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Immigration: Is this a right-wing issue?


John Simkin
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One of the major issues at the moment in British politics concerns immigration. The running is being made by the right-wing as they try to turn this into an issue of race. As a result, the left are unwilling to be critical of the government's policies on immigration. However, the influx of workers from Eastern Europe has nothing to do with race. At the sametime the entry of these workers is depressing the wages of industrial workers, some of them being from ethnic minorities. It is no coincidence that the employers are so much in favour of these workers entering the labour market. Yet still the left keeps quiet about this subject.

Here is an article by George Waldron, the former Conservative Party MP that appeared in yesterday's Sunday Times.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-2437789.html

Immigration is fine for the rich

George Walden

We hadn’t got far in a Today programme discussion of my new book Time to Emigrate? on Friday before the anathema fell. It came from my opponent, the modishly left-wing historian Tristram Hunt.

Slurs about racism I expected. Instead I was accused of favouring eugenics, a more original interpretation of my thesis, for which there is no evidence in the book. You do not expect much from a telly don whose written work has drawn strong criticism for its callowness, but hinting that you are a neo-Nazi for raising the issue of excessive immigration is pushing it.

The previous day the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had announced some startling new figures: Britain was taking in 1,500 immigrants a day, while 1,000 Brits left. Which rather confirmed the central premise of my book: that more people were moving out as well as in, and that a growing number of emigrants — by no means necessarily racists — were quitting because of the numbers coming in.

Earlier in the week Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, had complained to a committee of MPs that it was hard to manage the economy when nobody knew how many people were in the country.

Unmoved by any of this, Hunt denied there was a problem, real or potential. In one sense he was right: for the well-born, expensively educated liberal elite he represents, there isn’t. I doubt that the Hunt dynasty (he is the son of Lord Hunt of Chesterton) will be inconvenienced too much by immigration and its social, economic and educational consequences. Less privileged folk of his generation, for whose fears about the future he clearly has a patrician contempt, will pay a heavy price if our unprecedented experiment of mass immigration goes wrong.

Immigration alone, of course, is not the only source of their problems, and there is a danger of immigrants becoming the whipping boys for every grievance. The trouble is that random population growth impacts directly on everything feeding rumbling middle-class discontent: rising taxes, rising mortgages, failing schools, the overstretched National Health Service, crime and insecurity of every kind. I do not anticipate riots or demonstrations, but a mood of semi-suppressed nastiness could gradually develop.

Think of it: 7m more people in 25 years, according to the ONS. This is the equivalent of seven more Birminghams — not a pretty thought — or another London if you prefer. All this in the most crowded country in Europe.

My book takes the form of a letter to a (fictional) 34-year-old son and his wife on average wages who, stressed out by mortgage, school and security problems, are contemplating emigration. It is for their generation, not mine, that the prospects are shaky.

In retrospect it is extraordinary how easy we had it. In 1970 we bought a Victorian house in west London of some 3,500 sq ft for £16,000, with a mortgage based on 2 times our (smallish) income. Last week a building society began offering loans of five times income. Meanwhile, as space per person shrivels, parents helping out with the deposit stare in disbelief at the few square feet that their thousands of pounds will stretch to. For those without big daddies with big money the big squeeze has begun.

Parents can be equally appalled by some of the urban neighbourhoods that their home-seeking offspring move to in order to raise their own families. The percentage of the children of minorities in primary schools has risen from 11% 10 years ago to more than 20% today (more in parts of London). This is natural and inevitable, but those who tell us that it is something to celebrate usually educate their children elsewhere: in London the number of those opting for private education is 13%, twice the national average.

I am not saying such schools are doomed, but many have been given an awesome task. The speed of change in such communities means that parents and teachers no longer know where they stand from one year to the next. Again, the contrast with my generation is stark. My earliest school days were spent on an orderly East End working-class estate, with a good school, no ethnic tensions and no British National party.

