Don’t blame the immigrants – blame the rich

Get angry, get furious, but get angry at the right people.

Get angry, get furious, but get angry at the right people

Noam Chomsky reminds us that the best way to give the impression of democracy is to limit the debate to a very narrow set of issues, and then allow people free reign within this spectrum.

This beautifully describes current political discourse in this country. We have raging debates about the EU and immigration, yet barely touch the issues that really matter.

The reason the economy crashed in 2008 wasn’t because of us lavishing luxury flat-screen TV’s on the unemployed, or because so many immigrants came to claim benefits- it was because of an unbridled financial sector gambling on all of our futures.

The reason we have a housing ‘shortage’ isn’t because our country is filling up so fast we’re nearly out of space (only 6.8 per cent of the land of this country is built upon), it’s because we have failed for decades to build a suitable amount of housing- regardless of immigration.

We do not have a ‘cost of living crisis’ because of an influx of immigrants – we have stagnating wages because of continued concessions to big business and corporate greed.

This is exactly the same problem that is seen the world-over. We’re constantly told that wages are low because of ‘uncontrolled’ immigration, and any forced rises in the minimum wage will result in higher unemployment. And then no one mentions the gigantic salaries that those at the top of these companies ‘earn’.

Times are not tough for everyone in this country – whilst the average worker has seen a decline in the value of their wages over the last four years under a Tory government, FTSE 100 bosses have seen their earnings soar. This is compounded by outrageous rents charged by landlords, having now to be propped up by housing benefits.

This is the heart of the problem – not additional workers in the market. Additional workers help drive growth of business’, which leads to more job creation.

Immigrants have been proven time and again to put more into the coffers than they take out – they are better net contributors than British citizens are. We have allowed ourselves to be side-tracked and hoodwinked. We’ve forgotten the real enemy.

We need to remember what the real problem is – and it’s exactly the same problem in many of the countries immigrants are coming from – profit consistently being put before people. The immigration debate is a convenient mask, a clever distraction from what really matters.

At a time of widening inequality, when the richest five families in the UK earn the same as the bottom 20 per cent, when the worlds 85 richest own the same wealth as half the globe, that’s where the anger should be directed.

It isn’t racist to question the merits of immigration, but the tone the debate is beginning to take on in this country is decidedly ugly. As we marvel at the latest UKIP scandal or a picture of Farage in the pub we’re also missing the dodgy dealings of Wall Street and the City that are sapping pounds out of our pockets.

Only the Green Party seem to really understand this. This is why we refuse to engage in the negative rhetoric that the other major parties have all succumbed to surrounding immigration – not out of burying-our-heads-in-the-sand dogmatism, or idealistic left-wingery, but because we realise the cause of our problems really do lie elsewhere.

This is why we instead focus on implementing a living wage, on opposing the TTIP and on fair pay ratios in companies.

The rich have gambled on our futures, allowed sating their own ferocious appetites to take precedent over our well-being.

Get angry, get furious, but get angry at the right people.

Bradley Allsop is a student and member of the Green Party

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