« Grayling to head up delivery watchdog | Main | Labour isn't fit for its purpose »


Very depressing.

Very heartening. It's our own people who are being hurt by uncontrolled mass immigration - don't you care about that, real tory? Perhaps Damian Green can carry on as immigration spokesman after all, at least for the time being.

This policy was presumably meant to be launched with Damian Green appearing on 'Sunday' being interviewed by Peter Sissons, but was briefed out in advance for the papers and earlier broadcasts.

In today's 'blogging meets broadcasting' world this meant that the BBC chose to enliven those earlier broadcasts with the thoughts of "Conservative Commentator, Iain Dale" delivered to camera.

Whilst this is wonderful for Iain and his blog, does anyone else share my view that it detracts a little from the impact of Damian's remarks? Isn't there a case for Conservative supporters to keep schtum before a policy is launched? I think it is called media discipline.

Yes Real Tory it is very depressing, but the REALLY depressing thing is that it is already too late, and this fact is only JUST beginning to impinge on the trendy lefties in the government and elswhere.
The groups of ill-dressed strangers, straggling along country lanes, eyeing the constant flow of cars, especially those 4x4's beloved by certain people. Or another female group trying to hitch a lift, but nobody, especially if they are a single occupant driver, having the nerve to stop, and when they have passed the group, the arm in the air threatening, and some sort of swear word shouted.

That happens already!! So who will dare to tell us that this will NOT become the norm (to use a nice soviet word - so appropriate), after next year????

Well Conservativehomers will side with free marketeers over Polly Toynbee, won't they?!?!

Let's see what Damian says, but think it would be a real shame if we start trying to score points from immigration. Why is it so bad if some hard working people from Eastern Europe want to enrich our country? Seriously, these new admission countries in the East are strong potential allies of ours and respect our party (and Margaret Thatcher) a huge deal. What kind of message will it send them if we treat them like second class citizens?

The so-called "politics of and" or "the politics of being all things to all people" will undermine our appeal to the very voters we have been courting. It will make us look like hypocrites. And, more importantly, it will lead to policies that are bad for Britain.

"What kind of message will it send them if we treat them like second class citizens?"

They shouldn't be treated as any kind of citizens, except citizens of their own countries. But thanks to the traitorous Major, they are EU citizens with the right not only to come to this country in unlimited numbers, but to vote and stand as candidates in our "municipal" elections - including the Scottish Parliament and Welsh, Northern Ireland and London Assemblies. We can't even deport the ones who turn out to be criminals.

"Game, set and match" indeed, but not for the British people.

Sunday Times today:


"Public wants much harsher immigration policy, says poll"

"The research reveals that opinion on immigration is hardening dramatically, with three-quarters of the population calling for far stricter limits on immigrant numbers. Almost half the population has serious doubts that allowing foreigners to settle in Britain is good for the country. In a striking finding, women of all ages appear to be particularly hostile to the number of foreigners settling in the UK — with many deeply sceptical that it is benefiting Britain."


"While homeowners and those living in the south of England are most likely to be open-minded about the issue, there is strong opposition among working-class people, particularly those living in the north of England and the Midlands."

So that'll be the home-owning Tory members in the south, then, who are "open-minded about the issue", just as they were open-minded about whether high unemployment was a price worth paying for low inflation, especially if the high unemployment did not affect them personally.

Watched Damian on 'Sunday AM' .He was OK.This is a subject we have to be extraordinarily careful how we present our case but the immigration policy does have to be very tough,the era of mass immigration from Europe or indeed anywhere else has to be ended as soon as possible.
Real Tory,why is it so depressing? Changetowin,you don't really believe what you've written do you?

Clearly the time has come for a near-total moratorium on immigration. Britain is full, and we are in no position to rtake more immigrants until our enormous population begins to decrease.

Only 14% of the public believe that immigration is beneficial. They are right. Most immigrants are unskilled. They are not coming here to "enrich our economy" but to enrich themselves by undercutting our own labour force.

More Conservative stupidity on this issue will only help the BNP, UKIP and other far-right and racist groups.

changetowin - I notice you say 'Why is it so bad if SOME (my capitals)hard working people from Eastern Europe want to enrich our country?' That qualification would be fine IF it described the actuality of the situation AND if YOU qualified what YOU meant by SOME.

Each individual of the 10million or so qualifying in both Bulgaria and Romania next year (of which 10million, at least 1 million in each country would jump at the opportunity to help 'enrich our country' and themselves) would consider themselves to be part of that 'SOME', can you, changetowin, suggest, how we are going to accommodate such numbers. One can be as generous-minded, Christian, caring as it is possible to be, but this government is being FORCED TO ADMIT that we can barely cope RIGHT NOW, so tell me HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY COPE WITH only A MILLION EACH FROM only the two countries that I mentioned.

It is NOT being racist, it is talking about NUMBERS, and being able to give everyone the same standard of care, and education and security - it takes money, and if you read your papers each day, you know that we as a country JUST ABOUT manage to cope AT THE MOMENT...... so??

Why is it so bad if some hard working people from Eastern Europe want to enrich our country?

You clearly don't know Romania.........or Moldova.......but you certainly will as your Thames Valley Police buckle and the Met collapses.............they are certainly not capable of handling what's coming their way........

Malcolm, There are generous, forward-looking progressive Conservatives out there. You just don't meet any on this site, which is keeping the flame of those golden IDS years alive! So when you ask me if I believe that there are benefits to the free movement of labour and good relations with new EU member states (which are inclined to support an open, flexible Europe), I say "yes, of course". The fact that you find this position surprising suggests how extreme this blog is becoming. Indeed, just a few days ago one of the posters on this blog was highlighted in the press for supporting compulsory repatriation. This policy is more extreme than the BNP which supports voluntary repatriation!

There are generous, forward-looking progressive Conservatives out there. You just don't meet any on this site

Well changetowin, why don't you just write
"I love me who do you love"?

Being generous with other people's jobs and amenity is the prerogative of Libdims, not true Tories.

"Being generous with other people's jobs and amenity is the prerogative of Libdims, not true Tories."

I don't understand this, but I'm sure I disagree anyway. Is it the "politics of And"?

