The Blog

It's Immigration, Stupid

My bedside radio began spouting all sort of emotive nonsense as early as 6am and Sky News appear to be on the same bandwagon. It appears people across the length and breadth of the UK are up in arms about the sheer numbers of 'foreigners' bombarding these shores and turning our isle into an unrecognisable 'melting pot' nightmare.

So I woke this lovely monday morning, to find the powers that be have decided immigration will the news topic for the week. Or do my ears deceive me?

My bedside radio began spouting all sort of emotive nonsense as early as 6am and Sky News appear to be on the same bandwagon. It appears people across the length and breadth of the UK are up in arms about the sheer numbers of 'foreigners' bombarding these shores and turning our isle into an unrecognisable 'melting pot' nightmare.

The tales of woe range from people who believe their employment opportunities have been taken up by some low-wage Eastern European, to the 'pure' English person who doesn't want any neighbours of colour or people of ethnic extraction, who speak funny or (to even make things worse), have funnier customs.

Then there were the stories of the tricks utilised by councils to deny so-called 'undesirables' from gaining school places for their children. The din was unbearable, but ala Shakespeare, signified nothing.

In truth, for me, it was all going into one ear and flying out of the other one. What does people of colour mean? Is there a race that doesn't possess some sort of colour? Is white no longer a colour? Is there anyone who isn't of some sort of ethnic extraction? Why are white people not saying anything whilst other white people take away their colour and ethnic extraction? We all need to see some more 'white and proud' posters, otherwise, people will fade into the background pretty fast.

Yes, I am black and I guess my attitude should be less cavalier.

But in my defence, my slant was developed from years of negative experience. I have come from a time when people who looked like me where once the sole targets of the police, customs and immigration forces. Thanks to 9/11, this scenario has sinced eased (just) and the targeting, has shall we say for the sake of political correctness, moved East.

I have finally arrived in a place where I so happen to have also found a lot of other ethnic minorities. I had thought of calling the place the Black Country, until I realised the likes of Lenny Henry and his fellow Dudleyites may take offence. Also, it wouldn't have been exactly inclusive, considering Asian minorities also inhabit this 'shrug your shoulders and carry on' land.

In that land, you as a parent, sits your children down and tell them the rules to survival and how to move in an ocean full of sharks. It's not what you wish to do, but it is necessary. My 14 and 12 year old sons know exactly what to say if they are stopped by the police. Although, ironically, the probability it would happen when you reside in the countryside is very low. But still, as a black parent, I have done my part. I have prepared them because being unprepared in some of these streets out here, could be fatal.

In other words, I have stopped trying to change society. I just live in its reality now. So the immigration cacophony, though in the background, is far from my mind. Why? Well, because I believe it is a fake debate.

Seriously, sometimes you have to ask what people actually mean when they say immigrants. Who is an immigrant to you? How seriously should one take the problem when groups like Migration WatchUK report most people in this country believe the the UK is overcrowded and that same numbers do not believe immigration has brought any benefits to the UK. Furthermore, they go on to report most of the people with hardcore anti-immigration views, emanate from communities with very little experience of migrants.

The mind boggles.

At this stage, it may be prudent to engage in an academic debate about some of these points, but of what use will it really be? Individuals of superior cerebral qualities to mine, have carried this flag for decades and it always comes back to the same thing. Although, I must confess I could't resist giggling ever so slightly, when someone tells me the UK is overcrowded. Especially, when the people driving that agenda have never had an immigrant neighbour!

Surely, what people really mean is that our major cities are overcrowded and by that, with due respect, what they are actually saying is there are too many people who don't look like us. After all, if these same cities had the same numbers, but the people looked and spoke like the indigenous people, I doubt whether this issue would even see the light of day.

Is there an immigration problem? Yes. Is the country struggling to handle said problem? Yes. Have I ever sat in a conversation and spouted anti-immigration views? Yes. To say otherwise would be churlish and furthermore, dishonest.

But my path diverges from the public opinion for one reason and one reason only: I don't share their tendency to direct their angst towards the immigrant community.

The immigration debacle in the UK is not the fault of the people who have come into the country, but the people who are in charge of the policies that have made such moves possible.

Immigrants are not responsible for porous borders or flaky immigration policies. Immigrants are not cannot be held account for EU countries deciding to to turn the continent into a borderless utopia, just so dark-skinned people do not 'overrun' the European entity.

Immigrants in the main, were actually invited to come to these shores to fill an employment vacuum, which irrespective of the denials of the indigenous Brit, still exist today.

So, if we want to have an intelligent debate over immigration, let's start by pointing the accusing finger to the guilty parties and stop revelling in a cesspit of hate, egged on by unscrupulous politicians who are enjoying watching us knock heads, whilst they profit in the polls and enjoy the ensuing bloodbath.

This is not a difficult subject, but clearly, people have allowed themselves to be overly emotional on a topic that demands if anything, a lot of reasoning. If successive governments cannot implement strong and effective immigration policies, we shouldn't allow them to get away with it and neither should we misplace blame.

We should get more engaged in the political process and we should have marched down to Westminster when the powers that be, began to write the proverbial political cheques that we, the collective, cannot cash.

Immigration is overall in my humble opinion, a good thing. It enriches society and this country like some of the most advanced countries on earth, has benefited enormously from people leaving their home country to settle here.

We ought to embrace it and canvass for the underlying procedures to be made watertight instead of allowing the landscape to be muddied with hyperbolic tales of misery. If in your book, that means voting for UKIP, well, so be it.

Well, that's my two pence for now. I will surely revisit the topic when the powers that be, want us to discuss immigration again.

In the meantime, I await the chosen topic for next week.

Secretly, I hope it's Syria, because let's face it, just because that topic hasn't been chosen for us this week, doesn't mean people are not still dying and being made refugees by their thousands.

Just saying....