Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Restrictionist's Reply To John Bercow

(This essay/post/rant is dedicated to Dennis & Chris, for taking up the cudgels)

On February 5 I posted ‘An Open Letter to John Bercow’, challenging the Conservative MP for Buckingham to a debate on mass immigration, on account of his having appeared that day on BBC One’s ‘The Politics Show’ to extol its virtues.

Being naturally impatient, I e-mailed a copy of my post to his office on February 6.

Almost by return, I received a very prompt and courteous reply from his assistant advising that he was out of the office for the week on select committee business. However, they mailed me a copy of his most recent paper on immigration for my perusal.

Entitled “Incoming Assets: why Tories should change policy on immigration and asylum”, it was published last October by the Social Market Foundation. It is not available online, but a .pdf copy can be downloaded here.

It has already been parsed by Polly Toynbee, in a column for which Owen Barder labelled her a ‘Luddite’.

The purpose of Bercow’s paper was to influence the Conservative Party’s immigration and asylum policies, in the belief that they had been counter-productive at the 2005 General Election.

The Tories had set out their stall under the, well, unusual slogan ‘It’s not racist to want to control immigration’; a surefire vote winner in Tower Hamlets if ever there was one.

The pamphlet is now several months old; yet the nature of events since October 2005, and the vehemence with which Bercow expressed his views on February 5, hopefully makes revisiting the document not an entirely pointless exercise.

This essay deals only with those parts of the pamphlet relating to immigration policy.
Immigration policy and asylum policy are and always should be two separate issues, as one involves the grant of a status that is of an entirely different character to the other. Any attempt to conflate them is as disingenuous as conflating immigration with race.

Bercow starts the document’s Executive Summary by making a very sweeping series of assertions:

“Immigrant communities have added immeasurably to our society. From religious diversity to entrepreneurial spirit; from the work ethic to family solidarity; from art and music to cuisine and couture, Britain is a stronger, more successful and more interesting country as a result”

Omar Khayam’s recent outburst of ultra-extreme Islamism might not indicate that fostering religious diversity is one of immigration’s strengths. Many native British citizens possess very strong work ethics, and immigrant family solidarity is often reinforced by cultural practices, such as cousin marriage, which are not part of the British cultural norm.

Bercow continues,

“In a global economy, the possibility of large scale and continuing immigration to the UK helps to widen the pool of permanently available labour”.

Until there is one global government, one global currency, one global central bank and one global interest rate there will be no such thing as a ‘global economy’.

What we have instead is a global trading environment. In a truly global economy it would not matter where the labour goes, so Bercow needs to make a stronger case for the specific benefits that mass immigration brings to the UK by its coming here.

He does not do it by writing immediately afterwards that,

“… the main demand for migrant labour comes from sectors which suffer severe skills shortages or long-term vacancies, immigrants are not taking jobs British workers could fill, but jobs which British workers are unwilling or unable to do”.

That is a statement that requires to be put to proof. In my opinion he fails.

