Monday, 13 July 2009

The uncontrolled immigration myth

I had a discussion recently (10th July) with someone whose opinions differed from mine. This is good because it makes you think about what you believe. We spoke about many things but started with the BNP. I wrote about the BNP on the 15th June and the same points came up. His main point today was a concern that the political agenda of mainstream parties ignored uncontrolled immigration.

To start with, I think we need to tackle this myth. The BNP decry "uncontrolled immigration", of course. So do UKIP. This is to be expected. But even some mainsteam commentators talk about immigration as if it is uncontrolled. Conservative blogger Iain Dale, for instance, while commendably attacking the BNP for their hypocrisy and bigotry, nevertheless manages to echo one of their talking points: "And for the record, multiculturalism hasn't worked. Even Trevor Phillips says so. Uncontrolled immigration is a disaster for any country."

The implication, at least, is that uncontrolled immigration is what we have currently got. But in reality we have a UK border agency. From its website: "The UK Border Agency is responsible for securing the United Kingdom borders and controlling migration in the United Kingdom. We manage border control for the United Kingdom, enforcing immigration and customs regulations." The agency has 25 000 staff, including more than 9 000 warranted officers, It is not just a piece of window dressing.

Blasting away at the myths is important because it is the myths which feed the popularity of groups such as the BNP. So, what do Liberal Democrats say on this issue? Nick Clegg, when he was Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, spelled it out in the Independent: "Immigration policy should be based on facts, not fear". You can go to the article to read it in its entirety, but in brief the Liberal Democrats do believe in controlled immigration, but with the emphasis on integration, not on exclusion or deportation or alienation.

Nick was echoing the official Liberal Democrat policy, which can be found at Colin Ross's excellent site liberal_democrats_debate_immigration.html
I hope you will follow both of these links.

Change the world.

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