Coffee House

One Nation Labour can’t just be about reassuring voters

14 December 2012

Ed Miliband is giving another one of his repositioning speeches today: this time about immigration and integration.

We’re going back to the Labour leader’s school and his family again, as well as reminiscing about Olympics: none of which are exactly groundbreaking territory, given Ed explored the first two at length in his conference speech, has explored his family history at length in many speeches since becoming leader, and that all three party leaders used the Olympics for their own purposes in their autumn conference speeches. Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis should start charging politicians royalties for using their names in speeches about culture: they appear, alongside Zara Philips, in Miliband’s speech today.

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This is clearly part of Labour’s drive to fight its demons, but to be fair to Miliband, he is making some concrete policy propositions rather than just arguing that integration is good and people are right to be worried about immigration. His proposals on English language teaching, more affordable housing and labour laws are all designed to reassure. Requiring workers to reach a minimum standard in English before they can work in people-facing public sector jobs is probably the most striking proposal, along with banning recruitment agencies advertising only for workers from particular countries. Others, such as ensuring affordable housing is part of new developments and preventing exploitation of new migrants by enforcing minimum wage laws, are hardly radical.

There’s a distinct Blue Labour tinge to this: immigration, British identity and community are all preoccupations of policy review chief Jon Cruddas, and they are among the issues the party leadership believes it has to answer before it can reassure the voters that it lost in 2010. It is obviously a perfect topic for the One Nation theme.

This is all very well, but as I’ve blogged before, One Nation won’t be an election-winning slogan if it just addresses warm, fuzzy feelings of community, or offers voters what they want: our economic situation means that is impossible. Nick Clegg and David Cameron are both making it clear that in 2015 they will ask voters whether they are really ready to trust Ed Balls with their money. A One Nation deficit reduction speech won’t be able to mosey around the childhood neighbourhood of the Miliband family, and Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis aren’t quite so useful when you’re articulating what cuts you’d make to public services.

These speeches are fine for a party in the midst of opposition – the Tories had a number of similar repositioning speeches after all. But now that we’ve passed the halfway mark of this Parliament, Miliband will need to leave his comfortable stomping ground of identity and start positioning One Nation Labour on the really meaty issues.

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Show comments
  • Very small c

    The undermining of British identity is not a CONSEQUENCE of mass immigration, it is a GOAL. People like Will Self loathe the very idea of Britain and Britishness. To them it means nothing more than ‘racism’ and ‘Empire’. Will Self and the awful smug, sanctimonious Stella Creasy (ugghhh…like an ambitious, vain little member of the sixth form college debating society who think they are cleverer than they really are) know that mass immigration is the quickest and easiest way to destroy it.

  • Jama A Mohammed

    I have never seen soo many Bigots in one place. The spectator is indeed a breeding ground for far right views. why do you blame all the issues and problems this country is facing on Immigrants.

    • Colonel Mustard

      One more since you arrived.

      • Jama A Mohammed

        And what can you do about it??? According to you having a white skin colour is what makes you british.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I’ve never stated that anywhere, you liar.

          • Jama A Mohammed

            “One more since you arrived”

            what were you implying with the above statement.

    • Rahul Kamath

      Fear of change mainly. I think thats what drives most of the bigoted comments. They are victims of a world in which they woke up one morning and discovered that their bedroom window curtains had been changed (I’ve stolen that metaphor from somewhere).

      On this issue, the Speccie itself is a broad church – Melanie McDonough and Douglas Murray on one end and Alex Massie on the other.

    • TomTom

      We learned it from Constantinople and how the Hagia Sophia was treated….

      • Jama A Mohammed

        I hope you stay depressed for the rest of your life while “immigrants” like me are showered with your money.

  • jama a mohammed

    I guess you could go on and on about your bigotory. did you get those figures from the spectator or the daily mail or even the BNP website?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *

  • Madame Merle

    From its opening to its end, I managed to avoid the OGs, which was an Olympian task in itself.
    I stopped buying newspapers and watching TV news as they were saturated with this mind-numbing nonsense of one person showing that he is better than another person.

    My greatest fears have come to pass as hardy a day goes by without some idiot from the political class mining the games for his own ends. It was only to be expected that Millibore would join in.

    And I just know that, come Christmas, the BBC will be serving up OGs replays like leftover turkey.


  • Jama A Mohammed

    I bet all Spectator readers and their fellow Right wing loonies believe that the recession was caused by Immigrants.

