Jack Straw, one of only three men to have been cabinet minister throughout the Labour years (1997-2010), is a case in point.
By the looks of it, Straw has decided to come clean and admit his own, and his government’s, fallibility.
According to him, they committed “one spectacular mistake in which I participated (not alone) [by] lifting the transitional restrictions on the Eastern European states like Poland and Hungary which joined the EU in mid-2004.”
Specifically, Labour handed them immediate working rights. This was based on a forecast, now described by Mr Straw as ‘worthless’, that only 5,000 to 13,000 immigrants a year would take advantage of this hospitality.
Within a few years, however, the number of those arrivals went over a million – but hey, what’s a couple of orders of magnitude among friends?
Anyway, errare humanum est, if Seneca is to be believed. We can all make an honest mistake, can’t we? Or, as my new friend Jack put it, this was a ‘well-intentioned policy we messed up’.
I’m amazed Jack didn’t put it all down to a certain deficit of numeracy for which the Brits are becoming widely known. We just didn’t add up right, he could have said. Ever so silly, there ought to be special schools for boys like us.
This refers us to the title above. A ‘well-intentioned policy’, eh? A ‘worthless forecast’? A miscalculation?
Let’s see. Close to a hundred million people are given access to UK job markets, to say nothing of UK social services. How many will come?
No, keep your calculators in your pockets, Jack, Tony and Gordon. Just consider the variables.
Variable 1: To most of those people the UK’s minimum wage constitutes untold riches.
Variable 2: Welfare payments, for which they’ll eventually qualify, are even much higher than that.
Variable 3: Every other Western European country, emphatically including Germany and France, has put a seven-year delay on providing working rights.
Now, class, how likely is it that within a few years the number of immigrants from those countries will hit a million? Here’s the multiple choice: a) a dead cert, b) not on your nelly. No, Tony, put your hand down, we know what you’re going to say. Yes Jack? Not very likely, considering it’ll only be 5,000-13,000 a year? Thank you, Jack.
A likely scenario, would you say? Or do you think my new friend Jack is lying through his teeth? He is after all a politician, and a Labour politician at that.
His (and therefore my) friend Peter Mandelson was more honest, but then he’s no longer in Parliament. He openly admitted that Tony’s government imported millions of potential Labour voters as a deliberate policy, with no miscalculations, ‘well-intentioned’ or otherwise, anywhere in sight.
Now, given a straight choice between my new friends Peter and Jack, which do you think is closer to the truth? Thought so.
Another former Labour cabinet minister, David Blunkett, has also delivered himself of an opinion on our immigration policy, this time in relation to Roma Bulgarians and Romanians who will be allowed to come to Britain in unlimited numbers from 1 January.
According to some reports, whole Roma villages are packing their bags. “The only one left behind will be the goat,” allowed one potential arrival to these shores.
David thinks this is a big problem, and if he can see this, anyone can. (This isn’t a tasteless reference to Blunkett’s blindness but a tasteful one to his being a Labour politician.)
Jack’s successor as Home Secretary warns that the influx of Roma migrants into Britain risks causing riots. Replace ‘risks’ with ‘guarantees’, and we’re on the same wave length there.
David is speaking from experience. Roma groups from Slovakia have settled in his Sheffield constituency, where they are “behaving like they were living in a ‘downtrodden village or woodland’ where there were no toilets or litter collections.”
Well, when in Sheffield, do as the Roma do. For the time being existing residents have set up street patrols trying to combat the anti-social behaviour. Vigilante groups are probably forming even as we speak.
“We have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming Roma community – because there’s going to be an explosion otherwise,” says Mr Blunkett.
Good luck, mate. People in Eastern Europe and Russia have tried to ‘change the behaviour and the culture’ for centuries – without any noticeable success. In fact, women across Eastern Europe routinely make a highly credible threat to their naughty children: “If you’re a bad boy, the Gypsies will get you.” I was one such boy, so I know.
Blunkett still remembers the 2001 wave of anti-immigrant riots exploding in Oldham, Burnley, Bradford and across the North. Though he didn’t put it in such uncouth terms, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
The only way to solve the problem is to ignore the EU directive on free movement of labour. And the only way to do that is to leave the EU. So is Straw advocating such a move? Is Blunkett? More to the point, is Dave?
Of course not, don’t be silly. That would be a tough thing to do. Destroying the country and apologizing later is so much easier.