THE number of immigrants allowed into the UK under the current ‘points system’ will have to be reduced because of the economic crisis, and this is now an ‘extremely thorny’ issue according to Phil Woolas, Labour’s Immigration Minister.
He added to the Sunday Times: ‘It’s been too easy to get into this country in the past and it’s going to get harder.’
That this is a racist approach is obvious to most.
What he is really saying is that it has been too easy for black and brown people to get into the UK in the past, since white Christians have been flocking in from the EU and will be allowed to continue flocking in, if they wish to, regardless of the Woolas plan for ‘reductions’.
In fact, the points system was brought in to be able to keep out most would-be immigrants, unless they had skills that employers said were in short supply, or were EU citizens.
At the time, the Home Office said the points-based system provided ‘a powerful and flexible set of controls’. These are now not powerful enough for Labour. They are going to ditch them.
Yesterday, Woolas launched his overpopulation scare, like a latter day Malthus. He said: ‘This government is not going to allow the population to go above 70 million. There has to be a balance between the number of people coming in and the number of people leaving.’
Ultra-right wingers inside the Labour party, such as Frank Field, greeted Woolas’ conversion with glee, saying: ‘This is a turning point in the whole debate on immigration. For the first time a minister is accepting. . . that the population should not be grown by immigration – it is unacceptable for immigration to add 7m to England’s population by 2031.’
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the population grew by nearly two million to almost 61m people between 2001 and 2007.
Various ‘official’ projections predict this to rise to 77m in 2051 or 110m in 2081.
However, it is a fact that it was the Labour government which refused to accept any limit to the number of immigrants coming to the UK from the EU.
Workers from these countries were and are still being allowed to enter in very large numbers, because the employers require large numbers of cheap labourers to work for far less than British workers are prepared to.
It is a fact that these immigrants have played their part in pushing up the birth rate, and that even if all black and brown-skinned migrants are kept out of the UK, these completely legal migrants will play their part in pushing up the population further.
As this happens, there will be those who will advocate that the government of the day, if its position is ‘that the population should not be grown by immigration’, should start deporting non-EU migrants to maintain a 70 million population ceiling. It is this approach that the government is opening the door to.
However, the issue is much simpler than this. Labour and the UK ruling class favoured large-scale immigration into the UK to provide an army of cheap labourers to keep wages down.
Now that there is a depression developing, large numbers of UK workers are losing their jobs and the reckoning of the ruling class is that many of these will be forced into cheap labour.
The ruling class therefore no longer needs immigrants, and is halting all non-EU immigration into the UK, since it is unable to stop EU migrants.
As well, any anti-immigrant fears that can be fanned will be useful as far as dividing the working class in the UK is concerned, therefore considerably weakening it.
The News Line and the WRP welcome all immigrants to the UK and are opposed to all racist immigration laws.
We call upon the trade unions to oppose them and to welcome and organise all workers who come to the UK.
Capitalism in crisis cannot solve any of the problems that British or any other workers face.
Only the socialist reorganisation of society can resolve these questions. This is why it is necessary to unite the working class of the world behind revolutionary leadership to carry out socialist revolutions to put an end to capitalism all over the world.