On Page 15 Bercow makes an argument based upon the positive impact that increased immigration is alleged to make upon GDP. He writes that,
In 1999-2000, the net contribution of migrant workers to the UK economy was 32.5 billion, and a Home Office study suggests that a 1% increase in migration is associated with an increase in GDP of between 1.25% and 1.5%”
Bercow should perhaps peruse Anthony Browne’s seminal ‘Response to Tony Blair’s first speech on immigration (.pdf)’ published by Civitas in 2004.
Blair’s first speech on immigration was not made to Parliament, but to the Confederation of British Industry, the employer’s lobby, on April 27 2004.
The British citizenry’s’ representatives were not fit to be the first to hear their Prime Minster’s views on this crucial issue: however, the British business sector’s ethno-corporate identity politics vehicle apparently was.
On November 9 2004, the CBI’s Director-General, Digby Jones, addressed its annual conference thus:
There will not be any work in Britain for unskilled people . . . within one scholastic generation… I have formed the view that if ever there was a country made for globalisation, it is Britain. It is in our DNA…”
The comments of Jones, now Sir Digby Jones, would seem to put his position on globalisation entirely beyond dispute – and the mass migration of people is a critical element of globalisation.
In his Civitas paper, Anthony Browne notes that,
“Mr. Blair mentioned a Treasury analysis that the economic growth rate would be 0.5% less if migration ceased for the next two years. Immigration certainly does increase GDP because the more people there are working the more the economic output will be, but most of the increase in GDP goes to the immigrants themselves. What matter to native workers is not GDP, but GDP per capita: they don’t care how big the economy is, but how rich they are. A US Government study found that while immigration had increased the US GDP by $200bn a year, actually only between $1bn and $10 bn of this went to the workers already in the US, a trivial mount compared to the $8,000 bn US economy, with the rest going in pay to the immigrants themselves. In total, immigration only increased US GDP growth by 0.1 per cent a year, a trivial amount.”
Perhaps all that one can say of the original document from which Bercow took his figures, “Migration: an economic and social analysis (.pdf)” published in 2001, is that history has since made ironic the good intentions expressed by the second quotation at the beginning of its first chapter, from the communiqué issued at the Berlin Conference on Progressive Governance of June 2000:
At a time of great population movements we must have clear policies for immigration and asylum. We are committed to fostering social inclusion and respect for ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, because they make our societies strong, our economies more flexible and promote exchange of ideas and knowledge”.
However Bercow immediately cites the findings of a report from the Institute of Public Policy Research entitled “Paying their way: the fiscal contribution of immigrants to the UK (.pdf)” from 2005. He quotes the report directly –
“ – total revenue from immigrants grew in real terms from £33.8 billion in 1999-2000 to £41.2 billion in 2003-4. This 22% increase compares with a 6% increase for those born in the UK.
- immigrants made up 8.7% of the population in 2003-4 but accounted for 10.2% of all income tax collected
- immigrants earn about 15% more in average weekly income than those born in the UK
- each immigrant generated £7, 203 in government revenue on average in 2003-4, compared with £6, 861 per non-immigrant
- each immigrant accounted for £7, 277 of government expenditure on average compared with £7,753 per non immigrant
. "
As positive as these figures might seem, they have three glaring flaws.
The first is that although ‘Paying their way’ does make reference to the number of migrants who have settled since the eastward expansion of the EU in May 2004, it makes no reference to the fact that the country has had a net migrant inflow of 151, 000 (if one believes Bercow) or 166,000 (if one believes Migration Watch) every year between 1999-2000 and 2003-2004. Increases on such a scale should automatically raise the amount of revenue raised from migrants even without the operation of migration’s other possible effects, such as native worker displacement.
TYhe second is that in their reporting of relative levels of taxation collected and income earned, the authors adopt the broadest of broad-brush approaches, throwing all migrants into the same pot. The permanent residence in London of high numbers of both very high net worth and very low net worth migrants might by themselves have some impact. One could wonder what a similar study that failed to report both the incomes earned by and taxes collected from Lakshmi Mittal and Boris Berezovsky would look like.
The third is that ‘Paying their way’ only shows monies in and monies out; ledger entries. Browne, writing on the eve of the Eastern cascade which commenced on May 1 2004, adopted a very much more direct approach to the question of immigration’s costs:
“It is a matter of both common sense and academic analysis that immigration at the current rate to the UK…. has an impact on the housing market, increasing shortages and pushing up rents and house prices and thus reducing labour mobility. By boosting the population, it also increases congestion on roads and public transport, exacerbating the shortage of land for factories and offices, further damaging the economy. In compensation, the economies of scale of increasing the population through increasing the size of the domestic market are marginal in an open trading economy like the UK”.
Bercow makes no attempt to provide a similar analysis in his own paper. However on Page 16 he repeats the argument made in ‘Paying their way’ that any argument against immigration based on congestion and competition for services must fail because of the role played by migrant labour is essential for the maintenance of the public services. He notes that,
“In 2003, 29.4% of the total number of doctors employed in the NHS were foreign-born, and since 1999 43.5% of nurses recruited have been from outside the UK”.