At that point the Hunts of the 1950s and 1960s were coming under challenge from the grammar school brigade: 40 years ago only a third of Oxbridge students had been privately educated. Now the figure is 50%; and, if you count the 160 remaining grammars alongside the independents, only some 25% of the Oxbridge intake comes from comprehensives — which comprise 90% of the state education system.

If this is where we start from, how likely is mass immigration, with the overcrowding and linguistic and security problems that it is bringing, to improve the educational chances of the offspring of middle-income natives? They could easily be held back at poorly performing state schools — only to be faced with increased competition from the clever children of ambitious, new-rich immigrants at university entrance level. And how can the newcomers be blamed?

Hunt’s response to problems of social promotion is to wave them aside. Lack of mobility? Such rot. Tell that to the lower and middling classes, or to the authors of a report from the London School of Economics showing that mobility has declined in recent decades, mainly through lack of access to high quality education.

Obviously there must be some immigration and of course it can benefit Britain — especially at higher income levels. But those who claim that it benefits everyone will have to explain how — unlike the governor of the Bank of England — they can do a profit and loss account, extra GNP against extra social costs, if nobody knows who’s here.

More thoughtful members of the liberal intelligentsia have begun adjusting their tune to the figures. Trevor Phillips, of the Commission for Racial Equality, insisted in this newspaper last month that “unless we have an honest debate about the difficulties of immigration and the real anxieties out there, tensions will increase”.

It would be fun to hear Hunt and Phillips head-to-head. Since Phillips and I are often saying similar things, to be ethnically even-handed Hunt would have to call our race relations watchdog a covert eugenicist, too.

Time to Emigrate? is published by Gibson Square Books at £8.99 George Walden

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You see a parallel in America. Feelings against illegal immigration go across the political spectrum- liberal to conservative, but somehow politicians themselves seem to be unwilling to tackle what many of us consider a serious issue. INterestingly it seems like radical malcontents and big business are aligned. Big business relies on the cheap labor, while the radicals see any mention of illegal immigration as an attack on immigration in general and inherently racist, which of course it's not.

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You see a parallel in America. Feelings against illegal immigration go across the political spectrum- liberal to conservative, but somehow politicians themselves seem to be unwilling to tackle what many of us consider a serious issue. INterestingly it seems like radical malcontents and big business are aligned. Big business relies on the cheap labor, while the radicals see any mention of illegal immigration as an attack on immigration in general and inherently racist, which of course it's not.

UK unemployment is continuing to rise - climbing to 1.71 million - the highest level in seven years. However, this failed to become headline news. I suspect this is because they fear that this news will create anger towards recent East European immigrants.

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  • 1 year later...

Can anybody explain to me why after 50 years of mostly non white European immigration of dubious quality if not quantity who mostly settle on a permanent basis we suddenly get a stronger than usual surge of anti immigration aimed at Eastern Europeans who carry a much more assimilable culture and who not only work in the economy across the board and demand little,but the bulk will return on a permanent basis to their own nearby countries.Nothng is said about the continuous emigration from all parts of the world.I suspect an anti white anti european bias but for the life of me cannot understand why.I'ts clear that the winners from immigration are the rich who own the country and like cheap labour and high profits.The indigenous poor struggle with ridiculous house prices and food prices stoked by the demands of an ever increasing population mostly of new arrivals who need everything in a short space of time.

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Can anybody explain to me why after 50 years of mostly non white European immigration of dubious quality if not quantity who mostly settle on a permanent basis we suddenly get a stronger than usual surge of anti immigration aimed at Eastern Europeans who carry a much more assimilable culture and who not only work in the economy across the board and demand little,but the bulk will return on a permanent basis to their own nearby countries.Nothng is said about the continuous emigration from all parts of the world.I suspect an anti white anti european bias but for the life of me cannot understand why.I'ts clear that the winners from immigration are the rich who own the country and like cheap labour and high profits.The indigenous poor struggle with ridiculous house prices and food prices stoked by the demands of an ever increasing population mostly of new arrivals who need everything in a short space of time.

