Liam Byrne in hell: is this the vilest “Labour” leaflet ever?

February 26, 2010 at 11:40 pm (asylum, Champagne Charlie, elections, immigration, labour party, Racism, thuggery)

Liam Byrne, the Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, last year produced a leaflet entitled “Immigration Update.” In it Byrne repeatedly reminds voters that he used to be “Immigration Minister” and accuses his Lib Dem opponent Tariq Khan of being in favour of “soft borders.” In general I’m in favour of a Labour vote at the next election, but I have to say I’d find it difficult to actively campaign for a candidate who can put out this sort of filth:

A New Points System Like Australia’s: Lots of people said to me – why can’t we have a tough system like the Australians? So I studied how it works Down Under – and stole their idea. The new points system started in November, on time, as promised. I’ll reduce the number of economic migrants – and ban low skilled migration from outside the EU altogether. Only those with the skills we need can now come – and no more.

Compulsory ID Cards for Foreign Nationals: ID cards for foreign nationals is an obvious idea. So I changed the law to make them compulsory for all foreign nationals. The Government started issuing them last month on time and on budget. Now, everyone will know who has the right to be here – and who doesn’t.

Huge Fines For Employing Illegal Immigrants: Hodge Hill was united that we need to hit dodgy businesses hard if they undercut British wages and employ illegal immigrants. So I introduced £10,000 on the stop fines. The results? We’ve hit 20 times as many businesses as last year – and raised £7 million which will be going back to fund public services. And for visitors I proposed a £5,ooo fine if a sponsor breaks the rules and doesn’t make sure their family member goes home.

Earn Your Stay: I think British people admire hard work and people who play by the rules. So when I was Immigration Minister I drew up plans to change the law so if a newcomer wants to become a British citizen, they’ve got to earn their way. That means proving they speak English, work hard and pay tax and obay the law, and make an effort to integrate. All acceess to benefits – especially housing – should be BANNED until this is proved. The law goes to Parliament in 2009 – I’d like your views on it before it does.

Too Late? Lots of people say to me, ‘but isn’t it all a bit late?’ I’ll be frank. We should have acted sooner – so when I was immigration minister I delivered the biggest shake-up of the system for 45 years. Now  * we’ve the lowest number of asylum claims for 15 years  * we deport an illegal immigrant every eight minutes  * abroad, we check everyone’s fingerprint against crime databases before we issue a visa. 

Action, as they say, speaks louder than words. 

Mr Byrne  encourages voters to get in touch with him, and his leaflet gives “3 Ways to contact Liam”:

Phone 0121 789 7287; Email:; Write: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.


For those who want to vote and campaign for Labour on a decent basis:

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A new campaign organising to stop the Tories, for a workers’ voice in 
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  1. voltairespriest said,

    Just goes to show what a cunt he is, mate. Sorry to say it to you, but the very fact that a leaflet like that even got off the press just makes me even less inclined to back any pro-Labour vote campaign (on any basis) than I already was.

  2. shug said,

    Don!t capital suck,having a plank like that to get rich on, dont capitalism suck.

  3. Matt said,

    The hypocrisy of the guy is what makes me mad. Liam Byrne? Like me, I’m guessing his not too distant ancestors were unskilled Irish economic migrants who arrived through non-existent, never mind “soft”, borders and encountered the same kind of political appeals to popular prejudice about “uncontrolled immigration”. If the system he is so proud of had been introduced then he wouldn’t be here to implement it now.

  4. resistor said,

    Can I agree for once with a post on this site.

    Liam ‘light-bulb head’ Byrne got into parliament by running the most right wing campaign ever by a Labour candidate.

    Some details here:

  5. Jason said,

    I saw a paper copy of this leaflet today- it is pretty vile and shocking even by the standards of New Labour. I wanted to find a copy online of it to expose it but can’t find it- can you post the url or did you copy or scan it in?

  6. charliethechulo said,

    I don’t think any of us here at Shiraz have the technology / technical know-how, Jason. Certainly I haven’t. I’ll ask Volty, who is a bit more IT-savvy than me.

  7. leftoutside said,

    Absolutely disgraceful behaviour. It upsets me a little that people read this and think “yeah, fuck them furiners.”

    Like you normally I’d endorse a Labour vote, they’re at least still nominally related to the Unions, but they keep doing things like this. Labour are no where in my constituency so I’m quite happy to be able to vote Lib Dem to try an oust my local Tory. That is if I vote at all and legitimise this three party plutocracy. Awful.

  8. Red Maria said,

    I agree with Matt. Those of us who come from immigrant backgrounds – I certainly do, on both sides – have a duty to oppose this pulling-up-the-ladder-after-us rubbish.

    I’m a member of the Labour Party but deplore this kind of backward, xenophobic, mean-spirited campaign and like Charlie would find that it did not inspire me to go out campaigning for whoever the wretch was who put it out. Thank God Liam Byrne is not the Labour candidate in my constituency.

