Labour ‘Got It Wrong’ on Immigration, Says Ed Miliband

Robert Winnett, Telegraph (London), September 25, 2011

The Labour leader insisted that the party had not set out to mislead the public over immigration but that the party’s policies had “effects on people right up and down the country” and that not enough was done to protect British workers.

Mr Miliband made the admission in an interview on the first day of Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool during which the party is under pressure to admit to mistakes made during its time in Government.

In the interview, the Labour leader also refused to criticise trade unions for threatening to strike in a dispute over pension reform.

Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister, was recorded during the last election campaign criticising a pensioner expressing concern over immigration–an incident which is credited with characterising how Labour fell out of touch with the concerns of its supporters.

Yesterday, Mr Miliband was asked if he accepted that Labour had “lied” over the impact of its immigration policies.

“I don’t agree that we lied but I do agree that we got it wrong. I think we underestimated the level of immigration from Poland, which had a big effect on people,” he said

In another interview, he said: “I think we did introduce, we did allow the entry of Poland into the free movement of labour too quickly, and that clearly had effects on people right up and down the country. We’ve clearly got to learn those lessons for the future when it comes to future accession…if you have a more open economy in Europe, you’ve got to put in the right protection for people, for workers.”

The previous Labour Government allowed virtually unchecked immigration from eastern Europe to Britain.

Ministers initially claimed that the policy would only lead to about 15,000 people moving to this country annually–but hundreds of thousands of Poles and other eastern Europeans arrived.

It came as the Coalition will this week publish five reports which the Labour government failed to publish which showed that some migrants were more likely to be unemployed and less likely to engage with their communities.

One suggests that “immigrants in the UK exhibit lower employment rates than natives” and “immigrants are less likely than natives to engage in any form of civic participation”.

Another reveals that 27 per cent of people from Bulgaria and Romania, who joined the EU in 2007, had “low education levels”, while, as of 2009, more than 15 per cent of those in the UK were claiming benefits.

Mr Miliband, a former adviser to Gordon Brown and minister under the former Prime Minister, is increasingly being urged to distance himself from the previous administration with a “mea culpa” strategy this week.

Yesterday, he said: “I think we got some things wrong. Look, I think one of the things about me and my leadership is I’m the first person to say what we got right and what we got wrong. The biggest thing of all–and I will be saying this in my speech on Tuesday–we’ve got to change the way our economy works. We didn’t do enough to change the ethic of our economy. We’ve got a short-term fast buck economy.”

Liam Byrne, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said the party would not get re-elected if it delayed the “difficult business of getting back out there to think about what we got wrong, what we got right, and what we need to change.”

The Labour leader is also set to struggle this week to shake-off his “red Ed” nickname earned because of his apparent closeness to the trade unions.

Yesterday, he refused to condemn strike action and one of his first engagements at the Liverpool conference was a private meeting with trade unionists.

Asked about the strikes, Mr Miliband said: “I think they’ve got to be avoided, and I think the way they’ve got to be avoided is by government getting around the table and seriously negotiating.”

He added: “So what I say to the government is let’s not go back to the 80s, let’s not go back to a government spoiling for a fight. Let’s have a government seriously negotiating. There’s two months till this strike may happen. Their job is to avoid it happening.”

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  • Anonymous

    “people from Bulgaria and Romania,” AKA gypsies.

    I think what really upsets the labour party about Polish immigrants is that they work and support themselves.

    The labour party wants immigrants who will be life long benefit slugs for generations. These slugs will vote labour for the next 500 years. Their disfunctional pathologies will provide plenty of employment for civil servants who will also vote labour.

  • Anonymous

    1) So it was those Poles who recently rioted in Britain.

    2) 27 per cent of Bulgarians and Romanians = Gypsies

  • Anonymoose

    Labor doesn’t want Eastern European immigrants because Labor’s leaders they will become assimilated Britons within two generations. They fear for the future of their efforts to bring contemporary U.S.-style machine politics to the UK built on a base of a permanent welfare class.

  • highduke

    E.European immigrants mostly take well-paying jobs from the Natives whereas 3rdWorld immigrants mostly don’t because they are on welfare or at dead end jobs, that sums it up. I have a lot of sympathy for Anglos, they did much to help & support Bulgarians & Poles against communism and are losing good jobs because of that sympathy. It’s not like the West destroyed them with wars, seperatism and blockades like the Serbs were. You dont owe the Poles & Bulgarians anything.

