Posts Tagged ‘home secretaries’

Have some ministerial jobs become too hot to handle?

22/11/2010, 02:00:41 PM

by Kevin Meagher

PHIL Woolas’ current predicament owes at least something to his being a tough immigration minister in the last government. With a large Muslim population in his Oldham backyard and with boundary changes making his marginal seat more ethnically diverse, his day job hardly endeared him to a big chunk of his local electorate. The rest is history.

Would Woolas have faced the same little local difficulty if he had not been immigration minister? And would he then have run the campaign he ran?

However this story eventually plays itself out, what it serves to remind us is that there are certain ministerial jobs that are not for the faint-hearted. Immigration minister is the obvious role that is always difficult for Labour politicians. It is the type of posting where you are not going to get any thanks, whatever you do. Too hardline for some, too wishy-washy for others.

Ironically, for such a complex issue, there are, ultimately, only three positions you can have on immigration. There is too much of it. Not enough of it. Or the balance is just right. You can discount the last option because no-one is ever happy with the status quo. Most people in the country opt for the first. Many in the Labour party for the second. On this issue, more than just about any other, you will never please all of the people all of the time.

Labour is, of course, instinctively sympathetic to the plight of refugees and immigrants. And justly so. But the hard reality is that not all deserve to stay. Most rational people accept that. Some, however, do not want to follow through the brutal logic. (more…)

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