Time and time again we are subjected to all manner of old cobblers being talked about immigration. What irrtates me beyond belief is the sheer ignorance of the subject displayed by so called pundits on TV. We have seen a huge surge in popularity of UKIP based on a supposed backlash against immigration. UKIP came into being as a party campaigning for the UK to leave the EU. It has morphed into an anti immigration party, as I suspect it sees this as a way to actually win support.
What is noticable is the things UKIP don't share with us on the subject. Let us start with a consideration of why people migrate to the UK. There are four reasons
1. To improve ones financial position
2. To escape persecution
3. To be with family
4. To be with a partner
Anyone residing in an EU country has free movement to the UK. From the rest of the world, there is a process, often circumvented. Generally people in the latter two categories will follow a legal process and generally will be able to live in the UK. Whilst we get rabid headlines about mock marriages etc, this is not a statistically significant number of people.
The second category is a difficult one for rabid anti immigrants. No one who has a heart wants to send anyone back to a country where they will be persecuted or put to death. Given the history of the UK in being involved in foreign countries, we have a moral responsibility to assist in these cases as well as a legal one by UN charter (which we helped to draw up). It is funny how the term Refugee is used referring to people fleeing ISIS to enter camps in Turkey, but when they come to the UK they become "asylum seekers", a far more ambiguous term. whilst I suspect that many UKIP supporters would not take a single refugee from anywhere, this is not a situation the nation as a whole takes. As soon as we come to terms with the individual cases where people are actually deported,w e often see a massive public reaction against uncaring civil servants enforcing rules in a rigid way, without compassion.
Then there is the first category. This is the one which people seem to have an issue with. People who simply want to live here to have a better standard of living. If they are from the EU, that is no problem at all. If they are from elsewhere, many travel illegally and often pay criminal gangs huge sums to get in. In short, they see the UK as provinding a better standard of living.
Now what is strange is that we demonising people for doiung exactly as we do. How many people do you know who have ever turned down a pay rise or complained when Tescos cut the price of beans. These things give us a better standard of living, but we seem to begrudge others the same thing. Often people who travel illegally are coming from extreme poverty. Often they risk all to get here. Many don't make it, losing their lives on the way. As there is no way in a modern, civilised liberal society to seal borders, no matter how hard we may desire it, there will always be illegal immigration whilst economic issues cause such wide disparity. In short the issue is that much of the third world is poverty stricken, whilst we never go hungry, thirsty or worry about civil unrest.
Anys ane person who analysises the situation should recognise that the key to stopping this illegal movement of people is to actually resolve the issues of inequality. No one moves to the UK for the weather. They move because they know they won't be hungry, thirsty or persecuted. What is UKIPs response? They wish to cut foreign aid, which will cause more misery in the third world. They want to pull the UK out of organisations that guarantee human rights, whcih can only mean that those who are less interested in human rights have free reign.
Then there is the fact that immigration is propping up the economy. UKIP say "immigrants are bad for the economy". Well you show me a tube line, train line or hospital in London, which is not kept running by immigrants. Show me a restaurant, major department store or bank. The birth rate amongst the indiginous population is falling and many are actually moving abroad. There are huge UK populations in places like Spain (many elderly). The UK is faced with an ageing population, who will care for us when we are old and decrepid. My father in law passed away a few years ago, All of his carers as he moved to a situation of full dependency were immigrants. We as a family valued their contribution.
If we go down the UKIP route, we'd be faced with a situation of permanent recession, no one to keep the economy running and no one to wipe our bums when we go senile. The situation is not perfect and there are huge pressures on housing, especially in the South East. That doesn't mean we can stop the world and get off. I happen to believe that we should have a national plan to decide where we want to be as a nation in 50 years. What new train lines, airports, hospitals, power stations will we need between now and then. We should make sure we protect the sites to ensure we can develop. I discussed this with a local Tory, who derided the suggestion, saying "who could know 50 years ago that we'd be in this mess, a plan would be out of date before it's written". I disagree. That is why we are seeing Thameslink 2000 delivered 18 years late. Crossrail delivered 30 years late. That is why we are at serious risk of power cuts if we have bad winters. That is why we are still arguing over a new runway at Heathrow. We have no plan at all. We don't have enough homes, schools or hospital beds.
None of this is the fault of immigrants. It is the fault of politicians who can't see beyond the end of their noses.