  • Eva

    The NPD, the German nationalist party, is of the same opinion as Mr. Miliband about Poles. Stronger in the eastern section of Germany than the western part, the NPD is very opposed to the immigration of Poles into Germany, for the Poles take scarce jobs from native Germans and are willing to work for less, thereby lower the standard of living of the native population.

  • white is right, black is whack

    Yes, I sure many white britons would prefer blacks, middle easterners over white, polish immigrants. Sure. If someone told you the word gullible was removed from the dictionary, would you believe that too?

  • June Warren

    I known a lot of people of Polish and Eastern European descent and think well of all of them. Of course their families have been here several generations.

  • Istvan

    Great Britain is a small island that doesn’t need immigration and would be better with a much smaller population. Poles need to build a better Poles and get rid of the Vietcong and blacks that have moved there.

  • Anonymous

    If Polish immigration was all I had to worry about, I would be a very happy person. Polish women also tend to be very attractive too.

  • Kenelm Digby

    The irony is that Ed Miliband is himself descended from Polish immigrants on both the paternal and maternal lines.

    Also, Britain cannot do athing to hinder Polish immigration as long as Britain is an EU member.

    Ed Miliband is committed to British EU membership.

    He should know better.

  • highduke

    I just want to add: I admire AmRen for having the courage to speak out about greed-driven immigration from relatively prosperous E.European countries when it was pitty that INITIALLY drove British stock to welcome swarthy & yellow 3rdWorlders. We all NEED a form of pan-Euro identity to prevent another world war but if you think that it’s somehow better for a greedy White foreigner to take your progeny’s jobs than a poor Black, Brown or Yellow, then you need to take a good look at yourself.

  • Sardonicus

    “Ministers initially claimed that the policy would only lead to about 15,000 people moving to this country annually—but hundreds of thousands of Poles and other eastern Europeans arrived.”

    Those damn Pollack’s are taking over the place! Do you really think the controlled British media would allow Miliband, a descendent of Poles, to attack criminal nonwhite immigration from Pakistan, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean? I didn’t see gangs of Polish “youths” ransacking whole neighborhoods in the resent “troubles” Get real, too much immigration is bad for employment, but the Poles are the least of formerly Great Britain’s immigration problems.

  • Anonymous

    Of course we wouldn’t want Britain to be overrun by Polish immigrants… but it’s obvious that Polish immigrants probably aren’t Britain’s biggest problems regarding immigration and race issues.

  • fred

    Mr Miliband, a former adviser to Gordon Brown and minister under the former Prime Minister, is increasingly being urged to distance himself from the previous administration with a “mea culpa” strategy this week.

    I guess it’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission eh? They knew it all along and did exactly what they intended to do.

  • Anonymous

    Polish? You just have to laugh. It’s not the Polish, so Labour still gets it wrong!

  • Franz

    German writer here. If I had the chance to swap all the non-white enrichment manifesting itself on our streets for a bunch of Poles, I’d take the deal and not think twice about it.

    Actually, the Poles bettered themselves tremendously in the last two decades. After the Iron curtain came down, they tended to thieve a lot. Who can blame them? The poor sods were raised in a a communist regime.

    Fast forward 20 years later and the Poles remade themselves into Europe’s model citizens. Hard working entrepreneurial types making themselves useful wherever they go.

    Labour claiming that the Poles caused all the problems is akin to Gorbachev saying: “We got it wrong. We had too few tractor factories. But for a few more tractors the Soviet Union would still be a great place to be.”

  • Chicagoan

    They have a lot of their own citizens unemployed and collecting benefits so why would they need others to come in and work? There seems to be a disconnect somewhere. Perhaps they could divest themselves of all the third-worlders they have living there; that would clear the deck quite a bit. For every Pole they let in they should deport a third-worlder.

  • Deirdre

    Polish immigrants in Dublin actually tried to set up an all-Polish-speaking school, if my memory serves me. Until then the Dubs didn’t really care about all the Poles living in Ireland, but that irritated them a wee bit… Polish immigration into Britain is the least of their problems. At least they can be classified as ethnic kin, maybe not ACTUAL Angles and Saxons, but close enough. Prefer Bantu? Not a problem, a large delivery is probably on the way either by boat or breeding. I suppose 100.000 Poles squatting in Cardiff might be annoying, but really people, I think there are more pressing issues over there. The day the Empire Windrush sailed into the Thames was a sad day for merry old England…..

