by Atul Hatwal
Most mainstream politicians are lying when they talk about immigration, if not by the sin of commission, then by omission.
They all know what would happen if immigration was to be cut precipitously: the depth of extra cuts that would be required without migrants’ net tax contribution, the collapse of the NHS that would ensue if we did not have the skills of migrant health staff, and the destruction of jobs as foreign businesses take their investment to more welcoming shores.
Yet, rarely is any of this mentioned.
When most politicians talk about immigration, they look at one side of the ledger – costs – with little regard for the benefits.
And even then, when focusing exclusively on the negative, often they will simply accept the stereotype underpinning concerns rather than articulate the reality based on the evidence.
This is what pandering looks like in today’s immigration debate: when politicians who know better and have seen the evidence, either wilfully disregard it or misrepresent it, to fit a negative narrative that they know to be false.
For example, Ed Miliband was busy pandering yesterday when launching Labour’s second election pledge.
The first part of the pledge promises a “new law to stop the exploitation which leads to wages and conditions being undercut.”
In principle, no-one could disagree, but the implication of what will be achieved is where the pandering starts.