« GBBO & the nature of the firm | Main | Labour's advantages »

September 25, 2016


Patrick Kirk

Why is immigration such an obsession on the left? Its like your dream is of winning elections by replacing the electorate instead of making the people who already have the vote happy.


"the recognition that globalization was reducing wages at the bottom end of the labour market and increasing demand for graduates"

I'd be interested in your explanation of how it does this. Given that our manufacturing was being offshored, it certainly wasn't engineering and chemistry grads that were in increased demand.

Most degrees aren't used in employment, but recruiters use a degree as a rough proxy for intelligence and diligence. Expanding the number of graduates doesn't increase the number of intelligent and diligent people. In fact this number is likely to have fallen, as women's fertility is inversely linked to their level of education (again a rough proxy for intelligence, in developed nations).

Dave Timoney

Blairism was always about more than just the one man. What Reeves and Umunna show is that much of the living legacy is Mandelson's elitism and Campbell's instrumentalism, and thus a reliance on discredited practice to compensate for a lack of theory. They're going through the motions, hence the common perception that their comments on immigration are insincere and opportunistic.


"Why is immigration such an obsession on the left?"

Because people being demonised, physically attacked and killed for being foreigners is something people who tend to the left tend to worry about.


"Why is immigration such an obsession on the left?"

It is an integral part of the type of economy that the UK has at present. It would be nice if the UK economy wasn't based around the financial sector, and concentrated in the SE of England, but it is and for the time being there isn't much alternative. And controlling free movement of EU nationals will mean leaving the EEA, which will drive out a lot of the businesses that are part of that economy.

I have just been talking to one of Chuka's constituents who is actively researching moving his publishing business to somewhere else in the EU because his business model requires free movement of his staff and goods to the EU. And there's plenty more small businesses like that.


"We should therefore get out of the habit of calling Labour’s right “Blairites”. They don’t deserve such a good name."

It's a kind of bastard Blairism that is focused on winning elections at all costs, without consideration of the effects of the policy or how far away it is from Labour's core values. It is focused on avoiding criticism from Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and, maybe, getting support from those newspapers some time in the future.

It is related to the locking people up without trial, ID card, ASBO aspect of Blair's legacy.

Dave Hansell

"Today’s new realities are zero productivity growth and secular stagnation that require pro-growth policies; negative real interest rates that render activist fiscal policy feasible as well as necessary; job polarization that makes social mobility harder; the failure of top-down managerialism; and the shift in inequality from a high 90/10 ratio to a high take by the 1%."

Assuming "pro growth" here refers to traditional definitions and practices good luck with that approach in a context in which (a) the necessary requirements are absent as a result of the reality of a finite planet with finite resources which is fast exceeding capacity to deliver exponential growth; (b) where digital technology is taking unit productivity costs close to zero (see Paul Masons tract on Post Capitalism from last year; (c) profits continue to rise whilst wages drop in the opposite direction leading to a breakdown in the cycles identified and observed by Kondratiev; (d) the economy is being deliberately shifted back to a feudalist rental economy, with not just the tories but also the establishment faction from Her Majesty's loyal opposition actively cheering that process on and doing everything it can to strangle at birth any alternative that dares to poke its head above the parapet.

Two points on the issue of immigration, free trade and Europe:

1. A bit of quick research by anyone not so bone idle to bother will demonstrate that apart from one occasion in which Polish immigration topped the numbers will reveal that by far the largest groups of immigrants entering the country for year after year, decade after decade, have not come from Europe but the Commonwealth and other parts of the world. The point being if the numbers are a problem than the control point which has failed in those terms has not been Europe but our own Governments.

So why blame Europe for a problem in which the practical facts on the ground, the everyday reality, is that the UK Government, whatever administration, has been at fault - whether its down to managerialist so called money saving "efficiencies" and privatisation of public sector border agencies or a deliberate policy to appease corporate lobbyists whose only loyalty is the god of profit? (or both).

