Today David Cameron gave a speech on the growing anxiety over immigration in the UK. He attacked the Labour Party for making the subject taboo and overly sensitive (which I believe is correct, it is hard to discuss immigration without being accused of racism, or in fact over-sympthisation).
It seems in the last 12 months immigration has become a hot-topic in the international realm, last year Angela Merkel announced that multiculturalism in Germany had failed. And only this week France banned Muslim women from wearing the Niqab and the Burqa in public places. Both were met with relative public support.
Today marks the turn of the UK to have its say multicultural Britain and the fears the British public seemingly have. Now I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a lot of this tension is not because of mass immigration, but because of "islamification" (which for many reasons is a ridiculous concept, however I'll play along).
Mass immigration in my opinion is not a tension point, don't get me wrong people are aggrieved by the idea. "Bloody foreigners coming over here and stealing our jobs" springs to mind. (Again, a ridiculous myth in most cases) and there is anecdotal evidence that "They bring all their family and sponge of our government", however this is a minority and there is a much greater number of British Nationals doing the exact same thing they criticise immigrants of doing. The irony is not lost.
The tension arises due to "islamification" and the rise of "militant, extreme muslims". The growing number of newspaper reports regarding home-grown terrorists panders to the Daily Mail reading, BNP supporters, who look for somebody to hate to express their inner brute on a sector of society. Like the French, there are some
in Britain who are intimidated by the unknown and those whose religious beliefs differ to theirs. In fact, just today a YouGov poll showed that 66% of Brits polled supported a ban of the Burqa.
|How long until we see a Burqa ban in the UK?|
Yet, the focus of today was not the wild, racist clammer of 'islamification' but the discussion of high immigration. There is a downside to immigration. The number of workers coming through is simply too high, Britain in many places is already over-populated, the need for immigrant workers needs to come down. The Coalition has announced policies to bring the number down, they are implementing a points system, which decides how beneficial the worker will be to the UK's economy (which is of course what the government looks at when considering its workforce), it also looking into cracking down on sham marriages and the handling of student visas. Immigrants who come to the UK should be highly skilled, adding something that British workers can not, we don't need immigrants to come and do the low level, unskilled jobs, we should be pushing British people to do them. The real problem is benefit culture, many are happy to not work and seek benefits instead of taking a job they do not want to do. Would I want to do an unskilled job? Probably not, would I? If I had to.
As long as we have a benefit system that allows workers to be better off sat on their sofas rather than working we will always have a problem with immigration. The government has announced its plans to curb this
culture, introducing the universal credit and slashing benefits for those who refuse a job. Which is a step in the right direction.
Without the solution the issues of immigration will continue to fester and grow. Cameron talked of those who do not learn English and refuse to intergrate, and he is right to criticise these people. It seems confusing, even silly that somebody can enter the UK workforce without being able to speak English. It is not about
attempting to make immigrants British (because what is it to be British?) but for them to enter into our societies and learn the basic principals of the western world. Attempts to set up Sharia courts and to not abide by our laws (mistreatment of women) is a slap in the face to the government which has welcomed them
to the UK.
Of course, the UK has benefited enormously from immigration, which has allowed skilled workers into the country and brought new cultures with them. We should also be cracking down on illegal immigration and helping asylum seekers with a legitimate claim to safety.
Quick note on Vince Cable. Keep your criticisms private, stop throwing your toys out of the pram.