Coffee House

The question on immigration that Labour must answer before 2015

9 January 2014

4:16 PM

9 January 2014

4:16 PM

We don’t quite know what Ed Miliband would really do about a lot of things just yet: this is the year when he plans (and desperately needs) to set that out so Labour isn’t just an Opposition that complains about things being expensive but a party that voters can imagine governing. But it’s significant that one of the policy areas where Miliband has felt it is important to get a lot of detail out pretty early is immigration. He, and everyone around him, is acutely aware that though their personal instincts might be to argue for the benefits of mass immigration to this country, the voters, rightly or wrongly, aren’t quite so keen. I look at the party’s new tough stance on immigration for the politics column in this week’s Spectator.

There is a debate about whether a tougher stance on immigration is the right one to take, and interestingly it is being played out mainly by those on the right of the party rather than the left. But it is entirely understandable from a political perspective that Labour should look back at what happened in 2010 and feel that a different direction on immigration is needed. Some senior ministers were agitating for greater recognition of voter concerns about the social impact of immigration in the parliamentary party as far back as 2006, but it took Gillian Duffy and the drubbing at the polls to drive that home.

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For almost all the detail that the party has put out so far on where it stands on immigration, it’s worth reading Yvette Cooper’s speech to the IPPR in March 2013. She and colleagues are also considering plans for reform of freedom of movement in the EU which could form part of the party’s offer in the European elections on 22 May, I understand. This might be quite useful if, as currently expected, Labour does not go into that election campaign offering a referendum on Britain’s membership of Europe.

But for the 2015 campaign, there is one question that the party will have to answer that may confirm or undermine suspicions that voters have about where its heart truly is on this issue. The signs are currently that the Tories will not meet their target to cut net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’. But in the leaders’ debates, Cameron should still be able to get away with saying that immigration is down (it already formed one of the key achievements that his party plastered all over Manchester Central at the 2013 autumn conference), and that while the target wasn’t reached in this government, only by sticking with the Tories will voters be able to see immigration fall further. If Labour has either failed to commit to the flawed but tangible net migration target or failed to develop its own tangible target, then any tough-sounding language on this subject will also sound rather empty in the run-up to polling day.

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Show comments
  • James Allen

    Following Nick Robinson’s criticism of immigration coverage on the BBC, good to see Dateline on News24 about 30 mins ago with all 4 guests agreeing about the benefits of mass immigration and the perils of ministers marching to the UKIP beat.

  • Smithersjones2013

    But in the leaders’ debates, Cameron should still be able to get away
    with saying that immigration is down (it already formed one of the key
    achievements that his party plastered all over Manchester Central at the
    2013 autumn conference), and that while the target wasn’t reached in
    this government, only by sticking with the Tories will voters be able to
    see immigration fall further.

    Is Izzy totally gormless or utterly dishonest? The only way net immigration has fallen is from its highest point in September 2010 (2010 being the year of most net immigration ever recorded). Up until the end of 2012 net immigration for this government has been 643k (the 2nd highest in 110 years.

    Since the ‘low’ point (in this governments figures) in Sep 2012 reported net immigration figures have risen and the latest figure is 182,000. If that figure is carried forward until December it would mean the government would have already reached a net immigration figure of 825,000 during this term. This means net immigration is on target to exceed 1 million under David Cameron (especially if there is an influx of Romas and Bulgars over the next 12 months). Labour let in 2 million net migrants between 2000 and 2010. The rate at which the coalition have allowed net immigration is little different.

    The Tories can bang on about reducing immigration all they like but the net effect (what counts) is no different. Basically the Tories are doing what politicians do best. THEY ARE LYING!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25135418

  • crosscop

    Farage should pay a visit to Rochdale, arrange a meeting with Mrs Duffy and persuade her to abandon Labour on the grounds that Labour have long since abandoned her and the rest of the working class. It shouldn’t be too difficult – and it would be excellent publicity for UKIP.

  • Daniel Maris

    While the government has tried to turn the viewfinder on to Romanians and Bulgarians, the Times report today that 3 years ago (2011) the number of babies being born to Muslim women in the UK was already nearly one in ten. I would surmise the figure will probably be closer to 12% this year, on that basis.

    If you factor in continued outflows of UK non-Muslims (currently probably running at around 2 million per decade currently, but likely to rise substantially in my view, to perhaps 5 million) and continued inflow of new Muslim migrants, one could easily see the Muslim population reach 12-15% within 20 years. By then you really are at a bit of tipping point when people might become frightened for the future of their children and emigrate in ever greater numbers.