Immigration is a subject that the leading political parties are unwilling to discuss. I think this is partly for historical reasons. The right-wing of the Tory party have used the subject of immigration to get votes. Cameron is desperate to portray himself as leading a party in the "centre". The Labour Party is in favour of large scale immigration because it keeps down labour costs and prevents inflation. Immigration plays the same role as unemployment. It encourages workers to be more productive in case they lose their jobs.

It is also popular with the business class for the same reason. The middle-classes who get cheaper services (plumbing, bricklaying, etc.) are also happy about this arrangement.

The labour movement is being undermined by this inflow of workers. Especially skilled blue-collar workers. However, trade union leaders are reluctant to raise it as an issue because they are frightened of being called "racist". It is only the BNP that argues that we have a problem with immigration. As a result, they will get more votes than they deserve.

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Of course the issue is relevant to everyone, but the 'right' uses it to instill fear and to control the non-immigrant masses - scapegoating. There are those petite bourgoise rightwingers who are just rascist and hate those who are different, even if it is language.

The Right US and Global Corporate Elite are totally hypocritical on this. They feel their money, companies and products can and should be 'globalized' and 'outsourced' anywhere that suits them. The money, factories, even corporate headquarters can go where they want (to maximize their profit) - no border controls...but the people must stay and be their cheapest nearly-slave labor where they are, unmovable. I'll agree to no free immigration, when they outlaw these companies moving their manufacture and plants across borders. If the USA can invade non-threatening nations for their assets to maximize the profits of a few [i.e. oil and opium in the latest varients; killing about 1 million, displacing several millions and destroying an entire nation!], then I think others, as individuals are free to invade us (as far as I'm concerned) for work to better their lives and maximize their profit. Is this now a world of might makes right and do as I say, not as I do? These seems to be mottos of the Elite Right. Wrong.

What is fair for one is fair for all. Uno-mundo or no-mundo.

To my fellow 'Americans' - If you're not a Native American, YOU are an ILLEGAL ALIEN! ( or the decendant of one, or one of the invaders who stold the land from the Native Americans, and in the SW the (now) Mexicans...it was THEIR land...their assets.

Whilst what Peter writes is sound reasoning I think it ignores the probability that only states in the so called advanced countries who can retain their national identity and historical roots have any chance of resisting the globilisation to which he refers. The irony of this is that these states are the ones losing these potentially powerful assets from the destabilising rates of immigration they are subject too, which Peter thinks are justified by the globilising activities of western interests. So the mass immigration is furthering the goals of those promoting the globilisation process

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Can anybody explain to me why after 50 years of mostly non white European immigration of dubious quality if not quantity who mostly settle on a permanent basis we suddenly get a stronger than usual surge of anti immigration aimed at Eastern Europeans who carry a much more assimilable culture and who not only work in the economy across the board and demand little,but the bulk will return on a permanent basis to their own nearby countries.Nothng is said about the continuous emigration from all parts of the world.I suspect an anti white anti european bias but for the life of me cannot understand why.I'ts clear that the winners from immigration are the rich who own the country and like cheap labour and high profits.The indigenous poor struggle with ridiculous house prices and food prices stoked by the demands of an ever increasing population mostly of new arrivals who need everything in a short space of time.

Immigration is a subject that the leading political parties are unwilling to discuss. I think this is partly for historical reasons. The right-wing of the Tory party have used the subject of immigration to get votes. Cameron is desperate to portray himself as leading a party in the "centre". The Labour Party is in favour of large scale immigration because it keeps down labour costs and prevents inflation. Immigration plays the same role as unemployment. It encourages workers to be more productive in case they lose their jobs.

It is also popular with the business class for the same reason. The middle-classes who get cheaper services (plumbing, bricklaying, etc.) are also happy about this arrangement.