Bercow’s views on the very conservative question of government’s proper size do not seem to form part of his pamphlet’s remit; however, he does not speculate on what impact perhaps a reduction in migration might have in actually reducing the size of the NHS, our most bloated and burdensome public service. He does not seem to question the ethics of recruiting foreign doctors, when their services might be more urgently required in their own lands, merely in order to quench the insatiable British thirst for state-provided healthcare free at the point of use.
However, his argument for migration based upon its contribution to public services is one that Browne also addressed. He wrote,
“(Mr. Blair) points out the very high proportion of immigrants working in the national health service and in schools, and reiterates the clearly true fact that much of Britain’s public services would collapse if the immigrants who staffed them suddenly disappeared. But he failed to point out that this was the inevitable result of thirty years of employing cheap, willing immigrants rather than improving pay and conditions so that Britain can train and retain enough of its own workers. One third of trainee nurses in Britain are so disheartened they leave the profession before they qualify, and Britain has 100,000 fully qualified nurses not working in nursing, more than enough to fill any vacancies. Record numbers of British nurses are also leaving the UK for better pay and conditions overseas.”
Bercow does not address this issue at all in his own paper, a gaping structural weakness; and it is not without irony that on February 15, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, an avid advocate for immigration, reported that millions are lost as ‘one student nurse in four quits before the end of their training’, saying,
“The Nursing Standard asked for data on the numbers of those leaving courses between 2002 and 2004. Of 19,995 nursing students expected to finish courses in 2004, 4,956 had dropped out before the course was completed.
The Royal College of Nursing said the main reasons for students leaving were financial pressures, lack of childcare support and poor experiences on ward rounds.
Training is estimated to cost £11,479 a year per nurse, including their bursary, and most students left during their first year.
Jean Gray, editor of the Nursing Standard, said: "To lose a quarter of all students is a huge loss, in terms of the shattered hopes and dreams of thousands but also in terms of the public purse. The statistics should serve as a warning for some serious review of how we are treating our nursing students.
"It is a false economy to invest in education courses but fail to provide the necessary back-up to make sure you end up with enough trained nurses at the end.
"Student nurses tend to be over 26 years old and many juggle the demands of family life with study and clinical placements. Add to that picture the worry of meeting mortgage payments and you begin to realise why so many leave."
The Telegraph quotes Lord Warner, a health minister, as saying,
“The Nursing Standard's rough estimates do not show the real picture with nurse attrition.
"Our official figures collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency puts the national nurse attrition rate in 2003-04 at 16 per cent - a two per cent drop on the previous year.
"Since 1997 we have seen big increases in the numbers of staff joining the NHS, taking up university places to study for a health care profession as well as returners to nursing, midwifery, radiography and other career groups."
And if they don’t, then the historic attitude of the British government to NHS staff recruitment has always been that there’s plenty more where they came from.
It is only on Page 17 that Bercow addresses the most contentious issues in the canon of immigration economics – wage depression and worker displacement. He writes,
“Immigrants have a higher responsiveness to wage differentiation than natives. Immigrants, especially new arrivals, speed up regional wage convergence, thus improving the efficiency of the labour market.
On the strength of his analysis of the American economy, Borjas concludes ‘the empirical evidence, therefore suggests that immigrants may play an important and neglected role in the US economy; they make up a disproportionately large fraction of the marginal workers whose location decisions arbitrage differences across labour markets. Moreover, it turns out that part of this efficiency gain accrues to natives, suggesting that existing estimates of the benefits from immigration may be ignoring a potentially important source of these benefits’. His estimate is that the efficiency gain is between £5 billion and £10 billion per annum, a figure roughly equal to some estimates of the US immigration surplus”.
‘Borjas’, or Professor George Borjas of Harvard, the world’s most influential immigration economist, made the comments in a paper entitled, ‘Does immigration grease the wheels of the labour market? (.pdf), written for the Brookings Institution in 2001.
One wonders whether Bercow is aware of one of Professor Borjas’ subsequent papers. In 2003 he published ‘The Labour Demand is Downward Sloping (.pdf)’ for the National Bureau of Economic Research, and cited by Browne. Borjas concluded that “immigration lowers the wage of competing workers: a 10% increase in supply reduces wages by 3 to 4%”.
Bercow’s paper was written to suggest changes to Conservative party policy, presumably with a view to enabling the party’s route back to power. Nobody knows what social and economic conditions might be like at the time of the next General Election, probably in 2009. By that time the public might be very much better educated in the economic impact of mass immigration.
If that were the case, a Conservative immigration policy that failed to address Professor Borjas’ 2003 paper would be a very hard sell on the doorsteps of Worksop.
On Page 18, Bercow finally speaks in the tongues without which no immigrationist rapture is complete- they’re doing the jobs we won’t do.
He writes,
“We should appreciate the role of migration in tackling labour shortages, where migration covers the movement of workers within a country in addition to the movement of workers into a country. This is true both in filling vacancies now and in thinking decades ahead. Shortages result either from a mismatch between the growth in demand for specific skills which is not met (in the short term) by supply at the given wage or from information asymmetries and mobility restrictions relayed to frictional employment.