    The Times is not a racist rag – it is a sober journal. It clearly feels this, rather than the numbers of Buddhists or Mormons, is a newsworthy story. My sober view is that, if you want to avoid reaching the tipping point, you have to get to grips with Sharia and bring it under control, and show to people it is under control. You also need to reform the welfare system to disincentivise large families.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Where has Delingpole’s article gone? What price press freedom now, Spectator?

    Can we have another article on who put pressure on you to pull it and why?

  • atticus1900

    More likely than not Labour will not say anything on immigration, close their eyes and hope for the best.

    • 2trueblue

      Which is what they did whilst in power.

    • Agrippina

      You are prob right. I watched QT last night and Chuka Umanna said that 1st of all I want to talk about the wonderful contribution all the immigrants have made … so no they are not going to do or say anything to curb it. Which is quite funny because they think the religion of peace folks vote for them, save that Gallowaway has proved that is not the case and that will continue.

      At last the working class are discovering that labour have no interest in them & may vote for Ukip or for someone interested in their lot.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Its only taken 20 years (since Blair wrote them out of the Labour constitution with his Clause IV moment).

  • David Kay

    Lets not forget that the sweaty socks will vote to break away from the UK this year (please god) which pretty much means the end of socialism and the labour party in england.

    We then need to reinforce Hadrians wall to contain the socialist barbarians north of the border and deport the millions of scottish settlers who have colonised England

    • HookesLaw

      They won’t, but Salmond is praying for people like you to shout their mouths of loud enough for the voters to hear it.

      • David Kay

        after years of racist and bigoted abuse from backwards sweaty socks ive had enough of them. fcuk’em. Scotland is just full of drunks and smack heads anyway. Britain is the past, England is the future

        let them live in socialist paradise. you should join them hookey, you national socialists should spend eternity together

      • saffrin

        No problem, most people, south of the border at least, will be voting UKIP so it doesn’t matter.
        You hate mongers will have nowhere to go after May 2015 but jail.

  • Daniel Maris

    Labour sadly cannot have a sensible policy on immigration for a whole host of reasons, not least that so many of their people are pro-immigration and don’t see what the fuss is about.

    Only UKIP seem prepared to pull the brake on the “Casey Jones” special that is mass immigration. Flawed though they are, they are going to win a huge vote from people all around the country who find their children can’t obtain jobs or housing, their kids can’t get school place, their babies are being delivered in crowded and understaffed facilities, and they are being abused as “rac ists” for wanting to live within the bounds of their own culture, rather than being required to fit in with other people’s cultures.

    • HookesLaw

      UKIP have turned into an anti foreigner party. They have drifted away from why it first formed and now seek to sustain themselves by espousing hatred of anybody who is not white anglo saxon. Hate thy neighbour.

      • atticus1900

        I am white Anglo-Saxon and my wife is Asian. I will vote UKIP. Square that one.

      • Daniel Maris

        Whatever happens with UKIP will have been brought about by the 3 main parties, aided and abetted by most of the media.

        You’re making it about race – a dangerous strategy. It’s about numbers, culture, jobs, houses and hospitals.

        • Tim Reed

          Exactly – it’s about numbers.

          Few people were overly concerned about the issue before New Labour tore up the long standing convention that immigration be limited to tens of thousands per year.

          You can’t open the flood gates and not expect people to be worried about being drowned.

      • Smithersjones2013

        And they wonder why people have turned their back on the Tories? Hooky you are the perfect poster boy for Labour and UKIP. Every word you post says ‘NASTY PARTY’!

      • JackyTreehorn

        So they are ridiculed as being a one policy party and then ridiculed once they start to expand their policies. Anyway Immigration if you hadn’t noticed is one of the major problems with being run by foreigners. And stop with projecting your hatred on other people, your hatred for Conservatives and UKIPers is the only reason you hang around right wing blogs sights like a paedophile around a playground.

  • Daniel Maris

    My question is where did the Delingpole article go? – this comes up:

    “We have been unable to find the page you are looking for. Why not try one of the options below?”

    • Agrippina

      The article can be found by going to the Arts page and then television. It only has around 30 comments, for some unknown reason all the previous comments did not get moved over!

  • Bob Thomas

    Why is immigration “debated” as if it is not in the power of the government to change things? I know that the situation is complicated by our membership of the European Union, but two thirds of immigration is from countries outside the EU. The article posits that the Tory line maybe something like, “only by sticking with the Tories will voters be able to see immigration fall further”. More jam tomorrow. Most of the powers to affect change already exist if there is sufficent political will be enforce the law, yet the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems persist in the fiction that they are powerless and it simply a fact of life that Great Britain accept 0.5 million immigrants coming into the country every year.

    • Agrippina

      In part being in the EU is how the judiciary chooses to interpret the law. Thus in Rapallo Italy a judge has taken a 4yr old child into care on the basis the romanian mother is parasitic and using the child for housing and a passport to other benefits, instead of accepting the jobs she has been offered to improve their lot.

