Monday, December 03, 2007

"Opportunity knocks: The government must persuade the public of the overwhelming benefits of immigration"

Real food for thought

Philippe Legrain is the author of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute

In this article he discusses the benefits of mass immigration.

I feel real sympathy for this point of view, what are your thoughts?

8 comments:

Laban said...

The benefits are tremendous for employers and those looking for nannies, cleaners and other domestic help. Because they keep wages down, labour is far cheaper to hire.

For exactly the same reason, they're a disaster for a working class British household. I presume you don't fall into that category.

Louise Baldock said...

You didnt bother to read the article then?

I would be interested to learn why you think
a. that jobs like nannies, cleaners and domestic helps should be reserved for working class Brits or indeed why you think they would want such jobs. Don't you think they should have ambitions for salaried posts? Are you a terrible snob?

b. that immigrants are unqualified and working in this sector. Most of the people who come to this country to work have far more skills to offer us than those required for the domestic posts you describe.

c. that the British economy depends on domestic employment if it is to be successful in ensuring jobs for all.

Have you been watching too much Upstairs Downstairs?

Louise Baldock said...

- and once we recruit all immigrant workers into Trade Unions and get them onto proper terms and conditions instead of dodgy agency undercutting ones, there will be no such cheap labour to exploit.

A fair wage for a fair day's work for all.

Surely?

Paula said...

An interesting article.

I think it is human nature to, when things are going badly, put the blame on "the other". Sometimes this is justified, sometimes not. It is unfortunately what helps organisations like the BNP in their campaigning. It is also human nature to feel comfortable with what we are used to and to resist too much change - look for example at the way expats quite naturally group together and the way Brits overseas can go out of their way to buy things like good tea and marmite.

We need to bear this in mind when considering this topic as I don't think you can ever work completely against the grain of human nature.

I used to work with refugees and asylum seekers. Many of them had horrific histories. Many of them also, however, were extremely highly trained professionals who would have brought a lot to our economy. Yet the image they had with much of the public (via papers like the Mail) was of lying scroungers.

I feel that if people as a whole saw the benefits of immigration, then this would be a much easier subject to discuss. As it is there is a lot of misinformation and suspicion. I understand, for example, that several catholic churches have effectively been rescued by the new Polish congregation!

In Liverpool,as in other cities, we have falling school rolls. Who knows, new families with school age children could play a role in preserving some of those schools which can not currently fill their places. It would obviously mean some change - but isn't some change better than total change?

It is almost impossible to discuss immigration in the political arena now. Individuals are forced into taking positions - and woe betide anyone who says anything controversial!

Finally, I have just finished speaking to a student of mine. She is Polish. She is paying to study here and when she graduates she is planning to go home. In other words she is bringing money to our economy and not even taking a job here at the end of it. It is not always a one - way street!

Paula

Paula said...

An interesting article.

I think it is human nature to, when things are going badly, put the blame on "the other". Sometimes this is justified, sometimes not. It is unfortunately what helps organisations like the BNP in their campaigning. It is also human nature to feel comfortable with what we are used to and to resist too much change - look for example at the way expats quite naturally group together and the way Brits overseas can go out of their way to buy things like good tea and marmite.

We need to bear this in mind when considering this topic as I don't think you can ever work completely against the grain of human nature.

I used to work with refugees and asylum seekers. Many of them had horrific histories. Many of them also, however, were extremely highly trained professionals who would have brought a lot to our economy. Yet the image they had with much of the public (via papers like the Mail) was of lying scroungers.

I feel that if people as a whole saw the benefits of immigration, then this would be a much easier subject to discuss. As it is there is a lot of misinformation and suspicion. I understand, for example, that several catholic churches have effectively been rescued by the new Polish congregation!

In Liverpool,as in other cities, we have falling school rolls. Who knows, new families with school age children could play a role in preserving some of those schools which can not currently fill their places. It would obviously mean some change - but isn't some change better than total change?

It is almost impossible to discuss immigration in the political arena now. Individuals are forced into taking positions - and woe betide anyone who says anything controversial!

Finally, I have just finished speaking to a student of mine. She is Polish. She is paying to study here and when she graduates she is planning to go home. In other words she is bringing money to our economy and not even taking a job here at the end of it. It is not always a one - way street!

Paula

Louise Baldock said...

Thanks Paula

I love marmite!

I agree that it is a mightily controversial subject, especially for someone who represents wards like mine.

However, like you, my instinct is to welcome and support new residents.

I particular welcome the bright young people fresh out of university who want to be enterpreneurial, who work hard and who are helping to improve the local economy. Many of their UK equivalents have moved away.

As you say, new immigrants are saving churches from closure by boosting congregations. They are boosting schools with falling rolls, they are pouring lots of money into local district shopping areas. They are boosting art and music performance and galleries.

If we waved a wand, and everyone who wasn't born here simply disappeared, to suit the xenophobes, they would find a very different world.

And much of it would be shut, or stopped or empty or broken.

Old Dick said...

Without Marek migrating here I would be stuck in doors all day with a "full bag" god bless the minimum wage (especially the polish minimum wage which I pay Marek)

Marek Chleb (The Old Dick's Carer) said...

Help mee! I am so Hungry and tired....