Not sure I understand your point either ctw, but am I write in assuming that you label yourself "generous, forward-looking and progressive"

Or is that simply a windup?

Or even "Am I right..."

While you're at it maybe you'd enlighten the ignorant as to what you mean by "the politics of And"

am I write in assuming that you label yourself "generous, forward-looking and progressive"

Yeah, you're "write" John.

So if that label is surpring, I guess I can take it that you would label yourself "ungenerous, backward-looking and regressive"? Sounds like a fair reflection of many of the views I've read this morning...

Ha! Sorry, John, only teasing about the "write" thing.

Yes, the "politics of And". I think it is the poltics of having your cake and eating it. Or the politics of being all things to all men. It is basically a way of avoiding tough choices. Think of two opposed views in politics. Where normally we would have to choose between these, the "politics of And" suggests we can have both by inserting the word "and" in the middle.

No ctw I'm just handsome, rich, successful and wonderful and I want everybody to know about it.

Obviously anybody who thinks I'm a self-loving egomaniac is a bug-ugly bankrupt failure.

Your "politics of and" would apply very nicely to people who think we can profit by doing nothing about mass immigration and thereby flooding the country with unskilled foreigners who will spend their working lives undercutting our own people and their retirement living off the contributions made by the rest of us.

I can remember a time when nobody seriously argued that immigration benefitted Britain. This is a heresy which has been spread by the left over the past quarter-century and bought by the element who want to turn our party into bunny-huggers.

As most local associations known to me are generally to the right of the views expressed on this blog I'm not sure where in the party you wil be looking to find your "generous" fellow-travellers.

And changetowin, you did not answer my queries, first how do you personally define 'SOME', and how would you suggest that we as a country attempt to cope with ALL the people who would like to take advantage of the 'free movement of labour'.

I think it is quite likely that you will not think I am worth replying to, but that says more about you than me.

It surprises me when someone posts on a site, but when a number of other posters disagree with the persons opinion, then the other posters are immediately called extreme, then the next stage is that the site is called extreme - usually meaning - extreme rightwing. And that is usually a euphemism for meaning that the Tory party is really extreme rightwing. Cameron??? I thought the problem was that he isn't rightwimg enough.

John G

in my experience many local associations are quite often to the right of the majority in this country. That doesn't make them wrong about everything but it does mean that many more moderate conservatives are turned off joining the party, so it becomes even more the preserve of the right driving away more potential supporters.

The heamorrage of moderate conservatives over last decade has to be reversed so that there is a chance of providing this country with a real alternative to Labour.

I remember a time when Britain had few immigration controls, when every citizen of a Commonwealth country had right of entry into these islands. This was ended about the time the UK turned its back on the Commonwealth and decided its future was in Europe.

Changetowin to win raises serious discussion points - in return does he get considered arguments? No, you respond with comments about bunny huggers.

There are economic benefits from immigration - those benefits are enjoyed by the majority of the population in terms of lower costs of goods & services, in supply of nurses and in providing sufficient employees to keep our service & agricultural industries growing. There are also costs to the country in this immigration - less skilled British find it hard to compete with better skilled immigrants who will take lower paid jobs, they cannot get cheap rented accomodation as immigrants compete for it. The tipping point is if the social costs arising from the effects on our less skilled and less employable citizens are higher than the benefits European immigration brings.

There is little evidence that Central & Eastern Europeans are a burden on this country - there is evidence that in certain immigrant groups from outside the EU this is the case. East Europeans tend to come for specific job offers and return home if unemployed.

Stephen Yeo at 09.54. I was at the Beeb to do a paper review and they asked me to do a qwuick clip for their news piece. Damian was unavailable as was anyone else. It was plastered all over the Sunday papers so I made sure I stuck to what I knew. I phoned Damian and he was happy. TO be honest I wasn't keen to do it, but would you really have wanted a piece without ANY Tory voice on it?

There are economic benefits from immigration - those benefits are enjoyed by the majority of the population in terms of lower costs of goods & services, in supply of nurses and in providing sufficient employees to keep our service & agricultural industries growing

H. M. Govt has just made known that work permirs of foreign nurses will NOT be renewed owing to the 80% unemployment rate among graduating nurses in the United Kingdom. I assume Ted you wish the Conservative Party to oppose this ?

There is increasing unemployment among British junior doctors as they fail to obtain training places under the new scheme........hopefully they will find opportunities in Australia rather than fac unemployment in this country

Well Ted, one can argue endlessly about the supposed benefits of immigration, but the evidence is that the people are not convinced.

If you are right, then it is strange that when the population of Britain was half its present size our power and significence was immensely greater than now.

And naturally you'll argue that the individual wealth of a citizen of Luxembourg or Monaco must pale into insignificence alongside that of the average Indian.

It's nonsense of course, and in their opposition to immigration most Tories simply mirror the opinions of the population at large. The only votes to be lost here are the ones we will lose to the BNP and UKIP.

The alleged "haemorrage of moderate conservatives over the last decade" clearly has little or nothing to do with the party being too "right wing" since it was far more right wing under Thatcher than it has been since.

I suspect there are many political and demographic reasons for the decay of the party but I don't have space to go into them here.

Thanks, Ted. Sometimes it gets lonely on this site! You make good points.

Of course there are costs as well as benefits to immigration. This is the case with almost everything in politics and indeed in life. Responsible politics must be about getting the balance right. But at a time when we are concerned about the real shortage of skilled manual labour AND the problems of integration in Britain, would it be such a disaster to have more skilled manual labourers from a Judaeo-Christian background? And does it matter not a jot if we let down potential allies in an expanded EU?

What concerns me almost as much as the haters on this blog are those who completely ignore their Conservative instincts when it comes to things such as immigration. On one hand they are for free trade, open, flexible economies and a reformed EU. And then when it comes to immigration, they side with the Trade Unions and Polly Toynbee.

What concerns me almost as much as the haters on this blog

Seems you're out to stir up unnecessary and emotive conflict here.

But if you're a genuine party member you'll have had to learn to get on with colleagues whose views conflict with yours. Do you regularly turn up to ward meetings and tell your fellow-Tories they are "haters"?

