Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Anti immigrant leader hires immigrants.

Roger Knapman is the leader of the anti-immigration UK Independence Party. The UKIP has attacked immigration policy saying it is a fraud that the country needs more labourers. Knapman is also the owner of a mansion that needed some extensive renovation.

So he went out and hired immigrant labourers from Eastern Europe. He has been bragging to people how they work longer hours, want less pay and do a damn good job of it as well. He said: "They have a very good work ethic and work so much harder than anyone over here. You know they are not going to go off to another job as they are there specifically for you. Many workers here just aren't skilled enough to do the work involved in renovating old property. These men work 10 hours a day, six days a week and then we give them Sunday off. It's a 60-hour week, but they want to do it."

Has Knapman changed his tune about immigrants. No. When these men finish the work for him and he can no longer save money from their labour he wants them to leave. Apparently it is okay for him to benefit from the work they are happy to do but no one else should. Of course he could put his anti-immigrant views into practice and refuse to hire these men but then he would pay the cost himself. He doesn't mind legislation to accomplish these goals it spreads the cost around. Prejudice, like anything else, is in lower demand the more it costs.

It reminds me of the two Conservative Party officials in Boksburg, South Africa elected to preserve apartheid. Each ended up selling his home to a black family even though each supported laws to forbid blacks from living there. If they put their prejudice into action they would have to accept the second highest bid and the difference between that bid and the winning bid would come out of their pocket in the form of lost income. Suddenly when it was there own money they weren't so interested in being bigoted. One of the virtues of private markets is that it privatises the cost of bigotry thus making less likely that any one person would want to pursue those policies.