    • Coffeehousewall

      No, not caused by immigration. But our society cannot support 10 million immigrants, many of whom are on benefits and have contributed nothing. Many of whom do not want to contribute anything and hate England and all she stands for.

      • Rahul Kamath

        Just out of curiosity (and because you seem to have genuine well meaning concerns) why do you feel that “many (immigrants) are on benefits and have contributed nothing.” Or “Many of whom do not want to contribute anything and hate England and all she stands for.” All the data I’ve seen would suggest that some migrants do receive benefits but the propensity is about 1/2 that of the native born (data on foreign born non-citizen claimants, who could have resided in the UK for 20+ yrs and have permanent residency). I’m sure some migrants hate England but its probably a small minority.

        • Coffeehousewall

          80% of Somalis are unemployed, let alone on other benefits. It is not known even how many are here. Government suggests 350,000 and the community believes it about 1 million.

          Pakistani and Bangladeshi fathers are much more likely to be unemployed as British fathers. 15% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi fathers compared to 6% British fathers.

          73% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi 7 year olds are being brought up below the notional (and bogus) poverty level, and will therefore certainly be receiving a lot more benefits than they pay for in tax.

          I could go on.

          • Rahul Kamath

            Where is the actual data, whose is it? You are just reciting numbers. Also how many of these benefit claimants are British nationals and thus NOT immigrants. Unless you are proposing to strip British nationals of their nationality because they are non-white, muslim benefit claimants.

            • TomTom

              No let us compile Ethnic Data. You are probably correct because under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 it is a requirement to colate Ethnic Data so we can tell exactly who is using the NHS, Benefits, and other Public Services. We could publish this data on hospital wards, maternity services, benefit claims, prescriptions, schools, etc

        • TomTom

          Do we keep data on Benefit Claimants by Ethnicity ? Fascinating. Should be published

    • Madame Merle

      Not entirely but we would be a lot better off without so many immigrants.

      BTW, your written English is awfully good.

    • TomTom

      What “recession” ? we have a DEPRESSION and will for decades to come

  • BigAl

    One nation means that you agree with Ed, otherwise you are not part of the one nation……(sic)

    • Coffeehousewall

      I think it is brave of Ed to take up the mantle of National Socialism and I think that his party should always be referred to as the National Socialists.

  • Jebediah

    Labour broke the economy and large parts of British society by allowing masses of ill-educated west hating immigrants. They should be in jail, not (belatedly) telling people to speak English.

  • JamesdelaMare

    “One Nation won’t be an election winning slogan if it just addresses warm fuzzy feelings about community ….. “. There is the difficulty.

    What the country needs and most want is not an “election-winning slogan”, but a real tough determination to face and deal with over-immigration decisively, and to ensure that those who have arrived here as tourists, students and illegals, and then decide to go into hiding and stay, are not treated as “immigrants” at all, and are returned to whence they came.

    It is clear that vast numbers of proper native British are fed up to the teeth with swathes of their country and housing being usurped by foreigners. Who are foreigners is easily discovered by their language, their appearance, even by their behaviour and habits. Walk down Edgware Road in London and look at the pavement cafes, for example, and see the customers. It is impossible to believe that these all have British passports, work permits or the right paperwork allowing them to live here. Yet are Border Control officers operating in Edgware Road? I think not.

    This is not of course a matter of immigrants having to speak the English language and everything will be all right. It is a grotesque failing by successive governments here, from the Labour and the Conservatives in the 1940s/50s onwards, to understand the limits of this small island, and the effects of such a massive influx on top of the influx of Germans and East Europeans ten or twenty years before. And those governments impudently ostracising those like the late Mr Powell who tried hard to address the problems openly before they became worse.

    That influx, which Mr Miliband will recognise, has had effects on British life, politics, education, culture and finance which have not, for political reasons in the aftermath of 1945, ever been examined or well reported. One can rightly suggest that the strength of the British financial and commercial sectors (and some of their recent faults) have been enhanced by the descendants of Jewish immigrants early in the 20th century.

    Whether or not recent immigration will bring benefits seems to most British to be at least dubious, and by most standards excessive and far out of control. It will be uncomfortable for a few years to “have a sort-out” but it certainly should be done.

    • Madame Merle

      I had to laugh at last night’s news on channel 4.

      The lefties had set up a meeting in the H of P between Jack Dromey, Nick Boles and an assortment of “yoof” with housing problems.

