “Remain” were defined, making “Remain” the default “do nothing” position.

      I entirely agree about the unpleasant bragging of many Brexiteers.

        • Clark

          You yourself wrote:

          “Our system is archaic junk and we have never understood how to do referendums”

          Vote on the issue. Voting on who’s supporting it is protest voting, a habit the electorate has got into because of our junk, archaic system, eg. voting against AV because Nick Clegg sold out the students.

      • Clark

        Sharp Ears, yes, two. Remember that Cameron called the referendum primarily to settle a split in the Tory party, thinking that a resounding defeat would shut up the noisy Leave wing of his own party. Also note the split between the ‘news’papers; some very pro-Leave, some very pro-Remain.

        The rich and powerful are not a monolithic block. They are each other’s competitors. Their ideology is the idolisation of competition, and their private education conditioning is the veneration of sport and war. About the only thing they agree upon is exploiting the less well off, who to them are merely losers. This model is also consistent with their contempt for the Palestinians.

        This is what conspiracy theorists don’t seem to see; “the elite” is not some unified club, but a class.

    • James

      Indeed, normally you would have expected a super-majority for a big constitutional change like this. Say 60-40, with some minimum percentage of the electorate actually supporting the winning option.

      But the ref was a quick botch job by Dave to hit Ukip; he didn’t expect to win the 2015 election and he was sure he’d win the ref anyway if it ever happened.

      And then afterwards of course the leave side rounded 52% up to 100%.

      Norway could have worked, but it was never even tried.

      And now we will all pay the price as the UK flies into the ground. At least the Scots and Irish have ejector seats!

    • Rhys Jaggar

      I am afraid that you suffer from total cognitive dissonance if you are not aware of the plethora of Remainers badging all Brexit voters as racist, uneducated, unworldly and worse. Just read BBC HYS entries, go to http://www.quora.com, plenty of other places. Both sides are guilty of total lack of basic courtesies and respect.

      As for being like Norway, well we missed the boat in 1979. Thatcher subsidised mass unemployment with the one-off windfall gains of North Sea Oil whereas Norway, using Statoil to extract oil and gas, set up a sovereign wealth fund to benefit all future generations equally.

      We are a nation driven by utterly selfish impulses, rewarding narcissists and psychopaths, trashing decency, farsightedness and generosity. The ambitious Scots resident in England have behaved just like the English you all decry here. The only death threat I received in my life came from a Kirk-attending Aberdonian who turned the other cheek whenever Americans went on killing sprees overseas. The oil industry sees that as acceptable, you know.

      The question independent-minded English folk ask about the Scots is this: just what special deal is it that the EU has promised you to make you think you will be an independent nation in the EU? You will participate in a European Army carrying out imperialism overseas, when you have been virulently anti UK/NATO imperialism the past thirty years (upon which I was in entire agreement with you). You will be governed by appointed bureaucrats who despise the concept of nation states, despite you Nationalists being rather hot on all your differing, non English history. Your MEPs cannot frame any legislation, you can only approve it. You will receive quotas of immigrants not because you want them, simply because Tusk et al tell you to have them.

      I do not understand why it is any business of the Scots what kind of Brexit England might have, if you get your wish to remain in the EU. It is absolutely none of your business, other than negotiating trade corridors through England to expedite EU trade via Hull, Felixtowe, the Channel ports etc. It will also be your business to accept whatever trade deal the EU might negotiate on your behalf with England, even if German and French interests might predominate to the detriment of Scottish trade.

      It will be your business to continue to allow the EU to catch most of the fish in Scottsh waters (however they are defined after Brexit) and ensure that east coast fishing fleets remain in a parlous state.

      All that is your democratic right and responsibility.

      Oh, and you will be joining the Euro. No Scottish pounds or groats as an EU member. You must harmonise your economy towards the German one, as they are the ones who benefit from the Euro, not you Scots. You might like to see how small countries on the geographic periphery do in the EU (Portugal, Greece, the Baltic states) – those are your geographical roadmaps. And you might like to see how small nations who stand up to Brussels are treated by looking at Viktor Orban.

      I am merely commenting from the outside. I do not hate Scots and I think you have a beautiful homeland in geographic terms. I lived there for nearly seven years and got to know it extremely well.

    • MaryPau!

      I would be interested to hear what mandatory threshold and winning margins the Second Referendum supporters are advocating?

  • gyges

    Racism has been used as a symbol of control … this has been evident in the Brexit debate, the criticism of Israel by Corbyn, the fight for protection from sexual predation in Rotherham (and many other places in the UK), and latterly to thwart criticism of the financier George Soros.

    The chap who describes Symbolism and Symbols of control is called John Fraim, there’s an essay floating around the internet somewhere describing how Left and Right are used as symbols of control. If you wrap you’re head around that you’ll be able to grasp how this works with regard to racism.

  • Lorna Campbell

    Many of the areas, in England and Wales that voted Leave in numbers, are areas where indigenous industries have been wiped out. Ordinary working class people in these areas feel betrayed by the employers who preferred to employ (often well-educated) Eastern Europeans than local people. It had nothing fundamentally to do with masses of people coming from the EU to “live high on the hog”, but the fact that, while many employers, certainly not all, prized the fabled work ethic of the EU migrants over the (as they see it) lack of work ethic in the indigenous population, when, in reality, so many of the indigenous population simply have come to expect better pay and conditions, long-fought-for, and were forced, eventually, to accept much worse working conditions than they had been used to as skilled manual workers or blue-collar workers. I saw this for myself in one of England’s highest Leave voting areas when I spoke to a local person who had been trying desperately to find work, and that person took me to one of the local supermarkets where almost every employee was Eastern European. They were very pleasant and unfailingly polite, it must be said, and both hard-working and efficient, which was acknowledged, but the fact was that the local person had tried to find work there, as had many others, I was assured. I am not blaming employers, who must get their product out and must make at least a small profit, and, at the end of the day, the fault lies with the British governments of whatever hue, who have signally failed to make adequate provision for the unemployed, the destitute and the disabled because neoliberal, free market capitalism is all they can see, which, at the end of the day serves only to enrich those who already have. Little attempt was made to replace dying industries with new industries for the 21st century, in the way of investment and re-allocation of precious resources, from Thatcher onwards, and Scotland’s resources, in particular, were squandered to ensure that the unemployed from all the industries and jobs that were deliberately destroyed at the behest of the neoliberal economy, were kept quiet and unresisting through dole allocations which barely kept body and soul together, and still don’t.

