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  • John Reid’s continuing stupidity

    by Sunny
    8th March, 2007 at 2:44 pm    

    What is it about Labour politicians that once they become the home office minister they lose their brains? I mean, literally, whatever evidence of intelligence they possessed is junked and they start rabbiting Daily Mail propaganda.

    Mr Reid told the BBC: “It is unfair that foreigners come to this country illegitimately and steal our benefits, steal our services like the NHS and undermine the minimum wage by working. Year on year, we are going to make it even more difficult for them to do that.”

    Criticism of his comments was led by Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham and a candidate for Labour’s deputy leadership. He said: “The race to the bottom of the labour market is leaving migrant workers more vulnerable to exploitation. Any suggestion we should get migrants, who benefit our economy, to leave the country by treating them worse is simply alarming.”.

    For a supposed liberal-progressive government Reid is an embarassment, rather like most of his predecessors in the post. The reality that underpins most of our migrant labour is of course very different, and despite knowing this he keeps following the Sun / Mail agenda to the gutter. When will this government grow some balls independent of the Tabloids?

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    Filed in: Race politics

    23 Comments below   |  

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    1. lithcol — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:44 am  

      Difficult to respond to Sunni without appearing to be a member of the BNP, or some other far right party. I will nevertheless have a go. The independent article is a smorsgas board of personal stories of people who are truly illegal, others who are legal from the EU but feel they are being exploited and others from the EU who just couldn’t keep down a job anywhere. They appear to think we owe them a living. We should pay them welfare.
      Where does the money come from. Us taxpayers of course. I am what you may call middle class. I work hard, do a responsible job, and every year I have less and less money to spend on my family. My mother requires constant nursing. I pay for it.
      Yes, people do exploit the welfare system. Most are home grown. However, it must be said that it has got around that it is easy to exploit the UK benefit system. How long will we be able to keep things going? Not long. My council tax is about to rise above inflation again.
      I have even less money. The kids will need help if they are going to university. I need my teeth done. Loads more money.
      When welfare was brought in it was seen as a safety net. A good thing. Unfortunately, it has grown like topsy. Things are unravelling very quickly. There is just not enough money and taxpayers have had enough. I am still a socialist but there are limits to how much I feel it is reasonable to contribute.
      Like any good family man, I will look after mine first. When they are fed and clothed I will extend my good fortune, earned by my own hand to those that deserve it. Of course I cannot do this. The taxman takes my money. The council takes my money. I have very little left. I have little say in where it goes. I have little time for welfare scroungers and opportunists. And even less time for illegal immigrants and welfare tourists from the EU.
      As my father said, he worked hard in a steel works all his life, no one owes you a living. When I left school at sixteen I understood what he meant. So, it is not difficult to answer Sunny. Life is tough. Get on with it and stop moaning. If you are having problems I will give you a helping hand, but I expect that you will make an effort to reverse your misfortune.
      I am poorer now than I was last year. The wages of nurses etc is being cut. Frankly, the government is running on empty. Great idea, lets exploit green issues, more tax. Less money for my family.
      Who is going to gain. Sunny, your favourite bogey men, the BNP and others.
      John Reid is just being realistic. He has seen the writing on the wall. Any government knows that a generous welfare system is just not affordable in the long run. Particularly if it is an open system.
      Including direct taxes, almost 60% of my salary disappears each month. I do not earn a Kings ransom. Things are getting desperate.

    2. Sunny — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:17 am  

      This is nothing to do with being the BNP. I hear you lithcol, but think this through.

      You know who screw over the system more, in money terms? The extremely rich, who the govt allows to not pay taxes by moving their money off-shore. They make money here and then don’t pay taxes.

      Yes there are personal stories on both sides of the argument - people who scrounge off the system and those who work their butts off. But all the evidence points to the fact that immigrants actually add more to the UK economy than take off it.

      And secondly it’s not so easy for people to come here from the EU and start ‘scrounging’. They have to be working for 18 months or so before they can claim benefits I believe.

      What Reid is doing is simply allowing the middle-class to conveniently blame the poor migrants for their problems. Your wrath should instead be targetted at the inefficient politicians and the super-rich who don’t pay their taxes. They effect the tax base far more than a few migrants here and there claiming 40 quid a week.

