Larry Smith’s weekly round up of American politics.
Front and centre in today’s Queen’s Speech was the announcement that the government will be limiting the ability for certain migrants to use the Human Rights Act – and its provision for the right to a private and family life – to avoid deportation.
For the sake of appeasing a handful of Tory backbenchers and shoring up the UKIP vote, the government may have just heaped another burden on already hard-pressed tenants.
It’s something of a love that dare not speak its name, but Powellism has remained a major subtext on the British right for something like half a century, and the rise of UKIP marks only the latest incarnation of this ongoing infatuation.
Anyone opposed to this shameful collusion with the hardline anti-immigration right should write to the Labour Party figures in question, or to their constituency parties, and make their feelings clear.
There is a myth, propagated by much of the commentariat, which says that the public are far to the right of the major parties on three issues – immigration, welfare and the European Union. It is a myth that has been doing the rounds for some time now, but one which will no doubt be given another boost by today’s local election results.
It’s increasingly becoming accepted, even on the left, that immigration to Britain under the previous government had some negative consequences, one of which was to depress wages and increase job scarcity for the indigenous population.
Since the Eastleigh by-election immigration has consistently been in the news, with all three parties making significant policy interventions.
Each party seems to be trying to outdo each other with rhetoric on how they’re going to crack down on migrants abusing public services, how immigration is out of control and how they don’t believe the official estimates and forecasts.
Britain has an immigration problem – but not of the sort generally supposed.
The facts show that immigrants are a net fiscal benefit rather than a cost, and that immigration is, except for a small negative effect at the bottom end, a net positive for wages (pdf) and for economic growth (pdf).
The problem is the public do not believe the evidence.
Over the last five days the leaders of three political parties have made speeches about immigration. Cameron’s latest speech suggests that there is now a race to the bottom on immigration.