Rishi Sunak will be judged in any way on the move

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Good Morning. Sometimes the plainest words are the right ones. The UK’s rising inflation is bad news for families, bad news for businesses and therefore bad news for the government’s re-election hopes.

But some things are uncertain: this morning, the UK’s figures of 606,000 migrants in 2022 will spark a fierce debate about Britain’s immigration policy. The political implications of this, I think, are not clear.

Inside Politics is edited by Georgina Quach. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenkb and please send gossip, ideas and comments to insidepolitics@ft.com

Party like it’s 1979

Sometimes a chart is worth a thousand words.

I don’t have much to add here, except for Chris Giles’s piece about whether the UK is any more to be the “sick man” of Europe it’s really worth your time.

As I say, I think that the political end of this is obvious: facing economic problems similar to the 1970s will lead to political results that are similar to the 1970s. Whether the next election will be like February 1974 – when a majority government gave way to a minority government – or 1979 – when Margaret Thatcher won a majority – is difficult. I have said my part which I think the result is very good and I don’t want to go to the old place.

This is not a good economic situation for the governments in power. A great source of consolation for the Conservatives, I think, should be that Labor in 1974 and the Conservatives in 1979 won after leaving the center after defeats in 1970 and 1974.

Edit profile

The UK has achieved a new immigration record. Historically, we’re living through the biggest change in the UK, according to the raw numbers, like this chart from the University of Oxford’s. the migration view point makes it clear. The number of foreign-born people in the UK has increased from 9 per cent in 2004 to 14 per cent in 2021.

A majority of Britons say they want immigration to be reduced, but many are opposed to special cuts in many areas. actually driving the UK’s high immigration numbers. As Sunder Katwala, director of the British Future think-tank, explained this knowledge and practicality:

Only one in 10 people think we took in too many refugees from Ukraine. The idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlimiting visas for the NHS or social care is also unpopular: only 12 percent would ban medical visas. Only 17 percent want to reduce the number of harvesters.

Sunder refers to a group of what he calls the UK’s “moderates”: that is, people who say they want the UK’s total population to fall but are not opposed to all the changes needed to make it happen. About a quarter of the population is in this category, he says.

The problem for the Conservative party here is clear: this quarter is not enough to win the next election by itself, but if the quarter has smaller left-wing or stay-at-home parties, there is no hope that the Tory party will be able to do so. success either. And like Nuffield College’s Ben Ansell explained it on (free!) Substack recently, the Conservative electoral coalition relies heavily on voters who are likely to be among Sunder’s moderates.

There is a direct parallel with the internal and external problems of the Conservative party on tax and money. Almost every Conservative MP wants lower taxes – but it’s been a while since a Conservative Chancellor managed to cut spending across the board. Indeed, many Conservative MPs like to call for tax cuts and next time, they want more money – for defence, families, skills. (In the Times, Steve Swinford’s latest mini-history of many of these groups it’s worth reading.)

My general opinion is that we all tend to overestimate our willingness to carry money. Most of Sunder’s depressors are nothing but: they only start crying when secondary taxes go up, if the prices paid by businesses go up or if they see any cost that the UK has to bear to reduce the total UK immigration numbers.

And in many ways the Conservatives’ election crisis highlights this. Of course, some of the problems the government is facing are outsiders that the Tories haven’t gotten involved with. Some of these problems are self-inflicted, such as the consequences of Liz Truss’ short tenure. Some are a bit of both, such as the long statute of limitations on public sector refunds and the resulting shutdown. But the problem is that, while British voters had nothing to do with the Truss government, almost everything that made the Conservative Party unpopular helped make it popular.

The internal debate in the Tory party over immigration, and the many comments about it, speak to whether there is any wise speech or plan that Rishi Sunak can pull off to make life easier for himself and his party. The truth, I think, is that there is a group of voters who will continue to be angry with the Conservative Party for failing to reduce immigration and who will be angry with the consequences if the Conservative Party does.

There is a caveat here for Labor, too. The party aims to rewrite the UK’s immigration laws so that employers do not have to pay people on the shortfall list. 20 percent off the price, I think, will be popular with people. (That it is also recommended by the government’s immigration advisory committee adds to the appeal from Labor’s point of view.) is confident that voters will be willing to pay the price when the bill arrives.

Now try this

I saw Program 75, and to be honest I thought it was scary. An anti-euthanasia film as clever and witty as a brick, far ahead of its natural age.

There have been three impressive films pondering the question of assisted dying and the meaning of a good death in the last year: one of them, One Good Morningyou can still catch the movies, right Everything went well and More Than Ever available for streaming. (My favorite of the three is More Than Everit’s time One Good Morning is less than the sum of its parts, a plot about the main character’s old father is unacceptable.)

What unites these three films is that when they are, I think it is safe to say that, in depth, their breadth, their depth and humanity means that they provoke conflicting thoughts and actions. Life is very difficult when you arrive, and a good film, which shows the difficulties, undoubtedly conveys more than one message.

It is not Program 75, which made me wish for death. (Full disclosure: Leslie Felperin disagreed: you can read his review here.)

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