Labour must become the anti-immigration party, says David Goodhart

The regrets and half-apologies for Labour’s mass immigration policy are starting. The Eds, Balls and Miliband, and Jon Cruddas have all accepted that too many people came in too quickly. Ed Miliband told Andrew Marr on Sunday that the costs and benefits of mass immigration were very unevenly distributed and too many of the costs fell on Labour’s core working class voters. Jon Cruddas described the policy as acting like an unforgiving incomes policy for those in the lower part of the income spectrum.

This should be just the start of a historic shift on immigration policy. Labour should become the party that is anti-mass immigration, but pro-immigrant. This would more accurately reflect the interests of its voters, both poorer whites and minority Britons.

Labour can be proud that since the 1950s it (often alone among the main parties) has championed the cause of race equality and stood up for immigrants. It should continue to do so, but not in a way that conflicts with the economic and cultural interests of the British mainstream.  The party therefore needs to re-think its commitment to the laissez-faire multiculturalism that has left many of Britain’s towns ghetto-ised and divided.

Social democracy and a generous welfare state cannot survive in the long run unless there is a strong sense of a common life, of shared cultural references and experience. Rapid and high-level immigration weakens a sense of reciprocity and “exchangeability” (that could be me without a job) and lowers trust between citizens. Without a widely accepted national story a society can quickly begin to feel like a random collection of individuals or, even worse, a collection of Balkanised ethnic or religious groups battling for recognition and resources.

Labour should make common cause with the Tories if they are indeed serious about bringing net immigration down to tens of thousands a year rather than the 150,000 to 200,000 that is has been averaging in recent years—and expose its wishful thinking on this subject when, as seems likely, it doesn’t happen. (Employers in both the private sector and public sector may have become addicted to the highly motivated but cheap labour that mass immigration brings.) But it should also, in opposition, develop a distinctive policy of modern “nation building” and citizenship integration. A clearer citizenship offer needs to be made to new citizens and a new language is needed to reach existing citizens, especially younger ones.  Gordon Brown’s “Britishness” debate had the right intentions but it sounded clunky and out of date (like Gordon himself).

Labour has, in fact, made a start in several of these areas. Many years too late we are finally starting to control movement across our borders and will soon be able to count people in and out. And we have developed a language, and even institutions, of citizenship: citizenship ceremonies (mocked by the bien pensants, but a huge success), citizenship and language tests, citizenship in schools and so on. Moreover, it IS now possible to decouple the pros and cons of mass immigration from the question of race and racism. There was quite a direct and open debate about mass immigration in the course of the election campaign (it featured in all three of the party leader debates) and the BNP was crushed—suggesting that when Labour organizes and addresses the legitimate grievances of the disaffected, people will return to mainstream parties.

But the default position of liberal Britain is still to think of immigration in terms of the interests of the immigrant. Immigration (when it is voluntary) is always in the interests of the immigrant, but not always in the interests of the existing citizen. In an age of mass transit and European Union membership we need to think harder about how we can still put the interests of British citizens first. Too much of our rhetoric and our legislation (some EU legislation, parts of the Human Rights Act) is liberal universalist and in effect abolishes fellow citizen favouritism.

Only deranged people are against immigration per se. Of course any healthy society benefits from a flow of outsiders, just as many Britons go and make their lives abroad. But between 1997 and 2010 there was a historically unprecedented surge of people coming to the country to work, study or settle for a year or more—3m more people came than left. And 1.6m people were granted permanent right of residence, mainly from developing countries.

Nobody planned or prepared for this huge act of social engineering.  It was never mentioned in Labour manifestos in 1997, 2001 or 2005. It happened as the result of several apparently small decisions, which together produced a big and unintended outcome. The main decisions were: the liberalization of work permits in response to the big increase in illegitimate asylum claims, the opening of the door to many more foreign students (to help pay for the rapid increase in higher education) and the decision to open our labour market to the new EU states in eastern and central Europe at the end of 2003.

Labour sleep-walked in to a huge, and in many places very disruptive, change. It happened because of a combination of metropolitan Labour’s cultural liberalism, which saw immigration as an inherently good thing, and Treasury economic liberalism which welcomed its labour market effects.