    I agree that, in the longer term, migrants do, indeed, bring much to their adopted country, and, in time, they become part of the community and work their way up, and new migrants arrive to take their place. That is healthy. It is not healthy, though, but becomes a matter of deep resentment when the indigenous working class population feels utterly neglected and pressed down by government policies designed to make their lives so miserable that they will be forced to take jobs in competition with the migrants, with lowered working standards, wages, etc., and when this is so rapid that they can barely draw breath. This is precisely what the Tory One Nation State is all about, and any promises of better conditions and welfare policies are temporary, in the hope that the government will survive till Brexit passes and we enter the post Brexit phase when the level of crushing cruelty we have seen in the past few years will reach new heights in order to keep the working class and the under class in their allotted places in the ordained order that is the promised Tory Nirvana of the One Nation State.

    • H.S.MARKS

      Your key line is “Little attempt was made to replace dying industries with new industries for the 21st century, ”
      When you are ruled by fossils it is hardly surprising that they cannot see beyond fossil fuels. We know what needs to be done
      but their loyalty to Big Oil and Saudi Barbaria tops all. The BBC has oil execs on their trustee boards. We destroyed Iraq and Libya
      for a substance that is nearing the end of its epoque. This past week we had days when WIND ENERGY made a record 44% of all UK energy. Remove the Danish and Norwegian Wind Energy companies that have built most of that infrastructure here in the UK and we would still be at single digits for clean energy. The average is more like 28%. But hey! The political elite made it clear. If we are inside the EU we don’t want to be like Denmark and if we are outside of the EU we don’t want to be like Norway. No one ever ask me how I felt about such an attitude nor did they ask you either.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Lorna Campbell

      Great post, a fine summing up of the feeling of the working class. One other point. It is far too easy for employers to dispose of employees in their forties and fifties, and replace them with younger, cheaper foreign labour.

    • Garreth Brady

      You’re absolutely right.

      Also note that the effect of displacement isn’t only felt in the UK. These countries in Baltic and Eastern Europe are stripped of a large part of their working-age population. This depletes their economies. The countries are also deprived of their young, educated cohort – the exact cohort who traditionally political corruption.

      In both the donor country, and the scion country, the effect of this kind of massive economic immigration is the same. The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer.

    • Jo Dominich

      Lorna how refreshing is your post. I have had a few years experience working in the industries to which you refer and yes, I can say for a fact and unequivocally that the Eastern Europeans, particularly the Polish, once in positions say supervisory or first line managers will inevitably employ their own over British people. This is rife in manufacturing industry with the employers doing nothing to protect indigenous nationals. The crisis is such that, if you work in manufacturing these days, English is no longer the spoken language and employers do not enforce it choosing instead to employing friends and relatives of existing eastern Europeans over and above enforcing English as the spoken language of the U k and in the workplace. I don’t say this in any racist capacity because it is all true. It is what the industry wants, an insecure, poorly skilled, poorly paid workforce with no employment rights and no access to a Union.

      • Lorna Campbell

        Jo, I did not realise this myself until a few years back when I visited this English area, and I also saw that England and Scotland have different needs. Up here, in Scotland, we simply have not seen the numbers of migrants that have come to parts of England, and I realised that innate racism had little to do with the feelings of those people. There was deep resentment, granted, perhaps understandably, but it was not racism per se; and there had been a fair amount of intermarriage. I do think we, in Scotland, should stop shouting ‘racism’ when we do not actually understand what has happened in England. Of course, in reality, what has happened has nothing or little to do with the EU, but lies squarely at the feet of successive British governments, and it makes me so angry that it is the very people who voted for Brexit who will probably lose most by it, as the Tories have every intention of cutting away our support structures. We cannot blame people for wanting a better life when we, ourselves, have populated the world as migrants and colonists, but we must also take on board that we have to build a society that affords people a decent life, whether they are working class, the ‘under class’ or middle class. Right now, it is the wealthiest who are reaping the most benefit from our present political and economic structures.

        Likewise, in Scotland, when anyone tries to raise the matter of English migration to Scotland, he or she is accused of racism, but, again, this is not racism per se. The large rUK vote in Scotland (which included Welsh and NI, as well) voted by three-quarters (almost) against independence, in 2014. Just as in England, with EU migrants, we are not racist per se; many of us just want our English migrants to vote for Scottish independence and make their home here in the real sense of the phrase. Any migrants, as study after study shows, eventually become part of the landscape of their adopted home, and their children and grandchildren, generally, adopt the identity of the country their parents and grandparents migrated to, while still retaining their own culture and identity, too. That is healthy when the migration is not massive and overwhelming, but regulated by decent rules that are not inhumane, but understanding when it comes to family ties and refugee status. The reality is that it is the world’s poorest nations that carry the heaviest burden of movement of populations, caused, usually by war and strife, in which we have often played a part, but also by economic factors and natural disasters, and we have, as human beings, an obligation to look after others less fortunate than ourselves.

  • Tom

    In the last 10 years somewhere between 2 and 3 million people have emigrated to the UK. Economic growth doesn’t match population growth – nowhere near it, in fact. An economy with a growing population but a flat economy (or a recession in everything but the financial sector, like we have in the UK) means that basic living costs go up.

    The fact is that the infinite growth model (on which the entire EU is predicated, pretty fucking heavily) is screwed. There’s no growth left in the system. So adding more and more people to your population when there’s no economic growth to supply them will make poor people poorer.

    It is the centrist, neoliberal denial of this simple fact that gave rise to UKIP and put Boris Johnson within a hair’s breadth of becoming PM. A little honesty would go a long way here.

    • H.S.MARKS

      I am not advocating free for all open borders but there is things to consider here. Our foreign policy created a great deal if not the majority of the conditions that people have fled from Africa and West Asia into Europe. Meanwhile tiny Lebanon and Jordan have taken together more people from Syria and Iraq than all of the EU.

