Immigration lies confounded

by Daphne Liddle

EUROPEAN immigration into Britain between 2000 and 2011 benefitted this country by £20 billion, according to the results of research conducted by two University College economists and published last week.

This should confound all the scaremongering claims made by the United Kingdom Independence Party and the ultra-right wing Tories who are contemplating abandoning the sinking Tory party and heading for Ukip.

It should also confound David Cameron as a fool for trying to appease them by taking his party further and further to the right and becoming more and more hostile to immigrants.

And it is inexcusable for the Labour leadership to try to jump on the same xenophobic bandwagon.

The research also showed that the main benefit these immigrants from Europe brought with them was their generally higher standard of education.

This is an indictment of our own education system, caught between a drive towards privatisation and cutthroat competition for a good place in exam ratings, our schools have been failing to equip our children with the wide range of skills and abilities that our society needs.

We are producing large number of business studies graduates (a cheap course to run) heading to become middle managers but not enough skilled artisans and technicians (courses that need a lot of expensive equipment).

The study, The Fiscal Impact of Immigration to the UK, published in the Economic Journal revealed that Britain has been very successful, even more than Germany, in attracting the most highly skilled and highly educated migrants in Europe.

It showed that more than 60 per cent of new migrants from western and southern Europe are now university graduates. The educational levels of east Europeans who come to Britain are also improving with 25 per cent of recent arrivals having completed a degree compared with 24 per cent of the British-born workforce.

The report makes a mockery of David Cameron’s pledge to try to renegotiate the principle of free movement of workers in Europe because British business is profiting so much from it — while other European countries are losing their brightest and best.

It even makes Angela Merkel’s threat to expel Britain from the EU if it blocks immigration from the EU into Britain somewhat illogical because if these well-educated migrants could not get into Britain they might well go to Germany and benefit their economy.

But there is something real behind all this seemingly irrational posturing and it is the complex and deepening division within the ruling class in Britain and in Europe.

The British ruling class is deeply divided over the issue of Europe and Cameron is falling into the chasm between the two sides.

The City of London, with its ancient powers still controlling so much of global banking, wants to turn itself into an autonomous tax-haven city-state.

It certainly does not want to submit to the controls that many European countries want to implement to stop banks continuing to behave as irresponsibly as another global banking crash looms.

On the other hand Britain’s giant landowners are very happy to stay with the EU and continue to enjoy its huge subsidies. There are others who want Britain to go-it-alone.

The United States wants Britain to stay in the EU, even though the EU is a rival capitalist power because Britain acts as a sort of a Trojan horse within the EU for the US.

If Britain were to quit the EU the US would have very little interest in Britain.

But from a working class point of view all the workers in Europe would be better off without the existence of the EU. It was created by capitalism for capitalism to enable it to exploit workers in Europe and the rest of the world to a maximum.

So while the New Communist Party is opposed to the EU we are even more opposed to Ukip, which would lead this country into extreme rightwing nationalism, racism, and xenophobia and it is vehemently opposed to working class rights. It would also be a failure as a capitalist state with no ties to any major capitalist bloc and of little significance to anyone.

If a pro-working class government were to take Britain out of the EU it would find ready trading partners outside both the EU and US in Russia, China and the emerging states of Latin America and Africa.

And there would be nothing to stop our labour and trade union movement maintain its international links in Europe and globally.