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May 23, 2014

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Rob

In the spirit of proposing a bad idea in the hope of prompting a better one, I wonder if we could solve this by having local immigration controls. London could allow free movement of people not just from the EU, and in Norfolk they could ban anyone who has a grandparent from outside the village. That would seem to allow anti-immigrant people to get what they prefer - no immigrants here! - and also allow immigrants what they want - migration to places they actually want to go!

Now, to come up with something that might actually work...

Jim

"UKIP have polled badly in Birmingham and London which have for years received many immigrants."

In other news the SWP poll very badly in Mayfair and Belgravia.

Really, this is the best you can come up with?

"most people think immigration is a national problem, they don't believe it to be one in their own area"

Rubbish. Everyone I know who voted UKIP mentioned how much their own area or town had changed in the last 10 years. Walk down most town centre High streets nowadays and it looks like a foreign country. Thats whats p*ssing people off.

Duncan

Jim, he's basing that off consistent trends in opinion polling, not just pulling it out of the air. Look it up. An anecdote is not an argument against it, pretty much everyone I know doesn't give a shit about immigration at all, that doesn't mean that applies to the population as a whole.

Besides your post contradicts itself. The parts of the country which actually have changed a lot within living memory as a result of immigration are precisely the parts where anti immigration politics make the least impact. Given that UK-born population is a significant majority in almost all of these areas if most people did care about immigration in their neighbourhood then these would be strong areas for UKIP. That they're not is far more telling than you seem to realise.

Ben

What I'd like to see is an honest debate on the real reason behind immigration. UKIP did take this on when Farange said it would harm our living standards but that he thought it was "worth it". Agree with that or not, but let's have the discussion.

Let's have Balls/Osbourne out and say "look if we don't have immigration, with our demographics, declining economy and pension liabilities the UK is going to implode". Just come out and say it!

FlybyNight

"Walk down most town centre High streets nowadays and it looks like a foreign country."

Does it? In what respect?

gastro george

The centres of a lot of small towns look a bit like downtown Detroit what with all the empty shops. Near us, that's mainly down to Tesco.

FromArseToElbow

Goodhart's statement that "the public think immigration is too high and should be reduced" needs to be qualified.

Very few people know what the rate of immigration is, let alone the difference between gross and net, so the response to an opinion poll is likely to reflect their perception of existing social composition (stock) rather than current change (flow). This is exemplified by Jim's comment.

It is impossible to accurately assess either immigrant stock or flow by walking down a high street, but it is possible to assess racial composition. Of course, this means including non-white UK citizens in your mental count, and excluding white non-UK visitors.

This all makes Goodhart's further comment rather ironic: "Arguments about immigration have been decoupled from race: the idea of race equality is embedded in British common sense".

FromArseToElbow

Goodhart's statement that "the public think immigration is too high and should be reduced" needs to be qualified.

Very few people know what the rate of immigration is, let alone the difference between gross and net, so the response to an opinion poll is likely to reflect their perception of existing social composition (stock) rather than current change (flow). This is exemplified by Jim's comment.

It is impossible to accurately assess either immigrant stock or flow by walking down a high street, but it is possible to assess racial composition. Of course, this means including non-white UK citizens in your mental count, and excluding white non-UK visitors.

This all makes Goodhart's further comment rather ironic: "Arguments about immigration have been decoupled from race: the idea of race equality is embedded in British common sense".

FromArseToElbow

Goodhart's statement that "the public think immigration is too high and should be reduced" needs to be qualified.

Very few people know what the rate of immigration is, let alone the difference between gross and net, so the response to an opinion poll is likely to reflect their perception of existing social composition (stock) rather than current change (flow). This is exemplified by Jim's comment.

It is impossible to accurately assess either immigrant stock or flow by walking down a high street, but it is possible to assess racial composition. Of course, this means including non-white UK citizens in your mental count, and excluding white non-UK visitors.

This all makes Goodhart's further comment rather ironic: "Arguments about immigration have been decoupled from race: the idea of race equality is embedded in British common sense".

Jim

"The parts of the country which actually have changed a lot within living memory as a result of immigration are precisely the parts where anti immigration politics make the least impact"

Because all the people who didn't like the changes have gone, leaving just the ones who didn't mind. Or ones that actively like such environments and have moved there out of choice. Hence inner cities have self selected - they are either immigrants, or people who don't mind the immigration, and its effects. Whereas the smaller towns are full of people who don't want their town to turn into what they see in inner cities.

"Does it? In what respect?"

Its full of obvious foreigners talking in foreign languages. Its no longer the country I grew up in. And I'm not that old either, only just over 40.

Luke

Jim,

"Rubbish. Everyone I know who voted UKIP mentioned how much their own area or town had changed in the last 10 years."

That statement is probably true. But it doesn't prove or even indicate anything. Those who voted UKIP (and who you know) may well think that. Those who did not vote UKIP (most people) might think the opposite. If you add to that the people you do not know (just about everyone) it becomes even more of a a pointless statement.

FWIW, I from my own experience/impression, I find the idea that small non-metropolotian towns have changed dramatically in 10 years bizarre - have you been to Faversham or Cranbrook? They haven't reached the 90s.

Jim

"It is impossible to accurately assess either immigrant stock or flow by walking down a high street, but it is possible to assess racial composition."

