Monday 2 February 2009

That Labour xenophobia

Labour's apparent distrust of anyone from anywhere else in the world is becoming quite marked. As more sensible Labour people try to damp it down, Duncan McNeil is off on one. The news release issued in his name by Labour's spin doctors at Parliament is below. You'll notice that there is not even an attempt to justify what is being said, just a bid to latch onto anti-foreigner feeling which is playing on the fears that people justifiably have during this economic depression.

Gordon Brown might have some wriggle room over his "British jobs for British workers" guff - not the awful spin that Labour has tried to put on it that he wanted to make sure that people were trained, but he can be forgiven for just not thinking it through, making what he thought would be a clever political point, and failing to appreciate that a signal like that from a Prime Minister gives the green light to racism - but Duncan McNeil's rant, completely devoid of any attempt to rationalise what's being said and lacking any clear thought as it is, is simply xenophobic.

I know a few people in the Labour party and a few in the wider movement. They'll be horrified at the angle that their party is taking on this, and I hope that they'll make sure that their displeasure is known within their party so the line can change. No politician should be comfortable on the territory that Labour appears to want to make its own and this intolerance should have no place in our society. It's even worse when it's tagged onto the back of the economic problems, but it's not acceptable under any circumstances.

Labour's news release:


Foreign workers are likely to benefit from future Scottish public works because of funding delays caused by the SNP government.

Labour has warned the SNP that hold ups in new public investment projects could result in a skills shortage in Scotland, and that will see the amount of foreign workers increase significantly when the market picks up again.

Labour has accused the SNP of storing up problems for Scotland's construction industry and making it less likely for Scottish workers to benefit from investment.

Labour's Duncan McNeil said:
"My concern is that the present situation doesn't look like improving and indeed may actually get worse.

"European labour currently accounts for five per cent of the workforce but this could rise to 20 or 30 per cent in future if the SNP does not listen to the concerns coming from industry leaders.

"The sector is calling for capital investment projects to be fast tracked to help the industry ride out the economic storm.

"Speed is of the essence – funding needs to be in place and we need to see projects coming through. A steady flow of work is critical for the survival of the Scottish
construction industry.

"Further delays will lead to a jobs black hole and the only way to fill the gap in the future will be to employ foreign labour.

"With more than 20,000 jobs lost during 2008 and many more expected in 2009, there is concern that Scotland will not have skilled workers to build projects such as Forth crossing and Southern General hospital in Glasgow.

"Construction workers who are concerned about their jobs in this difficult situation need to be taken seriously.

"The SNP government needs to ensure that Scotland has the capacity and skills in order for Scottish workers to fully benefit from the significant investment being planned in our public works."



Andrew said...

I imagine Newsnight Scotland thought they had hit on an anti-SNP winner with this story last night.
However McNeil showed he was incapable of holding 2 thoughts together and bumbled his way through the piece, goaded by the astute Alex Neil.

Grogipher said...


Like for example, when Labour stop our budget being passed?