The public perception of immigration – is it wrong?

The Communities and Local Government Secretary, Hazel Blears, addressing the problems of the white, working-class perception of immigration and immigrants, has said:-

“White working-class people living on estates sometimes just don’t feel anyone is listening or speaking up for them,”

And

“Whilst they might not be experiencing the direct impact of migration, their fear of it is acute,” and that it was the responsibility of politicians to challenge the myths about immigration spread by the far right.

The Tories’ spokeswoman on community cohesion, Lady Warsi, somehow managed to turn Blears’ wholly justifiable concerns into yet another club with which to belabour the poor, the unemployed and the sick and disabled, saying:-

“This should be a call to focus on the real core problems of worklessness, debt, welfare dependency, family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse.”

Is this woman nuts? The questions, problems and perception of immigration – the failure of government to address which has driven very many people into the arms of the BNP – are nothing to do with the matters with which Lady Warsi is cynically and dishonestly trying to associate them. And only a little over a year ago, she was making much the same point as Blears is now, which makes her response to Blears look even more despicably cynical.

But hey, she’s a Tory, and just following the lead of the boy Cameron, whose cynical opportunism knows no bounds, so we shouldn’t be too surprised.

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Note:- This isn’t the post I first had in mind, as I had intended to go on to a discussion of immigration and benefits, particularly as they relate to migrants from the old Eastern-bloc countries that are now EU members. However, a half an hour researching the subject on Google showed me that what I believed was far from the truth. The thing is, I have the means to do that; a great many people do not, though, and I don’t think that statements, or – god help us all – even more patronising leaflets, from government – especially with people like Lady Warsi deliberately muddying the waters – are going to help matters much. To be honest, I don’t know what the answer is, other than simply putting up “House Full” signs for a few years. We do, after all, live on an island with finite space and resources – there’s a limit to the number of immigrants we can absorb, especially when so many show no desire to integrate with the population as a whole.

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