Sunday, September 25, 2011

The British Labour Party's embarrassing immigration secrets revealed

Reports kept under wraps by Labour showing that immigrants who came to Britain from Romania and Bulgaria had low education levels and were more likely to claim out-of-work benefits are to be released for the first time by ministers.

The figures are contained in five separate controversial studies commissioned by the last Labour government but never published - amid claims the party wanted to avoid a damaging row about its record before last year’s general election.

Ministers accused Labour of a “disturbing cover up” and promised to publish the reports - which cost the taxpayer a total of £165,000 and have now been seen by The Sunday Telegraph - in full within days.

The documents also contain revelations that immigrants from all countries into Britain are more likely to be out of work than the native population - and are less likely to engage in any form of “civic participation.”

More than one third of London’s population, moreover, has now been born outside the UK.

The release will turn the spotlight once again on the party’s controversial record on immigration. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, used a weekend interview to admit the party had “got things wrong” on the issue.

Up until 2008 the Labour government was criticised for effectively operating an “open door” policy which saw a massive rise in the number of visas, work permits and extended residency being granted.

Gordon Brown’s government then introduced a new “points based” system which was designed to make it harder for non-skilled people to come to Britain from outside the European Union.

However, particular controversy surrounded the rules governing immigration from countries which joined the EU during the first decade of this century - which included Bulgaria and Romania (which joined in 2007) and Poland (2004).

Labour ministers repeatedly promised that restrictions would be placed on those coming in from Eastern Europe in order to “manage” numbers and protect jobs for British workers. However, the secret reports show that 27 per cent of people coming from Bulgaria and Romania had “low education levels” while as of 2009 more than 15 per cent of them were claiming out-of-work benefits.

The documents, commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) reveal that immigrants from the two countries are more likely to claim unemployment-related benefits than either non-immigrants or other migrant groups in Britain.

A report said that despite the implementation of a “cap” on numbers, the migration rate into Britain from Romania and Bulgaria increased significantly after the countries joined the EU in 2007.

Meanwhile, migrants from the two countries were shown to be more likely to have four children or more than people coming to Britain from elsewhere - placing a significant strain on the education system, particularly in London where over half the Bulgarians and Romanians who came settled. More than three in every 100 migrants from Bulgaria and Romania had five children or more.

One of the five reports, Identifying Social and Economic Push and Pull Factors for Migration to the UK by Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals, showed that while Bulgaria’s and Romania’s population declined between 2004 and 2010, Britain’s increased considerably.

During that period the two countries’ unemployment rate fell, while the UK’s rose.

Another report on overall immigration, The Socio-Economic Integration of Migrants, claimed: “Immigrants in the UK exhibit lower employment rates than natives....Immigrants are on average less likely than natives to engage in any form civic participation.”

A further document, Drivers of International Migration, stated: “The increase in immigration into the UK since the mid 1990s is entirely explained by a rise in the number of foreign-born people migrating to the UK from abroad, rather than by returning UK-born people.”

At the start of the 1980s the key annual “net immigration” figure for the UK was minus 42,000 - meaning tens of thousands more people left Britain every year than came here. By 1992-95 this figure had gone up to plus 9,200 - while by the period between 2004 and 2007 it had mushroomed to plus 178,000 a year.

Britain’s population was slated to increase by more than four million to 65.6 million between 2008 and 2018, while by 2008 over one third of London’s population (34 per cent) was born outside Britain.

Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, said: “This is another disturbing cover-up by a Labour Party that failed on immigration and then tried to bury the truth. “‘This Government is bringing immigration under control to restore public confidence in the system left broken by Labour.”

The Coalition’s policy of putting an overall cap on immigrant numbers from outside the EU is designed to reduce net migration to Britain significantly.

David Cameron said in a speech in April that it should be “in the order of tens of thousands each year, not the hundreds of thousands every year that we have seen over the last decade.”

Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, said: “We have cut down on sham marriages, we have brought in a variety of policies which curb the number of people coming into the country and then overstay.

And we will continue to look at how we can further improve the balance between the people who at value coming into the country and those who do not.”

Labour’s record on immigration sparked bitter debates before last year’s election, exemplified by unguarded “bigoted woman” comments during the campaign by Mr Brown, on an open microphone, about Gillian Duffy, a Rochdale grandmother, when she questioned the former prime minister on it.

In an interview this weekend Ms Cooper admitted: "We did get things wrong on immigration. "We should have had the transitional controls on migration from Eastern Europe. We should have introduced the points-based system much earlier.”


Is Hispanic immigration a threat to the GOP?

Although almost totally marginalized within Republican establishment ranks, the anti-immigrationist wing of the conservative movement has maintained a vigorous intellectual presence on the Internet. Over the years, its flagship organ, the website run by Peter Brimelow, a former National Review senior editor, has been scathing in its attacks on the so-called Rove Strategy, instead proposing a contrasting approach christened the Sailer Strategy, after Steve Sailer, its primary architect and leading promoter (who has himself frequently written for The American Conservative). In essence, what Sailer proposes is the polar opposite of Rove’s approach, which he often ridicules as being based on a mixture of (probably dishonest) wishful thinking and sheer innumeracy.

