Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Monday 8 May 2017

Why isn't the right question about immigrants ever asked?

The news at 6am this morning reported that the Tories are once again going to make a manifesto pledge to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands. About half an hour later there was an interview with the head of NHS Providers who is deeply concerned with, among other things, the drastic fall-off since the referendum in the number of EU nationals coming to work in our health service. Some contradiction here? Not in the minds of the Conservatives, obviously, or of Ukip, which promises zero immigration in the xenophobic electoral escalation against “foreigners”. It is an inescapable truth that a great number of people in this country - and many others - are concerned about immigration. Politicians are accused of not talking about the subject when the reality is that it is never far from the top of their agenda. What particularly angers me is that not a single one of them makes the pro-immigration argument by asking the simple question about who the immigrants are. What they do ask (or blindly accept) is: Are there too many (or, in its even nastier version, Are we being swamped)? Instead, why don’t they ask these questions: Do you want to stop doctors coming here? And nurses. When there is such a shortage of both. Do you want to prevent people coming who will care for our elderly? And if you do, who will look after your grandparents/parents/you in old age? Do you want to ban the people who pick our fruit and work on the land? Or will you go and do this back-breaking work yourself for a pittance? If not, are you happy to see the end of the great British agriculture industry? How about keeping out foreign students, who bring in huge amounts of much-needed funding for our universities? As well as the many non-UK academics who contribute so much as well as providing the academic diversity essential to higher education. Do you want to stop the bankers and other City high-fliers moving here, attracted by London’s (current) pre-eminence as the world’s financial centre, and who pay massive sums in UK tax, helping to fund our public services? And how would you propose plugging the gap that would be left in paying for the NHS, education, defence, law and order, and social services? And so the list and the questions go on. There is hardly a business above corner-shop size which is not dependent on labour from other countries. They need immigrants which means our economy and prosperity depend on them. But when do you hear that argument? Rarely, and never from politicians. Instead we are fed prejudiced nonsense in a race to the bottom.

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