I doubt it. That's why I'm beginning to doubt your credentials.

I am very much in favour of the free market but certainly not uncontrolled immigration. The definition of free marketeers as being pro-immigration is wrong. Some are, as are many left wing socialists.

You think that I am out to stir up emotive conflict?! How about this post which I read on this site the other day?

In fact my favoured approach is that every Muslim household in the country should be given £5000 and free plane tickets to a country of their choice, and a year to leave the country. No more terrorism and it relieves the housing shortage. Still, I expect it will take a few more atrocities before people agree with me.

I don't know if this man is a Conservative party member or not, but he is certainly a hater in my view. Remember, this view is more extreme than the BNP's view. I've also read comments from people who want to ban homosexuality. I will leave it to others to determine who is "stirring up emotive conflict".

And what is this about my credentials?! My point is that I think that this blog attracts some very unpleasant viewpoints and I am afraid that it will give people the impression that these are the views of the Conservative Party.

Just leave aside all the emotive stuff about hard working Poles and 'enriching our country . It is about Numbers,Numbers, Numbers and Space,Space,Space. Surely simple logic is enough. Just work out the space per head in UK (particularly the SE) and compare with the equivalent in France,Germany and MOST othe countries. I recommend http://www.optimumpopulation.org for reasoned facts and figures. The UK population need to reduce not overflow !!

The Conservative Party appears to be in something of a conundrum regarding immigration: it is becoming increasingly hard for them not to discuss it, but any grapple with the issue proves somewhat divisive. The free marketeers and 'compassionate conservatives' choose a more positive position, whereas traditional/social conservatives are not at all convinced. Damian Green's roadshow concept was an intelligent middle ground - and tied in with the Cameroon emphasis on 'long term thinking' - which should not be abandoned so easily.

CCHQ should try, hard as it might seem, to fan debate on the issue in the most moderate manner without committing to a hard policy stance as yet. There may be many in the country and the party who want to hear the Tory stance on what is undoubtedly an important issue. But Green and the top brass need time to plan out a decent stance on the issue rather than lurching, NuLabour style, for the headline.
In the short term this *may* lose the party ground, but that is a price any decent opposition should be willing to pay if ultimately a fair policy arises from the political inexpediency.

There are currently enough bodies on both sides of the immigration debate to argue in the press. The Conservatives need to stay well out, listen very carefully to all they can and then formulate a substantial and considered set of policies on immigration.

This kind of knee-jerk reaction, unsupported by much current evidence, is what the public unfortunately expect of the Tories. It does nothing to help party unity (which is still too fragile) or the process of intelligent political debate in this country.

I think changetowin -- who is presumably abjuring the rest of us that we need to change our ways for the sake of winning elections -- needs to review his own opinions. Unfettered immigration has never been a popular idea with the public, and these days it's more unpopular then ever before.

Well I think I've made my views about Muslims very clear, and they are very different from those of the poster you mention. Sadly it is true that one encounters much unthinking anti-Muslim prejudice among party colleagues who fail to understand that many Muslim grievances are founded on fact.

But of course your poster may well belong to the BNP or UKIP or some other far-right party, or to none at all.

As for homosexuality I have no desire to "ban" it but I would certainly like to hear a lot less about so-called "gay" culture. If we are going to ban anything let's ban the silly word "gay".

I think my personal feelings on that score are not untypical of party members. Don't forget that within my lifetime it was a criminal offence and many middle-aged and older people are bound to find it - at the very least - distasteful.

It seems to me that what you are really concerned about is the exercise of free speech.

John G

The UK had a rapidly expanding population at the time it was building the British Empire - huge immigration flows from rural to urban areas and from Ireland to the industrial North and Glasgow. It was the availability of this large and growing workforce that drove much of the Industrial Revolution - the population oof England expanded massively from late 18th century to mid 19th from somewhere between 5-7 milion to 25-30 million. As UK population growth declined many industries under Imperial preference moved work into lower cost parts of the empire or started to import labour.

The availability of cheap labour and globalisation of trade that built the UK's strength and power is a pattern being repeated today in China & India. There are other ways of growing wealth - using skills or location as Singapore does or tax havens and attracting the rich as Monaco does - but they are difficult to manage in a large country.

The UK has pretty painlessly taken in about half a million Central/East European skilled but cheap labour in a very short. This has kept our post industrial service based economy growing - against the best efforts of Gordon Brown's anti-competitive fiscal regime.

It did the same after the Second World War when many refugeees from Europe settled her, and from earlier growth periods it has quite large Western European immigrant communities - the Scots Italians as an example.

Had we not had an open door policy with Central/East Europe then we would have seen much slower economic growth over last couple of years, with declines in British agriculture, massive cost increases in construction (where for example Terminal 5, the Olympics, the Eurostar line into & redevelopment of Kings Cross St Pancras plus PFI driven building programmes are providing massive labour requirements) feeding through to less house building or increased immigration from outside of EU to fill specific labour force shortages.

The problems for the less skilled that have been created are largely result of poor education and the dependency culture - so a young Pole will travel hundreds of miles for a lower paid job but a young man or woman 5 miles away prefers to draw social security. There is a pool of labour potentially well over a million people but without major & socially disruptive changes to social benefit system this is a resource we cannot use.

If we stimulated economic growth through tax cuts and at same time severely limited immigration - which seems to be the intent of many who post on here - the result would be increased inflation as limited labour demanded higher wages and we'd soon be back to boom & bust. Economic growth consumes people as a fuel - it needs a ready supply of both skilled and unskilled labour. Without that fuel of labour supply costs rise and the economy crashes until a sufficient reservoir of labour is again available.

Labour, consciously or not, have managed to keep growth fueled through cost deflation driven by immigration while taxing at an increasing rate. Without the imported labour could the staff increases in NHS have been achieved? Could the entertainment industry (theatres, restaurants, hotels, theme parks) survive?

We have real problems in keeping a growing economy and supporting our public services in an economy dependant on this ready supply of labour. We haven't found another model that works. A radical change in policy is likely to hit the UK hard.