Social democracy is about reducing risk and uncertainty in peoples’ lives—in areas of high immigration both have risen too sharply. We need time to absorb the people who have arrived in the past 15 years, and Labour, as Jon Cruddas says, needs to repair the covenant with its core vote. Labour must close the door.

David Goodhart is Editor of Prospect.


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21 Responses to “Labour must become the anti-immigration party, says David Goodhart”

  1. Matt Moran says:

    A few questions about this:
    1) How do we know that more arrived than left, given that the Labour government scrapped monitoring numbers exiting the country?
    2) The surges in asylum seekers have been demonstrated to have coincided with wars & famines & oppression in the countries where these people have come from (see articles over at Liberal Conspiracy) – how do you know there’s been any rise in “bogus asylum seekers” to use a Daily Mail-ism, over and above the statistically normal percentage (around 5%, meaning 95% of asylum seekers are genuine) during these surges?
    3) Are we maybe pandering to the Daily Mail / BNP tendency here – we have a media-confected problem (unless we have supporting evidence, which I’ve yet to see) whipping up the masses. Is it wise to let the gutter press dictate policy?
    4) Are you familiar with Jean Marie Le Pen’s ideas on immigration? Your article seems quite close to what he said in a TV interview a few years back. Essentially, close the doors, those that are here legally, if they’re paying taxes, fine, if not, deport them. He, like you, sounded very reasonable & well-motivated when he was on TV saying this, not a hint of racism about it, but then one realises – this is a very slippery slope. D’you really want to start down it?

  2. Editor says:

    Hi Matt – Thanks for the questions…

    1. It was the previous Tory government who stopped counting them out, not Labour. Which made it harder to be precise, but doesn’t mean there are no records or that we have no idea. Goodhart’s figures are widely accepted as broadly accurate, conservative if anything.

    2. it was precisely the rise in legitimate asylum claims which you mention that encouraged and camouflaged a rise in asylum claims by economic migrants. Again, there is ample research to support this.

    3. No. That is the point. The Daily Mail is articulating – in a nasty way – an overwhelming view among British people. Which is resolutely ignored by the chattering classes, and also happens to be right.

    4. Jean Marie le Pen is an avowed fascist with racist views. David Goodhart is the drippingly wet liberal editor of a serious intellectual magazine making a serious, considered intervention on an issue of national concern in the UK. The comparison is insulting and unfair.

    Goodhart didn’t for a moment suggest deporting anybody. Yet you suggest his views are ‘quite close’ to that. Even though his article is about the approach we take to levels of future immigration.

    We salute him for having the courage to challenge liberal orthodoxies on behalf of working class people.

  3. Matt Moran says:

    Editor,

    1) How are these figures arrived at?
    2) Please, cite your sources.
    3) Couldn’t this effectively be a vicious circle type feedback loop? A few people get concerned about seeing a Polish shop spring up & one or two Polish parents bringing their kids to their kids’ school, the Mail gets on the bandwagon, pretty soon a few million people share the same concerns – by not pushing back actively against this insidious phenomenon effectively you risk adding to its momentum.
    4) This is why it’s all the more surprising. Fair enough, David didn’t say anything about deporting illegals & tax dodgers, but this is the logical next step if we’re pandering to the Mail’s immigration hysteria.

    I had a wee chat about this with a mate of mine & it occurred to me that the main argument against immigration is this: we’re being “swamped” by people who are nothing but a drain on the state, & we don’t have the resources to cope, yes? But this country doesn’t provide for hardly any of us out of its own resources. We earn money through foreign investment, by knowledge work (IT, science, design, fashion, engineering designs) & the like. We don’t make enough food to supply 2/3 of our population as it is, & we import most of our coal & gas, so what resources are we actually unable to provide that we don’t already ship in from abroad? Any of these people if they have the IQ & the gumption can be trained to do jobs that contribute to the country’s economy. Most have shown they have gumption by the sheer fact of making it here. A lot show more enterprise than the average “native” & have a lot to teach us about that. Do we need to be protected against superior competition for jobs because these guys are better than us, or should we maybe take a leaf or two out of their books & start our own enterprises?

