Tuesday, 18 September 2007
What I mean by living in a bubble world
This is what the Conservative Home lot think of Nick Clegg's immigration views after the main commentary:
Comments When someone comes in with the more liberal line, you get this:
BenM, you are completely mistaken on immigration policy being a problem for the tories. It is a complete fallousy, propagated mostly by bleeding heart liberals and socialists such as yourself. May I remind you that the Tory policies on crime and immigration are the areas in which they have consistently shown thumping leads over Labour.Fact. We did not lose in 2001 or 2005 because of Immigration policy or a perception of us being the "nasty" party, rather in spite of it. It was the economy stupid.
I'm not claiming the Immigration issue is an open-and-shut case; just illustrating how, if you only mix intellectually with people of a like mind, you can get an erroneous view of what 'everyone' thinks about an issue. This is what the Populus polling conducted at great expense by Lord Ashcroft found:
"The issue that dominated the Conservative campaign, immigration, was never important enough to voters to determine how large numbers of them would cast their votes".
The problem seems to be that people think the Tories are uncaring, dominated by their own class, not really bothered with giving opportunities for all (not if it involves any redistribution), and so on. Coming down on economic immigrants may chime with a portion of the public, but does not move the critical swing voters who need to feel that the Tories care, for a sustained period and for the right reasons, about the social ills in this country.
I accept that although I call myself swing voter, I am not representative of all swing voters. But the tone of the Tory internal thinking here suggests several things that are off-putting:
- A blatant recognition that they have two tones to their party; the David Cameron line (green, not nasty, etc) and the "lieutenants" ('we know the man in the pub wants to hear about immigration'). This is precisely what sceptics like me fear - just like a Blair sceptic might have thought 'he'll go all Left on us when he gets in'
- some very muddled thinking (the link with the environment and global warming was nutty), the sense that we are uniquely strained in terms of population growth, the rise in house prices being uniformly bad (well, it redistributes to the Rich and Old, which is an irony here), the sheer Luddism of counting the jobs the foreigners have "taken"
- no-one ever mentions the demographic timebomb awaiting any country that fails to replenish its stock of young workers as the latest demographic lump finally passes into retirement, or the fact (see Dani Rodrik) that immigration is one of the most potent globalising forces for redistributing wealth.
- no sense whatsoever that individual freedom to move is a factor to be considered at all. In other words, a pretty light hold on libertarian values, a great eagerness to see this as the great exception to freedoms, even a willingness to ban the practice of the British travelling abroad to live
- This line is always unchallenged: "endless mass immigration dissipates and banishes any sense of England; any sense of what it is to be English. " Yeah, that's why Americans are such an unpatriotic lot.
I really don't want to say it is a simple issue; it needs better management, which I think a closer reading of Nick Clegg would find is what is being proposed. But it does NOT bode well for the Tories that they think it's so obvious, innit.
- The Swing
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- Cameron speaking at the Conservative club
- Fabian Review part II: Shock! as Britain found to ...
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- Dammit, they don't even come from here
- Nick Clegg
- Oh s***e I'm becoming biased part II
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- The worst blog I have (tried to) read so far
- What I mean by living in a bubble world
- Beginning to like the Lib Dems
- "Funny, all of my mates are Tory ... ."
- Did we need Thatcher?
- What I like about libertarianism
- Citizen-centred Welfare
- Supply side arguments
- Education: the "core" principles of each party are...
- Why can't government run as easily as this?
- Oh s***e I'm becoming biased
- Once I wrote a poem
- Two angles on Rule by Others
- A more human take on citizenship
- Cultural Conservatism as the Answer to Everything
- Explaining myself
- ▼ September (25)