Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition should officially and unequivocally object, to everything, even good ideas, loudly and often

I don’t think Labour really know that the game has changed. We will have an election in 2015 and there is very little chance of one before that. The move to fixed term parliaments means that Ed Miliband et al find themselves in a totally different position to someone like Cameron circa 2005 or Blair in 1994.

In 2005 Cameron suspected the next election wouldn’t be for five years – and he turned out to be right. But he nearly had to fight an election in 2007 against a newly inaugurated Brown. This is something he had to expect and prepare for from the day he was elected Tory Leader, because we all knew some sort of hand over from Blair to Brown was imminent and that this may have been followed by an election.

This meant that Cameron spent a lot time and effort trying to appear electable, trying to appear “in-touch” by visiting the arctic, liberal by hugging hoodies and as a better heir to Blair than Brown could ever be. All this was essential when Labour could have called an ambush election at any point.

Tean Miliband seems to be employing a similar tactic. Liam Byrne is fighting to appear tough on benefits claimants, Ed Balls is trying to sound more fiscally conservative, even Diane Abbott is doing her best to swiftly cover up her gaffes. The commetariat are also playing along, they want to know if he is too ugly to be prime minister etc. Cameron moved left while Ed is moving right.

All of this is stupid. As Sunny has been documenting, not only is nuance from Labour Wonks confusing the public, those who aren’t confused couldn’t care less anyway. I have a better plan for Ed, to be in operation for the next three years or so, or at least until a year before the election date. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition should officially and unequivocally object, to everything, even good ideas, loudly and often.

First of all, this is essential to good governance. A noisy opposition ensures that a Government has to advance the strongest arguments for its policies and ensure the sharpest execution for fear of being lambasted. If all Tory mistakes are leapt on with gay abandon then the Tories will make sure they screw up less. Remember the incorrect list of schools Gove released last year? That is what happens when people are not terrified of screwing up.

Even where this policy would be a trap it is good policy. For example, Miliband will gain almost no votes by opposing capping benefits at £26,000, but he won’t lose any votes either because, and this is important, nobody is voting until 2015.

Any damage supporting bad policies or opposing bad policy while in opposition can be shrugged off because the opposition won’t have done anything because they can’t. Wrong calls can be disowned and vote winning stances embraced as manifesto fodder. A manifesto which won’t need to be published until 2015 because, I repeat, that is when the next election will be. Plus, by being the voice of opposition Labour would be able to build an activist base which will be important in getting out the vote and campaigning come election time.

By playing the old game, where an opposition has to be constantly on the alert for an election Labour are strengthening the Tories, and doing damage to people’s lives. They need to shape up and realise the rules have changed.

Migration is not a crime, but the way it’s discussed is criminal

Carl Packman has very nicely leap frogged from my post to a discussion on the limitation the left faces when discussing immigration. Nice enough for him this is now the second post of his which has been cross posted to LibCon, and as usual for posts on immigration it has incited a very “lively” discussion.

However, it is not the just the left which has difficulty discussing immigration. The right does too, because they just can’t help themselves distorting the truth or outright lying.

As I began to discuss here, talk about immigration in this country is tainted by decades, indeed centuries, of prejudiced stereotypes that are difficult to escape. Unfortunately some papers extend so little effort to escape this regrettable history that numerous blogs have been created to monitor them.

A lack of originality, a surplus of bile

Migration is not a crimeWhat I want to create is a crib sheet for any article you see on immigration, migrants, refugees or asylum by looking at the history of that discussion. Our modern debate on migration has not developed out of a vacuum. In fact, we are forced to watch tedious reruns of discussions concerning Huguenots in the 1680s, Irish migrants in the early 19th Century and Eastern Europeans in the late, Jews in the 1930s and West Indians and South Asians in the 1960 and 70s. As Paul Gilroy describes in There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack “the wearisome task of dissecting the rhetoric is not helped by its lack of originality: ‘they’ are taking our jobs and houses, using up local resources and undermining ‘our’ culture and, in return, offering ‘us’ disease and terrorism.” However, dissect it we will, again and again, until they fucking learn.

Any immigration story you read in the above papers will be shaped by the groundless assumptions under which the anti-immigrant polemicist operates. These do not pop out of thin air, they are drawn from the past. Pick an article; I will guarantee that it will contain a combination of the below:

The Disloyal Immigrant

This is perhaps the oldest argument of them all. It certainly dates back to the 17th Century. In Catholic France the Huguenots stood out as Protestants and in 1685 the Edict of Nantes was revoked and open season was declared on France’s heretics. They left France for more welcoming shores and arrived in England. [1]

They have since been co-opted as the “good immigrants;” those that integrated, brought valuable skills and blended seamlessly with the indigenous Anglo-Saxon-Norman-Norse-Roman-Celtic population. Those opposed to immigration often make disparaging comparisons with the Huguenots. [2]

In fact the Huguenots were subject to much the same treatment that welcomes modern day refugees, sometimes even worse. They could be subject to double the normal parish dues and national taxes. Petitions were organised against them and their daily lives a constant struggle. The Huguenot’s being refugees inhabited the poorest parts of town, and were soon charged with causing poverty. Even seeking it out in order to undercut the indigenous workforce. These most loyal of migrants were in fact treated like criminals.

This was repeated with each subsequent migration. The most interesting comparison can probably be drawn between Muslims and Catholics. In the early 19th Century the Great Reform Act was in the offing and there was much talk of how far suffrage should be extended. One key sticking point was whether Catholics should have the vote or not. The problem was that a Catholic’s ultimate loyalty was to the pope, not parliament; sound familiar?

The Ummah has been cited as a reason to distrust Muslim immigrants, Muslims in general in fact. This makes about as much sense as denying Catholics the vote, but it won’t stop some people parroting this argument. This is because the migrant must prove their loyalty, they are not innocent, they are guilty until proven otherwise. Even if no one knows guilty of exactly what.

Soft Touch Britain

In the late 1990s William Hague accused New Labour of being “too soft” on immigration. This period saw a marked increase in the number of asylum applications received in the UK and was snatched upon by the press that Britain was being targeting for its benefits system and wide open borders. As early as 2001 the BBC were running myth debunking stories. In fact throughout Europe record numbers of Asylum Seekers were being received. The collapse of Yugoslavia will do that

Even as benefits have been slashed, this discussion has not ended. Even as Labour enacted five Acts on migration and asylum this discussion has not moved on. At the worst of the “asylum crisis” the numbers reaching Britain were comparable to Germany, France or Italy. Rather than being a “soft touch” Britain was finally receiving its fair share of refugees.

There are few things which make me feel patriotic, as a Socialist I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you. But one thing that makes me intensely proud of this country is that up until 1905 we had no immigration controls. None. Nada. Zip. The irony for the casual anti-immigrant-armchair-colonialist is that the height of Soft Touch Britain™ coincided with the height of Empire.

Diseased and sex obsessed migrants

Concentrating on health concerns, the language is unequivocal, “asylum seekers raising HIV risks.” The Times also contributed to the press personification of contemporary immigrants as carriers of disease with it’s that demands for HIV checks for all immigrants, to prevent “draining the resources of the NHS.”

Previously it has been Tuberculosis that has been the immigrants disease of “choice.” The update does nothing to hide the worrying trend to target migrants as a carrier of disease and instigator of national decay. Now from above you can tell the asylum seekers are going to give you AIDS. HIV is a scary illness, but a particularly had one too contract if your not going to share syringes or have sex with those infected.

This is of course irrelevant because the one that has been associated with migrants is sex: a very unBritish thing indeed. By threatening the local population with HIV The Mail and The Times very effectively demonise asylum seekers as either promiscuous or drug users or both.

The links to sexualised black and asian immigrants or the Opium dens of past Chinese immigrants are plain to see; and about as well founded. There is a lot of could, may, might in those articles, and very little proof that migrants are infecting the “indigenous” population.

Criminal immigrants

It seems, shortly after loyalty, firmness, cleanliness and sexual inadequacy, the one thing we British pride ourselves on is our law abiding nature. Migrants, if we judge by the hysterical historical record, are anything but law abiding. The same that was true of anti-Jewish agitation in the 1900s is true today; the lies remain the same too.

Likewise, in the 1970s it became “common sense” that criminality was a distinct way of expressing “Black Culture,” whether it was a Rastafarian smoking marijuana or a black youth mugging someone. Although these crimes were certainly committed by members of this “immigrant group,” this was not in any proportion to the dominance that this issue had in the 1970 and 1980s.

