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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Did immigration transform Britain by accident?‏

So, immigration eh? There are plenty of factors at work here, so I'll touch on the odd one or two. Firstly, one bone of contention that I've long held is 'they're taking our jobs'. No, they're not. It's the employer who gives the job to the employee, and yet employers get away scot free while some poor bugger gets the blame. Polish plumbers. Plumbers used to be the popular comedy character for someone lazy who drank your tea and emptied your wallet. Now they are seen as foreign, quiet, cheap and efficient. I wonder if any BNP supporters ever had a Pole doing up their kitchen, probably.
Now if a little bit of logic can be injected into this debate (unlikely I know), then to follow the argument through would mean deliberately having a less competitive labour market. I can't help but think that is a recipe for disaster. We're never going to be a world leader with a LESS productive work force, seeing as ours is bad enough as it is. In part I blame a lack of public holidays and too long hours.
Now I'm generally a liberal, and even free-ish on the market some times. But immigration needs some controls on it to balance the needs of those who have and those who need. A minimum wage is a good one, but the enforcement needs to be better. Not a new law, just better implementation of the current one.
London is crowded, massively. There are people who say this country is full etc. etc. bollocks. The country is not full, we may need to tinker around the edges with some bits, but we're not full. Is there enough affordable housing? No. is infrastructure properly resourced? No. in part, this is because of the more people having come here and using it, but it's also because the money is not being collected properly at the other end. If it needs to be paid for, it needs to be paid for.

As with most things it's a matter of drawing the line in the right place. That, sadly, is a very boring conclusion to come to, but there it is.

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