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Should politicians be talking about immigration?

10:20 UK time, Thursday, 29 April 2010

Labour is not treating immigration as "off limits" a minister says after Gordon Brown called a pensioner who raised the issue "bigoted". Do you think politicians should talk more about immigration?

Ahead of the final TV debate, Labour's Alan Johnson says pensioner Gillian Duffy was not bigoted to raise the topic of immigration and he was "really pleased Gordon made that clear". He went on to say that Mr Brown is under a lot of pressure and made a "dreadful mistake".

Elsewhere, Mr Clegg said he would focus on the problems with the banks and the "overheated housing market". While Conservative leader David Cameron has been discussing his party's plans to create a £200m cancer drugs fund.

Do you think immigration should be high on the political agenda? Should immigration be "off limits"? What immigration policies need to be discussed?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


Compare the parties' election policies on race relations and immigration

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Immigration is one of the biggest issues of contention for this election. Labour claim it isn't "Off-Limits" yet don't and won't freely discuss it.

    Worryingly enough, the other two so-called main parties avoid it too.

  • Comment number 2.

    Their seems to be three areas of debate where the parties do not fear to tread:

    Why does cameron wish to continue locking up longterm unemployed people in detention centres without charge and abuse their human rights ?

    When will means testing be abolished for core benefits,the failed jobcentre organisation abolished it has no place in a civilised society,we can no longer afford to spend £10 for every one pound distributed by beaurocrats. The savings to the taxpayer in direct and indirect costs are some 16 billion a year?

    Why do all the major parties refuse to talk about the high levels of corruption in the civil service? Surely the Surrey Case, Baby 'p,' and Blair Peach cases all point to the lack of accountability of government employees to the public and the courts?

    Would all candidates give their personal assurances that civil servants will be immediately sacked where there is reasonable suspicion of crimes against the public?

    The only hope the civil service has of surviving the next ten years is direct accountability to the general public,what radical changes will each candidate make within the first 60 days to achieve this?

  • Comment number 3.

    The reason the PM doesn't want to talk about immigration is because it will open the debate about Europe. He wants to keep what he's arranged with Europe hidden away and keep the British people ignorant of what being in Europe actually costs us financially and in terms of law making. That's why he skirts around immigration and will call anyone who he makes a point of it 'biggoted'.

  • Comment number 4.

    Should politicians be talking about immigration?
    No No No They shoould be stopping it thats why I will be voting for the BNP.

  • Comment number 5.

    "" Labour is not treating immigration as "off limits" a minister says ""

    you missed the 2nd part of that .... but if you raise the issue we will insult you and call you a bigot, absurd, ridiculous ...

  • Comment number 6.

    We need to be discussing a sensible and fair policy, without fear of being branded as racist or discriminatory.

    I think most people are all in favour of the genuinley talented coming to this country to work, but there is too much fear mongering about immigration in general. The biggest need for me is for the politicians to make sure the public are fully aware of immigration.

    For example, it's a common thought that immigrants take all or housing, but only 2% of council housing goes to immigrants.

  • Comment number 7.

    No problem whatsoever with discussing immigration.

    I do however have a problem with those of certain political affiliations who use the word 'immigrant' to describe any non-white, even if they were born here.

    Its attitudes like that which muddy the waters of the debate.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes they should and should have been for years.If they had have done they may have avoided a resurgance in the BNP.For how many years on "Question time" did people raise the issue only to be labeled as bigots.If they had actually debated the issue they could have dispelled a few myths and explained that some immigration is necessary and alayed a few fears.But no,they knew better and we end up in a situation when the abhorent BNP end up actually winning in elections.

  • Comment number 9.

    Of course they should be! It's one of the biggest issues affecting the UK today, and it needs sorting out. At the end of the day the UK is small island floating off the western coast of mainland Europe. As such we can only sustain a finite amount of immigration.

    However Labour appears to adopt an 'open gate' system where limited restrictions are placed on those wanting to enter the country.

    Basically we need to get tough on immigration, but Brown and Labour don't have the guts to do it!

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree, people that think that immigrants shouldn't be here are bigoted. Immigrants come here to improve their life since it is obviously better for them here than it is where they came from.

    Think you can get better elsewhere? Goodbye then.

