George Osborne is in a rather embarrassing position. His “Office of Budget Responsibility” (OBR) is claiming that there must be more immigration to the UK. The OBR claims that the Government’s cap on immigration will cost £17bn. At a time when Osborne is forcing through a wide range of deeply unpopular and damaging cuts, deliberately foregoing £17bn requires serious justification.
It is embarrassing because one of the key tenets of this government is that immigrants are to blame for, well, a whole load of things. But the thing they’re most to blame for is taking jobs off British residents.
Of course at a simplistic level it may be true that immigrants take jobs in individual situations. But the economy is not simple. The reality is that employment creates what economists describe as ‘multiplier effects’. These multipliers mean that higher employment leads to more spending and therefore more jobs. The more productive jobs there are the more jobs can be created. The TEDtalk by Ted Hanauer that was banned for being too political explains this effect well:
At a time when there are high levels of unemployment and jobs are difficult to come by, attacking immigrants is a good way to identify who is to blame. Conservatives, like Osborne, want people to believe that immigrants are ‘stealing their jobs’. They are willing to stoke racism and damage the economy in order to hide the truth – a truth which is quite different.
Conservatives are the party for the ultra-rich – people who have incomes of millions of pounds a year. The party acts to ensure that the rich get richer, especially if this is at the expense of the poor. And those rich people are the people who are, in fact, to blame for the lack of jobs.
It is the hoarding of cash by the rich that has caused the jobs crisis. And the government wants to make sure that no-one realises this. They are a government of the ultra-rich. They can’t let people think it is them, their family or their friends think that the jobs crisis if of their making. This is especially true as the Conservative party is funded almost entirely by those rich people.
The Conservative government is willingly assisted in this by a wealthy elite of newspaper and media owners who have exactly the same interest in shifting the blame for the job crisis. The graph below shows that the money that should be mobilised for job creation is, instead being funnelled into corporate profits. Those profits are what drives the massive increase in the wealth of the rich.
So it’s right to conclude from the Office of Budget Responsibility report that we need to remove the cap on immigration. I wonder if they’ll be brave enough to say that we need a massive redistribution of wealth to end the jobs crisis.