Skills and Slag Heaps

I really think this (British) government must be losing its marbles. A stricter immigration regime is supposed to be one of the ‘benefits’ of Brexit. Many people have pointed out that this threatens, for example, our hospitals, which presently depend on foreign labour to keep them going. So Teresa May proposes to restrict immigration to skilled and ‘useful’ workers, by demanding that they earn salaries of at least £35,000 (some reports put it at £50,000) a year. But how many nurses are likely to earn that? Or academics, for that matter? She and her rich husband obviously have no idea of what even skilled people earn in today’s Britain; as well as making the ludicrous assumption – it must be a function of the capitalist way of thinking – that ‘skills’ can be measured in monetary terms. (If anything, the reverse may be true.)

Then, to cap a week of Tories-putting-their-feet-in-it, we have the ridiculous Michael Gove proposing that poor people improve their lifestyles by scavenging for ‘perfectly serviceable items’ in council rubbish tips: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/10/07/michael-gove-let-homeowners-scavenge-waste-council-dumps/. To give Gove the benefit of the doubt, it appears to have been meant as an environmental suggestion – using down-and-outs in the recycling process. But he must have realised how it would be taken: back to the 1930s, with starving miners scrambling over slag heaps to retrieve burnable bits of coal.

Are they real, these people?

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2 Responses to Skills and Slag Heaps

  1. TJ says:

    The Tories have not always lacked emotional empathy with the poor and from Baldwin through Butler and MacMillan had many people who understood and cared about poverty, relative poverty, and inequality, even if only from a sense of noblesse oblige. These people have nearly all disappeared since their embrace of neo-liberalism, free markets and phoney patriotism, and the lack of quality personnel shows

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    • Right. There are scarcely any ‘wets’ left (remember Thatcher’s characterisation of them?). For years – even between the Wars – the Tory party was split between its paternalistic and its red-in-tooth-and-claw free market wings, until Thatcher’s time. Are there any wets left? An older and wiser K Clarke, perhaps?

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