Immigration – here we go again…

I’m just waiting for another wave of ‘immigration bashing’ to start, especially from politicians who seem these days to be trying to outdo each other in veering to the right on immigration.

The Migration Observatory at Oxford University has released a report based on estimates that suggests that there has been a rise in the immigrant population of 565,000 since 2011. They have extrapolated data using the 2011 census and rolling data from the annual Labour Force Survey.

A large number of these immigrants have, according to the projected figures, come from the European Union, particular the Eastern European members. The BBC online news report on this is fairly neutral, as is The Guardian’s. Even The Telegraph stays quite calm in reporting the issue.

The Daily Mail* online apparently sees no problem with having this headline “Migrant population of Britain has increased by more than half a million in three years after boom in EU workers… and former Brussels chief says there’s nothing we can do about it‘ just below their outrage at “EXCLUSIVE: ‘Fight the Jewish scum!’ Shocking anti-Semitism on streets of BRITAIN as Jewish journalist is spat at, abused and even stalked… and the same happens in Copenhagen“.

Meanwhile the Daily Express* practically screams its disapproval in its headline: “Immigration causes England’s population to rise by over half a MILLION in three years“.

*Sorry, I prefer not to link to these sites.

I don’t have a major problem with immigration – most British people can trace at least some of their descent to either invaders or immigrants from earlier eras. It’s part of what makes our country’s identity strong and unique. It’s also, for many parts of our economy, not least the NHS, what keeps our country running.

I especially have a problem with politicians who adopt an ‘all immigration is bad’ approach, without differentiating between overseas students who often stay and very much benefit the UK economy (and whose numbers have been whittled away during the current government’s attempts to control immigration) and refugees, whether political or economic, and so on and so on.

The general ‘one size fits all’ approach generally condemns and scapegoats all immigrants for the ‘crimes’ of the small proportion who may abuse the privilege (much as the majority of people claiming benefits are either pensioners or working people in low-paid jobs rather than the tiny minority who abuse the system).

I’m waiting to see what sort of response we will get from politicians, particularly UKIP and the more right-wing Tories. I don’t expect them to be positive.

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