      • Tom

        No doubt, our foreign policy has driven mass migration (Libya and Syria most obviously, but in quite a few other ways too). But here again, many liberals supported these wars because of simple-minded propaganda about evil dictators and the R2P doctrine of ‘we’ll kill these people to stop them from being oppressed’. Then when this created millions of refugees and migrants the liberals went around virtue signalling by buying ‘refugees welcome’ coffee mugs, without asking A) why the ‘refugee crisis’ happened or B) what the obvious consequences of their migration to Europe might be.

        If we had a peaceful system with something approximating equitable distribution of wealth then migration would be lower and wouldn’t really matter. But it’s the height of deluded idealism to pretend that in the system we’ve got that mass migration doesn’t exacerbate underlying economic problems and make poor people poorer.

        As an ideal, I believe in freedom of movement but the (predominantly liberal) denial of obvious facts is just as stupid as Theresa Mayhem’s delusion that she can implement a shit deal that no one voted for and no one wants.

    • Garreth Brady

      Tom is right. But even if he were wrong – and economic growth did match population growth. What difference would it make, if none of the wealth generated is redistributed?

      We’re seeing the same pattern throughout Europe. GDP is going up, but the wealth gap is growing, and real wages at the bottom end are decreasing. The great lie about GDP is the implicit ‘per capita’ notion of it being shared out, when that is decreasingly the case.

      EU = hardwired neoliberalism.

    • craig Post author

      Ian that wasn’t in her original statement. It was issued as a tweet this morning after people made plain they were unhappy with the original.

      • Ian Gibson

        Understood, and I wasn’t intending it as a ‘pop’ at you, just pointing out more confusion (as if there wasn’t enough going round…)

  • Clark

    I agree with all of that, except:

    “England and Wales should leave the EU as its citizens wish (by a very clear majority if you take out Scotland and Northern Ireland)”

    The majority was not clear at all; it was a fraction of the number who did not vote.

    The referendum was meaningless because “Leave” was not even vaguely defined and “Remain” simply meant “make no change”. The Leave voters are highly motivated, and nearly all of them will have voted, implying that the majority of non-voters would prefer no change. ie. Remain by Default. After the ensuing political debacle and all the problems with Leave that it has highlighted, a second referendum would likely return a far stronger Remain majority than the initial Leave result. The Leavers would howl to high heaven, but at least it would settle the matter and we could move on to far more important issues.

    • Andyoldlabour

      @Clark – every region in the UK voted to LEAVE – 9 regions including Wales – except London, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
      It was a clear majority and please do not bring the abstainers into the fray, they simply do not count.
      This was the highest turnout for any vote for years.

      • Casual Observer

        There’s a vocal minority of Leavers who seem to think the very slim majority was entirely composed of the ‘Burn the whole Edifice down’ variety ? The reality could well be that leave opinion contained many who would have been happy with re modelling ? The same could well be said of the remain bloc being composed of a far from single idea.

        I seem to recall Ms Stewart, post referendum, expressing incredulity at posing a binary question over a problem with many potential solutions.

        As things have turned out, it has taken a genius level of incompetence on Ms May’s part to be able to come up with a deal that has proved to be totally unacceptable to both sides 🙂

      • Clark

        Andyoldlabour, well let’s have another vote and find out, eh? I predict a larger turnout, and a sizeable majority for Remain.

  • Johnny Panic

    The concomitant to the argument for soi-disant free movement is that countries like Estonia have 57% of their medics leaving for higher wages in Western Europe.
    We take their best and brightest; their brawny and mechanicals – they are left with a nation of middle managers and cancer patients.

    • N_

      Except this time it will be the status quo side that refers to the NHS and they won’t be lying either.

      • IrishU

        Correct. Until the Irish Health system is brought closer in line with the NHS (in terms of abolishing GP and test fees) then the Shinners will have quite a difficult time to convince people that reuniting the four fields is worth it.

  • Mist001

    I honestly cannot express in words how angry I am at the sheer incompetence of the SNP. It’s almost beyond belief. I really am absolutely furious. Brexit presented the best chance of Scottish independence that we’re ever likely to have and the SNP blew it by nailing their colours to the Unionist mast and throughout it all, they lied and are still lying to the people of Scotland but because it’s now a cult, people just go along with whatever ‘Nicola’ says and does without question.

    Absolutely shameful and they deserve every single piece of misfortune that’s coming their way. They will never, EVER get my vote again.

    • Jo1

      I’m sorry, I have to disagree. You’re assuming the Leave result would have led to a significant majority in Scotland opting for independence. I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

      The remain vote in Scotland was returned by voters across the political spectrum. As FM, Sturgeon’s duty is to defend that vote and the folk who returned it. And to be fair, she did that initially and got backing at Holyrood from every Party except the Tories. But then she threw Indyref2 into the conversation.

      She promptly lost the support of Labour and the Lib-Dems at Holyrood. Worse, she lost 21 MPs in the snap GE called by May! Davidson and her Tories gained 13 seats in Scotland simply by virtue of Ruthie touring about shouting, “The SNP is exploiting you by using the Scottish Remain vote to secure Indyref2!”. Sturgeon, while still having most MPs, admitted that losing 21 had been devastating to her. She also admitted that introducing Indyref2 into the debate had contributed to her losses.

      The SNP absolutely did NOT “nail their colours to the Unionist mast”. They acted, on the Brexit result, on behalf of the 62% of the Scottish electorate who voted Remain. That is their job, even if they are committed to Scottish independence. And frankly, people who try to mix the two do no one any favours.

      • Rob Royston

        I don’t quite disagree with Mist. The way I saw it was that after the 2014 referendum, people felt cheated by Cameron and the NO movement. Thus we had the massive increase in SNP membership and the electing of 56 out of 59 SNP MP’s to Westminster in 2015 when they received just over 50% of votes cast. Instead of using Brexit as a cloak to buy time behind, they should have returned to Edinburgh and declared freedom for Scotland.
        If you look at the figures for the 2017 snap election against 2015 you will see that the Scots that had swung behind the SNP in 2015 went back to the Tory and Labour parties. They had put the power in the SNP’s gift and saw it rejected. The SNP were found out and have done little since to win these voters back again.

