Saturday, August 17, 2013

Who is responsible for mass uncontrolled immigration?

So you claim that "lefties"are to blame for mass uncontrolled immigration do you?

Don't worry! Politically illiterate claims like this are remarkably common. You're not alone in having been misled by the corporate media into believing that "the left" introduced and continue to support mass uncontrolled immigration.

In reality mass uncontrolled immigration is a right-wing policy.

I can almost hear the alarm bells ringing in your head.

You don't like it do you?

You refuse to believe it ...

Alright then ... Have a little think about who benefits from mass uncontrolled immigration.

Is it the workers (you know, the ones that "lefties" are supposed to represent)?

No, of course it isn't.

Uncontrolled immigration drives down their wages and increases the competition for jobs (especially low-skilled jobs), making the prospect of unemployment, low pay or the horrors of zero hours contracts much more likely for millions of ordinary workers.

Another way in which ordinary workers lose out through mass immigration is the increased pressure on local services such as health and education, on which they, and their children rely.

So who does benefit then?

The corporations and rich employers benefit from the large labour surpluses created by mass uncontrolled immigration, because the increased competition for jobs allows them to drive down the wages they pay, therefore increasing their profit margins.

The profitability of the labour surplus is hardly a new concept. Karl Marx explained how capitalism benefits from surplus labour way back in the mid-19th Century. A large standing army of unemployed, provided with just enough welfare to keep them alive is absolutely fundamental to the modern neoliberalised capitalist system.

The wealthy minority are almost completely insulated from the negative effects of mass uncontrolled immigration. They don't even notice the extra pressure on services, because the majority of the executive class generally have private health plans and privately educate their kids. What is more, they are much more likely to be dodging their taxes, so many amongst them don't even contribute towards the costs of providing these extra services, despite the fact that they are the ones benefiting most from mass uncontrolled immigration.


How did you come to such a remarkably backwards conclusion then?

One of the most important factors that leads to your confusion is that us "leftie liberals" tend to advise you not to blame the individual immigrants. After all, they have every legal right to come here, and we would do the same in their circumstances: If we could earn 400% or 1,000% of our current salary working abroad in low-skilled jobs, we'd be off in a flash. What us "leftie liberals" tend to advise you to do is to blame the politicians that introduced these neoliberal open borders reforms to the immigration system. We like to council you that mass uncontrolled immigration isn't the fault of the immigrants that come for a better life, it's a macroeconomic problem created by the political class.

It is quite easy for the right-wing corporate media to warp and misrepresent this "don't blame individuals for macroeconomic policies" message into a simplified straw-man argument that "bleeding heart leftie liberals love mass immigration".

Another major factor in the spread of this popular misconception is the tide of misinformation from the right-wing corporate media. The vast majority of newspapers in the UK push the neoliberal agenda and continually deride "the left".

One of their most brazen propaganda strategies is to blame the spectacular failures of the neoliberal policies that they steadfastly support, on "the left". Thus, in the right wing press, the 2007-08 financial crisis wasn't caused by recklessly deregulated banks gambling wildly with other people's money on all kinds of junk that they didn't even understand; it was supposedly caused by "excessive welfare spending".

Perhaps even more brazen than the lie that welfare spending caused the ongoing "debt crisis" (The Great Neoliberal Lie) is the concept that mass uncontrolled immigration enabled by one neeoliberal government after another is somehow also the fault of "the left".

"Ah" but I hear you counter "Labour opened the immigration floodgates, so it is the left's fault, Hah!". However, this counter-argument of yours relies on the flawed conception that the modern Labour party is actually a left-wing party.

You're not happy with this either are you? The right-wing corporate media have told you over and again that Labour are a left-wing party. You know that Labour are more left-wing than the Conservatives, so therefore they can't be right-wing can they?

How are you so wrong about New Labour too?

When Tony Blair and Gordon Brown took over the Labour party in 1994 they re-branded it as "New Labour" and embraced the right-wing economic ideology of neoliberalism. Here are just a few of the many indicators that demonstrate that almost 20 years ago Labour became a right-wing party, wedded to the pseudo-economic ideology of neoliberalism.

Privatisation
If you know just one thing about left-wing politics, it's got to be that they nationalise things, not privatise them.

