Thursday, 21 April 2011

cameron on immigration

as per a request from deborah, i'm cross-posting this piece from my own blog. i feel a little nervous about putting up certain issues here, especially around areas where i feel vulnerable. but here it is. on another note, i'll be appearing on Q & A this sunday morning, talking about religious issues which will be linked to the afghanistan situaion and religious violence in general, as well as a couple of other topics.

david cameron has been making a lot of noise about immigration of late. in that it's all bad, of course, and the narrative is the usual stuff we hear from the right: that immigrants are parasites who are a drain on the nation and suck all the nation's resources or steal all "our" jobs while giving nothing back in return.

of course he doesn't attack all immigrants, just the non-integrating kind who won't learn english. nice coded language, with the dog-whistling very thinly disguised. it seems mr cameron is following the john howard policy of out-pauline-hansening pauline hansen. in mr cameron's case, it's the BNP he's emulating, knowing that attacking a particular class of people will guarantee votes and increase popularity.

but it's more than that. mr cameron is using underlying racism and hatred as a cover for massive cuts in welfare. he's trying to soften the electorate for cuts by linking it to hatred of certain types of immigrants. UK wouldn't need these immigrants, he says, if only the welfare system wasn't so generous. by changing this, locals would be forced to do the work currently done by immigrants. more than that, people are apparently immigrating to UK because the welfare system is so good, therefore it should be made less good in order to remove that incentive.

as always, missing from the right-wing narrative are the real benefits that migrants bring to the country. given the way immigrations laws are in most countries, immigrants will be highly educated, but more than that, highly motivated to succeed. i doubt they migrate to end up on welfare. listening to the stories of migrants, and i've heard many, they have dreams of success for themselves and their children and a drive to achieve that success.

also missing is the realisation that these cuts to welfare translate into misery and hunger for a large number of people. people who have often landed up on welfare because of failed economic policies, because of the fraud and gambling of the finance sector, and because of the global recession which resulted. those on welfare are being asked to pay the price for the failure of others, and immigrants are to take the blame.

1 comment:

SPC said...

It's the attempt to establish a lowest common denominator for welfare in Europe - so that free movement of labour is the excuse to reduce "generous" welfare that might attract migration from poorer regions. Then comes holding the minimum wage to compete with lower wage economies.

It's about competitive lower taxation, lower wages and less provision for the unwaged or the retired.

Meanwhile access to capital will belong to those who get richer, so wealth begats more wealth for the favoured few.

It's class warfare, called budgeting for the consequences of a banking crisis. However this only exacerbates the cause of the GFC and prepares the way for another.