15 May 2008
The Polish influx may help Labour to lose in Crewe
Labour has tried to diffuse the row over the 10p tax rate with benefits all round, obviously in the hope that this will be enough to bolster the party's showing in next week's Crewe by-election. However, there is one factor that all the benefits in the world won't alter, and that is the number of Polish workers who now live in Crewe and who compete with the locals for jobs.
At least 6,000 Poles now live in the town out of a total population of less than 50,000, and the unpublicised effects of this will probably be yet another factor that sticks the boot into Nu-Labour's hopes of holding the seat.
A few websites do discuss the issue, and there the reaction is mixed. However, as this Crewe blogger makes plain, most people sit around in the pubs and complain, rather than make their views clear on-line. That said, reading the comments that the posting elicited, it seems clear to me that Polish immigration is going to be a major negative factor for Nu-Labour next week.
It could have been so very different, couldn't it? When Britain had an influx of Commonwealth immigrants in the post-war years the Labour government headed by Harold Wilson pushed the first Race Relations Acts through parliament to prevent management scum from paying immigrant workers less than their British counterparts.
Today, Nu-Labour has pretty much left all the old anti working class legislation that the Tories passed in place. The result of this is that wage rates in places like Crewe are reduced across the board. That might not be a problem for a Polish worker who just wants to make a few bob before he heads off back home, but it will probably turn out to be yet another nail in the coffin of Nu-Labour, as the locals in Crewe refuse to turn out to vote for the party that has so signally failed to represent their interests.