Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long Bailey has given Jeremy Corbyn a “10 out of 10” rating but insisted she was not the “continuity candidate” to replace him.
Rebecca Long Bailey, who announced her leadership bid on Monday evening following weeks of speculation, is being viewed by many as the candidate who will carry the torch of Corbynism into the next election.
We review Rebecca Long Bailey opening gambit for the Leadership of the Labour Party and question her view on ‘Open Borders’ Bernie Wilcox asks: Does migration cause a drop in wages for the lower paid? How can the laws of supply and demand ‘NOT’ apply to wages?
Jeremy Corbyn announced he would stand down as Labour leader following the party’s disastrous defeat in last month’s general election. Prompting a Leadership battle, Rebecca Long Bailey is a leading contender. This is what she had to say about the incumbent leader after been such a close ally and supporter yet maintaining her own position in politics.
The shadow business secretary acknowledged that Labour had not been not trusted on Brexit , tackling anti-Semitism or its policy platform as she acknowledged the failings that led to the party’s disastrous general election result.
Rebecca Long Bailey praised Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and character as she gave him a perfect score.
“I thought Corbyn was one of the most honest, kind, principled politicians I’ve ever met,” the shadow business secretary told as she launched her leadership bid.
I’d give him 10 out of 10, because I respect him and I supported him all the way through.
“What we can’t ignore was that Jeremy was savaged from day one by the press … We have a role as party to develop the image of our leader and to put them forward in the most positive way, but we also have a duty to rebut criticism and attacks.
“As a party we needed to have a rebuttal unit, a clear structure in place to rebut the attacks against him.”
On the BBC’s Today programme she set out the problems which saw the party lose 59 seats at the general election.
“We weren’t trusted on Brexit,” she said.
“We weren’t trusted as a party to tackle the crisis of anti-Semitism.
“We weren’t trusted on our policies, no matter how radical or detailed they were. They simply didn’t hit the ground running.”
In a break from Mr Corbyn, she signalled she would be prepared to press the nuclear button if she became prime minister.
“If you have a deterrent you have to be prepared to use it,” she said, but stressed she was “not going to be a warmonger”.
Ms Long Bailey the favourite of the Labour left said she could be trusted to maintain “our socialist agenda”
Party chairman Ian Lavery immediately announced he would not be standing and would be backing Ms Long-Bailey.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell confirmed that he too would be backing Ms Long Bailey and also supporting Richard Burgon for the vacant deputy leader’s role.
Open Borders view does not go down well with the public.
Rebecca Long Bailey says immigration does not push down wages, Ms Long Bailey marked out her pitch with a call for an open immigration system – perhaps even a continuation of free movement after Brexit – calling that “the million dollar question”.
People were “under the impression” that their wages were hit by an “influx of so-called migrants, but she said: “That just isn’t the case.
“I have not seen any economic evidence to suggest that the influx of workers from any country across the world at the moment has depressed wages in any way.”
Does migration cause a drop in wages for the lower paid? Leadership contender, Rebecca Long Bailey doesn’t think so but how can the laws of supply and demand NOT apply to wages?
It’s certainly not what the then Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney told the IMF in a speech in Washington a couple of years ago.
“The increased ease with which activities can be off-shored or domestic vacancies filled by sourcing workers from abroad may have reduced the relative bargaining power and wage expectations of workers.”
He went on to say that, “Overall, the greater global supply of labour has lowered the relative wages of lower-skilled workers in advanced economies. While this reduces inflationary pressures in the economy as a whole it has contributed to a long and painful period of adjustment for lower-skilled workers.”
Couldn’t be more clearer there then Mark! So how did the Guardianistas and assorted LibDems and Labour Remainists deal with this given that Carney was one of their great economic cheerleaders in the referendum debate?
They went onto their normal mode of stating that every academic study on these matters has concluded that the availability of low paid migrants doesn’t drive down the wages of UK-born lower paid workers.
However, the big problem with all of these studies is the accuracy of the base data that they use and their use of averages, both geographical and in skill level.
For example, one of the most renown and often quoted papers on this subject is the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance study Brexit and the Impact of Immigration on the UK that concluded “we can confidently say that the empirical evidence shows that EU immigration has not had significantly negative effects on average employment, wages, inequality or public services at the local level for the UK-born.”
Of course, Brexiters have never argued that a highly skilled French car designer working at Bentley would bring down the wages, hours and working conditions of other highly skilled car designers.
Likewise, many of those low skilled migrants working in areas of high labour demand in the South East will not drive down wages because if employers pay them less, they’ll simply lose them to other employers paying the market rate very quickly.
