boris evidently intends to fight the election on immigration & race issues

Corbyn crisis as allies turn on him: McCluskey demands Labour scrap free movement pledge
Simon Osborne, Express, Nov 14 2019

Union leader Len McCluskey has warned Jeremy Corbyn he will have to convince Labour’s traditional working-class supporters to stick with the party by taking a tough stance on the free movement of workers if he wants to win the general election. The Unite general secretary vowed to oppose attempts to extend freedom of movement even though delegates at the Labour conference in September voted overwhelmingly to reject the party’s previous manifesto pledge to introduce restrictions after Brexit. Mr McCluskey also urged shadow cabinet members not to contradict Labour’s Brexit position during the election campaign and and warned them to keep quiet about which way they would campaign in a second referendum under a Labour government. He told the Guardian:

We will have to see what’s in the manifesto but I don’t think what conference voted for is a sensible approach and I will be expressing that view.

He said he was keen to bolster Labour support in marginal seats in the Midlands and the north which has been targeted by the Tories and the Brexit Party but warned white working-class Leave voters would turn to hard-right party if their migration concerns were ignored. McCluskey said Labour had to show how it was going to prevent pay and conditions from being undercut before it could consider easing its free movement policy. He said:

It’s wrong in my view to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter labour market regulation.

One party source said:

Len has re-emerged as the flag bearer of the old Labour right. He’s part of a backward-looking, small-‘c’ conservative nostalgia-tripping wing of the labour movement that wants ‘trade union rights for British workers.’

Mr Corbyn defended the need for immigration into the UK and said EU workers had made “a massive contribution to our society” and stressed that immigration was needed to stop NHS staff shortages. He stressed the party’s manifesto decision on immigration would be made its “Clause V meeting” attended by members of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, the shadow cabinet and some MPs. Labour bosses plan to meet on Saturday to sign off the party’s election manifesto and the timing of Mr McCluskey’s comments has enraged activists who campaigned for the pro-migration motion passed at conference. Alena Ivanova, from the Labour Campaign for free movement, said:

A Romanian care worker and a British bus driver have more in common with each other than they do with their boss. That is the basis of the trade union movement. Len MCluskey’s job is to fight for their full rights, for decent pay and the right not to be deported and harassed by the state because of their immigration status.

Conservatives pledge to cut overall immigration
Groon, Nov 14 2019

The Conservatives have promised to reduce overall migration if they win the general election. Home Sec Priti Patel said:

We will reduce immigration overall, while being more open and flexible to the highly-skilled people we need such as scientists and doctors. This can only happen if people vote for a Conservative majority government so we can leave the EU with a deal. Analysis of new research into Labour’s proposals for open borders suggested net migration could increase to 840,000 a year under Corbyn. They said the analysis was based on official figures and the government’s own methodology, and shows that extending free movement to the rest of the world would result in average net immigration to the UK of 840k/yr over the next 10 years. This is equivalent to the combined populations of Manchester and Newcastle moving to the UK every single year. This means that levels of net migration would more than treble if Labour introduced their proposals for completely open borders. This estimate is deliberately cautious, and is likely to provide a significant underestimate of net inflows from non-EEA countries under Labour’s plans. Maintaining free movement with existing EEA members would result in average net immigration to the UK of 260k/yr over the next decade. Under Corbyn’s Labour, immigration would surge and put huge strain on schools and our NHS. Jeremy Corbyn has no credible plan for how to deal with the consequences of his open borders policy. His plan to hold another two referendums next year, and all the chaos that will bring, will mean that his government will not have time to focus on the people’s priorities. By contrast, the Conservatives will get Brexit done, end free movement and introduce an Australian-style points system so that we can control our borders and protect our public services.

Diane Abbott, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said:

This is more fake news from the Conservative party’s make-believe research department. Unlike the Tories, we won’t scapegoat migrants or deport our own Windrush-generation citizens. The damage done to our society has been through damaging Conservative cuts to our public services, not by EU nationals coming to work in them.

Immigration targets are arbitrary, says Labour
Adam Forrest, Independent, Nov 14 2019

Labour’s Laura Pidcock has called immigration targets are “arbitrary.” The shadow secretary for employment rights told the Today programme:

What we are certainly not going to do is put the lives of people on the line here in a general election campaign. We know actually that migrant labour does not undercut wages, it is exploitative bosses that seek to undermine national agreements. That’s our emphasis.

Questioned on whether she would be happy for immigration to rise under a Labour government, Pidcock added:

I think these targets are arbitrary.

