On Tuesday, Theresa May told the Conservative party conference:
“What I’m proposing is a deal: the fewer people there are who wrongly claim asylum in Britain, the more generous we can be in helping the most vulnerable people in the world’s most dangerous places. And my message to the immigration campaigners and human rights lawyers is this: you can play your part in making this happen – or you can try to frustrate it.”
Journalists called it “as tawdry as it was contemptible” (Spectator) and an “awful, ugly, misleading, cynical and irresponsible speech” (Telegraph).
When the Adam Smith Institute produces a piece titled ‘Owen Jones is entirely right here’, you know there’s consensus on an issue. With a refugee crisis unfolding in Calais, how different would our approach be to immigration if we didn’t just care about people who happen to have been born in Britain, they ask? Similarly, British Future calls for some perspective from the right-wing press, noting that ‘the world is struggling with its largest refugee crisis since the Second World War’ but the number of refugees in the UK has actually fallen by 76,439 since 2011.
“Some party, some government, will have to replace the welfare state by a less destructive alternative. The Fortune Account is the shape of its replacement.”
That was the conclusion reached in a 1995 Adam Smith Institute report on welfare reform. Fast forward 20 years and the report’s central message – that personal savings and insurance accounts, not centralised taxation and distribution, should form the basis of much of the nation’s welfare system – may be getting its best ever hearing in the corridors of power.