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July 12, 2006

Comments

Matthew

I think it's very important to remember that the BNP took just 0.74% of the vote in 2005.

CB

"Or wouldn't a better vote-winning strategy be to pander a little to the racists, by "listening to their concerns"?"

It probably would, but I'd argue whether that was 'pandering to the racists'. I've always maintined that by ignoring any and all possible problems with immigration (and not pointing out the benefits either) the major political parties are *already* pandering to the BNP, by letting them have the only podium at the debate. Listening to the concerns of the population (note: *not* the BNP) is a key part of that. It would only be pandering if there were only two options available on immigration

1) lock up the country, send all current immigrants 'back where they came from'

2) allow each and every person in without restriction and with full UK citizenship rights. Hand them a passport and a benefit book at the airport.

You know there are a million shades of grey inbetween these two options, so why is exploring some of them with people who have concerns and feel marginalised a sin? I don't include hardened racists in this, but if we could get people back to a sensible place in the debate by engaging with them why not do so?

Jim

"One of the main reasons for antipathy towards immigrants is the "strain they put upon public services" such as housing ... A pro-immigrant party would remove this source of complaint."

Could you elaborate on this? IMHO the supply of housing is always going to be fairly inelastic because design, planning and construction are each quite time-consuming.

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