  • Comment number 11.

    It is not about race - it's about numbers. It has to be discussed in a mature and intelligent way otherwise the working class Left will be fodder for the BNP;it's high time that the intellectual Left understood this instead of being disdainful towards them.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    A lot of people are worried about the influx of Eastern Europeans in to this country, yet this doesn't appearr to be classifed as immigration by the main parties. Until they recognise this, then you can't have a debate.

  • Comment number 14.

    Of course it should be talked about. It impacts on our communities, jobs and public services. It should be one of the key subjects for the election.

  • Comment number 15.

    Gordon has already proved that he 'listens' in public, and then says something completely opposite behind closed doors. And that's exactly what will happen on the 6th of May.

  • Comment number 16.

    1. At 11:58am on 29 Apr 2010, Sue Denim wrote:
    Immigration is one of the biggest issues of contention for this election. Labour claim it isn't "Off-Limits" yet don't and won't freely discuss it.

    Worryingly enough, the other two so-called main parties avoid it too.

    ----

    It was discussed in some detail by all three leaders in the first debate.

    The Lib Dems policy has been the subject of at least 2 newspaper headlines.

    Its hardly the issue that dare not speak its name that some seem to be trying to make out.

  • Comment number 17.

    Politicians should be keeping their big mouths firmly shut and LISTEN to the electorate .
    Here was a long time Labour supporter airing her views and is regarded as a bigot? It's not as if her views were way out. She covered what used to be regarded as core Labour values. Just shows what our opinionated politicians think of the electorate. We are not allowed views of our own especially if they don't agree with what our leaders want.
    New Labour = New Labour Democracy.

  • Comment number 18.

    The time for talking has long past - we need to kick out all the illegal immigrants in this country.

  • Comment number 19.

    Britain is a tiny island that cannot cope with any more immigrants or for that matter people who insist on having large families. Am I also allowed to say that I live in an area which the majority of people are Polish, South African or Muslim. They do not work, do not speak English, keep having children and seem to have the most money to spend. They also seem very confident and to know their rights etc. They seem to know more than the likes of me! I am a British person and yet I feel like a minority when I should not. There are no benefits or services for me, I am so sorry that I speak English, don't have kids and work. Because I've done the right things, I have been forgotten about by Labour. I do not think it's fair that people who have been in the country 5 mins and who have never contributed, do not want to integrate (and have no intention to) should be better off than British people(regardless of skin colour. If anything, in my borough these minorities are constantly appeased with regards to job and housing preference and events.

  • Comment number 20.

    For some it's not only the immigration, it is also living under the rule of the Undemocratic States of Europe that's a problem.
    That too is a topic which has become off-limits.


    I also question the PM's response "There may be millions coming to Britain, but there are millions more leaving Britain".
    If that is true, it is dreadful. It shows how awful britain for british people.

    What makes it so intolerable is that they are changing Britain to suit the expectations of these immigrants, rather than offering support and advice on how to adapt to Britain, for these immigrants.

  • Comment number 21.

    Uncontrolled Immigration has ruined this country and given the likes of the BNP a platform to spread their word.

    We keep getting told that immigrants and migrants add to the success of the country. Some do, there is no question about that, but the net effect is bad for the country and costs the nation dearly.

    Uncontrolled Immigration has lead to a fragmented society scared of upsetting/offending minorities to such an extent that British people feel like second class citizens. We see being British/patriotic has been a racist crime. We see the British way of life being eroded, not just by Immigration but by the EU as well.

    On top of that Britain is full up, we can't house the people we have already, so why allow even more in? We have millions unemployed, so why do we need immigrants and immigrants? Is our education system so bad that we cannot find the Nurses, Doctors, Teachers, Engineers within our own ranks? If so, then this raises another question about education, another area which Labour have made worse, not better, since 1997.

  • Comment number 22.

    What sheer unerdulterated hypocrisy by Brown and New Labour. The Conservatives have made Immigration a central policy issue in the past two General Elections and New Labour have expressed outrage, calling the topic 'Racist'. Now the issue has really come to the fore and Voters' are expressing serious concerns Brown says that it is OK to discuss the subject. This man is just an out and out hypocrite and the sooner we are rid of his him and his belief that only he is fit to be Prime Minister the better for this Country. Anybody, but anybody, will be better than this scheming egotistical and pious professional Politcian who has brought this country to its knees.

