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That Corbyn speech January 10, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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It is remarkable, to me, just how far matters have gone in relation to Brexit. That the British Labour Party today would express general opinions in relation to ‘managed’ immigration that a year ago would have been unthinkable for a progressive party to articulate, would indeed have been to some degree the preserve of the wilder shores of the Tory party, or UKIP, is a sign of the pernicious impact Brexit is having on the British body politic (and yes, I do remember the infamous cup and its infamous slogan and there’s no credit to those who produced it, but this is Corbyn’s Labour Party).

This I think is a crucial exchange… from an interview with BBC’s Today.

>Q: When people voted for Brexit, they were voting to keep out foreign workers.
Corbyn says employment conditions must be right.

But that’s not correct. Firstly the vote was very close, secondly its proximate issue was, as noted in another post today, about membership of the EU. Even if most people voting Leave voted first and foremost for such ‘controls’ a smaller tranche who voted for other reasons would be sufficient to at least suggest that most in the UK when the votes are taken in aggregate didn’t vote to ‘keep out foreign workers’. That Corbyn would not push back against that alone is lamentable. And it’s worse than that because it gifts the narrative to the right. And keep in mind that it normalises attitudes to immigration that are – at the very least not positive. That in the everyday, the public sphere, immigration is reinforced yet again, and immigrants obviously too, as a problem. And this has very real consequences as we know from the spike in crimes in the UK after the referendum. Words count in this.

We’ve seen a consolidation of the Tories, an election tomorrow, or next month, would gift them an overwhelming majority. We have seen a parallel weakening of the Labour Party. But above political power we have political rhetoric, a mean-spirited rhetoric that speaks of controls and limits – that demands access to markets in the EU (Corbyn was doing much the same today) while refusing to accept that a quid pro quo is the right of EU citizens to travel across the area of those markets.

Corbyn was still hedging, for which we can perhaps be grateful, and who would disagree that importing workers to be exploited is not something the left can stand over. But the fact that his language – formerly strongly in favour of freedom of movement, had softened to encompass ‘managed’ migration says it all. Even he has felt the stifling constraints that Brexit has generated within the UK political context.

That’s not a small thing, freedom of movement, it is key. We in Ireland often take it for granted because of our history, because of the CTA with the UK and because of residual links with the US, but for many in many places the idea of being able to travel within and across many countries is not even an aspiration. The EU is, correctly, a focus for huge criticism, and that criticism and critique must continue and be made ever more forcefully, but one thing it has got right is the idea of freedom of movement across its expanse by citizens of member states. And not just member states. For those that sign up to a range of areas those who are non-members are allowed access to the area. There are contradictions. There is an outside of the EU, borders both physical, geographic and mental (though individual states within the EU have varying approaches on this), but as a work in progress the idea of extending freedom of movement is a positive.

To see the UK step outside that is a grievous situation. To see progressives adopt the rhetoric of that equally so. I said it directly after the vote, and those of us warning of the implications of the referendum had been flagging it up in advance. There is no step forward in a context where new borders are put in place. Were it a situation where an alternative structure of a number of nations was in place – where four or five nations had banded together to generate a progressive alternative with freedom of movement, no internal borders, genuinely transformative left social democrat/socialist policies on all matter of things, that would be a very different matter. But no such alternative exists nor is it on the short to medium or even long term horizon.

What alternative could Corbyn propose in all this? Perhaps the obvious alternatives. That immigration is not an evil but a necessity in contemporary advanced economies, particularly one as open as the UK. That setting limits and quotas is self-defeating. That freedom of movement is a positive. That there are a range of measures well short of immigration controls that can alleviate pressures in housing, health, education and employment where necessary – that most of those measures are needed anyway simply to support workers in the UK. That all this was possible within the EU and within the context of freedom of movement with the EU.

That UKIP has won, and it has, it really has, this contest of rhetoric if not political power is merely another fillip to an environment that internationally is growing increasingly and overtly reactionary. How it could have been thought to end otherwise in the context of the UK and Brexit is mystifying.

