Monday, February 02, 2009

Nothing ain't for nothing

I saw the famous accommodation barge last time we went up to the once-thriving, now near-abandoned, fish-docks to stock up (scallops from Chile, prawns from Bangladesh) and thought it was just the mother-ship for the Skegness wind-farm. Hideous thing. What none of us know.. well I don't, is whether these Italian tradesmen are being preferred because they do indeed have specialist skills not available locally or:

(a) work cheap


(b) possess a work-ethic lacking in the local workforce.*

What we do know is that in a free market, workers will travel from low-wage to high-wage economies and not the other way round, as surely as water always flows downhill. And that nobody would live in a rotting hulk moored in snow-blasted Grimsby harbour if they could get the same work for the same money back in Italy. "No discrimination" my arse. Something smells fishy, and it's not just the breeze wafting across the Humber from Hull.

Meanwhile, down here in the Fen end of Lincolnshire... nobody seems to want to strike for the right to freeze their balls off working bent double in a field - no protests from the English in Boston about the loss of cabbage-picking and carrot-sorting jobs to Europeans. Over 20,000 foreigners now live in the town giving it the highest proportion of any in Britain. Coincidentally, it's also the fattest place in Britain with a third of its residents being classed as clinically obese - most of these being those displaced from their traditional manual work and now assisting the local economy by claiming sick benefits.

This next bit is anecdotal-(ish): Each successive wave of immigrants - Portuguese, Poles, Latvians..., when they've been here long enough to qualify, can claim benefits when it gets pushed off the land by the latest arrivals. So effectively, we're paying double the cost of picking the crops... Once in the price of the goods at the shop... then again through taxes. Brilliant.

No wonder the unions are worried. Cold comfort for them from Mandy, who can afford to believe in all this stuff - it all made perfect sense to him when he did his bit for freedom of movement and went to work in Europe at £180,000 pa. Roll on the backlash. Let's hope pet projects like the Olympics site (37% foreign workers) don't get targeted. Oh no.

probably (b)


Selena Dreamy said...

In addition, of course, Mandelson also insists that I take out a loan, buy a car, acquire a house, and go on holiday. Personally, I am firmly opposed to such profligate baloney, but, then, I suppose, he's got the full weight of Brown's economic wisdom behind him.

It’s amazing, really, to quote Dominic Lawson, "that the government should be thinking of ways to encourage the public to take on more personal debt, when the total level of such borrowings is already £1.5 trillion (larger than the national gross domestic product) and about 400 people are being declared insolvent or bankrupt every day."

All Shook Up said...

Yeah, Brown's cure for a hangover from a decade's worth of binge-drinking is to hand out free cheap plonk.

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