It is scarcely a secret that the biggest problem the Morning Star has with the Johnson government is that, on so many issues, they fundamentally agree.
On Brexit (preferably “no deal”), nationalism, hostility to “liberalism”, “human rights” legislation, the “metropolitan elite” and “finance capital”, the Star (and its ideological masters, the Communist Party of Britain) sing from much the same hymn-sheet as Johnson and Cummings.
Yes, of course, the Star ritualistically denounces Johnson’s cruder forays into outright racism and warns that the Tories can’t be trusted with workers’ rights; but that cannot hide the underlying political correlation – and, indeed thinly disguised admiration for his “boldness” and “unerring” political acumen.
Nowhere is this demonstrated more plainly than in the Star’s response to the ending of EU free movement and the introduction (from next January) of a "points-based" immigration policy that will (supposedly) end “unskilled” migration into Britain.
The Star has spent years claiming (on the basis of very little evidence) that free movement of labour drives down wages, so it was hardly surprising to read in an editorial (3 Feb) that it positively welcomes the ending of free movement: “Brexit means that our nation state is no longer bound by the free and often forced movement of labour that accompanies the EU’s free movement of capital.”
That phrase “often forced movement of labour” is worth interrogating: what exactly does the Star mean by it? The only possible understanding is that workers often feel “forced” to travel in order to find employment – something that applies to British workers relocating within the UK and which (as far as I’m aware) the Star has no objection to.
The same editorial proclaims “No human being is illegal” but then goes on to call for “a non-racist migration policy that both serves our economic needs and meets our humanitarian obligations, but does not denude poorer nations of their skilled personnel”: which is exactly what the Tories say they are introducing and which, would of course, make any human being who slipped in without sufficient points... illegal.
The Star’s real dilemma over all this was at least partially revealed in a further editorial (20 February):
“It [the points-based system] is presented as a bid to help British workers, and bosses’ ability to undercut pay and conditions by bringing in cheap labour has been a key factor in creating the ‘bargain-basement’ economy, dominated by insecure work and poverty pay, that we see around us.”
Now, just read that paragraph again, and try to work out what it’s really saying: is the Star in agreement with the Tories’ proposition that their new immigration policy will “help British workers” and stop bosses “bringing in cheap labour”? Given the confused wording, it’s impossible to say, for sure: but what we do know is that the Star believes immigration is a major factor in driving down wages, and has published articles (by no less an authority than Len McCluskey, complete with an out-of-context quote from Marx), arguing just that.
The 20 February editorial warns us that: “Posing as champions of the EU’s free movement model is likely to alienate as many people as it appeals to, since the government has shrewdly pointed out that when the new system kicks in non-EU immigrants will no longer be at a disadvantage ...”
I think we can read that word “shrewdly” as meaning “quite rightly”.
What the Tories are doing, of course, is extending to EU citizens the racist and oppressive policies they’ve long operated towards non-EU migrants – and (as far as can be judged) the Star thinks that’s progress!
The one unquestionably internationalist slogan the Morning Star has come out with, in the course of their recent coverage of immigration, were the words “No human being is illegal” – however, unfortunately, they should have added “but some are more legal than others.”