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October 16, 2018



Eastern and Southern European Labour is highly mobile. They seem to have no problem moving into and across the UK.

The problem may be the benefits system effectively traps people in areas by making their benefits non-portable as they move regions.


Suggested corrections.

'The problem may be...' the Feudal housing, and banking system system effectively traps people in areas by making their work skills and their incomes non-viable, so they cannot move between regions of low to high employment unless they are prepared to live 12 people to a '2 up 2 down' slum dwelling.

Fuck me Dipper, I enjoyed being a student as much as anybody else, but it was only for three years mate!

Anyway, re Esther McVey pic above.

Is it just me? I would.

Just did. Stumbling and Handshandying :)


@ Mike W. What is it about the effect of mass immigration at the low paid end of the job market you don't understand? If incomers are prepared to live multiple occupants to a room to get work, then that is the price point to which the property market moves.

re Esther Mcvey it seems you haven't left your student days behind. Clearly spent more time staring out of the window than studying.


I occasionally wonder if Brexit was as much about stopping people leaving as letting new ones in. Increasingly young British people were realizing that their skills were portable and life in continental Europe seemed a lot more sensible. In the event of Brexit, they’ll have a Tebbit bike but nowhere to go. My advice would be to park it - preferably as forcefully as possible, in the cleft between Boris Johnson’s outsized buttocks.

Eminent emigrant

The coal mines is an interesting case. I mean it's a shitty and dangerous job. Maybe being on the dole until retirement is better than not even reaching retirement? Even more so if the closing of the mines pushes the next generation into doing their best to find other skills and not end up in the same death trap.

I sometimes think that ecologists should build a statue to Thatcher. If she hadn't done it, they would now be the bad guys (except that ironically I suspect it's the miners that would be portrayed as selfish facilitators of Gaïaicide)


@ Brian - and what language are these young people speaking when they work in Europe? Has the generation with the worst language skills in Europe suddenly acquired an ability to be fluent in many different languages?

What we Brits don;t get is the nationalism of Europe. Languages divide peoples, and allow people to identify people like themselves and discriminate against those who don't. Just try speaking French in the wrong part of Belgium.

Are these young Brits working in academia? Unlikely. see http://eurydice.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Brief_Academic_Staff_N.pdf. They may have gone to work in Switzerland which is not in the EU (foreign proportion 43%), and although not in this report potentially the Netherlands too, but not in Spain (non-Spanish staff are 2.1%). Needless to say the country with the biggest proportion of non-native staff in the EU is the UK.

Probably not working for the European Commission either, where I believe Brits make up 3% of the staff despite the UK bearing 10% of the cost.

This is one of the major problems of the UK in the EU. Other nations pay lip service to the EU's dictats but still act stubbornly nationalistically. We actually implemented the letter. Guess who loses out in that scenario.

There are 4 million EU nationals in the UK and 1 million in the EU. As the government report made clear, migration is an area for inclusion in a post-leaving trade deal. So who knows what will emerge?

Dave Timoney

"It is no coincidence that support for Brexit and faith in free markets are so correlated: both derive from the same dubious assumption."

Except there really isn't a clear correlation between the two. Many supporters of Brexit are anti-free market and much more wedded to the idea of an economy embedded in place and community, notably the inhabitants of ex-mining towns.

I also think you're being generous in describing free market evangelists like McVey as "utopian". The assumption that labour is fungible is essentially class contempt.

Eminent emigrant

"The assumption that labour is fungible is essentially class contempt."

Does that apply to people who think fatcat CEOs are fungible? :)


«the Feudal housing, and banking system system ... so they cannot move between regions of low to high employment unless they are prepared to live 12 people to a '2 up 2 down' slum dwelling»

Like so often this is backwards, the issue not that people should live cheaply with a lot of space in areas of high employment density (how?), but that there should be no areas of low employment to escape. In this era of cheap telecoms and transport, where call centres are in India and factories in China, it is ridiculous that all the jobs are concentrated in (parts of the) the south-east and London.

The back story is that tory (New Labour, Conservatives, and probably also LibDems) politicians know all too well that they and their sponsors and voters have cornered the property market in the south-east and London, and thus spend fantastic amounts of public money to attract jobs into those areas so they can shake down the workers pulled in by those jobs.

Until the job distribution is balanced there is no hope of a low cost of living economy, and that is an exquisitely political problem.


«there should be no areas of low employment to escape.»

And that's also the reason why the sell-side Economists who like B DeLong point out that migration from poor countries to rich countries benefits the economic emigrants are so "wrong": the s. koreans did not become richer by emigrating to London or Watford, but by creating businesses like Samsung; it takes longer but it is much better.

What mass economic emigration of s. koreans to London would have had as consequences instead:

* Higher wages only for the emigrated koreans in a foreign country.
* Bigger property prices in London.
* Much better availability of low wage workers in London.

FDI and internal investment works a lot, a lot better than economic emigration, and has a much lower "negative" distributional impact on the richer countries.


«Many supporters of Brexit are anti-free market»

Indeed I think that any claim that Brexit voters went that way because of one reason is wrong: I think that there were at least three main and quite different motivations to vote Brexit.

«and much more wedded to the idea of an economy embedded in place and community»

Well, in part, it could also be a preference for job markets on their doorstep ("embedded in place") and in which they have the upper hand on the employers ("embedded in ... community"). :-)

But very understandable.


I'd always assumed these sort of statements by Tory politicians (and indeed centrist Labour politicians before them) were just a rhetorical tactic, rather than seriously suggesting that these people could actually in reality take those jobs.

It just shifts focus from the inadequacies of the government/economy to the inadequacies of the claimants, which is what they want people to think about.

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