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Jon Cruddas on Immigration

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The decision by Jon Cruddas not to stand for Leadership should come as no surprise.  His campaign for Deputy made clear that he sought a campaigning role, working with the unions, reinvigorating the party at its grassroots, rather than a leadership role.  Some of his supporters then would not have supported him for Leader.

His announcement in the Guardian, however, contains a statement on immigration which is worthy of widespread attention, reflecting his success against the BNP (and that of the thousands who flocked to campaign for Hope not Hate) in Barking & Dagenham:

Immigration has been used as a 21st-century incomes policy, mixing a liberal sense of free for all with a free-market disdain for clear and effective rules. We have known this was a problem. Yet the answer for the government lay in a ratcheted-up rhetoric rather than solutions that may have challenged liberal assumptions and business lobbyists alike.

Low pay and job insecurity, despite a minimum wage, has left people on the edge of society looking in on new levels of riches. This has happened while migrant workers are set against British workers by rogue employers looking to shave costs to make a bigger buck. This has not happened by accident. Labour actively took the decision not to better regulate for agency workers, and to not introduce living wage agreements.

Housing has been in crisis – but it hasn’t been the crisis of the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, where one’s biggest problem is achieving a dream sale price. It has been a crisis of cramped living conditions where family life is undermined. It has been a crisis of waiting lists that suck the hope from a young couple looking for stability.

This view, voiced also last night by Lisa Nandy, new MP for Wigan, at the Next Steps for Labour meeting, stands in stark contrast to the views of many Blairites, that Labour’s problem on immigration is that we were not right-wing enough. It is our failures in social policy, to provide council housing, to protect workers’ (and trade union) rights, and to do enough to combat low pay and job insecurity that are the root cause of public concern about immigration.

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