Immigration debate is just left-wing racism
PERHAPS the most disturbing global trend of recent years is the crude interlocking of the far left and the far right into one single beast with two backs. And the only thing you need to know about the beast with two backs is that everything in the middle gets f**ked.
This is not necessarily a new thing. As we know from Hitler and Stalin, when the extremes of the left and right get absolute power they are virtually indistinguishable.
Nor is this necessarily a "left" or "right" thing. As countless regimes have shown, when you give license to humanity's darker instincts it doesn't take much for civilisation to descend into chaos.
And so while we may now seem a long way from the industrialisation of slaughter that marked the 20th century, the same dark forces have again come out to play in the West - indeed they probably never went away.
But what is really worrying about the latest debate on immigration is that it is being led by those who would see themselves as the forces for light.
The massive volatility we have seen in the established global order recently has been driven primarily by an unlikely union between religious and cultural ultraconservatives - such as the Tea Party movement in the United States and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) - and radical leftist movements that would rather disrupt or dismantle the entire framework of government than support a moderate leader.
A perfect example is the ultra-leftist, ultra-anti-American Julian Assange supporting the ultra-rightist, ultra-pro-America Donald Trump or hardcore Bernie Sanders supporters voting for Trump or nobody rather than elect Hillary Clinton. Likewise in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn ran dead on Brexit so as not to offend his anti-establishment base.
In short, the hard left and hard right both hate the establishment more than they hate each other and ended up fusing into the same radical movement in which the ideology isn't as important as the radicalism itself.
This new extremism is both undergraduate and evangelical and it is now turbocharged by social media, giving primal yet ultimately meaningless political declarations like "Drain the Swamp" or "Black Lives Matter" limitless reach. They provoke great emotion but offer no solution. Just like the beast with two backs it is all flailing limbs and no morning after conversation.
This brings us to the second part of the equation, namely disadvantaged people who have genuine reason to be frustrated and have now just been offered an easy scapegoat. Crappy job? Blame racism. Lost your job? Blame capitalism. Homeless? Blame immigration.
You could switch all of those questions and answers around and they would be no less common - which tells you how correct they all are.
These are the forgotten people who the mainstream parties left behind as they became more and more dominated by a professional political class and promptly disappeared up their own overprivileged arses.
They are often decent in their personal lives - sacked factory workers trying to hold on to their homes and little old ladies who go to church every Sunday - but get angry when cast as bigots by inner-city elites if they question things like cheap immigrant labour or Islamic fundamentalism.
And yet now the inner-city elites are tapping into the same base tribal instincts. The only difference is that they dress it up in bigger words.
When the right calls for cuts to immigration it's called "racism" but when the left does it it's called "urban sustainability". In fact they're both saying the exact same thing: "F*** off, we're full."
And so when the quintessential progressive media double act of Fairfax and the ABC this week put cutting immigration square on the national agenda, the far right could not believe its luck. Suddenly it looked like God was white after all.
Naturally the debate was carefully cloaked in discussion about overdevelopment, transport infrastructure and urban density. But again, each of these sentiments had already been put much more succinctly by the good burghers of Sydney's beachside suburbs. The only difference was they had it scrawled across their chests.
Say what you like about race-obsessed radicals, they know when they're on a winner - and they were riding that pony hard on Monday night. Never has the right been so energised by an episode of Q & A.
This is what happens when inner-city NIMBYs dip their toe in the primordial sludge of racial politics just because they don't want a block of flats down the street. They have joined the ideological extremists they once condemned and the forgotten masses they once disdained just so they could lay the blame for their planning problems at the feet of some poor foreigner who hasn't even arrived yet.
The beast with two backs has become the three-headed guard dog of the underworld - except instead of keeping those dark spirits at bay it has opened the gates of hell.
But still, it is vital that even the most dangerous ideas are debated - if only so they can be exposed as idiotic and wrong.
And so here is why cutting immigration is idiotic and wrong.
Firstly, there are basically only two categories of regular immigration in Australia: Skilled and family. Then there is a third humanitarian stream for refugees.
The permanent migration program is capped at 190,000 people a year and is not growing. It will be exactly the same this year as it was last year.
The vast majority of this - more than two-thirds, or 128,550 - is the skilled migration program in which migrants are sought out to fill shortages in the workforce. These include things like doctors in understaffed hospitals or specialist engineers for major infrastructure projects. They also include jobs that, frankly, native born Australians often won't do.
