Tag Archives: immigration

Why Labour lost

Following a defeat or set back it is natural to contemplate what went wrong, human nature having developed this tactic to avoid repeating mistakes forever.  One of my favourite and oft-quoted pieces of wisdom is that one, sometimes attributed to Einstein, about the definition of insanity being expecting a different result from the same action.

A political party displaying this most human of traits should therefore be an encouraging sight.  The Tory ‘brand’ wasn’t deemed to be detoxified until they had fought and lost two elections on the issues that had helped to turn everybody off them in the first place – immigration and Europe – so it is refreshing that the Labour party is wasting no time in beginning the process of staring at its navel.  Like a chorus of Wodehousian aunts, there have been no end of  ‘where it went wrong’ articles  seeking to assist Labour in this endeavour, so ten minutes hate has cut through the chatter to bring you two of the best.

The first is from Max Dunbar and targets two key points: the reaction to ‘dog-whistle’ scapegoating of welfare claimants and immigrants and the expansion of the intrusive security state, neither of which pleased the right-wing nor garnered much support on the left.  We have indeed reached a pretty pass where the coalition government can claim to be on the left of the previous government on its prison sentencing policy.  (H/T to Chicken Yoghurt for the link.)

The second article is a longer piece by Ross McKibbin, which begins with an intriguing break down of the electoral results.  It is interesting to learn that:

Despite very favourable circumstances the Conservative vote is proportionately much lower than it was in 1992

as well as hear of:

the continued failure of the Conservatives to make any gains among voters in the AB classes – the upper and solid middle classes, 57 per cent of whom voted Labour or Lib Dem, in almost equal proportions. In 1987, for the first time, the majority of those with university degrees didn’t vote Conservative, and they have not been won back

In spite of all the propaganda, it seems we are not heading straight back to the 80s and Thatcherism red in tooth and claw.  Which is almost a shame for the Labour Party, as it would make life, electorally at least, much easier for them.  They know how to fight those battles.  Instead, they are going to have to engage in some careful thought to bring about a reversal in their electoral fortunes.  One reason for so many differing opinions on the matter being aired is that there are a litany of different areas to choose from – was it the NHS, immigration, education – and each commentator has their own pet reason for the loss.  Mr McKibben cuts through all of these when he urges the Labour Party back to basic principles:

There are moral lines no social democratic party should cross and Labour has repeatedly crossed them. The result has been policies that are socially and morally objectionable as well as politically futile

A recognition of such would be a good place to begin.  Then they could approach the problems so concerning the leadership candidates from the correct angle.  This will require a deeper understanding of the issues than can be gathered from the tabloid front pages:

Those who worry about immigration usually claim that immigrants take British jobs and/or British houses. Neither is actually true; what is true is that there is an acute shortage of social housing, and that Labour connived at the shortage…  the housing shortage was, therefore, a source of real social deprivation

Let’s see if Labour can meet that challenge and avoid the temptation of a return to the old habits of setting policy by whatever plays best with the Sun, Mail and Express editors.  To use an overwrought footballing metaphor, there is everything to play for…

[tweetmeme only_single=false http://10mh.net%5D

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

2 Comments

Filed under Minipax

I love Migrants

Remember when I wrote this post about the French campaign, a day without immigrants? Well, along with fish and chips, chicken jalfrezi and our own Royal family, this is yet another bloody good idea to make it to Britain from foreign shores.

The ‘I love migrants’ campaign has been developed by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants to outline the facts around migration and help people show their support for people who have come here from elsewhere.  My particular favourite fact is this one:

The British Isles were completely empty until humans returned around 14,700 BCE. The land would by definition have been discovered by a migrant. St George was most likely born in what is now Turkey.

When your Queen, your Saint and your national dish all come from somewhere else, I feel it is time to start embracing your status as a citizen of the world, while junking outmoded nineteenth-century concepts of nationalism.  Now if someone could just explain that to the Daily Heil…
[tweetmeme only_single=false http://10mh.net%5D

6 Comments

Filed under Minitrue

Suffer, little children

If you should find yourself musing on the immigration question this election-tide and wondering if we are, in fact, in danger of being swamped, seen as a soft touch or provider of free swan burgers to all the world’s poor and huddled masses, reassure yourself with this story:

M was arrested, and locked up in Cardiff Bay Police Cells, in extreme distress, dwarfed in man-sized padded clothing to protect him from self-harm. His seat was booked on a flight bound for Afghanistan…

In the dark early hours of Tuesday 2nd March, M was taken with an adult detainee by caged van on the 109 mile journey from Cardiff to Oxfordshire and Campsfield House, an adult detention facility run by the government’s commercial partner Serco. He shared a dormitory with seven men.

M is 14.  Except the authorities think he is lying and he is actually an adult.  See what you think of the picture accompanying the story.

You could argue that we can’t take in everyone that wishes to come here.  You could mention that harsh treatment is an essential deterrent.  But if you try to argue that terrified children should be taken from their beds in the early hours, caged and told they are being sent back to the war zone they have fled, I would think that you had lost all touch with what it is to be human.  May you be lucky enough never to be in need of compassion from strangers!

Bookmark and Share
[tweetmeme only_single=false http://10mh.net%5D

5 Comments

Filed under Minipax

A day without immigrants?

So it appears that the Tories might be about to blow the immigration dog-whistle again. If true, an article I read today over on Liberal Conspiracy regarding a day of action in France called ‘a day without immigrants‘ has special poignancy.  The campaign encouraged:

anyone who is an immigrant, of immigrant origin, or who feels solidarity with immigrants and wanted to contest their treatment to take these three simple measures [to stay at home, protest and spend nothing] for just one day

I would love to see something similar happen here.  During recent teaching practice, I was lucky enough to meet a number of people from outside the UK.  I realised that, while there is nothing universal about people’s reasons for being here – an au pair on a short visit from Eastern Europe to practise her English before returning to university has little obvious in common with someone unable to return home – they often have a shared experience in how they have been treated since they arrived.

Sadly, for our image of ourselves as a nation committed to upholding standards of justice and fair-play, these notions don’t seem to be universally extended to immigrants.  Instead we detain them in terrible conditions, ensure that this frosty welcome is also extended to children and then have the gall to attack them for living a cushy life (search the Mail website, I haven’t the heart to link to them).  It is little surprise that some are driven to desperate measures.

So maybe the Tory call to arms over the issue is a good thing.  If they want to fight on this ground for yet another time, I say let them.  After all, coalitions of determined, caring people have been beating anti-immigration campaigns with fascist overtones on the streets of Britain since the 1930s.  There is a case to be made here as in France, of the benefits that recent and historic immigrants have made to our society.  And if you believe, as I do, that immigration can be of benefit, make sure you are au fait with all the issues and ready to join in with the scrap.

Bookmark and Share

[tweetmeme only_single=false http://10mh.net%5D

4 Comments

Filed under Minipax