A flavour of Balanced Migration's attitude towards job-sucking outsiders can be gleaned from their proposals for graduates.Well, why should they have equal concerns for foreigners? Despite the best efforts of Aaronovitch’s fellow liberals, we aren’t all ‘one world’. Yet.
They note that foreigners who have taken their degrees in the UK are allowed to stay and work for two years, at the end of which they may apply for a work permit and, if the employer so chooses, keep their jobs. Mr Field and Mr Soames discern a terrible injustice in this because of the “direct competition with British graduates who will have incurred heavy debts in acquiring their degrees” (they have no interest in whether foreign students, who typically pay higher fees, are similarly indebted).
I think this idea is both rhetorically unpleasant and practically daft. It is clear to me, if not to the parliamentary pair, that if such a policy were to be enacted any foreign students of reasonable talent would be entitled to feel that Britain does not want them, and act accordingly. We would also soon discover that not a few of these jobs will go abroad. And then there's the issue of retaliation.What kind of ‘retaliation’ does he have in mind, I wonder? Reciprocal agreements made by foreign governments towards British graduates? Or something else?
Too bad, because the fact seems to be that we liberals are not winning this fight against the economic and cultural nationalists. I realised this when listening to a Radio 4 programme on the politics of immigration last Saturday. There was a report from Peterborough where some locals were complaining about foreign young men in vans and pressure on parking spaces, and employers were praising the same young men's willingness to pick fruit from orchards that indigenous youth preferred not to visit.Because, David, despite the prevalent views in the media of ‘you liberals’, the voters see an entirely different picture of their communities. They don’t just get the benefits of the multicultural smorgasbord of Italian nannies, Romanian car mechanics, North African gardeners and Chilean waiters; they get the influx of crime, pressure on services and housing and competition for jobs in the very areas in which they live. They deal with the realities that well-paid political media pontificators can afford to escape.
There was an economist, an interview with an under-führer in the BNP, another with Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of the anti-immigration Migration Watch UK, and then representatives of the three main parties. And it was this last segment that was so depressing that the radio (no more to blame for my distemper, of course, than immigrants are for the recession) nearly ended up as several garden ornaments.
Not one of the pols, Chris Huhne, of the Lib Dems, Damian Green, of the Tories, or Phil Woolas, of Labour, could find anything good to say about immigration, except in passing on quickly to how tough they would all be.
Castigate the mainstream politicians all you want, but they know only too well that if they don’t address the voters’ legitimate concerns, there are other parties who will…
Of course, they all tell us, none of this is about race and it is politically correct to suggest that it is, as well as an attempt to avoid necessary debate. It's about overcrowding and the prospect of 70 million Britons (a prospect that is most unlikely). It's about jobs (despite migration helping to create jobs). It's about pressure on services (despite migrants disproportionately providing them or paying for them).Migrants ‘disproportionately pay for them’, do they? Nice to see some figures there for that sweeping statement…
I spoke to Sir Andrew yesterday who, courteous as ever, confirmed to me that “ethnic community” denotes “non-white”. Not, please notice, non-British and also notice that this figure includes anyone classified as mixed-race. Therefore “our society will be changed out of all recognition” means, not to put too fine a point upon it, a Britain which is nearly a third touched with the tar brush.Ah, the argument from strength here – ‘Disagree with me? You hate minorities, you Nazi!’.
No more cant. This is still part of what scares our pusillanimous partymen, who are all now involved in a revolting public auction to show who can be the “toughest” on the economic migrant - that miscreant who comes over and does our jobs and pays our taxes and adds to our pool of talent. And who may well, if Sir Andrew Green is right, be ethnic.The problem being - as Aaronovitch well knows, though he daren’t admit it - that ‘pool of talent’ for the chattering classes comes with a high price for others.
People want to stop paying it. And if the three main parties don’t listen, the results will be seen at the ballot box.