Students pose for their official group photograph at the University of Birmingham as they take part in their degree congregations. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Why graduates are the biggest obstacle to Ukip's advance

Sixty per cent believe immigration has benefited Britain and are much more likely to be pro-EU.

British attitudes on immigration have hardened – who knew? That is the utterly predictable headline from today’s British Social Attitude Survey. Only 27 per cent now think that legal immigrants who are not British citizens should have the same rights as British citizens, down from 40 per cent in 2003. More people also think that an influx of immigrants leads to an increase in crime rates.

So far, so unsurprising. But there is a more significant finding, and it is one that Ukip will not relish. Anti-immigration feeling may have peaked.

The notion that Britain is united in anti-immigrant hostility betrays Ukip’s inconvenient truth. The Britain of tomorrow stubbornly clings onto the unfashionable view that immigrants tend to be culturally beneficial, hardworking and help the perilous finances of UK PLC: they bring in more than they take out.

London is often described as the Britain of tomorrow, and the local elections exposed how little Ukip’s message resonates there. London presents a simple problem to Ukip: it is too “cultural, educated and young”, as Ukip communities spokeswoman Suzanne Evans admitted in a moment of unintentional candour.

The British Social Attitudes Survey emphasises Ukip’s lack of traction in the capital. Fifty four per cent of Londoners believe that immigration is good for the economy, compared with only 28% of people around the rest of the country.

Of course, it is now a challenge to finish a sentence containing "Londoners" without shoe-horning ‘metropolitan’ and ‘elite’ in there too. But actually London is really emblematic of Ukip’s most fundamental problem. It has a huge problem with graduates. Sixty per cent of graduates think immigration has benefited Britain economically, compared with 17% of those with no qualifications. Graduates are also much more likely to be pro-EU.

When Tony Blair appeared on Today recently, Twitter was overflowing with those lamenting that there existed no comparable figure to take on Ukip today. That may be true. Yet Blair has already done more than anyone to counter Ukip. His government’s target that 50 per cent of all young people go to university may be questionable on many levels. But it acts as the single greatest roadblock to Ukip developing support among the young.

Tim Wigmore is a contributing writer to the New Statesman and the author of Second XI: Cricket In Its Outposts.

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Labour's establishment suspects a Momentum conspiracy - they're right

Bernie Sanders-style organisers are determined to rewire the party's machine.  

If you wanted to understand the basic dynamics of this year’s Labour leadership contest, Brighton and Hove District Labour Party is a good microcosm. On Saturday 9 July, a day before Angela Eagle was to announce her leadership bid, hundreds of members flooded into its AGM. Despite the room having a capacity of over 250, the meeting had to be held in three batches, with members forming an orderly queue. The result of the massive turnout was clear in political terms – pro-Corbyn candidates won every position on the local executive committee. 

Many in the room hailed the turnout and the result. But others claimed that some in the crowd had engaged in abuse and harassment.The national party decided that, rather than first investigate individuals, it would suspend Brighton and Hove. Add this to the national ban on local meetings and events during the leadership election, and it is easy to see why Labour seems to have an uneasy relationship with mass politics. To put it a less neutral way, the party machine is in a state of open warfare against Corbyn and his supporters.

Brighton and Hove illustrates how local activists have continued to organise – in an even more innovative and effective way than before. On Thursday 21 July, the week following the CLP’s suspension, the local Momentum group organised a mass meeting. More than 200 people showed up, with the mood defiant and pumped up.  Rather than listen to speeches, the room then became a road test for a new "campaign meetup", a more modestly titled version of the "barnstorms" used by the Bernie Sanders campaign. Activists broke up into small groups to discuss the strategy of the campaign and then even smaller groups to organise action on a very local level. By the end of the night, 20 phonebanking sessions had been planned at a branch level over the following week. 

In the past, organising inside the Labour Party was seen as a slightly cloak and dagger affair. When the Labour Party bureaucracy expelled leftwing activists in past decades, many on went further underground, organising in semi-secrecy. Now, Momentum is doing the exact opposite. 

The emphasis of the Corbyn campaign is on making its strategy, volunteer hubs and events listings as open and accessible as possible. Interactive maps will allow local activists to advertise hundreds of events, and then contact people in their area. When they gather to phonebank in they will be using a custom-built web app which will enable tens of thousands of callers to ring hundreds of thousands of numbers, from wherever they are.

As Momentum has learned to its cost, there is a trade-off between a campaign’s openness and its ability to stage manage events. But in the new politics of the Labour party, in which both the numbers of interested people and the capacity to connect with them directly are increasing exponentially, there is simply no contest. In order to win the next general election, Labour will have to master these tactics on a much bigger scale. The leadership election is the road test. 

Even many moderates seem to accept that the days of simply triangulating towards the centre and getting cozy with the Murdoch press are over. Labour needs to reach people and communities directly with an ambitious digital strategy and an army of self-organising activists. It is this kind of mass politics that delivered a "no" vote in Greece’s referendum on the terms of the Eurozone bailout last summer – defying pretty much the whole of the media, business and political establishment. 

The problem for Corbyn's challenger, Owen Smith, is that many of his backers have an open problem with this type of mass politics. Rather than investigate allegations of abuse, they have supported the suspension of CLPs. Rather than seeing the heightened emotions that come with mass mobilisations as side-effects which needs to be controlled, they have sought to joins unconnected acts of harassment, in order to smear Jeremy Corbyn. The MP Ben Bradshaw has even seemed to accuse Momentum of organising a conspiracy to physically attack Labour MPs.

The real conspiracy is much bigger than that. Hundreds of thousands of people are arriving, enthusiastic and determined, into the Labour party. These people, and their ability to convince the communities of which they are a part, threaten Britain’s political equilibrium, both the Conservatives and the Labour establishment. When the greatest hope for Labour becomes your greatest nightmare, you have good call to feel alarmed.