A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Council by-election results

Just one council by-election result last night - Ibstock Ward in NW Leics - a narrow Labour hold over the BNP whose intervention increased the turnout. In May last year this was actually a split ward with just the one Labour cllr and 2 Tories.

Labour 699, 30% (2007 result was that the 3 Lab candidates got 707, 620 and 559)
BNP 637, 28% (did not stand in 2007)
Conservative 515, 22% (2007 result was 737, 731, 599)
Lib Dem 441, 19% (2007 result was 225 and 222)

UKIP stood in 2007 taking 411 votes but did not stand yesterday.

42 Comments:

Anonymous Rich said...

How much proof do you need Luke that Labour are losing votes to the fringe parties.

And how much proof does Brown need that immigration is a key issue.

I'm always amazed that Labour seem convinced that immigration isn't important and they should focus on more important issues. Talk about this issue and you're labelled a racist. The fact is now people are openly considering voting for the BNP and to be honest I am too as it's the only party willing to tackle the issue of immigration.

When I write about working people being betrayed I'm reflecting on the very fact that Labour MPs have lost touch with the working people.

8:32 am, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

But Labour didn't lose any votes in this contest - last year the Labour candidates got 707, 620 and 559, this year 699. If anyone appears to have lost votes to fringe parties here is was the Tories.

Immigration is immensely important and needs to be controlled and legal - one reason why I support ID cards - but generally its an immensely positive thing. I want to live in a multi-cultural country that people from other countries are seeking to come and live in.

8:40 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

"I want to live in a multi-cultural country that people from other countries are seeking to come and live in"

As do most of us - but there is a pace issue - trying to keep immigration at a rate that doesn't distort the housing and labour markets excessively, and create serious community tensions - I'm sure Ibstock is not a nicer place to live now the BNP are a major presence.

The other thing, of course, is that I want people who actually do want to come to this country and become a part of it, not people who want to recreate a little version of their own on land that happens to be in the UK...

8:50 am, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I don't think that the issue you summarise as "I want people who actually do want to come to this country and become a part of it, not people who want to recreate a little version of their own on land that happens to be in the UK" is as clear cut as you suggest.

For instance where I live in Hackney most BME communities are mixed in together - the model you favour. However, for cultural and religious reasons the Charedi/Chassidic Jewish community tend to live in a concentrated area, using their own schools and other facilities and not being so integrated into the rest of the community. They are good citizens, pay their taxes, abide by the law, vote etc. but lead a lifestyle, including sometimes dress, that is nearer to 18th century Poland than 21st century rest of Hackney and have very little desire to assimilate or merge in with the wider community. Whilst the idea that everyone should "become Brits" sounds good on paper it isn't workable when it comes up against communities who have very strong and legitimate religious and cultural reasons to want to lead a radically different lifestyle alongside us. I think there's a place for both types of BME community in the UK - and for choices within those communities by individuals about how much they want to integrate.

9:25 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Arnie said...

Thats a brilliant reult for the BNP. Bet Labour had to work hard to win the by-election. The tide is turning and the established political clique should be worried. People are fed up to the back teeth with immigrants being put first in everything. The tide is turning

9:27 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

And yet... the Chief Rabbi prefers my model to theirs. They may be good citizens, and they may pay their taxes, but we're looking at a community which is increasingly seen as too insular in Israel itself.

More importantly by allowing them to operate as a closed society we also render ourselves unable to challenge their shocking and intolerant views on homosexuality, mixed race relationships, and the role of women - and to reach out to individuals within that community who disagree with those views and are suffering because of them.

9:54 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Hymie said...

I've heard Hackney's Charedi/Chassidic Jewish community are on their way out. They have purchased a big site out near Thamesmead or somewhere near there and are going to build their own community. Not that they will sell there properties in Stamford Hill what with it's sky high prices

10:51 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Luke they did lose votes, think about it.

