We’ve all seen or heard some right-winger furiously banging on about how they couldn’t vote for Labour because they’re in favour of mass immigration, and enthusing about the Tories because they are supposedly against it haven’t we?
The problem with this partisan political narrative, like so many other right-wing political propaganda tropes, is that it’s a complete reversal of reality.
Backwards right-wing propaganda
Do you know which home secretary oversaw the highest levels of net migration in UK history?
It was Theresa May, who in 2010 promised the electorate that she would cut net migration to below 100,000, but instead allowed the biggest inwards migration surge in history, with net migration peaking at a huge 336,000 shortly before she was appointed as Prime Minister by her Tory chums.
You might be inclined to disbelieve me because you haven’t heard much about this in the media, but there are reasons you haven’t heard it. Last year, under pressure from Theresa May’s allies in the Tory party the Daily Telegraph spiked an excoriating article about Theresa May’s track record at the Home Office.
There are people who really don’t want you to know how badly Theresa May handled the immigration situation when it was her remit, and they’re the same kind of people who spread lies and misrepresentations about Labour’s immigration policies too aren’t they?
Theresa May’s immigration policy is arbitrary and stupid
Politicians plucking arbitrary numbers out of thin air and making that number their golden objective is as old as the hills. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did it with their ridiculous 3% borrowing golden rule (you know the rule that drove the expansion of rip-off PFI economic alchemy schemes and was quickly jettisoned to lob £billions at the insolvent “too big to fail” banks).
Theresa May’s 100,000 target wasn’t just an arbitrary and ridiculous objective that drove lamentable policies, she ended up overseeing the biggest migration surge in UK history.
Two of the dreadful policies Theresa May introduced to try to repress immigration ended up driving away economically beneficial migrants like university students and tens of thousands of non-EU citizens who are married to UK citizens,
Driving away university students in order to juke the immigration statistics has seriously harmed UK universities because foreign students are a massive net benefit to the UK economy. International students contribute £25 billion to the UK economy and support some 200,000 jobs.
Using discriminatory rules to force tens of thousands of British families into exile because one of the adults is a non-EU citizen is also ridiculous. Only an intense bigot would try to argue that migrants who are married to a British citizen are the kind of people the government should be clamping down on. If they’re married to a Brit they’re highly likely to speak English, assimilate well into British culture, work and pay tax in the UK, and stay here instead of taking their earnings out of the country to return to their country of origin like a lot of migrant workers do.
Despite cruelly wrecking the lives of tens of thousands of families and damaging UK universities with her dreadfully ill-considered immigration policies Theresa May still missed her arbitrary 100,000 target by miles, becoming the Home Secretary who let in more migrants than any other Home Secretary in history!
She set a stupid arbitrary target, introduced terrible policies to try to achieve it, and spectacularly failed by her own measure of success.
The problem of course is that a lot of people adore Theresa May’s divisive anti-immigrant rhetoric so much that they ignore the fact that all of her anti-immigration rabble rousing is completely at odds with her track record.
People like the comforting lie that Theresa May is tough on immigration a lot more than they like the uncomfortable reality that she let in more immigrants than any Labour Home Secretary in history.
people like her tough-talking anti-immigration rhetoric so much that they’re willing to completely overlook the fact that she created an inwards migration sure the size of Coventry in a single year and at a time when the Tories were overseeing the lowest levels of house building since the 1920s too!
Jeremy Corbyn’s approach
Jeremy Corbyn’s approach is very different to Theresa May’s. Instead of setting arbitrary immigration targets and then missing them by miles, he prefers to look at the immigration situation to identify the aspects of immigration that are harmful to UK workers and propose legislation to sort it out.
One of the big Labour immigration policies is to prevent unscrupulous employers from undercutting UK businesses and UK workers wages by exclusively hiring cheap migrant labour.
Labour also propose that when a job to work in the UK is advertised, it must be advertised to the UK workforce, not just overseas.
This is the sensible kind of immigration and employment policy that most people would actually like to see.
Of course all non-bigoted people accept the idea that if there’s nobody available in the UK to do the work, it’s acceptable for the employer to look overseas (if the job needs filling it benefits the economy that it is filled).
What they don’t accept is unscrupulous gangmasters exploiting overseas workers and undercutting legitimate British businesses that pay their workers decent wages.
Nobody on the left is in favour of gangmaster exploitation of migrant workers and the damage it does to workers wages, genuine British businesses that pay decent wages to their workers, and the economy as a whole.
The Labour Party policy of banning gangmaster exploitation (as opposed to setting arbitrary immigration targets and missing them by miles) is absolutely the right kind of approach our politicians should be taking to immigration.
Attempting to cut immigration to some arbitrary level is a ridiculous approach in its own right, but when this fixation on cutting immigration results in economically beneficial migrants being driven away, whilst economically harmful migration (like gangmaster exploitation of migrant labour to undercut legitimate British businesses) is free to continue, then it’s doubly bad.
If you take a balanced approach to migration and accept that some of it is good and some of it is bad, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to support a party that proposes a policy of cutting out harmful practices like gangmaster exploitation and exclusive overseas advertising, rather than a party that insists on reiterating the same ridiculous arbitrary targets that they have so spectacularly failed to achieve over the course of seven years in government doesn’t it?
What we can do
Make sure you are registered to vote in the General Election, and encourage others to register too. Non-voting isn’t a protest, it simply transfers more political power to those who do vote.
Share this article with anyone you know who has concerns about immigration so that they can learn the truth about Theresa May’s woeful track record of failure, and the fact that Jeremy Corbyn has immigration policies designed to actually benefit British workers, legitimate British businesses and the British economy as a whole.
Use this article to rebut anyone you see spreading the lie that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are in favour of mass uncontrolled immigration.