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I agree, there is too much cult of personality around Cameron at the moment.

These are good proposals.

This seems to simply reflect the way the labour market is moving in any event.

I'm more concerned that both parents bringing up young children are forced to work full-time to service mortgage payments on this country's ridiculously-priced homes - when one parent would prefer to work part-time or not at all for a few years to give their children the love and attention they need.

Am pleased to see the Tories don't plan to legislate these changes. By all means draw the attention of business towards important trends and developments but leave it up to them to be the judge. Flexibility won't suit all firms.

So Mrs Smith, who is working full-time, goes to her boss and says "I feel I need more time for my family, so could I only work afternoons? I've kept in touch with Mrs Brown who used to work here, and she says that now her children are all at school she'd like to come back but just work mornings. We could job-share."

And the boss says "Look, I could find a young Pole tomorrow without any family commitments, who would be willing to work full-time and more for half of what I'm paying you. So think yourself lucky that I've kept you on at all."

This simply cannot work with the kind of completely open labour market which has now been created. Any native with some kind of a disadvantage, whether it's poor health, a lack of training, a bad record, or just the distraction of children or other relatives who need care, will be pushed out by a fit young foreign worker who'll do the job for lower wages and won't cause the boss any inconvenience.

This is why the CBI is overjoyed by the influx of eastern Europeans - because British workers have become "lazy, complacent and picky", as Digby Jones so kindly put it. And that would include being "picky" about the hours they work.

Really good to see the Conservatives talking about working life in Britain today. Good speech - positive stuff.

I do see Dennis Cooper's point of view, and agree with it to some extent.

However I think that the idea about offering retirement aged persons the chance to stay on is very worthwhile.

However I would like Philip Hammond to address the growing problem of agencies. Any student looking for holiday work will know agencies are practically the only way to go about it. These agencies do exploit persons who are unable to stick up for themselves.

Finally it is good to see DC let a shadow minister speak without him there to chaperone and ensure no 'mistakes' are made. DC's cult of personality is sickening. Most members of his shadow team are very able and I think the public would be impressed given a chance to observe them.


And thats part of what Philip Hammond said in interview in Radio 4 - good segue from Conservatives control immigration initiative. He pointed out that many the 4 million or so on benefits would like to work if there was more fexibility & not the disinsentives welfare payments imposed then pointed out that free entry for migrant labour willing to work full hours was another barrier.

As discussed previously we must recognise both the economic benefits but also the social costs of immigration. Freely available skilled labour willing to work long hours is great for business and consumers but as Sean Fear pointed out can significantly increase the taxpayer funded resultant welfare payments to those blocked from participation.

Basically, Ted, Digby Jones is jubilant because employers now have the whip hand over their employees. Previously if UK unemployment was low there could be some kind of balance between the power of the employer and the power of the employee - who could if he wanted go and find a better job. There will never again be the possibility of that kind of balance, because notional UK unemployment becomes meaningless when there are literally millions of foreign workers queuing up for jobs in this country. After the ten recent EU accession countries, Romania and Bulgaria; after them, the Balkans; the Ukraine; then Turkey; then onwards to the east. This will continue for decades, right through the working lives of our children aand beyond unless UK politicians come to their senses and tell the likes of Digby Jones that employers cannot expect to have everything they want.

The CBI said on Tuesday:

"The UK has benefited greatly from the hard work of migrants from new accession countries, such as Poland and Lithuania. They have helped with skills shortages across the economy, particularly in the construction and hospitality sectors.

“But it is only right that the UK takes the time to reflect on the earlier experiences and debates how and when to welcome the next phase of EU accession countries. Having an effective managed migration system, that takes proper account of gaps in the labour market, is vital to a successful economy.”

"Basically, Ted, Digby Jones is jubilant because employers now have the whip hand over their employees"

That's if you start from the assumption that employees have a "right" to work or a "right" to a particular wage. Then there's also the fact that consumers i.e. all of us benefit from lower labour costs. I'm not keen on mass immigration either but I'm wary of complaints of "unfair" price competition. It's the same sort of argument used to justify protectionism (which also harms consumers).

On a lighter note, "whip hand"? Brings back memories of 1930s communist slogans! Except I wasn't born until 50 years later.

A bit concerned you have joined the Polly Toynbee party :-)

A joke! It does strengthen those nasty capitalists but considering the weight of EU & UK legislation they operate under that's perhaps no bad thing.

Some interesting letters in the Independent today in response to their recent articles:


"I hate to say this, but if Sir Digby and his former employers at the CBI are rubbing their hands with glee over the benefits they and their fellow capitalists are gaining from immigration, this probably does not bode well for any worker in this country, wherever they may originate from."

" I am a retired trade unionist and shop steward and ex-Labour voter and I am opposed to discrimination of all kinds. I would like to point out that unskilled workers have as much stake in this country as leader writers for The Independent. They have mortgages, heating bills and council taxes to pay. They are the ones whose wages are being driven down by workers from Eastern Europe. When Digby Jones says "We could not do without them," what he means is "Without them we would have to pay decent wages." "

"I wonder how much the UK tax-payers will be asked to pay when immigrants with dependants become eligible for these benefits."

"I am sure your support of immigration would not falter even if Polish leader writers and journalists arrived to do your jobs at minimum wage levels"

"Yasmin Alibhai-Brown excelled herself with her emotive diatribe (23 August) against the "indigenous population". One phrase from her derogatory remarks is enough to make the point: "keep indolent British scroungers on their couches drinking beer and watching TV". I doubt that The Independent would publish an article that used similar language, about "dispossessed Ugandan Asians"."

"I happen to live with a partner who is himself an immigrant from the USA. Yet we find amongst all our friends, all of whom would be referred to as "liberal centre-left" and intelligent, a deep unease about unlimited immigration."

"..."liberal centre-left" and intelligent...

One or the other, surely?

Congratulations to the Party on waking up to the fact that business is now global and that there are different timezones. Now stay the hell out of the way and let business get on with what it does best - and Government does worst - employing people, making profits and keeping the economy going.

it's a welcome change to see a relatively low-profile member of the Shadow Cabinet being given the chance to make a significant speech on their brief rather than the leader

It's just as important that the voters actually know who they are! I think you'd be hard pressed to get most voters to recognise more than two or three members of the shadow cabinet.

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