This problem currently afflicts the UK in a number of disparate areas. The IT and financial services industries are hit by shortages and immigration is needed to fill them.”

Very shortly after the publication of Bercow’s paper, David Smith of the ‘Sunday Times’ wrote an editorial bracingly titled ‘Migrants are taking our jobs’.

Smith, by no means an immigration sceptic, noted the effect of mass immigration upon unemployment, writing that,

“…there is tentative economic evidence that this (mass immigration) process may have gone a little too far. The other labour-market puzzle has been in the unemployment statistics. Every month this year the claimant count has risen. The rise is not huge, amounting to just over 60,000 in total, but it is the first such sustained rise in 12 years, and a blot on a successful labour-market record.
At the same time, however, employment continues to grow, by 345,000 over the past year, according to the Labour Force Survey, and by 150,000 workforce jobs, according to employer-based numbers. How can you have simultaneously rising employment and unemployment? John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), has combined the official figures with his own organisation’s surveys and suggests that at least part of the answer lies with immigration.
“Unemployment has risen in the past year not because more people have been joining the count — in fact slightly fewer have done so — but because fewer people are leaving,” he said.
“The reason for this is evident in our own quarterly survey evidence. It shows that when it comes to recruitment, benefit claimants, many of whom are not immediately job ready, are losing out to other jobseekers, in particular growing numbers of immigrant workers.”
Smith continues by quoting Professor David Coleman:
“David Coleman, professor of demography at Oxford University, is an honorary consultant to Migration Watch. In The Economic Efffects of Immigration into the United Kingdom, a paper he wrote jointly last year with Bob Rowthorne of Cambridge University, he concluded that the overall economic benefits were negligible and outweighed by other negative effects.
“We conclude that the economic consequences of large-scale immigration are mostly trivial, negative or transient; that the interests of more vulnerable sections of the domestic population may be damaged; and that any small fiscal or other economic benefits are unlikely to bear comparison with immigration’s substantial and permanent demographic and environmental impact,” it said.
Even if one chooses not to go that far, immigration does present a dilemma. When unemployment is falling, it performs a useful, even vital function. When the jobless total is rising, the situation gets more cloudy.
It is possible to envisage a situation, indeed, where the employees of choice are those from other countries, even when unemployment is high in Britain.
What would the response be to that? In policy terms the answer has to be to improve the skills of the unemployed, and of those under threat of being displaced by migrant workers.”
It might therefore be the case that instead of doing the jobs we won’t do, they’re doing the jobs we could do and are willing to do but are not being hired to do.
It also seems to be the case that they’re doing some of the jobs that we used to be doing, and still have plenty of people to do.
On December 26 2006, two months after the publication of Bercow’s pamphlet, the Daily Telegraph’s Philip Aldrick reported that,

