Over the last few months I have been rather perplexed about the stampede of the main parties towards the general perception that EU migration is undercutting British jobs. There seems to be a popular view that once the people have spoken politicians should listen and have a duty to act. And any real democrat would be believe in this. But what after listening and analysing the evidence politicians come to the conclusion that the people are talking dangerous bollocks? Don’t they have a duty to tell them the truth and do their best to educate them about the realities and assuage their fears? Or do they just cower in front of the pitch forked mob and promise to ‘do something’ about the hordes of Ebolans who are coming over here, taking our jobs and over stretching our health service?
So I thought that I would scour the internet and try and find the truth about the true effects of EU migration on British jobs. To be honest, I thought that this was going to be an Herculian task, grappling with a myriad of contradictory statistics. I was quite wrong. There is a document setting out a statistical analysis which popped up almost immediately. From a right wing think tank? From a left wing think tank? From that fount of all knowledge, the KIPPERS? No. It is a joint paper written by Amanda Rowlatt and Sam Brand. And who the bloody hell are they you might ask. Rowlatt is the Chief Analyst at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Brand is the Chief Economist at the Home Office. The paper is called Impacts of Migration on UK native employment: An analytical review of the evidence.
For you searchers after the truth and not the political wind and piss which is filling the sails of HMS Great Britain and is in danger of running us aground I would urge you to read it.
I am sorry, but to be fair I will need to quote great chunks of the Executive summary. It will shock you.
“The purpose of this review, carried out by government analysts, has been to consider comprehensively the evidence in this area and to reconcile the wide ranging conclusions from the economic literature, in order to set out the agreed cross government view. Importantly, it is recognised that the impacts on migration on the Labour market depend on a range of factors that vary over time, and therefore the impact of migration on the Labour market cannot be condensed into a ‘one size fits all’ answer.
…… Overall, our assessment is that there is relatively little evidence that migration has caused statistically significant displacement of UK natives from the Labour market in periods when the economy has been strong. However, in line with some recent studies, there is evidence for some labour market displacement in recent years when the economy is in recession.
…….this suggests that the labour market adjusts to increased net migration when economic conditions are good. But during a recession and when net migration volumes are high as in recent years, it appears that the Labour market adjusts at a slower rate and some short term impacts are observed.
………to date there has been little evidence in the literature of a statistically significant impact from EU migration on native employment outcomes, although significant EU migration is still a relatively recent phenomenon and this does not imply that impacts do not occur in some circumstances.
…….the evidence also suggests that where there has been a displacement effect from a particular cohort of migrants, this dissipates over time, that is, any displacement impacts from one set of new arrivals gradually decline as the labour market adjusts, as predicted by economic theory".
The interesting thing about this report is that it is the policy of the government and was published last March. Yet, I don’t recall any ministers quoting it, let alone trying to explain to the public that their fears that this country is being swamped by EU immigrants under cutting their jobs is just plain wrong.
Of course, there are problems in relation to benefit misuse and other related issues that have to be dealt with. According to Barosso on Marr yesterday Cameron is pushing at an open door.
The trouble is the political agenda appears to be being set by the wilful ignorance of the Faragistas conjuring up a terror which in reality is nothing more than a cyclical problem. Of course politicians must listen to the concerns of the public. And if they are founded on real evidence they are duty bound to act. But if the KIPPERS managed to convince the public that the earth was flat and the moon was made of cheese wouldn’t they be under a duty to advise them that this is the most dangerous nonsense?
I fear that as the election is only 200 days away that anyone who tries to have a fact based debate on EU migration will be regarded as mentally unstable or an Immigration Denier. How desperately sad.
Not for the first time Ken Clarke has got it right. We can’t out KIPPER UKIP. And it is dishonest to try.