Consider, for example, Rove’s oft-repeated mantra that a Republican presidential candidate needs to win something approaching 40 percent of the national Hispanic vote or have no chance of reaching the White House. During the last several election cycles, Hispanic voters represented between 5 and 8 percent of the national total, so the difference between a candidate winning an outstanding 50 percent of that vote and one winning a miserable 30 percent would amount to little more than just a single percentage point of the popular total, completely insignificant based on recent history.

Furthermore, presidential races are determined by the electoral college map rather than popular-vote totals, and the overwhelming majority of Hispanics are concentrated either in solidly blue states such as California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey, or solidly red ones such as Texas and Georgia, reducing their impact to almost nothing. Any Republican fearful of a loss in Texas or Democrat worried about carrying California would be facing a national defeat of epic proportions, in which Hispanic preferences would constitute a trivial component. Pursuing the Hispanic vote for its own sake seems a clear absurdity.

Even more importantly, Sailer argues that once we throw overboard the restrictive blinkers of modern “political correctness” on racial matters, certain aspects of the real world become obvious. For nearly the last half-century, the political core of the Republican Party has been the white vote, and especially the votes of whites who live in the most heavily non-white states, notably the arc of the old Confederacy. The political realignment of Southern whites foreshadowed by the support that Barry Goldwater attracted in 1964 based on his opposition to the Civil Rights Act and that constituted George Wallace’s white-backlash campaign of 1968 eventually became a central pillar of the dominant Reagan majority in the 1980s.

In many cases, this was even true outside the Deep South, as the blue-collar whites of Macomb County and other areas surrounding overwhelmingly black cities such as Detroit became the blue-collar Reagan Democrats who gave the GOP a near lock on the presidency. While the politics of racial polarization might be demonized in liberal intellectual circles, it served to elect vast numbers of Republicans to high and low office alike. George H.W. Bush’s “Willie Horton” ad and Jesse Helms’s “White Hands” ad have been endlessly vilified by the media, but they contributed to unexpected come-from-behind victories for the candidates willing to run them. And in politics, winning is the only metric of success.

Sailer suggests that a very similar approach would work equally well with regard to the hot-button issue of immigration and the rapidly growing Hispanic population, arguing that the votes of this group could be swamped by those of an angry white electorate energized along racial lines. He cites Pete Wilson’s unexpected California gubernatorial reelection victory in 1994 as a perfect example. Deeply unpopular due to a severe statewide recession and desperately behind in the polls, Wilson hitched his candidacy to a harsh media campaign vilifying illegal immigrants, and although his Hispanic support plummeted, his white support soared to an equal extent, giving him a landslide victory in a race the pundits had written off and sweeping in a full slate of victorious down-ticket Republicans.

Sailer’s simple point is that individual white votes count just as much as Hispanic ones, and since there are vastly more of the former, attracting these with racially-charged campaign themes might prove very politically productive.

An additional fact noted by Sailer is that the racial demographics of a given region can be completely misleading from a political perspective. As mentioned earlier, Hispanics and other immigrants tend to be much younger than whites and much less likely to hold citizenship. Therefore, a state or region in which whites have become a numerical minority may still possess a large white supermajority among the electorate. Once again, today’s California provides a telling example, with Hispanics and whites now being about equal in numbers according to the Census, but with whites still regularly casting three times as many votes on Election Day.

The Sailer analysis is ruthlessly logical. Whites are still the overwhelming majority of voters, and will remain so for many decades to come, so raising your share of the white vote by just a couple of points has much more political impact than huge shifts in the non-white vote. As whites become a smaller and smaller portion of the local population in more and more regions, they will naturally become ripe for political polarization based on appeals to their interests as whites. And if Republicans focus their campaigning on racially charged issues such as immigration and affirmative action, they will promote this polarization, gradually transforming the two national political parties into crude proxies for direct racial interests, effectively becoming the “white party” and the “non-white party.” Since white voters are still close to 80 percent of the national electorate, the “white party”—the Republicans—will end up controlling almost all political power and could enact whatever policies they desired, on both racial and non-racial issues.

Many might find this political scenario quite distasteful or unnerving, but that does not necessarily render it implausible. In fact, over the last couple of decades, this exact process has unfolded in many states across the Deep South, with elected white Democrats becoming an increasingly endangered species. Each election year, blacks overwhelmingly vote for the “black party,” whites overwhelmingly vote for the “white party,” and since whites are usually two-thirds or so of the electorate, they almost invariably win at the polls. Although Republican consultants and pundits make enormous efforts to camouflage or ignore this underlying racial reality, it exists nonetheless.

By contrast, appeals for white support based on racial cohesion would be almost total nonstarters in 95 percent white Vermont or New Hampshire, or in many other states of the North in which the local demographics still approximate those of the country that overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s. But today’s national white percentages are much closer to those of 1960s Alabama and Mississippi, where whites fought that legislation tooth and nail on racial grounds. And as the nation’s overall demography continues its inexorable slide from that of Vermont to that of Mississippi, will white politics move in that same direction, especially if given a push?

Now I think a strong case can be made that such a process of deliberate racial polarization in American politics might have numerous adverse consequences for the future well-being of our country, sharply divided as it would become between hostile white and non-white political blocs of roughly equal size. But given the extremely utilitarian mentality of those who practice electoral politics for a living, the more important question we should explore is whether it would actually work, purely on the political level.

Much more HERE

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