The obsession with crime and the durability of its images are a focus for discussions on national decline. More than that, they are a way of articulating a crisis of national confidence totally separate from the crimes and criminals themselves. After all, the tumult of the 1970s and 1980s had little to do with race.

Lump of Labour/Housing/Hospitals/Women Fallacy

Yes the Jews/Irish/Blacks/Asians/Chinese/Asylum Seekers are taking your Job/House/Woman/Healthcare [delete as applicable]. This theme is no doubt familiar to you.

The economics of migration are fairly clear. Even Migration Watch UK and the infamous James Slack admit that migrants benefit the UK’s economy. It is instructive that the worst claim they can create, using the most miserly figures, is of a modest benefit. The NHS would collapse without migrant labour and it would never have started without the tremendous work of West Indian nurses in the 1950s.

Similarly, the Lump of Labour Fallacy is often displayed when people argue that immigrants are “stealing” jobs. The jobs and wealth created by immigrants, from Huguenot Weavers to Jewish Cabinet makers to Bangladeshi caterers, is ignored.

Although the immigrant “stealing” theme is a fairly large one I will only pass over it briefly, it is so common as to be particularly irritating. I would like to conclude this short section with a personal gripe; by asking those arguing that immigration in the last decade has made housing less affordable: How would reducing the numbers of builders, plasters, plumbers and electricians in this country make it easier to build a house?

Swamped

Perhaps behind all of this is the idea of being “swamped.” Whether on an individual level, like the little old lady in Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, or on a national level, like the paranoia that created this article, swamping is pervasive to discussions of immigration.

Of course over the last couple of thousand years these islands have absorbed millions of migrants, and a sense of continuity  has remained. In the 1680s in a matter of years fully 1% of the population became Huguenot, it sounds like a small number, but far smaller increases cause massive ripples today. These Huguenots have become British.

The same swamping was seen by Powell in the 1960s

Sometimes people point to the increasing proportion of immigrant offspring born in this country as if the fact contained within itself the ultimate solution. The truth is the opposite. The West Indian or Asian does not, by being born in England, become an Englishman. In law he becomes a United Kingdom citizen by birth; in fact he is a West Indian or an Asian still.

…and by Major Evans Gordon of Jews in East London in the 19th Century…

East of Aldgate one walks into a foreign town. [The modern englishman lived] under the constant danger of being driven from his home, pushed out into the streets not by the natural increase of our own population but by the off-scum of Europe

It wasn’t true in the 17th century, nor in the 18th, nor in the 19th, nor in the 20th. The 21st century is certainly no different. But this “swamping” theme will be repeated ad nauseam, unless we challenge it.

Immigrant Bingo

Now we have tackled those basic assumptions we can move onto the language and imagery which is used. These can be used to spot which of the above ignorant preconceptions are the inspiration for the article you are reading. They are like a tell that a poker play just can’t hide. And they also make for an excellent bingo game. Cards at the ready:

Tabloid Bingo

I’m not going to argue that because some of the arguments descend from xenophobic drivel that they are essentially racist; I’m sure sometimes it is just coincidence. What offends me is the acceptance that this is the best way to discuss immigration. That the above assumptions form the basis for any discussion on immigration in our press or parliament would be a colossal national disgrace if things were not worse elsewhere.

This could be a fairly dry essay on the history of our national debate on migration. I have several thousands words written on the subject and just two thousand of the multitude are here. But just illustrating the pattern and repetition of the same tedious lies and distortions is not enough. We need to be able to combat it. This post is meant to provide people with a tick list to check and a way to say, “actually that was bollocks then and it’s bollocks now.”

[1] As an aside, there is a mosque on Brick Lane that used to be a Huguenot church. Later it became a Methodist chapel and later still a Synagogue, before finally becoming the Mosque you find there now. With each new migration migrants find their niché.

[2] In the same way, modern asylum seekers are castigated as being less deserving than the Jews fleeing Nazism, despite this being manifestly untrue.

________

For the record, philosophically I am for almost total free movement of people. I will outline why at a later date, but for the moment Paul offers quite a good discussion why a Socialist must fight for the rights of migrants. Funnily enough, this Paul does as well arguing against the arbitrary benefits of birth.

However, pragmatically (i.e. what I think can be achieved in the next 10 years) I am for a similar regime for economic migrants as is in place now, and a massive resettlement plan for refugees from all over the world.

This is a piss poor compromise and one I may have to reconsider, but I do think restrictions are inevitable while the world is so dangerous and while people are worried by the unknown. However, one thing I’m not going to compromise on is refugees, I wish the same could be said for this Government.

The best books to consult are Matthew J Gibney’s The Ethics and Politics of Asylum: Liberal Democracy and the Response to Refugees and Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain by Robert Winder. The first is essential reading for those of an academic bent, but Robert Winder provides a good journalistic overview of immigration throughout Britain’s history.

Dan Hannan, Enoch Powell, Volcanoes and the Daily Mail

Powell seems to be quite the rage at the moment. After publicity whore Tory MEP Dan Hannan cited Enoch Powell as one of his key influences nobodies seems to be able to stop talking about either of them.

powell

Powell has been painted a racist, and it is clear that some people think that Hannan is trying to use a “racist dog whistle” to bolster his growing profile. Like adding sodium to water, one thing is certain, Hannan never fails to produce a explosive reaction.

On one hand there is the corrosiveness of introducing Powell to any debate, given his reputation, but as Mark Thompson successfully argues diatribes like Sunny’s may be counter productive, only narrowing the political debate in this country. Speaking as an extremist, I don’t want extremists silenced.

In the end, Guido has actually spoken to Hannan and cites his earlier telegraph article as evidence that Hannan rejects Powell’s position on immigration. The below exchange is what has caused all the current heat.

Q: “Who are your political influences? I’ve seen you reference Ron Paul, I believe you have referenced Hayek and Friedman on your blog.

Hannan: “Yeah, all of those guys…In the British context, Enoch Powell. He was somebody who understood the importance of national democracy, who understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small government Conservative.”

I am fairly convinced of Hannan’s Friedmanite stand on immigration. If it’s not considered damning with faint praise, he’s definitely more liberal than Phil Woolas. Ultimately, I think this  situation may boil down to one of three things. Either it proves once and for all that Hannan is simply a publicity seeking egotist; it shows that for all his posturing he is still a political novice, or it shows that there is still a great deal of unsavoury things we do not know about Mr Hannan. I’d plump for a little from column a) and a little from column b).

However, what this situation does provide is an excellent chance to look at how Powell has affected and reflects the way we discuss immigration. And how in the decades of change and progress since, a great deal has remained the same.

National Front

Sadly, a frightening similarity exists between the way immigrants were discussed in the bad old days of the 60s and 70s and the contemporary speeches of our Labour Government, their opposition and the press which was meant to protect us.

Most interesting is the similarities between the language used in Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, and the Eastborne speech discussed by Sunder, and the language used by our modern press.

In the 1960’s race played an important role in the political debate and contemporary politics is no less enthralled to the more amorphous topic of “immigration.” In the 1960s “wide-grinning piccaninies” molested old ladies and Powell declared Britain “mad, quite mad” to allow so many immigrants to enter. In contemporary Britain asylum seekers and refugees from around the world are not quite met with such blatant racism, nevertheless, the diverse language used to describe these immigrants is frighteningly similar to the language used four decades ago.

You only have to browse The Sun Lies, The Enemies of Reason, Tabloid Watch, Angry Mob and so on, to see just how poisonous the national debate on immigration and race still is. But, this post is not going to look at any “new” stories, the purpose of this post is to look at what old stories they are still reporting.

Tony Benn – “Enoch Powell is raising the flag of racialism over Wolverhampton, a flag which is beginning to look suspiciously like the one that fluttered over Dachau and Belsen”

In Wolverhampton in 1968 Powell begins the speech, which was to see him pushed of the Tory front bench, with an anecdote, in which he talks with an “ordinary” man, who describes his fears for the country. This culminates in the peculiar prophesy that “in fifteen or twenty years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.” In a later speech Powell again switches the relation between Empire and colony:

It is… truly when he looks into the eyes of Asia that the Englishman comes face to face with those who would dispute with him the possession of his native land.

