‘Anti-immigration talk is a “divide-and-rule” trick to distract from austerity’s attack on Britain’s poor’

Yanis Varoufakis.

Yanis Varoufakis.

One really strong pro-immigration argument is the fact that the UK has an aging population.

The “baby boomers” from just after World War II are now retiring and, with domestic birthrates decreasing (for whatever reasons), there might not be enough working people to sustain them if foreign workers weren’t allowed here.

Mr Varoufakis’ words have been supported by Labour’s John McDonnell, who said: “Inward migration often keeps our own economy afloat, filling the skills gaps and supporting our aging population to pay its way. I speak as the grandson of an Irish immigrant, and I have to tell you that it’s been the case for almost a century and a half that migrants have supported this economy and kept it afloat.”

Both of them, along with Green MP Caroline Lucas, have united to put forward a “progressive” case for voting ‘Remain’ in the EU referendum.

Their initiative – Another Europe is Possible – is a response to claims that activists on both sides of the debate have tried to mislead voters.

The Guardian reported: “On Friday Vote Leave, Britain Stronger in Europe and the Treasury were all accused of misleading voters in a report by a cross-party House of Commons committee.

“In an 83-page report, the Treasury committee particularly criticised the leave camp’s “deeply problematic” assertion that exiting the EU would save £350m a week that could be spent on the NHS, because it said that was a gross figure that made no allowance for the rebate and for EU contributions to the UK. The net figure would be about £110m a week, it said.

“The committee also said Britain Stronger in Europe campaign’s claim that the cost of imports could rise by at least £11bn in the event of Brexit was implausible and that its suggestion that 3m jobs are dependent on EU membership was ‘misleading’.”

Mr Varoufakis said Brexit is not the answer to the three issues that have dominated the referendum debate – sovereignty, EU regulations, and claims that immigration is harming public services such as health and education.

He claimed: “The reason public services are failing is the rolling austerity that cloaks a vicious class war against Britain’s poor; a war that would have happened even if the UK border were hermetically sealed.”

Another Europe is Possible expects to mobilise thousands of activists across the UK.

The anti-immigration tactics being used by the Leave campaign in the EU referendum amount to a “divide and rule trick”, Yanis Varoufakis has said.

The former Greek finance minister – who faced down EU institutions in his previous job negotiating with the Troika – said the British establishment was trying to use fear of immigrants to distract from the effects of austerity.

“Lest we forget: turning the native poor against migrant labour is a variant of the old divide and rule trick that the British establishment honed ages ago to dominate the empire,” he said.

“Today the establishment uses the same trick to dominate the domestic natives to hide austerity’s effects and to defect anger towards the ‘other’ – the migrant, the foreigner.”

The warning comes as the Leave campaign ramps up its anti-immigration rhetoric in a bid to deliver victory in next month’s referendum.

Source: Yanis Varoufakis warns that anti-immigrant rhetoric is being used to distract from austerity | UK Politics | News | The Independent


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5 thoughts on “‘Anti-immigration talk is a “divide-and-rule” trick to distract from austerity’s attack on Britain’s poor’

  1. Giri Arulampalam

    One needs a mature attitude when discussing issues relating to immigration. Unfortunately, in the UK immigration is mixed up(by dubious politicians & extremists) with crime, racism, unemployment and even asylum! They, are all different issues, which require specialist expertise (especially by those people who deal with related issues on a daily basis!).

  2. Jane Owens

    May I recommend Yanis Varoufakis’ interview on Privatization, Human Rights and Capitalism published in Truthout online. Also a video of the interview. Compare this intelligent, thoughtful and insightful man with some of the leading campaigners for Vote Leave.

  3. mohandeer

    The Brexit campaigners seem to be confused as to the true reasons why politicians on both sides are promoting leaving Europe. We have hardly any industry left since most of it has been privatised, mills and textiles industry, shipbuilding, the Tyne, where I come from, has a huge draught to allow for deep water ship launching, mining, farming, steelworks, car manufacturing and so many more examples of industry are now so diminished that we cannot compete against emerging economies who really do employ “cheap labour” and can sell their goods at a much lower rate. We are fortunate to be able to export and import from within Europe on pre agreed tariffs, without which we could not survive the market disasters which are cumulatively mounting. McDonnell is right, I also come from a family of Irish immigrants who were employed down the mines and Britain has always subsidised some industry with cheap labour. Gideons reckless austerity economic dash to the bottom is even more reason to be grateful that we can access with ease, the most crucial of all commodities, that being a workforce! The problems this country faces are manifold but will not be solved by leaving Europe, they will only exacerbate a worsening class war against the poor.

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