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Give me your entrepreneurial masses, yearning to work hard

March 28th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized by

Graeme Cowie has launched an e-petition on Direct Gov calling on the coalition to Abandon the Government’s Arbitrary Non-EU Immigration Cap.

The wording of the petition is as follows:

We the undersigned believe that the attempts by the Coalition government to restrict non-EU immigration by way of a cap has no evidential basis and that it should be removed. Contrary to the aims of its advocates, the cap harms the UK economy and with it the job prospects of UK citizens by discouraging enterprise and foreign investment.

Given that the Coalition government recognises in its agreement that immigration has “enriched our culture and strengthened our economy” it should not pander to populist and protectionist measures which allow our labour market to stagnate and our skills-base to insulate itself from modernisation.

We consider that the existing points system does not benefit from an arbitrary cap on non-EU immigration. Removing the cap will send out two important messages. Firstly it will show that Britain is open for business. Secondly it will make us a more tolerant and culturally enriched society.

It is certainly true that combining a points-based system with an arbitrary cap is less belt-and-braces and more flogging a dead horse. In fact, the points-based system is itself deeply flawed, ignoring as it does the huge demand for unskilled labour in this country which – under our current welfare system – is not being met by the domestic “reserve army of labour”.

Personally I hate the expression “Britain is open for business”, but I’ll forgive Graeme that small slip because it’s otherwise a great petition.

I urge all Liberal Vision readers to sign the petition.

Lazy, immigrants, freeloading off the state.

3 Responses to “Give me your entrepreneurial masses, yearning to work hard”

  1. Graeme Cowie Says:

    Thanks for raising attention to this Tom.

    I agree that the points system is also far from perfect and would go much further than the actual petition if I had the chance. I feel dropping the cap is at least something we can get an effective consensus behind, hence the petition is constrained to that.

    I know some won’t like the “open for business” chat but for me it’s as much about emphasising that immigration restrictions are inherently protectionist and close off competition, not just of labour, but of ideas and resources too. From a hyper-pragmatic standpoint that’s bad for the people the cap is supposedly aiming to protect (domestic workers) but from an ideological standpoint it’s bad for all concerned.

    I suspect that, much as liberals have strong instincts for breaking down these sorts of barriers and manifestations of state power, we won’t win the war on the ideological front. The sort of people we need to win over to pro-immigration (and, e.g. pro drug decriminalisation) are those whose opposition is derived from their perception of the effects. If you can show them the effects aren’t as they first thought, you’ve probably won them over even if they don’t have a strong ideological opinion about whether it’s right that the state be acting in that way.


  2. Tom Papworth Says:

    Graeme,

    “Open for business” is just one of those expressions I dislike.

    Partly it’s because it (along with many other comments) uses the metaphor of a business when talking about a country, which is inappropriate for so many reasons – of which one is that a company is a collective and it does have a shared purpose and a single, all-powerful leadership.

    But partly it’s a stylistic thing. It’s one of those oft-repeated-rarely-thought-about phrases.

    And partly it reminds me of an anti-immigration candidate who kept saying “Britain is closed for business” during a television show where viewers chose a candidate to run for parliament – he won!

    Having said that, don’t let my distaste for five words detract from what is otherwise a perfectly good petition!


  3. Techno Says:

    The trouble with the photo is that it is almost certainly a picture of a Chinese factory with…..Chinese workers.


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