After another busy week in the world of politics, I still can’t decide whether our ‘elite’ in the House of Commons are hypocrites, deluded or just think we are so dim that they can get away with saying what they think we want to hear and won’t remember what they have actually done before.
Ed Milliband and the Labour Party on Immigration
First up this week was Labour leader ‘Red Ed’ Milliband talking about immigration.
Fresh from his Damascus conversion on celebrating Englishness a few weeks before (Although still not prepared to give the English their own parliament and therefore equality with the rest of the Union), Mr Milliband confessed that ‘Labour had got it wrong’ on immigration and were now willing to listen to people’s concerns.
Strangely enough, the Blair/Brown Labour governments were not willing to listen for THIRTEEN YEARS when in power – Governments that both Mr Milliband and his older brother were cabinet members of in the later years of those administrations. Indeed, a senior aid was quoted as saying that they were ‘rubbing the right’s noses in diversity’ when the question was raised before, neglecting to mention that those affected most by the open door policy on their day to day lives were the very working class English that the Labour party was set up to represent!
During those thirteen years, the population of the UK rose by nearly three million people according to the ONS (Office of National Statistics) and the government got it spectacularly wrong on the numbers that would come here when the doors were opened to Eastern European countries that had just joined The European Union (EU)
Any attempt to discuss the real issues surrounding mass immigration, notably the strain on services and lack of housing to cope, were dismissed by the ‘left’ wing political parties as being the rantings of ‘racists’ – Remember Gordon Brown during the 2010 General Election branding Rochdale housewife Gillian Duffy a ‘bigoted woman’ for daring to mention the issue?
After Mr Milliband’s speech, Labour’s Immigration spokesman Chris Bryant MP was invited on to the BBC Politics Show to explain what was going on as can be seen in the clip below. I don’t often praise the BBC, but putting him in the same studio as journalist and author Peter Hitchens in a debate on immigration was a very nice touch
Why the change of heart, Ed?
So, do you suppose that this is Mr Milliband’s second Damascene conversion in under a month or a politician playing to the crowd to gain votes?
I strongly suspect it to be the latter – After all, The Conservatives promised to cut immigration to the tens of thousands per year as part of their General Election manifesto two years ago and we have just been presented with the figures for 2010-2011 that showed net immigration at a massive high of 250,000 people, a clear open goal for a party with a commitment to slashing immigration to aim at.
I am also suspicious that this is purely a ruse because the Labour Party remain committed to the EU project, part of which means that you can’t limit immigration from member states. Indeed, the tentacles of the EU have wrapped themselves around our ability to police our own borders and edicts from Brussels not only demand that we give EU citizens access to our country but also to our benefits and health service,increasing the burden on the taxpayer and our overstretched public services in these times of austerity.
Finally, The Labour Party have done very well at the ballot box from immigrant communities, with numerous surveys crediting them with receiving as much as 80% of the vote from those newly enfranchised in our country. The Labour Party spent much of their time in power pandering to various minority groups when they should have been concentrating on integrating these groups in to our society and helping them assimilate in to the wider community.
By constant promotion of ‘multiculturalism’ and condemnation of any who have spoken out against mass immigration as ‘racists’, The Labour Party have alienated many of their core working class voters who they will need to regain power at the next general election. In my opinion, this is not Ed Milliband finally seeing the light on cutting immigration but is merely a crude attempt to win back some of the support that they have undoubtedly lost over the issue. I hope and trust that the electorate will remember who was responsible for this mess in the first place.
David Cameron and The Conservatives on tax avoidance
If Red Ed was trying to make himself look silly this week, he must be mightily upset with Prime Minister David Cameron for stealing his thunder.
When comedian Jimmy Carr was revealed to be using an offshore scheme to avoid paying the full 45% income tax rate on his not inconsiderable earnings, the PM waded in to the row by calling Mr Carr’s arrangements ‘morally repugnant’.
Again, you have to ask yourself the question as to whether this is what Mr Cameron really felt or if he was just grandstanding with a stance he thought would be popular with the voters, especially as the Tories are still seen by many as a party for the ultra rich?
The fallout from his comments have been nothing if not spectacular. It has since been revealed that high profile Conservative donors and supporters such as Sir Philip Green and singer/songwriter Gary Barlow OBE also operate similar schemes, and there have also been allegations that members of Mr Cameron’s own family have not exactly been paying the complete 45% band that their earnings would have you believe they would have to fork out.
Probably the most level headed commentary on this subject that I have seen so far came in the Express from my UKIP colleague, Neil Hamilton (See link below)
My take on the situation is that Mr Carr has acted within the law but has shown himself to be a hypocrite by criticising people in his comedy act who are using schemes to avoid paying tax in a similar way to himself.
Ken Livingstone suffered a similar fate when his tax affairs came to light during the recent GLA elections – He had referred to bankers who used tax avoidance schemes as ‘bastards who should not be allowed to vote’ a few years back, and was then exposed as using a company loophole to pay tax at a much lower rate than the ordinary Londoners he wanted to represent! Let’s face it, as Neil Hamilton states in his article, we all begrudge paying tax and if there was a legal way of keeping down the amount we pay most of us would take it.
Dealing with immigration and tax avoidance
It is pretty obvious that neither the Prime Minister or the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition has any credibility when it comes to dealing with either of these issues. Indeed, the damning response I have heard on the doorsteps when canvassing in elections is that ‘all politicians are the same, they all lie and tell you what you want to hear but do nothing when they get the chance’.
Whilst Labour, Tory and Lib-Dem all give promises and then change their tune for the chance of a few extra votes (Remember Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg promising to scrap student tuition fees in 2010, picture left?), UKIP policy has remained exactly the same on these subjects for years. It has stayed the same because the party believes that the policies in place, often derided by our political opponents, are the right thing to do for our country irrespective of ‘trendy’ think tanks and political expediency.
None of the old parties will ever get a grip on mass immigration because they all support our membership of the EU. Whilst we stay within this vast bureaucratic organisation, we have no power to stop anybody from the other member states coming to the UK. Talk of ‘renegotiating’ our deal with Brussels is unrealistic – There is no mechanism within the Treaty of Lisbon that Gordon Brown signed whilst Prime Minister to repatriate powers to any of the member states, including those regarding border controls.
Our stance on immigration is clear and common sense – Withdraw from the EU to regain border control, place a 5 year freeze on permanent immigration so we can sort out the backlog of cases that the Border Agency has on their desk and afterwards introduce a points based system along the lines of the Australian model so that only those who can support themselves and benefit society as a whole are admitted.
With regards to tax, the current system is far too complicated. A whole industry has sprung up around exploiting loopholes, with HM Revenue having to expend disproportionate resources to try and prosecute tax evasion (Not avoidance, which is legal) and losing a number of cases because nobody seems to know how such laws should be enforced and what they cover.
UKIP would set a flat rate tax that covers all, with the minimum threshold where tax starts to be paid raised to take the lowest paid workers out of contributions altogether. Where low flat rates have been introduced in other countries, many have seen the overall take increase as avoidance schemes become unnecessary and more money is left in people’s pockets to spend, boosting job creation and local business. This has also encouraged investment from companies who can see the advantages of operating within a low tax economy, again creating opportunities for employment.
Not all political parties are the same, and not all party leaders change their tune to suit their own agendas. UKIP have been consistent even when our message has not been as popular as it is now. On tax, the message is simple – Vote for real change, don’t be left with just loose change.