“Indian technology workers are flooding the UK on temporary permits, undercutting local wages and raising the prospect of a homegrown skills shortage, an IT association claimed.
Salaries for certain IT workers have fallen in recent months, according to the Association for Technology Staffing Companies. ATSCo chief executive Ann Swain said: "Wages are being undercut by companies bringing over Indian workers, who are put up in hostels and paid poorly."
Home Office immigration figures show that 21,448 foreign IT workers have been issued work permits this year, a 15pc increase on 2004 and almost double the level five years ago. Of those, 85pc now come from India.
Separate research from PayScale, a pay monitoring firm, shows that an experienced software programmer in India receives £6,600 a year compared with £33,000 for his counterpart in the UK.
After paying their travel, permits and living expenses, the Indian workers are "charged out to clients at around half the rate asked for a similarly homegrown IT expert [£350 a day against £650]", Elizabeth Gordon-Pugh of outsourcing consultant Alsbridge has estimated.
She added: "One Indian supplier operating in the UK has around 80pc of its 2,000 [plus] staff in the UK comprised of Indians on assignment from a few weeks to several years."
ATSCo's research shows that the "commoditisation" of IT services has reduced average salaries for permanent IT helpdesk workers by 3pc this year to £17,538 and for temporary workers by 25pc to £12 an hour.
Ms Swain warned that the trend, known as "onshore offshoring", could lead to a damaging skills shortage. She said: "How will organisations recruit IT staff for mid-to-senior level roles if there are no entry-level jobs left in the UK? The fall in the number of graduates choosing IT careers will filter through to chronic shortages at the top in years to come…
According to industry sources, most consulting companies offer some form of "onshore offshoring". IBM, LogicaCMG, Accenture and CapGemini all transfer Indian workers to the UK for projects, as do Indian consulting firms Tata Consulting Services and Infosys.
One senior UK "onshore offshoring" figure claimed: "The real reason why companies are turning to people from the Indian subcontinent is that UK graduates can't compete with the quality of India's technology graduates. The level of intelligence and attention to detail is lacking in UK staff coming through the education system.”
Work permit rules state that, before making a transfer from India, companies have to advertise the job in Europe showing there is no one local with the skills available.
The internal appointment must also be paid a similar salary.”
Writing from the paleolibertarian perspective, Tim Worstall may indeed have had a point when he described Ann Swain’s complaints as being based on ‘jobs and her members’ interests’; however, regardless of the economic arguments for or against onshore offshoring, the crisis in IT staffing described by John Bercow, which he says can only be cured by increased immigration, does not match the version of events reported by Philip Aldrick.
What Aldrick’s report describes is a clear example of worker displacement through labour arbitrage, of the kind seen for many years in the United States as a direct result of employer abuse of the H-1B visa system.
These are not jobs which British workers are ‘unwilling or unable to do’, as Bercow says; these migrants are being brought to the UK to perform jobs already being performed by similarly qualified British people. There are no unfilled jobs for them to perform. If there are shortages in IT staffing, as Bercow asserts, what point is there in displacing those citizens capable of filling them?
And one of Tim’s commentators, ‘David Wildgoose’ made the following, telling observations on the same post-

As one of the tech workers directly affected by this kind of thing I believe my opinion should carry slightly more weight than most.

First, I have no problem with this in isolation - it just means that we have to raise our game to compete, and in the long run everybody benefits.

Second, it's not in isolation. It's being combined with vicious taxation attacks on local contractors like IR35, Section 660 and the like that deliberately targets us, whilst ignoring big businesses and foreign competition like the above.

It's not a level playing field. They are being encouraged, whilst the Tax Man is trying to prevent us from competing.

I have a family to provide for. Given a level playing field I would welcome "offshore onshoring" as making British IT more competitive and stronger in the long run. But I won't do so when the playing field is being tilted so heavily against us, because that just destroys local competition and gives it all to someone else
.”

