Those who have read my writings and blog may have gathered that immigration is a subject I follow with a keen and particular interest. Ever since I was a student, when I befriended a number of overseas students, I have been involved with folk from all over the world and overall I have felt enriched having done so. A disproportionate number of those coming from overseas, who I happen to have engaged with in recent years, have struggled with life in the UK, not having secure and at least moderately well paid work, and some are asylum seekers, meaning they can’t work (legally) or claim benefits.
Immigration is a hot topic for discussion and not a few British born residents look upon seeing foreigners, coming to the UK to settle, unfavourably, not helped by biased media reporting that demonises immigrants and political exchanges that seems to be more about point scoring. I have no doubt in the recent past immigration has got out of hand (given the lack of infrastructure to support new immigrants and a firm, fair and consistent policy that allows for the right level of immigration). Those let in are not always the most deserving or who will do the country the most good. I also have no doubt there has been a lot of misinformation.
I am grateful to my Facebook friend for pointing out an article with the title: “Do Migrants Really Cost Britain £120 Billion? Here’s What You Need To Know“, which raised the question do they or do they not give more to Britain than they take away? It also got me thinking! I suspect, what we end up with may be a classic example of “lies, dammed lies and statistics“, and I have no doubt the point where truth lays will vary from person to person. As argued in a recent “Immigration and Malayalee” blog posting, I have seen many examples where Britain has overall benefited as a result of people coming from overseas to settle in this country, although that need not always be the case. I suspect, I will return to this subject in due course, for the debate has far from run its course and, with the run up to the 2015 General Election, I anticipate it will hot up.
Having place the proverbial stake in the ground, I close with what I would like to see happen:
- A proper debate on immigration that will lead to a sensible and just immigration policy.
- An understanding of the facts, presented in a balanced way, and an exposure of fiction.
- Immigrants welcomed here on the basis of “Christian” hospitality.
- Getting the balance right between supporting those who come from overseas to live in the UK but reviewing and limiting benefits, which in any case ought to be earned.
- Control on numbers of immigrants, based on how well they might contribute to UK life, and shifting the balance toward Commonwealth citizens and away from the EU.
- Standing up to EU directives, when it comes to taking those who may not seem to contribute to UK life according to acceptable criteria, e.g. from new members, such as Bulgaria and Romania.
- Encouraging immigrants to adopt or at least respect “British values” (as long as these are defined, are the “right” ones and are followed by those who lead us) and to speak / write English.
- A just and compassionate approach to dealing with asylum seekers (unlike what we are seeing at present).
- A sense of British identity based on traditional values, that rejects doctrinaire multi-culturalism, yet celebrates diversity.
- British foreign policy that really is ethical.