Monday, October 26, 2009

The Tories and immigration

Yes, I know that I have been banging on about this a lot recently but, as is often the case in the blogosphere, a whole set of circumstances has come together in order to create one or two topical... er... topics. Next week it'll probably be carrot cakes or, given my past form, climate change or political corruption.

Anyway, presumably in the light of the recent Question Time appearance of the BNP's Nick Griffin, John Redwood has felt it necessary to restate Conservative immigration policy, as laid out by Damien Green.

As usual, the policy entirely ignores the mass immigration from the EU—which, of course, the Conservatives have absolutely no power to affect—in favour of disproportionately punishing those from non-EU countries, many of which share rather stronger legal, linguistic and cultural bonds with the British people than the EU countries.

Green also repeats the ridiculous canard that immigrants somehow intrinsically put a strain on our public services and general resources.
Controlling legal migration

First, we plan to introduce an explicit annual limit on the numbers of non-EU economic migrants. This means that there should be an annual limit on the numbers allowed to come here to work from outside the European Union, taking into consideration the effects a rising population has on our public services, transport infrastructure and local communities.

What no one seems to appreciate is that whilst non-EU immigrants have to pay the full amount of tax and NICs, they have extremely limited access to public services. Indeed, non-EU immigrants are not allowed to claim benefits at all (and, incidentally, nor are their spouses).

By contrast, EU immigrants have an automatic right of settlement and are entitled to any and all benefits available to the native population.

Regardless of what I might personally feel about this issue, a failure to deal with the unfettered immigration from the EU will fail to address the issues which politicians claim to care about.

Because, totally unlike the BNP, the Conservatives are not objecting to immigrants because they are diluting the British culture—oh no, definitely not. I would like to make it absolutely clear that Britain's mainstream parties are definitely not like the BNP and are definitely not racist in any way at all.

However, if our politicos are worried about the strain on public services, then they need to worry about those who can use said services—and, incidentally, settle indefinitely in Britain—without having paid a penny into the economy of this country. Which means that they need to address the issue of EU immigrants, not non-EU immigrants.

(Of course, it would help if the money that was supposed to go to public services actually went to those frontline services, rather than being pissed away on legions of bureaucrats.)

But hist! Here is the Tory plan for dealing with this...
A further step we can take to control immigration directly is the imposition of transitional controls for new EU entrants. They should be applied here as they are in other countries.

Ahem. Now, I could be wrong, but I do not believe that the EU will let you impose these controls retrospectively, boys. You may be able to impose temporary controls on, say, Turkish immigrants upon the accession of that country to the EU, but I don't think that you can stop or limit anyone from the current 27 EU members.
As well as having a better controlled immigration system we badly need welfare reform and improved skills training so that we are not simply ignoring millions of British workers, which is why Conservatives have launched a plan to Get Britain Working. We need to do better in making British workers competitive.

Yes, well done. Marginal deduction rates for those on benefits, for instance, are a fucking scandal. And so your plan for Welfare reform is...? Hello? Anyone? Bueller...?
Preventing illegal migration

To reduce the amount of illegal immigration, Conservatives will ensure our borders are properly policed.

Brilliant. And how, exactly, are you going to do this...? And answer came there none.

Look, it may well be that the Conservatives have a secret plan to deal with all of the problems highlighted. The trouble is that I severely doubt it.

I predict that a Conservative government will, quite unjustly, continue to dole out a fucking inhumane kicking to those highly-skilled, hard-working, tax-paying migrants (whose access to the public purse is, in any case, severely restricted) whilst simultaneously ignoring the elephant in the room that is free immigration from the EU.

As a result, the Tories will not achieve any of their stated aims. They will, however, cause misery to thousands of people through a policy that is driven by political expediency and spite.

P.S. Your humble Devil posted his solution to the problem a few weeks ago.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Green also repeats the ridiculous canard that immigrants somehow intrinsically put a strain on our public services and general resources."

It's not a canard. You should stop judging immigrants as a group on the basis of the anecdotal evidence provided by your own personal experience. Try visiting an area that has experienced high levels of immigration and telling the teachers, doctors and police there that the sudden influx of a large number of non-English speakers is not an event that requires substantial additional resources. This is the immigration that concerns voters, whether or not it is the substantial proportion of overall immigrants.


