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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tebbit crosses the line

Coverage of Norman Tebbit's remarks on immigration in yesterday's media was slightly misleading in that the headlines said he wanted a zero immigration policy when in fact he was calling for a zero net immigration policy.

Nevertheless that distinction does not make his proposal any more acceptable or achieveable in the real world. I understand that as a right wing Tory he may want to restore a way of life that has not existed in this country before the second world war, but how can he, as a free marketeer justify the restrictions in trade and the movement of labour that his proposals would entail?

According to the Office for National Statistics the number of people leaving the UK for 12 months or more reached a record high in 2008, with an estimated 427,000 people emigrating. This was up from 341,000 in 2007 and 398,000 in 2006.

Compare this to the immigration figures which show that an estimated 590,000 people arrived to live in the UK in 2008, the second highest figure on record after 596,000 in 2006. Of all immigrants 505,000 (86 per cent) were non-British citizens in 2008. Net migration, the difference between immigration and emigration, decreased from 233,000 in 2007 to 163,000 as a result of increased emigration.

What these figures show is a healthy movement of labour into and out of Britain, in which Britons go abroad to work, whilst others come here to take up jobs that in many instances cannot be filled by British nationals. Without that sort of movement our economy would grind to a halt.

Furthermore I would argue that if we start imposing limits on those who can come into our country, then others will do the same to us, limiting opportunities for British citizens to work abroad. Does Lord Tebbit really want that to happen or does he want a return to our imperial past as well, when we pretty well did what we wanted no matter what other countries said?

It is right that we clamp down on illegal immigration and take a tough line with those who commit crimes whilst they are here but we should not damage our own economy by adopting wrong-headed and unsustainable stances, nor should we abandon our long tradition of helping those in trouble from other countries, providing that we manage that effectively as well.

Clearly there are issues about housing, benefits and medical treatment that need to be addressed but let us not fall for the lies and distortions that are bandied about in the tabloid press on this. We need a rational debate but one that takes account of the benefits of immigration as well as its downside.
Thanks Peter, does Lord Tebbitt know how often our hospital patients are cared for almost exclusively by staff from overseas? Not to mention our care home residents?

I believe it has long been the case that, without overseas workers coming to our shores, our Health Service, and many other services, would be unable to function - but maybe that is what this Grandee of Privatisation wants to see ?
Lord Tebbitt has let the cat out of the bag with this comment, and given away the Tory party line. Even if it were possible to balance immigration and emigration in the way he seems to imply, it would be undesirable both for the reasons that Sean states in his contribution, and because the UK population of working age is in decline, and that decline is set to steepen. By 2026 there will be two people of working age for every pensioner. At the moment there are four. In five years time, maybe even the Tories will have woken up to the brute fact that our strategic need will be to attract immigrants, not keep them out. Or...maybe not.
There is an illegal alien deterrent gaining momentum in the United States. It is called E-Verify, a computer program that could be adapted for Britain's use.Through not mandated, is becoming very popular in the business sector. Using the Social Security, Homeland Security data bases it identifies unauthorized workers. Right now penalties are not that strict, but public attention is reigning in corrupt politicians who are pandering to open border lobbyists. If you want to learn more go to NUMBERSUSA Dot Com and JUDICIAL WATCH Dot Org in America for inspiration that patriotic indigenous British/English can use. INTRODUCE THIS IDEA TO YOUR MORE HONEST CONSERVATIVE AND LABOR REPRESENTATIVES?
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