The labour movement is being undermined by this inflow of workers. Especially skilled blue-collar workers. However, trade union leaders are reluctant to raise it as an issue because they are frightened of being called "racist". It is only the BNP that argues that we have a problem with immigration. As a result, they will get more votes than they deserve.

Ditto in Australia. Immigration talk is taboo, under threat of being labelled racist.

The global strategy of stacking the cities with millions more people is great for the wealthy elites, as the Waldron articles states, because the social costs of overcrowding don't concern at all. They are shielded by their wealth from the less pleasant consequences of overcrowded cities. They want the convenience and cost savings which accrue from having a large pool of cheap labour on call. The ever rising property values, as more people compete for housing, is another tasty byproduct of this strategy for the elites.

It looks like we'll have to drag the heads of our elected leaders out of the sand (once again) and get them to face the public debate on this issue which is urgently required. Once again, we'll have to show them that their binding contract is with us, not the Rupert Murdochs of the world.

If the politicians continue pretending that there's no problem, a lot of single issue nationalist candidates are going to be elected.

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Ditto in Australia. Immigration talk is taboo, under threat of being labelled racist.

The global strategy of stacking the cities with millions more people is great for the wealthy elites, as the Waldron articles states, because the social costs of overcrowding don't concern at all. They are shielded by their wealth from the less pleasant consequences of overcrowded cities. They want the convenience and cost savings which accrue from having a large pool of cheap labour on call. The ever rising property values, as more people compete for housing, is another tasty byproduct of this strategy for the elites.

It looks like we'll have to drag the heads of our elected leaders out of the sand (once again) and get them to face the public debate on this issue which is urgently required. Once again, we'll have to show them that their binding contract is with us, not the Rupert Murdochs of the world.

If the politicians continue pretending that there's no problem, a lot of single issue nationalist candidates are going to be elected.

Did none of the politicians deal with this issue during the recent Australian election?

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Ditto in Australia. Immigration talk is taboo, under threat of being labelled racist.

The global strategy of stacking the cities with millions more people is great for the wealthy elites, as the Waldron articles states, because the social costs of overcrowding don't concern at all. They are shielded by their wealth from the less pleasant consequences of overcrowded cities. They want the convenience and cost savings which accrue from having a large pool of cheap labour on call. The ever rising property values, as more people compete for housing, is another tasty byproduct of this strategy for the elites.

It looks like we'll have to drag the heads of our elected leaders out of the sand (once again) and get them to face the public debate on this issue which is urgently required. Once again, we'll have to show them that their binding contract is with us, not the Rupert Murdochs of the world.

If the politicians continue pretending that there's no problem, a lot of single issue nationalist candidates are going to be elected.

Did none of the politicians deal with this issue during the recent Australian election?

No. Not a word. It's taboo, especially during an election campaign where one can be easily smeared with the racist carnard.

Now the election is over, I hope new PM Rudd has the balls to face the issue. Australia has only 20 million people but because of the lack of water, vast deserts and soil infertility caused by years of land clearing, our carrying capacity is just about at its peak, imo. We can't sustain populations like those of our near neighbours.

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Australia is essentially owned by 400 people. Immigration laws favour the rich and the processing of the poor and refugees is atrocious.

All of OZ that is below a certain level of population density, which would encompass almost all of it, should be declared 'frontier country' with minimal building laws, land grabs, land lotteries, a make or break attitude, subsidised alternative energy/desalination/water treatment/waste treatment et.c. of the leading technologies (resulting in OZ becoming a vanguard in developing these technologies, solar, tide, heat movement, green waste conversion etc)), + a huge trench from the ocean to Victoria Lake, the Artesian Basin and an open immigration policy. The potential of 'the greening of OZ', as illustrated by the Ord River Scheme, is enormous.

The industriousness of poor from all over the world in opening up new areas of settlement and industry would make OZ what it is : an incredible potential and not 'our carrying capacity is just about at its peak'.

