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February 05, 2017

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Jonathan da Silva

The Yvette Cooper who this week was found to be part of a Govt that illegally along with all since detained immigrants to screw up their Asylum requests? One can say I judge these people on their worst but I would not even be getting started on any of the Labour ministers at that point.

So yes she should stick to economic arguments albeit not sure she/Nu Labour has more credibility on that. (I did start a sentence with so. So sorry).

Indeed Corbyn at present providing a good excuse for mainstream Labour's lack of ideas or any clue what to do?

Luke

"We’ve selectively read Wealth of Nations and ignored the Theory of Moral Sentiments Institute."

To me, Sam Bowman will from now always be "Sam Bowman, director of the WSRWONAITTOMS Institute." (Maybe unfair to pick on him.)

tom

if you have an economy driven my consumer spending, indifference to the provenance of consumer spending is probably expedient, though not necessarily wise.

Perhaps, there isn't an issue about immigration but one about what counts as good news about our economy.

Jim

Where you are going wrong is seeing the concerns that many have about immigration as racism. While for a very few it might be about race, for the majority its about culture and the destruction of their native culture and its replacement by that of the immigrant. I don't think most people give a toss about the colour of people's skin, what they do care about is whether people who come here make an effort to fit in with British culture and adopt it, rather than demanding to keep the culture of the country they left behind and want to impose that on the natives. That is what people are hacked off with.

e

A heartening blog. Technocratic talk doesn't change minds, but it certainly frames the agenda and excludes. It seems to me more than a tad disingenuous for any Labour person to maintain anti-immigration as the number one issue here. Many decades of TINA, coupled with Austerity explicitly sold on the need to reduce the weight placed on public services is tantamount to telling hard working natives, who don't enjoy political scholarship, that the problem is too many people and if its not them its us. Well meaning 'informed' liberals (anti-Corbyn of course, hehe muffled laughter ) are using working class and populist vote interchangeably with anti-immigrant, thereby closing down opportunities to widen debating points. Would this be their bigotry or their determination to maintain a managerialist approach to what's seen as an inevitable slide into Neo-Serfdom? Or more likely its I'm alright Jack, this job of simply administering new forms of Conditionality to you all is great fun.

aragon

Yvette Cooper wouldn't like the result of a debate on immigration.
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

There is nothing to discuss the with regard to the collapse of capitalism. The causes are:

1. Financialisation.

2. Maximising Shareholder value.

3. Automation.

The solutions are equally simple too.

The Left in the Labour Party have nothing to offer, and the Blairites/Brownites even less.

The two candidates to replace Jeremy are a apparently an economist/journalist supported by Paul Mason or a London Lawyer supported by Harriet Harmen.

I don't know if that gives you hope. However, I don't think New Zealand will let me in.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/apocalypse-soon-why-tycoons-are-buying-their-way-into-new-zealand/news-story/968557032a1f5b18dafcd8d1152acfdf

aragon

Labour are going ahead with a basic income:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/john-mcdonnell-interview-labour-brexit-jeremy-corbyn-polls-conservatives-theresa-may-a7562606.html

"During the summer of 2016 he suggested he could "win the argument" on basic income within the Labour party but now he intends to publish a report on the idea with Guy Standing, one of his economic advisers and a founding member of Basic Income Earth Network – established in 1986 to encourage discussion on the topic around Europe."

Having just listened to Torsten-Bell (A former Labour Party adviser)

www.ideasfestival.co.uk/events/basic-income/

I despair at the lack of understanding, and therefore the ability to execute. I shall have to wait for the public document.

b

"We’ve selectively read Wealth of Nations and ignored the Theory of Moral Sentiments Institute"

love this

nicholas

The problem with Chris's contention is that while he is able to control what is debated on, say, his blog or round his own table, he cannot control the debate his fellow citizens are already having. The proverbial 'man in the street' is already debating immigration with other 'men in the street'. UKIP know this, and are threatening to pinch a lot of Labour votes. Yvette Cooper is presumably simply recognising this fact, and also recognising that these 'men in the street' are also dis-satisfied with the fact that their concerns are not being addressed.
Yet Chris is also right that the debate is dis-honest. A lot of people's concern's about immigration are not economic. Yet Chris himself then tries to curtail this debate with his assertion that anti-immigrationists simply don't like foreigners. Its much more complicated than that. For example, suppose people find that their work group is 90% east european, and they cannot understand the day to day conversation that is around them. Perhaps they then feel uneasy, or discover the fraternity they once enjoyed in their workplace or neighbourhood is no longer present, or is much reduced. Such things are intangible but are real , and are significant to the people affected. It is not fair for people who are not affected - like Chris- to dismiss these concerns as simply that such people 'don't like foreigners', with all the moral judgement that implies. Why, one might start to think he is not a proper Marxist at all, but in fact part of the liberal elite....

Ralph Musgrave

Chris is right to describe the immigration debate as “mindless drivel”. A classic example of that drivel is produced by Chris himself three sentences later when he makes the idiotic and insulting claim that “the brute fact that many people just don’t like foreigners”.

Really? Any actual evidence for that? I’d guess that most people’s desire to limit immigration stems from a desire to preserve the British way of life, culture, identity and so on. Very few people “hate” Muslims: they just want them to stay in Muslim countries where they can enjoy the wonders of their allegedly superior culture.