    I really believe that this anti-immigration thing is wrong. I’m the grandchild of immigrants. My grandfather came here & started a business that survives to this day in Warrington, passed down via his second eldest son to his sons. My eldest uncle became a town planner. My father spent years in the RAF guarding this country against the threat of invasion, before mustering out & starting a number of businesses that provided employment for dozens of people round Birmingham. My cousins are doctors, charity fundraisers, factory owners, nurses, & chefs. My mates are from Poland, Malaysia, Ghana & the Czech Republic. None of them depend on hand-outs. Frankly I’m insulted at the insinuation that immigrants are a drain on our economy. We’re not.

  4. Editor says:

    Hi again Matt,

    David is on deadline at Prospect but has seen your questions. The figures come from the international passenger survey.

    There is an interesting riposte to this post over at The New Statesman from Daniel Trilling – you can read it here http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/05/immigration-labour-bnp

  5. Don Flynn says:

    Reply to Matt @ 3.21

    “it was precisely the rise in legitimate asylum claims which you mention that encouraged and camouflaged a rise in asylum claims by economic migrants. Again, there is ample research to support this.”

    What research is this? I thought I was up to date on these issues but I’ve not seen anything along these lines.

  6. whome says:

    Matt, I agree with you on many points. By raising the question of immigration, one is in terrible danger of pandering to a Daily Mail agenda. However, because the Daily Mail writes about it, usually in negative terms, doesn’t mean there isn’t space for a sensible debate. And nor should they be the only voice in this argument.

    This country is predominantly post-racist. It’s now a question of the economic conditions we all live in when we have a large number of new people joining our society. I too am the child of immigrants, very happy to be here, and grateful for the opportunities. And it is true that those with the determination to set up life already in the UK have largely worked hard and done themselves proud and made jobs where there were none.

    But as mentioned at the top of this article, we have some structural problems in our own society. Our poorest, jobless and benefit-dependent are becoming marginalised. You could blame them for laziness, the state for over-subsidising them etc. You could blame immigrants for being more determined to work, and often for less money. The thing is, we don’t have a free labour market here. British society aims to look to after its poorest, and at the moment, they are really struggling in the jobs market and in education.

    For those who have moved to Britain over the last decades, the impetus for their move has been poverty and lack of opportunity in their own countries – was this case with your family? But now we having to face to the same problem ourselves amongst our poorest. Slimming down immigration is one way of opening up opportunities to them, raising wages through demand, not to mention leaving skilled workers in their own countries, where they are sorely needed – a righteous act in itself. If anything the article lacks an argument about how to balance “closing the door” with how to fix our own social problems.

    The other problem is the outdated idea of Britishness within this piece. Actuality, the diversity within Britain has done wonders for our own perception of ourselves and shaken us up. We do need to fashion ourselves a new identity as a country which has brought in some of the best elements of the world who want to join in our prosperity, our lifestyle and our freedoms. Again, we can’t let our associations with the Daily Mail’s idea of Britishness stop that question being asked, or us offering answers to it.

    It would be a shame to close the door tight shut on immigration. Britain’s a club the world likes coming to and by and large those arriving make a contribution. It’s a measure of our success to have hosted so many of the brightest, best and most hardworking. But I do think it is worth a pause for thought on the effect it has had on the average jobless Brit, and very important not leave it to the Daily Mail to be their spokesperson.

  7. Angela says:

    I don’t like it, but I don’t think it’s right to say the BNP was ‘crushed’ in the general election. They polled 563,743 (1.9% of) votes, their highest ever. They may have been squashed in Barking, but this was due to a major, major effort. Interestingly this was achieved in part through targetting those ‘least likely’ to vote BNP: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/14/general-election-2010-fall-bnp. Griffin polled 14.6% compared to the Tory candidate’s 17.8% – a difference of 1,400 votes only.