      “What can be done to solve the problem of homelessness ?”,was the topic.
      There was talk of housing benefit cuts to the under 25s, necessitating a move back chez ma and pa.

      Of course there had to be a quota of diversity andmany of these yoof were immigrants.

      What wasn’t said was “I don’t want to do that cos my ma and pa lives in Africa, I want a nice, free pad in London town”.


      • Wilhelm

        Well why don’t they bring ” Ma and pa ” over ? ” like, innit etc etc…

        One of the depressing things about mass immigration, the language of Shakespeare is being ruined by Ebonic speakers and their patoi.

        • Daniel Maris

          Oh yes, I remember from my youth – everyone declaimed Shakespearian style… LOL

          If we are talking language, I like the Caribbean lilt of the original West Indian immigrants. Sadly that soon got diluted in the native English accents of our urban centres. Scouse, Brummie and Geordie are hardly the language of Shakespeare are they? And there aren’t many immigrants in Scouse and Geordie land.

      • TomTom

        Pay everyone like Jon Snow so you get a job through your cousin Peter Snow at the BBC, then you have a family with a big North London house without being married before you dump Madeleine Colvin after 35 years and marry Precious Lunga from Zimbabwe……… if you can’t get paid a Channel 4 salary you need Benefits to live this way

      • Wilhelm

        I love the media euphemism

        ” Yoof ” = Blacks
        ” Men ” = Muslims

      • JamesdelaMare

        Yes. I used to see groups of immigrant families arriving at Victoria Station about fifty years ago. Dressed up to the nines, as we used to say, colourful summer frocks on the little girls, smart best Sunday clothes on the boys, on freezing cold foggy winter evenings in the dark gloomy station of the time. I wondered what sort of land they thought they were coming to from the warm Caribbean. The period of Conservative governments!

        Now half a century later we’ve still not learnt how to deal with an unwanted additional population using our homes and the country’s money and infrastructure. Indeed it’s worse because those from many parts of the world have taken on the jobs we should be doing for ourselves but won’t because the jobs are low status and low pay. We are our own disgrace and it’s ourselves who are to blame for the mess we’re in.

        If we’re going to be honest, as Conservatives should be, then we must accept our Tory governments are culpable because they have not ever set proper standards for Labour and others to respect and follow. Those of us who tried to bring home the reality of this idiocy of uncontrolled immigration all those years ago were hammered and despised by the Conservative hierarchies of the time.

  • Rahul Kamath

    I’d really like to ask Ed how many public facing government employees, who cannot speak English, actually exist today. This speech is a dog whistle pile of crap. Ed could demonstrate some real courage by defending New Labours immigration policies on students workers and the EU which were some of the most economically far-sighted / visionary policies they had.

    • Coffeehousewall

      I’m not really that bothered how many can speak English or not. I am more concerned that with 10 million immigrants at least here in the UK I want to see a great many invited to go back home, especially those that add nothing to our life and are simply a cost. Such a tidal wave of immigration prevents us offering hospitality to those who genuinely need it – such as Syrian Christians for instance.

      Who will be paying for immigrants to learn English? Surely they should have taken care of that reasonable requirement before being allowed to come here? We need to have a clear out of all the students, tourists and other visitors who have overstayed their welcome, and stop all Muslim immigration as a matter of course, so that we can offer a smaller quantity of places with greater quality of support for those genuinely fleeing fear of death who cannot escape to a neighbouring or other European country.

      • Rahul Kamath

        My atheist self will have to say a little ‘prayer’ tonight that mercifully you are not in charge of immigration policy 😉

        • Coffeehousewall

          Well my Christian self is always praying that God would have mercy on us and somehow preserve our Judeo-Christian society and culture despite all the deliberate, malicious and evil assaults upon it.

          • Wessex Man

            time to calm down dear.

        • TomTom

          Do you still work for IBM in new York or have your brought your private education from India to a British tax office ?

  • MirthaTidville

    “Requiring workers to reach a minimum standard in English before they can work in people-facing public sector jobs “..Good Lord where are going to get all the replacement Doctors from then???

  • Paul L

    If the comments on the BBC website are anything to go by, we are all bigots now.

  • Dogsnob

    He’s not actually ‘re-positioning’ at all. What he and his coterie are pushing, is the idea that they ‘got it wrong’ on immigration – and yes, they ‘hold their hands up’, but after all of this, Milliband insists that the catastrophe which is being created, is something of which he is proud. He goes on further to say that what is needed now is to undertake measures to aid integration – whatever that may allude to.

