Jobs should be for natives first, foreigners second
Gordon Brown promised 'British jobs for British people' in September 2007 but the recent protests up and down the country show that this is not to be the case. Are the protestors right or is giving 'British jobs for British people' not the way forward?
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Gordon Brown promised this in 2007
Gordon Brown made a statement in September 2007 that he wants ‘British jobs for British workers’. It is clear that this was never going to happen overnight, so we must continue our faith of Mr Brown that he will act on his word. It would be very dangerous of him to make such a controversial comment and not follow through. The Prime Minister made this comment publicly and he cannot be wrong.
The clear implication was that Mr Brown was using ‘dog whistle’ tactics to appeal to working class voters who have deserted Labour. He was using coded language to say one thing to the general public that would get them on his side.
A move towards full employment
The Prime Minister’s supporters insist that ensuring British jobs for British people is all about equipping the long-term unemployed in Britain to do the jobs needed in an increasingly skills-based economy.
From dawn, thousands of angry workers stood on picket lines in freezing conditions in a wave of illegal strikes not seen for decades. Many directed their fury at the elected Mr Brown: “This is our vision: Britain leading the global economy… drawing on the talents of all to create British jobs for British workers”. No, this was not going to happen overnight, but Government’s own statistics show that, in the 12 months after Mr Brown’s speech, the number of foreign workers rose by 175,000 as the number of British in work fell by 46,000. (1) Is this a move towards full employment for whom, exactly?
British people have suffered enough already
Unemployment rates are rising and people up and down the country are already suffering due to the economic downturn. Not only are British workers losing their jobs, but they are being replaced by foreign workers. Their jobs still exist but are being taken by people who will work for less. 2,500 people are being made redundant everyday, nearly 600 small firms are collapsing every week and unemployment has jumped to 1.9 million. This is the largest number of people who are out of work and looking for a job since Labour came to power in 1997 – and it is predicted to keep on climbing.
This is a very short sighted argument. The recession is not a phenomenon occurring only in Britain, it hits the whole of Europe, and even to countries further a field. Foreign workers are coming into Britain to try and forge a life for themselves. If you look into your own life history, I am sure you will find that you are not of pure British blood. It is Britain's openness to migrants that has lead to it being able to build itself up to the strong economy it once had, an example would be the rail roads, mostly build with Irish hands. Britain, more recently, has a shortage of secondary school teachers, and migrants are needed to fill these positions. It is simply unfair to block "foreigners" for some jobs and beg for them in other jobs.
4. British citizens should get priority for for jobs.
"Natives" is a loaded word. There are millions of folks who are 2nd and even 3rd generation Brits of Asian or African/Caribbean stock who may feel the term "native" excludes them. Ie it may be misunderstood as a term as a result of its loaded use by the far right.
Jobs should go to the people best equipped. Foreigners, brought to Britain for their skills, are nevertheless contributing to the British economy even if they take jobs that otherwise would have gone to 'natives'.
The economic growth propelled by the 'foreigners' may indeed create opportunities elsewhere for the 'natives'.
Illegal under EU Law
Opponents to Mr Brown claim that the comment he made was illegal under EU Law. How can it be possible to support ‘British jobs for British workers’ when it is illegal? EU Law allows for the free movement of Labour and if Mr Brown is willing to let immigrants into the UK, why should they then be deprived of jobs?
The simple response to this would be to pull out of the European Union. Not only does Britain have to pay for the "privilege" of being in the Community, but British people are not benefiting from the free movement rules as much as other Member State nationals. Britain has a net gain of immigrants, which means that more people migrate into Britain than migrate out. That means that other Member States are taking advantage of British soil using the free movement rules, yet Brit's are not getting benefiting from the rules. Therefore, we should pull out of the European Union and live independently without the migrants.
It is representative of a far right view
‘British jobs for British people’ caused discomfort in the Labour ranks, some of whom felt it had overtones of the far right. Tory leader David Cameron seized on this argument and likened ‘British jobs for British workers’ to a leaflet from the British National Party: ‘Keep British jobs for British workers’.
Of course David Cameron picked up on this during a stormy Queen’s Speech debate in the Commons – as he sought to inflict maximum damage on Mr Brown in front of his own MPs. This argument is completely discredited: politicians do anything they can to twist the words of their opponent. (1)
Many British people do not want to work
Politicians of all parties argue that many British people who could work instead claim Jobseekers’ Allowance or Incapacity Benefit. Mark Rye, of the employment firm DKM Labour Solutions, explained: “It’s a lot easier to find jobs for these people because these are the people applying for the jobs”. Vacancies have to be filled, either by British citizens or foreign workers.
Perhaps this is a stereotype: as unemployment climbs, the majority will take any job at any wage as the situation becomes more desperate.
Migration makes no difference to British wages
Even if foreign workers stay at home, they can depress British wages – if they produce cheap goods that compete with UK ones. Migration, then, makes no difference to wages, which is a problem currently running alongside unemployment. It is time to stop blaming migrants for job losses: blame the government.
This may be so. However, at least in producing products, foreign companies are opening stores in Britain which employs people from Britain, as well as migrants. What we are arguing for here is for jobs not to be all taken by migrant workers who do not create jobs. They simply live on their grey barge (1), providing for themselves, taking our wages, and not contributing to our economy when it is in desperate need. It is this to which we object, not foreign products that may take away from British products, but at least they do have some positive effects. And as you say, foreign products will come in regardless, but this is no reason to just allow foreign workers to take all the jobs as well, this is a rather defeatist attitude.
Immigrants can complement native workers
Immigrants can be complements for native workers, in which case they can raise the latter’s wages. For example, if migrant workers help build more new houses, British electricians earn more as they are wired up. These effects might apply to Lindsey oil refinery. The sooner this is expanded, the sooner it will be able to hire British workers to operate it.
This is an indirect help and is not assisting the present climate. It appears to simply be cushioning the blow for all the hardworking Britons who are currently jobless.
What do you think?