The imperial imagery is not mere rhetoric, in Powell’s view England should only ever be presented as strong, masculine and dominant. Powell’s world revolved around an England which remained unchanged, and immigrants are presented as unassailably un-English. By reversing the imperial imagery he none too subtly links immigration with national decline. And later uses this to link national restoration to the repatriation of immigrants.

National decline was a hot topic in the 1960s and is only slightly less prominent today. However, modern narratives tend to focus on a nation declined, not a nation in decline. Immigrants still feature prominently in this narrative.

Worryingly, before I even arrive at the Tabloids there is a vile example equating immigration with national decline from a paper in the aledged “quality” press. As Anton Vowl describes, The “Telegraph can’t be bothered with dog-whistles; [so it] goes for straight racism.” The story in question argues for a “middle-class baby boom” to correct some sort of balance.The message is clear, the “wrong sort” of people are having babies, immigrants and the poor, and they are going to ruin everything. Much in the same vein as Powell’s prediction 40 years ago.

Of course there are further examples of this. Five Chinese Crackers offers an excellent take on the Express and Mail fitting unyielding facts to their own narrative. The Office of National Statistics has recently brought out figures on immigration, births, deaths and population; these show the UK population hitting 61 million for the first time. The upshot of this is – immigrants now appear to be leaving as we have entered recession and there are no jobs, they are not “benefits scroungers,” net immigration is at a 10 year low, and predictions of a Muslim takeover were and remain based on ludicrous demographic assumptions.

However, in an effort to squeeze an anti-immigration story out of these figures both the Mail and the Express have created an “Immigrant Baby Boom.” Just as in the 60s children or “dependants” are depicted as a time bomb waiting to sabotage “our” national heritage. The implicit assumption here is that 2nd generation immigrants (or as I like to call them British people) may be fellow residents, but the are still just another immigrant. The not so implicit message here is not far from Powell’s declaration that:

The West Indian or Asian does not, by being born in England, become an Englishman. In law he becomes a United Kingdom citizen by birth; in fact he is a West Indian or an Asian still.

Floods and Influxes

Rhetoric about floods and swamps of immigrants (or Asylum Seekers) is not new before Powell, Duncan Sandys, a Conservative MP, called for “turning off the tap” on immigration; moreover, Powell himself said that the flow of Commonwealth immigration would never go away and that “turning the inlet tap down or off” could never be the solution.The language of “floods” or “influxes” will be familiar to those with any passing reference to our Forth Estate; for example here, here and here.

The language of floods and influxes extends to all corners of the national debate on immigration and race. In the early 1970s in response to Idi Amin’s expulsion of the Ugandan Asians, The Telegraph said that a “further large influx of coloured immigrants to Britain is wholly undesirable on social grounds.”

The language used suggests that immigration controls are a restraint on an indeterminate flood of immigrants who wish to enter. It has been pointed out repeatedly, and research confirms this, that migrants largely travel to where there is work. They also travel, not in floods, but in brave expeditions, with only a few members of an given population likely to take the colossal risk.

Modern discourse on immigrants has gained new intensity as asylum seekers are denounced as bogus. As Paul Gilroy describes in There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack “the wearisome task of dissecting the rhetoric is not helped by its lack of originality: ‘they’ are taking our jobs and houses, using up local resources and undermining ‘our’ culture and, in return, offering ‘us’ disease and terrorism.”

I hope Everyone’s got Volcano Insurance

From the outset the Labour government of Tony Blair had made clear its attitudes towards asylum seekers. The tiny British overseas territory of Montserrat was being threatened by the impending eruption of a volcano, and help was not forthcoming. As an island with the same territorial status as the Falklands, the islanders expected help as unquestionably genuine refugees; however, Britain regarded their pleas as a nuisance. No effective measures were enacted to aid travel to Britain, but those islanders which eventually arrived were seen as a burden, Clare Short [Minister of State for Overseas Aid and Development] described their petition for help after a Volcano shattered their island as akin to asking for “golden elephants.” The continuity in bigotry obviously made its mark on policy for this Labour Government.

There are some worrying similarities between the language used in Powell’s era and today, but also some interesting differences too. The most striking similarity is the continued use of language presenting immigrants as both a drain and a burden. Powell presented immigrants as parasitic on locales previously pleasant, and the government of 1997 clearly resented the legitimate needs of the Montserrat residents, comparing them to asking for help with asking for “golden elephants.”

There is a good reason to be worried about the continuity in our public discourse from those dangerous days. The threat of fascism has returned with two MEPs elected and Daily Mail articles are now used as BNP propaganda. Unfortunate, there are differences which signal a worse deal for some of the most vulnerable. In the case of Ugandan Asians government and opposition spoke of a “clear obligation” to help, once the horror of Amin’s regime was revealed. Now, even British subjects threatened by volcanoes cannot expect help, and refugees who do make it to Britain can expect to be labelled as illegal immigrants, or “bogus” asylum seekers.

Discussing immigration is difficult in this country, often it descends into one side calling the other racists. Or more commonly, a writer beginning a piece by stating that it is no longer possible to discuss immigration in this country, without being accused of being a racist. I don’t think that this is a particularly healthy way to conduct debate.

What I hope to have shown is that the way immigrants are represented and discussed now, bares a scary resemblance to how they were discussed when racism and bigotry was unashamedly on show. Any discussion on immigration in this country is poisoned by this. You cannot blindly argue that avoiding the race of an immigrant means avoiding the racism of the way you present them, the two remain intertwined.

I wish I was… Taking Skinheads Bowling

Shortly after the BNP winning 2 seats to the European Parliament I was somewhat at a loss. I was pretty annoyed to be honest. However, James Graham’s post BNP voters come in two flavours: scum and idiots did cheer me up some.

Eventually I was dragged into a comment war with some trolls in his comment section, I have included it below for those really interested.

Scum and Idiot

What was interesting was that the two people who confronted me fulfilled Jamie’s stereotypes to a tee. What was even more interesting was that each appeared to fall squarely into either the idiot or scum camp.

At first I thought Woody was an idiot. He came out with ridiculous statements like:

At the moment we have Albanian gangsters and sex criminals hiding out here (as of right!) – are you happy with that?

Interesting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. The next adversary I faced was Andy holder (mysteriously, his last name doesn’t need a capital letter). I initially thought he was scum, his opening gambit contained the words:

Do not ever say incomers make this nation richer. That is sick beyond the pale. Ever thought of seeking psychiatric attention? We are in the red! Redder than Arthur Scargills hair. We have now totally sold out all our national assets to abroad. They have their fingers around our throats.

Guess what? I voted BNP. My iq is circa 143. I’m an aerospace engineer with letters after my name. Many of my colleagues also voted BNP for various reasons. I was honestly shocked when I found out there are active members there too! My father voted BNP. He was a lifelong ‘tory and his point of view was to “kick the three into line”. He was the area manager of a huge multinational business that is so big it literally cuts a city from the sea. Still a very clever man!

Stick that in your pipes and smoke it. Who’s a cretin?

However, it soon became obviously that I had these two mixed up. Andy holder seems dreadfully uninformed, if I believed half the things he did about immigrants then I’d be a bit prejudiced too. According to Andy holder…

…this country has 1691 people per square mile and 60 million arable acres to feed 60 million people according to the 2001 census. We are the third most densely populated land in the world. Malta comes first. Look at the problems they are having!

I felt a bit sorry for him, but we are not the third most densely populated land in the world. Depending on if you include islands, dependencies and city states (and it appears Andy holder does count Malta) we are either 52nd or 16th.

He also seem to have difficulty grasping the multiple meaning of the word “give.”

Now this bunch of tossers (apparently) want to GIVE 220,000 passports for free. I have to pay £70+

Thats racism too. Against me.

Despite it never being intimated that these passports were free (and if it were true you know which papers would run it as a headline) he immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion through his illiteracy. He’s not scum, he’s an idiot.

Woody on the other hand has now pegged his colours to the mast. This comment has pretty much convinced me what I already knew, that engaging with him is more or less hopeless:

AIPAC (a large pro-Israel lobby) rules the US – that thug Sharon once boasted (allegedly): “WE, THE JEWISH PEOPLE, CONTROL AMERICA. AND THE AMERICANS KNOW IT.” Here in the UK, Conservative Friends of Israel claim to have signed up 80% of Tory MPs and MEPs. Large numbers of Labour MPs also Friends of Israel at all levels of government. Brown, Blair and Cameron all self-declared Zionists and patrons of the Jewish National Fund. Our most important security bodies – the Intelligence & Security Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Defence Committee – are all headed by Israel flag-wavers (Friends of Israel).

