On Sunday 25 March David Cameron wrote a piece for the Sun railing about so-called health and benefit tourism by migrants!
He carefully calibrated his language so as to appear reasonable — the sane alternative to UKIP was the image he was going for.
He made a nod to “Polish wartime heros” and “hard working” West Indian migrants who helped us “rebuild” Britain after the war.
But the underlying message was clear enough: “Hey you, East European good for nothing, if you think you're going to get more than £8 an hour and a bed on a park bench, bugger off”!
His claims were spurious. He said migrants don’t pay tax (mostly they do), grab benefits (overwhelmingly they don’t), are given a council house the minute they step off the bus at Victoria coach station (does anyone get a council house?). But this concocted narrative about “some migrants” was being used to denigrate “all migrants”.
Two things are going on here. Despite claiming he wouldn’t, Cameron is trying to undercut support for UKIP.
Somebody in the Tory party or the civil service has been sent away to find a legal loophole which will enable the government to limit benefits and services to EU migrants — not because it will “save money” but because they want to look busy, tough, effective.
Next year restrictions on migration from European Union member states Bulgaria and Romania will be lifted. There is growing pressure for workers from those countries to be excluded and denied rights.
So when a Bulgarian cleaner slips and breaks their leg cleaning one of our hospitals they may not be able to claim out-of work benefits or get their leg fixed.
The fact that Cameron and Co are comfortable treating people like this, people like us, as if they are second class citizens, says a lot about the kind of people they are. Elitist, rich, cut off from the world where people have to struggle to survive. Working-class people have nothing in common with him, we have everything in common with migrant workers.
A politician’s foul verbal bashing from the Ivory Towers of London today, could mean a punch or a kick or a stab in the guts for some poor person on the streets of Peterborough tomorrow. Playing catch-up with UKIP by stirring up bitterness is a dangerous game — one which migrants pay for with their lives and health.
Some in the labour movement and on the left foolishly agaitate against “Europe”. That plays into nationalist right sentiment. They should stop it!
People come to the UK to make a better life for ourselves in an insecure and unequal world. We all want that. Migrants are not to blame for the lack of jobs, the cuts in services, the increasing inequality we all suffer. Politicians and the powerful are to blame!
The Tories point a finger at migrants so that their mates in banking can continue to pay themselves big bonuses. So that the shareholders in big businesss can rake in the profits of privatised public services.
An effective fight against the Tories and all they stand for demands solidarity with migrant workers. We need to oppose these changes, oppose all cuts and fight for rights for all.