  9. leftoutside said,

    More immigrant based pause for thought: Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

  10. raincoatoptimism said,

    call me cruel, but the fine for businesses for employing illegal immigrants sits OK with me, even as a socialist, because these are the sites usually of the most out of date, cuntish libertarians who excuse illegal immigration on the grounds that it undercuts “expensive” British labour, doing the jobs Brits don’t want to do and so on. Is this something you’d support as the proletarian’s favourite heeled blogger? Then go ahead, but make I’m sure out the room when you shoot yourself in the foot!!

  11. Jason said,

    Fines don’t cut it all- what is needed is organisation of all workers, settled and migrant, foreign and otherwise for a trade union rate for the job. Byrne’s racist leaflet is using the old tactic of divde and rule and scapegoat some workers for tne crimes of the bosses

  12. raincoatoptimism said,

    Jason – This is a fine for the crimes of bosses, bosses get fined for undercutting British workers with low-paid foreign workers. This is in every way a socialist method (not everything he does can be said so, but this…) because it doesn’t seek to blame the migrant worker himself, but the boss who saves money by exploitation. Is any of this congruent with socialism – look at what the Dutch Socialists say, and compare this with their (brief, too brief, but you ge the point) analysis on the British way of doing things [,news-comment,news-politics,dutch-socialists-champion-the-left-wing-case-against-immigration]

  13. Voltaire's Priest said,

    I think the difficulty that the unions face is with precisely how to deal, day-to-day, with specific issues affecting migrant workers in general and in particular illegal immigrants who are employed in low-wage poverty labour.

    In the abstract I’d completely agree with Jason, however when a specific case arises, a massive campaign can’t be conjured out of nowhere. In instances like that I would find it hard to object to penalising the employer for paying below minimum wage.

  14. Jason said,

    I agree that campaigns can’t be conjured out of thin air but there are some examples of workers getting organised and getting victories- for example cleaners in London and the Lindsey oil workers who despite some attempts by the rightwing press to highlight the few banners that initially took on an anti foreign worker basis (the much publicised British Jobs for British Workers- actually a catchphrase nicked from Brown) had as their demands equal conditions for all workers.

    But punishing migrant workers by putting them in prison- this happens on a regular basis- or fining employers is throughly reactionary. Trade unions once opposed women workers or Black workers for precisely the reasons that they would be used ot undercut wages and conditions- bosses of course will use any divisions to achive their aims. The best way to fight them is to fight the bosses not Black workers, women, foreign workers or immigrants.

  15. voltairespriest said,

    I don’t think anyone (or rather, anyone progressive in politics) would disagree with your final paragraph. However, say with the cleaners’ dispute, it was a specific action which could be won – and which was both tactically superb and heavily supported. And funnily enough, I’d take the view that penalising exploitative employers can be a “tool in the box” of such struggles.

    The principle is not to be bent to fit the situation, if you like, but the tactics can be.

  16. raincoatoptimism said,

    The charge here is against the detention centres being run the way they are, they make it hard to operate progressive politics without open borders. At the post I made on this subject yesterday I noted how Yarl’s Wood says it should be run (from the website – see all the faculties) – this wouldn’t be punishing or imprisoning migrants, and as such I agree with the above “I don’t think anyone (or rather, anyone progressive in politics) would disagree with your [Jason] final paragraph”.

  17. Last of Old England « Max Dunbar said,

    […] a nigger for a neighbour’ line, but there are canny opportunists in the Labour Party – Liam Byrne, Phil Woolas – who have built successful careers by campaigning on working class G-spot issues […]

  18. Racists of Europe Unite! | Alana said,

    […] said for the two-facedness of his Labour predecessor’s, has-been like my old University-mate Liam Byrne, whose racist policies during his stint as immigration minister I have blogged about […]

  19. Byrne and Beveridge « Representing the Mambo said,

    […] as a) a wanker and b) someone who no doubt would go far in New Labour. He has played the race card again and again in his own […]

  20. representingthemambo said,

    Reblogged this on Representing the Mambo and commented:
    It appears likely that Liam Byrne is going to try and win the nomination for Birmingham mayor, if, as expected, we vote yes to one in May. I think it needs to borne in mind what a chillingly cynical politician Byrne is and this post from the Shiraz Socialist archives is a good reminder of that. He is utterly unscrupulous and quite happy to play the race card if it wins him votes.
    Indeed the choice for Labour candidate is genunely awful. The unspeakably foul Sion Simon has been leading the field for some time now. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Gisela Stewart seems like the least objectionable of the candidates. What a terrifying thought.
    It isn’t even as if he is an impressive right-winger, like Dennis Healey.

  21. Party Like It’s 2005 « Max Dunbar said,

    […] his strategies are big and obvious. But it is also a mainstream issue. Look at Phil Woolas. Look at Liam Byrne. Tories in Bradford West distributed anti-immigration literature to predominantly white areas. The […]

  22. This re-shuffling business is just so exciting…… « Representing the Mambo said,

    […] on. Anyone who campaigns on themes like this is clearly the definition of subtlety. And thoughtful? Abso-bloody-lutely. I mean, running an […]

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