Record numbers came out yet Labour got 8 less votes. In terms of the proportion of the vote labour saw a huge decline.

I'm in no way saying we should stop immigration but the levels under this Labour government are frankly a joke. I've never known anything like it.

Who would of thought a Labour prime minister would argue that immigration is needed in order to keep wages down.(Inflation).

The fact is Brown and Blair could have got an exemption from Brussels to limit migrant workers from Eastern europe. Germany & France did exactly that.

So multi cultural Britain is now under threat because tensions between communities are at breaking point.

Talk to teachers, talk to local authorities, talk to police authorities and get out there and start talking to working people.

10:58 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

"They have purchased a big site out near Thamesmead or somewhere near there and are going to build their own community."

Milton Keynes was the last I heard, but that won't actually move the community out, just temporarily ease a bit of the overcrowding (this happens when you believe G-d has commanded you to have as many children as physically possible).

11:02 am, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Bill said...

Here's a deal, all those who want to stop immigration should also ask my express permission before having children, after all, breeding puts pressure on housing and changes our culture. Breeding is an issue up there with immigration, tough on immigration, tough on reproduction I say!

11:09 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Bill I agree completely. The average white british family has on average 2 children...now compare this with 4 for the average muslim family.

If we plan on meeting our green targets population is going to be a key issue.

11:15 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

Bill - I do think that, despite the need to tackle poverty, there should in the future be a stronger taper on child benefit and tax credits, where you get less for a third and fourth child than a second, and nothing at all after a certain number (more than five children is, I think, just selfish).

11:23 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Well I made the decision almost 6 months ago not to employ anyone who doesn't have a British passport.

Labour are totally out of control

11:33 am, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I agree, rather unsurprisingly, with Luke's vision of a multicultural Britain that is tollerant to the wide varity of people living in it.
London is the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and for what it's worth I think London and Britain in general are better for it.

Like Luke I am alarmed a little at what John said.
The vast majority of immigrants to this country work hard and pay taxes, not as the Daily Mail claims scrounging benefits.
Most are members of the EU. They have a right as EU citizens to work and live in this country, just as we have a right to work and live in theirs. How they choose to live here is none of your concern unless it is ofcourse illegal. It would be like the Spanish or Portugeese telling British expats not to open pubs and fish n chip shops to cater for their community.

We need skilled and unskilled labour in this country and if our own people are not willing to pick up the slack than you cannot blame employers looking abroad to fill in the gaps.

11:36 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Ravi, there is no slack. I can take you to hundreds of restuarants and hotels in Scotland that employ nearly all migrant workers....yet unemployment levels in these areas are some of the highest in the country.

I don't care whether an immigrant pays taxes or not. The fact is there are too many coming in and we're short on housing and pay for the poorest is getting worse and not better.

57% of British people want it stopped...it's not up to business to decided who and who doesn't come in. This is our country so this government better start listening.

EU citizens have the right to travel but not to work. It was Brown who failed to get an exemption, the same exemption was sought by France and Germany.

11:47 am, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Bill said...

What arrant nonsense, every extra mouth is an extra pair of hands to work - there's plenty of room in the UK. We can build new homes, provide new services, it can be done.

BTW, Rich, could you let us know what firm you run, so we can shop you for breaking equal opps. law?

(Eu citizens do have the right to work, the exceptions for eastern Europeans are exceptions - Italians, Spanish, portguse all have an absolute right to come and work here).

11:57 am, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

"We can build new homes, provide new services, it can be done"

But it isn't being. We have to ask, if we can't get past the green lobby enough to build homes for the people who are already here, how are we planning to do it for hundreds of thousands more?

"It would be like the Spanish or Portugeese telling British expats not to open pubs and fish n chip shops to cater for their community."

If you can't see the difference between eating fish and chips, as against excommunicating gays, subjugating women, and demonising miscegenation, I'm worried about you. Though I agree, I wouldn't dream of moving to Spain and not learning Spanish.

12:15 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Nick said...

