What a shame nobody seems to have noticed the article This Blog published on the real reasons for anti-immigrant sentiment, last Saturday (October 1).
Its point was that UK citizens resent foreign nationals who come to the UK to work, because they have been taught that the incomers will use up the scant social resources left to this country. The elephant in the room is the fact that those resources are being rationed by the Conservative Government – they call it “austerity” – in order to keep the money that would have funded it for themselves.
The by-product of this is that poor people – the Tories make no distinction between UK and foreign nationals who don’t have much money – fight among themselves for the scraps.
The latest policy, outlined by new Home Secretary Amber Rudd in her Tory conference speech, is intended to worsen relations between UK citizens and immigrants.
Look at the language used in the Times article. The plan is to “shame” bosses who employ immigrants instead of the British, and there are plans to “target” students from outside the EU as well.
The Tories seem to be deliberately failing to mention – in this and Jeremy Hunt’s recently-announced plan to increase training of NHS doctors by 25 per cent – that the UK currently needs immigration in order to function.
George Orwell had it right, no less than 70 years ago, in 1946:
We still have a serious labour shortage; the baby-boomers have all retired now, and the indigenous population of the UK is falling. That means the working population cannot support – with its taxes – those who have earned a comfortable retirement.
Nobody explains this to the public so we still, 70 years later, have people who believe foreign workers undercut their wages and that the UK is overpopulated and this causes unemployment. It is believed that this is the main reason a majority of UK voters said the country should leave the EU – concern about immigration, not the numbers themselves.
Most Tories like it that way, which is why no effort is being made to raise the general level of political understanding as Orwell suggests; an educated working class is a threat to their dominance.
Unfortunately, it seems they are in tune with somebody in the Labour Party press office, who either didn’t see the memo that Jeremy Corbyn opposes restrictions on immigration – for precisely the reasons outlined above. Cutting the number of migrant workers would crash the UK economy.
Nevertheless the Labour press office sent out this infographic, attacking the Tories for failing to cut immigration:
It is symbolic of the wrong kind of thinking – that Labour must oppose everything the Tories do, in the most basic, binary way, when an intelligent response, suggesting plausible alternatives, would be much better.
With Labour going off-message – due to yet another sabotage attempt by an anti-Corbyn agent, perhaps? – opposition to the new policy has come from the businesses affected, leader Ms Rudd to protest, “Don’t call me a racist”; and from Anna Soubry, of all people.
Sadly, both responses play right into the hands of those who devised the policy. If businesses are calling Ms Rudd a racist, then they are drawing dividing lines; and Ms Soubry attacks what she called the “hypocrisy” of ordinary people who say they want their country back: “Some of these people are the ones who say: ‘I don’t like all that foreign muck, what are we having for tea tonight? Chicken tikka masala’ and then go off for an Italian, but then say: ‘We don’t want all these foreigners’.”
And there is a more sinister aspect to this.
In an atmosphere of xenophobia and distrust of both immigrant workers and those who employ them, any firm that admits it employs foreign nationals – even if the business depends on them for very specific reasons that mean their work cannot be done by homegrown talent – that firm becomes a target for abuse, racist or otherwise.
We are already seeing people with disabilities being asked to differentiate themselves from others – by wearing a badge on the London Underground, for example (how’s that scheme going, by the way?) – in a manner that has disturbing echoes of Germany in the 1930s.
One well-known member of the Twittersphere made this very point: “Coming soon, mandatory armbands and stars on coats.”
The foreigner, the sick and disabled… the other. UK government policy is now to single out anybody who isn’t “one of us” (for want of a better phrase) and then vilify them, ostracise them, drive them out (and possibly to their deaths in the case of the sick and disabled).
All this on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, when good people stood up against the British Union of Fascists – who held the same beliefs.
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