Sunday, May 02, 2010

LibDem Immigration Policy Unravels

At the best of times, Ed Davey is a politician who I find intensely irritating. He looks and sounds so holier than thou. I console myself that whenever he appears on TV it loses the LibDems votes. And his appearance on the Politics Show today was no exception. He made Pinocchio look truthful. He made so many spurious claims about immigration that it was difficult to know where to start to refute them. But those nice people at CCHQ have just issued a cutout and keep guide...

• Davey repeated Nick Clegg’s claim in the final Leaders’ Debate that 80 per cent of immigration comes from the EU and therefore can’t be controlled. The real figure is less than a third.

• Davey said that the Conservatives supported ‘an amnesty called the 14 year rule.’ This is not true. Conservatives do not support the 14 year rule, which is in any case for exceptional cases, unlike the Lib Dems’ blanket amnesty.

• Davey said that his party’s amnesty was ‘a one-off’ that ‘would have no impact’ on immigration. Evidence from other countries that have tried amnesties shows that they lead to more illegal immigration and more amnesties as they encourage more illegal immigrants to try their luck.

• Davey claimed that the Conservatives removed exit checks when they were last in Government. This is not true – it was Labour who removed them in 1998 and the Conservatives support their reintroduction.

And to add insult to injury, Davey finished his comments on immigration by saying that ‘People dislike politicians because they don’t tell the truth’. Pot, Kettle, Black.


Silent Hunter said...

Remind me again Iain; in the biggest part of the expenses scandal - the flipping of homes - how many Lib Dems did this in comparison to Tory MP's?

I know the Lib Dem MP's scored a ZERO for this.

So how many Tories flipped their homes to make money out of the taxpayer?

Shall we start with Bercow and move on from there.

I realise it's annoying to not be able to smear the Lib Dems with this, but frankly I think the reason they are doing so well, is that we all remember it was the big two parties who were most responsible for the expenses scandal.

So maybe they've "earned" the right to be a bit "holier than thou".

Mike said...

Davey won't get the job as Nick's assistnat on the 'How much is that doggy in the window' game show.
Ming will wheel on the drinks trolley!

Manfarang said...

Does the Conservative "cap" on immigration include foreign spouses of British citizens?

Praguetory said...

I knew Clegg's claim on the percentage of migration which is from the EU was wrong... Well done on calling him out on it.

jaybs said...

As always with Ed Davey he has this "holier than thou" attitude and he talks with such confidence when it clear it all Waffle and scripted answers, which you point out Iain are far too often incorrect.

Manfarang said...

Migration or Immigration?
Its not quite the same.
Anyway,little or no immigration= backwater.

Anonymous said...

@Silent Hunter. As usual Libdems diversionary tactic. I can also say that my friend did some research and discovered why the mansion tax of Libdems has that threshold, it is because the Libdems front benchers have all houses worth above 1 million and just below that threshold. Any caps of immigration should apply across the board for a year, whether it is striker for FC X or spouse for Y. Given that Britain is multicultural, why should a spouse be found in Pakistan or India rather than in the UK in the respective communities settled here?

Anonymous said...

Nick Clegg's policy on immigration summarised

13th Spitfire said...

Dear Mr. Dale I am sorry for not taking you are face value but where do the Tories say that they will reintroduce exit checks?

Praguetory said...

migration from = immigration
migration to = emigration

My point isn't for or against immigration (I might be in favour of immigration if Labour hadn't brought it into disrepute) but that Clegg's assertion that it can't be controlled because of the EU is based on a false premise.

Red Rag said...

any chance of answering if homosexuals need curing by driving their demons out by praying like the head of your parties CJS and PPC for Sutton and Cheam said.

Also do you want Gordon Brown to fall under his car as per your parties councillor John Hills said.

golden_balls said...

Saint Stephen of Fry has entered the Philippa Stroud debate your screwed.

admit your all homophobes and we can all go to bed happy tonight

John said...

As usual the Lib Dems are being vilified for actually having a policy on immigration.

The immigration problem:-
-Illegal immigration

The Tories immigration solution:
- Cap LEGAL immigration at an unspecified value
- Ensure that future immigration from EU is transitioned.

Fantastic i'm sure, only that:-
- Doesn't deal with the 600,000-900,000 illegals already here
- Doesn't do a damn thing for illegal immigration
- There are no more countries joining the EU for the forseeable future.

So as usual, the Tory proposal is full of hot air.

Anonymous said...