"there's plenty of room in the UK"
Your having a laugh Bill
UK Population 60,776,238 (July 2007 est.)

383 people per km² in England alone!

Tell you what they can all go and live in Scotland where they have 64inhabitants per square kilometer. See how they like it there. Not much I bet. But who cares they will all be voting for Labour and it's free housing and handouts

12:33 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

I wonder why the BNP appear so strong in the East Midlands?

Looks as if their vote is coming from all the parties plus the non-voter.

Rich the Racist: first, you are wrong. EU citizens do have the right to work here and across the EU. The exemptions are partial and temporary.

The Tories are welcome to racists like you

12:37 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

There is nothing racist about wanting a sensible immigration policy. MerseyMike.

Racism as per the ENGLISH DICTIONARY:

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

Not once have I made an allegation that english white workers are in any way better than those of other ethnic origin. Yet all I read about at the moment is how Polish workers have a better work ethic than the english....I would say that is a racist comment.

As for equal ops there is nothing wrong with refusing work to people that don't have a british passport. My company employs people from all ethnic origins but they are just as British as me...they hold a British passport or a dual national passport.

I'm making a stand to protect British workers and I wish others would do the same.

The idea that Britain has plenty of room for everyone is idiotic. I take you already own your own home then....try telling that to the millions of people trying to buy there first house.

I've had to release equity just to get my kids on the ladder.

1:20 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I think Bill is bang on the money. If you travel across the country there are wide open spaces that could be as easily turned into living areas for our growing popultion. And in our exsisting cities we have derilict housing/builings that could easily be referbed to house the local and any new immigrants and their families.

Nick said,

"Tell you what they can all go and live in Scotland where they have 64inhabitants per square kilometer. See how they like it there. Not much I bet. But who cares they will all be voting for Labour and it's free housing and handouts"


Actually that would not be a bad idea. We have a problem with a declining population in Scotland. My guess like other migrants before them they will prove invaluable to our economy and will probably be the ones you or your family might end up woking for.

To answer Rich's point, the welfare system is reliant on young workers contributing, so when you next see a pensioner collecting their allowance, part of that would have been paid by migrant labour. This is why Rich, it is important they pay taxes as by doing so they are making a contribution to the nation, helping the least well off now that is socialism.
By the way Rich, since we seem to be in agreement about the majority of migrants coming here are from the EU (all christian white maj) why is it relevant to mention the size of an average muslim family? I think Mike might be onto something when he calls you racist (unless you can defend the opinion that the majority of EU migrants are in fact Muslim by proving some evidence).

I have to get off this computer (my boss needs it) I'll deal with John's points after.

1:29 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

My point regarding Muslims was related to the post concerning population control.

The reply was an attempt to draw attention to the differences between different cultures, time and how these relate to birth rates.

As I don't have stats on eastern europe, I can't comment on their birth rates.

Go back 100 years in this country and the average family size was a lot larger than it is now.
Partly due to culture, contraception and the position of women in society.

Depending on which country a migrant is from will determine the cultural differences and therefore may determine birth rates. People of strong catholic and islamic faiths tend to have large families. I'm from a catholic background and from a large family.

You find as life becomes more sophisticated birth rates come down. Many asian families that came over in the 60s will probably have children that choose to have smaller family sizes. Much the same as my own family.

Brown's argument for immigration is flawed and we will find this out as unemployment starts to grow in 2008.

1:51 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Pardon my typos in my last post, it does'nt help typing like mad.

I just read Rich's most recent post where he mentions a workplace we are all familiar with. It is worth mentioning the BNP has a policy of repatriating people. They claim this is ofcourse voluntry, which is Nazi speak for "at gun point".

John said,

"If you can't see the difference between eating fish and chips, as against excommunicating gays, subjugating women, and demonising miscegenation, I'm worried about you."

