Miliband – Looking Left but acting Right – shouldn’t repeat the myth about immigrants’ impacts on wages

Black Triangle Comment

Sadly, in this speech Ed Miliband again, without any empirical evidence to back up his case, made assertions that he has been told will play well with the uneducated right-wing Sun and Daily Mail readership.

It is a cynical ploy that will do absolutely nothing to win back the five million working class voters who have deserted ‘Labour’ since it became a party of the neoliberal élite.

It is a base attempt to pander to the lowest common denominator in our society.

A true leader speaks the truth to both power and people with integrity and is unswayed by the temptation to the exploit resentment and fear that people understandably feel at times of social and economic upheaval. Instead of feeding the left he feeds the far-right.

He is playing a very dangerous game. 

An honourable leader would seek to dispel any myths surrounding immigration by setting out the facts, based upon empirical research as Left Foot Forward have done, and leading from the front. 

It is not immigration that has caused and sustained this crisis – it is the neoliberal casino-capitalist monetary and banking systems which are structured in such a way as to make periodic crashes a systemic inevitability.

Until ‘Labour’ get to grips with this concept and do something to address it, we will continue to suffer  cuts, austerity and privatisation – the corporate takeover of our society and all we hold precious – and our suffering will increase.

To suggest that immigrants are somehow to blame for high unemployment and an exploitative labour market practices is disingenuous in the extreme. It is, quite simply, a smokescreen for Labour’s complete failure to address the much larger issue – the systemic failure of neoliberal capitalism.

As with the false narrative on social security and the safety net being something that has bankrupted society  – we must reject, and OPPOSE – all such attempts to scapegoat one section of society.

Ed Miliband should know better. He needs to stick to the facts.

It seems he still hasn’t learned his lesson. 

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Ed Miliband: Looking Left but acting Right, pandering to the regressives on immigration

Ed Miliband today revealed Labour’s immigration strategy, in a speech much of the media saw as an “apology” for the previous government’s immigration record.

The majority of what was said appears to have gone unchallenged, however, Miliband made one point about the impact of immigrants on wage levels that commentators have been quick to disprove.

He claimed:

“To have an effective immigration policy, we must also reform how our economy works so that it works for all working people in Britain, whoever they are and wherever they come from. That means tougher labour standards to do more to protect working people from their wages and conditions being undermined.

“And action to create a different kind of economy: one which offers working people rewarding and high-skill jobs. So what happened?

“First of all, as a result of immigration combined with weak labour standards in some sectors, there was a direct effect on wages, especially in lower skilled jobs.”

Jonathan Portes, writing for the Independent, referred to a number of sources that dispelled the overwrought myth of immigration affecting wage levels, as Chart 14 shows.

Chart 14:

Wage-growth-scatter-graph
A report (pdf) from IZA, the Institute for the Study of Labor, entitled “New Labour? The Impact of Migration from Central and Eastern European Countries on the UK Labour Market”, concluded:

Indeed, the impact of such a large and rapid migration shock on wages and unemployment is a crucial labour market issue. This is specially so given the heated public debate on migration – and in particular on migration from current and future accession countries.

Yet, there is currently very limited evidence on migration effects on the UK – and even less so on the  effects of the recent EU enlargement.

While a report (pdf) from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) states:

Despite negative media coverage, there is no evidence that this expansion led, on average, to a setback of wages of workers born in the UK.

 
Comments
  • jeffery davies June 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

    ‘Labour’ since it became a party of the neoliberal élite that to me means little torys and we see no change in his stance on moving back to the labour we know not acy like torys no this way he his going down the road of our smilling assassin tony blair and i would not like to see whot labour pulls if a general election was cold they still be out in the cold by whot he,sshowing at the moment ,ed after all the emails your partys had on changing back has done nothing for you do the right thing and get rid of the blairites and then we can go forward jeff3

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