OTT, but just for the record, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 1992. I went to my doctor, concerned about a lump in my breast. I was in hospital a week later for the necessary surgery. Clearly it was successful, since I'm here to tell the tale!

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the wicked NHS assassins, the Conservatives, in government in January 1992?

DespairingLiberal said...

It may be the pot and the kettle, but at least the LibDems don't have 70 policies in their manifesto written by a woman who believes that you, Iain, are possessed by demons.

I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition, but then again, you never know what you're going to get with the Tories. Anyone for a witch trial?

Chris said...

Davey is a tremendous peddler of half truths. Take a look at this post from the Kingston and Surbiton Labour candidate about the Kingston Hospital campaign.

Silent Hunter says it's OK to for Davey to dissemble about immigration because he didn't flip his home! (Uh?) OK, he had the good sense not to claim for a second home (although to be fair he could have) given that Surbiton to Waterloo is a 15 minute train journey. But he DID purchase a £15,000 mass mailing machine for party political use and bill half of it to the taxpayer under his office costs allowance. Is this really used 50% of the time for his work as an MP? I don't think so. I suspect that right now it is chuntering away spewing out Lib Dem leaflets - giving Davey an unfair taxpayer subsidised advantage over his opponents.

And while on the subject of Lib Dem hypocrisy - what about the story in the now Lib Dem supporting Guardian about how Clegg made a fat capital gain on selling his home in Brussels. During his time as an MEP he was paid a daily allowance that covered accommodation costs so his Brussels home was partly funded by public money. He made a sanctimonious little speech condemning this practice in the first leaders debate.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Clegg's figures on immigration weren't accurate (according to the FT it's less than 40%). However, most of the non EU immigration is made up of students (again according to the FT). Of immigrant workers only 1 in 5 are not from the EU.

Anonymous said...

@Anna: This does not happen in our PCT. That is NHS model. The NHS assasin is NHS itself employinh more people than Indian Railways and as efficient!

Anonymous said...

"Manfarang said...
Does the Conservative "cap" on immigration include foreign spouses of British citizens?"

Bought one in Thailand did you?

Anonymous said...

@Andrew-willams: "However, most of the non EU immigration is made up of students". These non EU students take the legal route of entering Britain through admissions in private colleges and new universities ( former polys). They look for work almost straight away ( they can work 20 hours a week which is absurd as no student working 20 hours a week can study) as they bring just enough funds to last for a few months. Their attendance soon drops as they tend to work more hours, their studies suffer and they finally drop out and disappear. These colleges and universities, particularly the latter where they are found in tens of thousands, keep them on roll even after they drop out, as the recent case of wrong students' progress and retention figures of the London Metropolitan University demonstrated. This is to keep a class size artificially high with the connivance of unions to prevent the university shrinking.
These students form the bulk of illegal immigrants in recent years. More and more students from non EU countries are attracted to use the educational visas to enter the country to work.
It is not a coincidance that the woman who worked in Ms Blears campaign team was a drop out student staying illegally in the countries. The country cannot afford with these many non EU students dropping out from colleges and universities and swelling the rank of illegal immigrants. The number of these drop outs are huge- in tens of thousands every year and as much as 100,000 in every other year. Hence amnesty makes no sense as it does not clear illegal immigrants number as the number is continuously grwing. Only strict capping will have any effect.

Vienna Woods said...

Nick Clegg was in Burnley today whining about both Labour and Conservative attitudes to his party's immigration policy. He said (according to the Telegraph)

"The problem is that David Cameron and Gordon Brown don't have the courage to confront this.

"There are young people here in Burnley without work who are being undercut by people who are working in the illegal economy and they are happy with that. I tell you, I'm not."

Under the Lib Dem proposals illegal immigrants who can prove they have been in the UK for 10 years and can speak English will have the right to earn citizenship after a period of community service.

I'm trying to get my head around this, but I'm having trouble! How does giving amnesty to illegal immigrants help the unemployed in Burnley. Is it not obvious to the trottel that the immigrant will still work for a lower wage and in any case likely make it even more difficult for everyone to get work with an explosion of the number of unemployed caused by this idiotic policy! Not forgetting that the said immigrants will also be able to receive benefits! Who will pay for this - not costed again!

steve said...

Why can't immigration from the EU be controlled?

The French ignore EU legislation all the time; why can't we?

Most first year IR students realise that international treaties aren't worth the paper they are written on.

Gerry57 said...