Guess where large chunks of the parties’ campaign funds come from.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions about ‘influence’.

Woody, it appears is anti-Semitic scum. He can construct a rational sentence, form arguments without internal contradiction and even refer to sources. But he is convinced the Jews run the world. He is not an idiot, he is scum.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

This just goes to show that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Although they won’t thank me for it, it appears that I originally got them wrong. It can be hard arguing with people, especially when they prefer to make the fact fit to their preconceived ideas.

This isn’t something unique to racists, bigots or “people I disagree with,” its something I probably do too.  However, I genuinely like to be proved wrong, it is how you learn and improve. My favourite quote is from J M Keynes:

When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?

The important thing to remember is that although frustrating it is always worth arguing with people, because sometimes you will change their mind.

I honestly think Andy holder could come on board with progressive immigrant politics, or at least be convinced that many of the reasons he voted BNP were wrong. Some his ideas on economics, trade, demography and local government and demonstrably incorrect.

I have less hope for Woody. I’ll end on this quote as it encapsulates quite a lot of the idiocy, blind rage and hate which seems to characterise the anti-immigrant right. Anyone who can write this without a pang of guilt or irony may be beyond help:

It’s time would-be refugees stayed home and generated their own wealth, working together like all nation-builders throughout the ages.

The “debate” follows below. These are a lot of classic anti-immigrant arguments rolled out and I do my best to show why their wrong (their incorrect assumptions, their logical errors, their cognitive dissonance) but I am keen to hear if you think I mad any mistakes or if you think I am wasting my time.

Woody

The slack rules of the past created the problems we see today. There’s a case for allowing certain workers in but not more immigrants. Why should we? When you factor in the fuel crisis (we ain’t seen nothing yet) and the strain on resources expected from climate change, it has nothing to do with “pandering to BNP voters” but everything to do with common sense.
How tight? Shut the door, at least until those who are here illegally are rounded up and re-assessed. In my view the door should stay shut except in very special cases. At the moment we have Albanian gangsters and sex criminals hiding out here (as of right!) – are you happy with that?

How tight? Shut the door, at least until those who are here illegally are rounded up and re-assessed. In my view the door should stay shut except in very special cases.

You talk of special cases: The UK received 30,500 asylum applications last year. Is this too many? This was out of a total of 382,670 Asylum applications in Europe and the other main refugee receiving countries and a total of 31.7 million refugees world wide as of 2007 (the latest year reliable figures are available for).

Given that we obviously already receive far too few refugees for our size, wealth and international commitments (i.e. Iraq etc.) Can you expand on how many extra refugees you think we should take as part of your “shut-door” policy.

Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries 2008

UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2007

Woody

On the contrary, the number of asylum claims received by the UK is out of all proportion to our size. What are we doing in Iraq and Aghanistan anyway generating even more refugees? Nope, I don’t believe we should continue absorbing other peoples’ troubles. And what “wealth” are you crediting us with? Last I heard we were up to our ears in debt.

‘Special cases’ means those whose know-how/exceptional skills would obviously benefit the UK.

The UK’s population density is roughly 6 times that of the earth’s. We can easily absorb more refugees, to do anything else is intensely selfish.

“Nope, I don’t believe we should continue absorbing other peoples’ troubles.” If you walked past a child in a lake and they were drowning would you help them? If other people were there would you fell any less compelled to act?

Now imagine it’s not a child drowning but a child soldier in Uganda. It would cost the UK a fraction of our income to help them.

Drowning Child

Population density

Woody

C’mon. Helping is one thing (if you truly believe that pouring aid into Africa will make the slightest difference) but absorbing child soldiers into the UK would go down like a lead balloon.

I’m not so interested in helping child soldiers directly or giving aid to Africa.

The point is, there are millions of refugees in the world and we are not pulling our weight. In fact we demonise and criminalise these very vulnerable people.

What I am trying to say is that immigration isn’t just about what you want. We have a certain duty of care to those outside our borders. I am open to debate on whether it extends to development aid, fair trade, international peace keeping, transnational organisations.

But, how can we justify an argument against helping these refugees? They are not people who are only going to suffer poverty; their lives are at immediate risk. The fact is that we can help them at little cost to ourselves, and that our inaction would contribute to their death.

How many more refugees should we take? Regardless of your “shut-door” policy. Because we cannot justify only taking “those whose know-how/exceptional skills would obviously benefit the UK.”

Woody

A bus conductor cannot allow would-be passengers to endlessly pile onto the bus. He has a responsibility to those already on board.

What would those who gave their lives to preserve this sceptred isle say if we filled it to the brim with the world’s hard-luck cases?

Matthew Huntbach

There are millions upon millions of people in the world living shitty lives. It is surely discriminatory that we should only offer refugee places to those of them able to find a way to get here, mostly through being young and fit and having the right contacts. Shouldn’t we just arrange for anyone who faces the sort of nastiness that justifies refugee status to have a ticket to get here?

Well, if we did so, can we make sure the issues of dealing with such people fall proportionately on everyone? And not disproportionately on those already in this country who are poor? E.g. if it causes housing pressure, don’t just take it from the housing stock allocated to those who are in need because they can’t afford to buy, take it also from housing stock which would go to wealthier people. Make sure the refugee kids are properly distributed across all schools and not disproportionately to those schools which cater mainly for kids of people already here who are poor and lacking a good educational background.

I am being a little sarcastic here. But I am trying to raise some important questions in order to get at the mindset of people who vote BNP. Just saying “they’re nasty racists/fascists” will salve our conscience, but won’t solve the underlying problem. Which is that poor people in this country feel they have been abandoned by all politicians. Mostly this leads to sullen apathy, but when a bright shiny person comes along who seems to speak their language and have a plausible explanation for their plight?

We aren’t that bright shiny person. We may have a better explanation and solution to their plight than the BNP’s, but we don’t speak their language and we don’t come across as if we terribly care that much about them.

“What would those who gave their lives to preserve this sceptred isle say if we filled it to the brim with the world’s hard-luck cases?”

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we need to fill it to the brim! But how many more refugees can you think we can take.

Japan’s population density is around 230 people per square mile higher than our own, and still enjoy a very high standard of living.

In roughly 90,000 square miles of Britain we could fit another 20,700,000 million people before we reach those sort of levels (not that for a second I think we should, that would be more than I would personally like).

So again, how many more refugees can we take?

UK and Japan’s population density

“There are millions upon millions of people in the world living shitty lives. It is surely discriminatory that we should only offer refugee places to those of them able to find a way to get here”

True, but you have to pick your battles.

“Well, if we did so, can we make sure the issues of dealing with such people fall proportionately on everyone? And not disproportionately on those already in this country who are poor?”

That has more to do with the success of Capital over Labour in the last 3 decades that immigration per se.

“We aren’t that bright shiny person. We may have a better explanation and solution to their plight than the BNP’s, but we don’t speak their language and we don’t come across as if we terribly care that much about them.”

That’s true too, but it’s never going to be easy because racists offer simple appealing answers. The real world is far more complicated, and I think its a good thing (long term) that the Left do not want to compromise facts for expediency.

Woody

Please don’t hold up Japan as any kind of shining example. Who wants to live at their jam-packed density?

Some pundits say we need to REDUCE our population by at least 10 million if we are to have any acceptable standard of living in the future. Why? With soaring energy prices scientists reckon the time will soon come when this island cannot afford to support it’s present (and expanding, even if no more immigration) population. And where do you think we’re going to get enough water and food to support your 20 million extra people?

Again, I don’t want 20 million people, but we can physically handle it without collapsing. I was setting an upper limit for discussion.

It may be optimum to reduce our population by 10 million, however, it is not the only way for us to

Food is a no-brainer, trade. I don’t really want us to be an agrarian autarkic nation. I’d be much happier if we made stuff and exported it and imported food.

Water is more difficult. But it is entirely possible for us to increase desalination, to increase efficiency, and reduce waste to meet out future needs.

In 2007 Thames Water, my supplier was losing 695 million litres of water a day. We can definitely solve that problem.

So we can feed, water and shelter refugees. How many more can we take before our discomfort outweighs their loss of life?

Woody

“Food is a no-brainer, trade.”

Sorry, but I think you’re forgetting the energy crisis that’s looming. We’ll be using locally grown food.

