Like most people, my immediate response was, what the fuck? Cameron's just inadvisedly called out comedian Jimmy Carr but not his high-donor cronies for tax evasion and the discussion is set to spectacularly backfire. Surely all the leader of the opposition needed to do this week was sit back and let that car crash happen. But no, he had to go and get his feet wet in the shallow end of the immigration debate pool.
So basically Cameron’s whipped up shitstorm about tax avoidance and Miliband shifts the debate to immigration. If an own goal of such epic proportions isn't worth an ironic slow-clap than literally nothing is.
Poor Miliband Minor. The world is so big!
The motivations for Miliband's speech are baffling. I hate to be the one to tell Ed this (especially since as an immigrant I can't vote anyway) but those votes you might have been hoping to win back by trashing your own party? They are well and truly lost, son. The people who go hardline on immigration will ridicule you, the people who still have any lingering support for Labour will accuse you of pandering, and the remaining six or so floating voters to whom this issue might matter probably won't even notice.
Leaving aside the fact that Miliband's wrong on migration and jobs, what does he actually have to say? One of the suggestions put forward in the speech is "We should survey employers and where there are more than 25 percent migrant workers - double the average share in the population - Jobcentre Plus should be notified."
Pure genius. I can't wait to see how that suggestion goes down with your local curry house... or, for that matter, the Premier League. It shows how very little Miliband knows about employment policy in this country. (Which you'd think might be important to a Labour leader, but I've long since given up trying to establish exactly what relationship political parties have with their names' supposed meaning.)
As I pointed out in an earlier post, it's already illegal to hire someone for a position if there are qualified UK or EU applicants. For people like me to be legally employed here we end up doing jobs we are either vastly overqualified for or are so unattractive to the native population that no one else bothers applying. Like, oh I don't know, science and prostitution. According to Miliband "the ready supply of temporary, low wage, low skill migrant labour has further pushed some businesses to take a short-term, low skill approach." You mean, like the NHS I and a lot of other migrants worked for? Or do you mean the universities? Let's spell it out, Ed.
Meanwhile little if anything is being done to address native skills shortfalls and geographical contributions to unemployment. The government's halfhearted Curry College scheme to train up locals in crucial balti skills wouldn't even keep the kitchens on Birmingham's Stratford Road in prep cooks, much less staff the entire country's takeaways.
Now the sex part...
It also presents an interesting conundrum for sex workers and their clients. In theory, could a punter be shopped to the Jobcentre if he failed to book 75% homegrown talent? Sure, sure, hookers are independent contractors for now, but with shakeups in other areas of sex work it's only a matter of time before that comes under fire.
As Howard Hardiman put it, you can see a future in which a sex worker's essential kit comes down to condoms, lube, clean pants, hand sanitizer, toothbrush/paste and National Insurance number and passport. Sexy!
I'm sorry, miss, you can only come in if your double anal fisting skills aren't already
provided by UK nationals. Now where did I put my rubber gloves...
Since it's opening up a whole other can of labour law worms if the position can only be filled by a woman, gender blindness is required. Sorry punters. But as Hardiman suggests, to stay on the safe side it's going to have to be "book a sexy Russian laydee, get a gruff bloke from Carlisle." After a sexy Moroccan rent boy? Soz, but Tracey from Middlesbrough put her application in first. Just lie back and think of Tom Hardy, mmmkay? It'll all be fine.
We're always hearing about all these foreigners supposedly being trafficked in for sex, yes? Well if that's the case then there should be no problem tightening up border controls, establishing a 'Call Girl College' to address the shortage in native talent, and crack down on the johns if they don't fall into line with the 3:1 target ratio.
I'm not joking. I am serious. In fact I think there's money to be made in this. The first person who can start a consultancy and manage this scheme for Jobcentre will be coining it. 'Welfare to Work' is out, 'Jobseekers to Gigolos' is in. Ten grand for every work-shy person off sick pay and onto the game! I don't think you get more Big Society than that. We'll get Gary Barlow as our financial advisor, then we'll be sorted.
Dave Cameron and Ed Miliband won't be able to say diddly squat about it.
Many thanks to Howard for the inspiration and the laffs. Now go buy his comics.