Sunday, April 24, 2005


If you didn't visit an English pub yesterday you might have missed the fact that it was St George's Day. Ignore that St George is the patron saint of several other countries and I believe was Turkish. It was as about as close as you'll get to England's national day.

Too bad, then, that it was the day that the British National Party (sic) chose to launch its manifesto for the UK General Election. For those readers not up on British politics, the BNP are the "acceptable" face of nationalist/racist politics in this country.

I think it might be time to reclaim St George's Day from the BNP and their pathetic hooligan clones.

Mind you, the election campaign so far has seen the ugly side of both Tories and Labour as they seek to ramp up "promises" on immigration and asylum - BNP's raison d'etre.

I listened to the repeat of "Any Questions" on the radio as I sat in a traffic jam on the way to Hampshire yesterday. Kenneth Clarke, what passes for the acceptable face of the Conservatives these days, (ok I'll admit he's one Tory I might consider voting for) said the fact that the Conservatives had raised the immigration/asylum and now the other parties were having to confront the issue was important.

I say "bollocks". The Tories have played a blinder of an election. By controlling the "agenda" they've always been on the offensive. Labour has unnecessarily been defensive throughout. However, that does not mean that immigration is an issue at the forefront of voters' minds.

I hope I'm right here. I judge my fellow Briton as fair minded, tolerant and willing to see the net benefit that migration brings to the country. Ignoring the screeching of tabloid media and xenophobic politicians, I believe the British public wants this election to be decided on the economy, public services and faith in party leaders.

No one, not even the leftish leaning Lembit Opik ("Any Questions" token Lib Dem) seems to be explaining the full background to this issue. Migration needs to be seen against the background of a stagnating British population due to a low birth rate and continued emigration and a worldwide growth in migration sparked by political and economic upheaval.

The myth that "we" take more than our fair share needs to be exploded. It is countries on the borders of conflict and economic suffering that take the burden. Indonesia, India, Kenya - they take much more than their fair share.

The economic drive for migration must be addressed through development aid, opening of markets and releasing the burden of debt.

"It isn't racist..." Well, I beg to differ. The significant majority of migrants to this country come from the developed world. Do you think it's white South Africans, Americans and Australians that will be denied entry through which quota system is envisaged?

:: Posted by pete @ 20:55