OK, let me try and defend this. Costa Del Sol and the Algarve are notable british tourist destinations. They also happent to have substantional british expat community there who have pubs, clubs and the like. These cater for the british tourist often resulting in drunken loutish behaviour. This then leads to the local fuzz being involved and the idiot(s) landing a spell in a holding cell.

just to clarify one of your points,

".....as against excommunicating gays, subjugating women, and demonising miscegenation..."

The BNP are homophobic, misogynistic and are against cohabiting couples of different races.

I am not accusing you of being a member or supporter of the BNP (certainly part of your first post illudes to that you are not) but you should really take a look at you bedmates in this issue.

2:05 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

While I don't agree with all that the BNP stands for, but faced three political parties intent on pushing the work force into the global market...I would vote for them.

It's about applying pressure to make parties change there minds on these issues. In some ways it's good to have this debate because MPs can do something about it. If they don't listen then there will be some big shocks on election day.

2:15 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

Ravi - I'm a member of the Labour Party. I'm not sure what you mean by "my bedmates in this issue" - the BNP don't want an integrated multicultural society, to the best of my knowledge! They don't want planned and limited immigration, they want none. Negative immigration, in fact.

I just fail to see where I've agreed with the BNP - I've said that our current level of immigration is not politically and socially sustainable, but that is hardly a point of view limited to them, and I'm a long way from endorsing their solutions.

I agree that British people behave badly abroad, and I know they can get drunk and cause bother, but we were talking about behaviour which is legally acceptable but socially unacceptable, and opening fish and chip shops was the best example anyone was able to give. Frankly if I were the Spanish government I would love to impose immigration restrictions on the British.

What I was saying is that there is a difference between an insular community (Brits in Spain) whose worst non-criminal behaviour is opening a fish and chip shop, and communities such as the Ultra-Orthodox in Stamford Hill who, while they have many admirable qualities and many well-meaning members, also contain many people with an oppressive and intolerant attitude regarding homosexuality, the role of women, and the acceptability of interfaith friendship and love.

The more we allow those communities to be segregated, the less we can do to help a young Charedi who realises that he or she is gay, or who realises that she wants to go to university and be a lawyer, not a housewife and mother to eight children, or who meets and falls in love with someone from one of Hackneys 112 other ethnic groups. That the BNP would be unsympathetic to that person as well just doesn't seem a relevant point, to me.

A British child whose parents moved to Spain would probably not be punished or excommunicated if they revealed that, in fact, they prefer tapas to battered saveloy.

2:24 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Rich said,

"Many asian families that came over in the 60s will probably have children that choose to have smaller family sizes. Much the same as my own family."

Yes my Mum and Dad came to Scotland in the mid seventies and had two kids (I'm the youngest).

I take the point about devout Catholic families having a lot of children. My problem Rich is you specifically zeroed in on Muslims when you could have said Catholics AND Muslims during a debate on immigration. Maybe an innocent mistake but if you want a decent debate on what I agree is an important issue you can make those types of mistake.

I take it as read, you like many of us here know the majority of migrants are white people, but often immigration is portrayed by the right wing as a teaming mass of black, asian, eastern european, Romany and in the past Jewish theiving murdering raping hord chomping at the bit to invade and plunder our country, our resourses and our women (although I am engaged to a white woman so maybe they have a point!!).
We on the left (and by that include our own Comrade Akehurst) are not afraid to debate this issue, we just want reasoned debate and not bigoted generalisms that peddle the evil philosophy of Nazism.

2:37 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous JIm said...

Some of your hard working immigrants Ravi

A teenage girl who feared a marriage was being arranged by her parents was the victim of a "vile murder", a coroner has said.
The decomposed body of Shafilea Ahmed, 17, was found on a riverbank in February 2004, six months after she went missing from her Warrington home.

South Cumbria coroner Ian Smith ruled Shafilea had been unlawfully killed.

This is happening every month.

2:52 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

John, this is why I thought you shared a bed with the BNP (with out being a memeber).

John said...