"Now, I could be wrong, but I do not believe that the EU will let you impose these controls retrospectively, boys."

I think you are wrong. It would be a pretty untenable position for the other EU countries to refuse the UK the right to treat EU citizens on the same basis that they do.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I think DK is referring to Non-EU immigrants in the sentence you quote, seeing as he re-iterates that they have extremely limited access to public services but pay full tax, in this and many other posts.

Also I'm failing to see any anecdotal evidence, merely a stating of immigration law; DK wisely refuses to comment on the BNP British Culture flamewar starter.

To Re-iterate.. Again:

"Green also repeats the ridiculous canard that immigrants somehow intrinsically put a strain on our public services and general resources.

...

First, we plan to introduce an explicit annual limit on the numbers of non-EU economic migrants."

It's that phrase Non-EU which sticks out for me.

For the record:

"Try visiting an area that has experienced high levels of immigration and telling the teachers, doctors and police there that the sudden influx of a large number of non-English speakers is not an event that requires substantial additional resources."

I think counts as anecdotal evidence.

Anonymous said...

"I think DK is referring to Non-EU immigrants in the sentence you quote"

So am I. This is the area that causes most concern among the electorate. It is only a minority of us that see the damage that EU immigrants do to the job prospects of unskilled indigenous labour. Most of the populace is concerned with the immigration of people from outside the EU, who speak no English and are perceived as a burden on the country.


If you can provide some evidence that high levels of immigration of non-English speakers do not result in strains on the NHS, education and criminal justice systems, then please do so. I will then ignore the anecdotal evidence from teachers, doctors and policemen that such immigration puts a strain on public services. If you do find some means of magically providing translation services and / or language teaching at zero cost, please feel free to share the magic - it could make us all rich.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure whether the above commenters are trying to say that EU immigrants speak English. Because they don't. The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, even places like South Africa and Singapore all contain English speakers. In fact, if you didn't speak English why would you even want to come to the UK unless you had relatives here in which case you would be a spouse or dependent and get benefits anyway (well relatively quickly at least) Even Bella will become a Brit in the next year or so I think.

Jackart said...

"Marginal deduction rates for those on benefits, for instance, are a fucking scandal. And so your plan for Welfare reform is...? Hello? Anyone? Bueller...?"

Here. One of the best thought through benefits reform packages ever presented by a political party. True it's not policy because implementing will cost money the government simply doesn't have in the short term, but an aspiration for later in the parliament, but give 'em a chance FFS.

Anonymous said...

There are two elephants in the room; the other is mass immigration from the third-world of people who already have relatives here. The Conservatives have said nothing about reducing this, so their proposals would actually make things worse as a lower proportion of immigrants will be economically beneficial and a higher proportion people who are so stupid that they think dogs, ham sandwiches and pints of bitter are "unclean"

Hugo said...

DK,

At the LA conference you mentioned LPUK policy on immigration to be to implement a points system. I must say, this is a terrible idea. Points awarded for how many qualifications one has (or whatever) are a very bad heuristic for productivity. If you're going to limit the number of work permits given out, a much more accurate method is auction.


See you at the ASI on the 3rd.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Hugo,

I didn't say how the points would be allocated.

Personally, I wouldn't think that we'd put too much emphasis on qualifications—I don't rate 'em...

DK

Hmm said...

The immigration stats are interesting (National Statistics, if you believe them) (my grouping and titles):

"White dominions": 20%
"New" Europe: 19%
"Old" Europe (EU15): 18%
Indian sub-cont.: 16%
Other Commonwealth: 7%
Middle East: 4%
Unclassified "other": 14%

(USA included in "white dominions," of course)

Numerically the Eastern Europeans of "New Europe" are a small proportion, less than a fifth of total immigration. Although of course their overall impact may be higher.

But that's gross immigration. Look at net migration (immigration minus emmigration) for the same regions:

"White dominions": -8%
"New" Europe: 37%
"Old" Europe (EU15): 3%
Indian sub-cont.: 32%
Other Commonwealth: 11%
Middle East: 5%
Unclassified "other": 22%

So it seems that most places have a two-way flow, in and out. But over two thirds of net immigration comes from Eastern Europe and the Indian sub-continent.

Anonymous said...

DK, you're the only one who sees where the problem lies. You should forward your immigration policy to the government.
Cheers