Thursday, February 23, 2006

Another Reason Why The Conservative Party Is Not To Be Trusted On Immigration

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, has published a rather Bercowist editorial in today's 'Times' entitled 'Look and learn from across the Irish Sea'. He writes,
"A GENERATION ago, the very idea that a British politician would go to Ireland to see how to run an economy would have been laughable. The Irish Republic was seen as Britain’s poor and troubled country cousin, a rural backwater on the edge of Europe. Today things are different. Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking, and that is why I am in Dublin: to listen and to learn".
Is he now, by God? But he continues,
"After centuries of lower incomes, Irish average incomes are now 20 per cent higher than in the UK. After being held back for decades, the productivity of Irish companies — the yardstick of economic performance — has grown three times as quickly as ours over the past ten years. Young Irish families once emigrated in their millions to seek a better life overseas; these days it is young people across Europe who come to Ireland to find good jobs. Dublin’s main evening newspaper even carries a Polish-language supplement".
He gets his retaliation in first by mentioning growth in 'average incomes', and disingenuously failing to mention that this figure can be inflated by excessive rises in executive compensation without the average Irish necessarily having more euros in their pockets.
But it is in respect of all those young people coming from across Europe to find jobs in Ireland that Osborne would appear to be at his most obfuscatory. Virtually all of these people have arrived in Ireland within the last two years - the Celtic Tiger economic success has been effected over the best part of two decades. He appears to assume that the migration has been driven by the number of vacancies that the roaring Tiger has produced, but cites no evidence.
He fails to mention that Ireland imposed no restrictions on the inward movement of labour after the 2004 expansion of the EU. The fact that migrants have come is an event which has been politically manufactured and which is not the result of normal market mechanisms; a form of reverse regulation.
He fails to note that the advertising of Irish jobs in Ireland in Polish would indicate that Irish employers have little compunction in using migrant workers to displace their Irish staff, as Irish Ferries staff have already discovered.
And he fails to note that there is a mountain of other evidence to the effect that mass migration has harmed as much as helped the Irish people.
But Osborne isn't interested in the welfare of your average Irish, or the future of Irish society. He's only interested in their 'economy'.
And he might be running ours one day. That's something you can tell your kids to really look forward to - that their prosperity might one day be in the hands of a man who either does not understand, or who refuses to acknowledge, the basics of immigration economics.

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