Its just one piece in the jigsaw. If you work in factories and warehouses (not that any of you bien pensant types do) and you'll have a very good idea of how the immigrant stock has changed. Know any teachers (I know quite a few) and they'll be able to give you a very detailed breakdown of the nationalities they have in their schools (my friend teaches c. a dozen different nationalities at his school, not a inner city one by any means, its a case of 'spot the white kid ' in the team photos). Need I go on?

Anyone who lives in the real world can see the racial and ethnic makeup of this country has altered radically in the last 10-15 years, you only need eyes and ears to ascertain it, not census results. And when people are being hacked to death in the streets I hardly think its surprising there's plenty who are rightly fed up with it.

Bill Bedford

I haven't heard of UKIP, or anyone else, trying to encourage people who have emigrated from this country to return.

FromArseToElbow

Jim, you have no idea where any of us work, any more than we know your circumstances, so cut out the snidery. It might surprise you to learn that other people have different life experiences, and that these are no less worthy.

What I can say, and you cannot gainsay, is that British factories and warehouses have been reliant on immigrants since before you were born, most notably the Irish. What exactly is your proposed solution for this "problem". Send them all back?

It's easy to forget that Britain, because of its "early adopter" role in the industrial revolution, is just as much a nation of immigrants as the US (that's one of the advantages of relying on censuses over eyes and ears).

In that light, your choice of a 15-year old watershed is odd. Would you expel Gillian Anderson but keep Lenny Henry?

Luke

Jim, you're a farmer aren't you? The people most keen on EU subsidies, and most keen on cheap migrant labour, particularly non -EU labour as they're the cheapest? Yes or no.

BenSix

"I haven't heard of UKIP, or anyone else, trying to encourage people who have emigrated from this country to return."

The implication that it is hypocritical to oppose mass migration and live abroad (full disclosure: I support immigration controls and work abroad) seems unjustified. First, one need not oppose immigration *per se* and might, indeed, think that it is a splendid thing to a certain extent. Second, one need not blame migrants for taking the opportunities that they are offered, even if one hopes to limit them.

I agree that the preferences of the voters should not always be respected. Burke is quoted as speaking of "hasty opinion", and governments are responsible for maintaining stable institutions in the face of what might be a capricious public. Here, though, it does not seem to be common citizens who are guilty of haste. It is the government's policies that are new, hazardous and being advanced at great speed on very optimistic grounds.

Trash, the disreputable lion

The dilemma with immigration policy is this.

The public want immigration to be stopped, or at least drastically restricted. But the politicians know that if they actually tried to implement such a policy, the public would not like the results (economic disaster and the collapse of the NHS). But we all know what would happen to a politician who told the public that they were wrong about immigration.

So the politicians have to find ways of assuaging public concern about immigration without actually doing what the public wants. The strategy adopted under New Labour was to talk tough - and to direct various nasty little petty measures at asylum seekers - while basically allowing immigration to continue. It didn't work. The current government has tried setting targets which it has no way of meeting unless it gets lucky. That hasn't worked. At present Ed Miliband seems intent on a strategy of 'understanding and hearing your concerns' without doing much about them. It's hard to see that working either.

gastro george

What I'd suggest is that what the public actually wants is more prosperity and better and cheaper housing. IIRC, the more detailed polls regularly show these as higher priorities over immigration. At least Miliband has been making a more principled stand on this - not that it's done much good according to the obsessive wing of the media.

FlybyNight

"...full of obvious foreigners talking in foreign languages. Its no longer the country I grew up in."

No it isn't, and Amen to that.

http://michaelrosenblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/miliband-ukip-and-im-not-racist-but.html

Jim

@Luke: I am indeed a farmer, and would probably stand to lose out if we left the EU. But I don't let my self interest colour what I consider is right for the country. And farmers are not large users of cheap Eastern European labour - there is some in the veg sectors, but the vast majority of farms use capital intensive production methods, and have been reducing the amount of labour employed for decades. There are other much larger sectors of the UK economy that rely much more on cheap foreign labour than farming - particularly the service, logistics and construction sectors.

Jim

"your choice of a 15-year old watershed is odd."

Because if you look at the stats you will see prior to 1997 net immigration was around 50k pa, which in a country of 60m is manageable. Strangely enough post 1997 it jumped dramatically to be a net 100K pa, and by the 00s to over 200k pa, which it still is. Its in the last 15 years that there has been a sustained and active policy to alter the racial makeup of the UK, a policy that was never mentioned by the people implementing it, and denied all the while they were doing so.

From Arse To Elbow

Re: "there has been a sustained and active policy to alter the racial makeup of the UK". You make it sound like we've been governed by the Nazi Party since 2000.

Jim

"You make it sound like we've been governed by the Nazi Party since 2000"

No, the Labour party, and its immigration agenda is now a matter of record, ask Andrew Neather.

Keith

All this talk of things changing too much puts me in mind of that old standard "things ain't what they used to be...

In fact we seem to be reliving recent history with a Thatcherite Cabinet attacking the poor and restoring the poll tax and work house while we have a new version of Enoch Powell with his fine classical allusions to rivers of blood. So far from changing we seem to be happy to live in the past of our right wing nostalgia. Not a healthy state of affairs; one might even suspect it is all a ploy to distract from the Capitalist crisis... but that would be another example of a fine tradition in political economy as well. The more things change the more they remain the same.

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