The title off this posting and of the Guardian letter below is something that I have been warning about for many years and was the reason for writing the first two chapters of my book ‘Progressive Protectionism’ http://progressiveprotectionism.com and my joint report with Jonathon Porritt: ‘The Progressive Case for Taking Control of EU Immigration – and Avoiding Brexit in the Process’ http://www.jonathonporritt.com/sites/default/files/users/TheProgressiveCaseforTakingControlofImmigration.pdf Continue reading
New Statesman Correspondence 1-7 June 2018
LETTER OF THE WEEK
Taking on the populists
John Gray (Cover Story 25th May https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2018/05/how-we-entered-age-strongman) is absolutely right that the ‘alt-liberal’ view that the majority’s support for stricter immigration controls is racist is the main reason there is no effective opposition to the rise of right wing populism in the US and Europe.
There is a migration policy for recipient countries that is democratic, progressive and internationalist. This is one that meets the concerns of the majority with stricter border controls, but which also grasps the urgency of seeing all foreign policy, aid and trade agreements in terms of helping minimise migration globally. Progressive policies could range from increasing living standards for the poorer section of society through fair taxation, limiting arms sales, decarbonising economies and reducing resource use.
Twickenham, Greater London
PROGRESSIVES SHOULD NOT JUST FOCUS ON THE INTERESTS OF MIGRANTS
Another key blind spot of the progressives’ view of migration (that was cut from the letter above) is their invariable focus on the desires of migrants, rather than also considering the interests of the majority in recipient countries or the economic and social effects on the countries they leave. Yet it is the former which is shaping the inadequately challenged rise of populism.
Monday 21st May 2018
• The usually excellent Aditya Chakrabortty’s outrage over the immigration debate conflates the duplicitous use of this issue by leading Brexiteers with a misinterpretation of what really concerns people. Accusing the vast majority who want controls on immigration as being anti-migrant and racist is unacceptable. As is denying that the rapid increase in immigration has made it more difficult to cope with stresses on social infrastructure and that it will continue to do so even when austerity is swept away. Also worrying was the anti-internationalist acceptance of continuing to take Indian doctors and skilled eastern Europeans “educated at someone else’s expense”.
For the left to regain credibility it must rethink migration and make a progressive case for limiting “new, large-scale, permanent migration”. New makes it clear that curbing future levels of migration involves no changes for those already legally resident in the country, such as the Windrush generation and those from the EU. Permanent has the caveat that foreign students are welcome to study here and workers fill vacancies here, but only for a specified period. Crucially, the UK must train its own population to prevent the shameful long-term theft of doctors and nurses from the poorer counties which originally paid for their education. There will also be the need for some exceptions, such as genuine marriage partners, civil partners or reunited family members.
East Twickenham, Middlesex
Sun 20 May 2018
The immigration conundrum
Nick Cohen is right that those who oppose a hard Brexit need to say what they would do about immigration (“We recognise the grievances of the left behind. But we have no solutions”, Comment). Central to this has to be the acceptance of the crashingly obvious – that most people want stricter controls over immigration. This could be achieved in a progressive manner if the goal were one of minimising “new, large-scale, permanent migration”.
What makes this approach progressive is that “new” makes it clear that curbing immigration involves no changes for those already legally resident, such as the Windrush generation and those from the EU. “Permanent” has the caveat that foreign students are welcome to study here and that workers fill vacancies here, but only for a specified period. Crucially, the recipient countries must rapidly train enough doctors and nurses, for example, from their own population to prevent the shameful theft of such vital staff from the poorer countries that originally paid for their education. Given there is bound to be the need for some exceptional academics and wealth generators, as well as genuine marriage or civil partners or reunited family members to settle permanently, then their numbers might be roughly in balance with the numbers of people emigrating.
