Thursday, November 01, 2007

Huzzah !

Tectonic plates a-shifting as the Guardian gives space to Spiked's Jenni Russell, to the effect that "the gulf between the political rhetoric and people's experience of immigration has grown too big to be ignored".

What's impressive is the number of lefties who seem to be losing patience with NuLab - and who are openly spouting heresy.

"No matter how hard the neoliberal and culturally leftist guardians of the new order try to spin it, British people do not want their country to be one huge voluntary labour camp where migrant workers set up for a while, repatriate their cash and keep the neoliberal treadmill functioning. Mass migration does not benefit them other than with keeeping prices lower but that only ties in with the consumer habits that people have and not with the maintenance of a nation state that is meant to put its people first."

"I have been involved in the anti fascist movement in East London for over thirty years and without any shadow of a doubt immigration and the massive demographic changes that our society has witnessed in a very short space of time have put the BNP in the position of possibly getting two and maybe three seats on the London Assembly next May, it is not racist or pandering to the far right to say that...
The Somali community in Whitechapel and Stepney in Tower Hamlets was established a century ago, has one of the highest unemployment rates of any group in the country, is totally isolated from the communities around them and practises, amongst other things, female genital mutilation. More young girls are mutilated in the E1 postal district than anywhere outside Africa. We are talking two communities of immigrants, one with values very similar to those of the community they have joined and one who could be living on another planet.

The immigration debate is about a lot of things, not just numbers. There are several schools of thought on the matter. One, espoused by the loony left of the SWP and the black nationalist clique funded by Ken Livingstone, is that there should be "open borders" and that any form of control is inherently racist. Mind you the black nats also claim that all white people are racist as well as demanding the right to go back to their ancestral homes in Africa. I always tell them there will be plenty of room as with open borders the entire population will be in Europe!

The other extreme is that of Nick Griffin and the BNP who yearn for an England that never existed, where a homogeneous population was at ease with itself, each person content with their place in society and while class differences existed the concept of race and nation bound everyone together. A bit like John Major with his old maids bicycling to early morning communion and all of the railway companies in their prewar livery, er, yeh, ok.

Yes we need immigration, my father was an immigrant as were my mothers parents and there was hostility towards the Irish, but it wasn't too long before no one could tell us from the native population. I have Bangladeshi friends whose children were born here but whose command of English is so poor that the only jobs open are stacking shelves in a supermarket. They are a part of a very closed community which in three and now four generations has failed to become part of wider British society.

Take the Poles off the building sites of London and the construction industry would come to a standstill, the positions however could not be filled by Africans, Asians or the massively unemployed Somalis,they have neither the skills nor the motivation otherwise there would be no jobs for eastern Europeans.

As always, extremes are rarely the answer to anything, the solution is somewhere in the middle. If there are skill shortages then they need to be filled with skilled people who should be allowed in be they bricklayers or brain surgeons. A friend of mine, like me a retired bricky, runs a training scheme for unemployed young men in outer East London. He has to take a certain number of youths who are getting unemployment benefit and finds that the local white and african carribean youths turn up when they feel like it so they don't lose their dole money. He could fill his courses ten times over with Poles, Bulgarians, Rumanians etc who genuinely want to learn a skill. Work it out, someone has to do the job.

Yes it is time for a debate because immigration is fast becoming the one issue which will propel the racist right from the sidelines to centre stage"

"But the elephant in the room here is inequality. The Labour government (and the Graun) is committed to reducing it. But the refusal to restrict immigration has made that policy impossible to achieve. Actually inequality has got worse under Labour, because wages at the low end haven't risen as fast as those at the top. Even Polly Toynbee admits that nowadays. Put this together with yesterdays incredible revelation that over half new jobs since 1997 have gone to foreigners and you suddenly see that a historic opportunity has been lost: a decade's worth of growth could have brought about a step change in British society, getting the long-term unemployed off benefits and into work, and raising the wages of the lowest paid so that Britain became a fairer and better place.

In fact, if this were the record of a Tory government you would say, "Oh well, class politics as usual". That this is a Labour government just beggars belief - incompetence, stupidity and complacency in just about equal measure.

Let's be honest about this. Immigration benefits the bien-pensant middle-class like me and most other Graun readers, because it keeps down the cost of the services we access in retail, restaurants, domestic help and so on. It also provides us with a hey-we're-not-racist shot of feel-good as we take the foaming latte from the smiling migrant worker. But it makes housing more expensive, puts pressure on the green belt, clogs up the infrastructure, wrecks community cohesion and above all has helped to build an illusion of prosperity for which we have mortgaged the future and for which we will pay in spades."

"we have abandoned a large group of our fellow citizens to lives of parasitism and dependency. Ironically, they are the mouldering remnants of the very group that the caring, sharing British left used to be most concerned about: the British working class. Sadly, their lives no longer seem to be of any great interest to many on the left, whose support for them seems these days to be restricted to throwing more benefits in their direction whilst doing precisely nothing about the culture of enfeeblement and dependency that has smothered these communities."

"Our politicians have been happy to emphasise the benefits of immigration, the growth in GDP, lower prices, and so on, but they have failed to plan for the potential problems. Indeed, for a long time they deneied that there were problems, and have been in denial about the true numbers.

To concentrate solely on economic benefits of immigration has also meant that politicians have ignored more ephemeral concerns about quality of life, a decline in common values, uncertainty and so on. These issues cannot be dimissed (indeed they are the sort of reasons for which many middle class Brits move to farmhouse in the Dordorgne...). "

"The central point in this debate for me is that the well-off classes are gaining all the benefits of mass immigration - cheap food, cheap wage costs, cheap nannies and cleaners - without paying any of the social costs."

"Socialists in this country (and that includes the Labour Party) never forgave the white working class for voting Thatcher in the eighties. This is pay back time. We are all just a bit shocked at how malicious the Left have been in grinding them into the dirt."

"Nevertheless people can't pretend that this level of immigration is not problematic. Its also very easy for those who have middle-class jobs where you need a degree and need to speak perfect english to say that people shouldn't moan but try being a london based builder or plumber and see what its like for them. I recently got a leaflet through my door advertising the fact that a particular plumbing company only employed polish plumbers which I took to mean that any english plumber would be inferior which found offensive. I kick myself that I threw it away rather than report them for employment discrimination.

Even being half black I can see where some on the right are coming from. London is almost unrecognisble from how it was in 1997 and the rate of change is so fast that I feel slightly scared because I wonder what it will be like in another 10 years. "