It’s time for Miliband to take a stand and hug an immigrant

by Samuel Dale

Ed Miliband likes to remind us that he takes on vested interests.

Barely a speech goes by without mentioning how he took on Murdoch, the Daily Mail and the energy companies.

Hero Miliband standing up to the strong. Except it’s not true.

This isn’t strong leadership, it’s populism masquerading as strength.

Look at the crass and ridiculous attack on ex-Labour minister Lord Freud for his comments on helping disabled people find work below the minimum wage.

Or the pathetic Harriet Harman stunt, sanctioned by Miliband, to wear a ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirt at PMQs.

No wonder Britain doesn’t see Miliband as prime ministerial because these are not the actions of a man who is an aspiring national leader.

The latest polling puts his leadership ratings as lower than even Nick Clegg, Mr Tuition Fees.

Has there been any area where Miliband has actually led his party or the public?

The energy price freeze was clever politics but it was heavily polled and known to be popular.

It was a classic of the Miliband genre: followship not leadership.

His clear electoral strategy of left wing populism and a so-called 35 per cent strategy is despicable.

It’s laughable to call himself One Nation Labour. And such cynicism is deservedly backfiring with votes being haemorrhaged to the Greens, Ukip and the SNP.

But there is one issue crying out for real national leadership and alternative positive politics: immigration.

The rise of Ukip and capitulation of the Tories has led to toxic nasty rhetoric on immigration and the EU.

It is turning off global businesses and threatening the UK’s international reputation for openness.

So far Miliband has attempted to lean in to voter concerns, claiming he understands anger about benefit claimants from other EU countries.

He also says he understands the concern about the pace of change from immigration and globalisation.

But he must make the positive case and he just make it stronger.

He must shape and lead public opinion and not just follow it.

As the offspring of immigrants he can make the case personally.

Immigrants are generally hard working and pay they taxes. They enrich our culture and boost our economy dramatically. They are sign of economic power and strength, not a decaying society.

London is packed full of immigrants and the most engrossing city on earth and this nation’s economic powerhouse.

Miliband should be far stronger in condemning the casual prejudice of Nigel Farage when he says he wouldn’t want to live next door to Romanians.

Or when he calls for a blanket ban on Aids sufferers coming to the UK.

Miliband must also take on the Government’s outrageously callous attitude to illegal immigrants travelling here on boats. They refuse to rescue those drowning because their deaths will send a message to other desperate individuals not to try to come here. This is wrong and he should shout it from the rooftops.

Government ministers use dehumanising hyperbole such as claiming the UK is “under siege” or being “swamped” by immigrants.

Political debate on immigration from within the EU and beyond is taking on a toxic bent and the UK needs leaders to speak out.

Nigel Farage is it’s chief proponent, David Cameron has proven to be weak while Nick Clegg is an irrelevance.

It’s time for Ed to truly lead and shape opinion. Stop descending to the bitterness of your opponents and make the positive case.

It will help repair Labour’s horrendous relationship with British business, which has expressed concern about the Tory immigration trajectory.

Immigration caps or curbs on EU free movement are retrograde steps that harm us all.

But most important is the language and tone of debate.

Stop the stigmatism of innocent, brave people from other countries and give a voice to the voiceless. Drop the pathetic stunts and take a stand: go on Ed, hug an immigrant

Sam Dale is a financial and political journalist

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13 Responses to “It’s time for Miliband to take a stand and hug an immigrant”

  1. Madasafish says:


    Attack Ed for gimmicks. And then tell him to “hug an immigrant”.

    A bit of a contradiction there I think..

    As for the actual message that immigrants are “brave and innocent”, I think that’s brave and worthy as a slogan.

    Whether it’s apposite for a political slogan is dubious. Will it appeal to the Labour working class vote?
    It will appeal to metropolitan left leaning circles … who vote Labour anyway..

    I hope Ed adopts it.

  2. Landless Peasant says:

    There’s only one way we can ever become ‘One Nation’ and that’s through the equitable redistribution of wealth. Miliband has done nothing and offers us nothing.

  3. Tafia says:

    Yet again another example of failing to understand the problem. The problem is not immigrants. The problem is low-skilll/no-skill immigrants who come here at a net loss to the tax payer because they are either unemployed and on benefits or claiming in work benefits (including housing and tax credits). They take up social housing on an equal basis to our own residents, have a negative impact in doctors, dentists and school places etc etc.

    If immigrants are such a bonus to the economy (and filling areas of skill shortages – such as doctors, nurses etc they are needed), then you will have no problem excluding them from the NHS and excluding them from all benefits – in and out of work, for a reasonable period – say 5 years.

    Or when he calls for a blanket ban on Aids sufferers coming to the UK We are in the process of bringing in screening for Ebola and TB and excluding sufferers from entering. AIDs & HIV sufferers should be made welcome – so long as they pay for their own treatment.