All that said, what is also concerning is what happens in five or ten years time when the penny drops that intra-EU immigration wasn’t the problem and cutting it wasn’t the solution. Any of us who have tracked the progress of the British media across the decades and their ability to fix upon an ‘other’, be it internal or supposedly external, will wonder where that dynamic will manifest and who will suffer. And what political forces awoken or resuscitated or simply given heart by Brexit will flock to use it. For once again it is worth restating that UKIP’s support, and that of Brexit, gathered steam once there was a pivot from sovereignty to immigration. That’s a lesson others will adapt to their own ends.

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1. Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

And keep in mind that it normalises attitudes to immigration that are – at the very least not positive. That in the everyday, the public sphere, immigration is reinforced yet again, and immigrants obviously too, as a problem. And this has very real consequences as we know from the spike in crimes in the UK after the referendum. Words count in this.

Damn right, and it may be that we have been heading in this direction for a while. I’ve spoken at a couple of immigrant-support events over the last six months, as a union representative, and made a point of saying that I do not want to hear patronizing crap about “economic contribution”, or “enriching a culture”, or “your wonderful food”, or “your beautiful accent”, or whatever it is for any particular group. In some ways the argument was conceded as soon as “supporters” of immigration and immigrants conceded the language and spoke of “contribution” to the UK rather than human dignity.

The expectation now, and Corbyn has played into it quite badly, is that the function of immigrants is to “contribute” to the UK and as long as they (we) perform that function they are to be welcomed. Once you concede that, or talk in those terms, two-tier immigration systems are only a matter of time.

The left cocked this up a long time ago, and Corbyn is only putting the final nail in the coffin.

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2. Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

And, for those who haven’t seen it yet, this is where conceding the language leads, a union-produced video about how the foreigners are ripping us off and laughing:

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3. Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

The Mirror has the speech in full as released (so not necessarily quite what is being delivered). On immigration:

During the referendum campaign, many people expressed deep concerns about unregulated migration from the EU.

In many sectors of the economy, from IT to health and social care, migrant workers make an important contribution to our common prosperity, and in many parts of the country public services depend on migrant labour.

This government has been saying it will reduce migration to the tens of thousands. Theresa May as Home Secretary set an arbitrary political target knowing full well it would not be met.

They inflamed the issue of immigration. They put immense strain on public services with six years of extreme cuts and then blamed migrants for the pressure caused by Tory austerity.

And last week a Government minister who voted ‘Leave’ told an employers’ conference, “don’t worry, we’ll still let you bring in cheap EU labour”.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will not offer false promises on immigration targets or sow division by scapegoating migrants because we know where that leads. The worrying rise in race hate crime and division we have seen in recent months and how the issue of immigration can be used as a proxy to abuse or intimidate minority communities.

Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle, but I don’t want that to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out.

When it comes to border controls, we are proud to say we will meet our international obligations to refugees fleeing wars and persecution.

To those EU citizens who are already here, we will guarantee your rights.

And we continue to welcome international students who come to study in this country.

We cannot afford to lose full access to the European markets on which so many British businesses and jobs depend.

Changes to the way migration rules operate from the EU will be part of the negotiations.

Labour supports fair rules and the reasonable management of migration as part of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, while putting jobs and living standards first in the negotiations.

At the same time, taking action against undercutting of pay and conditions, closing down cheap labour loopholes, banning exclusive advertising of jobs abroad and strengthening workplace protections would have the effect of reducing numbers of EU migrant workers in the most deregulated sectors, regardless of the final Brexit deal.

Of course migration has put a strain on public services in some areas that’s why Labour would restore the Migrant Impact Fund that the Tories scrapped.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyns-brexit-speech-full-9597300

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4. Ed - January 10, 2017

I’ve just finished reading a very good piece by Richard Seymour (written, I presume, before he had access to the full text of this speech), talking about this in the context of a ‘populist turn’ that Corbyn’s team have been flagging up lately, and talking about right and wrong ways of putting that into effect:

“Were the Corbyn leadership to be pushed in this direction, then its populism will begin to look more dubious than improbable. If populism necessarily involves trading in hate, a politics that authorized resentment against immigrants and foreigners would misdirect that hatred. And ultimately it would be an act of self-hatred, the ultimate terminus of the British left’s neurotic uneasiness with real aggression.

“In Britain today, the banks continue to be untouchable, major utilities like rail and energy are still owned by rent-seeking companies making a killing, the press operate largely unscathed after Hackgate, until recently the entire political class was united around a policy of austerity that never achieved its stated aim, and now the same political class is making a pig’s ear of the Brexit vote it achieved in spite of itself.

