Josefin Malmqvist

Immigration – talk of the today.

Listened to Damian Green tonight, Shadow Minister of Immigration. Spoke about why the Conservatives are so far ahead in the polls, between 5-18 points.

Gordon Brown is just incompetent, he argued, which definitely assists the Conservatives. He may be far more intelligent and well-read than Tony Blair, but he sure doesn’t know how to talk to people about politics.

Further David Cameron’s charisma is an advantage, naturally. A charming Conservative! Amazing! Also the fact that the Conservatives are united on a parliamentary level is something unique we often take for granted in other countries. In Britain, high up Conservatives use(ed) to criticize one another using the national press. Delightful. Glad that time is over…

Now, immigration is considered one of the two most important political issues along with health care. Interesting that when people feel fear, tension or out of control, a political issue such as immigration keeps  popping up, now just as in the 60s and 70s. People feel that a recession might be coming, with the fear of losing their jobs and the biggest threat is naturally people from other countries coming to steal their jobs…

About 200 000 per year immigrate to Britain, which is approximately the size of Birmingham every 5th year. Brown has calculated that 3 million new houses will be needed the coming years. Quite a lot. It’s hard to grasp these massive numbers. (For those of you who understand Swedish, have a look at the previous post for guidance).

One more number. Today, approximately 1 million people under the age of 25 do nothing here in Britain. 1 million! They don’t work, don’t study – nothing. They don’t have any qualifications. How are they expected to participate to the economy? No wonder there are problems…

The Conservatives here suggests setting limits, establishing specific numbers of people allowed to come in to the country. (And no, don’t worry – I asked him and asylum seekers are not included) Anyway, the idea being that a certain number of work permits be issued every year. And a specialized boarder police be educated.

Green also realized the limitations the Conservatives face, among other things being able to explain themselves in a simple, comprehensible and shortcut-way. If you’re on TV you only get 8-10 seconds to say what you want to say. That’s it. It’s all about adjusting to the format.

This is a very interesting topic, obviously stirring up some emotions. ”Britishness” was another theme, something that probably is instinctively transmitted and nothing you can learn in a textbook as the Socialists here seem to think. They have introduced a test of Britishness, like a pop-quiz, where you are expected to be able to answer a certain number of questions. Green admitted he himself was not able to answer all of the questions! However, believing that a pop-quiz to which you can learn all the answers is a true measure of something so hard to define as a sense of nationality is not only naïve but foolish.

UK boarder agency for info on the bureaucracy in general. Quite interesting as this was what I wrote about on the blog a couple of days ago. I promise Damian, I’m working on my Britishness. Anyway, the transmission of values is important. ”People used to kill each other over political differences in this country. And now they don’t anymore. It is important to understand why”, Green further argued.

I agree with a lot of the things he said (being a former Oxford PPEist), however I do not agree that the solution to the problem is setting quotas. Then you haven’t fully understood what causes the problem in the first place. It is not people coming to the UK that is the problem; the problem is that they are not integrated into society. Then that is what you should be aiming at solving, rather than closing the boarders. The higher fences we build, the more problems we create for the future. So tear down the fences and print textbooks instead. That’s definitely a better way forward.