16 May 2008
Just a thought about immigration in Britain
Following on from last night's posting which was concerned with Polish immigration in Crewe, there is a theory kicking around left-wing circles that one of the reasons for Nu-Labour's decision to allow all and sundry into the country is a desire for revenge. Revenge against whom you may wonder? Revenge against the working-class who voted for Thatcher is the answer. I heard this theory articulated on two different occasions in London recently, and I must say that it has a superficial attraction.
The problem with it is that the more you think about it, the less logical it is. The northern working class loathed Thatcher with a passion, and it is the northern working class, in places like Crewe, who are finding themselves left behind as foreign workers take their jobs. By way of contrast, those creatures who were duped into falling for the Tory line are only now coming to realise what a big mistake it all was - and they live in the south, by and large.
My theory is that Nu-Labour is basically following the old Tankie line - the one that said that the party had lost confidence in the working class. Let's face it, Nu-Labour has always loathed us. We smoke, laugh at the likes of Roy "Chubby" Brown and Bernard Manning, and don't give a tinker's cuss about events in various third world shitholes. To make matters worse, we are not interested in lifestyle politics, or we are positively hostile to them.
How much nicer it must be for the Nu-Labourites to only have to deal with the East Europeans. If you think about it, those chancers actually share all those Nu-Labour aspirational values that Blair was always going on about. In other words, they want to get on within the framework of capitalism.
Now as far as we are concerned, work is that place where we go to get our money. Employer's place, employer's profits and employer's problems - that's always been our attitude. That's not to say that we don't want to get on as well - we do, but by making the boss pay us more money for less work.
So, the theory goes, the Eastern Europeans are allowed in as the new working class. We increasingly become the unmentionables, the helots, to be hated and feared. To be corralled on our estates, thus to provide an income for that new colonial caste of social workers, council managers and teachers that I have previously discussed.
It's just a theory of mine, and we are never going to get any Nu-Labourite to confirm its veracity. However, it has a certain internal consistency and simplicity that makes me think that it is closer to the truth of what is actually going on in Britain than anything else that I have heard up to now.
Even if the theory itself is flawed, and government policy was not in any way based on ideas like that, then the effects of that policy are such as to ensure that the outcome is the same as if it had been the intention all along: we are the new helots and there is no escaping that fact.