“There is your elite debacle. There is your target for any firebrand left-wing populist. If that is what the “populist turn” is about, it could be a step forward. If “populism” becomes a byword for sleazy flag-waving and unconvincing “toughness” on immigration, as some of Corbyn’s supporters want it to be, it will fail.”

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/corbyn-populism-labour-brexit-tories-immigration/

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5. sonofstan - January 10, 2017

So, what is to be done?

Labour will crumble on this, and the idea that the LibDems will fight for free movement and not just for the rights of those of us such as you and I who ‘make a contribution’ to the, ahem, ‘global reputation’ of UK HE is laughable. The LDs never met a principle they couldn’t exchange for another one if it meant a few votes.

The end result of all of this is that, sooner or later, you, me, and 3m others will be asked to register as EU nationals, and our ability to access the health service, education and other services may become conditional. Since no political party is going to care very much, maybe it’s time to organise independently? and put pressure on our ‘home’ governments to make our situation central to any negotiations?

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Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

From Corbyn’s Q+A today:

Q: Would you rule out work visas for EU citizens?

Corbyn says nothing is ruled out at this stage.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/jan/10/jeremy-corbyns-morning-interviews-politics-live?page=with:block-58750510e4b0710de27b8286#block-58750510e4b0710de27b8286

So, you are right: Labour is crumbling and there is and was nobody else who will defend the Rights of (Hu)Man from a decent internationalist position. On the whole, we can forget about university `leaders’: with a couple of honourable exceptions, they would happily hand a list of us over when G4S turn up for the deportations.

Time to organize independently, and there’s no point being polite.

Oddly enough, this evening I have to talk to some people from One Day Without Us about links with the local trades council.

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6. Silas Flannery - January 10, 2017

Paul Foot’s 1965 article on Immigration and the British Labour Movement has never seemed more relevant: https://www.marxists.org/archive/foot-paul/1965/xx/immigration.htm

I might print out a copy and drop it into Corbyn’s constituency office on my way home from work tomorrow. With every line of the Conclusions section underlined.

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2017

I’ve been reading Milliband senior recently and I’ve got to say him and Paul Foot albeit from different points of Marxist thought were pretty great at times. The Foot piece is particularly apt because it underscores how this isn’t entirely novel. There’ve been difficult times before in relation to these issues and yet somehow the left and in fairness Labour managed to keep things moving in a progressive direction (for the most part).

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7. Pasionario - January 10, 2017

So what would a left-wing policy on immigration look like?

Would it entail open borders across the board? Are any restrictions at all justified?

I have this dark thought that European societies are at heart deeply insular and unprepared to accept a large foreign-born population. Anything above 10 percent starts to create massive political tensions. The Irish case is unusual. Few other western Europeans migrate to other EU countries.

Before the First World War, central Europe was extremely diverse and freedom of movement taken for granted. I don’t think you even needed a passport to travel between most countries.

The long-term effect of both wars was to chop Europe into smaller, ethnically homogeneous, and more stable states (whilst destroying the Jews, the single most cosmopolitan group). That settlement now seems to be unraveling and I fear a new round of ethnic cleansing in one form or another. The left would be too weak to do much about it and lacks a coherent vision of its own anyway, as Corbyn is demonstrating.

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Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

Whatever else might be wrong with the EU, free movement within a growing group of countries seems like a good way of moving towards open borders.

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Pasionario - January 10, 2017

Okay, but open borders for everyone everywhere, not just refugees? Would that not be a bit chaotic?

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Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

Nobody says we have to get there immediately. Open borders as an aim doesn’t seem so bad, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it right now before reaching the socialist new Jerusalem (TM).

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Pasionario - January 10, 2017

So what’s the transitional policy then? To my mind, freedom of movement within the EU plus a fair deal for refugees is probably the limit.

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Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

That’s fine as a transitional policy, if you include the other countries which have free movement on EU terms. What Corbyn is proposing is a step backwards.

