Rule 5 of Neo-liberalism is that immigration is good and that’s actually true but always depending where you are standing. So here goes again with anecdotal evidence and my own experiences. I was brought up in very white Lytham St-Annes, I didn’t see a single face of colour in the flesh until I went to secondary school. Two boys, one girl and a lass from then Czechoslovakia. I left school in 1979, did a pointless one year diploma and learnt to DJ. These of course were the beginning of the Thatcher years. I couldn’t stay so a travelling I went, back packing in modern parlance, through France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria all over the place picking up jobs as I went. So far so white.
I led a good and high life but at the age of 37 I decided to knuckle down, to get a degree and rise higher through the grades of retail. So off I went to Preston Poly… Oops I mean University of Central Lancashire and got a degree financed by DJ work rather than retail, shorter hours. This was my first multicultural experience and it was wonderful. We helped each other with course work, we went out together, cooked for each other, shared music, styles and life. Later, when running my own store, my team was made up of Chinese, Polish, Indian and obviously English. We needed all the different languages to fit our demographic and sell the hell out of other stores. It worked and up I went.
Meanwhile on the ground things weren’t quite as they seemed to me. I spend a lot of time in Liverpool and the Wirral and let me tell you the feeling of anti-immigration here is very strong indeed. This is where I hesitate because it’s so hard to express without causing offence to both sides. I will get one thing straight here, Liverpool is a very welcoming friendly city to everyone, unless of course you’re from the EDL in which case you get run out of town. There is a very small enclave of racism of course just like anywhere else. It is important I make it very clear that the problem of racism is small but that doesn’t mean there is no resentment, there’s a lot of it.
Why? It’s because it’s what people do and have always done it’s deep in the human psyche because we are a tribal people at heart. Anyone doubting this really needs to brush up on their history and anthropology, as do those disgusting thugs who attack Polish people, that is sickening, regardless of race attacked, but Polish? The sheer ignorance of what binds us is a national disgrace. I once again want to stress that this is a tiny minority I am speaking of but they demonstrate why these small numbers matter and why people have had enough of experts. Michael Gove was of course Jolly Cross Indeed because those imbecile experts didn’t agree with his own overinflated opinion of his opinions and I couldn’t care less. What I do care about is experts and their reports showing “only small effects” that directly contradict people’s experience, the process is pernicious.
Bloody foreigners coming over here and stealing our jobs and benefits is the cry throughout the ages. The fact that this has, and is, a load of rubbish is beside the point, it’s what people believe and in some cases experience. It’s also crucially how it gets reported in what passes for our press. The story spreads in pretty much the same way stories of the fabled “benefit scoungers”. Fraud is a tiny, tiny problem within the benefits system, small in fact that it isn’t even worth measuring, it’s lumped together with error and misreported widely. There is however just enough of it to convince a lot of people that it is rampant because the stories are legion and one isolated case becomes the norm, suddenly a whole host of people believe they know a benefit cheat so one case becomes multiple as they all chime “I know a benefits scrounger” and disregard the fact it’s the same one. It works exactly the same way with “they employ no-one but Poles on that site”…
I am no fan of Jeremy Corbyn (actually I am just not as Labour leader) but he was right about one thing (actually he’s right about most things) it is domestic policy that drives resentment. There Are No Jobs, if you define a job correctly, and no proper investment which is why there is resentment. That is the seed bed on which these stories grow. Look at the proliferation of state subsidised jobs, generally 16 hours part-time. Ever wondered how immigrants simultaneously steal our jobs and benefits at one and the same time come from? That. All those jobs are taken by parents, and increasingly pensioners. They are also topped up with working tax credits, child tax credits and housing benefits. What the hell use are these jobs without the state given top ups? That is what people know and see so sorry experts, you’re largely unread and misreported reports cut no ice.
All this and I haven’t even gone into the cultural objections that will be for another post because it doesn’t pertain to Neo-liberalism. So why do the Neo-liberals love immigration so much? Why, regardless of political party in power does it always rise? It is because immigration is a source of cheap labour, it cuts the cost of training, it brings it’s own demand but all that’s just a bonus, they are by the by, the real reason they’re loved is distraction.
See that foreigner? He stole your job. Don’t look at me just because I outsourced your job and thousands of others to China, just keep blaming Jonny Foreigner.
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