Thursday, 11 March 2010

Are all Lib Dems this patronising?

Some Liberals don't much like my views on immigration. As far as I'm concerned, we're an island that needs to strictly limit and control the number of people we let into the country, since our public services and transport systems are already suffering, and we're running rather low on houses. So, when watching the BBC's Politics Show on Sunday (7th March), you'll understand why I felt more than a little annoyed when Dominic Carman, PPC for the Liberal Democrats in Barking, implied that not allowing illegal immigrants to stay was akin to hanging, and that it didn't matter that most of the public would disagree with the Libby Dem's policies, since it is "The right thing" to do.

Dominic Carman on the Politics Show 
Mr Carman seemed to imply that his views are right, and anyone who disagrees is immoral.

When asked by Tim Donovan about the Liberal Democrat policy which intends to provide an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been living in the UK for what is deemed to be long enough to gain legal status, Carman replied that "...sometimes you have to advocate policies because you know they're the right thing, even if people don't agree with them." I could handle that - I largely agree that parties should stand for what they believe to be moral and right for the nation, and that doesn't necessarily always mean following the beliefs of the majority of the population, but his jaws then kept flapping, and more words came out: "For example, capital punishment and the abolition of that which went through the House of Commons. At the time of its abolition 88% of the electorate wanted to retain it, but the House of Commons rightly voted against it, and it was morally the right thing to do."

Rightyho. So, he's just make a somewhat subtle but very spurious link between those who supported retaining capital punishment, and those who would rather not let illegal immigrants stay, perhaps suggesting a lack of moral fibre on our behalf? I am an example of someone who is opposed to capital punishment (primarily because the risk of ending the life of an innocent person is too great, and I believe that some criminals can be reformed and made into useful members of society) but I'm also opposed to letting illegal immigrants settle here.

Perhaps I was making too much of that example there - maybe he didn't intend to compare me to someone who vies for the blood of criminals. However, he did, in his rather odd manner of speaking, inform me that the Lib Dem's proposals are "the right thing [to do]", and therefore those of us who disagree ware wrong, and I'm probably an immoral bastard for daring to think differently. The crux of my standpoint comes down the belief that we shouldn't be allowing these people to stay purple because they've been here for a long time; doing so would devalue the whole process of legal immigration, and send out entirely the wrong signal to potential immigrants. Considering that our borders are now (finally) being tightened and there are tougher restrictions on who can enter the country, we could end up with potential immigrants concluding that they stand a higher chance of being able to stay by coming here illegally than following due process and proving that they can contribute useful skills to the UK.

Furthermore, what kind of message does that send to those who employ illegal immigrants? Surely it would suggest that if you employ an illegal immigrant and keep them hidden for long enough, and then let them come out and announce their presence to the government, they'll now be allowed to stay?

Two sides to every story, I know, but Carman didn't seem to be able to make much of a convincing argument other than tugging at the heartstrings and making an odd analogy to the abolition of capital punishment. Before you judge me as some fuming Daily Mail reading racist, be aware that I believe that immigration can make useful contributions to the UK, as hard workers from other countries are often willing to do jobs that we British would rather not, but I think we should also recognise that the services we can provide have their limits; the massive changes that immigration have brought to this country have, in some areas, caused tension; and people do lose their jobs because foreign workers are willing to do work for a lower wage. I'll waffle on about immigration more at a later date.

Finally, I'd like to say that I rather like the Liberal Democrats' policy on ensuring workers are only able to work in areas that need them - so their permit would only let them get a job in, for example, Scotland or the North West, though I'm not sure it would work in practice.

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