    • Mist001

      The biggest, most obvious advantage to the SNP about Brexit is the very fact that the UK will be leaving the EU. I seriously think the SNP, certainly the membership, haven’t grasped the fact that when Scotland becomes independent, then it’s automatically out of the EU. They seriously don’t grasp this.

      So, we now have this ridiculous situation where Nicola is fighting tooth and nail to keep the UK in the EU and at some point, she’s going to have to turn around to the Scottish people and tell them that a vote for independence means leaving the EU!!

      She MUST know and the SNP leadership MUST also know that in order for Scotland to remain a part of the EU, then it HAS to remain a part of the UK. I simply don’t believe that they don’t know this and that means that they’re lying to their support and lying to the people of Scotland.

      Brexit means one less argument to justify during any future independence referendum. Instead, they’re going to get hammered with this question over and over and they will be unable to give a coherent, sensible answer.

      Since Salmond stepped down, the SNP have become nothing more than an abhorrent, populist cult and they deserve everything that’s coming to them.

      • alwi

        ” the SNP, certainly the membership, haven’t grasped the fact that when Scotland becomes independent, then it’s automatically out of the EU. ”

        No, it won’t. Membership will be rubberstamped, or at most a formality. For many reasons. You keep banging on about this and it is just nonsense.

  • N_

    @Craig – You omit to consider why so many voted for Brexit, which is certainly to do with racism but rather than deriving from what politicians wrote in party platforms having consulted their marketing advisers it has a lot to do with what politicians haven’t said for about 50 years.

    In the absence of a strong organised anti-racist labour movement (the greatest example in the history of the working class being the IWW), immigration IS used to keep wages down. Deny that and you will soon find that you are letting some right-wing concept of “enterprise” in under the door.

    It’s all right to observe that “The economy is not a thing of fixed size with a limited number of jobs. Dynamic EU immigration has been entirely responsible for all growth in our economy this last decade; without it we would have been plunged into the deepest and still continuing recession”, but actually competition in the labour market does exert a downward effect on wages. The fact that racism is used by the employers, and used consciously, is not new and for example it is openly boasted about by F W Taylor.

    • N_


      Dynamic EU immigration has been entirely responsible for all growth in our economy this last decade“.

      Most immigrants to Britain come from outside the EU and that’s been true for every year from 2018 right back to the earliest figures I’ve got, which are from before the EU single market was created. (Source: here and here.) “Entirely responsible” sounds like rhetoric. Doesn’t any “growth” result from the labour of non-EU immigrants?

      “Growth” is a highly questionable statistic anyway. A chunk of it is accounted for by the rise in house prices. Even when a house hasn’t been put on the market for 30 years, the growth in its “imputed rental value” contributes to GDP.

    • Andyoldlabour


      “but actually competition in the labour market does exert a downward effect on wages. The fact that racism is used by the employers, and used consciously, is not new and for example it is openly boasted about by F W Taylor.”

      Exactly, and an almost unlimited supply of cheap labour will mean that the downward effect will be more noticeable in even more sectors, not just fruit pickers and factory workers.

  • poppy ann miller

    Theresa May (whom I do not support) may possibly be motivated by racism – as a Leave voter I am not. I’m motivated by my outrage at the enormous gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ and the vested self-interest of the majority of remainers who, instead of supporting their fellow citizens who have been left behind, having been made to take the brunt of austerity through no fault of their own; would rather attack them and label them thickoid, racist thugs with the support and promotion of MSM. I am none of these things. For me the issue is in the fact that EU membership and free movement has overpopulated our islands, demoted skilled work to menial with the accompanying reduction in wages. The vast majority of remainers have done very nicely thank you from their connections with the EU. The rest have continued to struggle, carrying the can for greedy bankers, subjected to cuts in basic benefits and needs, including suitable housing, medical and social care. But let’s not worry about those, as one remainer wrote on Twitter (sic).This will mean my daughters cannot travel freely around the EU on vacation. Vacation – what’s that?

    • Andyoldlabour

      poppy ann miller

      Yes, we are on your side of the fence, and it is called harsh reality. I am earning £14K less than I was in 2007, and my highly qualified wife £8K less than 2010. We are still doing the same skilled work but now struggle. Thank god the mortgage is paid off. I cannot see any retirement date though.

    • David

      I’ll be honest at the start of this comment by saying that I don’t really agree with much of what you have said. The EU is a seriously flawed institution but I struggle to understand how the current reality of a Brexit vote and the increased powers that it will, in the form of taking back control, deliver to our right wing Tory government or its successor, probably also a Tory government, can in anyway be seen to contribute to the resolution of the ongoing UK problem of the distribution of wealth between the haves and the have nots. If you seriously think that leaving the EU in favour of living out our lives totally governed by these nasty right wing politicians can address this issue in favour of the have nots then I think you are living in cloud cuckoo land and I’m glad I can say this because I’m not a politician that needs to give any due consideration to the possibility that you might vote for me in an upcoming election.

      • marvellousMRchops

        @David – So not being able to vote out these Neo-Liberal war mongering bstards is more preferable than being able to do so?
        Mind you the idea that we could vote for anything other than ‘nasty right wing politicians’ is living in cloud cuckoo land when you see the relentless treatment of Corbyn by the MSM and by those Bliarities in the PLP who would rather see another Tory government than a hard or no deal Brexit.

    • Ian Gibson

      Poppy, I agree entirely with your analysis of the issues, but think that blaming it on free movement is entirely symptomatic of the underlying ‘racism’ (in the broadest sense of blaming it on foreigners, rather than actual prejudice against specific nationalities) of Brexit: those problems have been ENTIRELY of our own making, from governments of both stripes. Leaving the EU will make us MORE vulnerable to those trends, not less. And even going along with the argument that immigration has been a bad thing (for the sake of argument – I firmly believe that not to have been true) it’s been pointed out already in the comments that non-EU immigration has been larger than EU immigration for a long time. We had complete freedom to control that, and yet chose not to – because the vested interests of the powers behind the neo-liberal majority that has dominated British politics for decades now are quite content to use those to their own economic advantage. That isn’t going to change one iota by leaving the EU.