"The other thing, of course, is that I want people who actually do want to come to this country and become a part of it, not people who want to recreate a little version of their own on land that happens to be in the UK..."

In response to Bill,

"We can build new homes, provide new services, it can be done"

But it isn't being. We have to ask, if we can't get past the green lobby enough to build homes for the people who are already here, how are we planning to do it for hundreds of thousands more?"

That suddenly we are swamped beyond our housing resourses, do you have evidence of this? Most migrants live in rented accomadation.

3:01 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

Those were both me, actually.

I don't accept that what I said was anything close to the BNP - I was arguing for true multiculturalism, and against a form of voluntary segregation.

I would imagine, though I'm speculating, that the BNP would prefer - if immigrants must be here - that they live in secluded ghettos, rather than sharing our transport systems, workplaces, women, etc.

However I do believe that if you move to the UK you should be required to learn English, you should accept that you are living in a modern society, you should not expect to be able to force your children into a marriage against their will, or whatever behaviour is common in your ancestral country but unacceptable here.

Obviously I'm not saying you shouldn't be allowed freedom of personal religion, or that everyone should be forced to eat fish and chips! Though if we could ban Australia Day that would be great, it falls on a Friday this year and that's going to be an unpleasant weekend to be in town.

"That suddenly we are swamped beyond our housing resourses, do you have evidence of this?"

Well, the Barker review would be a good place to start! Also the cost of housing, and my general day-to-day experience. I'm not saying it's happened 'suddenly', and we should be building more, but it has got a great deal worse fairly quickly in a relatively short space of time.

"Most migrants live in rented accomadation."

A rented house is still a house.

In terms of the overall balance it doesn't much matter whether the price is pushed up by a rich person moving to the UK and buying it, or by a Buy-to-Let landlord purchasing it to rent out to migrants, does it?

3:10 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Well the evidence is there:
1. Massive shortage of social housing.

2. Poverty is on the increase and there's less people climbing the social ladder than ever before.

3. Schools now have record numbers of non english speaking pupils.

4. 45,000 Brits have been pushed out of work by incoming cheaper labour.

5. Housing now out of reach for just about every first time buyer.

6. Health care tourism on the increase.

7. Foreign diseases such as TB on te come back.

8. Police see record levels of crime involving foriegn nationals.

9. 1 million young people face a life time of benefits.

This is a major issue. "British Jobs For British Workers" - Brown, so deliver you're promise then you liar.

4:18 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

John you seem a decent intellegent chap but I am sorry to have to say this your rhetoric worries me even though you are a Labour comrade.

Yes the Barker review did mention immigration as a factor in increasing pressure on the housing market I concede that, but it also cited increased life expectancy and a rising divorce rate as co instigators of escalating house prices.

We can't shoot the old or force people to stay together just as we cannot restrict the right of EU citzenry (the largest of our immigration groups) from coming here to work, study or stay.

I, like you, share a common vision of a multicultural Britain at ease with itself but you cannot force intergration in the way you propose. Yes there SHOULD be an acceptance of our way of life here, I back you 100% in that (by the way forced marriages are illegal in this country and in the Indo subcontinent), but some things need to be diluted through the generations. I'll give you an example, my views on homosexuality are starkly different to my parents and to many in the hindu community in Aberdeen. I made a contious and correct desicion to abandon this bigotry yet still hold on to the traditional values I cherish. This acceptance of liberal values will come organically within the communities themselves we cannot enforce it, we have freedom of thought in this country and just as we have to endure the nazi idolising by the BNP as we have to endure the same nonsence coming from the more tradtional, "devout" (although my impression is the God is a socialist so bigotry is out), aging people with in our different communities

I don't like disagreeing with Labour comrades (although for Luke I normally make an exception :p) so I happly agree with your stance on language. We live in an English speaking country it is only right english should be spoken fluently when interacting with people outside the home who don't speak your language. I'm sure you agree with me this rule need'nt be so enforced at home (although I think fluent english speaking Imans could be pivital in the fight against terror).

