Migration Watch’s new Eurosceptic policy: a victory for Blue Labour

Migration Watch have come round to the Eurosceptic Blue Labour position they rejected three years ago.

There’s a highly speculative Migration Watch story doing the rounds today which claims that “more than 500,000 EU migrants” are set to “flock to Britain” (the Sun’s words) over the next five years.

It’s hardly surprising that Migration Watch should produce questionable fodder for EU scare stories. More interesting is the change of direction the ‘report’ signals at the organisation.

In the past Migration Watch have always taken the position that EU migration is a red herring, and that the real issue is non-EU migration. Hence this remark from Migration Watch chairman Sir Andrew Green back in 2011, in response to Maurice Glasman’s call for a halt to migration to the UK:

“Although Lord Glasman understands the depth of public feeling on immigration, renegotiating the free movement of people is over the top. It is simply not practicable.”

In light of today’s Migration Watch report, however, Sir Andrew has made a complete U-turn, claiming that we “face a situation where the numbers from inside the EU could form the majority of foreign migrants” and that “there must be a determined renegotiation”:

“It was crazy to have opened up our labour market and our benefit system to 100 million people from countries with a standard of living less than a quarter of our own. There must now be a determined renegotiation.”

So in essence, Migration Watch have come round to the Eurosceptic Blue Labour position they rejected three years ago. What’s strange is that it’s taken them this long to get here, for the situation with regard to EU migration hasn’t changed significantly since 2011.

Indeed, it was just as implausible in 2011 to claim that zero net migration was possible within the EU as it is in 2014.

So what’s changed?

Well Migration Watch are not known for their opposition to the Tory party line, and it seems reasonable to assume that this U-turn is simply a reflection of the greater mood of Euroscepticism in the  Conservative Party. It might also been viewed as a victory for the Blue Labour position Migration Watch were so quick to reject three years ago.

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5 Responses to “Migration Watch’s new Eurosceptic policy: a victory for Blue Labour”

  1. Jingoistic

    What is this Blue Labour? True Labour is was red is red & will allways be red.

  2. Mikesey

    Whether you agree with Migration Watch or not, anyone at all, including myself, a Socialist, can see that no-one can fit a pint & a half of milk into a pint bottle.
    All over now, our countryside is being covered in little red brick boxes; it takes up to four weeks to get a doctors’ appointment; hospitals are overstretched, police are overworked.
    and schools are overcrowded.
    Whether you agree or not, allowing the populations of half of Europe to come and live in the UK., is not going to make any of this better. It can only get worse.
    It seems totally irrational to me, NOT to agree that uncontrolled immigration is not a good idea.

  3. Migration Watch UK

    For 18 years up to 2010, British emigration counterbalanced net EU immigration. What has changed are the facts. Last year EU migration doubled. As our paper today demonstrated, these numbers are likely to continue into the medium term.

    The call for renegotiation referred to the question of in – work benefits, as the context makes clear.

  4. Martin Keegan

    It would be hilarious if everyone in the EU decided to converge on one of the smaller countries all at once.

  5. interested

    There are already 3 million plus foreign nationals working in Britain, an extra half million in five years is probably an underestimate

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