  8. vern says:

    New Labour’s immigration policy did not happen as a result of a “several small decisions” as you naively suggest, it was engineered this way. Would you expect any party to announce in their manfesto that they are going to open the floodgates to 3million immigrants-the response of the Great British public would have been one of rejection and Labour would have been thrown out sooner. It can be compared to some of the ill fated pyramid schemes of the past, 3 million imigrants inputting at the base paying small amounts of tax into the coffers hoping to eventually pay out for pointless public sector officials.
    More worrying- i think it bears an uncanny similarity to Bernard Madoffs ponzi scheme in that the final outcome is one of complete collapse due to insufficient funds or the funds being imaginary!!

  9. Matt Moran says:

    @Whome – they left County Mayo, Ireland, in 1924, where my grandfather was a farrier and a champion ploughman, to live in a wooden hut up on bricks that was infested with rats, in Warrington. We’re not sure but I believe my grandfather had some kind of falling out with his brother over my grandmother – she’d been dating my great uncle & dumped him for my granddad because he’d been & worked in Glasgow & she wanted the city life. She got that, fair enough, but my youngest aunt was born in the Warrington work house. For years after they moved here, my father’s family had to fight anti-Irish racism, & I’m pretty sure my grandfather deeply regretted moving here. He made the best of it though, started a shoe repair business in a wooden shack which today persists as Moran’s heel bar in the Market.

  10. Don Flynn says:

    “Social democracy is about reducing risk and uncertainty in peoples’ lives—in areas of high immigration both have risen too sharply. ”

    What is the evidence for this? In many parts of the country migration reduced labour shortage bottlenecks that threatened sustainable growth in both living standards and job opportunities. Living standards rose in regions like the rural East Midlands, Eastern England and the South West because the rural economy grew faster on the backs of in-coming migration than would ever have been possible without without the arrival of migrants. Where migration is associated with disadvantage the reasons are largely to do wi the ways in which local labour markets are organised rather than the mere presence of migrants – see the report produced by the Centre for Cities contrasting migration in Hull (bad outcomes) and Bristol (good outcomes) for the evidence on this.

    Migration has contributed to the relative cheapness of food costs in the UK, which has made an important contribution to the maintenance of living standards of people on low incomes, and also sustained a tax base paying for the social security support which has allowed some sections of the working class to abstain from employment in low paid, ultra-exploitation sections. Regretably this valuable breathing space gained for vulnerable native workers was not used to provide skill training for those locked out of the types of employment offering adequate levels of remuneration, but that has been due to government incompetence rather than anything migrants have said or done.

    Goodhart’ one-sided perspective refuses to acknowledge the real character of public attitudes to migration in the UK today – not uniform hostility but profound ambiguity. Yes, many working class people are quick to mobilise the symbolic power of migrant presence to express their unhappiness with many aspects of modern Britain, but most also intutitively understand that large chunks of the prosperity they have enjoyed over the past two decades has come courtesey of migration. It is this ambiguity which explains much of the strange things which came out of the general election, which promised to make so much out of supposed universal hostility to immigratin , but which turned out to fall well below the levels of anxiety which the pundits had claimed for it.

    The fundamental character of our society as migrant facilitating is a done deal and Goodhart should get to grips with the fact. Short of the collapse of the global economy and a slump into the most reactionary forms of nationalism, nothing is going to reverse that. The re-emergence of the social solidarity which he, and I, crave will happen just as it did in 1945 when the welfare state was built, as an act of polilitical imagination rather than his dream of a functionalist, monchrome folk culture. That political imagination has got to encompass the permanent fact of migration as a measure promoting gains in welfare in the modern world, and reach the necessary conclusions on the need for a modern global politics which is capable of building on and improving our modern global economy.

  11. claude says:

    Matt Moran is absolutely spot-on.

    One more thing to add.
    David Goodhart forgot to mention that immigration figures in the UK post-1997 are EXACTLY in line with patterns seen in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain and pretty much every other country with similar levels of wealth (see this and this for details and sources).
    In some cases (Spain), the number of migrants post-2000 is much higher than the UK.
    Even Australia and Canada with their much trumpeted “point system” have received comparatevely more immigrants than the UK.

