The Home Secretary on the PM

The Hull Daily Mail is reporting the comments of Home Secretary and Labour candidate for Hull West and Hessle, Alan Johnson, on the Gillian Duffy incident.  Admitting it was damaging, he went on:

“I was, to use the Prime Minister’s phrase, mortified.  Not so much for Gordon – I mean he is big enough, ugly enough and strong enough to look after himself – but for Mrs Duffy.” 

For good measure, noting that the Prime Minister did not care about public relations, he added: “Maybe he sometimes seems to be a politician not of this age.”


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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17 Responses to The Home Secretary on the PM

  1. Carl.H says:

    Although the media made some drama of the episode it is no more than the public have thought for a very long time. The sincerity of politicians has alway`s been known, as I`ve stated before they are no different to salesmen who smile and say all the right things on cue.

  2. Senex says:

    The problem for the PM is that he knows many of his voters have gone over to the BNP on immigration issues so could this have been behind the unfortunate remark, a sort of resentment. The other problem for the government is that of the Schengen Aquis.

    The section ‘Variable Speeds’ says:

    “A recent illustration of this differentiation strategy relates to the tackling of the free movement of persons. After Austria and Germany exercised heavy pressure to impose labour restrictions on neighbouring ex-communist states in Central and East Europe, Hungary accepted a transitional phase of two to seven years before the EU borders will be opened up for Hungarian workers.”

    I understand the principle of free trade and we certainly gave Germany a very hard time on this mid C19 as many starved because of us. But what I don’t accept is labour being used by any state as an economic commodity in the absence of a formal Federal structure. It seems the EU wants to lead many in a direction they are not prepared to go, ever in some cases.

    The government was not as forceful as Germany or Austria in imposing labour restrictions and this should be put to them directly as a criticism. The other problem is that of the FPtP voting system that renders all Commons opposition parties totally ineffective when a government has a large majority. For some strange reason LN is unable to concede this and yet endorses its effective outcome, a one party state. All parties have failed us on this and the public is aware of it.

    As for migrants themselves, I will not hear a bad word spoken of them as individuals, anywhere. They are a success story, winners every one of them. They have in some cases overcome formidable obstacles to arrive in their chosen countries. Their work ethic is exemplary; they make good employees and have excellent customer facing skills. The down side is they are highly exploited to the disadvantage of native workforces and employers are to blame.

    • Carl.H says:

      The problem may not be the migrants themselves but there are problems caused by them being here.

      Housing in short supply, a lot of people can`t get Council housing there just isn`t enough therefore are forced into provate rented accomodation. A three bedroom property in the south will set you back £800 per month. At the bottom of the ladder, if you`re lucky and got a job, you`ll earn just over minimum wage, £5.93 an hour. That isn`t going to leave a lot for living. The Council will bleed you and you`ll find you`re actually better off out of work.

      People cannot buy houses because of the silly prices, partly caused by the rental market prices which a lot ends up being payed for by Government by way of benefit. If you can afford to buy to rent you`ve been on a nice little earner by way of the taxpayer. Instead of this money going into new council builds and renovations it ends in the pocket of the rich.

      Migrants coming to this Country are in need , obviously, of a place to live having no relatives here they are a priority. This priority over peoples children who have payed their dues over a long period of time breeds resentment. Over the last few years the influx of non English speaking refugees this resentment has grown as they appear to get a lot more help than those already at the bottom. Infact I`ve known cases of refugees commiting crime and because of their status being let off.

      If I move from where I am now to a different area I have to live in that area for a certain time before being allowed to go on council waiting lists. This regulation does not apply to those seeking asylum or others.

      We have a problem still with student applications to this Country many come and simply disappear into the cities.

      The arguments Senex has made for immigrants can be disputed and are a generalisation, I wish one could state catagorically they were all like that, it isn`t so.

      There comes a time when a family can afford no more children, it would then be stupid to adopt when the finances are not there to look after your own. This is the perspective we must take.

      The average house price is over £200k …what chance have school leavers got ? Even on a good salary of £20k. Migrants will take the blame but the truth is the system has become a mess and is breaking down.

      There are corners in London and other cities where you can go each morning and hire a migrant who possibly isn`t supposed to be working and is drawing benefits. He is happy to earn £30-40-50 a day cos he`s getting benefits but it means no work for other citizens. People see this, they see the immigrants with far more than they have and they get annoyed, quite rightly.

      I have seen my eldest daughter go into a hostel as emergency accomodation, the place full of eastern europeans each one getting housed well before her. If she complained, nothing but if they did …they had a lot of help and they did get the best of the housing. After 6 months I took her out, no longer able to see my two grandchildrn living in the squalor of one room. I found her private rented accomodation which I paid the deposit for. Am I annoyed at the refugees/migrants ? No I am bloomin annoyed at the system though.

