Messages on mugs: deaths in the Med

Immigration remains a key topic in this election – and not just on the lips of UKIP.  All the main parties are part of what is effectively a consensus on immigration: that immigration is essentially ‘bad’. It’s that consensus that leads to the hideous inhumanity that makes it somehow politically acceptable to let people drown in their hundreds. It shouldn’t be like that, if we have any humanity left.

The Tories and Lib Dems, who passed the Immigration Act 2014, have both been fuelling this message. Amongst other things that act – in many ways the most xenophobic piece of law in recent times – brings into action an increasing need to ‘check’ people to see if they’re illegal immigrants or not. Doctors, landlords, bankers etc etc are expected to check people’s papers to see if they’re what might loosely be called ‘the right kind of people’. That in itself fuels a process that suggests that some people are better than others. It’s not just immigration that is essentially ‘bad’: it’s the immigrants themselves.

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Labour are far from innocent. They abstained on the Immigration Act 2014, and have taken on the whole ‘immigration is bad’ agenda in a big way. The infamous ‘controls on immigration’ mug isn’t an accident: it’s part of an overall agenda, accepting the ‘immigration is bad’ view, despite the strong moral, economic and cultural evidence to the contrary. Anti-immigrant feeling is strongest where there are fewest immigrants, migrants claim less in benefits than natives and make net contributions and so on and so forth, but somehow that is not worth arguing for. Instead we have three parties all pandering to the prejudices fuelled by UKIP and certain elements in the press. We have what ultimately amounts to a dehumanisation of immigrants. They’re not people, they’re migrants. They’re not men, women and children, they’re migrants, and a drain and a strain on resources.

Slap that message on a mug, make a pledge here and a statement there. We need to keep ‘them’ out. They’re ‘flooding here’ (humans don’t ‘flood’ anywhere, only migrants). Better cut their benefits (even though they don’t actually claim many). Better to stop them coming (over) here.

That kind of an approach leads in only one direction – to a place where Katie Hopkins can call migrants cockroaches. A place where letting men, women and children drown in their hundreds is acceptable.

We need to rethink this from top to bottom. And yes, that means everyone involved in fuelling the myths. Whatever Labour strategist came up with the ‘five pledges’, let alone that hideous mug’, is part of the same story. They’re part of the spectrum that leads to calling people cockroaches and setting the gunboats on them. All the pious statements in the last couple of days by politicians – notably Lib Dem and Labour politicians – should be viewed in that context. You’re part of what brings this inhumanity to bear. Part of the problem.

6 thoughts on “Messages on mugs: deaths in the Med

  1. Them and Us. When politicians reach for those depraved depths of sentiment you know that the culture is well to the Right. In fact the organisation Political Compass indicates that as a whole our society is well into the Right-Authoritarian quadrant. And it’s not hard to see that it’s the inequalities within our supposedly affluent society raising the general angst and fear that is being wrongly deflected to migrants. A hatred of Other that should rightly be aimed at the kleptocracy which rules by minimum wage.

  2. Scottish Green Party mug ‘Love Immigration’ – shows their committment to human rights, social justice and compassion

  3. Immigration good for the economy, good at making boring old Britain more interesting, it also brings new talent and insight to the country, but its benefits are felt mostly by the middle and upper classes.

    On the other hand its very real dis-benefits are not an easy thing to deal with if you are a socially immobile, un-adaptable, undereducated, underemployed victim of neo-liberal government policies and you know full well that immigration keeps bottom end wages down and in many places reduces the ease of getting into social housing.

    If at the same time you see the streets you grew up in become unfamiliar and the community you lived in disappear to be replaced by another community that excludes you for being the wrong colour and not speaking the correct language then you are liable not to be able to recognize the benefits of immigration.

    Labour is not UKIP nor are they proposing an end to immigration. Britain controlling immigration isn’t racism its just common sense.

    http://www.labour.org.uk/issues/detail/immigration

    • It isn’t common sense Patrick, it’s racism, pure and simple. Migrants are fellow human beings who have endured unimaginable poverty and misery, almost all of which has been directly or indirectly caused by Britain and other imperial powers. We should welcome them as brothers and sisters, not throw up barriers to keep them out. Have you completely lost touch with your own sense of shared humanity?

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