Posted 29 Mar 2013 by Walaa Idris
On Monday, the Prime Minister made a speech on immigration. He set out plans to reinforce rules restricting access to benefits, the NHS and social housing for European immigrants.
Yesterday in an article by the joint chairmen of the cross party group on balanced migration, Frank Field (Labour) and Nicholas Soames (Conservatives) said, Cameron must restrict European immigration because Britain is still facing an influx of people at an unsustainable high level, despite Coalition action to reduce immigration. Then added, the expected wave of immigration from Bulgaria and Romania (which could lead to 50,000 people a year moving to this country from next year) means that the issue must be tackled now. They advised that during periods of high unemployment, such as now, government should protect low-skilled British workers struggling to compete with foreigners for jobs.
A few weeks ago, after the Eastleigh by-election and UKIP’s dramatic ascend to second place; immigration “UKIP’s centre issue” suddenly became every party’s main issue. Immigration, a topic once the reserve of right- wing politics is now a One Nation Labour’s mistake to apologies for mismanaging it during their time in office, and a Liberal Democrats’ must monitor and control issue. In the space one month immigration moved from “the elephant in the room everyone scared and embarrassed to talk about” to “look, they are coming, we don’t have the resources to welcome them and need to do something fast”. Plus of course there is Ukip, the other elephant in the room.
But outside Westminster, immigration talk is still uncomfortable for too many people. Firstly unlike Westminster, the stigma of talking immigration hasn’t yet changed in the UK streets, kitchen tables and pubs. And secondly, many people in this country are either themselves immigrants or descendants of migrants. The feeling of “that could have been me, my parents or grandparents some years ago” makes many people including politicians (before Eastleigh) become very uncomfortable talking immigration. Plus as Brits, we are naturally an uncomfortable bunch when it comes to talking about how we really feel about stuff – well, at least openly. But also politicians are confusing voters. With the one hand they praise immigration and attribute our richness to it but with the other, now that we can’t cope, want to curb and curtail it but can’t due to EU law – laws to some extend they helped pass.
That is why if politicians treat immigration like a business, with a plus and minus spreadsheet of how much it costs and what are the returns, then they are in serious trouble. Because EU laws clearly states that member states may not discriminate against other member states by giving their own citizens preference. Let’s not forget this is the same EU that allowed Cyprus to raid Cypriots’ savings accounts during the toughest economic period in peacetime.
Then again, if politicians use figures and stats from existing police reports on issues ranging from serious crimes such as rape and murder, squatting , to other anti-social crimes then they can use possible measures under UK laws to curb numbers, by implementing a criminal vetting system for all those coming in from Europe (including non EU nationals). There is nothing in the EU laws that say sovereign members cannot protect themselves and safeguard the security of their citizens from criminals. We should learn from old mistakes such as Abu Qatada, it’s much easier to not allow criminals and suspected criminals in than to kick them out.