  4. swatantra says:

    There is nothing that can be done about EU immigrants and in fact nothing should be done about them, and they should not be regarded as ‘immigrants at all but as bona fide citizens, citizens of the EU, of which we are also citizens of. Real ‘immigrants’ are Refugees and Asylum Seekers who have escaped with their lives the genocides committed by their fellow countrymen and women. Some of these will have difficulty in adjusting to life in Britain, but most will and should do their best to integrate into the country that gave them refuge; otherwise they should think seriously about returning back to their countries and take the chance of getting slaughtered.

  5. Ex labour says:

    Labour are now seeing the folly of their policy of open door immigration. It is hurting the Labour working class core vote and your ignorant article shows just how out of touch you are with the reality in the hinterlands. Yet again we see referencing of London as the shining beacon, but this metro-centric view has no concept of whats happening to the lives of ordinary voters. The builder who lost work to eastern europeans, the unobtainable school place, the ever expanding GP surgery list, the national welfare bill and so on.

    We can do little to stop EU immigration, but it is right to have the debate about access to services and benefits and the contributary principle.

    I worked overseas for a time and before being allowed entry to the country I had to have a job, sponsorship for housing and health from my employer and a health check to say I did not have HIV. I did not have an issue with this, so why should any immigrant coming to the UK have an issue if we put restrictions in place ?

    I’m in business and I’m worried about the skilled immigrants we need from our former colonies who are near barred from entry, rather than the one armed window cleaners from Romania.

  6. Samuel Dale says:


    Yes, I was slightly aware about criticising gimmicks and then saying ‘hug a immigrant’!

    But this is different because it would have substance. There was no substance to the Lord Freud and Harriett Harman stunts. That was just trying to grab the news agenda for a day in a very superficial way.

    I’m talking about a real change in tone, and maybe policy, to embrace immigration more proudly. Look at today’s study showing EU migration has benefitted the UK by ÂŁ20bn in a decade. Ed should be all over it but he’s too worried about the reaction. Time to lead.

  7. Madasafish says:

    Samuel Dale.

    I looked at the study as well.

    It did say EU immigration benefited the country…and non EU immigration cost a LOT more (approx 6 times).. The net effect was a ÂŁ100billion cost over 10 years.

    If you want to seriously propose that we continue as we have done in the last decade, you will have to raise taxes for all the non EU immigrants who largely do not contribute economically (according to the stud).

    Try telling that to voters…

  8. Tafia says:

    Look at today’s study showing EU migration has benefitted the UK by £20bn in a decade.

    Per chance would this be the selF same study that was very careful to highlight that it has not included the impact on housing, doctor/dental places, schools, elIgibility for state pensions, depressing wages at the lower end of the scale, the cost language problems by local authorities and service providers etc etc. And had deducted the cost of educating the immigrant as that had been done in their country of origin (creative accounting ), had concentrated predominantly on those around the age of 25 (who make far less demands on health) and although had included in work benefits, hadn’t included housing benefits, the impact of child credit payments on children that werem’t even in this country etc etc. No wonder the two most widely read newspapers in the UK are tearing it to pieces.

    And still the refusal to separate uemployed/low skill/no skill (who aren’t needed, we have enough of our own) from those who are filling skill shortages (doctors etc)

    I tell you a personal experience now – not in the slightest unique, which is taking place up and down the country and virtually every ordibnary person has experience of and can relate to.

    The local meat plant laid all it’s staff off and recruited an exclusively Polish workforce on far lower pay to replace them (didn’t even advertise the jobs in UK – made national news). Next door to me had never less than 8 Poles living in it – sometimes 10-12, every room in the house (2 bed terraced) bar the kitchen and bathroom turned into a bedroom with bunk beds. Landlord charged them 75 quid a week each, including bills. The going rental rate for that house was around 350pcm back then (still only 400 now).

    It wasn’t unique either it happened in loads of houses. The Poles worked hard, did as much overtime as they could, ate out-of-date food, shopped for clothing in charity shops and jumble sales. Soon as they saved up what they wanted they left to be replaced by another. They were OK, never caused any problems and many were highly skilled back in their own country- aircraft fitters etc. They used to use my internet to book flights back to Poland etc. Because they were mainly skilled workers in their own country (as opposed to chicken gutters here) they also did a lot of moonlighting for cash – hairdressing, car servicing, minor building work etc etc

    One wheeze they hit on that they made a fortune from was cars. They would fly back to Poland on their holidays on one way tickets and drive back with a second hand Polish registered car. This they would then sell for cash locally to local people or take to Ireland and sell there, usually bought by people disqualified from driving or who didn’t want to pay insurance or road tax or wanted to park where they wanted because they wouldn’t get a parking ticket.

    They drove wages down, forced rents up, spent very little in the local economy and encouraged crime. Other than that they were OK – very opportunist but OK. The meat plant eventually went bust anyway because even on minimum wage iot’s operating costs were too high in comparison to eastern europe etc and they all either went home or for some reason Milton Keynes.

    Another example. One major employer round here imports its marketing, IT and HR graduates from the Baltic (all uni education in the Baltic is done in English) on three year fixed contracts for just under 18K pa. It’s competitors are now starting to do likewise and this is slowly starting to depress graduate wages locally. – and I guarentee it will spread.