The immigration issue is certainly on the agenda, and pushed by fringe right wing groupings who certainly have a racist agenda, as well as there being a general 'que jumping' policy of giving a free ticket to those who can buy it and to quality sports and other personalities.

The problem may lie in wresting the land from the few who have it (400 odd, many who probably never set foot in OZ) and the Rent/Property investment/Landlord/Banking clique who would have to accept a lower living standard than they have been used to where tenants pay the mortages, have few enforced rights and leave homes with no return on their contribution to the wealthy.

Various EPA schemes artificially squeeze the market by placing boundaries on development, and the start up capital for say settilng on an isolated beach somewhere to fish and grow food and potentially build new comunitiesis prohibitive, aprt formthe fact that the useful land is uselessly used to support improper to OZ imported or local primary industries. We supply iron ore, fine wool, coal to the world, all primary industries that enrich few here. Why not tool steel to rival british/scandinavian/german/japanese, Italian grade clothing, derived chemicals, IT, etc etc?

_

edit: spelling

_

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus

Edited by John Dolva
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The industriousness of poor from all over the world in opening up new areas of settlement and industry would make OZ what it is : an incredible potential and not 'our carrying capacity is just about at its peak'.

The immigration issue is certainly on the agenda, and pushed by fringe right wing groupings who certainly have a racist agenda, as well as there being a general 'que jumping' policy of giving a free ticket to those who can buy it and to quality sports and other personalities.

The potential exists in Australia for opening up new areas of settlement in the north, where rainfall is plentiful but the major cities like Sydney are overpopulated, imo. Anyone who lives in Sydney knows the infrastructure is groaning under the strain. As well as the ageing public transport and health care infrastructure, there other problems like the housing crisis, traffic gridlock and potential water and power shortages. It's nowhere near as bad as cities like Paris or London but it's heading in that direction.

The immigration issue is one easily manipulated by those elites who are determined to stack the cities to overflowing as a means of ensuring a pool of cheap labor. During the election campaign, I learned that the Mining Council of Australia was demanding that the Government increase immigration even more. OK for them--they don't have to live in the overcrowded parts of these cities. Immigration is generally a good thing and Australia has always relied on it, especially when major infrastructure projects like the Ord River and Snowy Mountains schemes were under construction. However, it is quite irresponsible of Governments to allow wholesale immigration in the absence of the necessary infrastructure improvements required to satisfy the increased demand on services.

If Australia was to decentralise--and I think it's a good idea--then Governments must lead the way in establishing the necessary infrastructure to make increased settlement of these areas possible. You can't force immigrants to settle in non-urban areas--they will go where the jobs are.

There's also a limit to Australia's potential population level--despite idealistic notions of greening the outback--and this is dictated by the lack of rainfall and available water in vast areas of Australia's interior.

Australia does indeed have a lower carrying capacity than many of our Asian neighbours. We just don't have the water.

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The labour movement is being undermined by this inflow of workers. Especially skilled blue-collar workers. However, trade union leaders are reluctant to raise it as an issue because they are frightened of being called "racist". It is only the BNP that argues that we have a problem with immigration. As a result, they will get more votes than they deserve.

I think you are missing the point here. Bobski the builder may indeed be cheaper than home grown Bob but we still have a great deal more in common within him than we do with our political masters and capitalist elites. The labour movement should be unionising immmigrant workers not seeking to restrict their movements.

The capitalists have globalised and so should we.

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Australia is essentially owned by 400 people. Immigration laws favour the rich and the processing of the poor and refugees is atrocious.

All of OZ that is below a certain level of population density, which would encompass almost all of it, should be declared 'frontier country' with minimal building laws, land grabs, land lotteries, a make or break attitude, subsidised alternative energy/desalination/water treatment/waste treatment et.c. of the leading technologies (resulting in OZ becoming a vanguard in developing these technologies, solar, tide, heat movement, green waste conversion etc)), + a huge trench from the ocean to Victoria Lake, the Artesian Basin and an open immigration policy. The potential of 'the greening of OZ', as illustrated by the Ord River Scheme, is enormous.