There is therefore some evidence that the IT labour market is not free: it is rigged, and rigged in favour of the migrant at the expense of the citizen.
It is only fair to Bercow to point out that it is perfectly possible that onshore offshoring into the UK may just have begun in the interval between the publication of his pamphlet and Philip Aldrick’s report. There is no evidence to suggest that that is not the case; but neither is there any to suggest that it is.
And as an aside, one sincerely hopes that the person who made the remark that ‘the level of intelligence and attention to detail is lacking in UK staff coming through the education system' was not a foreign national. The joyous celebration of the foreign is a spastic reflex amongst immigrationists, given its most exuberant voice in Neal Ascherson’s hosanna that ‘By God, what Scotland really wants is Poles.'
Restrictionists are also accustomed to hearing those who employ migrants for gain casually decry their fellow countrymen’s merits. A classic example of this was the anonymous Scottish employer quoted in the International Herald Tribune of October 21 2005, who said that,
“The Poles are terrific people and foreign workers tend to work a lot harder than the Scots”

Danny Sriskandarajah of the IPPR, a co-author of ‘Paying their way’, once said,
“It’s important to understand the economic contribution migrants make, but also important not to judge migrants in terms of their economic contribution alone”.
Perhaps he should have a word with that anonymous businessman; and perhaps also with John Bercow.
However, for any person who profits from a practice such as ‘onshore offshoring’ to demean the collective intelligence of the people of this country, the very country from which he derives his profits, would be bad enough if they were a fellow countryman – if they were not, then they should not be permitted to do business in this country.
Bercow then takes another tack on page 18. He writes,
“As a result of below-replacement fertility and increased longevity, population trends show that many countries, and virtually all European nations, are expected to experience a decline in the size and rapid ageing of their populations. In this situation, it is essential that there should be replacement immigration i.e. the international net inflow of people required to offset declining contributions for public services and pensions that result from a smaller and older population”.
It is odd to see a Member of Parliament for a party committed to markets and individual liberty calling for more immigration as a means of reaching a notional population target. At the very start of his document, Bercow wrote, “The Tory Party has traditionally rejected central planning”; why should he then seek to plan the size of the population? If central planning is bad for the boardroom, why should it be good for the bedroom?
As has often been said before, if the British wish to drink, drug, contracept and abort themselves into history then the state has no reason to stop them. That view can at least be construed as being a libertarian, if not wholly conservative, position. If there are not enough taxpayers to pay for our bloated public services, the proper solution would surely be to reduce the size of the public services; not to import a large number of people to work as a servant class, whose sole purpose would be to keep us in the style to which we have become accustomed and whose usage of the same services might just further increase their cost.
Arguments for increased immigration based on diminishing population size conveniently forget that demographic patterns can always change. There is no guarantee that the country’s population will not increase naturally throughout the next 30 years. Bercow errs in assuming that the current downward population trend is a constant. For all we know, we might be on the cusp of a change in public morality as profound as the change from the Georgian to the Victorian; in which case the downward spiral might just cure itself.
For every argument that Bercow makes in favour of mass immigration, an equally valid, supportable one can be made against. His paper, although no doubt well meaning, is a partisan political document, yet it does not make anything like a strong enough case for a change to a softer, gentler Conservative immigration policy; indeed, the evidence would indicate that Conservative immigration policy is nowhere near tough enough.
He failed because the focus of his argument was wrong from the start.
Bercow wrote on Page 2 of his paper that ‘a liberal, market orientated approach to immigration is best for Britain’.
The word ‘citizen’ does not appear anywhere in that part of his paper dedicated to immigration. It is written entirely from the perspective of ‘homo economicus’.
He falls into each of the three great traps laid at the feet of conservative mass immigration advocates.
Firstly, he seems positively determined to consider immigration to be the solution to every economic problem. His praise of the role of migrants in running the NHS is fully justified – yet he does not consider what impact reducing the size of the NHS might have on its requirement to hire migrants.
