Sunday, October 07, 2007

Is it racist to talk about immigration?

We are a small island; there's is a finite limit to the number of people who can live here; in some parts of the country there are already severe pressures on our basic infrastructure - schools, hospitals, housing, transport and some areas of some cities are already "swamped" (as a previous Labour Home Secretary once said) with such a large volume of non-indigenous, non-English speaking extended families that the established populations feel overwhelmed.

Even in the small (100,000 population) town where I live in the North Midlands we are beginning to see far more groups of people from all over the world (who stand out, not so much by the colour of their skin, but by their style of clothing, language, etc) but not to the extent that we feel "swamped" - yet.

But if current trends are allowed to continue without some form of control (for example, the points system that the Conservatives suggested and has been adopted in part by NuLabour) then the nature of this small town will change very quickly.

It's all very well NuLabour et al saying that immigration has had a positive benefit on the economy (that might be true in parts of the country and in certain sectors of the economy) but to ordinary Joe Public they just see that their world has changed without them being asked if they agree.

That's why we need to be able to discuss immigration policy in a mature way without being accused of being racist.

Here's a thought: France has about the same population as the UK but it's landmass is four times bigger than the UK's. Lot's of room for new (Brown-style) eco-towns and they already have sustainable nuclear power as their main source of energy. Wouldn't it be great if they absorbed the vast majority of the projected numbers of immigrants to Europe from the Middle East and the north, east, west and south of Africa? They have got more space after all.

But then again, the French are more racist than we are!