Socialist Worker

Labour leadership election: right will gain from immigration myths

Issue No. 2205

It’s a disgrace that so many of the Labour leadership candidates are lining up to attack immigrants.

Ed Balls followed in the footsteps of the Miliband brothers and Andy Burnham when he claimed last weekend that immigration is hurting working class people.

He added that Labour’s failure to face up to the issue let the Tories in.

Balls and the others are playing with fire.

Tory education secretary Michael Gove said that Balls had “sought to win his party’s leadership by outflanking the leader of the Conservative party on both immigration and Euroscepticism—something not done since Enoch Powell”.

We need to say loud and clear that immigrants are not to blame for low wages, unemployment and bad housing.

The Tories are trying to push through £80 billion of cuts—that’s the real threat to public services.

Council house building has virtually dried up—that’s why there’s a housing crisis.

Capitalism is in crisis and companies are determined to protect profit and payments to shareholders at all costs—that’s why there are job cuts.

And it isn’t true that Labour “brushed immigration under the carpet” as Balls suggests.

Labour brought in harsh anti‑immigration legislation. It made it more difficult for refugees and asylum seekers to settle in Britain.

Its points-based immigration system made it harder for migrant workers to enter the country.

Labour refuses to accept the real reason it lost the election—that it abandoned its core working class vote to embrace the rich.

So it lashes out at vulnerable people and boosts racist arguments that will ultimately benefit the right.

It’s right to be angry over housing, jobs and a lack of services.

But let’s put the blame where it belongs—with the bosses and the governments that back them.


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What We Think
Tue 8 Jun 2010, 18:43 BST
Issue No. 2205
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