    A genuine re-positioning on immigration would be signalled by moves to alter what has been allowed to happen. No such moves will be made and immigration will carry on at the same rate it has attained for over a decade now.

  • Magnolia

    This is about neutralising the threat of UKIP to their voting base.
    They’ve decided that that is more important in electoral terms for now than the ethnic vote which they hope is entrenched and locked in to Labour by their previous identity politics.
    This will open up opportunities for the Conservatives to scoop up the disaffected multi racial and ethnic votes for ourselves.

    • Vulture

      No it won’t, because there isn’t a fag paper’s worth of difference between the Cameon Conservatives and Labour : both favour mass immigration and the dissolution of our culture. In case you hadn’t noticed, flower, the ‘Conservative party’ is no longer conservative. The voters who switched to UKIP in their droves at the recent by-elections seem to have woken up to that, even if you haven’t.
      With Dave at the helm the Tories are steering towards electoral Armageddon.

      • Magnolia

        Dearest Condor (moment),
        Sadly you are correct but I feel that it’s important to make every effort to reach out to the Conservative Party and to spell out the direction that we need to go in because it is the only Party that can defeat Labour.
        Hearts and minds and all that.
        Red tie Ed has ditched the purple tie and is wearing the light blue one again which is another sign that I am right over Labour’s intentions.
        With best wishes,

        • Coffeehousewall

          Magnolia, the Conservative Party cannot defeat Labour because it IS Labour. It is just as socialist and is signed up to the same Agenda. We need something revolutionary. Carrying on with a corrupt Parliament just won’t do.

          • Magnolia

            The Conservative Party is more than just the idiots at the top.
            I watched John Hayes on The Daily Politics yesterday and I saw a star performer (dear me, I sound like Tele, has he been sent on gardening leave for saying that Stalin was sadly in heaven?).
            John Redwood, David Davis, Graham Brady and many more of the parliamentary party are still Conservatives and are worth voting for.
            Tell me which party, other than the Conservatives, has ever beaten Labour?

            • Stuart Eels

              John Redwood and David Davis have both said one thing to the organisation to which I once belonged and a completely different thing to the press, don’t hold your breath.

        • Stuart Eels


          It’s all too too late we’ve all woken up to the Westminster Mob of ragtags, The Tories will never rule again and the LibDems are finished.

  • Colonel Mustard

    According to Will Self who thinks a lot of himSelf all conservatives who oppose mass immigration are basically racists and all Christians who oppose same-sex marriage are basically homophobic. According to Peter Hitchens that view represents a form of “liberal bigotry” that deliberately seeks to marginalise and de-value dissenting conservative, Christian viewpoints.

    • RealTory

      Will Self is obviously Telemucus – thinks and shouts the opposite of what any decent, honest, law-abiding, caring, conservative human being would think and do. Truly the nasty bigoted brigade. His performance on QT last night, followed by that other nasty, snivelling, shit-for-brains, labtard, lickspittle toerag Owen Jones on This Week was appalling. Left-wing agitprop Sparts are all over the BBC and Sky right now. What the F*ck is going on?

      • telemachus

        I have to say I remember Will being responsible for one of the best posts in this parish
        We all crave for more

    • EJ

      I was disgusted watching Question Time last night – and This Week. I grudgingly admire Will Self’s smug pomposity – but that little Owen Jones boy is a ranting leftie student squit of the worst order.

      Stella Creasy made me reach for the sick bag. In case you missed it, she does a lot of work to help the homeless. But funny how the mask slips when responding to someone like Hitchens. Then you really get to see the spite and contempt of the bullying Leftie unmasked.

      • Madame Merle

        Stella Creasy looks and sounds all sweetness and light which makes her very dangerous.

        If Labour were to win the next GE, she will be home secretary. I feel sick just thinking about the havoc that one will cause.

        • Wilhelm

          ” sweetness and light”

          Sugar coat the pill, the Anti Christ will come as a Angel of Light.

          Tony Blair ?

    • Madame Merle

      Indeed, Colonel.

      Will Selfrighteous is a good illustration of how the liberals have brainwashed themselves into believing that they can do no wrong and that anyone who holds a different opinion is regarded as poison.