There’s a huge cost to everything you suggest at a time when we’re likely to be getting poorer anyway. Crowding brings all kinds of (social) problems and we’re already overcrowded. I simply don’t share your vision of a packed-like-sardines Britain, thank you.

It’s a hard thing to say, but if strife in other countries continues people are just going to have to stay and fight for their future or find less crowded corners of the world to retreat to. Mugabe for example should have come to a sticky end long before now.

We’ll be partially using locally grown food. But the fact will remain that we will still be importing a tremendous amount of food.

If there is an energy crisis then it makes more sense to grow food where it is easy to grow and ship it here than to pump domestic crops full of artificial fertilisers in heated green houses.

Overcrowding will bring social problems, many of them are well documented, some are perhaps harder to understand. However, this is not a reason for helping to inflict death and torture on people just because they happen to be born abroad.

You say… “It’s a hard thing to say” but it isn’t. It is said daily, it is enforced as we deport people to be murdered.

Britain should not be the first port of call, however, wealthy and large countries like Canada and the US already take in more refugees than us. Poor and large countries like Chad, Egypt, India and South Africa already do more than us. Small and poor states like Nepal and Lebanon do more than us. How many more refugees can we take?

Rebel Saint

Ah … there’s nothing like a good bit of stereotyping and political prejudice to really progress things!

I’d agree with your “scum or idiot” conclusion if you were to apply it to NuLabour rather than the BNP.

I suspect you’ll find that the vast majority of the 15% who voted Liebour last week did so out of pure, unthinking, idiotic, tribal “I’ve always voted labour and so did m’ father & m’ father’s father”. Most people will have made a very concious decision to vote BNP. To join the BNP or to publicly declare support invites vilification, scorn, abuse, potential job-loss, social exclusion … . I admire their conviction and political courage in the light of such open prejudice and hostility.

James Graham

I’m the last person to defend people’s decision to vote Labour but at least they aren’t voting for a party whose leaders laud genocide and some of the most oppressive regimes ever seen in the country.

I don’t deny that BNP voters made conscious decisions to do so. I’m just saying they made their decision either because they are scum or because they are deeply foolish.

Matthew Huntbach

Left Outside, I am glad you have at least tried to answer my points.

I am sorry that most of my fellow Liberal Democrats are too cowardly to face up to these things and give an honest answer, one way or the other.

What I am putting is, in effect, the points that WILL be made to you by people – in your councillor’s surgery, or while canvassing – if you are working in a mainly white working class urban ward by people who are thinking of voting BNP. The points may not be put quite as I have done so, but that is what they mean. They are not all racists and some may be persuaded by the argument to consider the deep racism that is at the heart of the BNP. Others, however, may conclude the BNP may not be nice, but the political establishment (in which they include us) isn’t willing to discuss these points or even see their point of view, so they’ll vote BNP as a protest to try and make them do so.

Adrian P

And the way to Get the White working class on side is to call them scum and foolsih and Idiots, the White working class Vote BNP because the BNP is the only party that actaully cares for them.
Why should Indigenous Brits vote for your parties, just look at your comments, it is clear that you hate and despise British people, our culture heritage and traditions.
Are there any other cultures that you hate as much as you do the British.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ0Z5i0M4-0

Andy holder

Most comments on here used more grey matter than this bigoted pile I read earlier!

ok, people talk growing our own food.. We have 60 million arable acres. In 2001 we had 60 million people on the books in the census. Go figure. We nearly starved to submission in WW2 with 43 millions.

Our NHS debt is 1/7 of the money we chuck away to foreign causes each year! I could never forgive that idiot Brown giving India £825M in (Foreign aid) then next week they launched a rocket to the moon.

We give the EU twice as much as we get back.

The EU fishery policies are a complete sham. The one that worked was BEFORE Heath gave our fisheries away. For what?

The whole of the third world wants to come here precisely because its run by Brits: Our education, intelligence, ability to team-work and attitudes make us what we are.

Do not ever say incomers make this nation richer. That is sick beyond the pale. Ever thought of seeking psychiatric attention? We are in the red! Redder than Arthur Scargills hair. We have now totally sold out all our national assets to abroad. They have their fingers around our throats.

Now our oil and gas is dwindling. Manufacturing has been decimated, Lost trust in our financial institutions and the whole world is laughing at our media and Government from such childish hatred of the BNP.. Which is too obvious to outsiders. They take us as some sort of goose stepping banana republic now.

Guess what? I voted BNP. My iq is circa 143. I’m an aerospace engineer with letters after my name. Many of my colleagues also voted BNP for various reasons. I was honestly shocked when I found out there are active members there too! My father voted BNP. He was a lifelong ‘tory and his point of view was to “kick the three into line”. He was the area manager of a huge multinational business that is so big it literally cuts a city from the sea. Still a very clever man!

Without ‘my’ company, Britain would be billions a year worse off and I’m sick to death of you “oh we should give money away” parasites.

Stick that in your pipes and smoke it. Who’s a cretin?

Woody

I’m not alone in regarding Britain as a ‘club’ (and why not?). New members should be allowed in only if we (a) like them and (b) need them. OK, applications to immigrate will be considered from supplicants… and I do mean SUPPLICANTS, as used to be the case before the weak-in-the-head wreckers took over. They should not be allowed to march in here as of right, stuff the EU and its loony rules.

“If there is an energy crisis then it makes more sense to grow food where it is easy to grow and ship it here than to pump domestic crops full of artificial fertilisers in heated green houses… Overcrowding will bring social problems… However, this is not a reason for helping to inflict death and torture on people just because they happen to be born abroad,” says Left Outside. With all sorts of crises looming it makes even better sense to ensure the population is not too big to be fed from mostly local sources and kept warm in an affordable way. And who exactly is inflicting death and torture?

James Graham says Labour leaders don’t laud genocide and oppressive regimes. No? Broon and Blair are both self-declared Zionists and very cosy with lawless and racist Israel, which has held Palestinians under brutal military occupation for 61 years. And what was Israel doing to the Gazans a few months ago (and still doing)?

Mike

The race riots in Luton and the racism from South Belfast are all the work of the “scum and idiot” BNP are they? These areas are where the BNP have negligible presence.

Be careful. One day the public will not take kindly to those who wish to impose a lifestyle they do not want, whilst being slandered.

Contraire to the opine of you the deluded. The BNP’s only enemy is the Government.

Multiculturalism is a great idea and needs preserving… Its what borders are for.

I’m not alone in regarding Britain as a ‘club’ (and why not?). New members should be allowed in only if we (a) like them and (b) need them. OK, applications to immigrate will be considered from supplicants… and I do mean SUPPLICANTS, as used to be the case before the weak-in-the-head wreckers took over. They should not be allowed to march in here as of right, stuff the EU and its loony rules.

True, I can understand that analogy and I think it’s a fairly reasonable one.

However, no Club can keep people out if doing so would contribute to their death. For example, if someone approached a private members snooker hall (to which even entry is barred to non-members) chased by people wielding machetes, or guns, or baseball bats and they were refused entry they would be culpable in his murder, or beating. Not solely responsible but a contributor to this. Any Club can become full but there has to be a serious threat to the well being of members before it would be right to turn that person back.

Those chasing this person have not given up and are hanging around outside the club. In fact they do so for many years. In this time whether or not this person has become an official member of the Club, they will become a de facto member of the club. Once they have been here a certain amount of time, laid down roots in the club, they can fairly be described as possessing a right to be a member regardless of their original circumstances.

This is the situation which Britain is in with respect to the millions of refugees in the world. It is a situation the right are unable to confront without labelling refugees frauds, pimps, prostitutes or “bogus” Asylum Seekers. These are people we have a duty to help and no amount of alleged damage to national identity or loyalty to a Club can vitiate the responsibility we have to refugees.

“The race riots in Luton and the racism from South Belfast are all the work of the “scum and idiot” BNP are they? These areas are where the BNP have negligible presence.”

You don’t have to vote BNP to be scum or an idiot… I’m not sure what your point is. How does attacking people only for their race not make you scum?

“Most people will have made a very concious decision to vote BNP. To join the BNP or to publicly declare support invites vilification, scorn, abuse, potential job-loss, social exclusion… I admire their conviction and political courage in the light of such open prejudice and hostility.”

That’s funny because I admire those that punch babies. Sure, you get frowned upon, people don’t like it. They say “but the babies haven’t done anything” but they don’t understand.

