From The Express (just for a change):
MIGRANTS are flooding to the UK because British youngsters are not "capable" of working in factories, the Prime Minister has said.(1)
Speaking at an apprentice event in Oxford today, David Cameron said migrants from eastern Europe should not be blamed for coming to the UK to fill the void left by under-educated British workers.(2)
But the Conservative leader has been slammed for his "denigration" of British workers by Ukip, while Labour called for Mr Cameron take "positive action" to get more British workers into apprenticeship schemes.(3)
Mr Cameron said:
"You can go to factories in our country where half the people come from Poland, Lithuania or Latvia. You can't blame them, they want to work, they see the jobs, they come over and they do them. But as a country what we ought to be saying is 'No, let's get our education system right (4) so we are producing young people out of our schools and colleges who are fully capable of doing those jobs'."(5)
The welfare system required reform so it "does not pay to be out of work" (6) and immigration needed to be restricted, he added.
"Let's have sensible controls on immigration (7), particularly from outside the EU where we can cap the number of people who come," he said.(8)
Where to begin?
1) The unemployment rates in the three countries he mentions are 9.7%, 17.4% and 9.1% respectively (as against 7.8% for the UK), so it's hardly surprising that the brightest, best and most committed go abroad to look for work and some of them end up here.
But those people are not particularly representative of all Polish, Lithuanian or Latvian people - the lazy ones stay at home and don't work in factories either. If you start with the unemployment figures, you can easily argue that people in those countries are even less suited for "factory work" than we are.
2) Agreed. On a personal level, you can't blame them. The few Poles I've met, I've liked (even though they're a bit racist) and their shops sell a mean pickle.
But we are where we are, and a UK government has to give priority to the interests of existing UK citizens - a few of whom have lost their jobs and many of whom have seen their wages pushed down as a result of immigration (and as a result of high house prices and rents, separate topic).
3) Things have come to a sorry pass when Cameron can be simultaneously and justifiably attacked from right and left.
4) Education is a good thing in and of itself. I have it on good authority that Polish state schools are far better than English ones, so it would not surprise me if Poles are on the whole "well educated" (like the Germans). Doesn't explain their high unemployment rates though, does it?.
5) But how much "education" do you need to work in a factory? You need some innate ability, a bit of on the job training and a lot of commitment. And why do employers prefer the best, brightest and most committed Eastern Europeans to the least employable native Brits? Because they work harder and better for lower pay, is why.
If we improved our education standards so that everybody is at least capable of "factory work" (a desirable aim in itself), what will happen to all the next generation? They will still expect higher wages than the Eastern Europeans, so they still be less likely to be employed in factories.
And if we turn out a generation made up exclusively of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, then they will be setting up more factories (hooray) but by definition, they will be employing even more cheap labour from abroad (who would work on the shop floor if they have the skills and qualifications to be the boss?).
Or maybe all these freshly turned out scientists etc would take the opportunity to leave the UK and move to a more business-friendly country not run exclusively by and for landowners (who will do their level best to prevent new factories being built, let alone new housing for all the factory workers).
Analogy - doctors and nurses from poorer countries coming to work in the UK. The UK wastes enough money on so-called health services, but what sort of return do African countries get on training nurses and doctors who promptly bugger off to less sunny climes?
6) It's called a Citizen's Income, Dave. Google it.
7) Of course a policy - whether on immigration or anything else - needs to be "sensible", that is meaningless guff, like "fair". But why does that automatically mean reducing the absolute numbers?
Given the admitted quality of some Eastern European workers, perhaps we'd be better off with more of them (and obviously fewer Somalis who come over here to sponge).
Whether that means more or fewer immigrants in total is neither here nor.
8) Another open goal for UKIP.
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
From The Express (just for a change):