Rich- Say you and I both want a bottle of milk in the shop but I get there 2 mins before you and grab the last bottle, are you going to blame me, an asian man who was lucky to have grabbed the milk before you or the shopkeeper who decided it was not worth placing a fresh order two days before?
If you want to blame anyone for the lack of homes then blame the government for not building enough not immigrants.

We should not pander to the green belt issue. In Germany it is accepted there is a requirement to build on this land and even give councils incentives to build them, something we should do here.

Jim - Fred West and Harold Shipman, two of Britain's worst criminals were both born and bred here and still commited crime. As I said before forced marriage is a crime here and abroad.

6:14 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

Ravi, fine - just two more points then. Firstly, while I'm all for building on some green belt and general countryside, a lot of people aren't. There also comes a point when we can't do it any more, because there's too much or too little water, usually. More importantly, the last thing race relations in this country need is the message to go out that we're concreting over the countryside to make room for immigrants.

That there are other pressures on our population isn't an argument for not tackling the one that is excessive immigration. It's like saying that because you're addicted to pizza and chips and you're getting fat, there's no point not having an ice cream for pudding!

As for organic change within communities, I'd love to see some. I grew up in a Muslim area, and every time I go back I see more fundamentalism, more isolationism, more radicalism, and less integration, fewer liberated women, and fewer English speakers. Similarly, my Jewish friends tell me that the ultra-orthodox are a growing proportion of the Jewish population, and are becoming even more insular than they used to be.

We don't tell Christians they have to change organically if they hate gays, we tell them they can't adopt, and can't have public funding for unrelated charitable work if they don't sign up to equal opportunities. Quite rightly.

OK three points. Forced marriage isn't allowed (although I'm not sure about this - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4799728.stm), but the more we allow a community to be insular, the less likely we are to find out it's happening, and the less likely someone being subjected to it will be to reach out for help.

7:07 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Ravi, I don't blame immigrants for anything. It's not their fault, they are doing what you or me would do in similar circumstances.

It is not the individuals it's the policy makers and big business. They want a global market and they want a global workforce. Don't believe this tripe about inflation as it has very little do with inflation...it's about bigger profits.

This is very different from the last wave of immigration in the 1950s 60s & 70s.

If we start building on our countryside, which is already crossed by miles of roads, where will we grow our food. At some point we are going to have to address the balance of imports. What about our wild life, green issues and open spaces for people.

If you take a map of Britain, not all that open space is fit for building. Some of it is moorland, mountainous, flood prone etc etc. A lot of it is national parks, which we've spent years trying to protect.

As for crime, it about resources being allocated. All races commit crime but add more people and you get more crime. This costs money and needs more resources which also costs money.

At the end of the day it's about what the majority of people in this country want and not what Brown thinks.

I pitty the government who takes over this one as there in for some real shocks when they start allocating local authority budgets after the next census.

9:50 pm, January 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least its easier to talk about immigration now that the latest arrivals are WHITE!

Actually Luke is being very City orientated. The UK is not actually 'multi cultural' its cities may be, but not the whole country.

When all these trendy lefties accept this then we have a better understanding of the feelings of ordinary people.

Then we can go on to talk about the way that immigration has saved the uk economy from recession over the last couple of years and that extension that Mrs Jones is having built is only possible because of those Polish, Chinese and African immigrant builders...

9:08 am, January 12, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Immigration might well of kept inflation at bay, but look at the results.

Low inflation has resulted in record borrowing which has resulted in soaring house prices and debt.

It's very clear the boom is well and truly over. I feel that Brown has badly prepared Britain for times such as these.

This will be the last time Labour will see government in my opinion.

10:40 am, January 12, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

More evidence of Labour slipping in the polls. Now more than 10 behinds.....and that's before the Hain scandal.

