Innocent until proved guilty: Revoked

I have been considering the Windrush story. Basically, the British Government asked citizens form the West Indies to come to the UK to help rebuild the country after the war. They arrived to a sickening racist welcome, they brought their children, settled, married and started families. In 1972, the then Tory Government removed the right of Commonwealth citizens to arrive and stay with “indefinite right to remain”. In 2010, Theresa May became Home Secretary with the target of reducing net migration to 10,000’s, and passed two immigration acts, the 2nd of which legitimised a hostile environment including the racist “go home” vans. In addition, it made employers, landlords and horrendously teachers and hospital workers adjuncts of the immigration service. It also produced a duty to prove status i.e. they abolished innocent until proven guilty. In late 2010, the Home Office in a building move destroyed the immigration records of the Commonwealth Citizens which left many of their children in an undocumented state. They became unable to prove their rights of residency and in some cases have lost their jobs and access to benefits. Some have been illegally deported; Under Amber Rudd, May’s successor, the Home Office also set targets for deportations; Parliament is now rowing about the facts.

People that have lived here all their lives are being denied benefits, medical treatment, being fired and deported. It’s just not right.

I have, with comrades being campaigning to ensure that my local council does not support the hostile environment and not work with 3rd sector organisations that co-operate with the Home Office in this area of enforcement. Lewisham Labour’s Council Manifesto states,

Lewisham will become a Sanctuary Borough, protecting the rights of all migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

There is a problem for Labour though, only 6 MPs voted against the Immigration Act 2014 which introduced the “hostile environment” and revoked innocent until proved guilty for the purposes of immigration law. It’s an example where the clock has turned, and I followed the whip is no longer a good enough excuse. Public officials must always consider what’s right, not the line, nor electoral success.

My final comment is about the new Data Protection Act. They are proposing that immigration record processing is exempted from the DPA. This means that proving a right to remain will become almost impossible as the organisation responsible for keeping records does not have to issue subject matter access requests and an effective defence, a proof of rights becomes impossible. We should also note that the Tory’s abolished legal aid for immigration cases and if we leave the EU, we may increase the numbers of those vulnerable to this appalling treatment by two factors of magnitude.

Many of the fact quoted above come from this article at freemovement.org.

A coach and horses through privacy rights

A coach and horses through privacy rights

I have just been approached by a Trade Union member who wanted to know how to complain about his employer’s record keeping. The short answer is to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. It reminded me that the ORG are campaigning to change the current Data Protection Bill to allow non-profits to represent complainants; this reminds me that Trade Unions might also want to benefit from this legislative protection, but I was horrified by the Government’s proposed exemption of immigration data from the remit of the Data Protection law and thus the GDPR. 

Reason

This was published in Oct, last year. A look at the literature on the impact on wages and the public finances of EU migration.

Does immigration harm the job prospects of the UK-born? Brexit and the UK labour market



Two quotes worth highlighting,

Research on the impact of immigration to the UK has detected no negative effects on the average wages of UK-born workers (Dustmann et al, 2005Manacorda et al, 2012).

and

Research also shows that EU immigrants have contributed positively to the UK fiscal budget. This is perhaps not surprising given that on average they are younger and more likely to be in work than the UK-born and therefore tend to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

But you can’t reason people out of positions thy haven’t reasoned themselves into.

Parliamentary Sovereignty’s best sell by date

Parliamentary Sovereignty’s best sell by date

I went to the Labour Campaign for Human Rights meeting in the Commons yesterday, the keynote speaker was Kier Starmer, the Labour Brexit spokesman. He opened his speech stating he had voetd “Remain” based on jobs and rights and woke up on 27th June asking what world we live in. He argued that now we needed to accept democracy and that UK’s politics is about the new relationship with the EU. He argues we need to re-root our rights in UK law! (What like the Human Rights Act?) Labour is proposing a new Law to transcribe the EU’s rights and protections into UK law, but under the Tories this will be weak since the Tories are not planning to bring the “Fundamental Charter of Rights” across into UK law.

