Post Brexit: four contributions – add yours?

Instead of stealing the brightest and the best from poorer countries, spend on education, training and family support, financed by taxing the rich and closing tax havens. Address the concerns that drove the Brexit vote – mass immigration and declining job prospects . . .

Colin Hines, convenor of the Green New Deal group, writes in the Ecologist: “We need a new, cooperative union: of decentralised regional economies, with public investment in ‘green’ infrastructure driving our transition to a sustainable, low carbon future”.

He sees a failure to control EU migration as being clearly undemocratic given the polls showing the overriding public opposition to present net immigration . . .

population trend eastern europe graph

“It will continue the present stealing of the brightest and the best from poorer countries to save the UK the expense of training its own people. Over 2,000 doctors who qualified in Romania for example are working here, a country that has lost over a third of its hospital doctors over the last few years.”.

Uncontrolled immigration will also have severely adverse environmental effects in terms of increased resource use, a greater national contribution to climate change and further building on the green belt in a country that has to import nearly half of its food in a world of likely ever increasing food insecurity.

green-new-deal-1-728Hines advocates building or refurbishing public sector buildings, more efficient energy and water systems, local transport, waste minimisation and digital infrastructure.

He points out that, aside from its obvious advantages of improving social conditions and protecting the environment, it is employment-intensive, less likely to be automated and can’t be relocated abroad. The scope of such work has been detailed by the Green New Deal group.

As the Bank of England contemplates a further round of quantitative easing, Hines points out that rather than buying bonds, ‘Green QE’ could provide the impetus to fund this work by unlocking massive private co-funding from pension and insurance companies and individual savers. The secure returns that can be earned from such investments are just what such funding sources need.

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Andrew Walton – whose site tweets the Hines article – has posted in Bioregional Birmingham, also urging the green left to reconsider its stance on immigration for social and environmental reasons:

  • “It’s clear that each bioregion has an environmental carrying capacity, which can be tipped out of balance by population growth and increasing economic productivity; both of which are in part driven by uncontrolled migration.
  • “The discontent among many working class voters is not mindless bigotry but a cultural anxiety. It is driven by the alienating nature of fast paced social change, over which communities have little control. Many of those who feel alienated mistakenly see migrants themselves as the problem.”

“The West’s aggressive geopolitical posturing, which seeks to control global resources, combined with its billion dollar weapons export industry, also contributes hugely to displacement and forced migration”. 

The basic UK problem: its inability to educate and train its population

applica header

Writing from Brussels in the FT, John Morley, Senior Policy Adviser at research institute Applica, highlights the basic UK problem: “namely the country’s inability to educate and train its population to the extent needed to meet the demands of its economy. This has resulted in its reliance on imported labour at all levels — from the governor of the Bank of England down to farm labourers in the fields of Lincolnshire . .

“Rather than invest in its people, the UK government has preferred to put public money into high-cost but high-vis school and hospital buildings, using costly private finance initiative funding, with little regard for what needs to go on inside them. Until this massive structural imbalance between human and capital investment is corrected, it will be very difficult for the UK to reduce its dependence on imported labour”.

j 2 sachsAndrew Walton recommends an excellent article by the widely respected American economist Jeffrey Sachs (right) in The Strategist which looks at the issues he raises in more detail.

We end with Professor Sachs’ sterling advice, to restore a sense of fairness and opportunity for the disaffected working class and those whose livelihoods have been undermined by financial crises and the outsourcing of jobs:

“This means following the social-democratic ethos of pursuing ample social spending for health, education, training, apprenticeships, and family support, financed by taxing the rich and closing tax havens, which are gutting public revenues and exacerbating economic injustice.

 

 

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