Still got a recession & housing crash to overcome....mhhh

3:00 pm, January 14, 2008

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

I'm trying to work out which posters are BNP trolls and which are genuinely expressing concerns.

I'm pleased to read what some contributors have put here: Luke, Ravi, Merseymike and others have done what I think we should have been doing for a long time: put the positive pro-immigration argument forward, and exploding many of the media myths that do the rounds around the country.

There is not enough social housing because successive governments have allowed existing social housing to go into the private market without reinvesting any of the profit from that into new social housing. The solution to that is to allow councils to build council houses (and buy empty property for rent as council housing too). It has nothing to do with immigration.

While it may be a comfortable and convenient thought that the only problems re: discriminatory actions, beliefs and practices come from within insular, ultra religious minority ethnic communities it is also a demonstrably complacent and false one. See what BNP activists have to say about sexuality for example. Building an anti-discriminatory society is not in common cause with preventing diversity; a celebration of diversity is a much more effective method of combatting discrimination, and of discovering and exploring shared values than some sort of forced integration and imposition of some false concept of Britishness.

The alarmist tone of some of the contributions here are quite out of proportion with the true nature of modern-day immigration. We should be making the economic, political, cultural, social, ethical and logical case for immigration.

3:45 pm, January 14, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I can't speak for muslims and jews as I am not one but I am assuming the problem of integration in John's area might be something to do with the current international situation. There has always been extreme islamist groups in Britain (hiz-bul-tair to name one). I remember on a trip to London a couple of muslim men tried to get me to part with money to help Jihad in Kashmir (imgine the irony of asking a hindu to give money to such a cause!).

In europe attacks on jewish people have increased, this might be the cause of their insulation but that is just suppostion and I have no evidence to support it.

"We don't tell Christians they have to change organically if they hate gays, we tell them they can't adopt, and can't have public funding for unrelated charitable work if they don't sign up to equal opportunities. Quite rightly."

You got my support on that one as well; though I don't think religious groups should get any funding from the state at all for anything, as I feel a government should be secular.

To answer Rich, yes mre people in the country raises the possibilty of more crime however the tax contribution of the majorty of hard working migrants should help pay for better policing (should the government actually spent money on law and order rather than pie in the sky initives like ID cards and the like).

Interesting point about sutiable areas for housing. We are an advanced nation and I am sure there have been building invoations since the 1950s. I simply cannot accept we cannot build new homes that are sympathic to the enviroment and provide homes for all our people to live.

May be cheap labour here keeps inflation low but a bigger cause probably is thanks to the cut price consumer products we are sold by China and elsewhere(where the workers are paid a pitance). I am afraid though inflation will rise as the workers (esp in China) are finding a voice and are demanding a better wage. Also with the price of oil increasing (partly because of China and India's demand for it)prices here will soon rise to meet the cost of importing to an island nation who thought it prudent to scrap most of it manufacturing base in the 80s.

That said I quite liked your point which I think is pretty good, about Brown's stewardship of the economy (i.e. allowing borrowing to escalate), pretty good conclusion on that, although I don't think immigration plays as big a role on inflation as you suggest.

Dunc is right about the dearth council housing we have in this country, the building of such stock must be increased as well as effectivly nationalising un used stock. I have said something simular at my last CLP meeting.

5:52 pm, January 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

So clearly out of touch with the general electorate.

Polls are showing that the BNP are attracting support because they are the only party willing to challenge immigration.

I'm no BNP troll, I was a labour member for almost 20 years until this bunch of lunatics took power. There are 1000s if not millions doing the same thing.

Migrant workers have actually had a huge impact on inflation. Just about every item of food you eat has been picked by a gang master workforce. Food is cheap because the animals and people who make it are cheap. Consumer products coming from China have little effect as these fall under the CPI which are not included in the inflation figures. At the moment CPI is around 5% which sort of fells your theory.

We now not only have a global market we now have a global workforce. Companies can pick the cheapest workers from Europe and undercut companies that stick to employing Brits.

