Monday, 12 December 2016
Don't appease Ukip. Keep freedom of movement.
I flip flop a bit on immigration. On the whole I think it better to have a system capable of tackling the more antisocial aspects of it than to set about ruinously expensive and bureaucratic border controls. I'd start with tackling overcrowding in houses of multiple occupation, prosecuting exploitative landlords who allow foreign temporary workers to undercut citizens. I'd then look at re-establishing effective noise pollution prosecutions and actually do something about people blasting out loud music. It's not just immigrants obviously but it is an overall good if they are not reputed to be noisy and antisocial.
Then there's the things that make residents uncomfortable. Work gangs using supermarket entrances as assembly points is one of the most visible symptoms that make people feel like we're being swamped with immigrants. A bit of intelligent council planning ought to fix that. Same for the human detritus cluttering up Marble Arch which gives the Daily Mail its periodic hate fodder.
On the whole though I do not think immigration concerns should dictate our course of action for Brexit. Ukippers represent only a quarter of leave voters and if you will pardon my frankness, Ukippers can go and fuck themselves. Farage set about winning the million or so BNP votes at the last general election and did so by conflating freedom of movement with open borders. It's a lie and it needs to be robustly challenged.
For the most part my experience of Polish people in the UK has been almost universally positive. There's even one I love dearly. And though it may be a cliché to say it but they do the jobs we don't want to do; computer programming, human resources and accountancy.
It;s all very well saying we should train up our own but business needs people now. Our nuclear industry is crying out for skilled nuclear engineers and the same can be said for aerospace and all the other areas where we are making major investments. In this, even casting the net Europe wide isn't enough. In this we need to be asking why universities are not supplying that demand.
More to the point, when you look at who Ukippers are complaining about it invariably tends to be Muslims. What possible use is closing down European freedom of movement? Refugees and economic migrants without an EU passport cannot get here let alone work here legitimately. We need to be closing down the human rights loopholes that allow south Asians to bring in their entire families. That is more akin with open borders than EU freedom of movement.
Further to this, if you did want to bring down immigration you have to do it with a number of surgical policy interventions rather than expecting it can be done with a silver bullet. The one thing we have done to deter EU immigration is immediately devaluing the pound by voting to leave. That will probably do more to stem the flow than any quota system.
Meanwhile, the "points based immigration" meme is just an empty nostrum. Nobody can add flesh to the bones because its just a talking point that politicians bandy about because they are otherwise out of ideas. The idea that the state has any notion of what people industry needs outside the main concerns is laughable. Such systems are rapidly out of date, unresponsive and end up excluding exactly the sort of people we want.
Even then Muslim immigration is not really that big a deal. The kippers spew their bilge about Muslim rape gangs but it looks like the Football Association isn't exactly kosher either. The short of it is the dirty old men in pyjamas are a dying breed here in the UK. Their offspring are almost entirely Westernised and because as a rule they're not swilling ale and taking party drugs they are wealthier - and it certainly shows in Bradford which is no longer the slum it once was.
Part of the reason Bradford had two consecutive lost decades was due to an exodus of talented people. London may be overcrowded but the rest of our cities can only get better with more people and if integration is your worry then we want more people from Eastern Europe. As to concerns about London overcrowding, fuck London. If you don't like it, don't live there. It's shit anyway and most Londoners are total wankers. I'd rather be swamped with Romanian trailer trash than Londoners.
As to Muslims, I can vent my spleen about Muslim ghettos with the best of them, and I don't deny they exist and something should be done - but that something definitely isn't ending European freedom of movement.
Furthermore, why would we want to close down such a good thing? Last year I was flown out to Amsterdam for a job interview. If I hadn't been the second best candidate, I would now be working overseas enjoying myself a lot more than I am now. This required no paperwork, no hassle and required no forms to be filled in. I see no compelling reason to change that.
And if we are talking about putting our own people into shit jobs out in the fields instead of paying them benefits, that is a total misreading of the unemployment statistics. As it happens there aren't that many people on the dole who necessarily could perform these tasks, not least by way of living in cities. The new Universal Credit system allows people a stay of execution so they can find jobs befitting their present skills which means they can find jobs that generate more tax revenue. It makes no sense to press people into jobs they don't want and can't keep.
If you want a good argument against freedom of movement it is that it facilitates people trafficking as it removes checks, but this can just as easily be tackled where it manifests - usually in prostitution. Just legalise it.
Personally I am thrilled to bits that we are leaving the EU. The EU is stupid idea and I look forward to its eventual demise. I just don't see the point of giving up on the one useful thing it has done for Europe. Yes, I want something done about immigration, but can it please be something intelligent? There are modifications we can make to freedom of movement to make it work better so we should try that first. I don't see why we should fuck ourselves over just to appease Ukip scum.