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UKIP, the EU and Immigration

December 2, 2013

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the effect of “letting in” immigrants from other countries. The discussion is a feature of many countries, but here in the UK, its UKIP who are the strongest and loudest advocates for pulling up the draw bridge on Britain. UKIP (The UK Independence Party) are screaming to be released from the EU because they worry about the number of immigrants that come to Britain (I apologise at this juncture for leaving out Northern Ireland, which is of course part of the UK but not Britain – it’s a bit inconvenient to keep adding them in, so feel free to fill in the blanks).

UKIP garner more and more support from self-confessed patriotic Britons who are afraid of what will happen to this country if it loses whatever mythical notion of Britain they have in their head – everything from tea and top hats to politeness and community spirit It has more to do with uncertainty and insecurity about the way our society is developing and is hardly anything new.

It comes from patriotism and it is xenophobic. UKIPs will insist that they are not and I think that they believe this to be true, but they are wrong. To the logical, it sounds as though they are simply talking about overpopulation. You will hear a lot about how we’re “over capacity” and how the system can’t handle any more people. The obvious question is; which people? The “British public”, whatever that may be, are part of the problem. Just because you are born in a country, it does not mean you don’t contribute to its many issues. To look outside at the people looking in, putting up walls to bar them out, is merely scapegoatism.

Apart from anything else, there will always be inconsistencies about immigration. If you want to be absolutest about it, you close the door on rich business men from abroad who might be “useful”. Undoubtedly, in our past, interchanging of ideas, technologies and business models has been the making of many a society; in short, Britain and the rest of the developed societies would be nothing without the input of people from abroad with different modes of thinking.

Architecture in this country, particularly the contemporary stuff, is designed by architects from all over the place, but I imagine your average person who oohs and ahhs at their work doesn’t know this and would be perfectly happy to claim those buildings as purely British. Of course, I would argue that they are – they work here and offer a public service, so they have a home here as far as I’m concerned.

If you do employ a less absolutist stance, then you instantly have difficulties. If you only ever accept people into the country that are going to “give” to it in the larger sense, then if it works then Britain becomes the export country of every business in the world. All the major business will gather there but the factories, warehouses and residential areas will be somewhere else.

In short, there would be no Britain any more, because there would be no people. It would become a commerce country. Following that, a developing country would become an industrial country and the class divide increases wildly. Either that, or you simply render “British people” (born and bred) the obsolete part of British society, the people least important. Ironically, if you let in immigrants who take the lower jobs you potentially improve the prospects of Britons who wish to aim higher. If you don’t want immigrants taking the jobs, you have to concede that Britain’s self image and expectations on its work and education system are doing more harm than good.

What no one asks themselves is “Why do so many people want to come here?” As a rule, people don’t want to have to move out of their home countries to a foreign place and live with prejudice and ostracism, not to mention exploitation and hounding from the people at immigration. They’re patriotic, too; if they felt they could stay in their country, they would. People in poverty have no choices, they must go where the work is. I wonder if Britain does enough to help people elsewhere in Europe; if those places were better, economically and socially, then not as many people would leave to come here.

Leaving the EU strips another privileged country away an already inadequate support network an makes the problem worse. It makes it someone else’s problem. Whether we leave the EU or not, those problems will stay; they will simply become someone else’s UKIP is telling British people that to be socially irresponsible and wave away world problems is the right decision for Britain, based on the fact that there is poverty here.

I expect impoverished British people to jump on board with this because it will touch a nerve; this political party comes along and tells you it’s not your fault, you just have to get rid of the immigrants and all your problems will be over (a fallacy that masks over the real problem with our education system – see link above). All together harder to justify is the party itself, made up of politicians who, by the nature of their profession, will not be living in this bracket of poverty.

And if the problem was overpopulation, then the solution could be simply; more British people could leave the country. I think I just heard a gasp arise from the masses. “British people leave Britain? But why should we have to?” You shouldn’t. But why don’t you want to? As an English speaker, you have boundless opportunities You could live and work anywhere you like, you could travel all over the place (not to shamelessly plug the EU or anything, but if you’re inside it you can legally live in any one of the other countries with ease, which I think is very cool). The fact that British people hate the idea of leaving is a bit worrying. A world of experience awaits, but we would rather be in Middlesex.

UKIP won’t go for that idea, either. Fundamentally, they think Britain is for the British. Their talk about the EU falls flat on me because they seem to think that the fact that they and I are born here entitles us to this country’s support. I disagree. I didn’t do anything to deserve being here and if the country is becoming less stable and affluent because other people want to be here I don’t feel like I have the right to complain. I can leave. I have that liberty. ‘KIPpers can leave, they have that liberty. They are choosing not to because they “love” this country – they love it so much that they are willing to watch it turn into a nation of selfish, spoiled little brats with an overwhelming sense of entitlement.

It’s an extraordinary idea that any one group of people has the right to claim a piece of land for their own and their offspring, but in the interests of avoiding anarchy, I suppose there have to be territories and separate authorities who (in theory) collaborate on international issues. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be wary of of talking as though land is attributed at birth.

In reality, none of us really have any rights over it at all; it’s just space, and at one point in time there was nothing to stop us killing each other over it. I wouldn’t advocate going back to those days but sitting comfortably on your own little patch and not letting other people in is hypocritical because none of us will ever know for sure where exactly we’ve come from and which of our ancestors had immigrated, before “immigration” became a concept.

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