“There was one issue where the other two did turn on him: over his policy of an amnesty for long-standing illegal immigrants. And Mr Brown uttered the immortal and long-awaited phrase: “I agree with David.”

It may or may not be coincidence that this is an issue where both men are almost certainly aware that the Lib Dem policy makes sense, but dare not say for fear of the editors of the Sun and Mail. Probably not a coincidence, on reflection.”

The whole column is good.

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7 thoughts on “Matthew Engel of the FT on LibDem immigration policy

  1. Clegg: “I don’t want you to be misled by David Cameron. I’m not advocating an amnesty.”

    The Lib Dem manifesto: “We will allow people who have been in Britain without the correct papers for ten years, but speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long-term to earn their citizenship.”

    On this, as on many other issues, I’m afraid Clegg is a liar. (But then, Lib Dems are almost always liars!)

    1. It’s not a blanket amnesty, I suppose is what he means.

      Thanks for the useful generalisation! I’d be interested to know what you would do, by the way.

  2. Fearlessness about an amnesty in the face of the evil Sahn-Mayle would be a bit more convincing if he hadn’t said ‘I’m not advocating an amnesty. In fact, the only politican in Britain who is advocating a blanket amnesty is Boris Johnson.’ A bit more bravery could also have been shown in making a case for immigration instead of going on about getting immigrants out of the hands of criminals.

    Then again talking about an immigration system in chaos probably sounded all right to The Beast.

  3. I thought Clegg was a bit dishonest about the tax system and its impact on the lowest-paid (or unpaid) as has been discussed here. It concerns me that if you continually shout about how evil the tax system, you aren’t going to get a fairer one but a dysfunctional one.

    1. I agree to some extent: they should clarify their policy as ‘making taxes on working income fairer’. I think that also resonates with those complaining that everything is always about the bottom 15%, which means effectively those on state support.

  4. Is the Lib Dems policy of a selective amnesty really better than the current alternative? Depends in large part on what you think the impact of the Lib Dems policy on incentives to immigrate illegally would be. It also depends on all sorts of other things such as how many would benefit, what would the fiscal impact be etc. You could make a moral argument, but Clegg doesn’t when he presents the policy – and even so, I doubt there’s a moral argument in this area which would trump all cost/benefit considerations. So I reckon this question requires careful thought and analysis rather than assertions.

    There is certainly a more lamentably bad immigration policy around, but unfortunately that’s also from the Lib Dems – the regional work permit idea. Can you really imagine a Lib Dem government putting in the resources that would be required to enforce such a policy? What would they cut to fund the thousands of new inspectors who would be required to check that small businesses weren’t recruiting people who had the wrong county on their work permit? Even if they found the resources it is totally incredible that they would have the appetite to enforce it.

    If the Lib Dems don’t get electoral reform, it will be these and the euro policy to blame.

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