If immigration levels are seen as a problem it is reasonable to ask that those who see it as such at the very least identify the problem and the causes of that problem correctly rather than allowing themselves to be led by the nose into fervently believing its cause lies elsewhere, in this case Europe, by lobby interests with media publishing arms.

Perhaps Patrick Kirk could tackle that one?

2. Not arguing for or against one way or the other here but on the issue of free trade there needs to be some consistency. Free trade is not an a la carte menu to pick and choose which bits suit. You either believe in free trade or you don't. That means free movement of goods, services, capital and labour.

The point being that if an argument is going to be made that the free movement of labour element should be jettisoned because it is thought to cost too much in terms of lost jobs and impact on infrastructure than that argument needs to be accompanied with factual evidence which clearly demonstrates that the impact of free movement of labour has been more detrimental to peoples lives, job losses, lack of investment, impact on infrastructure etc etc than free movement of capital.

Once again, good luck to anyone attempting that exercise if they feel up to it given the impacts on our industry, wage levels etc arising from decades of free capital movement which has cost industry after industry and devastated communities many of whose members have seemingly allowed themselves to be persuaded that this is all the fault of immigration and free movement of labour rather than that of capital.

Is it too much to ask that the focus should be on the factor causing the larger problem rather than fixating like someone with OCD on steroids on the smaller problem? looking at the beam rather than the mote so to speak?


Chuka's pieces all read the same.

Lots of words which provide cuddles for his fans but ultimately no point. Even though I agree with him on this.


How about anti-democratic, power worshipping, careerist, backstabbing scumbags with blood on their hands, then?


You are using Blair as a reference as though he had some kind of consistency. He was a bastard who was power mad.

He did appeal to basic instincts: boomers and house prices.

The saddest thing is brits were happy to take rising asset prices and worry about immigration later once they'd filled their boots.


Doug, What do you really think of the Blairite War Criminals?


"Doug, What do you really think of the Blairite War Criminals."

I'm not Doug but I think that they are 21st Century Imperialists who would doubtless worship at the feet of Churchill and Rhodes.


not related but here's a link for Chris to mull over given stated views on effectiveness of fund managers.


gastro george

Umunna's latest piece in the Graun (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/25/the-need-to-be-relevant-is-now), while ostensibly looking forward, shows no sign of anything changing soon.

Essentially it's a long list of complaints, grievances and demands for the Corbyn camp to change. Otherwise it's the usual set of abstract nouns.

What it doesn't contain is any kind of reflection of Umunna's or the rest of the PLP rebels on how we got to this position and how to get out of it, especially how their behaviour might change.

Specifically I mean how Labour has lost 4 million votes and two general elections under their - the great electables - management.

The lack of self-analysis is symptomatic of the sense of entitlement and arrogance that oozes from every pore.

gastro george

And for a group who's mainly selling point (and complaint about Corbyn) is competence, this piece is interesting (https://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/the-corbyn-supremacy). A synpathetic report of the Smith campaign, it's hard to know if it is comedy or parody.

In response to the mobilisation of new members by Momentum:

"The group had to improvise its messaging and struggled to target potential voters: Progress members were phoned and asked to convince all their family to sign up to the party."

"One of the group’s key aims was to persuade people who had recently left Labour to rejoin and vote against Corbyn. Unfortunately it was discovered that one of the relatively common reasons people had stopped paying their Labour subscription was that they had recently died. This resulted in occasions where keen Saving Labour volunteers found themselves calling numbers to ask whether recently deceased individuals would be willing to rejoin the party to block Corbyn. The pitches did not necessarily go down well with their grieving relatives."

It's hard to over-emphasise the contradictions. The managerialists who are just hopeless. The incompetent Corbyn who apparently has this magnificent campaigning organisation and actually wins elections.


Gastro George - "Specifically, how Labour has lost 4 million votes and two general elections under their - the great electables - management."

I think that Chuka (and others who are, or want to be, close to the core Blairite group) would say that it wasn't under their management. I think they would say that losing the elections was the fault of Brown or of Miliband Minor, and if only Miliband Major had been leader then ....... something ... something ... victory. If you look at some of the tweets and comments following the mediocre article by Miliband Major last week, there is a lot of this pining for a lost leader who would (somehow, magically) replicate Blair's three elections wins.