Against that immigration does cause social tensions, it does call on additional resources and increases population pressures. The history of immigration shows it is the unskilled "working" class that suffers most and is therefore more likely to respond in violence and support extremist parties.

The fact is that regardless of the rights and wrongs of what has happened in the past, we have now long passed the point at which - if only due to the tiny size of our island - the government should have cried halt.

I do not accept that low-skill immigration can possibly be a benefit (except to profiteers) when the future cost of pensions and geriatric healthcare is taken into account, but what you were right and it were?

Should we then continue until the entire population are crammed in like sardines? Of course not. The vicious circle has to stop somewhere and we might as well stop it now.

I'm sorry but in this "immigration is good for us" mantra - borrowed from the far left - I detect little more than the lockstep of "anti-racist" political correctness.

Now Changetwon if you altered the parameters a little as follows I bet you would get lots of takers !

In fact my favoured approach is that every household in the country should be given £250.000 and free plane tickets to a country of their choice, and a year to leave the country.

Had we not had an open door policy with Central/East Europe then we would have seen much slower economic growth over last couple of years,

Not so. We have excessive public-spending growth and a credit boom.........without this over-stimulation of the economy unemployment would/will in the next couple of years be considerably higher

What on earth are 'bunny huggers', would somone please explain?

Thank RodS @ 13.54 - yes it is about NUMBERS etc: I knew ctw would not deign to answer me, I can just imagine the adjectives he would use to describe me, probably not much different from the ones I would use to describe him/her, only one would be right and the other left.

People like ctw who refuse to accept the logic of considering 'numbers', will be the ones who when the penny finally drops, and their own safe little lives begin to be affected will turn around and blame people who HAVE been trying to persuade government of the seriousness of the situation - who by the way deal in facts not in prejudice and emotions - and those people will say 'Well if you knew what would happen, why didn't you do more to make other people aware?'

How dare you suggest that because I and others have suggested that there are practical considerations to be considered, that we must be extremists. I have not even said what my own beliefs are to do with immigration anyway, it is enough that having said what I said, I and others must be tarred with the brush that Ms. Toynbee suggested to do with the dreadful middle classes, of which SHE is a member herself and far more likely to avail herself of what she was talking about. I have done more caring about and for people in my life than you have, of that I am sure, and I started at 17yrs old as a nurse!

Ted @ 14:21, I'll stick my neck out and say that your economics are wrong. (Right back to the Industrial Revolution, in fact, but put that on one side.)

If we cut off the supply of additional labour, wages would start to rise. First the unemployed and underemployed and after training the presently unemployable, would be drawn fully into labour market, and some of those who are presently unproductively employed could be released, but eventually the available labour supply would be fully utilised and the rise in wages would accelerate.

However as it became clear that wage rises would feed through to price rises the Bank of England would start to raise interest rates, slowing the rate of economic growth, reducing the demand for labour and restoring equilibrium. We know this would be the case, because the Bank has actually said that recent high levels of immigration have been holding down wage inflation and therefore interest rates.

The question is whether the extra economic growth attributable to immigration outweighs the extra population growth resulting from immigration.

Here all the evidence is that while large scale immigration may well increase total GDP, it doesn't usually increase average per capita GDP. In other words, while the average immigrant is of course off than he was at home, the average member of the established population is no better off and in fact is probably worse off once all the incidental costs are taken into account.

Plus, like it or not he's now sharing his birthright, the homeland built up by his ancestors, with the immigrants. It's strange that Tories who want inheritance tax abolished apparently don't see our national inheritance in the same light!

That should have been:

"In other words, while the average immigrant is of course better off than he was at home, the average member of the established population is no better off and in fact is probably worse off once all the incidental costs are taken into account."

Another consideration is the effect on house prices. Not only are demand and therefore prices increased by immigration, but if immigration results in lower interest rates that in itself pushes up all asset prices, including house prices.

Telegraph quote IPPR as saying we will need another extra 200,000 house in south east before 2016- above the extraordinary high levels already planned.
Our infrastructure can't cope and the public finances can't afford it!!
We need some sensible policies on controlled immigration.

"The fact that you find this position surprising suggests how extreme this blog is becoming."


Are you blind to the fact that the latest poll on this issue shows three quarters of the population demanding tougher immigration controls? Are they extremists or backwards for thinking this?

Immigration is an issue where traditional Tory policies are very much in touch with "modern Britain". I wish this was pointed out every time the likes of Portillo and co start bleating about the Tories looking "nasty" because of their tough line.

If the three main parties fail to stand up for the 75% who want tougher immigration controls then the ground will be open to the BNP who will be able to claim (sadly with some justification) that the current setup is undemocratic and that their views are more repesentative.

That's right Richard.

It's time for Tories to shout it loud and proud.

We support the voice of the people on immigration. We are the anti-immigration party.

The controlled immigration party

Whatever. We need the people to know they can trust us on this issue.

Let's make it happen!

"I do not accept that low-skill immigration can possibly be a benefit (except to profiteers) when the future cost of pensions and geriatric healthcare is taken into account, but what you were right and it were?" John G

Why do some people not see that it is these people that often take up the jobs that people living in this country don't want to do. Working for any large company its easy to see how helpful controlled low-skilled immigration can be.

Reading some of the posts on this site its clear to see why most people thought of us as the 'nasty party'. Since Cameron has taken over this image has slowly been changing.

What is needed is a balanced and fair policy on immigration and putting quotas on the number seems like a practical measure.

We should be seen as the welcoming party for people that want to make a helpful and much needed contribution to so many sectors of our economy.

In a true free market borders should mean nothing, unfettered immigration should be allowed, all those who disagree should be birched in public.

Why do some people not see that it is these people that often take up the jobs that people living in this country don't want to do.

If you pay the rate for the job you will get the workers you want. Your "Gradgrind" approach is far more redolent of a "Nasty Party" than anything posted by anybody else.

Incidentally I would remind me that - in a Gerald Ratner moment - the ridiculous term "The Nasty Party" was coined by the Conservative Party itself.

Mrs May (whatever happened to her?) said it but if press insiders are to be believed the term was invented by an extremely nasty "Radical Thatcherite" element that has filtered through from the days of the disgraced far-right Federation of Conservative Students - motto "Hang Nelson Mandela".

