What does Jeremy Corbyn have to say to Labour voters worried about migration? Not a lot, seems to be the answer. And that’s a big problem for the Labour party if it doesn’t want to haemorrhage support at the next election. Several newspapers this morning report his ‘relaxed’ stance on the subject. While his interview on the Today show just now (which was pre-recorded, apparently because Corbyn isn’t a ‘morning person’) made it clear – as if it wasn’t before – that the Labour leader isn’t taking this issue very seriously at all. He batted away a question about what an acceptable level of migration is. And to those concerned about the subject, he told them:
‘I ask them to consider what people who have migrated to this country actually do, that work in our NHS, our care services, the number who actually contribute massively to our economy and the very large number of British people who have made their homes in France and Spain.’
These are all very good points, but Corbyn failed to see the other side of the coin: that many have legitimate concerns about the scale of migration to the UK. Four in ten Labour voters backed Brexit and one of their biggest motivations for doing so was for the UK to ‘regain control over immigration’. What’s more, seven in ten Labour constituencies voted to ‘Leave’, which, given Corbyn’s relaxed position on this subject, could present a huge opportunity for Ukip at the next election (if they are competent enough themselves to take it).
So what is Corbyn’s way of addressing these worries? It seems he is determined either to ignore them or point people in the direction of the ‘migrant impact fund’.