Secondly, he does not examine whether business, the lobby that benefits most from the flexible labour market he celebrates and which is reinforced by migration, might consider altering its practices before resorting to a cheap hit of migrant labour. They say that migrants do the jobs British people won’t do – are the wages they offer sufficient to be considered a realistic living wage for a British citizen who has been burdened with multiple stealth tax increases since 1997?
Are they using migration as a tool for lowering costs which have risen though defects in their own business plans or performance; or because their own product or service is not one which the market really wants; or which they haven't marketed hard enough? Or because they want to cut costs in order to keep up with the explosion in the rate of executive compensation, expanding far above the rate of inflation?
But I forgot - that’s what they have to pay to recruit ‘the best people’.
Whilst low levels of business regulation always promote the most efficient use of capital, Bercow exhibits the grim tendency shared by many conservative thinkers of being absolutely uncritical of everything that business does; not a healthy posture to adopt when the cause he is advocating might help provide a useful smokescreen for many businesses’ deeper failings.
Thirdly, he refuses to consider the impact of massive population loss on migrant societies. The influx of Polish migrants into the UK since 2004 has been fuelled by Poland’s staggering 20% unemployment rate – he does not consider what the Poles might do to bring that appalling figure down, an outcome which would in all likelihood sharply reverse its outward demographic trend.
Instead, he approaches all his arguments from the perspective of ‘what’s in it for us?’ He does not seem to stop to ask himself, ‘what’s in it for them?’ If it continues at its current rate, the level of migrancy from Poland has the capacity to permanently damage that great and ancient country – is being able to hire a cheap plumber in Clapham worth that outcome? Do we want to go into history being remembered for helping to make that happen?
What is it about us that makes us feel so superior to Poland that we feel there is nothing wrong, nothing unwholesome, about hollowing out her brightest and best, the people she needs, in order to make our meals, drive our buses and empty our bedpans? At times like this, possessing a working knowledge of European history should lead one to feel extremely uneasy; for if this outward rush of people continues, then accession to the European Union might just do to Poland what neither its horrible brown and red fascist oppressors ever could. It could kill it.
The Achilles heel of Bercow’s market approach to immigration is that we do not live in societies governed by markets, but in societies of citizens governed by laws and the rule of law. Markets first, citizens last makes you popular with those who stand to gain most from that approach, businesses mostly; but corporations have no votes. Tony Blair’s choice of the CBI for expressing his views on immigration speaks volumes for his own prejudices, but he’s going to be gone soon, and then the issue of immigration is up for grabs.
Bercow is well intentioned, of that there is no doubt – however, his arguments are profoundly flawed and easily refutable.
A very much more worthy, and politically profitable, use of his time and energy would have been to take on the task from which the Conservative leadership has shied away for too long, but will have to face very soon – the task of carefully, thoroughly and systematically destroying the British National Party, in particular doing the dirty job of ripping out its false bottom of racial nationalism, and not on the Conservatives’ terms but on the BNP’s. Bercow may not have won many admirers with this paper, but doing that job might just make him a conservative hero.
I can assure him that if he is properly briefed, it should take him no more than 30 minutes.
But if his thinking on immigration is shared by the majority of his fellow Conservatives, then they are just as untrustworthy on this issue as Labour.

4 Comments:

Blogger Canadi-anna said...

I've only managed to get through about half of this, but so far it's an intriguing read.
I'll get back to it tomorrow.
What always amazes me when I come here is how simply you explain things.
I'm really wiped out tonight, but I can hardly wait to finish.

16 February, 2006 03:57  
Blogger Martin said...

CA,

Thankin' you...

16 February, 2006 07:45  
Blogger lochaneilein said...

The bottom line here is that immigration is in the interests of the conglomerates, against the interests of the 'working classes' (if I dare use such a phrase), and is very difficult to argue against due to the power of the PC brigade. The EU is constitutionally for it, full stop. The outcome? Cultural tension and lower manual wages without a doubt.

16 February, 2006 21:39  
Blogger Martin said...

L,

You're absolutely correct.

The imporant thing is to at least to try to drag what is a political issue, therefore at all times and under all circumstances a suitable and respectable topic for debate, back from the maw of the PC monster.

And whilst more people in affects wages, so will the impact of more jobs out affect the lifetime earning capacities of our nation's children.

17 February, 2006 06:21  

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