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Ed - January 10, 2017

I think it’s far too hasty to say that the EU model of free movement has failed. Britain so far is the only country to have voted to leave the EU, in a referendum where anti-immigration sentiment played an important part, without being as overwhelmingly important as people are now claiming. Britain is an outlier in many ways, it was always semi-detached from the European project, and there doesn’t appear to be any particular hurry to follow the British example elsewhere. If ‘genuine concerns’ (barf) about immigration are now one of the central issues in European politics, it’s because of a particular set of circumstances:

1) The expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe, bringing in a set of countries well behind the West European level of development (while ruling out the kind of structural aid that helped Ireland and others bridge a similar gap, or the kind of state-interventionist development policies that countries like South Korea and Taiwan used when industrializing).

2) The crisis of global capitalism since 2008, which has been especially acute in Ireland and continental Europe (because of the flaws in the Eurozone’s construction), and in Britain (because the post-Thatcher economic model is so shoddy—I’m fairly sure if British workers had seen their wages go up rather than down by 10 per cent since 2008, Brexit would have been a much tougher sell).

3) The refugee crisis triggered by conflicts in the Middle East, above all Syria, combined with the rise of an apocalyptic terrorist group willing to carry out random attacks on civilians in European cities, which has been a tremendous boon for the far right.

Out of those conditions, only 1) really has anything to do with free movement of labour within the EU. Global capitalism would still have been in crisis with or without border controls, and the wars in Syria, Libya etc. would still be going on; European countries would still have to decide what to do with refugees trying to reach the continent, Daesh would still be sending cells to carry out attacks in Paris or Berlin, Farage, Le Pen and the AfD would still be ranting and roaring about the threat posed by Islam to ‘our way of life’, etc. Trump came to power in Washington even though NAFTA has no free-movement clause and Obama deported more undocumented migrants than any of his predecessors.

The left has a lot to say about the crisis of global capitalism, of course, and plenty to say about the conditions that have fuelled wars in the Middle East and the rise of religious terrorist groups (not least the role of Western foreign policy in fostering those conditions)—although we have very limited power to do anything about it. But constructive action on those fronts would go a long way towards reducing the strains over immigration (the last major episode of ethnic cleansing in Europe was only possible because Yugoslavia went into a deep economic crisis in the late 80s, with help from the IMF – not that you can reduce the wars in Croatia, Bosnia etc. to economics, but it was a necessary condition).

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2017

+1 Ed.

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8. ivorthorne - January 10, 2017

Two general questions:

1. Has the battle of language and immigration been lost in the UK? That is, does Corbyn using this language represent the adoption of colloquial language or is he abandoning a defensible position?

2. What does this mean for non-EU citizens in practical terms should Corbyn follow through on his “managed immigration” policy? Any change whatsoever?

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Michael Carley - January 10, 2017

1. Looks like it.

2. No idea what it would mean for non-EU citizens, but they’re already snowed under with restrictions and bureaucracy so there isn’t much worse for it to get, officially. On the other hand, the climate is getting very nasty, and the racists don’t discriminate between EU and non-EU.

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Silas Flannery - January 10, 2017

As regards your second question, one of the main pro-Brexit arguments that I read from left-wing groups in the UK was that EU freedom of movement discriminated against non-EU citizens and that a vote to leave would result in a fairer immigration policy for all. With the tone of debate around immigration here before, during and after the referendum that seemed like pie in the sky at best and I cannot see immigration for non-EU citizens being made any easier than it is at present.

On a related note, one of the more bizarre aspects of the Lexit immigration argument which I saw being made by different left-leaning websites (Morning Star, Counterfire) in the run up to the referendum was that people from commonwealth countries should be giving special immigration rights post-Brexit. Basically, if your country wasn’t colonised by Britain you’re not getting in. I suppose it probably reflects some sort of post-imperial guilt, but as the Paul Foot article I linked to above says ‘whatever the progressive terms in which it is phrased, is nothing more nor less than inverted imperialism’.

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ivorthorne - January 10, 2017

I guess what I mean is net immigration from non-EU countries is higher than for EU countries. This is supposedly managed immigration.

So managed immigration figures from the EU would probably not see a massive decrease.

If on the other hand, managed immigration is code for significantly reducing immigration, you’d imagine they’d start this policy prior to Brexit with non-EU nationals.