In this article, Joanthan Freedland appears to be saying that there are not enough people going around muttering "Tony Blair won three elections". My view from the outside is that there are still to many people in the Party with that mindset.


gastro george

@Guano - the problem is that both commentators and politicians either believe their own mythology or are actively rewriting history.

A donkey with a hat would have beaten Major in 1997, and it was downhill from there (electorally). In 2005 Blair was losing the election until he moved the more popular Brown centre stage. Labour had no chance in 2010 after the crash. They are delusional or seriously devious.


"In 2005 Blair was losing the election until he moved the more popular Brown centre stage."

Yes, quite, and since then there have been numerous examples of people close to Blair undermining Brown and Miliband Minor. That has been one of the factors in the weakening of the Labour Party - people close to Blair continually trying to grab the controls.


"We should therefore get out of the habit of calling Labour’s right “Blairites”. They don’t deserve such a good name."

Tell that to the grieving relatives in Iraq.

You really are a colossal piece of shit.


The left are obsessed by immigration because they cannot have society coalesce around any totem except the state.

It is important to realise some of the base assumptions of the Left;
1. The only value of a person is as an economic input;
2. The highest attainment of the individual is intellect.
3. Economy is Science and science is unbiased and fair. (this view is rooted in pernicious proto-fascist doctrines advanced at the beginning of the 20th century by the likes of the Fabians and Eugenicists)

It follows then that Human Beings have no intrinsic value. In fact they are wholly expendable in pursuit of the great projects of State. (Utilitarianism)

Thus people or communities are not seen as useful or relevant. In fact, they see any organisation beyond their control as offensive. (as was recently displayed in the Brexit ref, they cannot conceive that their economic model might be wrong; All opposing forces are Racist or anti-Muslim or somesuch).
All must be reliant on the state, as the state is the arbiter of all that is good and just.
If you only value things in terms of their economic utility, then Religion, Race, Community, Family must all be swept aside in the name of Economy.
All are equal and every thug, deviant and fuckwit has an equal value. There can be no exception. The model State, and its assumptions, dictate this.

In times of trouble, Immigration dilutes and weakens parts the of society most likely to militate against this dogma. And so we have seen this occur.

It is no coincidence that just as modern Economics - thought, theory and practice - has been pulled asunder by the great crash, that the Left have begun to implode.
This is not confined to Britain, nor is it over.
Not by a long way.

tl;dr - the intellectual basis of the Left has been proven to be false, thus the totems crumble, leaving the people at the mercy of market forces; which they are now militating against.


"The left are obsessed by immigration .... "

I am not obsessed with immigration. My view is that it is the least problematic aspect of globalisation but the one that gets the most attention by the right.

gastro george

"The left are obsessed by immigration because they cannot have society coalesce around any totem except the state."

You have obviously never heard of trade unions, then.


Dave H - that was an interesting comment. I'd never really given enough thought to movement of capital.

TwytterName - I want whatever you are on. Mexican Haze?

gastro george

Daniel Davies has been posting some very interesting stuff on Twitter, which agrees with the OP, but in a subtly different way.

Essentially Blair was clever to spot his market at the end of the 90s, and his third way/triangulation pitch hit it perfectly. And the strategy worked, because it was new, and the first set of triangulations is novel. But the problem is that continuous triangulation doesn't work. You just end up looking principle-less and shifty, and the public doesn't trust you any more. Which is where the Labour Right ends up today.

Patrick Kirk

"If immigration levels are seen as a problem it is reasonable to ask that those who see it as such at the very least identify the problem...

Perhaps Patrick Kirk could tackle that one?"

The problem is identity. I'm an immigrant myself but it seems to me that people who live in strong communities with a clear identity want stay that way. Places like London where this sense of comminity never existed (apart perhaps from during the Blitz?) don't care about identity. Regional towns do. If I can respect the idea of an Irish identity I can also respect the idea that people from Stoke or Yeovil or wherever have an identity they want to preserve.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad