British pro-European Union Blairites pander to xenophobia

This video from Britain says about itself:

Stand up to RacismRefugees Welcome Here – Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Francesca Martinez et al.

6 November 2015

Speakers included:

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Diane Abbott MP Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Baroness Sheehan, Owen Jones, Francesca Martinez, Giles Fraser, Rabbi Lee Wax, Shahrar Ali Green Party Deputy Leader, Roger McKenzie Asst General Secretary UNISON, Harish Patel Unite the Union National Officer for Equalities, Kevin Courtney Deputy General Secretary NUT, Talha Ahmad Muslim Council of Britain, Anna Musgrave Refugee Council, Shelly Asquith NUS VP Welfare, Shakira Martin NUS VP Further Education, Lindsey German Convenor, Stop the War Coalition, Weyman Bennett, Sabby Dhalu and others.

Hundreds of thousands have marched under the slogan “Refugees Welcome Here” and many more have donated aid to refugees unable to find shelter and sanctuary. We must continue to pressure the government to take more refugees.

There remains no solution to the biggest migration of refugees to Europe since WW2. Recent EU summits have focussed on seeking agreement with Turkey on stopping the flow to Europe of refugees, but no agreement on how provide protection to many thousands still stranded in Hungary, Calais and other parts of the EU. With winter approaching, people are desperate.

Recently the government’s approach has been strongly criticised by Church of England Bishops, the UN, Law Lords, retired judges, lawyers, Benedict Cumberbatch, Banksy and a range of cross party politicians.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights in an interview with the Guardian said the language surrounding the issue reminded him of the 1938 Evian conference, when countries including the US, the UK and Australia refused to take in substantial numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler’s annexation of Austria on the grounds that they would destabilise their societies and strain their economies.

By Lamiat Sabin in Liverpool, England:

MPs blasted for free movement U-turn

Tuesday 27th September 2016

Abbott hits out at post-Brexit change towards single market

by Lamiat Sabin

in Liverpool

DIANE ABBOTT blasted Labour MPs yesterday that are now calling for a post-Brexit end to freedom of movement after favouring it before the referendum.

The shadow health secretary spoke at a fringe event held by Stand Up to Racism during Labour conference in Liverpool.

She did not mention which MPs she had in mind, but only last week one-time Labour leadership hopeful Chuka Umunna performed a startling volte-face over EU migration.

Mr Umunna has said Britain should tighten immigration and reject freedom of movement if it chooses to leave the single market, calling on Tory PM Theresa May to go “full throttle” in negotiations.

Mr Umunna — who now chairs Vote Leave Watch, which aims to force Leave campaigners to keep their referendum promises — fervently campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU, mocking Leavers for rejecting the single market.

Two months before the vote, he posed in front of a banner that read: “The Leave campaign wants us to quit the single market and be like ‘Albania.’ Seriously.”

Vote Leave Watch also launched a petition stating EU migrants should never be used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

Ms Abbott told the MPs she had in mind: “If people voted Leave then I hope it wasn’t all about immigration and the fear of ‘the other.’

“A few months ago you were claiming that Jeremy Corbyn was not campaigning enough for the EU and now you want an end to freedom of movement?

“What happened to you?”

Communication Workers Union senior deputy general secretary Tony Kearns told the fringe that scarcity of resources, underfunding and demands on public services are not the fault of migrants and refugees who are often blamed.

He said: “Fighting austerity and racism is called socialism.”

The living standards of British people depend on immigration as refugees and migrants contribute more than they take, said Stand Up to Racism co-conveners Sabby Dhalu and Weyman Bennett.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said during the main conference that Labour would campaign for access to the single market for goods and services.

LABOUR SHOULD ABANDON its support for free movement across Europe in favour of tighter border controls, according to a group of English and Welsh Labour MPs. Four leading party members, who all originally backed remaining within the European Union, now say that the Brexit vote represented a voter surge against immigration – and Labour should change its policies to reflect that: here.

UK Labour’s right wing mounts pro-EU, anti-immigrant offensive against Corbyn: here.

UK: Labour says free movement in Europe must be curtailed post-Brexit: here.

16 thoughts on “British pro-European Union Blairites pander to xenophobia

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  4. Saturday 3rd December 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    It is predatory employers, deregulated labour markets and the diminution of union rights that are the underlying causes of low wages and labour market insecurity, not migrants. DIANE ABBOTT explains

    THERE are few more toxic political debates than the current one about immigration.

    Immigration was made a key issue in the official EU referendum Leave campaign and members of all ethnic minorities are suffering from an upsurge of xenophobia.

    Now, with the election of Donald Trump in the US, the anti-immigrant narrative is more powerful than ever — and it is harder than ever to stand up to it.

