Labour have said the unsayable on migration. But do they really have the guts to crack down?
Last updated at 1:48 AM on 20th October 2008
Two days ago Immigration minister Phil Woolas said the government was to get tough on migration but he has since backtracked
Well that didn't last long, did it! Two days ago the Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas, said the hitherto unsayable.
The Government would put a limit on the rate of immigration, he said, because with so many people about to lose their jobs the question of immigration would become 'extremely thorny'.
Immigration policy would become tougher. Britain's 60million population would never be allowed to go up to 70million. 'It's been too easy to get into this country in the past and it's going to get harder,' he pledged.
These remarks immediately detonated the expected explosion from the usual suspects. Labour MPs postured, unions fumed, the race lobby had to lie down in a darkened room. With his 'potentially inflammatory' remarks, Woolas was pandering to xenophobia and 'Right-wing extremists'.
By yesterday morning the skid marks were all over the road. On TV, the minister backtracked. It appeared that when he had talked about a new immigration limit he didn't actually mean a new limit, good gracious, no! He had meant instead that the Government's very wonderful existing policy would itself create the right limit.
This was curious since, as Woolas himself had said: 'I've been brought in to be tougher and to change perceptions.'
So just how was he going to be tougher? Well, he would more toughly implement his predecessor's altogether admirable and perfectly formed policy. Yet that policy, which merely gives preference to skilled over unskilled immigrants, will not cut the overall numbers at all.
After a mere 24 hours in which the truth had been blurted out, it had apparently become unsayable once again.
There are three possible explanations for this erratic behaviour. The first is that Woolas, a man whose genuine horror of racial prejudice sits side-by-side with a commendable tough-mindedness unusual in his party, was flying a kite of his own, only for it to be abruptly brought down.
The second is that the Immigration Minister, acting at the behest of Downing Street, was conducting a cynical spin operation to win brownie points with a Middle Britain that is beside itself with fury and despair over immigration levels – mere mood music with no intention of putting a 'tougher' policy into practice.
The third is that his remarks did indeed represent a genuine shift in Government policy – it was Gordon Brown, after all, who startled everyone by announcing a policy of 'British jobs for British workers' – and that on TV the minister merely signalled a tactical retreat to minimise the fall-out.
In support of that last explanation, despite Woolas's absurd verbal contortions on TV, he nevertheless said the Government would break the current link between coming to Britain on a work permit and getting permanent residency here almost as a matter of course. That is a specific pledge which would represent a highly significant change of policy.
Moreover, whatever the motivation, his original comments have opened Pandora's box. Crucially, for the first time a minister has actually linked immigration to the increase in Britain's population.
Until now, the Government has been silent about this connection. Small wonder: once the link is admitted, the explosive fact that mass immigration is literally changing the face of this country becomes undeniable.
According to projections, by 2031 England's population will increase by nearly ten million – and no less than 70 per cent of that increase will be made up of immigrants.
The country simply can't cope with these numbers, requiring the equivalent of seven new cities the size of Birmingham over the next 25 years.
Not only will Britain soon become the most crowded country in Europe, but with most of this increase made up of immigrants its very identity will change irrevocably .
This prospect, it cannot be said loudly enough, is the outcome of the reckless and highly ideological policies pursued since 1997 by the Labour Government.
Ministers claimed immigration would boost the economy and produce a more tolerant multicultural society – without ever asking the electorate whether it wanted its country transformed in this manner.
In fact, multiculturalism has merely set ethnic and religious groups against each other and risks tearing society apart. And the so-called benefits to the economy are nothing of the kind.
The argument that only immigrants will do jobs that indigenous Brits won't touch has it precisely backwards. It is because the state pays indigenous Brits to live on welfare that immigrants have to be brought in to do the jobs the Government funds its own citizens not to do.
Gordon Brown's loudly trumpeted three million new jobs have barely dented the jobless total that Labour inherited
Disgracefully, the Government has in fact used immigration to avoid reforming welfare. Gordon Brown's loudly trumpeted three million new jobs have barely dented the jobless total that Labour inherited.
Four out of five have gone to new immigrants instead.
The result is already high levels of unemployment – now set to rise sharply due to the financial crisis.
In these circumstances, the risk that immigrants will be victimised by racially inspired violence is so obvious it is inconceivable that the Government would not be as worried as Phil Woolas suggested.
Yet until now, ministers have shamefully joined in the vilification of those who have pointed out the devastating consequences of their immigration policy and who are routinely demonised as 'racists' for telling such uncomfortable truths.
Recently, cracks have appeared in this facade. The Government's economic argument was blasted out of the water by the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, which concluded that there was no evidence 'that net immigration generates significant economic benefits for the existing UK population'.
And a cross-party group has been formed calling for 'balanced migration', meaning that the number of new immigrants should be no higher than the number of British citizens leaving the country.
Despite the patent decency of the members of this group, such a position still provokes the knee-jerk smear of 'racism'.
The absurdity of this was recently underlined by an opinion poll which revealed not only that some 85 per cent of the population supported tougher immigration controls, but more than 70 per cent of immigrants themselves did so as well.
After all, no country has ever been expected to open its borders to everyone – because no country has previously been expected to commit demographic suicide.
What is inflammatory is not remarks such as those made by Phil Woolas, but immigration at such a level that it destroys national cohesion and integrity.
It is such immigration – the product of an ideology which seeks to replace nations by trans-national government and values – which is fuelling the rise across Europe of genuinely racist parties, which are moving into the vacuum left by regular politicians who have abandoned the defence of national identity.
The people who are really driving the British and European public into the arms of true racists are all those who vilify as a bigot anyone who merely seeks to preserve national identity and social cohesion.
Having connived for so long at the covert transformation of Britain by mass immigration, both Labour and the Tories are now looking aghast at the results.
Rhetoric, however, is not enough. Stopping the rot will require difficult measures.
Only if Phil Woolas's remarks are followed by actual policy changes will we finally know whether we have just been subjected to yet more cynical spinning, or the much devalued British penny has finally dropped.
Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below?
Ms. Phillips, you have hit the nail on the head again! Just look at the mess the country is in thanks to Phoney Tony and his cronies, and Gordon Brun is the worst of them! Is the UK even a sovereign nation anymore given that people can just drift in and out unchecked, because we have become borderless? We need strong borders and ban those who want to kill us from entering this country and leaving EU us the only way it can ever happen! Until the public take to the streets and demand a referendum to leave E-USSR, none of the major parties intend to act to stop mass immigration!
– S.C., Manchester, England, 20/10/2008 09:39
Its a soundbite to direct attention off the economy. Labour have always been pro uncontrolled immigration so it shows their desperation. Why we simply do not have a New Zealand style policy which is fair and flexible is a mystery to me.
– roger Kingston, york, 20/10/2008 09:35
'Labour have said….'
That about sums up the bunch of buffoons masquerading as a government. Usually it's a mixture of warm words, whimsy and wishful thinking – revisit the recent article by the Grand Intellect (aka Buggins Brown) himself on the outlook for the UK economy.
What Woolas will now probably 'do' is to launch a thorough 'review' of immigration issues and in turn this will produce some other talking shop.
As usual, nothing much else will happen until action cannot be avoided, at which point steer clear of the fan because the consequences of inaction will not good for society.
– m collins, Leeds, England, 20/10/2008 09:24