|Brown lie leads us to extremes Posted by Fraser at 8 23 PM on Saturday, January 31|
SOUNDBITES can backfire. Take “Mission Accomplished” (G.W. Bush) or “Whiter than white” (T. Blair).
But it’s hard to think of a more disastrous war cry than Gordon Brown’s “British jobs for British people”.
At the time, he just wanted to sound harder than the Tories on immigration. Now, his slogan has a menacing life of its own.
When strikers in 19 oil refineries were waving his soundbite on placards, you can bet the PM was terrified. Because he knows the power of the message.
He feared it would be used against him, so claimed it first.
Since Labour came to power in 1997, a staggering 86 per cent of new jobs went to immigrants. Fine, when there were enough jobs. But in a recession, this threatened to be politically explosive.
Now with lay-offs at the dizzying rate of 1,650 a day, people are far less relaxed about immigration.
It’s not just troublemaking activists, but honest hard-working skilled labourers worried about their future. Suddenly, and for the first time, British workers are actually competing with about six million immigrants. And a truth will hit everyone: Brown’s soundbite was a LIE. There’s nothing anyone can to do protect Brits.
As the PM knows, it’s ILLEGAL to help British workers over Bulgarian or Belgian ones. European Union rules are clear. This has its advantages—not least to the Brits who have been emigrating at the rate of 800 a day for FOREIGN jobs.
Not since the Irish potato famine has there been a greater exodus. It’s the great, under-reported story.
When MPs talk about the “skills shortage” they don’t tell you it’s because 15 per cent of highly-skilled Brits have emigrated. This is the weird thing about the “British jobs for British workers” slogan—it was the precise opposite of the truth.
Legally there is no such thing as a British worker. Only EU workers. Any politician who claims otherwise is lying.
David Cameron can’t offer any alternative, either. His points- based system only applies to non- EU immigrants. Our politicians can hardly go to picket lines and say “Your protest is pointless, under EU Directive 2004/38/EC”.
This is where another three-letter danger comes in: the BNP. They thrive on insecurity, panic and despair.
If I were Cameron, I would not ignore this threat. Mass unemployment is a godsend to extremist parties. And it will get worse. Unemployment in Britain is literally rising faster than anywhere in the developed world.
It’s my hunch that plenty of immigrants will return home. Especially now that the pound is monopoly money.
But most won’t. They are hard-working, valued by their bosses and have been made welcome in Britain.
They will know these protests are not racism. It’s just a demand for fair play, from understandably anxious workers.
Why parachute in Italian labour into a factory surrounded by skilled, unemployed British workers? The Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, put it well. The strikers, he said, are “entitled to an answer”.
He was right. And to stop these protests blowing up into nationwide recession rage, the answer had best be convincing.