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2017

“As regards your second question, one of the main pro-Brexit arguments that I read from left-wing groups in the UK was that EU freedom of movement discriminated against non-EU citizens and that a vote to leave would result in a fairer immigration policy for all. With the tone of debate around immigration here before, during and after the referendum that seemed like pie in the sky at best and I cannot see immigration for non-EU citizens being made any easier than it is at present.”

I’d heard that line but it always struck me as bizarre. Increasing the number of hard borders between EU states never seems to make any sense in that context rather than fighting for a more open overall regime in regard to the EU itself (frankly a lot of the Lexit arguments seem to me at this remove to have been positioned on little or no hard analysis of the actual material conditions prevailing as distinct from pure aspiration unmediated by anything so inconvenient as the balance of forces driving the overall process of Brexit). Which of course feeds into your second point, I’d not heard the argument about Commonwealth states but as you say it seems to be fairly illogical.

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2017

“If on the other hand, managed immigration is code for significantly reducing immigration, you’d imagine they’d start this policy prior to Brexit with non-EU nationals.”

I think that the UKIP pivot explains a lot of this. Farage for all his sins sincerely hates the EU and all its works. The arguments he put forward about sovereignty weren’t insincere but they didn’t make the grade. Once he discovered that immigration was a better play- that it had greater emotional cachet and reached a broader audience (though still nowhere as wide as some like to suggest) – then the sovereignty issues was in a sense parked in favour of immigration. I don’t doubt he doesn’t like immigration either, but it was a secondary aspect initially. Hence the relative lack of expressed concern about non-EU immigration.

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Silas Flannery - January 10, 2017

Here’s a prime example of my point above from an article in the Morning Star back in June:

“By being so positive towards EU migration, sectors of the left are naively, or willingly, falling into a trap of their own making — which is not merely xenophobic but actively racist too.

If we are to consider our shameful colonialist past, and form a rational immigration policy starting from that point, there are so many nations and people to whom we owe a great debt.

Many West Indians find it extremely difficult to enter Britain, even to visit families. Why is it then that any EU citizen can come indefinitely to Britain, to visit, study, work or live?
Might we assume it is because they are white, and supposedly share “European values,” unlike our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, Africa or on the Indian subcontinent?

As well as the historical legacy, there is the more recent crisis in the Middle East, largely the making of western European and British intervention in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

EU member states have a debt to accept the people whose very countries we have played a part in destroying. In fact, the EU is increasingly acting with imperialist clout, officially supporting military campaigns such as the Afghanistan war in 2001, or giving France a waiver on its economic obligations in order to carry out its ill-thought-out attacks in Syria in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

A move towards a new migration policy which accurately reflects the damage Britain has done as a colonialist and imperialist force can only be negotiated outside the EU, with a future progressive government.

Simply put, the case needs to be made for a progressive anti-racist immigration policy that doesn’t merely let white Europeans enter Britain.”

It’s a very muddled article which for me encapsulates the worst of the Lexit argument, which as you mentioned seemed to be based more on aspiration than analysis.

The idea that Brexit and the climate that it has produced over here would lead to an improved immigration policy for people from the Caribbean, Africa and the Indian subcontinent as the article suggests was a gross misreading of the direction that the UK is currently heading sadly.

http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-9c1f-Free-movement-in-the-EU-actually-means-free-exploitation

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2017

Indeed. I’m certainly with the idea that those with family in the UK, or indeed RoI, have a right to visit families. Absolutely. But to weave all this into a conspiracy theory where somehow the EU is a pillar of a keep non whites out approach when anti-EU bigotry has been a hall mark of the UK media and elsewhere and actual verbal and physical attacks peaking around and after the referendum is to a kind of delusion, a sort of inability to see what is there rather than what wants to see.

What on earth do they think this has to do with the EU? Many other EU member states have allowed many many more refugees and migrants per population into themselves (there’s a good chart on wiki in relation to the 2015 crisis in that respect) than the UK. How Britain would conceivably become more open to same outside the EU escapes me. Particularly in a Brexit led by Tories and chivvied along by UKIP.

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ivorthorne - January 11, 2017

Might point out that at least one (mostly) former colony was an EU state, made up of whites and faired rather badly under British occupation. But hey, at some point in the next half century our population may recover to pre-1845 levels.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2017

Very true IT.

