The proposed migrant tax on immigrants from non EU countries is a typical response of this government. It tackles a problem of the government’s making in the wrong way.
Why has it come forward now? Because the polling shows them that people are very worried by immigration on Labour’s watch. Many people think the government should have controlled our borders better, keeping out people who might be a threat to the state, and controlling the overall numbers. Labour has to face the European and Council elections, which gives voters a chance to express their dismay with the current situation. They are spinning a new initiative to give some cover to “British jobs for British workers” which they famously and misleadingly offered recently.
Why is it a tax? Because they need the extra money, and here is another group of people they think they can tax without existing voters getting angry about it. It is always another tax or another regulation with this government, usually with an extra quango thrown in.
Why don’t they control the numbers coming in more effectively, which is what many people have wanted them to do? Because then they would not be able to tax them on the way in, and would not be able to recruit them in to the ever expanding public service workforce. They have found this easier to do than to train and incentivise more people already living here to do these jobs.
Why doesn’t it apply to people coming in from the EU? Aren’t there queues of people trying to get here from Calais, and isn’t Calais in the EU? Because the government stupidly gave away control over our borders with the rest of the EU against Conservative advice and votes, and now cannot control these borders without getting the approval of our partners. Clearly Labour does not think they have enough influence with the rest of the EU to deliver the changes we need. The obvious thing to do is to take the power back to control our own borders in the way we wish, but don’t expect them to do that.
Why doesn’t belonging to the Commonwealth mean anything any more? Many people in the UK deeply resent the idea that people from Australia and New Zealand, from the West Indies and Canada, are treated less well than people from the EU. Why isn’t India treated better, as she becomes one of the new great powers of the world? We have special cultural, historical and kinship ties with many people in Commonwealth countries. And why didn’t Mr Brown tell Americans when he addressing both Houses of Congress that the special relationship did not extend as far as to exempt Americans from a new “you are not welcome” tax for migrants?