They can face exclusion from social groups, loss of their job, loss of thier friends and family. But they are doing what they believe in, good luck to them.

Mike

We owe nobody a thing! Are you telling me they are so stupid they need the White British to save their asses?

YOU RACIST! Haha, dontchya love propaganda.

You should know your law.. One can only seek asylum by stopping at THE FIRST AVAILABLE SAFE COUNTRY! Anything else is taking the piss.

Tell me, what has the NUJ come up with on their proposed tactical methods on telling lies about the BNP?

I’m tempted to not argue with you because you obviously don’t understand a single point I made. But in your eyes that would make you some sort of Martyr so I am reluctantly going to engage with you…

So first of all, no you are wrong. You do owe them. Unfortunately you are in a position to decide who lives and who dies. So you owe them a just consideration of their situation, you owe them a fair hearing because they are human beings. You cannot stick your fingers in your ears, mumble “I’m not listening” and pretend that they don’t need help.

Once you have given them the hearing which they deserve, you must then come up with a reason for turning them away, should you wish to. When you can’t come up with a reason, because doing so would lead them to die you let them in.

The rest of your post really is nonsense. I could explain how Asylum Seekers as a label was “created” in the 1980s as a convenient Legal construct. One which allowed rich countries in the Northern Hemisphere to say “Refugees? They’re too far away, you deal with them! Nothing to do with us…”

What has distance got to do with how much assistance we offer those in danger of murder for nothing other than their beliefs, skin colour, religion or politics?

I don’t know why you are calling those fleeing persecution “stupid,” especially since your CAPITAL happy style appears a little idiotic to me.

I feel sorry that Woody has you on his side, at least he was attempting a serious argument. Albeit one I have serious issue with.

Anyway, here’s a nice graph from the Economist showing us all how we shape up with respect to taking in Refugees.

Woody

LOL, your “nice graph” from the Economist is pretty nonsensical. For example, there are some 5 million Palestinian refugees and displaced persons, most of them in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and camps in Gaza, which helps explain the inflated refugee figures for these countries.

These refugees are largely the result of Britain’s unprincipled meddling in the region and betrayal of the indigenous people and the international community’s failure to implement UN resolutions and enforce international law against Israel, whose racist policies block the Palestinians’ right of return. In the case of the Palestinians – and now the Iraqis – Britain could be said to have a direct and moral responsibility to receive refugees, but it’s a case of the British people having to pick up the tab for the stupidity and duplicity of their successive governments.

Andy holder

What murder? They do not look very dead when they come over here?

How about singing this after me: “6.7 Billions to go…” Man is the destroyer. Man is the sickness on this planet. There are no checks and balances. Apart from ourselves. There would be no “murder” as you put it if people were the prime resource for our survival.

We owe them … Nothing. Those that do, should pay and its not me. Supply a proper argument or waste your time ranting about my poor English.

What murder? They do not look very dead when they come over here?

Umm, well yeah. You don’t get to see the dead people (unless you watch the news). They were never lucky enough to become refugees.

But they do exist, I am talking about Sudan, Congo, Environmental Refugees, and many more.

We owe them… Nothing. Those that do, should pay and its not me. Supply a proper argument or waste your time ranting about my poor English.

I know who’s ranting, its not me. Anyway, I think I did a fairly good reply as to why we have a responsibility to these people above, here. But I am happy to spell it out more clearly.

You may be correct that you have not contributed to their suffering directly [1]. However, it does not follow that you do not owe them anything.

I agree that we have a diminishing degree of responsibility to those within our family, community, nation, and world respectively. If someone is in need of help in my community then they are more deserving of my help than someone who happens to be British who I have never met, and even more than someone who is Columbian who I have never met and lives on the other side of the world.

But, just because there are those we have a closer bond to than others it does not mean that we owe some people nothing. If we can save someone’s life (as we can) at relatively little cost (immigrants contribute economically; and in my opinion culturally too) then even if our tie to them is very weak we should still help.

[1](Unfortunately you more than likely are connected to these refugees; you enjoy the products of China made using Oil extracted in Sudan, you probably drive a car built with minerals extracted from the Congo, (if you’re British or American) your Government invaded Iraq and Afghanistan – your life and theirs do connect).

For example, there are some 5 million Palestinian refugees and displaced persons, most of them in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and camps in Gaza, which helps explain the inflated refugee figures for these countries.

I don’t understand. Because people are Palestinian they don’t count?

but it’s a case of the British people having to pick up the tab for the stupidity and duplicity of their successive governments.

I see what you mean. But, this is a democracy, we accepted all the election results as valid and therefore New Labour are (unfortunately) our Government. It means picking up a very large tab.

Btw, HAPPY WORLD REFUGEE DAY!

Woody

As you know, the seeds of the Palestinian refugee problem were sown by that loony Balfour and compounded by the League of Nations and the UN, and indeed the whole international community’s failure to implement UN resolutions, especially the AIPAC-ruled US. If common decency, common sense and a proper regard for international law had been maintained the problem needn’t have happened at all. US-UK criminal meddling also resulted in the Iraqi refugee problem.

Andy holder

Idiots & Immigrants contributed to the UK’s demise.

We were saved from our financial predicaments of bad Governance back in the late 70’s when oil and gas came on tap. We have imported zillions of cheap labour slaves just as you wanted. Now we are TWO TRILLION GBP in debt. So wheres the profit then?

They breed faster than we can save them. We are a tiny, miniscule island that is heavily overpopulated on the edge of Europe. Their very numbers alone will soon end all the worlds energy reserves, most likely within your lifetime. This country can only possibly create one quarter of its food at this moment. Excluding growing our own fuel. Guess What will it be like within 50 years time if nothing serious is done with no cheap transport and fertilisers.

So whats the point? Sort our own issues first. Keep them out. Have this Government resolve OUR hideous population size until we can be self sufficient and carbon neutral. Then let nature handle those who do not handle themselves.

Remember, this Earth is only so big. Too small for a bunch of tossers to wreck Gods almighty plan.

James Graham

Ah, Andy, you are such a funny loony!

One thing though: by island standards, Britain is relatively large. It’s no continent but compared with “tiny, miniscule” islands such as Mann and even Wight, it is huge.

Andy Holder

Call me a loony and you are a bigot

Let me repeat:
This country has 1691 people per square mile and 60 million arable acres to feed 60 million people according to the 2001 census. We are the third most densely populated land in the world. Malta comes first. Look at the problems they are having!

A conglomerate of businesses (Tescos, asdas, banks) put the pop. here at 77M.!!!!!

So tell me, how many can YOU feed/cloth/house? How many more cars on the road? How many more houses? Ever tried to count the number of countries with “at risk” people? Then add all the numbers. Sure its physically possible to stand everyone side by side to fill up an area the size of the Isle of Wight. But as your puerile comment on islands does not imply. Its a stupid thing to even consider.

You brainwashed lotus eaters are all the same. You call people names if you have no argument.
And no proper job.

“We are the third most densely populated land in the world. Malta comes first. Look at the problems they are having!”

Demonstratively false.

1) We are 52nd or 51st in the World. The top quartile, but nothing terrifying.

2) However, that does include some small Islands, dependencies, city states etc. which could be argued are unfair to include (although, I’m sure the people living there would think otherwise). So if we take them out we end up with, in descending order of population Density: the Palestinian territories, Taiwan, South Korea, Netherlands, Lebanon, India, Rwanda, Belgium, Haiti, Japan, Israel, Sri Lanka, Philippines, El Salvador, Burundi and Vietnam all ahead of the UK.

3)If you want to refer to England only (for no particular reason that I can work out, I don’t judge all the US on New York, or all of Germany by Saxony) then England has a population of 51 million and a land mass of 50,000 square miles. This gives a population density of a little over 1,000 a square mile. Excluding islands, city states, and dependencies, this still places us behind the Palestinian territories, Taiwan and South Korea. So England is forth, not third.

4)If you want to use LONDON, then you still lose . With a population density of 12,331 per square mile it places around 600 people per square mile behind South Korea.

5) If you want to use your fictitious figure of 77 million over a land mass of 94,526 square miles you would still only have 815 people per square mile. Behind the Palestinian territories, Taiwan, South Korea, Netherlands, Lebanon, India, Rwanda, Belgium, Haiti, Japan and Israel.

Where did you get your figures by the way? Especially the one from Tesco et al.