    Increasingly too many people seem to think that the easy and pragmatic option is to go with the flow.

    The idea is taking hold that moving right on immigration in post-industrial Britain could save the Labour Party seats. But this thinking is completely misconceived.

    The reality is that political bidding war on being “tougher” on immigration is unwinnable for Labour. Instead, we need to challenge the terms of the debate.

    When discussing this issue, we need to be honest that the word immigrant in common popular parlance doesn’t just mean someone who is subject to immigration control — it can mean refugees, asylum-seekers and even people like my son, a third generation British passport holder.

    There is no way to magic people perceived as immigrants off the streets without pulling out of the international conventions that commit us to accepting refugees and asylum-seekers, or somehow nullifying the citizenship of existing British passport holders.

    Also, in areas where voters are not so hostile to immigration — including those where we need to keep or win the votes of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) voters who are concerned by the surge in xenophobia — they are going to be baffled about what we are actually doing.

    Furthermore, current Labour voters have a net favourable attitude towards immigration. This means that if Labour were to adopt a more hostile stance, it would alienate more of its current supporters than it would please them.

    Nonetheless, it has sadly been true in recent years that too many people seem convinced that migrants are responsible for workplace insecurity or their failure to find a job.

    This is hardly surprising in that this is the propaganda pumped out day after day by the Tories, Ukip and some of the mass media.

    But while we cannot dismiss people’s fears, we need to point their anger in the right direction.

    For this reason, it becomes extremely important that progressives try to ground the debate on immigration in the facts.

    In the labour movement we need to be clear that it is no kind of solution for the underpaid and exploited to encourage them to think that another section of working people is their enemy.

    It is time people stopped talking about immigrants as a problem.

    Our job is to speak out, not in a naive idealistic way, but in a practical way about the benefits of migration, how it is a driver of growth and benefits our public services, such as the NHS.

    The first fact we need to be clear on is that far from being a drain, migrants make a net contribution to our economy.

    Migrants to Britain create twice as many jobs as their proportion of the population, 14 per cent versus 7-8 per cent. They are net direct contributors to government finances of approximately £20 billion per annum over and above anything they receive in social protection. The indirect fiscal effect is far greater, taking into account employment creation and other factors.

    To give one specific example, the narrative of the immigrant drain on the NHS could not be further from the truth.

    Without women like my mother, who immigrated to this country as a student nurse in the 1950s, Britain would not have an NHS.

    And contrary to myths promoted by Ukip and others, it is predatory employers, deregulated labour markets and the diminution of union rights that are the underlying causes of low wages and labour market insecurity.

    It is particularly hypocritical for neoliberals to wring their hands about the effects of migration on wages. Because, actually, it is the liberalisation of labour markets and the weakening of trade unions which are the real culprits.

    What is true is that Labour market conditions (for all working people) have gone backward, empowering employers to indulge in the proliferation of zero-hours contracts.

    What we need in this situation is politicians willing to legislate for a more level playing field between employers and employees. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership we unequivocally have this.

    Labour is setting out an agenda so we can work with unions to ensure justice in the workplace. Under the current government, hardly any employers are prosecuted for not paying the minimum wage. When we write the living wage into law, the next Labour government needs to be active about enforcement.

    We are also the only party standing up for our public services — far from Ukip being an alternative voice for working people, Paul Nuttall wants privatisation in the NHS and has argued that the “very existence of the NHS stifles competition.”

    We cannot win the next election fighting on a Ukip’s agenda — there are no votes for Labour in trying to outdo Ukip on immigration. Instead all wings of the labour movement need to work together to combat the lies of the Tory Party, Ukip and some of the mass media.

    Labour is now the biggest left-of-centre party in Europe. We can use our 600,000-plus membership to take the initiative in campaigning on these issues.

    Otherwise, we are running the risk of going to a very dark place.

    If we don’t come together and campaign hard, the gains the Labour Party, the trade union movement and BAME communities themselves have fought for over decades could be rolled back.

    In contrast, trying to make migrants the scapegoat for ordinary people’s economic woes is not only morally and factually wrong, it can only benefit the hard right’s narrative and lead to a dangerous downward spiral in this debate, with increased hate the inevitable result.

    Diane Abbott is shadow home secretary and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.


  5. Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones’s description of Corbyn’s rejection of racist scapegoating of immigrant labour as “a very London-centric position” is an unprincipled position that encourages Ukip.

    It is a surrender to xenophobia, mirroring the embarrassing stance by Corbyn’s challenger Owen Smith, who claimed that school places in his Rhondda Cynon Taf area were under pressure caused by migrants.

    In reality there were hundreds of available places and nearly every child’s preference was agreed.

    Labour has no future in backing a Ukip-lite approach. Prioritising anti-racism and working-class interests is the only way forward.


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