Sunday, February 27, 2005

But seriously...

It's sure to be one of the main themes in the election and I suspect, though I'm not entirely sure, that my two co-bloggers on here might not be exactly supportive of what some might argue is my extreme stance on immigration.

You see, I am firmly against immigration controls. Open our borders say I. OK, well you could loosen immigration controls and still retain effective border controls (we have as much reason to fear what UK citizens are bringing into the country really). Having noticed that there's more to life than profanity-laden operas on television, our spiritual leaders agree with me it seems, to a point anyhow.

I find the government's attitude to immigration entirely confused and ill-informed, based mainly on assauging people who probably won't vote Labour anyhow. If illegal immigrants are so bad, why are so many of them being used to collect kids from school in the more desirable postcodes of West London? We'd soon complain if restaurant owners had to start paying their kitchen staff the minimum wage (which is a scandal in itself) and prices went up and don't get me started on the women who can't go to the police when they are raped for fear of deportation.

Tangentially, reading The Guardian this weekend depressed me (I appreciate that it depresses many people but bear with me) but not for the usual reporting of xenophobic drip-feed from Tory Central Office. Hidden away in the usually politically anodyne 'Guide' section, I did read their hyping of two forthcoming Brazilian-themed events in London. Two words had me incensed -- "favela chic". I spent seven weeks in Brazil late last year, with some time in an area of Sao Paulo bordered by favelas (it really is cheek by jowl over there, rich people use helicopters) and I didn't see what was so 'chic' about not having access to running water, education or adequate policing and having to fear for your life every day. So it seems that there will be two Britains at the election, the paranoid one with little to be paranoid about and the one wearing combat pants seeking to gain a smug vicarious thrill from the conditions which drive people to come here illegally.

By all means open the borders, but not the welfare state's coffers as well. Guido is the son of immigrants, I have no problem with free migration. Come here, breathe the air of freedom, work and contribute to the rich diversity of Britain. But don't come here to sponge off the welfare state and abuse an NHS system paid for by others. Learn English and stay out of trouble. If you abuse the hospitality of the British, they will rightly make you unwelcome.

I knew that cat wouldn't stay in the bag very long...


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