The problem is in low paid, low skilled jobs that are in economically depressed areas. Not one of these learned studies has actually taken the time to visit these areas, talk to the UK-born populace and local employers or even left-wing Labour members like Dennis Skinner about what is really happening on the ground.
The studies nearly all rely on a Government survey called the Labour Force Survey and this survey has huge limitations when it comes to measuring migrants and their working experience and pay.
First of all, although it interviews approximately 100,000 people pa, only 700 of these are recent migrants. How many of these are in low paid, low skill jobs is anyone’s guess but if Paddy Power was taking bets you wouldn’t be far wrong to bet not at a lot.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when you examine its methodology. It selects potential respondents by a random selection of postcodes and sends them a letter. If they respond to this letter, a face to face interview is arranged and followed up by a further 4 telephone interviews every 3 months. During the interview, the survey collects information about the circumstances of the whole household and will ask questions on a range of topics, for example, health, looking after the family and home, employment status, education and training opportunities.
Hmmm. No wonder there are only 700 recent migrants out of 100,000 samples!
There are, obviously quite a number of hurdles that the LFS has to jump in order to take a sample from low paid, low skilled and probably under-educated migrants who may not be living in a semi-detached house with their spouse and children.
The first hurdle the LFS has to jump is that “communal establishments” are excluded from the mailshot. These include caravan and camping sites, occupational hostels and travel and leisure accommodation such as that provided to hospitality workers.
The second hurdle is that the LFS only covers private households comprising one or more persons whose main residence is the same dwelling and/or who share at least one meal per day.
The third hurdle is actually getting the migrant to open the post which is addressed in this case, to the occupier.
The fourth hurdle is hoping that the migrant can read English well enough to understand the official letter.
The fifth hurdle is that the migrant who opened the letter isn’t scared about an official face to face interview. There are lots of reasons why they might be, some good, some bad but all of them understandable. Assuring a migrant who’s paid cash in hand that the survey is confidential just might not swing it with him.
The sixth hurdle is hoping that the migrant actually completes the 4 other interviews. As the LFS itself states, “The LFS has to complete fieldwork to a tight timetable and interview as many of the sampled households as possible which leaves limited time for recalls.”
So, is it any wonder that there are so few migrants included in the LFS and any wonder why the results don’t actually show that low paid migrants depress wages, working hours and working conditions?
If you think the LFS is bad, the other data sources that the researchers use are even worse.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) uses data from the LFS itself and only takes data from January each year which is the very month where hospitality and distribution work is at its lowest. It excludes seasonal work and the self-employed. Oh, and it only includes those employees that have been in the same job for more than a year.
Are there any more useless sources of data then?
Well there’s the Annual Population Survey (APS) which takes its data from the LFS.
And how about the Business Registration and Employment Survey (BRES) which collects information on employees and employment and actually includes self-employed workers as long as they are registered for VAT or Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) schemes. Self-employed people who are not registered for these are not included.
Hmmmm. That’s very useful for measuring low paid migrants, isn’t it? Many of them are self-employed so unscrupulous employers and agencies can get around the requirements of the minimum wage legislation but obviously don’t earn the £83,000 pa when a self-employed person is required to register for VAT.
Finally, there’s Workforce Jobs (WFJ). This measures vacancies but relies on the LFS for its employment data.
So we have five different Government surveys, all of which are as useless as a chocolate teapot in measuring the earnings of low paid migrant workers and yet every single academic study on the effects of migration on the wages, working hours and working conditions of the low paid in depressed areas uses them to proclaim the complete opposite of which everyone in Rochdale, Shirebrook and Doncaster knows from their own experience; that the law of supply and demand works just as well for labour as it does for courgettes.
Oh, and if you challenge this nonsense then you’re a xenophobe, a racist or both and I’m neither actually.
Bernie Wilcox is a lifelong Socialist and anti-racist campaigner from Manchester. He was heavily involved in Rock Against Racism in the 1970’s. A long illness enabled him the time to re-examine some of the basic tenets of the Left in a changing world and amend his thoughts accordingly. He was also a strong supporter of Lexit and also campaigned for Leave in the 1975 referendum. He welcomes debate on these contentious issues providing it doesn’t degenerate into name-calling and insults. Join Bernie on Twitter @berniewilcox
Bernie Wilcox, one of the founders of the Northern Carnival Against the Nazis in 1978, on the 40th anniversary of the anti-racism event; and ahead of a new public exhibition in Manchester showcasing photographs and posters from the carnival. READ MORE: https://bit.ly/2PxyFDC
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