I’m not sure whether I should inflict on you that much of the usual, by the numbers, preambulatory bullshit that the press release contains, as a short passage from Dr Demento‘s spiel should suffice.
“We are creating the Migration Advisory Committee to help us achieve our aims. By providing clear and authoritative advice to the government, the MAC can give us a clearer picture on how immigration can be used to benefit our country.”
“Labour understands the public’s desire for an immigration system that benefits Britain, which is why we are continuing to act to secure and protect our borders; and that is why I am launching this consultation on the MAC, to ask for the public’s views on how the system should best operate.”
So there is to be a ‘consultation’, and the first question that our very own patron saint of shiny jackboots would like answered is…
whether the government needs an independent organisation to offer advice on migration
But hang on, haven’t just said “We are creating the Migration Advisory Committee”?
Not “we’re thinking about creating” or “we are considering creating” or even “We might create” but “we ARE creating” – so isn’t this question entirely redundent?
Of course it is, because as the press release also states:
The Migration Advisory Council would provide independent, expert advice to the Government to help ensure that we have the right immigration system to benefit the country.
And who could ever object to the government receiving independent, expert advice?
Me, that’s who.
You see I have three main problems with this.
First, it isn’t really independent.
This committee is being created by the government so exactly who do you think is going to be deciding who sits on the committee? If you said ‘the government’ award yourself 10 points. If you anything else, you just haven’t been listening, have you?
So what this amounts to the government receiving advice on immigration from a committee of its own placemen – really independent is that…
Actually, I’ll take this a step further and make a prediction.
The committee, once constituted, will include.
At least one senior civil servant (serving) and one senior civil servant (retired), two academics (one an economist, the other probably social policy), a tame industrialist/banker (might be offered to the CBI), someone from ‘The City’ (knighthood but otherwise non-descript), Trevor Phillips (or suitable underling from the CEHR) and the usual small gaggle of tame ‘representatives’ of Britain’s Black and Asian communities to deflect any criticism from those same communities when Mr Iqbal suddenly finds that his parents don’t score enough points to get through the system.
Second, it’s going to be giving advice.
In other words, if the government doesn’t like the advice it gets, because it doesn’t really fit in with its preferred policy (as set by the Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Sun), it’ll just ignore the committee anyway.
Third, this isn’t about Britain having the right immigration system to benefit the country in any case.
Committee, such as this one, exist for but a single reason, to facilitate the ready avoidance of accountability if/when things go completely pear shaped.
It works like this.
1. Government creates committee.
2. Government takes advice from committee.
3. Government sets policy – which is not necessarily based on advice anyway.
4. Immigration system fucks up and disappears up its own arse.
5. Screamsheets demand to know who responsible for the fuck up.
6. Government points at committee and blames their advice, whether they took it or not.
That’s what governmental committees are for – first they ensure that accountability for screw-ups is, at the very least, one step removed (and preferably more) from the Minister. Second, if properly constructed, they also ensure that any responsibility for bad advice is spread so thinly that is it impossible to identify exactly who made the fuck up in the first place.
So my response here is, no we shouldn’t have this committee you conniving bastard, you should take on the responsibility for own fucking policy yourself.
And after that, all else is moot.