Friday, November 20, 2009

You gotta laugh: immigration controls

Earlier in the week I wrote an article in the Morning Star for the end of immigration controls. Often this is called 'no borders' although I deliberately steered clear of using the jargon.

Tomorrow's edition of the Star carries a letter by Stephen Lee insisting my position is "laughable", "utopian" and that my piece is "no way to make allies". Apparently I'm not realistic.

He might be right... you decide.


Jo Anglezarke said...

You are very fond of summing up arguments into two words! :)

Aaron said...

Lol it's people like Stephen Lee who are laughable. You're on the right side of the argument Jim!

David Cox said...

Utopian – yes, I’m afraid so; laughable – no, even though I disagree with you (more on practical grounds than morally), I think it is thoughtful articles like yours are helpful to the debate.

Of course there is one group of ‘citizens of the world’ who do have the freedom to come and go as they please, irrespective of the colour of their passport or ethnicity – the super-rich.

Peak oil and climate change, mean we really need to reduce/stabilise our population and that will include controlled immigration. Which of course is problematic - how do we have a humane and non-discriminatory immigration policy, in a climate where, as you correctly observe immigrants and refugees are de-humanised.

When faced with Filipino care workers loosing their work permits, my town council – but most importantly the town’s people united behind the Filipinos. People who would, under normal circumstances were anti-immigrant, faced with real people they could empathise with, rather than a tabloid stereotype, supported the Filipinos. It rather proves Schumacher’s idea of the superiority of human-scale decision making.

BTW what is GPEW policy on immigration? A Green blog says GPEW ‘ideology’ is “…more radical over immigration than the BNP, who are silent on the subject of how to prevent the desire of millions to migrate to the UK…”

Jim Jay said...

Yes, I thought laughable was a bit strong - but in fairness to him he didn't misrepresent my argument, he just didn't agree. I did worry that he didn't seem to provide me with evidence for me to change my ways other than a number of different ways of saying 'he's wrong', but credit where it's due he did read my article properly.

Migration policy is here. It's not brilliantly written in my view but is on th right side of the fence.

I guess the other blogger was refering to this "MG200 The Green Party's highest priority is the creation of a just and ecological world order in which environmental devastation is minimised and needs can be met without recourse to migration."

Although without context I can't be sure.

These seem to be key;

MG205 Migration policies should not discriminate directly on grounds of race, colour, religion, political belief, disability, sex or sexual orientation. Preference should not be given to those with resources or desirable skills.

MG206 The Green Party is opposed to forced migration and forced repatriation.

Although this one is far weaker than I'd like;

"MG300 We will work to achieve greater equity between the UK and non-Western countries. In step with this, we will progressively reduce UK immigration controls."

So in essence we're for amnesty for illegal immigrants, an end to detention centres, etc. an end to immigration controls based on discrimination or skills, and for reducing controls to a more liberal regime.

The party is not for no borders, but I am.

David Cox said...

Jim, I’m not being mischievous, ‘open borders’ - the situation that existed pre 1904, is both a moral and honourable position. The problem I struggle with, and you must do more as a Green, is reconciling immigration with fighting climate change.

Some very distinguished small ‘g’ greens and big ‘G’ Greens - James Lovelock (ok not brilliant on the nuclear front), Sara Parkin and Jonathon Porritt go to the other extreme on immigration policy; they want ‘zero net migration’ - immigration no higher than emigration. They are all patrons of the OPT- Optimum Population Trust; an organisation that you’d expect to encounter in a dystopian Margret Attwood novel. The OPT also wants parents to ‘stop at two’, and reduce unplanned pregnancies.

Jim Jay said...

David, I wouldn't have dug up the policy if I thought you were just playing games, but wanted to answer your specific question on GPEW policy - which is slightly different from mine, although they are both 'liberal' positions as it were.

I've no time for the OPT and I don't agree with those who argue that climate change requires a zero net migration purely because climate change is a global phenomenon. The problem isn't where the people are but the level of emissions.

In terms of climate change alone where the people make those emissions is not particularly important.

There is a strand of green thought that is very focused on migration and population levels. I have a number of issues with that focus, but more importantly in terms of this discussion GP policy just doesn't go in for this OPT stuff, even if the occasional member does.