“Ever tried to count the number of countries with “at risk” people? Then add all the numbers.”

About half the world’s population are living on less than $4 a day, and there are around 30 million refugees in the world at any time.

These are overwhelming figures, but no one is arguing that the UK should shoulder that burden alone. The whole of the developed world should help.

We have about 7% of the world’s wealth and about 1% of it’s people, about 0.5% of it’s refugees. I would like to see us take on a larger share of the burden, in proportion to the wealth which we have. Because of our relative size and popualtion, you are correct; we can probably do more than the Netherlands, but less than the US. However, we can definitely do more than we are doing now.

You brainwashed lotus eaters are all the same. You call people names if you have no argument.
And no proper job.

What a bizarre way to end…

Woody

“We can definitely do more than we are doing now”…
Even if that were true, why should we? Why should you condemn the rest of us to a crowded, stressful life?

BTW where did you get the idea that we have 7% of the world’s wealth? All that wealth, if it exists, doesn’t reside here in the UK under the control of us citizens.

It’s time would-be refugees stayed home and generated their own wealth, working together like all nation-builders throughout the ages.

It’s time would-be refugees stayed home…

They are being persecuted and hounded out of their homes, they cannot “stay at home.” That is what a refugee is. Migrants you may have a point, but not refugees, they are defined precisely as people who cannot do what you ask. 30 million of them.

…working together like all nation-builders throughout the ages.

Not exactly what happened was it? You seem to have missed out all the rape and pillage which went on too. The fortunes exported from Latin America, Africa and Asia to the capitalist centres of the world. Check out Open Veins of Latin America, a really approachable read on imperialism and development.

BTW where did you get the idea that we have 7% of the world’s wealth?

Here. And Sorry, it’s more like 6%. Still, it’s a lot. And yes, you are correct GDP and wealth do not sync well, and no, that money is not in the pocket of average UK citizens.

But, that is a different story altogether. There’s the erosion of Labour rights since the early 1980s, there’s the changing global division of Labour which has been happening since time immemorial, there’s a worryingly powerful oligarchy which has captured the ruling parties in the UK and US (look at the bank bailouts and soft handouts to “special” firms). However, anti-immigrant posturing is not going to foster the solidarity which is necessary to fight those things and get wealth back to the people who deserve it.

Even if that were true, why should we?

In the case of refugees, to save lives. For migrants, (the slightly less strong case) to make someone elses life better at little or no cost to ourselves. See here and here and there is also our historic responsibility towards those we have wronged, imperialism’s impact didn’t vanish in the 1960s.

Why should you condemn the rest of us to a crowded, stressful life?

It wouldn’t. See here.

Moreover, immigrants don’t make you life worse.

Poll after poll has shown that the more people associate with immigrants the more accepting they are, as they realise that there’s nothing wrong with them or their presence.

This country is built on immigration, up until 1905 we had open border (not in the Ian Dale/Daily Mail sense, but actually open) not one single border control or check. No barriers and we were the most powerful nation on earth. The late 19th Century was the era of great migrations, and Britain was a huge part of it and benefited greatly.

I’m off to Glastonbury now, but I will be back to this on Monday, I’m quite enjoying it.

Andy holder

Wherever the European has settled, wealth was created. Those who will not create their own heaven want a bit of someone elses. Whenever I see a “refugee”. I have never come across one who looks or lives up to their status.

Its a scam.

Early this year in Wigan they had to pull down a block of flats because some Kosovan “refugees” oh so grateful… Tried to plumb across the gas meter and blew up the block of flats. Nearly killing themselves and injuring others.

Crime is double off “refugees”. So is the mental health scam. (More money & drugs). My ex g/f is testament to their games on that score. Rapes, gun and knife crimes. Drug importers. Especially heroin from Afghanistan via Pakistan.

Northern Ireland. The latest affair was nothing to do with racism. It was pure retaliation at the imported Romanian crime wave.

As far as I am concerned, if you travel across the globe instead of the first safe place then cry asylum. You are a scammer.

Many are out and out racists. They will not marry outside of their religion or family ties.

Why don’t you devote all your money to the future concerns of our poor and old pensioners? The EU is about to scupper pensions and this Gubmint cannot keep up paying state pensions with our TWO TRILLION GBP debt. Wealth indeed. HA!

Now this bunch of tossers (apparently) want to GIVE 220,000 passports for free. I have to pay £70+

Thats racism too. Against me.

Woody

I’m afraid the wealth you speak of is largely fictitious, as we’ve seen. And when the oil runs out there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially if our population has climbed to 80 million +.

You say “there’s a worryingly powerful oligarchy which has captured the ruling parties in the UK and US…” Have you looked at the ethnicity of these people? Do you know what their agenda is?

Andy holder

This blogger left out accusations of racism because there was no chance on winning that score:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8118828.stm
Jewish school admissions unlawful

“Jewish schools may have to change admissions rules after the Appeal Court held that ethnic tests of Jewishness amount to racial discrimination.
A London school, the JFS, rejected a boy whose mother’s conversion to Judaism it did not recognise.
Faith schools may discriminate on religious grounds but the Court of Appeal held that this involved a test of ethnicity – which is unlawful….”

I wonder if this will affect the 12,000 odd charities that will not cater for the White Brit needy or the 75+ quangos that serve only “ethnic minorities” Within UK borders?

Back to Wiki pop. stats:
“Note that figures are simply estimates of population divided by total surface area and are not considered in this article as reflecting density in the urban sense or as indicative of the ability of a territory’s land to support human habitation.”.

Besides what is it with you lot that want us bastardised anyway? Have you never read “The declaration of the rights of the indigenous peoples”? Yes, it does include everyone; it is not meant to be another UK racist statute.
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/declaration.htm

Wherever the European has settled, wealth was created.

That sounds a bit racist. What are you saying, darky’s lazy?

Whenever I see a “refugee”. I have never come across one who looks or lives up to their status.

Its a scam.

Well it’s not a scam, is it? At the same time you are saying that those abroad fucked up their countries but that the refugees produced by that don’t exist. That’s not logical.

As far as I am concerned, if you travel across the globe instead of the first safe place then cry asylum. You are a scammer.

Well, that’s again not true, you may not like it but some people don’t want to live in a mud hole in chad. They want to try to reach somewhere better where they believe they will actually be safe. The UK is one such place; learn to take a compliment when it’s given.

Fine, if refugees exist in other countries what should we do to help them?

Northern Ireland. The latest affair was nothing to do with racism. It was pure retaliation at the imported Romanian crime wave.

Prove it. Bring me crime statistics. You are accusing victims of intimidation so severe that they would rather return to the persecution they’ll suffer in Romania than stay. You are accusing them, the burden of proof falls on you.

Put up or shut up.

So is the mental health scam.

What scam? You think mental illness doesn’t exist? Well you’re wrong.

Now this bunch of tossers (apparently) want to GIVE 220,000 passports for free. I have to pay £70+

Thats racism too. Against me.

Is it free? I think you are wrong. Show me where it says they don’t have to pay.

What’s bad about migrants getting a Passport anyway? Surely it shows that they are committed to this country? That they want to contribute and become members of our community?

The reaction in the right wing press has just illustrated how pathetic their “we like the hard working immigrants, we just want to get rid of the scroungers” line is. They want to contribute. Why don’t you want them to?

You seem to think that this Government discriminates against British Citizens. Well these people are becoming British Citizens so they will be in the same situation as you. Again, what you are saying is not logical or consistent in any way.

Why don’t you devote all your money to the future concerns of our poor and old pensioners?

Okay, but we can do that and help refugees. Immigrants are a net contributor to the economy. At worst their economic impact is neutral. So yeah, lets help pensioners, the poor and refugees

And Finally –

I’m afraid the wealth you speak of is largely fictitious, as we’ve seen. And when the oil runs out there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially if our population has climbed to 80 million +.

You say “there’s a worryingly powerful oligarchy which has captured the ruling parties in the UK and US…” Have you looked at the ethnicity of these people? Do you know what their agenda is?

I’m not sure what you’re getting at here (are you talking about a Jewish Conspiracy?).

Here’s an article about how the bankers have captured the ruling classes in the US, a very similar tale can be said of what’s happened in the UK.

Certain sections of the economy have got politicians into their hands and are exercising an unhealthy, near criminal degree of influence over them. Special treatment, special favours, Governments offering them handouts.