    Yet nobody ever mentions this. Which adds to the tabloid-perpetrated feeling that “the country is being swamped”, that “they all want to come here” and that it was “deliberate social engineering”, while it’s an international phenomenon that is completely interlinked with the lower prices we pay for certain products, the freedom for Brits to “swamp” other places (i.e. parts of Spain) and increasing casualisation of labour that our business people love so much.

  12. This is the most encouraging thing I have ever read on a Labour blog. At last the penny has dropped, at least in some heads.

    I work predominantly on the social problems surrounding forced/arranged marriages and mixed race relationships, and I can tell you that there is a dire need for ‘shared cultural references and experience’ when it comes to young people’s life choices.

    If the Labour leader can get a grip on these issues, s/he will have brought the party a long way back towards power.

    Don’t let metropolitan Labour spoil it.

    (I will be blogging this post tonight, nice one.)

  13. namak says:

    Throughout its 13 years, New Labour backtracked on the issue of immigration and pandered to the anti-immigration sentiments.

    Firstly, the debate was always about non-European immigration; as such there was always a race dimension. To counter that with an Australia-like points system was always going to be unconvincing. Even in Australia, the points system was concocted when the “White Australia Policy” had run its course and European migration had dried up.

    Secondly, economic and monetary globalisation was hailed as a way forward but the argument that movement of labour also had to be global was never made.

    Thirdly, the only alternative to bottlenecks was to outsource work that could be outsourced to other countries with the resulting call-centres, office bureaus and IT departments in India, Malaysia and South Africa. Noticeably, no (British) Trades Union ever tried to defend the jobs, pay and conditions of this outsourced workers.

    So for the remarks like ‘Bigots’ and ‘a class issue’ are so shallow and a complete dereliction of the duty to explain globalism that is inevitable and uncontrollable without draconian means.

  14. Anthony says:

    Shared conceptions of citizenship, fine, but if Labour ever becomes the anti-immigration party, I will be cutting up my membership card and sending it in. That, or promising withdrawal from the EU (the unavoidable requirement for this minimal-immigration Daily Mail nirvana) would be the end for me.

    Why? Because I think the post-national drive of the EU is essential if we are to preserve democracy and social welfare in a world where rising powers oppose them. Because I can see no moral case for treating a Czech or a Somali as deserving of less respect or worse treatment because of his foreign status. Because the fascists in the BNP and the soft fascists in the media will always want more harshness, more hostility and more race-baiting, no matter what we do, and we paid their Danegeld too much in Government.

    This is a dark, dangerous road for Labour. Look at the statistics: fear of immigrants is often not in areas with high levels of immigration. Immigration worries are not about EU border controls or points systems or other such technical issues, but about old racism and old fear, often fear of people with different skin colours. We can try to understand the reasons for that, but we should do that not we can better reinforce them, but so we can better oppose them.

  15. Hina Majid says:

    A few reflections on this article in addition to those made by the NS article. Sorry it’s so long & has just been posted (after MT’s comments) but there really is so much in here that warrants comment.

    1. ‘Social democracy and a generous welfare state cannot survive in the long run unless there is a strong sense of a common life, of shared cultural references and experience. Rapid and high-level immigration weakens a sense of reciprocity and “exchangeability” (that could be me without a job) and lowers trust between citizens. Without a widely accepted national story a society can quickly begin to feel like a random collection of individuals or, even worse, a collection of Balkanised ethnic or religious groups battling for recognition and resources.’

    Where is the empirical evidence to support this? Soroka and Banting did do some empirical research around this and looked at changes in social spending across the OECD countries by reference to the migrant stock. The study revealed that there was absolutely no link between the two, and no evidence to suggest that those countries with higher migrant stocks had trouble maintaining and developing their social programs. Again, there were similar and more recent work around this (by Prof. Kymlicka, and another by Peter Taylor Gooby). They reached the similar conclusions.