  • Tom

    May doesn’t really care about immigration, hence the huge number of immigrants admitted under her tenure as Home Secretary and then Prime Minister. Immigration is merely a means to fool the masses into thinking a government beholden to tax exiles and foreign powerbokers cares about their needs. It is also a proxy for bashing Muslims and preventing the peoples of the UK finding common cause with people in other European nations.
    The Tory government is a puppet regime working for the Americans, which means the government needs to be a rogue regime that does not even cooperate with the Opposition, and the British people need to be too divided and scared to unite against it.
    But despite that gloomy analysis, I believe that Theresa May and her government is on their last legs.

    • Laguerre

      May doesn’t really care about immigration? Well, blow me down, it’s been her obsession since she was first Home Secretary. It may be correct to say that she can’t do anything about it, which is probably true, but ‘doesn’t care’?

    • Jo Dominich

      Tom – you are right of course – and the MSM, their official propaganda machine, is still dividing the British Public on this issue. Totalitarianism a la 1984 is here folks!

  • Monte Video

    For a long time I have felt uneasy with what I perceive to be Labour’s appeasement of white, working class, racists. On this issue there should be no excuses for those who try to keep them in, or return them to the Labour fold by making efforts to accommodate their ill founded and uninformed views on immigration. Sometimes positive political change can only come from challenging a prevailing point of view and calling it out for what it is. Listening to these seriously under informed racists and encouraging them to support your electoral prospects by agreeing implement policies on immigration that resonate with them only creates ongoing future problems for the many that Corbyn constantly says he cares about.

    As for the PM, I think we need to look beyond the politics. I remember a long time ago in my student life an academic suggesting that all politicians are psychopaths. I’m not sure I agree with that point of view but there do seem to be many MPs whose behaviour is overly concentrated on the gamesmanship and tactics of the archaic institution that they have spent far too much time in at the expense of doing anything remotely worthwhile for the constituents they represent or for their country.

    • marvellousMRchops

      For a long time I have felt uneasy with what I perceive to be Labour’s appeasement of carreer politicians and working class traitors. On this issue there should be no excuses for those who try to keep them in, or return them to the Labour fold by making efforts to accommodate their ill founded and uninformed views on everything.

      Racism is a classic case of cause and effect unless you believe that racists are born and not made. As the old saying goes if you want to destroy all the mosquitoes it’s best not to swat the mosquitoes but to find the nearest swamp.

      As for ‘white, working class racists’ – do I infer that if you are black or middle class or both you can’t be racist? To me this is just the same old demonisation of the working classes or shall we say ‘the economic poor’ for that is what they are.

      • Tom

        Indeed. It’s the middle class bourgeois-fication of the Labour party that nearly destroyed it. A bunch of well off Guardian readers wanting cheap labour to clean their houses and tend to their gardens accusing anyone who disagrees of being racist.

        This notion that ‘British people don’t want to do those jobs’ is another example of this bourgeois snobbery, because in reality there are still tons of British people doing those jobs.

  • shugsrug

    Thirty years of Milton Friedman economics eventually led the working class to understand they were no longer needed or wanted by the wealthy. That left them open to the likes of UKIP to be manipulated as also happened in the US. The question is can we move on to a different economic model that is fair to many more people.
    Another thing, how much spinning did the Integrity Initiative have to do to persuade MSM that TM was an astute and clever politician.

    • bj

      If she survives today, I’d say she’s very clever at being a dictator — which will become evident very soon.

  • John

    I think the term “freedom if movement” is emotive propaganda. Preferential immigration status for European citizens would be more accurate. By inference it is discrimination against non EU Nationals.

    I think the UK will find it has also been a cover for fake credentials and inflated CVs, unchecked by monolingual HR departments. Over the 30 years I have lived as an economic migrant in a non EU, non English speaking country I have encountered many instances of people with false credentials passing themselves of as qualified for jobs and salaries they were not competent to fill. I expect the UK will find similar cases.

    • Bill Marsh

      I entirely agree with your first para. Why, if Craig is so non racist, does he not advocate opening the EU’s borders to anybody? This is the true non racist position.

    • Sc

      But we also have freedom to move within the EU. It’s not just ‘preferential immigration’ to here

  • Jo1

    I totally respect your views on Sturgeon’s actions yesterday Craig, however, that’s all they are, your views.
    Scotland voted in the EU referendum to Remain. That’s the issue behind Sturgeon’s visit to London, not Scottish independence. It’s the issue many ordinary Scots and Scottish businesses are concerned about at the moment. And in my opinion, attempts to merge the two issues were partly responsible for the loss of twenty one SNP seats. I say this as someone who voted YES in 2014.
    Sturgeon is in London to represent Scotland today. She’s not there to speak for the YES movement.

  • Simon

    Immigration does depress wages. Immigrants, and the “white working class” would get on much better if they just realised the endless supply of well paid work available producing garbage economics to prove the contrary. You’ll get a better answer from a historian of labour movements. Your massive, unsourced claim that inward migration accounts for most of UK’s recent growth may also be true of course. The two are not incompatible.

    That aside, great post.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    I don’t see any difference from Craig stating that E & W should adopt a Norway style model and Dan Snow stating in 2014 that Scotland should remain in the Union. It’s really none of our business what E & W decides.

    As of last night the range of options for E & W are:
    Hard Brexit. Full EU membership. The Norway model. The Turkey model.
    For whatever reason the last two options won’t float in Westminster. The why’s elude me but I don’t have any insight into the English psych.
    Continued, full EU membership is apparently a nonstarter (something about civil disturbance?), which leaves Hard Brexit.
    From my perspective Hard Brexit would be an unmitigated disaster, but my opinion doesn’t matter. The BIG issue with Hard Brexit in anyone’s assessment (including J. R-M’s if he were to be honest) is the lack of preparation.
    Rescind Article 50. Go to Brussels and (very humbly) explain that you will very shortly be re-invoking a new A 50 notification, but that there will be no negotiations required. The settled goal will be a Hard Brexit in 2021. EU dues payed for another 2 years with fishing rights continued. Whether to bother with the upcoming EU election can be resolved.
    In the meantime, quickly arrange for referendums in NI and Scotland on unification and independence respectively. This allows time (not much) to construct border posts and recruit and train Customs officials, if the outcomes of the referendums require.