In 1995 Tony Blair re-wrote Clause IV of the Labour party constitution in order to get rid of the commitment to "common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange". Once New Labour came to power in 1997, not only did they refuse to renationalise even the most botched Tory privatisations (such as the rail franchising mess or the hopelessly wasteful and inefficient water companies), they actually set about privatising even more state owned infrastructure (such as Air Traffic Control and the HMRC property portfolio). Indeed, New Labour reforms to the NHS, the Post Office and the state education system also kicked open the door to the mass privatisation schemes currently being enacted by the Tory government.

Do left-wing governments support the neoliberal privatisation agenda? 


Of course they don't!

PFI
One of Gordon Browns favourite policies was a special kind of privatisation scam called PFI, which resulted in the government building up some £200 billion in liabilities to the private sector, to be paid back over the course of decades for infrastructure that would have cost less than £50 billion had the government funded it directly and built it themselves. Don't take my word for it: A Parliamentary select committee found that PFI "is an extremely inefficient method of funding [public infrastructure] projects". [It is worth noting that George Osborne and the Tories have reneged on their commitment to ditch the use of PFI].

The PFI "economic alchemy" scam has two main benefits for a right-wing government. Firstly, through the use of a ludicrous accounting trick, these vast long-term debts to the private sector are hidden from the national debt figures. To create a simplified household analogy: PFI is very much like borrowing £2,000 at a ludicrous rate of interest from a Payday lender like Wonga in order to avoid borrowing an extra £500 on the very low interest loan facility that you have with the bank. Using the PFI accounting scam allows the right-wing government (with a commitment to siphoning countless billions of private sector cash into private sector pockets) to maintain the illusion that they are fiscally prudent by borrowing money in an "extremely inefficient" manner.

The other benefit for the right-wing government is that it allows them to hive off public services into the private sector in a much more favourable way than the old-fashioned Privatisation 1.0 used by the Thatcher government. Margaret Thatcher's government actually expected the private sector to cough up a token payment of a tiny fraction of the value of the assets they were "buying", PFI actually creates the situation where public infrastructure is transferred to the private sector, then the government pays them subsidies of many times the actual value of the assets over the course of decades.

Do left-wing governments use complex economic alchemy scams in order to hand control of public infrastructure to the private sector and pay them £billions in subsidies on top?

Of course they don't!

Industry
Another indicator that New Labour are not a left-wing party is their track record of contempt for British industry. Instead of intervening to support and save British industries and British jobs, they just sat on their hands as the industrial decline that began under the Thatcher regime continued to wipe out industry and jobs (mainly in left-wing Labour voting heartlands too!). What made this refusal to intervene in the shocking decline of British industry and manufacturing so much worse is that in 2008 they couldn't intervene quickly enough to save the financial sector from the consequences of their reckless gambling. The financial sector bailouts amounted to well over 90% of GDP, to put that into perspective, the official national debt in 2008 was just 37% of GDP.

Labour poured almost three times as much cash into the financial sector black holes of debt than all the debt that has been built up over the decades to pay for absolutely everything else the state provides (hospitals, schools, universities, local services, infrastructure investment, policing, military expenditure, subsidies, R&D loans, roads, fire services, libraries, pensions, disability benefits, other welfare spending, and not least; the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq).

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to realise how much better the employment situation might be right now had Labour spent just a tiny fraction of these vast financial sector bailouts (or the cash they wasted on the invasion of Iraq) on supporting British manufacturing and industry during their 13 years in power.

Do left-wing governments steadfastly refuse to intervene to slow the decline of manufacturing and industry rsulting in the losses of millions of skilled working class jobs, then rescue the financial sector from the consequences of their own reckless behaviour with the biggest state interventions in the whole of history?


Of course they don't!


Tax
Another thing one expects from a left-wing government is the establishment of a progressive tax collection regime and a strong stance against tax-dodging, in order to protect government revenues. What New Labour gave us was exactly the opposite.

They kept most of the regressive taxes they inherited from the Tory party, and escalated several more regressive taxes. Even worse than their refusal to fix the regressive tax system was their disgustingly lax attitude towards tax-dodging. Nobody in their right mind would expect the Tories to do anything serious to stop the massive scale of tax-dodging, given that so many of their major donors are themselves tax-dodgers, which leaves the situation that if anyone was ever going to sort it out it should have been Labour. That they didn't bother, and actually allowed the situation to get significantly worse during their 13 years in power is yet another indication that New Labour is absolutely nothing like a party of the left.

Do left-wing parties oversee extremely regressive tax systems and refuse to do anything meaningful to combat tax-dodging?

