This is our truth, tell us yours
I tend to leave the politics here to the far better qualified Carter, but the deafening silence over the government suppression of a report into immigration which doesn’t fit with their agenda has caused me to put pixel to screen. The party line, or should I say party lines as few people have been willing to challenge this, is that there are fewer jobs because of migration. Migrants are also blamed for low wages which aren’t keeping pace with the cost of living. The myth of Romanians, Bulgarians and others coming here, so desperate for work they will accept any wage has been pushed over and over again and many people have swallowed it whole.
Apparently the civil service report shows that migration in fact has a far smaller impact on employment than previously claimed. I could have told you this simply by walking you through one of the large towns of the North East. We have the fewest immigrants in the country, and also the highest unemployment. Unemployment is so high because the of the Tories attack on the public sector. As the mines and the shipyards were closed an entire generation lost employment opportunities. Under Labour jobs were created in the public sector, decent jobs with pensions and training, opportunities for advancement and equality of opportunity. Things in other parts of the country the private sector might provide but which had been wiped out from Blyth to Berwick.
The public sector cuts have had a huge impact on the North East, just as the closures did a generation earlier. However in a distraction worthy of the Roman emperors of old migrants have been blamed for unemployment levels
As this map shows the highest number of migrants are in those areas which are apparently booming, the South East and London. If migrants caused unemployment surely the map would reflect that? It doesn’t because it is simply a lie that the Tories want to working classes to believe so they do not turn on the real culprits, the con dems.
As for migration depressing wages, it may be the case that some businesses pay less than the minimum wage. This is illegal, yet we see no Daily MAil crusade against them. No editorials decrying the greed of a few exploiting the many. Low wages are though, in my opinion far more a product of our current level of underemployment. Survey after survey shows far more people in part-time work than want to be. Some of these will be people who were looking for a full-time job and have been sanctioned, trapped now in working poverty. Many others will be public sector employees, yet more victims of the cuts to public services.
One small example from my life. A friend runs a healthy eating project, it was moved from NHS to local government by the coalition when they came to power. She was one of the pencil pushers they decry, “management” employed instead of nurses. Ignore the fact that tackling obesity needs more than a 5 a day poster, ignore the fact she went into hard to reach communities and taught cooking. Ignore the savings in the long-term by cutting heart disease, diabetes and cancer, she didn’t look like this so she had to go. Of course once her project came under local authority rather than NHS control it could be cut, whilst the Tories could still claim the NHS was “safe in their hands”. So now she is part-time, where before she was full time, half of her projects have been cut and outreach has almost ended. Where once she changed lives now she gives out fruit at healthy eating stands that no one pays any attention too.
One person, but a story reflected across the country. There is a reason wages are low, unemployment isn’t falling in real terms, the Tories are waving the red flag of immigration in front of the working classes in the hope they will go charging off after those who are other, who are different, rather than their lords and masters.