BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Friday, 21 May 2010


After attacking the 'Tory Right' for disapproving of "those pesky foreign laws" contained in the Human Rights Act (in his second post from under the gloomy ConLib ash cloud), Mark Easton has now moved on to the new immigration cap proposed by the coalition. His latest post attempts to undermine it:

Thinking cap
Mark Easton 14:06 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

'It is the "mechanism" (to calculate the annual limit) that is going to be the really tricky bit', he says.

There isn't really a problem anyhow (thanks to Labour), or a least not a problem about too much non-EU economic migration: 'At the moment, the only non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK are those with enormous wealth, enormous brains or with specific skills in areas where Britain has an identified shortage.' So stop worrying that there's too much non-EU immigration and start worrying instead about the idea of a cap and too little non-EU immigration!

Opposition is growing, apparently, to...the new proposal: 'How will the mechanism prevent the cap damaging the national interest? There are already warnings that stopping people coming to the UK who have skills or investment we need would undermine another of the coalition's stated aims - to "support sustainable growth and enterprise".' (Funny, how some 'warnings' are considered worth mentioning, but others not).

Mark Easton has been caught out over his (mis)use of statistics before, most notoriously over knife crime. Migration Watch (who he doesn't quote) record an instance of this from during the election campaign which is well worth a read:
So, it's with a strong dose of wariness that we read: 'As revealed on this blog, official data show that the number of non-EU economic migrants employed in the UK is falling - down 76,000 last year compared with the year before.'
Am I missing something here (and I very well could be!) but surely this figure - even if taken at face value -, which is being used by Mark to suggest a long-term trend for falling non-EU economic migration - is very possibly nothing more than a short-term consequence of the fact that we were in a very deep recession last year? This figure could be nothing more, therefore, than a blip (a spike) caused by people choosing, for the time being, not to come to a country that in 2009 was deep in recession - a blip that might run counter to the overall trend. Merely quoting a large-looking number which suggests a very significant drop without putting it in the context of that deep UK recession, or even fitting it into the context of several years figures (for example, had the year before last year seen a rise of, say, 96,000, then combined with 2009's drop of 76,000 this would have resulted in a two-year rise of 20,000. Context is crucial with statistics) looks suspicious. Mark Easton's quoting of a one-off figure seems far too convenient. Or, as I say, am I missing something?

This is followed by a repeat of an earlier point: "Some sectors of the economy are already complaining that they cannot fill key vacancies." (With some eight million Brits 'economically inactive', isn't that truly extraordinary? A point Easton doesn't choose to make.)

He goes on: 'The cap could only apply to Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the existing points-based system, since those are the only two categories under which migrant workers from outside the EU can come to the UK.

Tier 1 is for "Highly skilled workers, investors and entrepreneurs". It is hard to imagine that these are the kind of immigrants the UK would want to ban.

Tier 2 covers "Sponsored skilled workers", mostly defined as "people coming to the UK with a skilled job offer to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker". Again, it is difficult to conceive how, in the short-term, stopping these individuals would be good for Britain.'

This last point is the third appearance of the point made earlier.

Then it was back to a Labour 'achievement', which (if Mark is to be believed) has struck a balance which 'business' thinks is too restrictive but the new government thinks isn't restrictive enough: 'The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was set up to offer "independent, transparent and evidence-based advice to government on labour market shortages that can sensibly be filled by migration". Only non-EU workers with a job and the right skills in a sector identified by the committee are allowed in.

Some British business leaders are already fuming that the MAC has not agreed to put their sectors on the list of skill shortages which would allow them to bring talent in from overseas.'
(The fourth appearance of the point made earlier). 'The suggestion that we need a cap seems to imply that the government believes the committee has not been tough enough.'

It's woe, woe and thrice woe for the coalition then: 'So it is going to be interesting to see how the cap "mechanism" might work: set the limit high and there's no point in having it; set it low and Britain deprives itself of workers which benefit the UK ' (fifth appearance). 'The thinking cap will be worn.'
Mark Easton's thinking cap will be worn too, trying to find ways to undermine this government.


  1. People like Easton haven't a fracking clue what's going on outside the cotton wool clad, politically correct BBC towers.

    I know of one company for instance, that dropped a major project, fired a load of permies, waited a few months and then hired a Lithuanian company to continue the work, thus reducing costs in the proceeds.

    It's all very well types like Easton who cover themselves in oil and dance around the Marxist polemic naked, but FFS, can these partisan cretins actually get to the real nub of the matter and discuss the overlap of Tier 1/2 abuses, lack of local training and investment by companies and the burgeoning welfare state?!?!?

    Is it too hard a question to ask?!?!

  2. It is funny that Easton doesn't say which "sectors" are complaining they can't fill key vacancies. I suspect he just made that bit up in true journalistic fashion.

  3. LurkingBlackHat23 May 2010 at 16:01

    For Information Technology the current rules work against recruiting UK staff.

    It is cheaper to pick up computer graduate from India with all the qualifications and 4 - 8 years experience for £30,000 than bother to take a UK graduate and spend a few years training them and allowing them to get experience.

    And then again your company takes on a new technology and you have a bunch of guys in the 40s and 50s on your staff earning £40,000+ with the wrong skills.

    So do you,

    1. send them te grey haired ones on a series of training courses at £800 to £1,500 a week and allow them to get up to speed


    2. make them redundant a pick up experienced Indians and reduce your salary bill?

    In the bank I work for, approxiately 50% or the UK based IT work force are non EU immigrants.

  4. Come to think of it, it's been much the same story where I work - and, unhelpfully for British workers, the non-EU staff here (also from India) are proving pretty good at what they do!

    Clearly a much greater depth of IT knowledge needs to be taught in our schools, and quick - assuming there are enough UK teachers with the knowledge to teach it. (Are we going to have to import them from abroad?)

    We've a huge amount of catching up to do, but unfortunately I can't see many signs that it's being treated as a major national priority.

  5. India is a top IT nation. The technology is new but their education is traditional. That means they have a disciplined environment to motivate them and to learn and are taught using basic techniques not with faddish methods that are anti-educational. Today when I look for the Britain I love I see it in the nations who we taught what we knew and have now forgotten.

  6. Yes, that's a wonderful way of putting it. India's achievement in the last couple of decades is a triumph of good sense and determination. (Would that its western neighbour had pursued so shrewd a path). We should be re-learning a few things from them.

  7. And many Indians speak, read and write English better than than the British !


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.