Melanie McDonagh, Foreigner In Favour Of Immigration
The Irish rentaquote Melanie McDonagh has a piece in today's 'Telegraph' entitled 'What a funny way to control immigration', concerning some recent, although rather late but otherwise encouraging, comments made on limiting immigration by Phil Woolas, the latest immigration minister.
The blowhard blow-in writes,
"I can tell Mr Woolas for free that, in the Knightsbridge hairdressing salon that I frequent, they're not going to be giving the lovely, hard-working Magda from Gdansk the push in order to bolster the Government's ability to service the social benefits bill for the unemployed. "
The Poles are 'lovely' and 'hard-working'; presumably the Brits are ugly and lazy. That Magda might also be receiving slave wages so Melanie can get her extensions done as cheaply as possible doesn't seem to occur to her. This person has no business writing for British newspapers.
"As those of us who get up early enough to listen to Farming Today, or who have friends in farming, can tell Mr Woolas, this crackdown on temporary migrants has actually cut the number of workers that the British economy really does need. Britons can't and won't do the hands-on seasonal work on farms that the Ukrainians can - and the reasons for that deserve scrutiny. But if there aren't the eastern Europeans, the fruit-picking and the rest of it doesn't get done."
In the past, the unwillingness of Britain's farmers to pay the market rate for the labour they employ has found allies in a government desperate to show its economic competence by keeping down inflation, and a British public addled by access to food which has been unrealistically cheap. If market-rate wages were paid, the work would get done. At all times and under all circumstances, it should not be forgotten that mass immigration was a tool of economic, as much as anti-British cultural, policy. Mass immigration helped keep the reported rate of inflation low - but the surge in commodity prices over recent years, and the desire of the Third World's newly enriched to eat red meat and white bread, has caused the sleight of hand to be exposed.
It certainly could be the case that some farmers have been pushed into this mindset because of some supermarKKKets' predatory negotiating policies, in which case I am not without some sympathy for them - but there's a slightly bigger picture out there than can be seen through the windows of a Knightsbridge hair salon.
McDonagh's powers of analysis, such as they are, might be better deployed were they to be trained back on the old country. The recession in the Republic of Ireland is biting so hard that there was recently talk of withdrawing the cover provided by pensioners, the generation that actually built the country, under the 'medical card'. What is now being exposed as the horrific failure of neoliberalism in Ireland might, just might, lead to a sense of isolationism; and it would be a tragedy for Ireland if Sinn Fein were able to transform itself into a movement calling for Ireland for the Irish.
Maybe something to think about next time you're waiting to get your hair done.