What has Theresa May got against EU migrants? Why is she peddling lies about the impact of migration? A look at post-truth politics Theresa May style.
Theresa May has a history of blaming migrants and immigration for the UK’s economic decline. Rather than explaining the truth i.e that EU migration has had a hugely positive impact allowing the UK to expand it’s workforce by 2.1m without displacing the jobs of UK natives*, without affecting wage levels, helping to keep inflation in check** and contributing a net £12.2 b to the HMRC a year Ms May seems hellbent on “blaming the immigrants”.
I think we are now seeing Ms Mays true colours and in her now infamous “If you are a Citizen of the World you are a Citizen of Nowhere” speech she once again blamed immigration for taking jobs:
or – and I know a lot of people don’t like to admit this – someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn’t seem fair.
and Theresa May has made stopping EU FoM a red-line in the upcoming negotiations with the EU even , it would appear, at the the cost of loosing our membership of the Single Market.
There is plainly a large proportion of the electorate against immigration in general and against the Free Movement of workers into the UK in particular. However as @Tony_nog explains in his excellent blog When is a Majority not a Majority? Brexit and Korean Restaurants there is no way that anyone can suggest that there is a majority in favour of stopping FoM at the expense of loosing our trading position with the EU – and it has been made very clear to all that the UK cannot have both.
So why has Theresa May taken this somewhat extreme position?
If one looks at her behavior over the past few years, it does begin to show a pattern.
Claiming EU Migrants are “benefits tourists”
In April of this year Theresa May, when Home Secretary, claimed that these EU migrants are “benefit tourists”. When pressed by the EU for evidence of this claim it came to light that in fact there was no evidence to back these claims as the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK.
Suppressing good news on immigration
It is now being reported that Theresa May tried very hard to suppress any positive findings in a report on EU migration. Theresa May faces accusations from within government that she tried to remove evidence about the positive impact of immigration on the British economy from a critical report that was published before the EU referendum.
Blaming immigration for pushing thousands out of work
Again whilst Home Secretary, at the Autumn Tory party conference, Theresa May claimed that immigration is pushing thousands out of work, undercutting wages and bringing no economic benefit to the UK.
These are just not the facts, as any number of studies show. These claims are debunked in the blog Freedom of Movement isn’t the problem
Failing to support David Cameron in EU negotiations on Freedom of Movement of Workers
A new book, All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class, by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, claims May refused to support Cameron’s hardline approach to negotiations with EU leaders and rejected his plans to ask for an “emergency brake” on immigration – a stance Cameron described as “lily-livered”.
Cameron’s director of communications, Sir Craig Oliver, says in his exposé of Downing Street that the former prime minister’s advisers used the nickname “Submarine May” because she never came to the surface to support his efforts. In his book, Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of the EU Referendum, published in the Mail on Sunday, Cameron’s chief spin doctor says the prime minister pleaded with May to “come off the fence” about Brexit.
Foreign students overstated by tens of thousands
The Times revealed this week 13/10/2016 that Ministers hide report on migrant numbers . The Home Office, after years of claiming that “tens of thousands a year” of foreign students fail to leave at the end of their course. This has led to calls, from Mrs #nomandateMay in particular, for a crackdown on this abuse of the system. In fact only 1 per cent of international students break the terms of their visa by refusing to leave after their course ends, a secret government study has found – around 1,500 per year. A problem perhaps but hardly the issue to headline with at party conferences etc.
The research threatens to undermine Theresa May’s case for a crackdown on foreign student recruitment and calls into question past estimates that put the figure far higher. Official statistics have been used to suggest that tens of thousands of foreign students “vanish” each year after finishing their degrees, but the latest study would suggest that the true figure is 1,500.
The Home Office, which commissioned the analysis, disputed that it was conclusive and said that the work was “not completed”. It has refused to share the study with other Whitehall ministries and rebuffed requests from The Timesto release it, including under the Freedom of Information Act.
Ministers hide report on migrant numbers 13th Oct 2016
Keeping immigration numbers high
Rudd failed in bid to exempt students from migrant curbs. Students are included in the Migration numbers which has the effect of overstating the immigration problem. It has been revealed that Amber Rudd, the current Home Secretary tried to have students removed from net migration figures, enabling them to avoid the crackdown on migrants, but was over-ruled by Mrs #nomandateMay. Someone wants immigration to continue to be the big issue.
The prime minister has taken a hard line against the home secretary and university lobbyists
Amber Rudd made a failed attempt to persuade Theresa May to remove students from the Conservatives’ pledge to reduce annual net migration below the tens of thousands, say allies.
The home secretary is understood to have raised the possibility in initial talks with the prime minister about her brief during the summer. Mrs May rejected the plea, demanding a fresh crackdown as part of a wider drive to reduce non-EU migration.
Ms Rudd duly announced a consultation on further restrictions in her speech to the Tory party conference flagging “tougher rules for lower-quality courses”. As well as tighter rules restricting what work students’ family members are permitted to do, the consultation is understood to be targeting institutions.
Options include the introduction of minimum course fees for international students and a levy on these fees to subsidise bursaries for British students, according to Home Office sources. More radical ideas include setting limits on how many international students are permitted to attend a college or university according to their success in ensuring graduates return home and do not overstay.
As home secretary Mrs May was repeatedly thwarted in her attempts to restrict numbers of foreigners travelling to Britain to study
Rudd failed in bid to exempt students from migrant curbs 13th Oct 2016
How fanciful would it be to suggest that the June plebiscite is being hijacked to satisfy a personal vendetta?
* “Despite anecdotal evidence, we found little hard evidence that the inflow of accession migrants contributed to a fall in wages or a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK between 2004 and 2006.”
Annual net migration from Europe has more than doubled since 2012, reaching 183,000 in March 2015. Immigration from the European Union is currently boosting the workforce by around 0.5% a year. This has helped support the economy’s ability to grow without pushing up wage growth and inflation, keeping interest rates lower for longer.