Cruddas attacks “new orthodoxy” on immigration and welfare


In an essay for this week’s New Statesman, Jon Cruddas MP attacks the “new orthodoxy” on immigration and welfare recipients” which has emerged since the election.

In a joint article with Jonathan Rutherford, professor of cultural studies at Middlesex University, Cruddas writes:

“Where in these current debates are issues of political economy? Where is the deep analysis of power and structural inequality? Indeed, where are the hope and generosity, the optimism and warmth, the search for a different world? Why are we retreating into a sour, kiss-up, kick-down politics? …

“The whirlwind of globalisation has destroyed working-class communities. In the most deprived areas, a culture of shame and failure has taken root. Children grow up expecting nothing, and so give nothing in return. People fear that their identity and way of life are under threat; in consequence, they fear the stranger. This fear then spreads outwards to the wider population, like ripples across a pond.”

Directly addressing the arguments about immigration and welfare, Cruddas and Rutherford write:

“For many young people without decently paid work and housing, it has become impossible to follow the conventional rites of passage into adulthood – leaving home, getting a job, establishing a family and taking on legal obligations and rights.

“The consequences of this social marketisation were inevitable. Insecurity and a feeling of dispossession turned into hostility to foreigners. Righteous anger at class injustice soured into ethnic hatred. Self-interested individualism eroded the bonds of community and corrupted the ethics of public life. Chronic deprivation spawned self-destructive behaviour, addiction, mental illness, criminality and “conduct disorder”. These are symptoms of incivility, however, not its root causes.

“The media responded by scapegoating recipients of welfare, single mothers and immigrants. Images of “chavs” and “feral” children legitimised the criminalisation and incarceration of the young and the poor. Government welfare reforms identified the poor as responsible for their own unemployment and poverty. As it sought to repair the tensions in its electoral coalition using right-wing populism, Labour lost its moral compass. More of the same is not the post-election solution that Labour needs.”

The article concludes by arguing that the “new covenant between Labour and the people” would be for an ethic of reciprocity, an ethical economy that secures capital and employment in localities, and for liberty.

Left Foot Forward outlined on Monday how a number of Labour leadership candidates were talking tough on immigration. Andy Burnham expanded on his views in yesterday’s Telegraph:

Those roots have made Mr Burnham more critical than his rivals of Labour’s failure to understand worries about immigration. “We were in denial. We were behind the issue all the time, and myths were allowed to develop. There’s still an ambivalence among some in Labour about discussing immigration. I’ve been accused of dog-whistle politics for doing so.

“But it was the biggest doorstep issue in constituencies where Labour lost. People aren’t racist, but they say it has increased tension, stopped them getting access to housing and lowered their wages.”

He denies that he is trying to outflank the Con-Lib Government on the Right. “Some solutions naturally belong to the Left – rebuilding social housing and looking at the minimum wage … I would [also] look at benefits for new arrivals. Repatriating child benefit to the country of origin is [wrong]. The man in the street says it can’t be right to send money back home to a child who isn’t here.”

Mr Burnham also advocates getting much tougher on some British claimants. If people refused to work after receiving personalised help, would he withdraw benefits?

“Ultimately. There would have to be rigour in the system. I’d pull back slightly from a draconian no-benefits [rule], but they’d have to take on board the positive opportunities put to them”

This entry was posted in Good Society and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • Pingback: paulstpancras()

  • Pingback: SSP Campsie()

  • Pingback: jennifer roberts()

  • Pingback: Political Animal()

  • Pingback: jennifer roberts()

  • Pingback: Jay Baker()

  • Pingback: Lenin Grad()

  • Pingback: Immigration Tips()

  • Pingback: Carol Roper()

  • Pingback: Nick Sherrard()

  • Eddie Clarke

    John Cruddas is right to raise these issues – I am bewildered at this new orthodoxy, as neither of these issues featured high that I noticed. But we really need to start answering his question – how has this come about? In particular, how has the (for want of a better word) bourgeoisie come to dominate not only the economy, media and (now) Parliament, but also the high levels of the Labour Party. How is it that ordinary people – say those earning 1 or 2 times the median salary – have come to associate themselves with the very rich, rather than their slightly less well off, but closer, neighbours? I really despair that a whole community’s voice has been cut off now, with no-one articulating a postive vison of a social-democratic Britain.