      • Bill Marsh

        Anybody is entitled to a view. Or is it your opinion that only people who are English or, in your case half English, are entitled to a view?

  • Mist001

    I never saw Nicola’s tweet when I made my original post but I wonder if it had anything to do with this?:

    ‘Today (16 January) in 1707, the Scottish and Westminster parliaments ratified the Treaty of Union; the act passed in the Scottish parliament by 110 votes to 67, amid a background of resistance, with crowds burning copies of the treaty on the streets of Edinburgh and attacking the buildings of the Scottish parliament.’

    The tweet itself is pathetic and even Nicola herself is deluded enough to maintain the deception of the Scottish people when she says ‘We want the UK to stay in the EU….’ She knows damned well that as soon as Scotland becomes independent, then it will be out of the EU and that the only way Scotland can remain a part of the EU is by remaining a part of the UK.

    She’s blatantly misleading and deceiving the people of Scotland.

    And the final bit about independence, that’s quite obviously been tacked on as an afterthought. Who ever begins a sentence with the word ‘But’? She’s added that purely because she knows that she has to keep the cult members happy by telling them what they want to hear which ensures that the membership fees and donations will continue to flow. That’s pure, unabashed populism, which Nicola will criticise at the first opportunity.

    She’s a lawyer? Imagine having her as a defence! You’d be going down without a doubt.

    • Michael

      Well, that’s nonsense. You have no evidence to back up your claim Scotland would be out of the EU as soon as it became independent. And lots of people start a sentence with the word ‘but’. What are you, some kind of 1950s primary school teacher.

        • alwi

          “It’s very likely that Scotland would have to re-apply to join the EU on independence, although in theory it could stay in without a hiatus if all member countries agreed to write it into the EU treaties.”

          Mmmm…Care to hazard a guess at what is most likely ?

    • Jo Dominich

      Mist, I have never trusted Sturgeon – she was a Labour MP who crossed over to the SNP in a cynical move to promote her political career no more no less. I personally see nothing that identifies Sturgeon with SNP desires, policies or independence, she is out for herself and like May, to stay in power by promising everything and anything even pinning her ribbon to the Unionist flag yesterday. She is a fraud – Alex Salmond was a far better politician, First Minister and Statesman who genuinely was passionate about Scottish independence.

      • jake

        Can you supply the dates and constituency she represented as a Labour MP?
        Failing that would you care to admit that you are in error?

  • Edward Mankinnon

    I’m surprised that you think that freedom of movement within the EU is so wonderful. It is the other side of the coin of free movement of capital, which has been so disastrous for the UK. It has been utterly ruinous for countries like Latvia and Bulgaria, which are being depopulated, but fine for low-birth rate Germany. Even Spain has seen an exodus of young unemployed people to Germany. Controlling immigration is not racist. Unadulterated “freedom of movement” (but not over that wall in Gaza) is a principle of neo-liberalism. Anyway, why are you so enamoured of the EU, which is falling apart, when they said that an independent Scotland would not be allowed to join ? Democratic? Catalonia?

    • David

      I have not been impressed by the EU reaction to the ongoing democracy issues in Catalonia but I also ask myself if the UK government reaction to the ongoing democracy issues in Catalonia has been any better?

      It definitely has not.

      There is great a reluctance among the national governments of EU countries to get involved in the internal legal processes of Spain. I hope we will see change in that position if the now scheduled trials find the defendants guilty although a more likely outcome is that the European justice system will then be the place where these politicians and other Catalans, charged because of their actions during the Catalan independence referendum, get proper justice.

      It is not an easy road for the Catalan independence movement. After an initial anger at the lack of any formal EU criticism of Spain for its actions after the referendum and some sober reflection that the UK government has also done nothing formally, and in its current form will never do so, I have decided that it is better to concentrate on the other reasons why I want to remain in the EU.

  • Pat Marie

    Jeremy Corbyn throughout his career has fought racism and discrimination. His comment about ending the importation of underpaid migrant workers is because they are underpaid, not because they are migrants.

  • Shatnersrug

    I’m very disappointed with Craig on this article it demonstrate his own prejudice and a disdain for the working class that is typical of a Westminster liberal. So to counter it I offer a copy and paste of the wise and brilliant Martin Rosen from this morning. Racism is a symptom first before it’s a cause – if British people seem racist it’s because the establishment have wished them so. What Craig does here is little better. Anyway over the Marin