Of course they don't
!

Conclusion

On the face of things, your argument that "the left" are to blame for mass uncontrolled immigration appears to be a remarkable display of political illiteracy. However, you shouldn't feel too bad about it: The most likely reason you came to believe such a ludicrous thing is that the right-wing press have drip-fed these lies to the public for years. The corporate media carefully maintain the fiction that the New Labour party are a left-wing party, when they have actually become far more right-wing than the Tory government of Harold MacMillan ever was.

The corporate media also maintain the fiction that "the left" approve of mass uncontrolled immigration. Just a little bit of independent thought on the subject reveals that the main beneficiaries of mass uncontrolled immigration are the corporations and the wealthy employers (traditionally right-wing) and the main losers are ordinary working people (traditionally left-wing). The genuine left tend strongly oppose mass uncontrolled immigration, in favour of targeted immigration (where migrants are welcomed if they have the skills and attributes that are needed by society).

The people that favour mass uncontrolled immigration are the Lib-Lab-Con political establishment, who all plough the right-wing furrow of neoliberal pseudo-economics. There are only a few genuinely left-wing MPs left in parliament, there's tirelessly hardworking Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, the loud mouthed but rarely present George Galloway of the Respect Party, and a small bunch of Old Labour backbenchers such as Dennis Skinner, Michael Meacher and John McDonnell. To blame this minority for mass uncontrolled immigration when the right-wing neoliberals have been running the show since 1979 really does take quite a major abandonment of reason.

Just to reiterate:
  • New Labour are not a left-wing party and haven't been for nearly 20 years.
  • The genuine left is not responsible for mass uncontrolled immigration because they haven't been in power for decades.
  • The obvious beneficiaries of mass uncontrolled immigration are the corporations (you know, the things that "lefties" usually try to limit the power of).
Now that you are armed with this new perspective, perhaps you might start blaming those that are actually responsible for the problem: The adherents of right-wing neoliberal pseudo-economics that have usurped the leadership of all three Westminster establishment political parties.

Oh, and before you go thinking that UKIP are the alternative, bear in mind that they are even more zealous about pushing neoliberal pseudo-economics than any of the three establishment parties.




Clarifications

As a measure of how hysterical people get when mass immigration is mentioned, I have been accused of being a "Daily Mail scaremongerering", "UKIP supporting", "xenophobic", "Daily Express reading" believer in unicorns for daring to raise the subject.

If you think I'm just making up uncontrolled immigration, I suggest you take a look at how the EU freedom of movement for workers legislation actually works.

If you think net immigration isn't happening, I suggest you look at the August 2013 UK Labour Market Statistics, which will tell you that the number of foreign born workers rose by 204,000 in the last year, whilst the headline rate of unemployment is still almost 2.5 million, down just 11,000 from a year earlier. That's Marx's standing army of surplus labour isn't it?

Mass immigration and high unemployment are deliberate macroeconomic policies designed by politicians to create wage repression, yet the right-wing reactionaries love to blame the immigrants and the unemployed, and the left-wing reactionaries love to deride anyone that points at the verifiable evidence as a "Daily Mail Scaremongerer!".

Other people have insinuated that I an anti-immigration, which I'm not. I am opposed to the current shambolic immigration system, and in the article I clearly stated that I am in favour of targeted migration, where immigrants are judged on their skills and attributes rather than their nationality.

Under the current system there are no limitations on the number of unskilled immigrants that can come in from the EU, whilst immigration of migrants from outside the EU (often highly skilled) is made almost impossible with ludicrous fees, bureaucracy and arbitrary income requirements if the non-EU immigrant is not married to an EU migrant.

If a non-EU citizen is married to someone from elsewhere in the EU (Italy, Poland, Estonia, Spain, Hungary, Lithuania, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, Belgium. Latvia, Greece ...) they can come and go as they please, no matter if they can't speak a word of English or have no skills.

If a non-EU citizen is married to a Brit on the other hand, the Tory government (and the Neo-Labour government before them) make it ludicrously difficult for them to enter, even if they are highly skilled, speak English, have English kids and want to stay in the UK and contribute.

This situation is absolutely ridiculous.

I believe there should be a points based immigration system, with the biggest positive scores coming from factors like :
  • Has British family (spouse, kids, relatives) 
  • Has a skill that is in shortage in the UK economy 
  • Speaks English
 
                         
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