      Ask yourself a question which comes first, your own or just some random stranger. I am all for christian ethics of helping someone in need but if there`s no money in my pocket and no room in my house I must say no, enough is enough.

      In your house in your area things maybe fine but that isn`t where the riots will start and if it carries on it will happen.

      We need to make jobs for our young that they HAVE to do, we need to provide decent affordable accomodation and we HAVE to stop the only way of getting a Council House being to deliberately get pregnant. There are couples who work hard, cannot afford children yet and cannot get Council Housing WHY are they being treated badly ?

      The system is wrong, the taxpayer is paying mortgages for those who can afford to buy to rent, it inflates house prices. The Councils are prioritising recent immigrants and refugees instead of people who have paid in.

      I would love to just up and go to Spain (or other) knowing I would get a free house and enough money to live on whilst working the black market. It`s time this Country stopped appearing this way, it`s time to do something to put things right.

      • ladytizzy says:

        Carl, the current NMW for over-21’s is £5.80 until 1 October when it increases to the £5.93 you mention.

        Tax credits pretty much favour full UK citizens, and increase their income. The site gives further info but let’s take their example of John, aged 30, no kids, full-time pay of £10K.

        After standard deductions his take-home pay would be approx. £8.8K but the state would give him £1.3K in tax credits, bizarrely another £0.1K more than he was paid. Without involving the state John’s employer would need to fork out an extra £1.1K on his gross pay plus another £0.2K in national insurance contributions (NICs) for John’s net income to stand still.

        As usual, I find myself having to compete with my own gvt.

      • Carl.H says:

        Let`s look at Mrs & Mrs Khan with three kids the other example.

        They`re in private rented accomodation earning £50k a year both working. Net income approximately £364 per week plus £92 child tax credits and £47.10 child benefit. Total £503

        Their rent is £184.00 per week which they get just over £20 on Housing benefit leaving £339 council tax will be approx £30 per week leaving £309.

        Mr & Mrs Smith are unemployed (unemployable) they recieve £102.75 allowance plus £132.79 Child Tax Credits plus £47 Child Benefit. Total £ 282.54.

        They receive full Housing benefit of £184 per week ( The landlord says thanks to the taxpayer) and full Council Tax of £30 per week.

        Thats about £496 per week.

        Mrs. Smith would be unable to work because the children are young. Mr. Smith is working class and not qualified in anything, he has looked for jobs but found nothing above £15k p.a.

        Mr. Khan got a pay rise of £20 per week…..The Council deducted 60% of the £20 toward his housing benefit. Mr Khan had a dental appointment and as usual had to pay NHS fees, which Mr.Smith does NOT have to do due to exemption. Mr. and Mrs. Khan also spend £40 a week on travel to and from work.

      • Carl.H says:

        Note: Mr & Mrs Smith also have 3 kids.

  3. ladytizzy says:

    Senex: will you at least concede that FPTP acts as a brake on the sudden whim of the electorate to vote for a party with an immigration policy that the sam electorate disagrees with?

  4. Carl.H says:

    “Tax credits pretty much favour full UK citizens”

    “Benefits and tax credits
    Refugees are entitled to claim benefits from
    the date they were recorded as a refugee by
    the Secretary of State. They do not have to
    satisfy the habitual residence or right to
    reside tests.”

    • ladytizzy says:

      Only some 6500 were granted refugee status in 2009, a group with a (rightly) special position in the immigration debate.

      The Habitual Residence Test (1994) was beefed up with Right to Residency Test in 2004, designed with the “…underlying principle that the taxpayer should not have to subsidise people with very tenuous links to this country”.

      There are plenty of references to the arguments on the parliament website. I’m certainly not an expert on this!

      PS suddenly for some reason, I can’t open up any pdf files – any help or suggestions gratefully received.

      • Carl.H says:

        • The number of applications for asylum, excluding dependants, was 30 per cent
        lower in Q4 2009 (4,765) compared with Q4 2008 (6,775).
        • In Q4 2009, 6,400 initial asylum decisions were made, excluding dependants, an
        increase of 36 per cent compared with Q4 2008 (4,700)

        • The number of applications, excluding dependants, for asylum was 6 per cent lower
        in 2009 (24,250) compared to 2008 (25,930).”

      • Carl.H says:

        Lady Tizzy try downloading and installing the latest version of Adobe reader:

      • Carl.H says:

        Let`s try and put a little working class perspective on these figures…..