    3. bananabrain — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:20 am  


      i believe the actual problem is that squeezing the rich for a lot actually doesn’t raise nearly as much as squeezing the middle-class for a bit. which would you rather have, an extra £100K each from the richest thousand or an extra £20 each from 2m middle-class taxpayers? the first looks better in the press and to the class warriors, sorry, “progressives”, but the second raises four times as much tax revenue. and that, i’m afraid, has been the problem for quite some time, especially when you consider that the rich can afford tax advisors who can show them how to minimise their losses, whereas us mere mortals are paying more in stamp duty to move house (say £8K, maybe) whilst struggling to afford house price rises which are many times that.

      of course poor migrants aren’t necessarily the problem and, i believe, they are unlikely to be. the actual problem is that we don’t realise that the services we love the chancellor to provide for everyone with his public spending hat on are the same funds the chancellor is sucking out of us with his taxman hat on - but will he let us spend our own money? will he buggery. he’d rather spend it for us. now i ask you, whose money are you more careful with? £100 of your own money to shop with or £100 of your employer’s expenses?




    4. Anna — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:44 am  

      John Reid is a “progressive” of the Stalinist sort. See his carousing with Radovan Karadzic during the Bosnian War. The guy’s pitbull polemics are backed up by the dodgiest associations possible-as my doctoral supervisor put it, “He’s never met a torturer he didn’t have a drink with.”

      I’m so pleased that this is the man in charge of some of the most vulnerable people in this country.

    5. bananabrain — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:50 am  

      what carousing with radovan karadzic? is this before or after we bombed serbia? ok, he’s an ex-communist and i dare say old habits die hard, but to be honest the real villain here is actually the treasury, or, to be more precise, gordon brown.



    6. Anna — on 9th March, 2007 at 10:55 am,2763,659705,00.html

    7. bananabrain — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:03 am  

      hah. i notice the most informed source quoted was george galloway. besides, even the article says he “may be the right man for the job” in northern ireland. yeah, reading that article only confirms the tendency of the guardian (and students) to hold its nose at anything that smacks of realpolitik.

      i don’t think reid always gets things right. who does? but i certainly think he’s got a grip on his job, which is more than can be said for some in the government. and when all’s said and done he’s the one saying that the home office isn’t fit for purpose.



    8. soru — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:12 am  

      ‘But all the evidence points to the fact that immigrants actually add more to the UK economy than take off it.’

      That begs two questions:

      1. is the same true of illegal immigrants?

      2. would the same be true if the category ‘illegal immigrant’ didn’t exist, if immigration was unrestricted?

      I think you are in danger of hypocrisy here, pointing to the success of the current setup as an argument against those making distinctions implicit in that arrangement.

    9. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:13 am  


      Which society is more at ease with itself, Sweden or the USA? Which are, argueably, the two ends of democratic state intervention. I’d vote for Sweden, how about you?

      On the issue of taxation, you are right that plutocrats seem to be able to declare an income of tuppence and live like Croesus. It suggests that this is an issue that is being swept under the carpet as London tries to become the financial capital of the planet.

    10. bananabrain — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:37 am  


      the thing is, that’s the trouble - big government is possibly better at protecting those who are not able to help themselves, whereas small government is more likely not to stand in the way of those with the get-up-and-go to do the same. and, actually, in many cases the US government is extremely large and interventionist. however, you can’t deny that many of those who arrive in the states with little but the shirt on their back are still able to “make it big”, at least in terms of their prospects relative to those who stay “home”.

      and i don’t think in terms of immigrant intake (let alone R&D and just about any other measurement of innovation that one can make) that sweden is on a par with the US, although it could certainly give us a good kicking on the innovation front.



    11. ZinZin — on 9th March, 2007 at 11:47 am  

      He didn’t mention taking our women.

      Lithcol blame your parents, not immigrants.

    12. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:09 pm  


      Thanks for the response, but you’ve answered your own question, not mine. Which society seems more at ease with itself? I think it is a legitimate question. I doubt that the Swedes worry too much about being ‘top dog’ in innovation or immigration. And those immigrants that they do have seem to be fairly well integrated. The point is, what measure of worth is it legitimate for us to consider most important? I listened to a very worthy Radio 4 programme on what one Swedish town was doing about global warming. They were just getting on with it, reducing their carbon footprint wherever they could. No song and dance, no shouting from the rooftops. At ease with themselves, really. Probably cost a lot in taxes though, but I don’t recall that being an issue in the programme.


      On a different point, it is clearly the case that demographics require immigration unless or until we start breeding at replacement numbers. Which is why I think the whole debate is sterile. Heh, sterile, geddit? Which is why I am so against John Reid jumping on a populist bandwagon.

    13. ZinZin — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

      Why not allow the population of the UK decline? It would be better for the planet and the crime rate will drop.

    14. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 12:50 pm  


      Because a declining population will lead to a lot of reactionary old folk like me preserving our dwindling capital whilst exploiting the few young people that are around to care for us. The potential fiscal burden over the next few decades simply to care for an elderly population is quite a worry for social cohesion.

      That said, I’d be OK with a planned reduction in overall population, as long as the tail (old folk) did not wag the dog of the overall demographic.

      Besides, younger people are more fun. Or fun loving criminals, possibly.