  • Pingback: Justin Baidoo()

  • SadButMadLad

    “Where in these current debates are issues of political economy? Where is the deep analysis of power and structural inequality? Indeed, where are the hope and generosity, the optimism and warmth, the search for a different world? Why are we retreating into a sour, kiss-up, kick-down politics? …”

    Where were the debates under the Labour government. Its because Labour did nothing about the problem, actually exasperating it that we are now having debates.

    “The whirlwind of globalisation has destroyed working-class communities. ”

    So it’s the fault of the rest of the world. Nothing to do with Labour’s over emphasis on social security at the expense of proper business (except if the business is run by multimillionares).

    “In the most deprived areas, a culture of shame and failure has taken root. Children grow up expecting nothing, and so give nothing in return. ”

    The only thing they expect is the social. When you have young people refusing to take jobs on farms because they get dirty and their backs hurt after a few minutes work then they aren’t going to give anything in return.

    “People fear that their identity and way of life are under threat; in consequence, they fear the stranger. This fear then spreads outwards to the wider population, like ripples across a pond.”

    Actually this isn’t Labour fault. Surprise! No, this is due to the media making it look like an area is having a crime wave when a couple of incidents occur. When you look at the overal stats, the UK overall is still a very safe place. Yes there are dangerous areas, but they are small pockets.

  • Pingback: Hannah's Opinions()

  • Pingback: Fr Paul Butler()

  • Philip Martin

    A point that never seems to get aired is…how many utterly shit jobs there are!! Is the best that this society can offer is the monumentally huge number of jobs that require you to perform the most mind-numbing drudgery day after day for shit money? Think about all those offices requiring cleaning which five minutes of each office member’s time could be spent cleaning up their own mess, shutting their own windows, or each taking a turn to clean the toilet. Fancy working in McDonalds or some boring cafe job? No wonder some people don’t want to do this. As for the last person’s point about working on a farm…that is really hard work if you’ve never performed manual work before. I hurt my back looking after horses and it has never been the same since. Have you done manual work? Have you worked in a region where practically all the jobs are rubbish?
    I think we need a grown-up discussion about the place of work in a person’s life. Of course there will always be some drudgery but just think of those poor bastards slaving away in hot kitchens, producing over-elaborate food for the effete rich, and whose job relies on crumbs falling from the top table: this is pointless work and produces pointless jobs! Is this the best we can do for our own people?

  • Pingback: law ()

  • Pingback: Cruddas and Abbott on immigration « International Globe()

  • SadButMadLad

    @Phillip Martin
    There will always be crap jobs that need to be carried out. Are you arging that householders need to package up their waste and take it to the tip too? Because that is what you seem to be arguing for if you take your arguement only a couple of steps further. Have you ever worked? Because I get the feeling you don’t. The point about getting a cleaner in to clean is to allow the more highly paid person to do the tasks that they can do. In effect your ideas are stating that cleaners should have the same salaries as top executives. And it’s not always folk working away producing food for the effete rich, there is the working class who need food too. Producing the food is a mind numbing boring job which doesn’t pay huge amounts. So the people doing such work can’t afford a brand new car and the latests 40″ LCD TV. So what. There are other options as to what they can spend their wages on.

    Yes I know what hard physical work is. Yes you will get a sore back or a few pains here and there. But if you’ve never done any physical work then its just your muscles learning to work properly. The pain doesn’t last forever. The young people don’t persevere because they don’t think it worth while when they can just get the social.

  • Pingback: TenPercent()

  • Pingback: David Wearing()

  • Pingback: SOCIALIST UNITY » JON CRUDDAS CRITICISES THE "NEW OTHODOXY" ON IMMIGRATION()

  • Pingback: Jonathan Taylor()

  • Pingback: Cruddas and Abbott on immigration | United Kingdom Politics News()

  • bla bla

    SadButMadLad

    Its not just about hard work – its about the insecurity of this work and the fact that people get stuck in a cycle of getting a bit of work, a temp job, and then losing their job and going back on benefits. Would you go into work if that was what awaited you? This is what is not being said. That the jobs people go into have no security, the hours are inflexible for those who have children, childcare is ridiculously expensive for people on low wages.

  • Robert

    Lets just hope that the Tories get it right offering more money and more help, because Labour got it so wrong. I thought right when I go down to the job center I’ll get all the help I need, but in fact what they said to me was, look you do not need to look for work, we do not have any work, just ordinary jobs. Then sent me for jobs I could not do, and boy the help you go was zero.

    Lets hope the Tories can get it right, after a life time in Labour, I’ve decided why bother with a group of dick heads like new Labour when you can have the real thing in the Tories.
    Labour had nothing at all to offer me.

  • Pingback: Dan Straw()