Now there was the making of a "Nasty Party" indeed.

Interesting debate on the BBC website.
Have Your Say
"Should there be restrictions on new migrant workers?"
Might be worth reading the readers recommended comments. They are overwhelmingly in favour of controlled immigration

Houndtang -

a. we don't live in a true free market, and ALL the cross-border flow seems to be one way - into Western Europe.
b. birching? in public? how Sharia!

Only a fool is against controlled immigration but we must make sure when we discuss immigration that firstly we do not mistake this for race and secondly we do not start smearing immigrants by making it out that they are all criminals which clearly they are not.
We should use moderate language when discussing immigration not language that the BNP would be proud of.

Jason @ 18:02 - "What is needed is a balanced and fair policy on immigration"

How "balanced"? "Fair" to whom?

Do we have some kind of moral obligation to accept economic migrants, so we must strike a balance and give them a fair share of our country? I don't think so.

Few subjects fuel so much emotive comment as immigration. It is a legitimate issue for discussion - indeed it is a topical issue and needs discussion - but it does not have to give rise to such extreme reactions.
Can we not agree first of all with BTL's aim of "introducing a single, unified UK police and proper boarder controls"?
A country must know how many people are entering and leaving it.
Secondly, having spent a lot of time and energy on debating a logo, can we not just spend a little time in trying to take the emotive sting out of the words "immigration" and "immigrant"?
There are at least three categories of "immigrant"; it would help debate if each one had a different name e.g.: (i) "asylum seekers" or "emigres" or "refugees": nothing to get steanmed up about with the likes of Henry Olonga from Zimbabwe. We have always welcomed people fleeing tyrannous dictators.
(ii) What about "intending settlers" for people wanting to come and work here with the intention of becoming UK citizens. Again, a certain number of such people are welcome to bring their skils here; it is legitimate to discuss quotas and conditons for these.
(iii) then there are the "illegal incomers" for the criminals and benefit scroungers etc. Does anyone, on the right or the left, actually support their admission?
Life would be a lot more peaceful and people would not be accused of being BNP supporters if these terms (or similar) were carefully used to distinguish what type of immigrants are being talked about.

Well probably for the first time since I've blogged on this site I find myself arguing against Ted Coffin.We have not seen yet the true economic effect of the huge influx of East Europeans or indeed the full extent of the pressures on our public services that taking so many people in such a short space of time will bring. Although of course unemployment has increased in each of the past 24 months.Surely until the full effects have been recognised it would be irresponsible to maintain our open door policy for new EU entrants particularly as it is likely that most of the other major EU contries will do the same.Therefore Green will I be arguing that we should not give any nationals from Rumania and Bulgaria the right to reside here at all for a period of at least 5 years.Should we find that the effects of our recent immigrants has not been beneficial to our country in 5 years then we should not allow them in at all.
Changetowin I know you find those on this site with whom you disagree nasty and unpleasant but I'm afraid yet again I'm going to have to say I find your comments regarding Rumania and Bulgaria risible in the extreme.Quite clearly you don't understand the politics 'of and' either.

Immigration policy will always be a very devisive issue as there are winners and losers caused by it.

Generally speaking...
Wealthier individuals enjoy the benefits of lower wages for employees, particularly in the fields of childcare, agriculture and unskilled work. They tend to live away from any social problems caused by uncontrolled immigration.

Working individuals find their wages lower and more competition for jobs as imported labour is willing to work harder and for less. Although costs are lower for them as well, they earn less and are less likely to use those services as much (no nannies or gardenners etc). They tend to live within or nearer the social problems caused by immigration.

The homeless charity SHELTER has been talking of the many unemployed migrants living homeless, and this must surely prove that something must be done. Furthermore, unemployment is approaching 1 million and there is a chronic housing shortage. England is the 4th most densely populated country in the World (excluding city states) - even more than Japan. For the environment and sustainable human life, the population cannot continue to increase forever or we'd all starve.

1. The benefits system needs to be reformed to help/bring more people into work
2. Immigration must be regulated to the needs of the UK - perhaps a system whereby migrants must find work through Jobcentre before being given a visa
3. Migrant labour shouldn't be permenant - visas could be say, 5 years?

The economic benefits of migration are being discreditted every day. Just a year ago the myth of needing immigration because we're an aging population was riffe. Now more and more are seeing it's a population pyramid, and that widening the young base to care for the retired 'top' only delays the problems (migrants age too and so need more to support them when they retire). I expect the argument for immigration for the economy will also be damaged in the same way, as it benefits some and harms others.

Having just read the comments fully I would like to second David Belchamber's case for better use of language and an agreed categorisation of people entering the UK.

I like "settler" for those planning on being permenant UK Nationals; "migrant worker" for temporary labour; "refugee" for those fleeing tyrants (maybe sub-categories of permenant refugee & temporary refugee); and "illegal immigrant" for any entering without permission.

"Immigration policy will always be a very devisive issue as there are winners and losers caused by it"

Divisive by 75% to 25%. There's more consensus on that than on most other issues. What you really mean is that the pro-immigration lobby will be very very vocal despite being heavily outnumbered.

It looks like we're agreed, bar the predictable bleats of a couple of liberal do-gooders.

Immigration is unpopular, generally non-beneficial, and needs to be strictly controlled.

It's a popular policy. Let's hear it loud and clear!

Doubling benefits and bringing back hanging would also be popular, but that doesn't make it right for the country. Giving in to ignorant concerns about immigration only gives succour to those in the BNP and NF who would blame migrants for all of Britain's problems, something which I would have thought any open-minded Conservative would find abhorrent.

In the Sunday Times poll today, it mentioned how opposition to immigration was much higher in the north than the south. Isn't it paradoxical that the south is the area with the highest percentage of ethnic minorities? Perhaps this is a case of those who are the least informed about the genuine effects of immigration trying to set the agenda.

A modern Conservative party should be proud to welcome hard-working immigrants, from whichever corner of the world they come.

Giving in to ignorant concerns about immigration only gives succour to those in the BNP and NF who would blame migrants for all of Britain's problems...

