This is the headline from today’s Daily Telegraph:
Training and employing British workers is more important than a firm generating profit, business minister Matthew Hancock has indicated.
In the article, the wretched individual goes on to state that his comments should not be seen in the same light as Gordon Brown’s infamous nonsense in favour of “British jobs for British workers”. Well, it certainly looks to anyone with a grasp of language that this man is stating that national origins should count for a lot in hiring, and goes to the extent of saying that choosing a Brit is more of a factor in hiring than whether that person will increase the prosperity of a firm, which is normally why people get hired in a free market.
Ah, I mentioned the term “free market”. Silly me.
Here is some background from his website:
Matthew John David Hancock grew up in Cheshire. He attended Farndon County Primary School, West Cheshire College and The King’s School, Chester. He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Exeter College, Oxford, and gained a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge.
So he read economics, and thinks he knows better than commercial organisations as to whom they should hire.
Matthew’s first job was with his family computer software business. Later, he worked for five years as an economist at the Bank of England and in 2005 moved to work for the then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.
Blow me down – the man had a stint in the private sector! But that did not last long and soon enough, he was working for the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, which is now run by a Canadian governor, so presumably he disapproves of his government’s own decision to take a chance on hiring a foreigner.
This man represents a safe-ish seat in West Suffolk, which is near where I come from originally; he loves horse racing and in many ways I am sure he is a splendid chap, a bit of a Tory “knight of the shires”, as he hopes. But the thudding ignorance of his claim that firms should hire Britons first rather than take the “easy option” of hiring foreigners ignores the reasons why firms are doing this. I assume he realises that firms hire foreigners not just because of costs, but due to issues such as behaviour, character, work-ethic, and so on.
We should of course recall that the Tory party – as it used to be called – was the more protectionist force in the past – as demonstrated by the ruckus caused when Sir Robert Peel scrapped the Corn Laws in the 1840s, triggering a split in his party, and at the early part of the 20th, the attempt to re-impose tariffs caused a similar uproar. On immigration, the position has altered over the years: during Maggie’s time in office, and after, Tories were sometimes (unevenly) quite keen to stress how welcoming the UK is to certain people from overseas, not surprisingly perhaps given that several members of the Cabinet and parliamentary party were the descendants of immigrants (Nigel Lawson and Michael Portillo). It is a shame to see zero-sum thinking return to the party under the patrician, “nudging”, government-knows-best approach of David Cameron.
I hope businessmen give this minister a sharp kick in the shins. Better still, it would be no great loss to see his department closed down.