The industriousness of poor from all over the world in opening up new areas of settlement and industry would make OZ what it is : an incredible potential and not 'our carrying capacity is just about at its peak'.

The immigration issue is certainly on the agenda, and pushed by fringe right wing groupings who certainly have a racist agenda, as well as there being a general 'que jumping' policy of giving a free ticket to those who can buy it and to quality sports and other personalities.

The problem may lie in wresting the land from the few who have it (400 odd, many who probably never set foot in OZ) and the Rent/Property investment/Landlord/Banking clique who would have to accept a lower living standard than they have been used to where tenants pay the mortages, have few enforced rights and leave homes with no return on their contribution to the wealthy.

Various EPA schemes artificially squeeze the market by placing boundaries on development, and the start up capital for say settilng on an isolated beach somewhere to fish and grow food and potentially build new comunitiesis prohibitive, aprt formthe fact that the useful land is uselessly used to support improper to OZ imported or local primary industries. We supply iron ore, fine wool, coal to the world, all primary industries that enrich few here. Why not tool steel to rival british/scandinavian/german/japanese, Italian grade clothing, derived chemicals, IT, etc etc?

_

edit: spelling

_

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus

We just don't have the water.

However, should the will exist, then : then huge numbers of people in the cities would head bush and to the coast all over and the cities would become a renters/buyers market.

A caravan or such like to start with, followed by a dwelling using local materials adapting hightech subsidised green technologies. Those who choose the right spot will soon have others there, developing and boosting technologies in self sufficiency such as the various simple water desalination/porification processes in existence to utilise in various ways the huge water resources available all over and under and around.. Sure, the roads would be dirt tracks to start with. In time services would recognise a market and such things as law enforcement, councils etc develop. The under the tree school would become a building, then in time an airconditioned university.

The artesian basin is fed by this northeastern rain. The huge, and I mean HUGE (the second human built structure visible from the moon) ditch say 1 km wide 300m deep (from around port douglas to it) flooding the below sea level dry Victoria lake permanently would create 1000's of kilometers of shoreline to live by, to develop resorts, towns, fishing etc. The evaporation would, in summer when the highs flow in the right direction, green the western deserts. The rising sea level would drop or stall, benefitting many nations.

The result is an easing of the big city crowding (people ultimately head where they can feed themselves and their family (not 'where they can get a job'). In time a large congregation of such would provide huge pools of 'self sufficient' unemployed who would willingly up their status by working in the new NOKIA, or the future OZ-MOB factories springing up around them.

The big-cities resources would be eased and many other problems. Let's declare frontier status to the outside big city areas with low to no population. Make or break, no liabilities, no guarantees except that the few acres you stake out is yours, and that you will be supported in setting up: services, industry, transport routes etc would follow. Go, grab a few acres, Government, drop building regulations, subsidise green technologies and tell the 400 to take a hike.

If you want to see a large no-water composting toilet head for the natural park up to Blacheath, turn right at the lights and head out to Govetts Leap. For use of human waste in complementing fertilisation, or turning unproductive soil into good food growing soil look at Holland.

Sunxhine - energy and evaporative water purification. Plenty sun out there. Demand = R&D = industry = jobs etc etc.

Problems solved. Not idealistic. Realistic.

US and the rest of the world, watch out, the technology you will be using in the future to solve YOUR problems will come from the 250 million aussies living here.

"the unions might become...addicted to high immigration" - Wonderful, let's hope so!

Maybe the workers of the world would become addicted to Unions in the process and tell the bad Property Investors and Landlords and Capitalists to go where the sun don't shine, or better (politer), stop being so Capitalistic.

Edited by John Dolva
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