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Jim Monaghan - January 12, 2017

While I am sure (hopefully) that Lexit meant all the Commonwealth, I am even more sure Brexit meant the White Commonwealth.

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9. CL - January 10, 2017

The rise of the far right is pushing the centre rightwards.
In France the candidate from the Vendee, Fillon, is to the right of Le Pen on some issues.
It would be a mistake for what’s left of the left to follow this trend.

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10. crocodileshoes - January 10, 2017

Any comment, Michael or SofS, on the trade union role in all this?Press coverage of unions in the U.K. At present reminds me of the 80s. Any truth in suggestions that unions will drift from Labour towards UKIP because a. that’s who a lot of their members are voting for, b. the leaders will be under pressure to back immigration controls, or c. UKIP might opportunistically offer them support when the Tories next try a bout of anti-union legislation? ( these are all topics that have come up in pub conversation with union members when I’ve been in the UK for work, since Brexit).

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sonofstan - January 10, 2017

No real idea tbh. My only union involvement is with UCU and they’re hardly likely to lean to UKIP.

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Ed - January 10, 2017

I think the chances of a drift to UKIP by the unions is pretty much zero, but even McCluskey, who is clearly one of the more left-wing union leaders, has been pushing for Labour to compromise on free movement (and his right-wing challenger in the leadership election is bluntly hostile). That’s the thing, anyone in the unions who wants to support tighter immigration controls doesn’t need to reach out to UKIP, they’re spoilt for choice in Labour already; the whole right-wing is on that line already (which means most of the PLP), and even if you want explicit, unapologetic racism, you’ve got Kinnock, Reeves …

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2017

Yeah, I’d say it was unbelievable but sadly no. All too believable.

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Ed - January 11, 2017

In the ‘you better believe it’ category, the delightful Caroline Flint in an interview with Kirsty Wark conflates ‘non-white’ and ‘non-British’, notes that her constituency has gone from being 99% white to being a mere 95% white since 1997, and makes it clear that this is a problem:

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2017

I used to think Flint might be okay. I just give up. I really do. And not just over this. There’s been a string of stuff she’s said that is just off the wall.

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6to5against - January 11, 2017

is her point that 5% is a bigger proportion of the population when the population is small?

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Ed - January 12, 2017

Yeah, how small is a ‘small town village community’? 500 people? 1,000? If it’s a thousand, that means instead of 5 brown-skinned people, you’ve got 50. I suppose that does make a big difference if you’re the sort of person who really keeps an eye out. Somebody once asked Kingsley Amis, I think, what it was like to be an anti-semite (as he cheerfully admitted to being); he said it was small things, like when the credits rolled at the end of a Hollywood movie and ‘you just NOTICE’.

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sonofstan - January 12, 2017

She mentions doncaster which, with 300k people is hardly a ‘small village community’

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CMK - January 11, 2017

Were my eyes deceiving me but did I see something online where BBC ‘Newsnight’ had photoshopped Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball hats onto Corbyn with the slogan ‘Make Britain Great Again’? If they did they have irretrievably lost all journalistic credibility.

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Ed - January 11, 2017

Didn’t see that, but apparently so. What a f**king joke of a a programme. And no matter how much they attack the left, the Tories will still hate the BBC as a symbol of the public sector doing something to a high standard, and still do everything they can to undermine it and boost Murdoch’s position.

(The Canary is a bit tiresome and click-baity most of the time, but the photo doesn’t lie):

http://www.thecanary.co/2017/01/11/used-anti-corbyn-bias-time-bbc-taken-way-far/

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CMK - January 11, 2017

Thanks; Jaysus!

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Michael Carley - January 12, 2017

Like SoS, I’m UCU (vote me!) and involved at regional level (South West England). There was some disgruntlement, from Remain supporters, that the union had not taken a position on the referendum, but realistically we couldn’t have: we’re not affiliated to the Labour party and there would not be a definitive view from the membership. At the moment, we are trying to reduce the damage done to Higher Education.

In other unions, a few took a position, including a couple in favour of exit, but at the moment, I think most activists are more concerned with the effects than the principle. I do fear that if Labour drifts, as it seems to be, into an anti-free-movement position, pandering to anti-immigration feeling, it will lose support to UKIP in a lot of areas.

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