        Your daughter had a baby, the boy has stood by her and they are all living with you in the daughters room. They have applied for Council accomodation and are 2nd on the list.

        25 refugees granted asylum status are alloted to your area, your daughter is now 27th on the list. The difference between 2nd and 27th can be years due to shortage of Council accomodation. The following year another 25 refugees are alloted to your Council and so the cycle continues.

        Now you can see that although 25 is not a great number it makes a lot of difference when we are very short of accomodation. The Government, local and otherwise, will state these refugees are put into the poorest accomodation, this isn`t the case always. If they are they have strong lobbying groups which help them get better homes. An instance of this was a small community in Northern Ireland of refugees who the papers were up in arms about because of discrimination and abuse, they were rehoused very quickly. No one however took up cases of Catholics in Protestant areas or vice versa which has been going on for decades.

        Where these refugees do go into the poorest accomodation is in the poor areas where there is little accomodation and high teenage pregnancy rates.

        The £3,500 each being offered by the EU for taking more refugees is absurd :

        Like any foreigners in any land migrants and refugees stick together, it only makes sense but this will appear like they are not integrating.

        Our cities and towns are now becoming fuller and like rats whose population increases it will escalate to violence. People who moved out of London because of the way it was becoming are now finding their new towns are becoming exactly what they tried to escape. 73% of asylum seekers are refused a lot of these are possibly of a criminal element.

        Christian ethic is good but we must ensure we can house and look after our own family first, This isn`t discrimination or as Gordon would say bigotted this is common sense.

        Now I know a lot of the situations I talk of and know will not affect a lot of you but that doesn`t mean they do not exist nor that we should ride roughshod over the little people of this country to appear altruistic. All most people want is a fair deal and what is happening does not appear fair.

      • ladytizzy says:

        Carl, I agree: our opinions are often shaped by our personal experiences regardless of a particular selection of data that will form the basis of an argument pointing to the opposite conclusion.

        Debate on immigration has been severely warped by those with a vested interest, one way or another, due to differing usage of terminology and, thus, numbers. I can offer a number of reasons why politicians refuse to discuss migration/immigration etc, most of which are down to fear, in various forms.

        My direction of thought has been formed by my experiences: the persecution of an office cleaner for being Irish after the pub bombings; seeing colleagues suddenly hating Argentinians just because it was 1982; a young Sri Lankan woman, breaking down in my office, terrified and unable to continue her course because she believed death squads were hunting her down; so much more, some good mostly bad, but you get the gist.

        PS thanks for the tip on Adobe. Why didn’t I think of it? Duh.

  5. Senex says:

    Tiz: I concede your point on FPtP. The problem I have with the Tories is that their official position is one of FPtP or nothing without any prospect of compromise.

    One of the news channels I like to watch on FreeSat is NHK World. The Japanese fascinate me with their happy highly ritualised forms of polite personal interaction and their abiding love of nature and the seasons of the year; very much like being in chamber in our own Parliament.

    The Japanese Parliament is called the Diet:

    This body has both FPtP and PR in use and its odd that LN has never mentioned this but then again he wouldn’t because its not his style to weaken an argument he is promoting.

    CN: Personal experience always colours our perspective. The first wave of Polish that arrived after the war was quite different from those arriving now. Having arrived they had no way back, they had lost everything and their journey enroute had been very difficult indeed. The new intake whilst different, come to us from a low base of economic prosperity but one that continues to improve.

    The advantage they have is they travel light, they are astute and sharp. No mortgage to lock them in position geographically (Thatcher destroyed our mobile labour force). Living six to a room is not uncommon. In the first year of arrival they cannot access welfare so it’s a matter of sink, swim, go back home or rely on a community colony. The Polish economy is lean and its people unspoiled by prosperity.

    If a Polish worker was a widget we would slap an import tariff on them because it would be seen as dumping in economic terms. The countryside is devoid of suitable manual workers because housing is too expensive giving no opportunity for people to return from the cities. When they are able to return they are too fat and their mindset demands that they are meant for better things courtesy of our education and political systems.

    Many now are finding for the first time in their lives that they cannot find work and it comes as a shock. The cherished notions of falling back on a numpty job are made impossible because some other numpty got there first and they happen to be an immigrant that does it better anyway.

    Who is to blame? Certainly not ourselves!

  6. Carl.H says:

    Senex I think we`re at cross purposes, whereas I am talking mainly of refugees you are talking of temporary migrant workers.

  7. Carl.H says:

    Tax briefly entered the blog above and on that subject…..Ever given advice to a friend about ISA`s or other Tax advice ? Not anymore….

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