New year, old Labour. As 2021 draws to a close and Keir Starmer’s managers seek to establish Labour as A Very Serious Party again, it’s good to be reminded of some of the talent found on his backbenches. The Corbyn era may be over but Jezza’s children remain, still sitting in the Commons, the legacy of a dozen different local selection squabbles. One of them is 25-year-old vegan socialist Nadia Whittome, who since her election in 2019 has used savvy social media skills to launch herself as a sort of ersatz Dawn Butler – like Zarah Sultana, without the comebacks.
Like many of her brethren in the Socialist Campaign Group, Whittome has quickly become adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. She was the one who found out last year live on Peston that she’d been sacked as a parliamentary aide for voting against the Overseas Operations Bill – what a way to go. And it is in that spirit that Whittome has today decided to lob a grenade into the creaking edifice of Labour’s illegal migrants policy by declaring:
To stop people dying in the Channel, we must completely reimagine our immigration system.The status quo is free movement for the rich only. FM [free movement] for all would not only benefit the person moving, it would reduce exploitation by criminal gangs and employers, benefitting everyone… Most people are fundamentally decent but Farage, Patel + co. have conned us that migrants threaten our living standards.There’s enough to go around. We’re the 6th richest nation but £ is in the hands of people who don’t care about the working class, whether from Stoke or Syria.
This, from the party of the welfare state. Mr S isn’t certain but would be willing to bet that Whittome probably hasn’t done the figures as to how much such largesse would cost the British taxpayer, if HM Government were to make the National Health Service an international one instead. Sadly, the Nottingham East MP was less willing to proclaim just how many millions she’d be willing to take under her new-fangled immigration system. Two million? Three? Four?
Given the 2016 vote to leave the European bloc and its system of free movement, Steerpike looks forward to Whittome heading to Stoke and similar Brexit-backing areas to see how such a policy does go down on the doorstep. Good to see that Britain’s youngest MP is really putting the work in to justify her title as ‘Baby of the House’ – Mr S suspects Stella Creasy’s kid could give her some tips on political maturity the next time they’re in the Commons together.
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