Open Letter to Michael Howard

Sent to the Shields Gazette, 25th January 2005
Dear Sir,

This is a piece I have just written in response to Michael Howard's call for a debate on immigration and which I'd be obliged if you could consider it for publication (personal details at the end of the open letter).

John B (Gen. Sec., SPGB)

Dear Mr Howard

Fully aware that the Tories face another electoral pounding in the coming election, perhaps also aware that the racist BNP are contesting 105 seats and the recent victories they have enjoyed, you are making immigration the main focus of the Tory election campaign in the full knowledge that your party is bankrupt of new ideas, desperate for support and fully aware just how popular xenophic scaremongering can be at election time. Shame on you!You now boldly announce you want a debate on immigration in the hope you can outflank the racist hierarchy of New Labour.

Okay, Mr Howard, let's start by acknowledging that the fundamental cause of immigration is global capitalism. It causes huge inequality in the world, inflicting poverty and deprivation on billions of people. It also creates endless wars over natural resources, strategic areas and other "vital interests". This inequality, uncertainty and conflict impels people to escape to better lives and safety. Who can blame them?

Let us also acknowledge, Mr Howard, that capitalism in Britain also causes inequality, poverty and deprivation, which affects millions of working class people who, unaware of the real cause of their suffering, are prone to believe power-hungry politicians playing the "race card" and blaming immigration for their problems.

When capitalism fails to deliver, when despondency and anger arise from the failed promises and expectations that litter the political landscape, is it any wonder that workers will fall for the scapegoating lies of the far right and the quick fix they offer? That you can even think of making immigration part of the Tory election strategy is thus utterly despicable. Moreso at a time when we remember the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the mass slaughter resulting from Hitler's xenophic rantings.

I'm sure many of my fellow South Tynesiders, hearing your comments on immigration, remembered the fate of one popular local family, the Reys-Prado family, who have recently been forced into hiding in Venezuela not more than a year after they were deported from their home in Laygate, South Shields, following a ruling by immigration chiefs that it was safe for them to return to their native Colombia. Their case is only one of many.

My solution, Mr Howard? By switching to a classless, moneyless society (socialism), where the people themselves directly owned and controlled the means of production and distribution (farmland, oil fields, factories, power stations, railways etc), the global population could use those assets to provide for all their needs. Goods and services would all be freely available. And with an end to deprivation, wars and money problems, people would no longer be compelled to leave regions they were born in.
John B

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