“With some in the labour movement arguing for a strategy of giving ground to the myths & vitriol around this issue, it’s crucial a strong lead is given in the fight against the politics of division.”
By Ben Hayes, Arise Volunteer & Islington North CLP
Labour activists are urged to consider passing a model motion to send to Labour Conference 2023 calling for the party to adopt a clear commitment to repealing the government’s ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ and throw itself into campaigning against reactionary policies and rhetoric on asylum and migration launched by Ministers such as Home Secretary Suella Braverman, as well as attempts by far-right organisations to whip up hostility in local communities.
The motion is copied below and has been drafted by Arise Festival volunteers and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, in consultation Stand up to Racism activists.
Highlighting the strong opposition the proposals have received from bodies including the UN High Commission on Refugees, the motion importantly points out that, contrary the impression often given by much of the media, polling has consistently shown that most voters consider issues such as the economic situation and the state of the National Health Service to be the most important facing the country – despite sustained attempts at scapegoating some of those with the least power for the failures of those with the most.
Concluding by putting forward an unequivocal position of scrapping the Tory legislation, it also demands that the half a billion wasted on the scheme with the French government be used to fund public services and address the deepening cost-of-living crisis impacting the overwhelming majority of the population.
With some in the labour movement arguing for a strategy of giving ground to the myths and vitriol around this issue, it’s crucial that a strong lead is given in the fight against the politics of division and for the rights and dignity of all. Let’s make sure that argument is put forward in ward and constituency Labour Party meetings across the country – and if possible on the Conference floor.
MODEL MOTION – A LABOUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD REPEAL THE ILLEGAL MIGRATION BILL
- The Illegal Migration Bill outlaws the small boats carrying refugees across the Channel.
- The UN High Commission on Refugees says the bill is an effective ban on the right to asylum and contravenes the 1951 Refugee Convention.
- The government claims it is stopping illegal immigrants, but the majority of those claiming asylum have their claims upheld.
- Only a tiny proportion of the world’s refugees come to Britain. A record 103 million people were forcibly displaced around the world (2022), of whom 37 million were refugees or asylum seekers. Nearly 70% of refugees and others needing protection remained in countries bordering their land of origin.
- Polls show the economy and health are more important issues for the electorate, but the government is prioritising immigration.
- Fascist organisations like “Patriotic Alternative” have adopted Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s “invasion of the Southern coast” rhetoric as a slogan to mobilise and attack refugees.
- The strength of public support for refugees – and defence of Gary Lineker – when he opposed the bill.
- This year £500 million was given to France to stop refugees from crossing Channel. This money should be invested in the NHS and improving living standards.
- The Illegal Migration Bill is another attempt to scapegoat and distract from the government’s policies making people worse off.
- A Labour Government should repeal the Illegal Migration Bill
Conference resolves to oppose the Tories’ racist campaign and support the right to asylum.
- The closing date for motions for Labour Party Conference 2023 is 5pm on Thursday 21 September 2023. Motions must be 250 words or fewer, cover one subject only and not cover an organisational matter.
- Ben Hayes is a volunteer with Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas. You can follow Arise on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; see what events they have coming up here; and listen to the Arise Festival podcast on Spotify.
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