Posts Tagged ‘Bulgarians’

Our politicians should tell the truth about immigration: it’s good for Britain

28/03/2013, 07:00:01 AM

by Peter Watt

The immigration debate is very much alive again.   UKIP in particular have attempted to tap into the rise in concern amongst some of the issues.   Lurid headlines warn of hordes of Bulgarians and Romanians about to pour across the sea, hot on the heels of the Poles and the Lithuanians.  And in response the three main party leaders have followed suit as they all seek to be tough on the issue.  The result is a lot of heat and not a lot of light.

The debate focuses on a number of key themes:

  • Does immigration benefit or costs the economy?
  • Do immigrants get preferential treatment?
  • The extent to which we can “control” our borders as members of the EU.
  • Is there an increase in pressure on public services?
  • The alleged abuse of asylum status.
  • The extent to which immigration changes communities and people’s attitudes to this change.

The answers are complex and much debated in homes, streets and indeed by our politicians.  The truth is that of course we are economically benefitting from immigration.  On the whole those arriving are younger and are employed.  They pay taxes and don’t really need to access health services and rarely claim benefits.  But also that there are some areas where there has been pressure on local services that were initially ill prepared like GPs and schools.   The impact of “changing communities” is however harder to gauge.

Personally I am completely unconcerned that the number of accents that I hear in shops or on the bus has increased massively.  I like the fact that my children have friends from a huge variety of different backgrounds – certainly they aren’t worried! And I am very proud of our history of welcoming those fleeing persecution.  I suspect that many people feel the same as me.

But I also know that there are plenty of people who are increasingly wary of the changes that they see.  They worry about losing control of their way of life and feel that their area is being “taken over”.

They are nostalgic about the good old days and feel strongly that someone is to blame for letting this happen because they sure as hell weren’t asked.  For them, the proliferation of eastern European accents is a manifestation of their worries and reinforces a sense of powerlessness in the face of change.


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