      Judge has said that she is putting the child’s psychological & physical health, aswell as her future prospects at risk by remaining on benefits instead of working.

  • Agrippina

    Prof Collier has said in his book that there should be a limit as to who and for how long should an immigrant/asylum seeker be permitted to stay, if at all.

    If someone is needed due to special skills and qualifications, so be it, for a short period of time, whilst a Brit is shadowing them to be in a position to take over. End of contract, exit the country, no right to spouse, kids, granny etc coming over to join them. Just like the Middle East, no citizenships handed out and you leave when the job ends.

    You also check to see who is coming in so the criminals are stopped at the Border. Kent Police disclosed that they have arrested 100 different nationalities in a period of 12mths to 2013.

  • Grey Wolf

    New Labour under Blair transformed the country forever by opening the borders to mass immigration. The ill-effect of that is most likely irreversible. Have the Tories made any significant dent in the pace of immigration? No, though there will be numbers bandied about.

    Tory-Labour are parties of liberal-progressivism, morally convinced of ‘wonderfulness’ of mass immigration. Furthermore, they are in the clutches of Cultural Marxists and Globalists who have benefitted from mass immigration.

    I don’t see any signs of reversal of the trends in immigration.

    • crosscop

      Old Labour under its founder Kier Hardie had this to say about immigrants –

      “let the foreigners be kept out. Dr. Johnson said God made Scotland for Scotchmen, and I would keep it so.”

      ‘their presence is a menace to the health and morality of the place and is, besides, being used to reduce the already too low wages earned by the workmen.”

      “their habits are very filthy, six or seven males occupying a one-roomed house”

      He also described foreign workers as living off “garlic and oil”, and inferred that they were carriers of “the Black Death”

      Strange that today’s Labour Party obviously wouldn’t have their own founder as a member because of his outspoken racist views. But then, only the BNP would dare to accept someone like Keir Hardie ( or indeed that old racist and Islamophobe, Winston Churchill) these days.

      • Agrippina

        Well health is an issue, most of the London hospitals are having to treat TB that is prevalent amongst immigrants living in overcrowded housing. Drug and drink abusers who are homeless and a sizeable proportion of them in the capital are immigrants.

        • 2trueblue

          TB had been practically eradicated in the UK. What is not mentioned is that we now have strains of TB that are resistant to the drugs that we have available, which are 40 yrs old. We have no power to insist that those with the disease take medication that is effective, or attend for treatment.

      • Daniel Maris

        Wow! What a brilliant find – do you have a citation for it…? – for purely historical research reasons, as the statements by Labour’s founder would now constitute hate speech.

  • HookesLaw

    if its harder for ‘our’ people to move then the net effect on immigration will be nil.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Absolute nonsense. There is no correlation between emigration and immigration unless every country in the world imposes the same migration laws (which in reality will never happen)..

  • Denis_Cooper

    “it took Gillian Duffy and the drubbing at the polls to drive that home”

    That drubbing was nowhere near as severe as it should have been, and most of it was actually inflicted at the hands of the LibDems, who are even madder about your “benefits of mass immigration” than Labour and the Tories.

    Look at the left hand end of the charts here, and you can see how support for the LibDems dropped from about 24% in May 2010 to about 10% by the end of that year, while support for Labour rose by about 11%, the red and yellow lines being more or less mirror images:

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

    I know that this is hard for some people to accept, but Cameron only became Prime Minister after that election because the LIbDems had successfully duped about 11% of the voters to temporarily support them rather than support Labour, and without that intervention Labour would have had a quite easy win and Brown would have been back as Prime Minister.

    • HookesLaw

      The LDs were in govt and were not an opposition party. There was only one opposition party not two to gain protest votes.

      • Denis_Cooper

        The LibDems did what the Tory party proved incapable of doing to the required extent – they persuaded large numbers of people to support them rather than support Labour. That is what made the difference between Labour winning yet another election and the Tories at least becoming the largest party in the Commons and so being in a position to form a coalition with the LibDems. If the LibDems had been as unappealing as the Tories to those people who were usually inclined to vote Labour but might be prepared to change their minds, then Labour would have once again sailed home with a handsome majority. It shows just how totally useless the present Tory party has become, that left to its own devices it could not even remove such a catastrophically bad government as the last Labour government; and if you look at the right hand side of the charts you will see that it has little chance of preventing Labour getting back in again.

        • HookesLaw

          Indeed they presented themselves as the anti politics party at a time of econimic crisis and political scandal. And then at the first opportunity went into government. Its no surprise that the idealists amongst their support deserted them.

