woensdag, juli 27, 2005

No Borders

Useful tip: Do not buy fake Gillette razor blades from down the market, no matter how cheap the dude is selling them for. It's just not worth it.


So I'm listening to the Indefatigable One the other day on Any Questions on Radio Four, and he's quite competently outlining the link between the London bombings and UK/US foreign policy while simultaneously expertly ripping Oliver Letwin a new arsehole and giving what-for to that nasty harpee chairwoman of Republicans Abroad the BBC keeps inviting to speak on all things American, Colleen Graffy, (Comme d'habitude, neither was able to distinguish between explanation and endorsement. I mean really - If I explain to you how your bathroom is going to smell the morning after you've had a marathon bran muffin and refried beans eating contest, it does not follow that I am endorsing the resultant, um, catharsis. I am merely predicting the likely effect of a particular action. [Yes, that's right - it seems I've just described the last hundred years of Western foreign policy in the Middle East as being not unlike fibre-heavy cupcakes or burrito-filling and terrorist atrocities in New York, Madrid and London essentially as runny poo]), but anyway, dude is hot. Dude is on fire.

But then he's all like, 'One of the things that’s always struck me as extraordinary is how few customs officers we have at the ports...Actually, we probably need ten, 20, 30,000 more customs officers.'

And then, buddy's like, 'everyone [who comes to Britain] should be searched.'

And then, buddy's all, 'we need more police,' and then he goes off on one about tighter border controls. Add to this his position, expounded some time ago in an opinion piece in the Morning Star, about controlled immigration, with a 'points system' for immigrants - which the Tories have also called for.- and it all seems rather unexceptional .

And I have to say that I am comprehensively not down with this line of thinking. Oskar Lafontaine - the leader of the new far-left electoral formation, the Linkspartei, in Germany that has already overtaken the Greens and the Free Democrats according to the latest polls and is even running on 30 per cent in the East - has recently, when mixing it up a bit with the populist tubthumping on the hustings, taken to not just defending the welfare state and jobs from an old, social-democratic/left Keynesian perspective, but also to warn of the dangers of Fremdarbeiter, or 'foreign worker' - a term that tends to echo some of the language used in the country some 60, 70 years ago by the Nazis, and which has opened up the new party to - in this case legitimate - accusations from the Greens of right-wing populism on the model of Pim Fortuyn or Jorg Haider.

Apart from the electoral idiocy of such a rhetorical strategy (opening oneself up to attacks from the party's closest ideological rival, the Greens; alienating students and middle class lefties; and chasing those workers who, if they are xenophobic enough to agree with Lafontaine's chauvinism, will pick far-right parties or the CDU first anyway to impose such policy as would target the Fremdarbeiter), the position is just wrong. Any left party worth the name must - especially these days, put immigrant defence at the forefront of its policies and extra-parliamentary activities. We defend, before all others, the weakest amongst us. It is shameful that Lafontaine and Galloway dress themselves in such cheap and brutal rhetoric.

It was a mistake for Respect, when the discussion of what position to take on immigration came up originally, to have pulled back from socialists' traditional demand for an end to all immigration controls, which are, by definition, racist. Unsurprisingly, Oliver Letwin found himself more than surprised to be whole-heartedly agreeing with Galloway on this issue.

Today, when Brazilians are being summarily executed on underground platforms, running from the police afraid of being found out to have had overstayed their student visas, we must say as unshakeably as we ever have: No borders; No deportations; No one is illegal.

At least the
crusties have still got this one right.

N.B, An earlier version of this piece suggested George Galloway supported tighter immigration controls, when in fact he had spoken in favour of tighter border controls. There is more than a distinction without a difference there, and I apologise for perhaps overstating the case.