This is dangerous, but the reason we don’t have control of our wealth isn’t immigrants. It’s a class war waged against us by the very rich, with the help of certain parts of our own Government; from Thatcher and Major to Blair, Brown and Mandelson.

(This is of course an entirely different point. Immigrants are not an economic drain per se. They have been demonstrated time and time again to be at worst a neutral input to our economic output, at best a huge boon. Problems arise when suitable public investment is not made where it should be, but this is not a reasons to punish immigrants, it is a reason to improve local government).

Andy holder

I’m not interested in quoting every source simply because you are in denial. Not seen the irony over some of your comments yet?

In fact like the 220,000 passports scam I’m having to pay for. Just about every rag I saw reported it.

Who said Jews? duh! Its about the future:
No power, no food due to overpopulation… Sounds like a
death wish from bad governance… I sincerely hope you are young enough to see this happen onto you and your (grand)kids. Remember me.

A Jewish statistician writes his blog about races:
http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/

Why did you waste your money listening to music this last weekend when you can donate every penny you have to those who only pretend to help the poor? The UK is very soon to be £2,000,000,000,000,000,000 in debt. We are told foreigners make us richer. Gas and oil make us richer. Selling our national assets will make us richer. Being in the EU will gain us more wealth. LIARS! The money you have is not your money to waste anymore. Mine has now left the country and has been reconverted.. Its safe.

Refugees are so named because they cannot be classified as asylum seekers,,, because they are not – They have no legal personality under any law – They are an invention. On Radio2 a lying politician stated they do not jump housing queues. Then he got a barrage of phone callers. All calling him a liar to his face, quoting real life facts.

ohhh, look at me. I’ve been tortured… All my balls have been cut off. Look, I have fingers missing… ohh. please! The scars, they are soo horrible! I grow my hair long .. they have cut my ears off. Can I claim more money for ptsd please? hahhaa! Refugees. my ass. I Once played a game to an Iraqi man who claimed this, that and the other to my face.. He was around my age too. I showed him my scars and permanent damages reciting all the stories of each and every. He had none. He should be back there, sweeping his own filthy squalid streets. not waiting for some bleeding heart liberal to buy him a road sweeper.

Oh, your Wikipedia on pop. densities is badly out on China for a start. Never mind the zillion and one principalities that are ’self governing’ with totally open borders. pish.

Woody

AIPAC rules the US – that thug Sharon once boasted (allegedly): “WE, THE JEWISH PEOPLE, CONTROL AMERICA. AND THE AMERICANS KNOW IT.” Here in the UK, Conservative Friends of Israel claim to have signed up 80% of Tory MPs and MEPs. Large numbers of Labour MPs also Friends of Israel at all levels of government. Brown, Blair and Cameron all self-declared Zionists and patrons of the Jewish National Fund. Our most important security bodies – the Intelligence & Security Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Defence Committee – are all headed by Israel flag-wavers (Friends of Israel).

Guess where large chunks of the parties’ campaign funds come from.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions about ‘influence’.

The World Debt Crisis will make Labour Govern Better

Alternatively titled: Good News Ends Writer’s Block

It looks as though another embarrassing climbdown is being executed by the Labour Government.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Climbdown on compulsory ID cards

Although I was doubtful that Alan Johnson would behave as anything other than a dubious Authoritarian once in the Home Office, my previous cynicism has been proved incorrect.

Beau Bo DOr ID Card

Image by Beau Bo D'Or

By introducing ID cards as voluntary they are admitting that the arguments they were using before were false. They won’t help cut terrorism, nor will they help tackle identity theft etc. etc. etc.

If they were going to tackle terrorism, the Government wouldn’t allow then to be voluntary and if they were going to help tackle identity theft people would sign up voluntarily, but only 3,500 have so far.

The Labour Government has done some really unpleasant things. The list is long, but among the worst would be attempting to introduce 90 day detention without charge. The un-Britishness of ID cards was apparent to most, but Labour tried to ram them through anyway. The waste of money that is Trident is another attempt at playing superpower by a state 60 years past our its sell by date.

It appears that the financial crisis we face is threatening our outdated Nuclear Arsenal and our unpopular ID card scheme. It has most likely played a part in the decentralisation of schooling which Ed Balls is currently championing. In short, it seems to be doing them a world of good.

The Austerity Years

This all got me thinking. The most successful Labour Government we’ve ever had was during one of the most austere periods this nation ever endured. They did so well that in the 1951 election they got the majority vote despite running an economy fraught with rationing and huge debt repayments. They only robbed of victory by our antediluvian voting system.

Governments can do some brilliant things. The NHS is a monument that may be discussed often, but it rarely ceases to be relevant. Unfortunately, Government does not do great things on its own, it needs to be forced.

As Roosevelt said when confronted by an impatient voter on the 1936 campaign trail, demanding action and policy, “Maam, I want to do those things, but you must make me.”

They are running out of money for their white elephants and vanity projects. But we are only just building pressure to support the vital services we need. Although our finances will be squeezed we can force the sqeeze where it is needed.

A Second Climbdown

It had been planned to make them compulsory for all 200,000 airside workers from 2009 but instead the government announced there would be an 18-month trial, for airside workers at Manchester and London City airports only.

There was also a second climbdown within the first. ID Cards will no longer be compulsory for Airport staff across the country. This is a sign that they are getting scared of mass action. They knew the Union wouldn’t allow for its membership to be treated as Guinea Pigs so it has backed down. This is an example which from which we can take heart. The same can be said for the Total strike which has recently ended in victory. We can work together to pull through this crisis.

This financial crisis has not be pleasant and nor will it be getting better any time soon. But as perverse as it seems, it may be the best opportunity yet to get the Governance we need out of the Government we’ve got

If this is democracy then I’m Robert Kilroy Silk

Is it just me or is voting incredibly underwhelming? I understand I am expressing a right which people have died for, which people have killed for, which billions lack… and yet I find it all a bit dull. Which leads me to believe that there must be something more to democracy than this crass expression of preference for my overlords.

Green_Party_of_England_and_Wales_logo In this election we are presented with a difficult choice because so many of the Parties involved have become tarnished. On top of this, even some very good Parties like the Greens have some terrible policies, this is not enough to stop me supporting them, but it is enough to cause a pause.

But the main problem is the problem with our system is the disconnect between cause and effect; between my vote and the political settlement ultimately reached.

I don’t want this post to be about voting systems, or the failures of the European Parliament, manifold though they are. This is about a deeper malaise caused by the distance between the parties we vote for and the politics that affects our real life. Labour party membership is at its lowest ebb in a century precisely because they have abandoned the connection which once allowed them to claim they were the party of the people.

I can understand why some people might not vote. The odds of making a difference are incredibly slim, occasionally single votes do decide elections, but these events are so rare that they only highlights how little our vote matters. People are worried about their jobs, about their health, about what it is the EU is actually for, about immigration[1], about deindustrialisation, about sexism, about racism, about a illegal wars and the special relationship.

Politics will not rediscover its flavour with the election of David Cameron, nor will it excite people if by some miracle Gordon Brown hangs on at the General Election. Politics does not need to be enlivening for itself, but if democracy and liberty do not excite people then something is clearly missing.

What is missing is a dedicated campaign to achieve something positive[2]. The campaign 38 degrees is a worthy start, even if it has a crap name, towards building a larger movement, but until that disconnect between little “p” politics and big “p” Politics is bridged voting will remain an underwhelming act.

[1] Whether they are hatemongers like the Mail and Express or citizens concerned for immigrants rights people care about this subject.

[2] The biggest campaign I have seen this election has been the anti-fascist campaign. They have done their research, they have mocked them, they have made videos and they have got people out to vote but it is not a pro-active campaign, it is a reaction.an

Left Outside by Labour and Shat on by the Press

Welcome to Left Outside.

This is a blog I felt I had to start for two reasons. Firstly, I felt compelled to begin writing because I don’t feel represented by those in power and I don’t think many other people do any more. I admit that The Labour Party betrayed its roots a long time ago but I never believed it would sink so low as it has. Call me naive if you will…

Secondly, I don’t believe that they are being held to account by our moribund media. Their responsibility is to hold up to scrutiny those in power, and those seeking it too (that means you Dave). I believe the press are failing us and there is plentiful evidence to support this here, here, here and elsewhere.

I will endeavour to post as frequently as I can and I hope that I can better the quality of what is currently on offer.