Which rather cavalierly ignores the fact that not all concerns about immigration are based on "ignorance", and that sidelining discussion on immigration policy is precisely the course of action that allows the BNP to flourish. As a contrast to this, see Mrs Thatcher in the 70s, showing that she understood the concerns of those the NF was trying to appeal to, and how this served to puncture NF support.

As a free market fundamentalist, I might welcome an international free market in labour, but this is in conflict with simple pragmatism. Immigrants are more than willing to fill low paid jobs, often at prices below those the indiginous population will accept (for a variety of reasons, including the alternative of welfare). However to seize on this willingness, ignores the social and infrastructure costs that must be taken into account, because of the market distorting effects of the state.

The state will pay the increased infrastructure costs, the welafre costs for those already here who can't find work, and for the social needs of immigrants. As such, it is effectively subsidising immigrant labour through general taxation.

"Doubling benefits and bringing back hanging would also be popular, but that doesn't make it right for the country."

In your opinion.

Denis Cooper - I think we actualy agree on the economics - you say as labour market consricts when growth takes up the slack of unemployed interest rates rise, costs rise so growth slows and equilibrium is restored - trouble is this tends to be boom & bust rather than soft landings and green shoots of recovery. IMHO the continued growth in UK economy i recent years despite higher taxation has in large part been supported by availability of cheap skilled labour both in UK Service jobs and in China in manufacturing.

I wasn't making case either for or against migration but pointing out that there are economic benefits to immigration. These do not necessarily outweigh the social costs and it is a political decision as to whether the state imposes limits on the market.

David Belchambers useful division into the different types of migration enables a more informed discussion of differing solution to the social divisions immigration causes. When people are polled on immigration they don't get asked about these differing types but answer on what they understand. So concerns or perceptions about muslim miltancy, about migrants getting first choice in housing, about imposition of multi-culturalism at expense of native culture, drug & gun crimes associated with ethnic groups, loss of job opportunities are all in the mix.

A good immigration policy would discriminate between types of immigrants - whether transient labour, permanent settlers, asylum seekers. It would also take into account housing, infrastructure and social integration.

As regards Romania & Bulgaria there is a degree of scaremongering going on but I agree that we need a transitional period - not no migration for 5 years then open the door but a gradual loosening of controls enabling us to judge the numbers & social / economic impacts better. We have democratically signed up to the free movement of peoples in Europe and this does have benefits. However this does mean that migration from outside of the EU will need considerably more control & management than currently exists.

To an extent free movement has meant we are undergoing the same changes as were seen in the US where the poor of the South migrated to the industrial North & mid west & California while the rich retired to the South for its better weather and lower retirement costs. The UK is the magnet for workers while increasing numbers of UK citizens look to lower cost & sunnier European countries for their retirements.

Isn't it paradoxical that the south is the area with the highest percentage of ethnic minorities?

That's exactly the opposite to the general perception, probably because the actual figures are skewed by London.

In fact it is certainly Northerners who tend to suffer the direct impact of immigration. In the south we have vast prosperous Tory/LD areas where a black face is hardly ever seen. Ghettoes in Reading, Bristol and of course London, where "white flight" has led to increased ghettoisation.

In the North (and doesn't CDM's attitude problem speak volumes about why it is going to be very difficut to win back Tory support north of Watford) racial problems and white flight are not isolated situations but endemic, witness the continued racial conflict in Yorks and Lancs cities in recent years.

It's time to admit that immigration and multiculturalism have had a negative effect on our nation. Immigration must be reduced to a trickle. If the Tories fail to act, others will.

Ted @ 08:36:

"... as labour market consricts when growth takes up the slack of unemployed interest rates rise, costs rise so growth slows and equilibrium is restored - trouble is this tends to be boom & bust ... "

Well, hopefully it's much less likely to lead to "boom & bust" under the present monetary regime, which requires the MPC to set interest rates to keep domestic inflation within a target range set by the Chancellor. So far that's worked very well, since 1997 in its fully developed form, and before that after ca 1993 in a transitional form - ie Kenneth Clarke and his "wise men and women".

Whenever we had "boom and bust" before since the war it was for one of two reasons, neither directly connected with variations in immigration:

a) Chancellor setting interest rates in an attempt to control the external value of sterling against other currencies - for nearly four decades, trying to peg the pound against the dollar, then trying to informally "shadow" the mark, and finally (worst of all) trying to stay within in a tight range against the mark.

b) Chancellor setting interest rates for political rather than economic reasons.

"Perhaps this is a case of those who are the least informed about the genuine effects of immigration trying to set the agenda"

Far from it. The West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire all have very substantial ethnic minority populations.

Immigration isn't really an issue in rural areas that are almost 100% white.

Immigration isn't really an issue in rural areas that are almost 100% white.

Exactly, and it's not an issue in the yuppie areas of London except when reality intrudes and Brixton lads come in to nick the Rolexes of metrosexual liberals.

Nor is it an issue in Tower Hamlets (apart from the gentrified parts near Liverpool Street Station). The whites have fled.

CDM needs to get real.

Given that unemployement is near to 5 million in this country, London is the most ethnically diverse city in the world, in many areas of the country ethnic English are vastly in the minority and the Home Office needs 10 years at least to deal with the backlog of cases it has - why not a 10-year moratorium on immigration subject to the skills points system?

If you are a skilled, educated, motivated and solvent individual coming to work in the City or healthcare or wherever fine... in you come. If you are an unskillede, un-educated, poor economic refugee, well we have enough to last the decade thank you...

It would be better to concentrate in getting the unemployed back into work and off benefits, and the low paid to work more and earn more using tax credits than to allow business to push wages ever downwards by using cheap imported labour, particularly in the black economy, in my view.

Running an immigration policy to please other nations is ludicrous...

Coming in rather late on this subject, unless I have missed this, why isn't it stated the free movement of workers in the EU is down to Article 39 of the Treaty of Rome, and one of the main pillars of the EU.

Unless one is prepared to leave the EU, there is nothing you can do to stop this free movement, other than for a transitional period of time set in the Accession Treaty.

The only thing I can see on this subject between Labour and Conservative, is both agree in principle, one to start movement today, the other tomorrow.

