‘No one can pretend to me that is a good thing’ – Neil Coyle takes Labour to task over refusal to back freedom of movement

Katherine Johnston (06 April, 2019) Politics

Labour's official party policy is still ending freedom of movement after Brexit, and replacing with 'reasonable management of migration'

18677Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle

Neil Coyle criticised his own party’s policy of ending freedom of movement this week, after the leadership confirmed Labour’s stance had not changed despite whipping its MPs to vote in favour of ‘Common Market 2.0’ in the latest series of Brexit indicative votes.

As widely reported, Labour has confirmed that its official party policy remains and end to freedom of movement after Brexit, and replace with ‘reasonable management of migration’.

But after MPs were encouraged to back the option to stay in the single market in parliament’s indicative votes, it had been hoped the party was changing its approach.

Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP, Neil Coyle, a firm Remainer, told the News: “There are almost 130,000 people who live in my constituency, and over 300,000 of us in Southwark.

“All of us lose out by the ending of freedom of movement.

“Every single one of us gets poorer and has less opportunities to holiday, work, study, live or even fall in love in, or with, 27 other countries.

“No one can pretend to me that is a good thing.”

The policy has strong opposition within the party, including more than 3,000 Labour members who have signed a statement calling on Corbyn to backtrack.

The group argue migrants had become the scapegoats for “an unaccountable elite who have run the economy in their own narrow interests”, explaining: “A system of free movement is the best way to protect and advance the interests of all workers, by giving everyone the right to work legally, join a union and stand up to their boss without fear of deportation or destitution.

“Curtailing those rights, or limiting migrants’ access to public services and benefits, will make it easier for unscrupulous employers to hyper-exploit migrant labour, which in turn undermines the rights and conditions of all workers.”

As the News has reported, there are concerns Brexit is already worsening staff shortages in the NHS in Southwark. One in five midwives at Guy’s and St Thomas’ is from the EU. 

The council is so concerned about the impact of Brexit on key workers and Southwark’s economy, it has set up a £2 million fund to help prepare for No Deal.

Anood Al-Samerai, Southwark Liberal Democrat Council group leader, said the policy was proof Labour’s leadership was pro-Brexit.

“For all the bluster and boasts about how progressive they are, the indisputable fact of the matter is that Labour is officially a pro-Brexit, anti-immigrant party,” she said.

“Britain in general, and Southwark especially, has been built by those who chose to move here and build lives, families and communities, making us all better off than we would otherwise be.”

JazzIt says:

Labour is rightly against laissez faire economics, so why would it be in favour of laissez faire immigration, where the size and skill mix of the workforce is determined by big business and the Government has no say over it?

Jeremy Corbyn at the conference wanted to produce 40,000 new jobs in the Green Energy. Under Freedom of Movement, this could just mean 40,000 extra people coming to work in this country.

Tony Sharp says:

Both Neil Coyle and Anood Al-Samerai perform the usual ‘race baiting ‘ of the Liberal – Leftoids trying to mine the ethnic and immigrant vote by mis-characterising the opposition to them. They pretend to unity and diversity but their policies promote divisiveness. Their argument is similar as ‘two bald men fight over a comb’ and therefore entirely and deliberately misses the point.
Firstly they represent opposition to the EU system of so called ‘Freedom of Movement’ and the non-EU ECHR ‘case rules’ as somehow ‘racist and anti-immigrant’ or xenophobic. The policy problems caused by the EU actually kicked in with the accession of the Balkans and Baltic states to the FoM system and has led to a Demographic Collapse in those countries.

Secondly, they both suggest that uncontrolled immigration, from within or outside the EU is positive for the country. This neatly compounds and confuses two distinct issues and social problems by Virtue Posturing, but let’s unpack the actual effects we see every day of their policy. A rational system of controlled immigration exists in most non-EU countries and is based on various criteria of actual skills and the ability to support oneself or family by a high skill set high wage bar to entry. This gives the genuine advantages of immigration without the actually ‘racist’ EU policy of EU citizens only.

By promoting a free for all of non-skilled, low wage migrants ordinary working people’s level of wages in the labour market is undermined as Mr Coyle and his Momentum opponents always lambaste the ‘government’ about. Mr Coyle and Ms Al-Sameri presumably believe another EU policy of ‘minimum wages’ is a cure all for that. These policies actually have caused the decline in the level of Trades Union membership in the private sector and of ‘minimum wages’ in the lower tiers result in it being the ‘maximum wage’ in many employment sectors, especially the ‘personal service sector’ as below. After all as the lady said on Question Time during a debate on the topic “If we stop unskilled immigration .. who will serve us coffee?” yes, very internationalist that! Mr Coyle and Co especially may regard this as an ‘unintended consequence’ but it was in fact predicted at initiation, by our administrative masters in the UK Establishment as a ‘benefit’ and is the sole point of these policies.

This is a perfect model for employers who in fact get a subsidised work force on the ‘in work benefits’ system and of course gross exploitation these people. It is also a perfect model for the middle classes having an Edwardian life style of domestic servants, of ‘Nannies’, ‘maids’, ‘gardeners’ – whilst feeling all smug about this as being ‘inclusive’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ rather than actually exploitative.

Ted Alleyne says:

Unfortunately there is no difference between opposing migration and opposing migrants. To do the first simply makes life more difficult for the second – mainly working class people who wish to travel and make a better life for themselves. Sadly people have always made these divisive arguments – victimising and demonising Jewish immigrants at the start of the 20th century and Irish immigrants before that.

In addition, ending of Freedom of Movement takes away the right of all of us in the UK to live, study and work in the 27 other EU countries. Jazzit and Tony Sharp may not value these rights, but millions of us do.

If Freedom of Movement is such a bad thing, why don’t people advocate stopping it within the UK as well? We never hear about Northerners moving to London having a depressive impact on wages and depopulating the North, but if Eastern Europeans coming here has such a bad effect, people moving within the UK must presumably do as well?

If people are worried about low pay and exploitation by employers, they need to join a trade union. This is what brought us higher wages, better conditions, the welfare state and the NHS. Not building walls and preventing working class people from living where they want to.

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