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Corbyn sets out opposition to immigration controls

CorbynJeremy Corbyn has made further comments in support of immigration, in particular support for refugees, contrasting those in the party who want to end freedom of movement after Brexit. 

In a speech at the Centre for Turkey Studies, Corbyn said:

The reality is history moves on and people move on with it. There are people from Britain who live all over the world. There are people from all over the world who live in lots of other places. In the modern world, a lot of people travel and make their homes elsewhere.

Closing the door, pretending the world will go away, is not going to solve any economic problem. In fact, it is much more likely to lead to a process of economic decline.

His comments contrast those of Keir Starmer on Marr this Sunday, who said he wanted to see immigration reduced, but would not be drawn on an answer on freedom of movement. Starmer did however endorse single market membership, which requires freedom of movement.

Last night’s PLP was apparently frought with heckles and snide comments from right-wing Labour MPs, some of whom seem determined to carry on as before. This followed news earlier in the day that Labour had slumped to its lowest polling position since 2008, although MPs off the record recognised this was because of the botched coup attempt and futile leadership challenge – polls having been much closer, or even level, before the June coup. Divided oppositions don’t win power.

Ed Miliband has also been vocal on Brexit in recent days, calling for parliament to be given a vote on triggering Article 50, in order to properly scrutinise May’s plans, and thereby prevent an exit from the single market. Miliband has also hinted that he is open to return to the Shadow Cabinet at some point.

There is a growing cross-party consensus for a vote in parliament, with Miliband joined by former Tory ministers Nicky Morgan and Anna Soubry, along with Nick Clegg. Given that Remain MPs far outweigh Leave ones, it is possibly May will do a deal with some of them to grant a vote on Article 50 in exchange for support on some of her other controversial proposals, such as grammar schools or Heathrow expansion.

A legal challenge has also been mounted and an array of QCs and solicitors will take the government on next week. Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC is defending the government’s current stance to not hold a vote, and instead trigger Brexit through royal prerogative, though the court hearing next week could force May to turn to parliament.

The Tories themselves remain divided over questions of single market membership, and the all important ‘four freedoms’ that go with it. Oliver Dowding MP, Cameron’s former Chief of Staff, told the Daily Politics that he, “didn’t personally write the manifesto” when challenged on the Tories previous manifesto commitment to keep Britain within the single market.

Meanwhile establishment voices such as the Confederation of British Industry and The Times have criticised May’s apparent ease with exiting the single market. The CBI bluntly stated that there would be a huge cost in jobs, and that only 10% of the population wanted to see immigration controls on skilled workers. The Times echoed those concerns in an editorial, making it clear that May does not have the entire establishment united behind her.

4 Comments

  1. John Penney says:

    No Jeremy, the only options are not either a continuation of the unfettered neoliberal economic model, with free capital movement , and with completely unlimited labour supply keeping wages down and making the bargaining power of workers increasingly difficult in a n increasingly “uberised” “precariat” economy Or “economic decline” !

    There is another, socialist, (not even a particularly radical , Left Keynsian “socialist”) economic model, Labour should be propounding . This involves wide-ranging government intervention in the economy , guided by a progressive comprehensive economic PLAN ! Even the 1964 Harold Wilson government understood that, and actually took some, inadequate and timid, steps to try and achieve it.

    Not so apparently the Corbynites – there is no apparent understanding , from our basic socialist tradition, of the vital need for a socialist policy of comprehensive economic planning – of which future labour supply planning, and its training and education sub-sets, are a vital part.

    All Jeremy’s “right on” liberal sentimentality is doing is reinforcing the neoliberal status quo which empowers Capital against labour, and is alienating millions of actual, ex, and potential Labour voters – looking for a radical Left agenda (or of course, failing that – a radical Right populist one via a more Left-faking UKIP Mk 2) that actually tries to stand up to the power of the neoliberal market.

    Unlimited free movement of labour is not, and never has been, part of the socialist tradition – any more than tolerating the complete freedom of capital flows, or the freedom of the financial sector to run amok is.

    1. C MacMackin says:

      And yet, with his commitment to the ‘four freedoms’, he does seem to be happy to not only tolerate but embrace free capital flows… It’s depressing the state the Left is in in this country–not that there are many places where it’s any better.

  2. David Pavett says:

    This short comment from Jeremy Corbyn resolves nothing on this difficult and controversial issue. It makes no attempt to engage with the contrary views and concerns of many of us on the left. It is therefore not a helpful contribution to discussion but the mere restatement of an opinion.

    He sets the scene with banalities.

    The reality is history moves on and people move on with it. There are people from Britain who live all over the world. There are people from all over the world who live in lots of other places. In the modern world, a lot of people travel and make their homes elsewhere.

    He then distorts the view he wants to counter by presenting control as “closing the door”.

    Closing the door, pretending the world will go away, is not going to solve any economic problem. In fact, it is much more likely to lead to a process of economic decline.

    We are also told that

    The Tories themselves remain divided over questions of single market membership, and the all important ‘four freedoms’ that go with it.

    It is surely extraordinary that for the writer of this piece the “four freedoms” i.e. the freedoms of unrestricted markets (free movement of labour, capital, goods and services) are all “important”. Is this the view of the Labour leadership? If it is then it should send shock waves through the Labour left. We need to know.

    The meaning of this should be clear to anyone concerned with the grip of neo-liberal ideas. The Labour left in general, and Jeremy Corbyn in particular, doesn’t have a clue about a strategy for combatting the iron grip of global capital on our economic and political processes. Vague statements of “principle” will not, unfortunately, do the trick.

    While everything remains at the level of banalities and highly generalised rhetoric there is no chance of having an informed debate on this issue. And the worrying thing is that if there is no understanding of what is required for such a debate on this prominent issue there is likely to be none on any others. This is, it seems to me, a very worrying indication of the shallowness of the politics of the Corbyn leadership (I write as someone who voted for him both times, not because I have a high regard for his political insight but because I considered the alternatives to be far worse).

    P.S. at the end of this short piece We are told that

    The CBI bluntly stated that there would be a huge cost in jobs, and that only 10% of the population wanted to see immigration controls on skilled workers.

    Where is the link to this information. I don’t believe that “the population” has ever been asked such a question (shouldn’t links be provided for this sort of claim?). I looked on the CBI site and could not find such a statement. What I did find was a statement of 4th October 2016:

    We understand public concern and why it’s important to control immigration but the Government should be working in close partnership with business to create a system that works, rather than layering on more bureaucracy at a time where the country needs to be open for business.

    This hardly supports the generalised opposition to any controls advocated by Jeremy Corbyn, in contradiction with his Shadow Home Secretary.

  3. jeffrey davies says:

    bugger he listens to the blair faction but the peasants want a stop to this coming here hmm it seems corbyn not going to listen to the peasants untill he needs their vote indeed this could very well be the nail in his well you now whot

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