  • Jason Robertson

    Americans may not be particularly interested in the grim details of the 50 year story of immigration into the UK, attempts to control it and attempts to prevent or undermine any controls, and the way in which “multiculturalism” spread upwards from its subversive “Marcusean” base in local government, journalism and education. There are several good books on various aspects but no single account of the whole dreadful business from “our” perspective.

    The initial Jamaican immigration in the 1950s occurred partly as a result of US policy in switching sugar imports to Cuba and banning West Indian immigration; later the Black Power movement influenced “anti-racism” in British politics.

    For a good current commentary and archival information see http://www.migrationwatchuk.org

    After the second world war (which did not “save Poland”!) many Polish ex-servicemen and other anti-communists stayed here as workers – how ironic that the GB Communist Party then complained about their “cheap labour” and demanded deportation to “People’s Poland”. Poles in the main are hard workers and nice people, though some of their self-appointed modern representatives play the victim card like any other ethnic minority. It would be pleasanter on the eye if British men took pretty wives from eastern Europe instead of the SE & E Asian ugly-bugs they order over the internet.

    The Millibands were only Polish in a euphemistic sense; they were certainly a left-wing family.

    Labour attacks the – often transient – Poles because they are white – its welfare clientele and therefore voters are largely Black, Bangladeshi or Pakistani.

    The Labour leadership will not do anything really effective to curb inward mass-settlement of foreign cultures, but then neither will the Liberal Democrats, nor the misnamed “Conservatives”.

  • Reg

    When I saw the headline I thought that slippery cretin was going to admit he and his horrible party were wrong to enable muslim Indian and Black colonization if the UK. I though I was going to get some semblance of satisfaction from knowing he knew the massive harm he has done.

    When I read the part about the Poles being the problem I nearly vomited. I knew deep down that a lunatic enabler like himself would/could never see logic. Now I’ve got a headache.

    That smarmy pencil necked arsehole is as likely to change his opinions as I am likely to welcome muslims Indians or Blacks into Europe.

    Our day will come.

  • ATBOTL

    This is correct. Polish immigrants had a worse impact on the employment prospects of British workers than Pakistani immigratns because Polish immigrants came to take jobs rather than go on welfare.

  • Archduke

    4 — highduke at 6:55 PM on September 26:

    Here we again with the victim card ! Like Milosevic and his fellow Serbs did not destroy other White countries like Croatia (Slavs), Bosnia (Slavs) and Kosovo (Albanians) with communism, wars, and ethnic-cleansing in the first place? You reap what you sow, and the 78 days of NATO bombing (without even one troop setting a foot in Serbia, by the way) was a slap in the wrist compared to the YEARS of war and occupation the Serbs inflicted on their neighbors just to deny their recognized independence from COMMUNIST YUGOSLAVIA.

    The Serbs LOST all the wars they started, and the West certainly don’t owe them anything either.

  • Anonymous

    This article seems to advocate for only welfare type immigrants like pakistanies, bangladeshis and africans. Perhaps the English goverment worries that the low wage Poles will not be able to pay enough taxes to support all the 5th world immigrants who have turned England into a 3rd world country in 50 years.

  • Anonymous

    #20 Archduke

    Highduke probably shouldn’t pepper his comments with discussions of Serbia when they’re not relevant. I agree with you there. But your scapegoating of Serbia is nonsense. Croats & Bosnians had as much to do with those wars as the Serbs. And NATO & the Albanians were just flat out wrong when it comes to Kosovo. Serbs have a legitimate grievance.

  • Jason Robertson

    For good information on the situation in the global sector once known as “Eng-land” see http://www.migrationwatchuk.org

  • highduke

    The wars were caused by supplying Muslim Bosnians & Albanians with weapons, the later embargo and sanctions destroyed the 2nd largest economy in the region, events for which the Western elites & their Liberal minyon electorate are responsible, NOT Nationalists, whose victory exonorates the entire West. Thank you

  • Jason Robertson

    While reluctant to “hog the blog” I think the following excerpt from an interview of the callow, lack-lustre and gargoylean Labour leader by Mehdi Hasan in the New Statesman (September 26, p.42) is relevant:

    “Milliband is at pains to point out, however, that he ‘totally disagreed’ with Maurice Glasman’s call to ban all immigration to the UK and to engage with supporters of the English Defence League (EDL).”

    Glasman is a Labour advocate (ostensibly at any rate) of a return to working-class patriotism and traditional values gradually abandoned by the party after its PM Jim Callaghan.