    15. ZinZin — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:11 pm

      “The potential fiscal burden over the next few decades simply to care for an elderly population is quite a worry for social cohesion.”

      Not necessarily an increase in productivity will take care of that problem. Anyway young people are bastards and young people have already been screwed over by their parents.

      Alternatively we can take those monied pensioners.

    16. bananabrain — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

      douglas is right - there are too many economically inactive people in the UK, whether you are talking about old people, unemployed people, informal carers, people on benefits, etc etc etc. arguably an illegal immigrant who is working on the black market is making more of a contribution - except, of course, that he’s not contributing to the tax base, so probably not.

      I doubt that the Swedes worry too much about being ‘top dog’ in innovation or immigration.

      really? well, as someone who works in innovation (rather than immigration) i can tell you that the macroeconomic indicators that are considered to be associated with innovation are the sort of things you should be very concerned about if you want GDP to go up and the economy to grow. in fact, the swedes have one organisation specifically devoted to it:

      “Our particular area of responsibility comprises innovations linked to research and development.”

      And those immigrants that they do have seem to be fairly well integrated.

      well, unless they have a smaller number of immigrants per capita than us then that could very well work either way. that’s the bugger about figures. but i stuck “sweden” “immigration” and “percentage” into google and i think it’s fair to say that it’s hardly 100% positive. remember, i’m actually pro-open borders wherever possible - the point is not to create real or perceived economic discontinuities which stimulate overly large population movements.

      I listened to a very worthy Radio 4 programme on what one Swedish town was doing about global warming. They were just getting on with it, reducing their carbon footprint wherever they could. No song and dance, no shouting from the rooftops.

      yeah, i agree - makes more sense that way.



    17. ZinZin — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

      That should be tax those monied pensioners.


    18. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:36 pm  


      I was much taken with your Monbiot reference. It is very good. It is however wrong in one area at least. What you have in terms of age cohorts in the West is a bulge of people in the middle, who, due to better health care, etc, can be expected to live longer. In the short term, say fifty years, they are an issue. In the developing world you have a different demographic. Most folk are young. The expectation is that they too will follow a demographic transition model which will eventually end up with a society which has roughly equal cohorts at each age band. The problem is two fold, firstly for the West the declining birth rate puts pressure on the young to support the elderly, at least in the medium term. In the developing world the populations will eventually stabilise, but at much greater numbers than presently. It is that latter point that Monbiot seems to miss in this paragraph:

      “And, of course, the upside-down demographic pyramid won’t stay that way for long. As the elderly die off, there will, as a result of lower birth rates today, be fewer grey heads to replace them, and we can then expect the human population to stabilise with a similar age structure to today’s, but a smaller total number.”

      It ain’t true. Or at best Anglo Saxon centric. The likely outcome is a stable, global, poplulation at far higher numbers than we have right now. Given the fact that the developing world is developing, i.e. using more energy, there are still causes for concern.

      Of course no model stands up to reality. But the demographic transition model has been around for quite some time without being satisfactorily challenged.

      Anyway, you are quite right, we can take down those pensioners. The new prejudice, forget black and white, bloody greys!

    19. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:46 pm  


      It was more fun when you were going to take them down!

    20. Kulvinder — on 9th March, 2007 at 1:53 pm  

      To be perfectly honest i don’t have much sympathy for the elderly (which in this case is anyone over 30). You messed up the planet not me.

    21. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:05 pm  


      Chances are the illegal immigrant still pays some taxes. VAT for instance?

      You say:

      “I doubt that the Swedes worry too much about being ‘top dog’ in innovation or immigration.” (Well it was actually me that said that)

      really? well, as someone who works in innovation (rather than immigration) i can tell you that the macroeconomic indicators that are considered to be associated with innovation are the sort of things you should be very concerned about if you want GDP to go up and the economy to grow….”

      Which is my point really. It was alleged of the Japanese that they were the only nation of earth that actually cared about relative economic growth. Seem they have gone quite quiet on it over the last couple of decades though, doesn’t it?

      Where I kind of agree with Monbiot is that growth in GDP is not the be all and end all. What you spend it on, whether personally or collectively, seems to me to be just as important.

      In other words, the efficient use of the resources that we currently have is probably just as important as growing these resources. I’ll stand corrected, but I do not think Sweden has a huge military designed to ‘punch above it’s weight’, nor is it much worried about the rest of the world taking it over. Which seems to me to be a balanced viewpoint. Which lets money trickle down to the sort of projects I was mentioning. Which, possibly, in turn, lets Swedes be quietly pleased with their society.

    22. douglas clark — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:12 pm  


      You are quite right. Everyone over thirty is a bastard. How long have you got to go before you stop trusting yourself?

    23. Kulvinder — on 9th March, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

      I have a few years yet. :)

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