    A more practical discussion that has taken place at the EC/UN level is about the extent to which Europe can sustain its welfare state without expanding immigration in the light of the dependency ratio. The UNDP for example estimates that in order to ‘save’ social security systems (up to 2050) through replacement migration France, Germany, Italy and the UK would between them need to look at attracting 9 million migrants annually…

    2. ‘…too many of the costs fell on Labour’s core working class … Jon Cruddas described the policy as acting like an unforgiving incomes policy for those in the lower part of the income spectrum.’

    Immigration has winners and losers, however my understanding is that the above conclusion is not on the whole supported by the extensive empirical research around this issue (see for example the Low Pay Commission, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Centre for Migration, Oxford University, and some of the discussions in MAC reports etc). The general view appears to be that:

    i. immigration has not had statistically significant impacts on wages or employment for those on low incomes
    ii. other factors such as demographics, the way the benefits system works, outsourcing and education are far more significant determinants of wage levels far these groups
    iii. assuming there were impacts on wages, much of the research in any event suggests that migrants have lowered the prices of goods, this would therefore have to be factored into calculations of real income;

    A more sensible way to address these concerns rather than becoming the so called party against mass immigration, might to be acknowledge the above, and look at practical policy measures that could address the above and other very legitimate concerns about housing etc that the working classes have. On the former, proposals might include signing up to and enforcing existing ‘universal standards’ that David so despises e.g. the Migrant Workers Convention/certain ILO standards. The effect of this would be to take away costs benefits in particular to employers arising from the use of undocumented workers whilst also protecting migrant workers them from exploitation. Likewise enforcement of the minimum wage and the use of pointing within the PBS to reflect regional variations offer useful ways forward.

    4. ‘But the default position of liberal Britain is still to think of immigration in terms of the interests of the immigrant. Immigration (when it is voluntary) is always in the interests of the immigrant, but not always in the interests of the existing citizen. Labour can be proud that since the 1950s it (often alone among the main parties) has championed the cause of race equality and stood up for immigrants. It should continue to do so, but not in a way that conflicts with the economic and cultural interests of the British mainstream.’

    The weight of the evidence does not show that immigration has conflicted with economic interests nor that the interests of the immigrant have been central to policy.

    On the contrary, the hallmark of Labour’s immigration policy from 2000 onwards has been about linking migration to the perceived economic interests of the UK and its citizens. Thus policy has been designed to minimize asylum (not seen as economically useful but which was in the late 90’s/early 2000 period accounting for larger arrivals) through some pretty ugly deterrent measures including the detention of babies and children and the deliberate use of destitution (with numbers of asylum seekers down, more recent attentions have turned to minimizing family based migration (again not considered economically useful).

    At the same labour migration policy has been crafted with the same aims in mind. The system for non EU labour migration was made more responsive to fluctuating economic conditions whilst also being shaped in a way that is far more amenable to state manipulation on a large scale (in response to fluctuating economic conditions) in a way simply not possible in the past, human capital requirements directly linked to research on labour market success indicators span the entire system, unskilled migration from outside of the EU was terminated (and replaced with EU migration for low skilled demands), and there has been the development of stringent control mechanisms designed to limit undocumented migration.

    At the same time, our treatment of migrant workers has fallen/falls well below international standards (e.g. Migrant Workers Convention/ILO standards), and the principles that underlie them, so too has our treatment of asylum seekers.

    It would therefore be more accurate to characterize immigration policy as far more heavily skewed towards the economic interests of the UK, the needs of industry, and its citizens rather than that of the immigrant.

    5. ‘But between 1997 and 2010 there was a historically unprecedented surge of people coming to the country to work, study or settle for a year or more—3m more people came than left. And 1.6m people were granted permanent right of residence, mainly from developing countries.’

    Talk of ‘mass migration’ as David does in this article or others seems a little disproportionate. Yes, we’ve had high immigration in the relevant period in large part because of the accession of over 12 states to the EU (and our position on their access to the labour market), and a period of economic growth lasting a decade, accompanied by a historically strong labour market. If contextualized however its evident that:

    i. Germany, France, Austria, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Sweden, Switz, the US and various other European countries in fact have a higher percentage of migrants as a total of their population than the UK. So too do Canada, Australia and N Zealand who have roughly double
    ii. net average inflows over 2005-2010 have been higher for all OECD countries, but still Spain, Italy, and the US have considerably larger net inflows than the UK.