  9. Madasafish says:


    Not a surprise…at all.

    Of course,you might think that any party that’s interested in UK “hard working people” would know all about these cases and be doing something about it….rather than saying..

    Stop the stigmatism of innocent, brave people from other countries and give a voice to the voiceless.

    It would appear immigrants and their welfare (which IS important) are more important than Gordon Brown’s “British jobs for British workers”..

  10. Tafia says:

    Newspaper Interview With Ian Austin MP, Labour – Dudley North

    Everyone knows immigration is controversial, but I wasn’t prepared for the reaction when I raised it with the Prime Minister last week.

    I stood up in the Commons and said voters in Dudley don’t think people should be able to come to Britain and be unemployed. They think people should have to work and pay taxes before they can claim benefits. They certainly don’t think it’s fair that child benefit can be claimed in the UK for children living abroad.

    Judging by the emails and letters I’ve received since, most people think that’s plain common sense. Many said they were really pleased to hear a Labour MP saying it.

    I’m afraid it didn’t go down so well in Westminster.

    The Prime Minister scoffed and sneered and said I shouldn’t be raising the issue. The Left-leaning Guardian accused me of sticking a jackboot into immigrants. I knew some people would not agree with me, but I didn’t anticipate being called a Nazi.

    I ought to be used to it by now. When I told ministers in the last Labour Government they’d made mistakes – including on Eastern Europe – and immigration was too high, I was told I sounded like the BNP.

    But this Government is getting it wrong too. David Cameron promised he’d get net migration down to the tens of thousands but it’s actually gone up to over 240,000.

    The asylum system is in chaos and foreign criminals aren’t being deported. It’s no wonder people in Dudley think politicians in Westminster haven’t been listening.

    Well, I’ve been listening to ordinary people in my constituency and raising their concerns since I became an MP nine years ago.

    I’ve always said that if you want to live in Britain, you must be prepared to work hard and pay your way, obey the law and speak English. There’s no other way to play a full part in British society.

    Most people think that if you have the skills we need and are ready to work, you’re welcome. But they also believe people shouldn’t be free to come and be unemployed or claim benefits without paying in first. That’s just not fair to British people working hard and paying taxes.

    And they agree when I say that if jobs are available I want my constituents to get them, and that large firms and the NHS should train British youngsters instead of hiring from abroad. I’ve held a dozen meetings to listen to local people’s ideas. These are the measures I’ve promised I will push for in a new Immigration Bill. Its main points:

    – Benefit reform: People who come to Britain must wait longer before claiming and should only get benefits after paying in first. No one should get Child Benefit for children living abroad.

    – Tighter border controls: The border force has been cut so the number stopped and sent home has fallen by 45 per cent. They need more resources to count people in and out.

    – Bring back fingerprinting at Calais: This safety check was scrapped by the Government and as a result illegal immigrants can’t be identified and turned round.

    – Deportation of foreign criminals: It should be easier to kick out criminals – and anyone guilty of a serious crime abroad should be banned from coming here.

    – Charges for visitors using the NHS: Migrants should pay up front or their country should foot the bill.

    – Local people should go to the top of housing lists: Councils should adopt the policy we have in Dudley where you only get on the housing list if you’ve lived or worked locally for two years.

    – Controls on cheap foreign labour: The minimum wage must be enforced to stop unscrupulous employers exploiting foreign labour and undercutting British workers. I want fines raised to ÂŁ50,000, exploitative zero hours contracts banned and recruitment agencies stopped from hiring solely overseas.

    – Training for our young people: If a large firm can’t find a British worker to fill a vacancy and has to hire abroad they should have to train a British apprentice too.

    I think these changes could be introduced now and I’ve urged the Government and the Labour Party leadership to look at them.

    People in London might not like it, but it’s my job to listen to local people, go down to London and speak up for them in the Commons.

  11. Madasafish says:


    And over on Labourlist, Ian Austoin is being labelled “racist” for putting his constituents first.

    Which tells you all you need to know about the likelihood of such policy being accepted.

  12. Tafia says:

    Madas, Labourlist is as a rule, the roost of young, London-centric, middleclass fucktards and pointless party apparatchiks who wouldn’t know the real world if it punched them in the face and actually look down on honest working class people, sneering at their concerns and belittling them. And they are destroying the Labour Party by changing it from what it was and should be – the political wing of the Trades Union movement, to a soft version of the tories. And somehow they can’t see that that is exactly not what the core want and is why they are deserting them in droves.

    Half of them still pine after Blair – a corrupt, warmongering piece of scum. Which says it all really.

    A little message to LabourList stalwarts. Start putting the people of Britain first over all things, all the time, in every way, always. Otherwise there is no point to you in any way, shape or form. You literally serve no purpose. And you are making the Labour Party likewise.

  13. ChrisB says:

    Hugging an immigrant is just another stunt that would go horribly wrong. Miliband probably can’t even hug his own wife.

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