      They call everyone else a bigot without realising that their fascistic beliefs are also bigoted but with added sanctimony.

      It is actually quite frightening.

    • telemachus

      Now Nicholas my old cock sparrow

      I have just returned from earning a crust and find you denying the racial and homophobic agenda of your fellow travellers

      The one nation speech was a well scripted recipe for harmony


      1.Ensuring that publicly funded, public facing staff have a sufficient proficiency in English (especially in the Social Care sector)

      2.Prioritising English language teaching for newcomers over the production of materials in multiple different languages

      3.A focus on English language teaching for the one million young people for whom English is not their first language

      4.Cracking down on criminal landlords who pack people into overcrowded accommodation

      5.End the practice of using forced indebtedness and tied-in housing that locks migrant workers into terrible conditions

      6.Banning recruitment agencies advertising only for workers from particular countries.

      7.Prevent the exploitation of new migrants and the undercutting of workers already here by strengthening and enforcing minimum wage laws
      Were it that you and your friends were to promote such harmony

      • Wessex Man

        You really are a pompous halfwitted fool much like Will Self.

    • George Igler

      What Will Self actually said was that most people who object to mass immigration are racists. And though I rankled at the time, I now realize in hindsight that he was unwittingly, within the terms of his own media-world bubble, absolutely right.

      Most people who [have the nerve to publicly] object to mass immigration *are* racists.

      Because any such objection, no matter how measured, thoughtful and un-bigotted has been immediately subject to that hysterical charge, and all the potential opportunities for social ostracism and career death that go along with it; that despite every successive poll showing the vast majority of the public’s opposition, terrified silence remains the order of the day.

      It is telling how different the views expressed are when the anonymity of the internet comes into play.

      Nevertheless, in this environment of instantaneous shrieking condemnation if you express a critical view, the only people left largely who have the nerve to speak up are those indifferent to the charge, either because they genuinely are racists, or because they are of the smaller group of people who genuinely don’t give a monkeys about what other people think of them.

      • telemachus

        And which are you?

        • George Igler

          Well surely I must be a racist, because anyone who disagrees with you always is, aren’t they?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    In Soviet Russia after deliberate actions that murdered or starved millions the regime would occasionally admit to ‘mistakes’ or ‘errors’ as if that was enough.

    The same today with Milliband and Labour. A deliberate policy of uncontrolled borders to change the face of Britain forever, denied all the long by them, the BBC, and the Spectator has succeeded as the Census results have (partiaaly) recorded.

    As in Russia, the regime now admits to some ‘errors’ while enjoying the fruits of their ‘errors’.

  • JMckechnie1

    One main responsibility of an electorate is to understand when their political masters are being expedient in the pursuit of power. The irony of all this is that those who are sometimes referred to us the uneducated underclass seem to get that more than the rest of us: in their company you will often hear the remark “they’re all the same”; and they are usually correct in that view! Us politicals are all so interested in the latest speech of this one and that one; we watch Question Time has warm our jets up at some rhetorical proclamation that is little more designed than to warrant gratuitous applause. So, no, I don’t really take this piece seriously, except to ascertain where our political masters think their rhetoric will pay off most: family and nationality is it?: interesting.

    • TomTom

      All that is left…they have mortgaged the rest. Maybe Ed can explain why his Party gave bonuses to social workers for putting children up for adoption and how that works in Rotherham

  • TomTom

    Ed Miliband is another puppet. He can spout words but he has a record. He is an Ad Man selling a lousy product and he is totally insincere. I wonder what pitch the Nazis would need to make in 1949 to get re-elected ? “We had a few hiccups” “Things got out of hand” “We will be better next time” or “it wasn;t me, it was that Austrian and I have ditched his policies”. So the German politicians want to ban the NPD for fear people might fall for the political lies……..does Ed Miliband have any advice to the NPD on how to “re-launch” themselves ?

  • lee taylor

    Labour haven’t got a clue on immigration or just about anything for that matter and this speech just proves it.

  • Chris lancashire

    Memo to Ed: Two topics on which the present generation of Labour politicians will NEVER be trusted on are the economy and immigration. Standing up and saying we’re slightly sorry just reminds people what an unholy mess you made of both subjects.Stick to NHS, spending, benefits, unemployment (oh sorry that one’s not going too well for Labour either), well maybe just stick to the NHS……

    • Wessex Man

      You are joking, I had be hospitalised in the 90s and the 00s the second time was horrific

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