A recent survey has shown that we need to be building at least 3 million homes a year to cope with demand and current immigration levels. Do you really want to live in a concrete jungle.

Brown has built a whole economy on low inflation and borrowed money. Now with inflation pressure coming from rising oils and food costs, I'm not really sure Brown knows what to do.

Brown will not last 2008 I'm willing to put money on it.

4:15 pm, January 15, 2008

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Rich - the BNP 'challenge immigration' by spreading lies about it and peddling the most gut-wrenchingly unpleasant myths about immigrants, treating them as a scapegoat for any and every social problem. They do this because they are a racist party. They are led by a holocaust-denier and they have 'fraternal' relations with openly neo-Nazi parties in Germany, the US and elsewhere. Yes, they are willing to challenge immigration all right, because they are seeking to use them the way fascist parties in the 1930s used the Jews.

It is essential that mainstream parties do not confront the small rise in votes for far right parties by conceding any ground to them, and doing their job for them. Instead we have to expose their lies, explode their myths, and expose them for the extremist party they are, a party whose values are as far from the progressive UK values referred to by some in earlier posts as it is possible to be. BNP members in my part of the world (including a recent council candidate) were found with bomb-making material last year; the London nail-bomber was a BNP supporter; BNP supporters supply the vicious 'Redwatch' website with photographs of 'commies' with the caption 'remember the traitors faces, they will pay for their crimes': they are not, as yet, an electoral threat because most people have more sense than to vote for such repulsive and disgusting policies; but the members and key supporters of that party are a genuine threat to our peace and security.

I concede that some people will have voted BNP who do not buy into their extreme and violent polity, but that is all the more reason why we have to expose them for what they are.

A rational debate about immigration should take place without the sort of alarmist language and extravagant hyperbole that the far right (aided by the gutter press) throw into such a debate. I personally believe that immigration controls in the UK are far too tight, for example (and it is that tightness that undermines and destabilises the asylum system and feeds the problem of illegal immigration, people smuggling and black market labour. Now that is a minority and controversial view, and is a contribution to a debate that we should be able to have. People aren't prepared to have it because they're frightened of the absurd alarmist headlines that any debate about relaxing immigration controls might have.

9:38 pm, January 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

The problem is that all the figures tell a very different story.

So what you think are extremist views are in fact shared by as much as 57% of the population.

2:40 pm, January 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Here are the HARD FACTS:


1. 600,000 vacancies need to be filled.


Disproved by the facts. Net immigration since 2001 when the government first made this claim is approaching 900,000 but vacancies are still at about 600,000. The reason is that immigrants fill jobs but also create demand. To argue from vacancies is therefore to advocate an endless cycle of immigration. It is also to fall into the “lump of labour” fallacy.


2. Immigrants comprise 8% of the workforce but contribute 10% of GDP.


Rejected by the Statistics Commission. This takes no account of the higher unemployment among immigrants and the lower participation by women. Correcting for these factors shows migrants making up 10% of the working age population and contributing 10% of GDP.

In May 2006, the government revised their claim to 10.5% of adults and 11% of GDP. (House of Lords answer HL 5379). Even this calculation was biased by the omission of children. Correcting for this omission gives 11.2% for the immigrant population and 10.9% for their contribution to GDP – slightly negative.


3. Immigrants earnings are 13% higher than those of indigenous workers.


Dismissed by Statistics Commission for the same reason. Correcting for lower participation rates and higher unemployment among immigrant communities makes average wages across the working age population of immigrants the same as for the population as a whole. Only about 1 in 5 of the foreign born population earns more that the average salary for full time work – the same proportion as the UK born.


4. Immigrants are needed to pay our pensions


The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee dismissed this argument in November 2003. They reported “We conclude that… it is neither appropriate nor feasible to attempt to counter the trend towards a more aged society in the UK through a manipulation of immigration policy”.

10:13 am, January 17, 2008

 

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