          They in fact lost seats and their vote share barely changed. This at a time when left wingers might have been expected to desert Labour for the LDs. Tories put on nearly 100 seats.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Their vote share rose by 1% compared to 2005 but through the vagaries of the electoral system they still lost 5 seats; you boast about the Tories gaining nearly 100 seats against one of the most disastrous governments in living memory but forget that the LibDems helped that to happen by partly splitting what would otherwise have been the Labour vote, and you will not be able to rely on that happening again in 2015.

            • HookesLaw

              1% increase by the LDs in 2010 compared to 2005, that was ‘splitting’ the Labour vote in 2010?. 1% extra over 2005 when Labour had 91 seats more?
              Name the times the tories ever won more than 97 seats at a single general election. Name the times labour lost more than 91.

              I think in fact there were getting on for 20 seats where the UKIP vote denied tories a win. Whats insane is you want to do it again and give the country back to Labour. Your trouble is you have to pretend to keep your prejudice alive.

              • Smithersjones2013

                Name the times Tory Leader polled more than 10,7 million votes?

                Name the times when they didn’t?

                Projecting Ashcroft’s last poll 4 million Tory voters from 2010 have turned their back on the Tories. Only half that number have turned to UKIP. Cameron is on target to poll 8.5 million votes. The worst performance by any Prime Minister in 90 years and the 2nd worst performance by a Tory since Universal suffrage was introduced.

                And you think that is UKIP’s fault? You are even more deluded than your party in genera;!

                The Tories will lose for two reasons. Firstly they have been divided, dysfunctional and broken for 20 years.. Their brand is irrevocably tainted. Secondly David Cameron is a failure.

                The Tories will lose because fewer people support them today than have done for almost all their post victorian history

  • RavenRandom

    Don’t expect anything anytime soon from faux outrage single issue “ooh look at the price of that” Miliband. Unemployment, inflation, the EU, immigration, NHS… anything substantive? No just a few moans and a search for something to embarrass the government with.
    Miliband wants to win by stealth… in what genuine democracy should 35% of the vote give you a parliamentary majority?

    • HookesLaw

      One where idiots vote for UKIP…

    • 2trueblue

      And with the help from the LIbDums who did not keep their word on the boundary changes.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      One where the Cameroons split the UKIP vote.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “He, and everyone around him, is acutely aware that though their personal instincts might be to argue for the benefits of mass immigration to this country … ”

    Do you mean like the BBC always referring to “the benefits of the euro”?

    • HookesLaw

      Are the BBC ‘always’ if at all ever referring to the ‘benefits of the Euro’? I do see them reporting on the Eurozone crisis.
      (The BBC of course is I grant you institutionally left wing)

      • Grey Wolf

        As are the modern Tories – in the grips of progressivists and cultural Marxists.

        • HookesLaw

          Modern tories are marxists? These are the depths to which the delusional nutjobs have sunk in their self serving fantasies?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            I believe you’ll find that his post pointed out that the Camerluvvies are progressives and cultural marxists. That they are, laddie, just like all of the LibLabCon socialist clones. .

          • foxoles

            He said ‘cultural’ Marxists – it means they support political correctness. Which they undeniably do.

            • Smithersjones2013

              You always know when Hooky has no real answers. He starts abusing UKIP.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Yes, the BBC always referred to “the benefits of the euro”; if you didn’t notice that then you must have been asleep.

        • HookesLaw

          you have switched to the past tense.

          • Andy

            Far as I can see ‘the benefits of the Euro’ is a contradiction in terms. The Euro has been a complete and utter disaster just as some of us predicted.

            • HookesLaw

              Yes i agree. I am surprised it is still with us but it is. This leads me to think it is going to be permanent. I think the time for it to have been thrown out now has gone.
              Thats not to say we should join but it points to us having a different relationshio with a Eurozone EU.

              • Andy

                Not so. Currency Unions come and go. This one is comparatively young and the EU elite are still watching the mess unfold in Greece. But this is a political project and it will only fall to bits when the political balance changes. At the moment the ‘All for it’ camp have the weight, but you turn the clock forward another 10 years and it might not look so permanent then.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Greece is on the mend.

                  http://www.businessinsider.com/greek-pmi-2013-12

                  The Euro is more than a currency union, it is part of a political project that enjoys widespread support in Europe.

                • 2trueblue

                  When you have an organisation whereby countries with very small populations have more representatives per capita than countries with larger populations, the union can not be sustained.
                  However this week a senior EU official has seriously suggested that in the future the commission should act as the government, and have superiority over the EU parliament, and a senate consisting of representatives of each EU state, so much for democracy. This union can not last.

                • Daniel Maris

                  You just described the USA – 240 years and going strong.

              • Daniel Maris

                I’m not surprised – I was telling you lot for the last 3 years that the Euro would survive – because the political will was there. I was often the only voice making that point.

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