Not much to disagree with there. Spain's had, what - five amnesties ? Strangely, they get bigger and bigger.
The "amnesty" will simply send out a signal to the waiting millions, nay, tens, hundreds of millions, that if you blag your way into the UK, you need only keep your head down for as long as it takes for your sheer numbers to become a political and logistical embarrassment, whereupon the next one-off and absolutely, irrevocably final amnesty will take place.
Just consider the thousands who camp out at what is effectively Nouvelle Sangatte. Listen to the interviews. They have paid serious money to work their way across Europe in the hope of reaching what, despite all attempts at dissuasion, they genuinely believe to be some kind of El Dorado.
Worse, they also feel a sense of entitlement to be here, usually based on some woolly but unshakable notion of reparation for what the British have historically "done to their people". These guys are not simply attempting to break into the country for their economic improvement, they are exercising their perceived birthright. They are entitled, they believe, to the house and the benefits payments they expect to receive in the UK. The feeble attempts of the British authorities to exclude them are no more than an incomprehensible and unwarranted annoyance.
It is an attitude which finds echoes across the world.
You do not stem that determined flow by saying, "Look chaps, we're full now. Yes, we know we managed to find room for the last lot, but no more. Be good fellows and just bugger orf, will you. What! Wait a minute! No! Stop that man! — Oh dear. — Perkins, just, er, quietly increment that Absolutely Non-negotiable Limit again, there's a good chap."
An amnesty will not stem the demand; it will exacerbate it. I see nothing in the actions or intentions of our government to address that consequence.
He then strolls down to the Square to take a look :
People were handing out Union flags along with the leaflets, which struck me as a bit impertinent, to be honest. And there was even, Gordelpus, a feeble rendering of "God Save the Queen". Sorry, guys, I'm not convinced.
Obviously somebody's idea is to paint these "undocumented workers" as patriotic types simply dying to wrap themselves in the flag of the Mother Country. The various lefties blogging the rally aren't convinced either :
My bit of the demo had huge numbers of people waving Union Jacks, which was slightly disconcerting. I saw one banner for Algerian Refugees that was one huge Union Flag and frankly I'm not going to be the one to say that's wrong. Context is everything and if people want to use national symbols to help them press for being treated as equal citizens, well that makes sense to me even if I'm not used to it.
Although when a rousing chorus of God Save the Queen went up I did find myself rocking back and forth muttering to myself "It's alright, it's alright, they don't really mean it" although probably quite a few did.
I think the translation is : 'this patriotic display's a bit creepy, even though I know it's just a show'.
Lots and lots of the marchers were carrying small and large butchers’ aprons to affirm that they have as much right to be treated with dignity as anyone else. You’d need to be a seriously ultra-left idiot to tell them that they were wrong to do so.
Translation : 'if it fools a few useful idiots, then it's acceptable as a (transitional) tactic'.
Slightly tangential, but an interesting-if-true comment on the current Labour troubles at Socialist Unity :
It's true that on economics the BNP are probably to the left of Labour. I don't know if the BNP are still campaigning as 'the Labour Party your grandparents voted for', but you could mount an argument that major BNP gains might force NuLab into adopting more radical, worker-friendly policies - if only to provide an alternative opposition to the current political consensus that globalised capitalism is the only game in town.
A little birdy told me that some BIG things are happening within the Compass circle right now. A number of MPs within the circle of Compass are preparing to make moves after the Euro Elections, but only if the BNP make a significant breakthrough, they believe this would be enough for them to put forward their centre-left manifesto, and believe it would be enough to inspire the Labour grassroots to get fully behind a Compass candidate in the event of the Blairites looking to oust Brown.
The source suggests that the Compass MPs don’t have the bottle to publically make moves against Brown, however they do have a contingency plan in the result of a Labour leadership contest, followed by a General Election. My source also affirms that Compass would have a swift General Election in the event of their candidate winning.
They believed personally that the Compass candidate would come to an agreement with Cabinet Brownites to prevent the move of a Blairite candidate such as James Purnell from putting forward a reactionary, anti-welfare policy agenda which would be little different from BNP populism, and we can see evidence of Blairite figures moving in this direction already. However they could (or would?) not confirm who the Compass candidate might well be.
Trouble is, I can't see that the Labour left as currently constituted is capable of any radicalism which can actually attract votes. On lefty blogs lately the most reviled figure in the Labour Party has been James Purnell - because he suggested that those receiving disability benefits because of their alcoholism could have them cut unless they tried to clean up.
Now to most working people that's a no-brainer. Why should an alkie or smackhead actually get greater benefits than someone who's unemployed and trying to find work ? But to what passes for the left these days, it's an outrage, attacking the most vulnerable in society etc. The party of the working class is now the party of the non-working class. I just can't see that playing well on the doorstep. Any more than I can see this lot of same-olds inspiring the voters.
No, Labour are knacked no matter what. The Tories will win the big prize and form the next government. The fight will be over the smaller prizes.
And while I'd love to be proved wrong, I reckon about two years before the Tories are also in the electorate's bad books. After all, they won't have the head-start of goodwill that Blair had in 97.