    But figures aside, it seems likely from various research that there have been a number of economic benefits from this immigration e.g. net per capita benefit to the UK economy, benign net fiscal benefits, reduction in inflationary pressures, the filling of skills shortages, increased trade and investment, and dynamic effects (that are difficult to quantify). This is surely something to welcome. Having said this, we should of course plan effectively to account for the impacts that this migration has. We’ve not been very good at this not least because of our inaccurate estimates of the numbers of accession workers that would come to the UK.

    In a globalised era where movement is far easier than it ever has been before, where wage inequality between north and south exceeds that occurring during the mass migrations of the late 19 th century, and where there has been a rise in low skill, hardcore non tradable employment, what we really need is a sensible discussion rather than all of this. This must truthfully acknowledge the external migratory pull and push factors (many of which are beyond the control of states) and be grounded in the evidence. That discussion needs to consider how human movement can be best made to work not just for the UK and its citizens, but for migrants, and sending states – in particular those from developing countries who we seek to confine through coercion in territories where they live on less than a dollar a day.

    6. ‘….But it should also, in opposition, develop a distinctive policy of modern “nation building” and citizenship integration. A clearer citizenship offer needs to be made to new citizens and a new language is needed to reach existing citizens, especially younger ones. Gordon Brown’s “Britishness” debate had the right intentions but it sounded clunky and out of date (like Gordon himself)’

    No particular objection to developing a sense of citizenship – this may as part of a series of other measures be desirable. In the context of ‘new citizens’ what you can’t do is erect a system which treats certain categories of migrant as human sewage prior to citizenship (which will no doubt be exacerbated if as David suggests we move away from the principle of universality), and then upon its conferral expect the measures to produce ‘integrated’ ‘bonded ‘citizens’ who have an affinity to the UK.

    7. Don’s analysis of attitudes I think is pretty spot on.

    8. Re the principle of universality, we should be very careful about moving away from this particularly in the light of some of the discussions around the welfare state. The resurrection of citizenship talk is all about differential rights entitlements. Once you establish this principle, there’s a interlinked and separate discussion about rights for the so called ‘deserving’/ and the ‘undeserving’ (poor) that this is may ultimately open up with some undesirable consequences for the very groups David G expresses concern for.

    Hina Majid

  16. […] commentator David Goodhart at least has the merit of telling it like he sees it, and makes an overt case that Labour should explicitly become the anti-immigration […]

  17. james robinson says:

    how can any government control immigration when 90% of it comes from the EU and it is illegal to prevent it, according to EU rules the UK signed? This is the question noone eve seems to tackle.

  18. Linda Wilding says:

    Whether its because of immigration or other things most of the electorate is disenfranchised from politicians. Although the mass immigration has a part to play,I am sure, it is also that the political class comes in the main from either the liberal elite or the well off posh boys, who can afford to foist their dogma on to the ordinary citizen, eg., they don’t live in the real world where their political decisions affect the lives of ordinary people, rather they travel first class, live in the leafy white suburbs, their children go to the best schools, either private or state, they have a future; whereas, the poor,in the main now white working class children, have none of these privileges, no they are staring into the abyss of lack of opportunities created by these political classes.

    Only politicians could be arrogant enough to not stop and think that something is very wrong when hardly anyone votes anymore. By ensuring, by political social engineering, that a large chunk of the original indigenous population is on the scrap heap, maybe they have achieved their goal of changing the face of Britain for good. This country is no longer a democracy because it does not govern by consent of the majority, but by consent of the minority who are in the main self interested. We have gone from a country of people who looked to our political masters, the vast majority of whom believed in the ethos of public service, to tell us the truth, to govern by consent to a political class who in the main are in it for themselves, encourage greed and allow the bankers to screw us all. I vote only in the memory of the suffragettes not in the knowledge that any politician will think of the ordinary person of ths country.

