Friday, 18 November 2016

Red Tories

Imagine the scene. It is November, 2020. England has Brexited and immigration controls are in place.

You are the boss of a small software company in Shropshire. Your latest computer game, Zombies on Mars, has gone viral and you urgently need to recruit games animators and developers. No-one in London seems to wants to work in Shropshire, so you plan to recruit people from Spain, Poland and Germany.

These people, post-Brexit, need a visa to work here.

You apply to the new Ministry of Work. They tell you that the 2020 quota for software engineers has now been filled and that you must reapply in January 2021 and 'join the queue.' 

You complain to your Member of Parliament. How can you grow your business if you cannot recruit these people? She replies that it is 'our Government's duty to ensure England's jobs go to English people.'

The Ministry of Work website says that there are still visa places available for;
  • Dog Groomers
  • Ball boys (tennis courts)
  • Polo pony Stable Assistants
  • Golf Caddie drivers
  • Beaters and Gun-porters for Hunting and Game Estates

If you enjoy golf, polo and shooting, you can employ anyone. But if you want to run a business, you are throttled by the Ministry.

The light starts to dawn. You now live in a planned economy in which a central government body is controlling the flow of the one resource that all businesses need - people. 

The Ministry of Work becomes increasingly powerful, for it dictates how the economy will function. Lobbyists work hard to persuade the Ministry to favour their industry, and senior civil servants are offered sexual services (provided by migrant sex workers) as part of a widening scandal of corruption.

As part of the government's Northern Powerhouse programme, the Ministry of Work announce that unemployed people 'who do not hold British passports' are to be moved to northern England where they will be employed in vast new factories to make golf balls and 12-bore cartridges. People refusing to move will have their benefits cut off, and if they continue to refuse will be moved by the police.

Amnesty International publishes photographs of the new 'factories' and reveals that they are surrounded by razor-wire. Amnesty compares the camps to the Gulags.

Welcome to the planned economy of Stalin's England. The Ministry of Work is now in control and she or he who runs it, runs the economy. As Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang pointed out in '23 Things they don't tell you about Capitalism', controlling the supply of labour controls the economy by controlling wages; 'Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than by anything else.'  ['Thing 1', page 5]

This is, finally, the supreme irony. The Conservative Party is now the party of the planned economy, the party that tells you what you can do and where you can do it. The party that will be faced with a choice between visas for care workers and visas for stablehands...and will favour the horses over the nurses every time. These are the real Red Tories.

Back in Shropshire it only takes the boss a few minutes to work out that the best thing she can do is relocate her firm to Scotland. In newly-independent Scotland there is free movement of labour, and open access to the vast market of the EU.

This is the independence bonus, the huge boost to Scotland that will come when England Brexits and an independent Scotland Remains. Let's get there.

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