John Ashworth: Unless one is prepared to leave the EU, there is nothing you can do to stop this free movement, other than for a transitional period of time set in the Accession Treaty.

UK is the only country to have let in migrant Labour from Eastern Europe and there is nothing to stop us holding up migrant Labour from Romania and Bulgaria. You are confusing the ideal of the EU with its reality.

As someone who travels extensively in both recent EU and prospective EU countries I agree with this policy wholeheartedly. The announcement of this policy is timely and everything else I have to say on the matter is on my blog.

Don't be daft, this is no confusion of the ideal to reality. You can get a two year transitional derogation from the freedom of movement,then it is under review when you can get a further 3 years, and finally under the final review at 5 years you can get a further 2 years. It is highly likely you can only hold up migrants from Romania and Bulgaria for two years, then a slight concession, followed by more concessions at 5 years and full flow in 7 years. Why do you try and hide the truth of it? Don't you know the terms of Accession Treaties?. As you say we are in the EU, and the UK could be flooded out, so don't moan about it and the consequences that will flow. Those that want EU membership must accept the blame.

We should consider the fact that official figures show that the majority of Eastern European people coming into this country intend to stay here for two years or less. In addition, the number of people emigrating from this country outnumber the number of people intending to stay here for 4 years.

Wicks, Can you indicate the source of your facts - a web link?

"Now more than ever we need to remember that immigration can help build a more progressive, prosperous and cosmopolitan society."

From an article in today's Guardian. It implies the Left have a political rather than an economic agenda when it comes to immigration. "Progressive" i.e. they will vote Labour, "cosmopolitan" i.e. let's hope they fail to integrate and then we can get rid of old-fashioned concepts like patriotism.

A worrying fact is that Government planning is based on a net immigration number of 130,000 per year.( I posted link on previous thread on housing)
These statistics are used to plan infrastructure, schools , hospitals.

If the Treasury is using the same numbers to allocate funding we could be in trouble

John G, it is you who needs to get real. For all your bluster about whites fleeing from Tower Hamlets, they still constitute an absolute majority in the borough, according to the 2001 Census.

Your generalisations about "metrosexual liberals" and "Brixton lads" also speaks volumes about the motivation behind your dislike of immigration.

I don't really know what the policy will be on Bulgarian and Romanian immigration to the UK, so will not comment on that.

However, the recent wave of immigrants from Central & Eastern Europe has been highly positive and has contributed significantly to the economy. As someone who has spent a lot of time in Hungary and who speaks basic Hungarian, I can back up the assertions that people from these countries are hard-working, enterprising and aspirational - natural conservatives, in fact. See today's excellent articles in the Independent (http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article1221080.ece):

"The positive impact of the influx of migrant workers from eastern Europe on the British economy has enabled Gordon Brown to hit his growth targets, according to a new study.

"It suggests that the Chancellor may have missed his key economic goals without the boost from the estimated 600,000 migrants from the eight former Soviet bloc nations who have come to Britain since their home countries joined the European Union two years ago. They now account for about 2 per cent of the UK's 30 million-strong workforce, contributing an estimated £2.5bn a year to the economy."

So how many is enough Jonathan or won't you comment on that either.Perhaps also not worth commenting on the fact that unemployment is at a 6 year high and certainly not worth commenting on the teachers and doctors etc who will have to be employed to look after these people and very definitely don't comment on the thousands of houses that will have to be built largely in the over crowded south east of England for them.
Even if you don't want to comment you might like to think about these facts before describing the influx of immigrants as 'highly positive'.

Oh, I see - so I'm supposed to cheer while the government hands out free shares in my homeland, without the consent of the existing body of citizens and against the wishes of a large majority, because it enables bloody Gordon Brown to hit his bloody growth targets? And even though any notional "growth" will only be in terms of total GDP, rather than per capita GDP accounting for the increase in population, so that the established population is no better off, and probably significantly worse off once we've paid for all the many incidental expenses?

Can't we just implement a policy that as soon as these EU workers from Poland etc can afford a ferry ticket to France they receive a bus ride from HM Customs to Dover where they are forcibly encouraged to continue their careers in other , larger EU countries , such as France for example

Well, Malcolm, I'll certainly comment.

If you do a cost-benefit analysis - the tax, NI etc from the Central & Eastern European workers actually pays for teachers, doctors and so on. In fact, most of the immigrants have been under 30 and without dependents such as children; and are in good health so rarely use the NHS. They're paying for schools & hospitals that the indigenous population uses!

Unemployment is at a 6 year high I would suggest not because of the immigrants from Central & Eastern Europe. But because of a long-observed trend, where many British born people are simply (a) not prepared to work in lower paid jobs, due to the poverty trap or benefit trap (they're as well off on Benefits, and maybe don't have a work ethic - which Central & Eastern Europeans do); or (b) indeed (due to poor educational policy) don't have the skills for building, plumbing etc. We don't have a plumber shortage any more, you might have noticed.

As for houses, well our workforce needs to live somewhere don't they? Our planning laws have been overly restrictive. It is a national scandal that we are not building more social housing, for example. And, of course, we need to utilise brownfield land much more - the Thames Gateway, it is reckoned, could provide 1.5 million new homes.

Sometimes the political elite and their media mates are too busy chattering amongst themselves to realise what is going on in the real world. This is one of UKIP's news releases sent out today:

Reflecting on Damian Green's performance on the tv yesterday. He completely failed to target the utter incompetence of the Govt in its decision to open the borders expecting only 26,000. He failed to refer back to the warnings Conservatives gave less than 18 months ago that immigration was out of control. He was in two words "utterly useless" and should be fired.

Jonathan, if certain jobs pay at, or just above the benefit level, there is little point in British workers taking them. That doesn't mean such workers are lazy (supposedly we work the longest hours of any European country); it means that they are rational. If foreign workers are prepared to work at such rates, then such jobs will continue to pay at very low rates.

However, the British taxpayer still has to foot the bill for the native workers who get displaced.

So while, on balance, Eastern European immigration has been a good thing, it's not been without its problems.

