Thursday, October 18, 2007

What immigration problem?

'What are you going to do about all the bloody immigrants?' is a question I have heard more than once on the doorstep and my personal answer is always the simple one. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch! We don't need to do anything that directly and specifically targets immigrants that come here to work. They are simply taking the wealth of jobs that exist because a rising number of arrogant lazy Brits refuse to take them.

Why the indigenous population chooses not to take these jobs of course is a problem that should be addressed and it has more than one cause. In the 16-25 category we have to tackle unrealistic expectations for a start. Sadly this is not as easy as it sounds in an education system that constantly re-inforces the view amongst many of this age group that they are far cleverer, and therefore deserve more than they actually do.

Throughout the rest of the population we have masses of people sitting around on incapacity benefit who could work in other jobs but just keep getting the certificate signed by the GP. Take a bricklayer by trade who is on such benefit. It may very well be true that he cannot go back to the building site for health reasons. That does not mean he cannot sit on a checkout in the supermarket.

The only way to resolve such a situation is to 'think the unthinkable' as Frank Field once did and introduce a genuine Welfare-to-Work programme that says if you don't take a job that you can do then you lose your benefits. I believe it was once called 'Making Work Pay' but at some point that concept was replaced by 'Making the Taxpayer Pay'.

Of course, the left winger will bemoan such schemes and cite examples in America where single mothers have to get up at 6am and don't get home until 8pm. That's called work I'm afraid and a lot of single mothers do it willingly already. Not to mention that in America there is vast distance to travel between home and work that makes the example fall on its face in a UK specific scenario, but I digress.

Handily there is also a knock-on to such a policy. If we get the indigenous population that can work into work with more stick and less carrot, then it will mean a less fluid job market for immigrants because it will no longer be economically attractive for them to come to Britain.

After all, immigrant labour, as important as it is, only occurs when the market conditions exist to encourage it. Brown has created a job economy reliant on it because he has actively encouraged large sections of the 'born here' population to sit on their backsides, or in the case of the young think they're too good to stack shelves in supermarkets.

We don't have an immigration problem in Britain. We have a benefit system problem. Tackling the cause not the sympton is the way forward.


Anonymous said...

Good piece. It seems to me the Left have, over 40 years, helped to deliberately create an underclass via the Education System. That underclass relies on State handouts, and will therefore vote (if they can so be persuaded) for whichever Party promises the greater gifts.

Anonymous said...

Education has to provide people with skills - our education system does not. If we have skills gaps then you can't argue with migrants filling the jobs, but if we can't even prepare people to work in low-skill jobs we really are screwed.

dizzy said...

I disagree, the education system does skill kids. The problem is that it constantly tells them that they're far better than they are in many circumstances giving many of them unrealstic expectations of what they can achieve, or worse, making them think that certain jobs are above their station. I went University, I still stacked shelves and worked on a production line in order to earn money rather than sitting on the dole looking for a job that I felt suited my abilities.

Anonymous said...

Some very valid points.

I have recently finished rewatching Yes, Prime Minister and in the episode The Tangled Web Sir Humphrey, in an unguarded moment, makes the same point:

"Most employers will tell you they're short-staffed, but offer the unemployed a street-sweeping job, they'd be off the register before you could say "parasite". This country can have as much unemployment as it's prepared to pay for in Social Security. And no politicians have got the guts to do anything about it".

That was in 1987. Plus ca change...

Mulligan said...

Excellent piece Dizzy. Oh for the day when a political party is brave enough to risk the wrath of the Toynbees, BBC et al and actually say it as it is! Sadly a pipedream I fear.

Tapestry said...

minimum wage didn't help. it prices the young too high and as a result Britan's youth unemploymet has soared. People from poor countries will always work harder. Our youth is priced out of the market.

As they never even get a start now, they can never develop skills either. Labour congratulate themselves about the minimum wage, but rarely is the true picture given.

Man in a Shed said...

I was speaking to my borther who runs a business in a northern city recently about immigrants vs local labour and he gave the following example.

An aquatance of his runs a car hand wash company. He has two choices of who to employ:

1) The local hoddies who don't turn up on time, scare the customers and have the attitude from hell.
2) Keen, on time, eager to please, work hard and if required long hours Poles.

No surprises for guessing which he went for.

Your analysis of part of what we are getting wrong is spot on.

Anonymous said...

It may well be that some immigrants are prepared to work harder. In which case, more power to their elbows.

On the subject of the Minimum Wage, that was one of Tony Blair's stupidest ideas. Because, you know, the government really ought to be dealing with salaries, not the markets. Jesus wept.

Anonymous said...

20yrs ago, at my daughter's Grammar School, girls were being encouraged to read Drama at University - ffs, what use is Drama I used to say, what happened to science, medicine, nursing, teaching - not one of these girls will make it as a star (and they didn't)! But if a student wanted to go into business (as my daughter did, getting an internship at one of the big oil companies), no-one wanted to know or help - they just looked down their snobby noses at commerce, so common my dear!

malpas said...

People tend to cite the poles as hard working and desireable as a result. But what is the employment rate of all the other immigrants?

Anonymous said...

You will still have an immigration problem after you solved the benefit problem.