When Tibetans try to preserve their way of life, lefties like Chris go all dewey eyed. But then Tibetans have brown skin, which according to leftie racist thinking means Tibetans can do no wrong.

Keith

Off course the problem may be that Labour cannot talk about how to improve capitalism, rather than migration, as they have no idea how to improve the working of capitalism. Most policy under Blair and Brown assumed capitalism now works well and only tweaks are needed thanks to "the great moderation."
Now that the moderation and endogenous growth have disappeared after the world banking crisis something more interventionist is needed but not forthcoming. Cooper and her hubby and the blairites do not want to discuss redistribution or nationalisation etc or a rational housing policy. By offering nothing very left wing there is nothing to do but try unsuccessfully to out ukip ukip. It is this that is the problem. Corbyn and macdonald have filled a vacuum where the rest of the Labour party should have been. The PLP only have themselves to blame if they dislike the leadership, as they are a zone devoid of ideas.

nicholas

Keith, you are bang on the money. But, in fact so is Chris.
Old Labour policies advocated by Corbyn are proven failures. Proven repeatedly, in many countries. Yet the existing regime is not delivering either.
And no-one seems to have any ideas.
This is what Chris means when he says we must address 'secular stagnation', but I have kindly translated that in to English for him.

Ralph Musgrave

Quite right Keith. What is totally bizarre here is that as a supposedly “far right” individual (I stood for the BNP once), I’ve devoted a large amount of time and money advocating a particular left of centre policy, namely nationalising the money creation process (though not necessarily nationalising banks). That “nationalise money creation” is essentially the policy that Positive Money pushes.

You’d think that was a no-brainer for the political left. But not a bit of it. They’re not interested. Part of the explanation is that this issue is quite complicated: it requires a fair amount of reading and study. That’s too much like hard work for the large number of lefties who find it more emotionally satisfying screaming insults like “racist”, “xenophobe”, “fascist” at all and sundry.

Even more bizarre: one of the individuals that lefties love to hate (Milton Friedman) also advocated that “nationalise the money creation process”.

Tynnie Todgers

Some of the "technocrats" simply confuse their anodyne models of capitalism with reality (economist's disease). Anyone on the left citing them should cross the floor.

The more empirical studies almost invariably look for correlations with immigrant density. These still don't address the reality workers face. It isn't the presence of immigrants which depresses wages but the ease with which workers -of whatever ethnicity- can be replaced. If your employer *could* replace you with someone who'll accept £x/hr, then you won't hold out for much more. Your wage is thus depressed without anyone even boarding a plane.

That said, the impact of immigration is still no doubt exaggerated, not least by racists.

TowerBridge

Chris is essentially correct. I have noticed commentators (even on this blog!) attempt to cover up their own prejudices (and everyone has them so I am not taking any sides here) with comments on how immigrants effect the economy etc.

I understand Jim's fear of being in a room and no-one speaking your language. I think this image is a fear everyone has and everyone can readily identify it, but it is our responsibility (to ourselves more than anything) to understand where it comes from and whether it is justified. In that, we only have to look at the area with the most immigration and which ways they vote to conclude that it is not a fear which plays out.

Further, and a worthwhile contribution to this "debate" is education, and by that I mean education on who we (those who live and were born in the UK) are and the role immigration (and emigration - a notable exception to any debate in this area and as we do not keep records, we do not know who is leaving) has played in shaping who we are. There are not many people today who are born without ancestry from the Hugenots, the Jews of central and Eastern Europe (incidentally, one of whom founded Marks & Spencer), the Irish, the Germans, the Italians (who were the inspiration of street gangs of Dickens' Oliver Twist) and many others. After the war around 150,000 polish settled in the UK (in a rare bout of welcoming they were resettled in a planned and orderly fashion despite local opposition). I would bet some of the commentators on this board have links to them as the inter-marriage rate was high (although not as high as the Irish). Whilst these people came to these shores (esp. Jews escaping Germany like Sigmund Freud) they suffered the same kind of attacks immigrants suffer at the moment. If you covered up the descriptions, it would be hard to tell when a segment of newspaper was written in some cases (I need not mention the infamous Daily mail's brown shirts support. A horrible rag). The idea of immigrants not mucking in or integrating is a familiar and old charge, which was levelled at the Jews, the Indians, the Irish even. One bunch of immigrants who have never really integrated are the Chinese (think Chinatowns in cities). It is interesting that such accusations are never pointed at them, perhaps because it’s a dishonest charge and is covering up something else.


Quite obviously, once you devote system 2 to this operation, it is impossible to conclude that any refugees coming here are mostly going to be middle-class or skilled. Who else can afford to pay the fees, bribe the officials and secure the means to transport themselves across countries? These people have a lot to offer and so far, the "debate" excludes this. Much like the Hugenots contributed to the manufacture of clothing and wool, sails and ship building (handy if you want to be a colonial power) there is little doubt that newer immigrants bring something else.

Guano

I don't think that Yvette Cooper really wants a debate. It is a way of her signalling her "concerns" without committing herself to anything.

If anything, she wants those of us who think that the immigration problem is exaggerated (and certainly not worth leaving the Single Market to solve) to keep quiet.

As Stephen Bush said in that article, she should be proposing some practical solutions but that would mean taking a position (and defending it against either the Daily Mail or economists) and she wants to avoid that.

Richard Corbett MEP is one of the few politicians to offer an outline of a solution.

Aarthi Rengarajan

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