Posts Tagged ‘Labour immigration lie’

The real Labour lie on immigration

22/04/2011, 08:00:36 AM

by Atul Hatwal

David Cameron’s speech on immigration last week sparked a predictably incoherent response from Labour.

The official line was to not have a line on what Cameron was talking about. Nor was it to have a line on Vince Cable’s response.

Instead, Labour just talked about there being a government split. While several elephants trampled around Labour’s room. Did the party agree with Cameron? Or Cable? Did it want to defend its record?

Questions, questions.

No answers were immediately forthcoming, but some clues on leadership thinking, beyond abject terror at the use of the ‘I’ word, have begun to seep out in the past week.

Up popped Maurice Glasman in the pages of Progress, Labour’s very own pearly king, or at least Lord. He had lots to say about Labour’s “lie” on the levels of immigration, the impact on traditional working class folk and the need to “reconnect” with members of the English Defence League.

Gor blimey guvnor.

Then Ed Miliband chipped in to Nick Robinson. Citing the mythical conversation with the average punter, so beloved of politicians reaching for some authenticity, he said:

“I think we clearly underestimated the number of people coming from Poland…People say to me, look I’m worried about the pressure on my wages of people coming into the country, I’m worried about what it does to housing supply”.

Looking beyond it being unlikely anyone really said that to him, given no-one outside of a think tank actually talks like that, Miliband’s words marked the complete triumph of a new narrative for Labour on immigration. He might have skirted around the topic during the leadership election, but this was the first time he had articulated the narrative as leader of the Labour party.

While the right wail about identity, security and look suspiciously at the Pakistani migrants and their children; Labour has gone down the Duffy road with an invading army of eastern Europeans pushing hard pressed Brits out of jobs.

Increased labour supply at the lower income end of the labour market, driving down wages, increasing unemployment and increasing pressure on public services is the more salon-friendly version of this thesis.

But here’s the problem. Regardless of the way it’s expressed, it’s wrong. Not morally or ethically, but factually. (more…)

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