  19. Kevin says:

    Here’s my take, for what it’s worth…

    1) Where is the logic of importing millions of people into the country to do jobs that millions of our own people won’t (can’t?) do, while we pay those same people billions of pounds of tax payers money not to? That’s the economics of the madhouse, which now seems all the crazier in the current climate.

    2) It seems we’re happy to ask people to move from Warsaw or Nairobi or Mumbai to do menial jobs but not ask someone who’s unemployed to catch a bus from Walsall to Wolverhampton to do the same?

    3) Immigration, especially of skilled workers, has given UK employers just the excuse they needed not to undertake the (expensive?) training our own young people need to build the successful careers that fire economic growth. Cue high levels of youth unemployment.

    4) By sucking in well educated, skilled, trained and qualified professionals from other – expecially Third World – countries, we greatly degrade the capabilities of those countries to prosper. If these ‘human resources’ were mineral wealth, for example, there would be an outcry.

    5) At no time have the indigenous population been consulted about the building of a multi-cultural or multi-racial society around them. I have never seen it in any manifesto or heard it spoken from any conference podium.

    6) A few years ago a labour official close to the Tony Blair government admitted that an open door immigration policy was little more than a ruse to goad the Conservatives into making themselves look like the ‘nasty party!’ A phrase which that party gleefully adopted. Brilliant!

    7) I believe that the white working classes – once the bedrock of the Labour party – have been most adversely impacted by immigration and indeed many other New Labour policies.

    8) I have read reports of David Goodhart’s recent book elsewhere and I’m glad to see that he admits to the lie that we are a ‘mongrel race.’ This has never been true and only changed with the ‘Windrush’ generation of the 1950s. I knew this from my A Level studies in History and Economics taken between 1975 and 77. In fact, between the Norman Conquest and the 1950s, immigration was virtually statistically non-existent. Why has this untruth been allowed to flourish?

    9) I think I’m right in believing that at the start of the current Queen’s reign racial minorities in the UK made up less than 1% of the population. At the time of her 60th Jubilee celebrations that figure had risen to 16 or 17%. That’s a massive upheaval in our society in a tiny historic window. Despite this the process has been largely benign. However, none of us can count on that continuing.

    I could go on. But let me just finish with this: I work in advertising and I know (as do all politicians) that perception is reality. It doesn’t matter how many detailed reports by the UN, the EU or any worthy body you can point to, nor does it matter what the statistics say from Spain or Germany conclude, it’s what ordinary people/voters believe and experience around them. For example, the US is often citied has enduring/enjoying immigration on a much larger scale than the UK but we have around 3% of the US land mass and around 20% of the US population.

    Another example, I was shopping in my local Asda the other evening and it’s no exaggeration to say that I did not hear an English voice until I reached the check outs. This is not Newham, London. It was in Bournemouth.

    Finally, when I recently took my daughter back to her Uni digs, in Peckham, London, I was truly astonished by the lack of white faces. I’m sorry to say I was uncomfortable with that. And I was born, grew up in and spent over 40 years of my life in Reading, no slouch in terms of it’s cultural and racial mix.

    Thanks

    PS: Has anybody seen Gordon ‘End to Boom and Bust’ Brown? Considering he was one of the chief architects of our current predicament his absences is, indeed, conspicuous. I’ve only seen him come out of hibernation in recent times to take a pop at the Sun during Leveson.

  20. Chris says:

    I have to ask, what good is the EU to us. The only people who will gain from us being part of the EU are those counties that have significantly reduced in population due to the fact that they are all here. Unemployment for Scottish people will only rise as more and more immigrants move in for better money and a better life. The thing is that all that money is being sent back to their own countries making us a poorer country and our own people are suffering as the consequences. Human rights, that’s another laugh, a law designed to allow foreigners to do what and say what they like and get away with it but if you are born and bred here don’t open your mouth about it or big trouble will come your way. If you ask me it’s those people at the top that make racist and predudist people. What party will solve this problem because I have to say I don’t think any of them are fit for the job. SNP are doing better than ever right now but mark my words they won’t win because they want to bring as many immigrants in to the country as possible. I am currently working at a primary school in Burntisland. There are around 60 men on site 2 of them scottish

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