    “Been reluctant to piss some more petrol on the flames round our feet, but this needs saying: this shit – actually, this state-breaking shit – was entirely predictable, & the fault not of the “elites” (exhibit A: a wickerman full of furious fascist cunts denouncing elites they…
    …don’t dominate) but of the ideology they’ve peddled these last 40 years. Let’s not euphemise it by trying to be 5th grade smart & calling it Neo-liberalism; call it for what it is: systemised theft and class warfare to cover your tracks. Enough Spartism & back to the current..
    …shit. A fatuous philosophy which garlanded whole-scale theft with a cultish child-like faith in the Power of the Market obviates the need for politics, so for 3 political generations the parties of government (thanks to our corrupt electoral system) have denied themselves…
    …even the pretence that politics can change anything (Perry Anderson conceded defeat in The. New Left Review in 2001), which left the legislature as little more than a shoo-in or beauty contest for cranks & careerists. “Politics”, on top of being the obsession of a corrupt…
    …media because its ceaseless osmosis with politics made for dead easy copy, endless up having very little to do with the inhabitants of the state it purported to serve. But worse than that, The Market had neither time nor need for the republican virtues which cohere states….
    …so that education was merely to get a job; public spaces were bought & enclosed by corporations; extraordinarily enough, these fuckers were dumb enough, in their triumph, to prove Marx 100% right in saying Capitalism commodifies everything into sacks of flesh & hope, just…
    …there to be milked dry if it surplus value by the already rich. The trouble is, when you hollow out the fabric of the state, but you still need it in order to continue your salvage operation, is that you need to replace the commonwealth with something to stop everyone just…
    …walking away, which is why our media, owned by foreign psychopaths, has spent 40 years selling the idea of English Exceptionalism, while the ideology it’s promoted has stripped the fucker bare. Which means we end up, thanks to the thieves, with a total divorce from reality…
    …which has cocooned us in lies, fuelled by unrealisable hopes, dreams of taking back a country that was never ours in the first place, conviction that democracy is about the will of the people when, in fact, it’s about the tiny space where compromise huddles between hatred…
    …and BREXIT, in these circumstances, isn’t just the perfect storm: it was also inevitable. In a Potemkin country, the only thing worth screaming about is a dumb idea flimsier than the vestiges, on waking, of a wet dream. They’re all lying, because to say the truth would be…
    …almost literally unbearable, in a physical sense. Their tongues would swell in their faces as they tried to say “We lied to you; we always do; we’re the worst people who’ve ever lived, but you know what? We’re not as bad as you are, because you’re so fucking dumb you…
    …believed us.” And that’s across the board, fromthe further shores of Leave to Remain. We’re like toddlers in a sweetie shop having an endless tantrum, our romper suits caked in dried vomit, wanting more candy. We need to grow up. We’ve had this coming for a long time. And…
    …though no one of us, in all our lovely, loathsome variety, needs the shit, as a nation we deserve it. Hang on tight, everyone, and look after the people you live. I fear it’s all going to be torn down. And it doesn’t need rebuilding”

    • able

      Yes flood a country with immigrants against the wishes of its people and then scream ‘”racist” at them when they object. Furthermore, start whining about the growth of the “far right” when they begin looking for alternatives.

      • Republicofscotland

        “Yes flood a country with immigrants ”

        You mean, hospital staff, building site workers, a fair chunk of the services industries. Factory workers such as fish processors, fruit pickers etc.

        All who pay taxes and contribute to society, of course weasel faced xenophobes like you only see the brown faces.

        • marvellousMRchops

          We used to train Nurses don’t you know? We even used to train Nurses from the Commonwealth and they were brown don’t you know. I used to pick fruit in the school summer holidays for pocket money.

          • Republicofscotland

            Used to being the operative word. I’d wager Brits don’t want to do 12+ shifts in hospitals taking abuse for mediocre wages.

            Nor do Brits want to do work that they feel is beneath them.

          • marvellousMRchops

            So the race to the bottom is ok then?
            So stripping other EU countries of their workforces is ok?
            When you say Brits do you mean all Brits or just white, working class Brits?
            The concept of fair pay for fair working conditions is only ok for some people and not others?

          • Republicofscotland

            I’ll say this hospitals need staff, doctors surgeons nurses etc. As you say picking fruit, well fruit needs to be picked, building site worker need to be employed regardless of where they come from.

            Lying on trolley in a hospital theatre, ready to go under the knife do you really care if the surgeon is foreign? Or do you thank your lucky stars that the NHS employed a surgeon from the EU or wherever.

            Ive no idea what you mean by white Brits.

          • Dave Lawton

            January 16, 2019 at 16:27

            ¨Used to being the operative word. I’d wager Brits don’t want to do 12+ shifts in hospitals taking abuse for mediocre wages. ¨
            How do you know? Have you worked in the NHS or are you just making it up as you usually do.

          • Jo Dominich

            Marvellous here’s a newsflash for you – the NHS is still training thousands and thousands of Doctors and Nurses. Problem? Well, the NHS is a class hierarchy in its own right – Consultants and GPs are Gods and nobody, but nobody, shall dare challenge them. Front line staff are treated like something the NHS management wouldn’t scrape off their shoe. Innovation? NHS doesn’t want it because it thinks it is the best when in reality it is stuck in the past, over managed by a bunch of incompetent, self-serving, over-paid managers who haven’t a clue what they are doing other than busy looking for their next regrading by unashamed empire building and employment their relatives to non existent posts. It is an organisation that has lost sight of its core business – i.e. treating people at the point of need – replacing their vision statement with an ethos of “we will continue to squander public money by giving ourselves massive pay rises, massive regrading’s, 37% annual growth in the numbers of managers corresponding with a 30% axing of front line services, treatments and operations so that we can pay ourselves more and more every year. It is an organisation that is out of control in its hubris, financial management and a level of exceedingly poor performance that is a disgrace to any health service yet they continue to take £140bn pounds of tax payer’s money per annum. I could go on. If you were a dynamic nurse, GP, Doctor who had ideas for modernising treatment, providing the best services, doing your job to a high level of confidence and deliver excellent patient care and outcomes you would not want to work for the NHS would you. Recruting staff from abroad, just like eastern European immigrants have done to the manufacturing industry, quells dissent, prevents modernisation,, preserves the messianic status of Consultants, GPS and not leas the tiers and tiers of managers and sees a significant decline in working conditions.

          • marvellousMRchops

            @jo Dominich – No problem with your analysis. My point is the conflation of Brexit with racism and anti immigration.

        • Shatnersrug

          This isn’t a good enough argument RoS,

          1) we have a shortage of these professions because of a lack of training
          2) bring folks in on the cheap contributed less tax if you pay them less
          3) there is a natural tendency in HR to employ like minded people, I’ll give an example(forgive me it’s anecdotal) – I have a friend that manages a store in a coffee chain in central London for years they have employed EU citizens, I joked years ago that he won’t employ English people like me because we’re too lazy – he looked sadly at me and nodded – cheeky git! Anyway I noticed in the last few months lots of new British employees – student etc, I reminded him of our conversation and he said since Brexit people aren’t coming so much, but that young British kids are eager to work and don’t moan. Nice to hear, but I suspect he was unconsciously employing people he recognised and knew would be reliable, it’s human and understandable

          I have to stress I am no Brexit fan, but the eu is neither marthur or Arthur. For it to work countries must become states and there must be some kind of equality throughout the entire union, however when the banking crash came it became apparent that the EU was actually the European Union of the interests of Goldman Sachs and others.