Should we fear or embrace automation? Colin Hines
Sat 4 May 2018
• John Harris is right to say the left has articulated no comprehensive answer to the existing and future threats posed to employment by automation. Key to this must be prioritising labour-intensive sectors that are difficult to automate, such as health, education and elderly care. Equally key is a climate-friendly infrastructure programme. Crucial to this will be to make the UK’s 30m buildings super-energy efficient, thus dramatically reducing energy bills, fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. The housing crisis should be tackled by building affordable, highly insulated new homes, predominantly on brown field sites, and local public transport links need to be rebuilt.
This massive work programme would provide a secure career structure for decades, and would involve a large number of apprenticeships and professional jobs, as well as opportunities for the self-employed and local small businesses. It can be paid for by “people’s quantitative easing”, from fairer taxes, local authority bonds and green ISAs. Since such savers are likely to be predominantly older, this would also be a necessary exercise in intergenerational solidarity.
Convenor, Green New Deal Group
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Alarm bells ringing at the IMF
Protectionism is a logical response to national insecurity, but it doesn’t have to be left to the right, suggests Colin Hines
Saturday 21st Apr 2018
There is a link between your warning that the International Monetary Fund needs to change policy to ensure that the benefits of global economic activities are shared by the majority (Editorial, 20 April) and Yanis Varoufakis’s gung-ho ode to The Communist Manifesto (The long read, 20 April). Continue reading
Only way to see off extreme right populism is ‘progressive protectionism’
Wednesday 7th March 2018
The first step to an effective response by progressives to the rising tide of rightwing populism in Italy and elsewhere (Editorial, 6 March) is to realise that ever more open borders are the problem. It was predominantly the opposition to inadequately Continue reading
Getting down with the No Brexit kids!
The New European Letters
February 15th -21st
There is a real opportunity offered by the fact that the much followed rapper Not3s is opposed to Brexit, but doesn’t know what to do about it (‘Young want to stop Brexit..we can help them’ The New European February 8th-14th).
Were he and like minded musicians to join up with the young Remainers of ‘Our Future Our Choice’ they could put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to campaign to ‘Remain’ and support a second referendum.
To ensure this approach gets maximum coverage in mainstream and social media these young activists should replace the feel good, but directionless, chant of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ with ‘No Brexit,.Jeremy Corbyn’.
This last sentence was cut:
T shirts with #No Brexit Jeremy Corbyn could then dominate every Labour gathering.
For more detail behind the thinking of this letter see yesterday’s blog:
The rise of the robots brings threats and opportunities
Monday27th November 2017
• Your editorial on productivity and robots repeated the cliche that automation does cost jobs, but more are created. The problem with this is that the new jobs are frequently in different places from where they are lost and require very different skills, hence exacerbating the problems for the “left behind”. Also unmentioned was that just as this automation is starting to really bite, the world faces a strong possibility of another serious credit-induced economic downturn, from China to the UK. Thus we have the potential of the prefect storm of domestic unemployment soaring and export markets falling as happened after the 2008 economic slump.
The answer to these problems has to be a shift of emphasis to rebuilding the local economy by prioritising labour-intensive sectors that are difficult to automate and impossible to relocate abroad. Two sectors are key: face-to-face caring from medicine, education and elderly care through to carbon-reducing national infrastructural renewal. This should range from making the UK’s 30m buildings energy efficient, constructing new low-carbon dwellings and rebuilding local public transport links. Funding could come from fairer taxes, the availability for savers of investments in local authority bonds and green Isas and a massive new green infrastructure QE programme. The reason this approach must become central to all political parties and their next election manifestos is the crucial vote winning mantra of “jobs in absolutely every constituency”.
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group https://www.greennewdealgroup.org/
Reverse EU free movement AND Brexit: Guardian Letter, Brave New Europe, brilliant Deborah Orr piece
Free movement of people raises real concerns
Wednesday 15 November 2017
What those who want to remain in a reformed EU that lessens people’s insecurity must grasp is that Brexit voters don’t want an apology, they want policies to deal with their desire for managed migration. What is still inadequately understood is that the one Continue reading