Not so bad

Not so bad

Those of you who regularly read this blog will see I stood for Secretary of Lewisham Deptford Labour Party as part of left/momentum slate, and those of you who follow Momentum Exposed will know we lost. This was quite disappointing and we have had some difficulty in working out how to develop Labour’s campaigning beyond the electoralism & careerism practiced by the Labour First influenced majority. I think, and many of my allies agree that one of the differences is that on the Left we want to empower and engage our members and our voters; it’s been hard to do that and get the Deptford Labour Party via its General Committee (GC) to express its views when we are in contention with the new MP, and the Council majority. There would also seem to be a desire to exclude the ideas and enthusiasm of many of the new joiners. It was when looking back at what we as members had achieved, that I came to the conclusion that we haven’t done so badly and you can make a difference by joining the Labour Party. Over the last four years, we i.e. ordinary members of the Labour Party have made a difference, most recently on the New Bermondsey Development aka the Millwall CPO but also we have moved forward the national trade union campaign against blacklisting,  the Council’s initiatives on welcoming refugees, on Education and have even won a commitment to return the Anchor to the High Street.

While at times the Labour Party’s procedures seem strange, and exceptionally ill-tempered, belonging to the Labour Party makes a difference. These decisions have involved us debating with and winning other members to our point of view and ensuring that our Councillors take this forward.

Labour’s Conference Lost

Labour’s Conference Lost

I was privileged to attend Labour’s Annual Conference in Liverpool as a voting delegate. The Conference was the book-end of a summer in which the Labour Party re-opened the debates about programme and strategy which many had thought finished last year. This article reports my experience and views; it is quite long, about 2750 words and is broken up into sections, Unity and the membership, some comments on the politics of Conference, a short section on the future, also covering the Tuesday atmosphere and Wednesday’s Leader’s speech. This is followed by a commentary on the Rules debate and the surrounding shenanigans; the main part of this article/report is concluded with comments on the state of the debate on Immigration and Brexit.

The day after the night before

The day after the night before

That was a shock, a soul deadening shock. In the words of the meme, I felt a grief for the loss of the future I thought I and my children had. How did this happen? How could we have voted to follow the corrupt and the vain, Johnson and Farage. The answer may have been most rapidly and accurately identified by John Harris of the Guardian in an article, entitled “If you’ve got money, you vote in … if you haven’t got money, you vote out” in which he identifies those whom we’ve known about for years, who can be described in a number of ways. In my micro blog post, “Pebbles”, I describe them as ‘globalisation’s losers’, the working class whose towns, communities and institutions have been smashed during the neo-liberal ascendency, communities that Labour stopped listening to and representing in 1997 leading to a loss of 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010. Making this even more problematic for Labour is that nearly ⅔ of Labour’s voters, voted remain, and just as globalisation’s losers cannot be ignored, nor can Labour’s majority of remainers. What is to be done?

Decency vs. Barbarism

Decency vs. Barbarism

Tomorrow is the referendum voting day. As the ‘Leave’ campaign doubled down on immigration, last week, having lost the arguments on the economy, citizenship, sovereignty, and peace,  I planned to write a final piece on immigration, arguing that it can’t and shouldn’t be stopped, and that the Left (and decent) arguments are that we should build houses, reform the housing market, build schools, empower teachers, make higher education free, re-establish skills training, establish and enforce a minimum wage and reset the balance of power in the work place so that Unions i.e. workers can regulate employment conditions again. We need people to come here to work, and we should be proud that we have built a society that refugees want to come to, so that they can be safe.

That’s not why we won, or lost

That’s not why we won, or lost

In London, Labour won 50% of the seats in the European elections, won control of  four more councils and increased our majorities in the others. This rather fucks up the right’s desired narrative that UKIP won the elections. The argument that London rejected UKIP because we are younger and better educated is deeply unhelpful and yet still reinforces UKIP’s story that they are the only party fighting an oppressive metropolitan elite. Funny that. It is ignored that Labour also did well in Manchester, Liverpool and North East.