|Danger UXB! Posted by Fraser at 10 17 PM on Saturday, October 18|
Gordon Brown has detected an unexploded bomb under the British economy: the mixture of job losses and immigration.
During the boom years Britain absorbed the biggest-ever influx of newcomers. There were enough jobs for us all.
Now the economic tsunami is striking, this may change. Our PM thinks things will sour, and he’s preparing already.
Gordo knows what he never admits: his boasts about “three million new jobs” was a mirage. Official figures show why.
Since Labour came to power, four out of five jobs in Britain went to — or were created by — immigrants.
His dirty secret is that five million Brits stayed on the dole throughout. Mainly on incapacity benefit.
If you want to see the truth behind the economy, go to the site of the Olympic Village in East London. Listen to the voices.
They’re supposed to be building a stadium. To hear the accents, you’d think it was the Tower of Babel.
Workers of the world have indeed united — on a project supposed to help British unemployed.
What went wrong?
You’ll remember grandiose claims about the Olympics regenerating Newham, a borough with 32,800 living on benefits.
But which borough registered most immigrants last year? You guessed it. A full 20,510 — and that’s just with National Insurance numbers. These figures encapsulate both what went wrong, and the dire situation we now face.
Instead of getting British welfare rolls down in the boom years, Brits were paid to stay on the dole.
The gaffers in the Olympic construction projects there will tell you: they try their hardest to hire the local unemployed.
There was even serious talk about buying alarm clocks for them, so they could get up on time. But there is a problem.
Most of those on benefits in Newham have been claiming dole for at least FIVE years. They’ve got out of the habit. And what do you expect — when Britain has created a welfare system that can pay out as much as the minimum wage?
A fifth of Newham is on benefits. Same for Newcastle, Newport and Nottingham, and that’s just the Ns.
So the wave of unemployment we now face will come crashing ON TOP of mammoth hidden unemployment. For the first time in British history we could have more than SIX MILLION claiming benefits. The effects will be huge.
For all his many failings, Brown can see the social strife this will bring. He has ordered every government department to send a secret report of what they expect. The news is grim.
The Home Office talks about “significant upward pressure on acquisitive crime” and a spike in violent crime. And of course if Brits are competing with lower-paid immigrants for the same job, tensions will flair.
Left-wing governments across Europe have been toppled by immigration concerns when the economic tide went out.
So Brown is acting now. He’s made Phil Woolas immigration minister and told him to be like David Blunkett (while keeping his trousers on).
The Home Office is looking at a blueprint for “balanced migration” by the Labour MP, Frank Field.
This is a difficult issue for the Tories, who are terrified of being called racist. As they um and ah, Brown will get moving.
But desperate times call for radical thinking. And the next stage in Gordo’s survival mission is to provide it.
FRASER NELSON is also political editor of The Spectator.