The Times ran a headline this morning which not only caught my attention but made me think once again about the question of immigration. It simply read Migrant surge as job curb ends. This was a reference to the number of Romanians who have secured the right to work in the UK. Would this provide more ammunition for the likes of UKIP? Or have we been here before?
The fact is that every so often "facts" are presented to us in different ways depending on the outcome the writer wants. The Times article (unlike the tabloids) at least attempted a factual and informative approach. Nevertheless the arguments are likely to come to the fore as the "kick 'em all out" and "let them all in" brigades begin another round of posturing as we head towards a referendum on membership of the EEC.
The question of what to do about immigration is a perennial problem that has it's roots in arguments going back much further than Britain's entry into the European Union back in the day. In the thirties it was about Jews. In the fifties and sixties it was about Blacks and Asians. Nowadays its..err white people from Eastern Europe.
The fact is that Britain like every other country throughout history has had waves of immigration and it has to be said migration because that is how humanity has developed and moved forward.
That said Britain like every other country in the world has a right to decide if there are limitations to this process and a serious discussion needs to take place.
It occurs to me that for far to long the (far) right and (far) left have dominated the debate with extreme positions that are neither sustainable or realistic and are simply ideologically motivated or in some cases simply racist. The lefts use of the immigration question has not always been savoury as some groups have preyed on immigrant communities in the name of "solidarity" (read self interest of the groups concerned) and themselves are responsible for the current problems we face.
The far right of course is much clearer in it's intent and simply uses scaremongering to appeal to the section of the white working class that feels it has been forgotten.
Simply put we as a nation need to move away from these extremes to instigate a rational and open debate without fear of false accusations of racism when immigration controls and measures are discussed.
Neither immigration or migration will be stopped. People will always move around the world. It's the way humanity needs to be.
That said there cannot possibly be unfettered immigration because no society ours included can cope. The argument that Britain is a small island has some validity, but it has to be remembered there are huge numbers of Brits living in EU countries, in Spain there are some 1 million.
The coming referendum will see UKIP and the Socialist Party (militant) campaigning to get us out of Europe. That in itself says a lot to me. I believe we should stay in Europe, least of all because if we leave so many "rights" we have in the workplace through EEC legislation would be thrown on the bonfire by the right.
Much remains to be looked. Human Rights are important, but the current act does need reform. We cannot and should not allow certain categories of criminals who come to the UK to remain by bleating about their rights when they have abused our hospitality to the extreme. Like most people I do not care what happens to a murderer, rapist or child abuser if they are returned to their countries of origin. The state exists to protect it's citizens.
Those who come here and commit serious or habitual crime should not be welcome. This is just one of a number of issues that needs to be addressed because that's what the majority of people regardless of colour or ethnicity believe is right.
The shrill calls I hear already from the "comrades" do not deter me from considering these questions openly and calmly.
Rights come with responsibilities. Something the left in particular do not either address or even bother themselves about. The right simply do not care. The majority of us wish a fair debate with a rational solution.
The referendum will or should allow us to have this debate and more. Those on the extremes of politics should not be allowed to hijack this discussion about our futures.
Neither UKIP or the SWP! Seems like a slogan to me!