Immigration without closing borders

The term “managed migration” was a standard call in every Ukip election manifesto this century. To be anti-immigrant, from the days of Enoch Powell until about 15 years ago, was arguably an expression of racism since most immigrants were from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. But with the end of communism, hundreds of thousands of white Catholic Europeans came from Eastern Europe in the 1990s early 2000s. The 200,000 Poles who stayed in Britain after 1945 welcomed scores of thousands of Poles who could travel freely after 1990.

After 1997, Gordon Brown fashioned an employment-rich but low-pay economy helped by taxpayer subsidies – worth £43bn today – which encouraged employers to take on very low-paid staff. More Poles arrived after EU enlargement in 2004, just as a million Irish came to Britain in the 1950s and 1960.

Other countries faced similar arrivals. Spain is now home to 1.1 million Romanians. France has 650,000 Portuguese. Germany has 2 million Poles. Only in Britain was overt hostility to Europeans made into a political project – firstly by Ukip, then by Tory leaders after 1997, and above all by the anti-EU press.

If May does bring in discrimination against European citizens, it has been made very clear that Britain loses all access to the Single Market – and train-crash Brexit going over the cliff edge will be unavoidable. That massive blow to the material economy would be far more damaging to Britain’s working class than allowing If May does bring in discrimination against European citizens, it has been made very clear that Britain loses all access to the Single Market – and train-crash Brexit going over the cliff edge will be unavoidable. That massive blow to the material economy would be far more damaging to Britain’s working class than allowing

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