When pushed on McCluskey’s recent comments that “it’s wrong to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter market regulation,” Pidcock said:

It isn’t right that we place the blame on numbers of immigrants for wages. Actually those employers that seek to undermine those national agreements are to blame for the exploitation. And he talked about stricter regulations and that is what we are proposing. I think it’s a false flag, this issue of immigration. What you are actually doing is mischaracterising Len McCluskey as some kind of false division in the Labour Party.

Pushed again on whether she is in favour of extended free movement rights, as was voted for at the Labour Party’s conference, Pidcock added:

I am in favour of making sure there are conditions where no worker, whether they be British or a foreign worker are exploited in this country, because that is the real issue.

Tory minister admits Tories have ‘let people down’ on immigration
Adam Forrest, Independent, Nov 14 2019

Home Office minister Brandon Lewis has admitted that the Conservative party has previously “let people down” by failing to honour commitments to reduce immigration levels, but he insists that this time will be different. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lewis said:

We are saying we want to reduce, and we will reduce, net migration. What we need to do to do that, and this is why we need a clear Conservative majority, is we need to first of all leave the EU so we can end free movement from the EU which obviously prevents us being able to control immigration at the moment. That then allows us to control immigration from the EU. We are not setting some arbitrary target. We want to introduce a new points-based system that is fair and equal to the entire world. That gives us control and we can then see immigration being reduced. I recognise that people, including myself when I was immigration minister, have talked about reducing migration and net migration for years; we’ve not done that. And that’s been, that’s let people down. Labour obviously let the people in from all over Europe before when they were in government.

Pushed on the finer details of a points-based system, he said:

We’ve got to make sure we take our time with this and get this right.

Police oppose Traveller and Gypsy camp crackdown, FOI shows
Haroon Siddique, WSWS, Nov 14 2019

Proposals to criminalise unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller encampments fly in the face of police recommendations to make more sites available to best tackle the situation, it has been revealed. The home secretary, Priti Patel, this month announced plans to crack down on unauthorised Traveller camps, including by making trespass a criminal offence. But police responses to a consultation launched last year about dealing with such encampments show forces are opposed to such a move. Their submissions, obtained by the Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) charity under freedom of information (FOI) legislation, showed that 75% of police responses indicated that their current powers were sufficient and/or proportionate. Additionally, 84% did not support the criminalisation of unauthorised encampments and 65% said lack of site provision was the real problem. Abbie Kirkby, advice and policy manager at FFT, said the proposed laws would make the lives of Gypsies and Travellers a misery. She said:

The evidence we have collected shows that the Home Office are deliberately ignoring police views on unauthorised encampments. The timing of the consultation announcement makes it clear that the government’s motive is to use Gypsies and Travellers to gather votes at election time. There is no point in bringing in more laws which tell Travellers where they can’t go when you aren’t telling them where they can go.

The charity made FOI requests to individual forces, police and crime commissioners and three police bodies after the Home Office refused to tell it how many constabularies supported criminalisation of trespass in their submissions to last year’s consultation. In all, 20 forces said they responded to the consultation and shared their submissions. Five did not respond to the FOI request, and the remainder said they did not engage with the consultation. In its consultation response, the National Police Chiefs Council, and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said:

The lack of sufficient and appropriate accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers remains the main cause of incidents of unauthorised encampment and unauthorised development by these groups.

It added that criminalisation of trespass would likely breach the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. Cambridgeshire police force concurred, saying it “would be criminalising a culture and lifestyle.” West Yorkshire police said existing powers enabled a swift and effective response where necessary, while Surrey police said:

Revised powers does not tackle the root cause of site provision.

Charities, including FFT, have warned that nomadic societies are in the midst of of a housing crisis because of a shortage of authorised sites for Gypsies and Travellers to set up on. Therefore, unauthorised encampments have been increasing, often enraging some permanent residents. FFT, whose report on the subject is published on Thursday, says the government should be moving from an enforcement approach to one of provision. Its recommendations include reintroducing the statutory duty, repealed in 1994, on local authorities to provide official sites for Gypsies and Travellers. One traveller, Terry, said:

The evictions are ridiculous. You’ve got children crying, women crying … There’s no time to do anything, you throw everything on to the back of your van and you’ve got to go. They escort you down the road, then after a while they leave you, and then you’ve got to pitch up somewhere else. Then you go through it all over again. It’s a never ending, vicious circle of hatred and racism.

The proposed changes are the subject of a consultation closing on Mar 4 2020. A Home Office spox said:

As part of the consultation further views from police forces will be taken into consideration along with the views of local authorities, travellers and communities. It is not for us to pre-empt the outcome of these discussions.

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