Monday, December 9, 2019
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Boris’s sly sell-out on cutting immigration

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I WAS wondering when immigration would enter the General Election campaign. It is abundantly clear that both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn would prefer not to discuss the matter in front of the electorate for the simple reason that they both want a great deal more immigration, while the public wants to see a lot less.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary in the last government, has announced some extremely weak reforms to the current situation which, as those outside of the Westminster ancien regime know very well, is more or less out of control.

Ms Patel proposes raising the migrant surcharge for use of the NHS from £400 to £625. Considering that some illegal immigrants are prepared to cough up £30,000 and risk a horrific death in a container lorry to enter Britain, this will clearly not make Britain a less attractive destination to those determined to enter the country. 

Ms Patel has also said that new arrivals from the EU would have to wait five years to claim benefits. This window-dressing is straight out of the playbook of David Cameron’s government.

 It will be recalled that prior to the 2016 Brexit vote, Mr Cameron had returned from Brussels in 2015 trumpeting some minor reform about EU migrants and benefits, which he hoped would fool grassroots Tories and the SunExpress and Mail that he was getting tough with the EU.  

By then, everyone knew that EU migrants claiming benefits was not the problem. It was the numbers electing to work here that, along with immigration from the rest of the world, was putting public services, housing and infrastructure under unsustainable pressure. In essence, Mr Cameron’s government was the Europhiliac CBI’s policies by other means.

Ms Patel, who for five minutes looked promising as Home Secretary, now leads the great Boris sell-out on immigration.

He had floated a migrant amnesty when he was mayor of London, but it was dropped. Now, ominously, Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator – which Mr Johnson used to edit – has called for a migrant amnesty. The arguments against that are laid out in a TCW article here.

Ms Patel has, like other under-pressure British governments over the years since New Labour opened our borders and set us on the road to the intractable conflicts of today, proposed a ‘points-based system’.

The ‘points-based system’ is the political class’s go-to humbug when public anger flares up about immigration. Look at what the then Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in November 2009: ‘The changes I have set out today – the new points-based system on entry, and the proposed points-based system for citizenship – amount to far more than a different mechanism for handling immigration.’

Oh, really?

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC on Sunday that he refuses to commit to a figure in reducing immigration. Even the shambolic Theresa May government at least gave a figure, even if it had no intention of reducing it.

We should take Mr Raab’s announcement for what it is: Mr Johnson’s big fat refusal to countenance change from the Blair/Brown/Cameron approach. I dare say this will be portrayed as commonsense managerial Toryism.

But, of course, it is profoundly non-conservative and positively dangerous, given the Marxism swilling around in the public debate alongside aggressive globalised capitalism.

You may think the former and latter would have little in common, but they both want open borders and the destruction of the nation state. As President Trump made clear in his excellent speech at the UN in September, globalisation will destroy your country..

What of the new communist-controlled Labour Party? Historically Labour has been obsessed by mass immigration as way of gaming the electoral system (it has worked in London) and as a hammer to smash the country and national culture that it hates so much.

Its current position is, naturally, very much pro mass immigration. There have been murmurings from the unions about the effect of mass immigration on the working class, but among ‘the intellectuals’ in the Labour Party this counts for nothing. They revere the desire of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto of 1848 to abolish nations.

Witness this motion, described by its authors as  ‘probably the most radical step towards a socialist migration policy our party has ever taken’ passed near unanimously at the Labour conference: https://www.labourfreemovement.org/get-involved/

I have yet to meet an EU migrant who had a good word to say about communism, most of them having had first or second-hand experience of living in the gigantic communist prison-countries of Eastern Europe. How ironic that their journey towards liberty and the rule of law may end in being the subject of a Marxist government in the West.

Like most British politicians, Jeremy Corbyn is, as with Brexit, keeping his utterances on immigration slippery. He told The Andrew Marr Show that a Labour government would permit ‘a great deal of movement, but refused to say whether freedom of movement would continue in its present form if Britain left the EU.

He added that there were huge economic demands in Britain, with a need for medical workers. ‘We cannot exist in isolation, therefore there has to be migration into Britain in order to maintain our economy and our services,’ he said.

Then Dame Carolyn Fairburn, director-general of the pro-EU Confederation of British Industry, weighed in: ‘When we hear talk about the brightest and best, I think that is a worry. If you do want to build 200,000 houses a year, you don’t just need the architects and the designers, you need the carpenters, you need the electricians, you need the labourers. We need people to come and help us renew our economy.’

Apart from the fact that nobody is suggesting we exist in isolation, Mr Corbyn’s and Dame Carolyn’s comments expose the fallacious thinking on mass immigration that is pushed by all the main parties: We need a lot more immigration because of the effects immigration has had.

We have so many people here that we now need more people to cope with their effect. We will then need more to cope with the arrivals that arrived to help with those who arrived before them. And so on, presumably until every blade of grass is concreted over and the health service, transport system and drains collapse.

Politicians’ dishonesty on the subject is aided by large parts of the media. When dealing with the NHS, television news, particularly the BBC and Sky, prefer to avoid immigration altogether, simply blaming pressure on more old people.

After Tony Blair’s government decided to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’ – in actuality, it rubbed its own electorate’s nose in diversity and set the country on the path to Brexit – the Tories quickly realised that a goldmine of cheap labour had been cracked open that promised decades of minimal wage inflation for the big firms.

It was a Faustian moment for the party and, as usual, it took the irresponsible route, ignoring the inconvenient truths about the impact of uncontrolled immigration on society. Now a huge part of the British economy is addicted to it and it has become the real elephant in the room of British politics.

Much as it may be hard for Boris-believers to accept, Mr Johnson is going to continue the Tory folly on the subject. He may well ‘get Brexit done’, but the arguments behind the Brexit debacle will most certainly not be done.

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Robert James
Robert James is a national newspaper journalist.

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