Under the Liberal Amnesty, who is going to process these 600,000 plus illegals ? How many interpreters are going to be needed ? Where are the school places for their children ? How much is it all going to cost ?

Anonymous said...

@Vienna Woods. First, Clegg make us believe that the illegal immigrants are a fixed number and amnesty to them will clear their status and we will be left with no illegal immigrants. This is untrue as I said in my earlier posting that as long as colleges and new universities admit non EU students-these as a majority have poor academic background come to UK to work, there will be a sizeable illegal immigrant group which will grow each year as more come in , drop out and join them.
Second, when these illegal immigrants become British citizens they will bring their dependants and close relatives, thus swelling the number of benefit seekers. Third, most of them work for less than the minimum wage and when become legal will be unemployable as the minimum wage kicks in. This will produce demand for real illegal immigrants.
Clegg and Libdems have lost out on this and voters whose concern of immigration is second only to economy are seeing the above truth.
The most resistance to Clegg's policy on immigration comes from the second generation ethnic minorities.

Silent Hunter said...

Norman (Tebbit, perchance?)

So does "your friend" have some "evidence" that you (sorry - "he or she") could share with us, to back up your smear?

I look forward to seeing this evidence produced now.

As far as immigration goes - er? - well, I don't think I was the one who mentioned that in my previous comment . . . I shall of course refrain from pointing out the obvious riposte of "diversionary tactic" LOL

Silent Hunter said...


OK, he had the good sense not to claim for a second home (although to be fair he could have)

Aaaahh! But he DIDN'T! That's the point!

Is this really used 50% of the time for his work as an MP? I don't think so.

Oh; so "you" don't think so - based on what evidence Chris? Have you watched him? have you looked into the matter or put down a FOI request to find out?

Well? . . . Have you?

If not, then we can just file that under "Madey Uppy Stuff"

I'm reminded of the Monty Python Holy Grail , Witches sketch . . .

"She turned me into a newt!"

"A newt????

"Er . . . I got better!"

Anonymous said...

@steve. The best ways to cut out illegal immigrant numbers is : 1. to put a tight number cap on non EU student numbers and accepting only those sponsored from their goverments with a clear understanding of completing their studies and going back to their countries. 2. Removing the 20 hour work entitlement for non EU student visa holders. Foreign sudents to USA are not allowed to work outside the univesity campuses, and even within the university campuses their weekly working hours are capped. 3. Refusing Indian IT company requests for work permits to bring Indian IT personnel. These IT personnel bring 3-4 dependants each. We have enough IT graduates and practitioners and they should be trained and employed. The CBI 's and City's enthusiasm for foreign IT workers need to be curbed. They are no more skilled and experienced than our own IT graduates and practitioners. Similar case for junior doctors imported in thousands from India, so much so that Medical schools have sprung up in India promising their students jobs in the UK. We have enough medical graduates coming out of our own medical schools many of whom are unemployed or emigrating.

Anonymous said...

@silent hunter. I have at least the courage to give my name, unlike your cowardice. As for evidence, you can get it. Go and say your Cleggy how foolish his immigration policy is. Smear? Come to my borough and see how your Libdem buddies smear others.

Windsor Tripehound said...

golden_balls said...

... admit your(sic) all homophobes ...

Learn the difference between "your" and "you're" and we might start taking you seriously.

If you're too dim to write grammatically I doubt that you are thinking too clearly either.

Man in a Shed said...

The Fib Dem policy on illegal immigration is both cruel and dishonest.

Its cruel as we know from Spanish and Italian experiences that it will increase, not decrease the rates of illegal immigration.

Its dishonest as the it won't solve the problem, just make it worse and cause more people to suffer.

Nick Clegg doing his amateur thespian manufactured rage thing in a local church just makes this worse.

Will 883 said...

Iain, I think you should review the facts of this.

I am no expert, however my understanding is that the 14 year rule is a standard rule for anybody who can prove they have been here for 14 years. I don't know where you get the bit about it being for 'exceptional' cases. It is a rolling amnesty for all illegal immigrants after 14 years.

Shaun said...

Agreed on Davey, but aren't those CCHQ immigration figures only if you include foreign students too. Does the Tory immigration policy cover student visas as well?

I'd assumed it was just non-EEA citizens immigrating for work purposes. I don't think any of the parties' immigration policies make sense for student visas. Why award points, or talk to business to establish how much migration is desirable for inevitably unskilled and unqualified people?


David said...