Sean, I agree with what you say that British workers are not lazy, but are "rational" in not taking jobs that are at or just above the benefit level. However, this has been a problem since the 60s when people did not have to seek work but could just live on benefits - as highlighted a few years back in a pamphlet by John Bird, founder of the 'Big Issue'.

It has been seen as politically unacceptable (i.e. a vote loser particularly for the Labour Party) to force people to work. Although they have tried some welfare-to-work schemes that have been slightly successful.

Also see the recent Centre for Policy Studies (www.cps.org.uk) publication, "A better way to help the low paid: US lessons for the UK tax credit system" (Rupert Darwall) - in effect, tax credits in the UK have made low paid people worse off because they can't move from 15 to 30 hrs a week without losing tax credits, paying more tax, and making only a little bit more for twice as much work.

The problem here is two fold:

(a) the welfare system makes British workers make an economically rational decision not to take such low paid jobs;

(b) immigrants from Central & Eastern Europe fill those vacancies, which otherwise would remain unfilled.

The taxpayer would still have to pay for the native workers in (a) unless the benefits system were reformed. And the vacancies would remain unfilled if the C&EE immigrants did not come here to do those jobs.

Of course there have been problems but my analysis is that there is not a *causal* link between immigrants and British people being unemployed. The benefits system and 'rational economic man' not working for slightly more than minimum wage is responsible for the unemployment. The unemployment is responsible for the unfilled vacancies, and the immigrants have come here in response to the availability of such jobs.

Jonathan,Migration watch have published a cost benefit analasyse and the conclusion they've come to is very different from the Independant.I know which one I believe.
Many immigrant workers that we've taken are currently under 30 but they won't always be and they will require and be entitled to the same social benefits as anyone else in this country.Many people seem to think that these immigrants will work here for a few years and then decide to go home,why? History tells us that this is very unlikely to happen.There is no evidence at all to suggest otherwise.
I'm interested to know where you get the information that so many British people are so a) lazy or b) so ill educated that they cannot work. I hear this all the time from leftwing media but strangely have not met many people this applies to.If indeed it is so perhaps the government might be better off changing the benefit rules to discourage such behaviour.
As regards your ideas for our planning laws,these could have come from the mouth of John Prescott.Do you live in the Southeast? Have you seen the badly planned developments and huge increases in population without building corresponding infrastructure that have amongst other things have led to an explosion of traffic,shortage of medical facilities and even a shortage of water.I fear your ideas are naive in the extreme.

Malcolm, I'm not naive and I live in the urban West Midlands, which is also seeing high levels of new immigrants - Poles are driving buses, for example, when a few years ago we had a shortage of bus drivers.

Re housing: The planning system is a mess - but you can't blame Central & Eastern European immigrants for that. These job vacancies still have to be filled.

I didn't say British people were lazy; what I said is that the benefit or poverty trap influences a 'rational' economic decision not to work in low paid jobs. Hence there are vacancies. There is plenty of evidence on this and I don't need to cite it here!

Similarly, for years employers have been complaining about lack of skills in British job applicants. The education system unfortunately has resulted in low levels of basic skills (e.g. numeracy, literacy) amongst many school leavers - also plenty of evidence on that. There have been skills shortages, which have been filled by immigrants - whereas skills gaps in the existing workforce can be filled by training, but we've done away with the Apprenticeship schemes that used to provide plenty of skilled young people into our workforce.

Er, excuse me Jonathan but at 14.24 you said British workers 'don't have a work ethic', what's the difference between that and lazy?

Malcolm, you are correct, at at 14.24 I said "British born people ... maybe don't have a work ethic - which Central & Eastern Europeans do)". What I meant to say was that some British born people don't have the same work ethic as many Central & Eastern Europeans do.

I'm not saying they're lazy; after all, I agreed with Sean Fear that it is rational not to take a job which doesn't pay much more than benefits. This is not the same as being lazy. Many immigrants have a work ethic which means that they are very keen to work. It goes back to Weber and the idea of the 'Protestant Work Ethic' and going the extra mile. It's about welfare dependency, not about laziness.

Amazing how certain people such as Jonathan will argue until the cows come home in favour of mass immigration.

One wonders what, exactly, is the motivation of these individuals.

The menace of immigration needs to be confronted and only the Conservative Party can do this in a decent and effective way.

We wil not be helped by the likes of Jonathan (amazingly from the Midlands - people like him must be a rare species there) plus >groan< the Metrosexual Liberal brigade and the other usual suspects.

These fellows are the BNP's best recruiting sergeants.

"These fellows are the BNP's best recruiting sergeants."

Try looking in the mirror instead.

Ha! Ha! Mark. No, in my time I've certainly dissuaded a couple of lads from joining the BNP and I can certainly claim partial responsibility for at least one wringing "wet" lady leaving the Tories and joining the LibDems.

But, please. Do explain the mechanics of how I, a traditional Tory of 36 years standing, might drive someone into the arms of the BNP.

You and your bigoted ignorant views, and apparently, the company you keep, bozo.

Not really an answer to my question, Mark, and certainly no answer to our country's massive immigration problem on the morning that the Goverment - momentously - admits that Multiculturalism may have failed.

Thatcher famously undercut NF/BNP support by taking a robust line on the issue. With BNP support now at record levels we need to take a leaf from her book.

Sad that your only two contributions to this important thread amount to unconstructive ad hominem abuse.

This does cut both ways. Allowing all EU members free access to the British labour market means that British workers and investors will be allowed free access to the markets in question. This is not the same as allowinhg unlimited migration from outside the EU, where British people do not have the right to live and/or work. Many thousands of British citizens take full advantage of job and investment opportunities throughout Europe - including Bulgaria, Romania and the Balkans. The majority of workers from the 2 accession states who wish to come here are already here - either legally or illegally. They are more likely to want to go to a country such as Italy which is a lot closer to them. Finland will have an open borders policy in relation to them, whilst Spain plays host to many more than does this country. The UK shouuld open up the labour market and allow them in. If they cannot find jobs they will soon go home again. If they do not work they will not be entitled to claim benefits. I do not see why curbs should be placed on the freedom of movement of British Citizens as a result of shortsighted UK Government policy.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker