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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The UK's vicious measures against migrants – Part 2

Continued From Part 2:

Why are they doing this?

The real statistics show that Cameron and other British politicians are lying about the role that migrants could play and have played in destination countries such as the UK. Even the most restricted claims that immigrants pose short-term budgetary problems for the UK are false. "As Katja Hall, deputy director-general of the confederation of British Industry says: 'Immigration has helped to keep the wheels of this recovery turning by plugging skills shortages and allowing UK firms to grow'", a commentator wrote in the Observer (30 November 2014).

According to the same source, a study by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London indicates that migrants added 20 billion pounds to the UK economy in the decade up to 2011, and that migrants from the EU paid significantly more in British taxes than they claimed in benefits.

The Guardian recently reported that 30,000 British nationals are claiming unemployment benefits in countries across the EU. This makes a mockery of the arguments made by Cameron and his counterparts. Even worse for Cameron's credibility, British "claimants in richer EU states outnumber those from the same countries in the UK. British claimants in Ireland outnumber Irish claimants by five to one and Germans by four to one. And many Brits get far better benefits in other EU states than they would here." (Guardian, 21 January 2015)

Cameron, his Deputy Prime Minister (Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats Party), Miliband and Farage know all this. They hide the statistics, or use misleading statistics, to shape the conversation around the terms they want to set. 

The same cynicism, lies and cruelty that the UK authorities display toward European immigrants is multiplied many times over when it comes to migrants from the Middle East and African countries under Western imperialist domination. While they face much harsher and even more hostile treatment from UK authorities than European immigrants, no one can argue that the UK economy does not need these migrants, too. Despite the ugly campaign against immigrants, successive UK governments have had to admit many thousands of immigrants from dominated countries every year, and this hasn't stopped under the Cameron premiership. 

The UK government may not have complete control but they have at least a rough control over who to admit and how many to admit into the UK. And they admit the number of immigrants or refugees according to their need to adjust their work force and population growth. They have their structures and mechanisms for this, and are not ashamed to resort to the most brutal behaviour to regulate the situation. This includes deportation of immigrants, or detention and prison where instead of working they waste their lives. Other immigrants are forced to live clandestinely. Some people leave everything and go back home, often at great risk, because the UK government delays people endlessly rather than giving a quick response to asylum requests, for instance. Many people receive automatic phone messages telling them to leave the country immediately or face arrest – and this has happened to people who have been citizens for decades. 

Uncounted thousands of people seeking work have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in overloaded boats not fit to sail across these waters. But now the European powers, with the UK taking the public initiative, have announced that they will drastically cut back on the sea rescue operations that have saved as many as 100,000 lives in one year. Italy, whose navy performed most of the recent rescue operations, will no longer act on the high seas. Under the new Operation Triton, Europe, comprising dozens of the world's richest countries, will operate just seven boats and three aircraft to cover a million square miles of sea. Further, the main mission of these craft will not be to rescue people from drowning but to keep them from getting to Europe.

The UK took a step even further when its government announced it "would not support any future search and rescue operations, including Triton, claiming the assistance simply encourages more people to risk the crossing." (Guardian, 27 October 2014) Many of those condemned to death at sea are refugees from countries the UK is playing an active role in devastating right now, such as Syria (the single biggest source of refugees), Sudan and Somalia, as well as other African countries. Cameron, perhaps more openly that any European head of government now in power, is essentially advocating and leading in the mass drowning of foreigners. 

The UK establishment – the politicians, media and so on – is not just establishing reactionary policies. Nor are they just engaging in electoral politics. They are also legitimizing, encouraging and even imposing the most brutal, reactionary ideology, a way of thinking and feeling that is as dangerous as it is despicable.

The UK has at least as much responsibility as any other country in human history in terms of bringing misery to the world's people over the past five centuries. The callous and instrumental way that representatives of the UK ruling class deal with European immigrants, and the savage atrocities they inflict far more widely, are two sides of the same "British" values and national interests said to be threatened by immigration.

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