Comment on Jeremy Corbyn’s policy on immigration: Maisie Carter
Maisie Carter writes:
I totally disagree with the forecast of a Conservative/UKIP majority after the next election if we adopt the policy of “accommodate but don’t control ” immigration.
I have heard the argument throughout my life that immigrants are responsible for the problems facing the working people. In my childhood it was the Irish “taking our jobs and houses”, then it was the Caribbeans, then the Asians, then Eastern Europeans and Africans. And it is not irrelevant to mention that Hitler blamed the Jews for all the problems in Germany. Because the ruling class always has to have a scapegoat; the present day crisis in the health service, shortage of doctors in general practice, pressure on schools and the housing crisis, are all blamed on immigrants.
But the problem is not too many immigrants. The point has been made many times that our NHS has been and still is kept going by the nurses, doctors and other medics who are so called immigrants. Industry and farming have also benefitted from the labour of foreign workers. Immigrants are not responsible for keeping wages low; it is the unscrupulous employers whose aim is maximise profits and they do this by cruelly exploiting foreign labour.
Neither can the housing shortage be blamed on immigrants. The problem is that successive governments have simply not built enough houses. This government, in particular, has encouraged the building of luxury housing for the rich, but maintained a shortage of social housing, thus creating a shortage and encouraging greedy landlords to cash in on people’s misfortunes.
Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, far from making Labour unelectable, will solve the problems; problems created, not by immigrants, but by governments whose policies have brought untold misery to many millions of people, while making the rich even richer and more powerful than ever. To quote Corbyn, ” Across many parts of Britain there is a feeling of powerlessness; communities abandoned from the mining industrial destruction onwards. These communities have taken the full force of austerity and government economic failure. The Tories’ choice to make deprived communities pay for the crisis not of their making has opened the door to a very nasty divisive form of politics in this country,”. That nasty, divisive form of politics undoubtedly caused the murder of Jo Cox and a dramatic increase in racist attacks which show no signs of abating.
The blame for all this lies with the government, not with immigrants. It is the government that has let industries go to the wall, failed to invest, deregulated the labour market and turned a deaf ear to those communities left behind.
It is sad that so many Labour MPs go along with the argument that immigration must be “controlled”. Instead they should recognise that just as in the past, immigrants are being used as scapegoats for the ills of society, the ills that governments have caused. We should, as Corbyn says, tackle the real issues of immigration and make the changes that are needed. These changes include bringing back the £50 million fund to ease the pressure of migration on public services; this was introduced by Gordon Brown in 2008 but scrapped two years later by David Cameron’s coalition government.
I appeal to all those calling for “control of immigration” not to succumb to populist rantings, but to unite around Jeremy Corbyn’s ten point programme, which proposes the building of one million homes in five years, a free national education service, a secure, publicly provided NHS, with an end to health privatisation, full employment, an end to zero hours contracts, security at work, action to secure an equal society, a progressive tax system, shrink the gap between highest and lowest paid; aim to put conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy. On this last point, we must recognise that it is the wars waged or aided by the West that are the cause of mass immigration. So we must step up foreign aid and instead of spending £37 bn a year on foreign wars as our government does, we must invest in helping to build the war torn countries that we have helped to create.
Lastly, I feel it is dangerous to decide policies on the basis of “what people want”. This argument could be used to bring back hanging, torture etc. We must recognise the power of the media and unscrupulous politicians who will lie, as some did in the Referendum campaign, in order to achieve the result that they want. Our job is to combat these lies, replace them with honesty and compassion …..and Welcome Refugees!