The 14 year rule is easy to find. It's on the UKBA. Labour made it law, but as an old codger who worked on the front line for 40 years, I well remember that the Tories would also grant indefinite leave to remain if a person had gone undetected for a certain number of years.It was known as being 'granted leave to enter outside of the rules', and was also commonly used if it was easier and cheaper to grant residency than fight the case or for instance, if it were too difficult to remove a person back to their country of origin, such as Somalia, for e.g. So I can't see where the lie is. Just because Ed Davey knew it existed but William Hague didn't, does not make it a 'half truth'. The Tories have not said that they would scrap it in their manifesto, so I would therefore assume that it is legislation with which they must be content.

So as a floating voter I had popped over to look at the conservative manifesto for immigration. Rather short, isn't it? Only 4 key points:

1) An undefined cap on non-EU migrant workers. Is that a cap on work permits, that's easy enough. But what about their dependents who are also allowed to take any employment they choose. As someone has already pointed out, there are many categories which confer permission to work. Which of these are included in the cap? It is meaningless as it stands.

2)A dedicated border police to tackle people trafficking.
Too late. The new Border Force has already been created and trafficking is a major issue right now and has been for quite some time. What is noticeable is that they do not say that the Border Police will be responsible for national security, a role currently taken on by Special Branch at ports of entry to the UK. If their border police have no remit to protect national security, then Special Branch will stay put and the situation remains as it is now.

3)The issuing of student visas is the responsibility of the F&CO. Under the Tories, Students, whether here for two weeks or 4 years, did not require a visa at all unless they came from a country where having a visa to enter the UK for any purpose was mandatory. Bogus students have been a huge problem since before 1997 and very little was done, if at all, to tackle the bogus schools. They were put on a list not closed down. It was a labour initiative that finally did an audit of all establishments that called themselves English Language Schools. Now all students require visas and it is certainly true that the quality of visa issue is poor, but that is what happens when you are working under labour targets. How do the Tories plan to deal with the huge amount of student visa applications to the high standards their manifesto requires. Will they increase the number of entry clearance officers and if so, have they costed that?

4) "We will promote integration into British society. There will be an English language test for anyone coming here from outside the EU to get married"

Why specifically foreign spouses? That would seem to me to be in contravention of article 8 (right to a family life)of UNHRA to separate husband and wife until one has learned English. It is one thing to take an English test to take on British Citizenship, but to get married?! That is absurd and probably, if tested, unlawful as well as being in danger of breaching the race relations act. It's ok to bring over a spouse from Lithuania even if they can't speak english, but not OK if they are from Brazil. As a key issue, it's a very strange area to tamper with given the amount of human rights claims that will be raised as a result.

So, nothing new here to see, just a couple of re-worded Labour policies, an ethereal cap on migrant workers and a potential breach of Human rights. Well done whoever came up with that!

Anonymous said...

Norman, it is a matter of common sense & experience. I chose to relate my experience in 1992. I didn't muddy the waters with my experience THIS year, when I was investigated for colon cancer. I thought it was a load of nonsense, a simple case of piles, haemorrhoids for the more technicaly minded, but you can't argue with these people, they tick their boxes and you obey. The consultant to whom I was referred didn't disguise his hostility to my referral under the two-week rule, but was obliged to further refer me for sigmoidoscopy, followed by colonoscopy. Nothing malign was discovered. I thoroughly understood the consultant's hostility. He was obliged to waste time on me when he could have been pursuing serious cases. For God's sake, let the NHS be run by clinical experts, not tick-box addicted "managers".

Silent Hunter said...

Norman (not) Tebbit:

So; No evidence then. LOL Thought not!

As for name calling - carry on old sport; you can call me "Mr Hunter" if you prefer. :)

Tom said...

David has it aright regarding the "14 year rule", long unlawful residence and lack of detection prior to coming to light was rewarded with an exceptional grant of indefinite leave to remain outside of the immigration rules by both Labour and Tory administrations.
Backlog clearance exercises have frequently produced amnesties by any other name, particularly when long periods of exceptional leave have been granted, which on expiry qualify the recipient for indefinite leave, simply because the residence requirements are then met.
Immigration Service grognards were dismayed at the introduction of a policy in the mid 1980s to grant applications for leave to remain without further enquiry simply on the basis that the application contained no immediately apparent reason for refusal.
It appears to me, as a retired front line officer of long service, that none of the big 3 parties has a firm handle on the intricacies of the immigration rules.

