Labour lied about its immigration policy and then rushed to lavish bennies on the new arrivals at the expense of natural-born British subjects, including those who actually fought for the United Kingdom
Ed Miliband has tried to atone for Iraq, but his party’s open-door policy is impossible to excuse
By Jeff Randall
Britain’s greatest foreign affairs disaster since Suez, the invasion of Iraq, was facilitated by a fraudulent document: the dodgy dossier on weapons of mass destruction. Last week, Ed Miliband tried to purge that shame from Labour’s system by orchestrating the vote against this country’s military involvement in Syria.
The Opposition leader, it seems, wants his party to be in the truth-and-reconciliation business. If that’s the case, then it’s time for Mr Miliband not just to acknowledge the past mistakes of Labour’s open-door immigration policy, which he has already done, but explain the brazen dishonesty and cynical deceptions that were used to justify a crucial element of Gordon Brown’s domestic economic strategy.
Labour MP Jon Cruddas admits that “historians will look back on the past few decades and identify immigration as perhaps the major change to our country.” Not everyone thinks it is a change for the better. According to a weekend poll of 20,000 people, 60 per cent believe immigration has brought more disadvantages than advantages. Under Blair and Brown, Labour’s approach to immigration was voodoo economics masquerading as respectable politics. Its 2005 manifesto, all 112 pages, was a masterpiece of obfuscation, devoting just 16 lines to “Migration: the facts”.
Instead of setting out the possible consequences of a policy that would result in 1.5 million net (legal) immigrants in seven years, 2004-2010, it simply stated: “Skilled migrants are contributing 10-15 per cent of our economy’s growth”. No mention of housing shortages, pressures on schools or anything else remotely negative. The rest was a red herring about how much business visitors and tourists spend in Britain, which has nothing to do with immigration, and a wholly misleading paragraph on asylum seekers, creating an impression that Labour was on top of the problem.
This was a false prospectus. Had similar claims been made by company directors, they would be facing a ban from corporate life. After the 2005 election had been won, Home Secretary John Reid came clean, damning his department’s immigration operation as “not fit for purpose”. Strange, isn’t it, that such a glaring flaw was overlooked in the run-up to polling day.
Be sure to read: The Truth At Last! Peter Mandelson Admits Labour 'Sent Out Search Parties' To Bring Migrants Here After Losing The Votes Of The Working Class
There are, I accept, some economic benefits from high levels of immigration. They come, however, with significant costs, which were either ignored or deliberately distorted by a Labour leadership that was determined to suck in millions of foreigners, knowing that the outcome would be irreversible.
Setting aside its lust for multiculturalism, Labour’s financial case for mass immigration was that it increased annual GDP, thereby making all of us better off. In 2007, Liam Byrne, then immigration minister, told a Commons committee, “migration added about £6 billion to national output, which is quite a big number”. The other important Labour claim was that because the vast majority of legal immigrants were young, worked hard and paid taxes, they helped fill Britain’s long-term pensions hole. What’s more, through the magic of Mr Brown’s debt-fuelled growth trick, immigrants posed no threat to local workers’ jobs or wages. Those who challenged this fallacy were dismissed as bigots.
It was all an illusion. Mr Byrne’s big number was cancelled out by another big number – 200,000 — the average annual net immigration during Labour’s third term. Yes, output went up but GDP per head did not because the cake had to be shared amongst many more people. Britain’s population was soaring. Size does not equal prosperity, yet they were deliberately conflated by Labour to give the impression of a universal upside from unprecedented immigration. This deceit was exposed by an all-party House of Lords committee in 2008, whose chairman demolished Labour’s arguments as “preposterous and irrelevant”.
That is not to say there are no winners from the injection of a very large number of workers into the economy. It acts, in effect, like a King John tax, transferring resources from the poor to the rich. For the employer class, in particular London’s metropolitan elite, immigration provides a ready supply of nannies, ironing ladies and odd-job men willing to work for the minimum wage.
By contrast, for locals at the bottom of the employment ladder, the impact is deleterious. According to Cambridge University’s Professor Robert Rowthorn, it’s bizarre that the Labour Party, champion of the vulnerable (or so it claims), intentionally created what Marx called “a reserve army of labour”: a pool of workers whose presence ensures that rates of pay for unskilled staff can be kept low.
As for the argument that immigrants defuse our pensions time bomb, only those who think Ponzi schemes are sustainable could believe it. The Lords report concluded that the proposition did “not stand up to scrutiny”. Flooding the country with young overseas workers merely delays the day of reckoning, because, of course, they too will grow old and need pensions. But who will pay for them? Exponential population growth cannot be the answer.
Labour’s presentation of immigration was a bit like Bob Maxwell’s report and accounts: the focus was always on the assets with barely a mention of liabilities. For example, British companies have little incentive to train domestic employees if they are able to import foreign staff with higher skills and a stronger work ethic. If Ed Miliband is serious about wiping the slate, he should tell us what the real motivation was for his party to force social, cultural and economic upheaval on many British communities without ever consulting them.
I think I know the answer.
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