Saturday, 29 November 2014

You're not welcome

David Cameron, it would appear, has been forced by Angela Merkel to step back from his wish to place a cap on the number of immigrants from the EU to Britain.  He is now therefore talking of draconian measures such as deporting immigrants if they haven't managed to find a job within 6 weeks and to deny them access to in-work benefits (eg tax credits) and social housing for 4 years.  If an employer did similar things there would be a good case for the employee to sue for constructive dismissal.

He's clearly doing this to try and win back UKIP voters, but, as usual, it's soundbite politics that clearly haven't been thought through.

Firstly, if such measures were brought in, it's not hard to imagine that the other EU countries might bring in similar laws applying to UK citizens.  As ever with Tory propaganda, there's an underlying assumption that UK citizens are somehow different from any other EU citizen, and are therefore to be welcomed wherever they go.

Secondly, many of the EU immigrants who come to the UK are taking up jobs that UK citizens won't do, often because the pay is extremely low and the working conditions atrocious.  So, of course, the only way that people can survive is to claim benefits such as working tax credits to bring their income to a basic minimum level.  If such benefits are to be removed, it's likely the jobs won't be done. 

All-in-all, EU migrants are going to be made to feel about as welcome as  a tarantula at an arachnophobes convention.

It is, of course, a scandal that jobs with such pay and conditions exist, and that must be tackled, although it's not likely to be done by a government full of millionaires.  Their thought process is something like 'I am a millionaire, I got there by my own hard work, so these people are clearly just not trying'.  This mindset even exists in people who come from rich families, who didn't earn that money themselves and who were given every advantage that money could buy when growing up.

The Smith Commission report does not contain any real discussion of new powers over immigration for the Scottish Government, so the assumption has to be that this is (yet another) matter that is reserved to Westminster.  This is something I think the Scottish Government should press for.

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