Orpington Labour Party

Labour Rose

Immigration: why take the media’s view over reason?

So many political values seem to be influenced more by the media than by reason or experience – and none more so more perhaps than those concerning immigration. Migration will always be with us: it’s time to recognise a few facts.

It is believed that migration originally started from one fairly small area in Africa; from there the whole world was populated. In recent times even we, the British, have been very notable emigrants, and for the same reason that all migrants move: because it seemed more attractive than stopping at home.

What percentage do British emigrants form of the present-day populations of the USA, Australia and New Zealand, for example? The British Empire probably represented what was the largest emigration ever. People will always move about the world to more attractive places.

Amongst all the hysteria concerning the level of present-day immigration to the UK, sight is so often lost – or ignored – of certain obvious realities. I know that my newsagent, from Bangladesh, is up every morning at 4am to ensure that his customers get their papers by 7am, that the Middle-Eastern proprietor of my fish-and-chip shop provides an excellent service until 9pm every evening, and that the local ‘corner-shop’ is staffed by immigrants until 10pm every evening.

And I know that whenever I have been in hospital immigrant staff have always been very much in evidence at all levels. So many of the jobs demanding unsociable hours, or other things that we dislike, are filled by immigrants.

Concerning the cost to the community, we should also reflect first perhaps on the cost to every family in the land due to our native bankers.

Migration will always be with us, and this is not a plea for uncontrolled access, but just a suggestion for recognition of a few facts. It is not something, I believe, that is ever done lightly. Even Einstein said he never got over leaving his native land.

I have never forgotten a migrant friend recounting many years ago how one Saturday morning some young friends of his called at his home and said “We’re going. Are you coming?” He did, and eventually became a university lecturer in the UK.

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