          There is a fix but bankers will not allow it. I believe an end to austerity and state investment everywhere in the UK to bring everyone up to speed high wages and full employment for all would make the concerns of EU citizens a lot less threatening however that require not only a government that is prepared to do that but also an opposition who will not undo it as we have seen in the last 8 years.

          • Republicofscotland

            Believe it or not there’s now a whole section of society who work, and they’re known as the working poor. They work a full weeks or months work hours wise but wages are so low that they barely make ends meet, and still have to visit foodbanks.

            The Tories are far too busy protecting their corporate buddies profits to make a real dent in this shameful practice. Therefore I understand why Brits have chosen to turn their noses to certain low paid jobs. However these jobs still need to filled by whom?

      • Deb O'Nair

        “flood a country with immigrants”

        Do you talk like that in public? You sound like Alf Garnet.

  • able

    “Many at the heart of what I might call “Old Labour” still harbour the dark thoughts that led in my youth to support from many trade union members for the views of Enoch Powell – the idea that immigrants depress wages and damage the working class.”

    They were absolutely right. Why are you so devoted to this NewLabour/Tory cause of suppressing wages and destroying working class communities by way of mass-immigration?

  • freddy

    Europeans remain welcoming to immigrants:


    Where’s the UK?

    If were are to remember “there is a world beyond the Brexit debate and the crass and sordid mess of Westminster politics” (which didn’t last long) shouldn’t we look at immigration issues across Europe, within and without? It appears sadly impossible not to note there are an awful lot of “racists” across the channel too.

    • Shatnersrug

      After all it would become a great nuclear base for the new Germany/France/Russia military alliance against the US/UK/Qatar aliance

      Gas Wars coming our way!

      I jest of course….or do I? ?

      • Republicofscotland

        As long as we break the union that’s all, that matters, everything else is a bonus.

        • Shatnersrug

          I think the statistical significance of Scotland for US/Uk is so important that you’d have to form a militia! I can’t see it RoS I’m sorry. We are all pawns in a great chess game

        • Shatnersrug

          I think the stratigic significance of Scotland for US/Uk is so important that you’d have to form a militia! I can’t see it RoS I’m sorry. We are all pawns in a great chess game

          • Republicofscotland

            Twenty years ago Scotland didn’t even have a parliament, in 2014, almost half the nation voted to break the union.

            Its just a matter of when not if.

          • FranzB

            When Norway got the oil/gas windfall they put it into a sovereign fund. An independent Scotland could have done the same. Thatcher used the money to deindustrialise the UK in favour of finance, and also to defeat the working class in the miners strike.

  • Republicofscotland

    So Labour and the Tories are two faces on the same coin, on immigranton who’d have thought that, only the majority of Scots. As for the Lib/Dems, well Clegg and Cameron’s coalition showed very clearly that the Lib/Dems would jump into bed with anyone at the sniff of power.

    May detests the freedom of movement, her go home vans still say alot about her and the Tories in general.

    Meanwhile medicore independence supporters whinge and whine at the SNP government, who are doing a good job in Scotland with one hand tied behind their backs. The angry armchair independence supporters, who think Sturgeon isn’t doing enough are threatening not to back them in the future.

    Well, I say to these keyboard rebels, good luck backing the London branch offices in Scotland of Labour, the Tories and the Lib/Dems, all three don’t give a shit about Scotland or its people.

    • Jo1

      “mediocre independence supporters”

      Jings, are you grading us all now RoS, and those who don’t agree with you are labelled mediocre?

      Good to know!

      • Republicofscotland

        Grading no, merely pointing out that some don’t have the stomach for it when things aren’t going 100% their way.

        • Jo1

          Actually, it’s possible to support independence and disagree with others who are also supporters of independence. It’s also possible to support independence and criticise SNP policy decisions.

          It doesn’t give you the right to label those people mediocre.

          • jake

            I didn’t read ROS’s statement that way. I read it as saying that their support of independence was mediocre rather than it being a reflection on them as people.

  • Tom Welsh

    “The truth of course is that May’s “red lines” were in fact motivated by the only consistent strand that can be traced through Theresa May’s political career – hatred of immigrants”.

    Craig, you have got the wrong end of the stick completely. I voted “Leave” mainly because of the hopeless corruption and incompetence of the EU administration, its utter dismissal of the principles of democracy and justice, and the strong desire to keep the UK as an independent sovereign nation.

    A secondary motive in my case was certainly to limit immigration. But that has absolutely nothing to do with “racism” – a concept so tenuous that it cannot even be clearly defined. Suffice it to say that, if I am against the immigration of 100,000 Africans or Asians, I am equally opposed to the immigration of 100,000 Germans, Danes or French people. The only reason I am opposed to uncontrolled immigration is that the UK is already very seriously overpopulated, to the extent that its current population is not sustainable. Anyone who wants to understand the facts and figures behind this judgment should look at the Overshoot Index at https://populationmatters.org/sites/default/files/Population%20Matters%202016%20Overshoot%20index.pdf.
    There you willl see that the world as a whole now contains 39% more people than it has the resources to feed and sustain in the long run. The UK has 73% more people than it can sustain in the long term. With an actual population of 63 million, it is able to sustain 17 million indefinitely.
    That being so, the best initial move is NOT to add more people to an already hugely overcrowded lifeboat. It doesn’t matter whether they are black, white, brown, yellow, green or candy-striped, nor whether they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Judaist, Buddhist or atheist. All that matters is that they consume resources.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Tom Welsh

      My feelings exactly Tom. I live in the South East and the place is packed out, many High streets are downbeat and dying. I made a GP appointment on Monday, and the soonest one is 7th February, that is ridiculous. On the computerised checkin machine in the surgery, you choices for Polish and English.
      The roads and rail are decrepit, yet our EU contributions are responsible for rebuilding the infrastructure in many Eastern European countries – why is that a sensible state of affairs?

    • Tom

      I voted Remain but I 100% agree with this. The EU is built on a model that presumes infinite economic growth, but the world is finite. Simply moving people around from country to country doesn’t solve that.

  • Dave54

    …but who will make our lattes when the last polish barista leaves and turns off the lights…? BTN (Back to Nescafe)…

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