Straight with you Nick? said...

All I've heard from Nick Clegg in the last few weeks is "fairer this, fairer that".
Lets look at the LibDem's ‘fair immigration policy‘.

Latest figures in the Times suggest there are at present about a million illegal immigrants in Britain, the figure mentioned in last Thursdays Prime Ministerial debate in the BBC was 600,000. In the interest of being ‘fair’ to Mr Clegg, lets consider his figure.

The LibDem Manifesto proposes an, immigration policy containing an amnesty for these 600,000 immigrants. If and when these people became ‘legal’, would not dependents of theirs living overseas automatically qualify to join them in Britain, under present
British and European Law? That original 600,000 could very well double or treble, who knows the final figure? The additional influx of these dependents, would increase the already unbearable pressures on housing, the NHS, Schools and the social services caused by the
present Governments policy.

Can Nick Clegg tell me what is fair about people coming to this country illegally, and working for ten years without paying tax. They would then be allowed to stay, bring their dependents in to join them, which would effectively exempt them from paying income tax in the future. They would also be entitled to all the benefits which the rest of us have paid for, benefits they would not have contributed a penny toward?

Experience in other countries has shown that the implementation of such an amnesty would undoubtedly encourage another million illegal immigrants to descend on Britain in the expectation of a future, similar amnesty.

Labour’s record over the past thirteen years, speaks for itself. Remember them preparing for an influx of 13,000 people from Eastern Europe and we had to accept a million in a sudden, huge flood, because unlike most other European countries, Brown’s Government refused to apply a transitional buffer to facilitate orderly rates of immigration.

Anonymous said...

@Silent Hunter= Deluded Supporter of the new nasty party. Your name -calling is in line with yor nasty party behaviour. No use in answering such idiots.
@David. Nice try but during these 13 years the student visas are issued far more easily even to those who have no GCSE and A levels ( or its equivalent). The new universities and colleges expansion took place in 1997+ and hence no use in comparing to previous period. Labour and Libdems have far more friendly policies that encourage illegal

Anonymous said...

@David: "Under the Tories, Students, whether here for two weeks or 4 years, did not require a visa at all unless they came from a country where having a visa to enter the UK for any purpose was mandatory"

Not true as Maggie Thatcher plugged this hole when she came to power. My students from countries which did not need vusas in Callaghan's time, had to get them after 1980.

Chris said...

@Silent Hunter

On the mailing machine - pretty simple really. I lived in the constituency for two years so I have personal evidence of the balance of types of communication and it's nothing like 50/50. In any case, the onus isn't on me to prove how he uses it - it's on him. He was the one that claimed the public money for it.

Silence on Davey's bogus hospital scare and Clegg's impressive capital gain on his Brussels home I see.

David said...


Blimey then, I must have hallucinated what must have been thousands of student visas I issued at the border control with nothing more than a letter from the college and evidence of funds and an assurance that they would return at the end of their studies. No visas needed. That was my job, I did this day in, day out so I think I know whether or not they required visas. That came later. Whether or not your students required a visa would have depended on what nationality they were. As I said, a visa was only required by a student if they came from a country for which a visa was mandatory.

The issue is not about genuine university students but with bogus students enrolled with bogus schools. The quality of visa issue has declined due to skills shortages and rather than deploy staff to have an ongoing investigation of bogus schools as opposed to a one off exercise, as happened in the past, instead they are offering voluntary redundancy.

Given that putting in place more highly skilled entry clearance officers will be costly where will the money come from to pay for them? No party has said how they are going to control bogus students, just that they aim to. Good luck to all.

I'm glad I'm out of it.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, the Lib Dem policy is NOT a blanket ban.

You can't keep slagging people off for telling lies then tell an even bigger lie in response. That is being holier than thou !

Iain Dale said...

Read it again. It wasn't me saying that.

John said...

The 14 year rule isn't for exceptional cases - it's for anyone who has been here 14 years without breaking any criminal laws or having been served a notice of intention to deport etc. The Lib Dems are reducing this to 10 years. It's not that controversial, is it? Especially as labour are currently granting ILR to a load of people at the minute anyway in an attempt to clear the backlog. The Lib Dems have a way to bring this into the open and once and for all deal with the backlog of asylum seekers. The tories on the other hand seem to just want to win the Daily Mail/Express vote in whatever way they can, and the "cap" sounds the "toughest".

Ajax said...

Voting floaters go Lava-Tory...