Almost 50,000 of them are directly sponsored by an employer for a specific job that they could not fill locally, almost 44,000 are migrants qualified in areas identified as skill-shortages and almost 30,000 are sponsored by state, territory or regional authorities for needs particular to their region.
Now some employers in the past have been totally taking the piss out of this program. How do I know? Well, I exposed it myself. One area of skills shortage was listed as "massage therapist" as a ruse to bring in prostitutes.
So yes, the government needs to crack down on these dodgy loopholes, but guess what? It already has! And I'll bet my inner-city terrace that a whole bunch of people who called it racist for doing so are now seriously considering cuts to immigration so they don't have to wait for their three-quarter latte.
And yes, we should be training locals for these jobs, so if the far right wants to stump up more taxpayer money for education I say: "You go girl!" And if the far left is criticising the government for not enough workforce-oriented training I say: "That's a bit rich coming from a bunch of arts students!"
But until we solve all of these problems, which no one has managed to do in all of human history, then the skilled migration program is vital to keep Australia moving - even the Turnbull government's modest tightening of visa conditions left many employers with their britches benighted.
The second category in the regular migration program is so-called family reunion, which accounts for virtually all the remaining 30 per cent - 57,400 to be precise.
For many in the right this conjures images of a boatman washing up onshore and then sending word back for his 167 cousins from Afghanistan to come join him.
Again, this is simply not true. More than 80 per cent of "family" migrants are the husbands or wives of people like you and I. This includes Australians who go overseas and marry a Londoner after getting poleaxed at Earls Court or fall in love with an Irish backpacker at Bondi Beach.
In fact, in 2015 around 4500 partners were from the UK or Ireland. The only larger countries of origin were China and India at a bit over 5000 each - which, to be fair, have a slight population advantage.
And, just to put the conspiracy theorists to bed, almost all the rest - 8675 - are parents and just 900 out of the more than 57,000 are other family members. There are also 3485 children who are counted separately.
Oh, and just in case I've forgotten anyone, there are also 565 in a tiny "special eligibility" category, which includes kids who grew up in Australia and are trying to return and people who served in the Australian armed forces prior to 1981.
That is the whole 190,000 accounted for, so again I would ask: Which of them would the anti-immigrationists like to ban from Australia? The medical diagnostic radiographer? Suzie from Sussex you proposed to last night at Icebergs? The old digger who just wants to come home?
Strangely, I am yet to hear an answer on that one.
Then we get to the refugees, who are arguably the one type of migrant we are most morally obliged to take. But f**k morals, we're talking about politics here, so let's cut the whole lot.
There's just one little catch. Even though Malcolm Turnbull announced our refugee intake would increase to 18,750, even that entire amount is still less than 10 per cent of Australia's immigration intake.
Still, it's a start isn't it? Get rid of those dodgy illegals country-shopping until they pay 20 grand for a boat to Australia?
This is my favourite part.
THERE. ARE. NO. MORE. BOATS.
None of the refugees coming to Australia is a boatperson because Tony Abbott stopped the boats. The clue was in his subtly crafted slogan: STOP THE BOATS!
And good on him, because now we have a humanitarian program in which every entrant is pre-screened for the greatest need and least security risk and we have been able to increase our intake by almost 50 per cent.
Nor is the left off the hook for this. Had they continued with their preferred deadly policy they would have delivered the most obvious immigration category to be cut. And given their current obsession with urban sustainability, maybe these days they'd be happy to oblige.
Nor let us pretend it's for the planet that they're so concerned. Cutting the immigration rate to Australia does little to reduce the global population because, well, most immigrants to Australia HAVE ALREADY BEEN BORN.
Moreover Australia's natural birthrate is actually going backwards, which means that if we bring in people from countries with high birth rates we are probably slowing global population growth.
Now don't get me wrong, I know we need better infrastructure and I know that just about every new building in an Australian city is buttf**k ugly. But to blame all these problems on too many foreigners is worse than racist. It's just lazy and stupid.
And it's especially nauseating when it's coming from a bunch of people who otherwise delight in lecturing others about racism only to turn into Clint Eastwood from Gran Torino as soon as they see an immigrant on their lawn.
And how do I know all this? Because I live in one of those suburbs that's filled with apartments and immigrants and train lines and now I've got to go and chain myself to a goddamn tree.