Sunday, March 13, 2005

Economic Immigration, UK (part 2)

If you want to read part 1 it is here. I'm sticking with the Conservatives for part 2. Labour can be accused of much the same as I said before.

I have looked up the speach Michael Howard gave to announce his new tough policy on immigration. The full text can be read on the Conservative Party website:
Howard: Firm but fair immigration controls

Here are some highlights and my own responses to them.

"Nearly 160,000 people now settle in Britain each year - that is a city the size of Peterborough.I think most people would agree that Britain has reached a turning point.They know that our communities cannot successfully absorb newcomers at today's pace."

Seems reasonable enough until you consider the problem from another perspective.
"In truth no one really knows Lagos's population. But local research suggests 300,000 people a year are flooding in."
'People wake up angry at being alive in a society like this' Guardian, 05:03:05

That's 300,000 people a year moving to Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. Not a country, a city. There is also a link to John Vidal's photo journal at the bottom of the article which shows pictures of what overcrowding can really be like. It is difficult to agree that Britain has reached a "turning point" after viewing these photos.

Mr Howard offered 4 proposals in his speach.
1 "We will set an annual limit to immigration, including a quota for asylum seekers."
So if you come to the UK to escape death or torture in your own country and the quota has already been met the Tories will refuse to give you asylum. How very civilized. Does Mr Howard sleep well at night?

2 "We will put in place 24-hour security at ports to prevent illegal immigration."
Don't we already have the tightest border controls in the EU? I for one don't want to live inside a barbed wire prison compound, even one the size of the UK.

3 "We will introduce an Australian-style points system for work permits - giving priority to people with the skills Britain needs."
This one really makes me angry. The UK under the Tories is going to be happy to take only the skilled workers which developing countries so desperately need. How is that going to help to decrease the huge gap between rich and poor countries? This is just plain stupidity and selfishness of the highest order.

4 "And we will tighten the immigration rules to stop sham marriages."
Perhaps if the gap between the have's and have not's was not so enormous people wouldn't feel the need to take part in sham marriages. I can't imagine many people really want to participate in such affairs.

As I said in part 1, I really can't see how the Conservatives can justify their policies. To me it seems to be a manipulation designed to exploit the worst aspects of UK public opinion. The party who loves the "invisible hand" of the market must surely see that only by decreasing the gap between rich and poor nations can economic immigration be controlled in a reasonable and morally sound manner. Please email me if you can explain how Mr Howard's proposals can be seen as fair and decent. I'm afraid I can't see how it can be done.
bhl_yoda AT

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