  • Comment number 23.

    Of course immigration should be discussed. Unfortunately, the perspective of those in the political class differs from the perception of those on the ground, especially in areas where immigration is high.
    Whoever forms the next government has got to be much tougher on those who have no right to be here, and especially those who fail to obey the law, but I support the Lib-Dem amnesty for long-term immigrants who have settled, work and pay taxes. They are better citizens than some of the indigenous workshy criminal classes.

  • Comment number 24.

    The main parties only started talking about it when the BNP started getting votes, up until then everyone mentioning it was labelled a racist!

    Brown showed his arrogance and ignorance by calling Ms Duffy a bigot! Is that who we really want as PM for another 5 years, someone who can't see anyone elses viewpoint but his own?

  • Comment number 25.

    Immigration has been off-limits by all main parties for years. Any attempt by hoi polloi to raise this issue has been slapped down with shouts of "bigot" or similar. No off-limits now? Well, yes if this is possible, but it may be too little, too late.

    The way forward is for politicians to move away from the techniques of Tony Blair and start respecting the electorate. And start LISTENING to them.

    Then the politicians can make decisions with a better background knowledge.

  • Comment number 26.

    Immigration must NOT be off limits. The point system is not enough - Canada and Australia has found that out. There are additional means to manage immigration - that includes border control and assylum seekers. People who have the means (e.g. criminal) will get in. The UK - her budget and infrastructure - can not longer take the amounts we have done. Her people are becoming intolerant - and rightly so - jobs, access to services are affected. Brits must come first. It is little wonder that there is an increase of Brits emigration, many with their retirement funds and skills placing the UK in a position it has never been before. And yes, I am seriously thinking of leaving myself within the next 5 years (by the next election if there is a majority) - to give the next government a chance to sort this out. I am one of those who have the financial means and skill to do so - and I know I am not the only one. So the REAL question is - Does the UK really want to put that at risk - to lose the people the UK needs to retain?

  • Comment number 27.

    Mention the work Immigration and the Labour party/UAF brand you a racist. Yet Labour's policies have lead to more burden on the state, more crime, more social problems and probably worst of all, the rise of the BNP.

    Way to go Labour, well done.

  • Comment number 28.

    Politicians should talk about matters that are of concern to the public.
    Immigration is a matter of concern to a large proportion of the public.
    Politicians should talk about immigration!

  • Comment number 29.

    "Labour's Alan Johnson says pensioner Gillian Duffy was not bigoted to raise the topic of immigration"

    Well I must say that is a unique turn around for the books, in light of the last 13 years or so, where any mention of immigration has had people labelled as racist.

    The fact is that immigration is indeed a problem. Whilst some economic benefit is to be drawn from immigration into this country, what has been swept under the carpet to the point where it is now a taboo subject is the overall social, cultural and impact on services that immigration has caused, which has been for a great par a negative impact on life here in the UK.

    Along with this mass immigration has been the consistently lauded wonder of multiculturalism, which despite claims that it embraces all cultures in a spirit of community, has in actual fact had quite the opposite effect, creating fractures and divisions and communities that live in parallel to one another, but do not actually have anything to do with one another.

    The rise of the BNP in this country (an unfortunate factor) is a direct result in the pursuit of uncontrolled immigration and multiculturalism to the detriment of the indigenous population, who have been repeatedly dismissed and pilloried as racist for raising any concern on the subject.

    Labour are now reaping what they and the ardent multiculturalists have sown.

  • Comment number 30.

    In response to a question from a worker in B'ham today, Gordon Brown repeated his commitment to the Australia model of the "points based system". His comments were misleading. The PBS applies to non-EU nationals only. Given that the EU population is about 500 million, if, as claimed, we need migrants for economic reasons, and given our commitment to the EU rules on free movement, surely we can find these essential workers from our own workforce, or the rest of the EU. Isn't it time to close the door on non-EU long term migration?

  • Comment number 31.

    Its toooo late for talking - they need TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
    Mr Bean - Professional Brits go out all over the world, a big place - you have let in millions of unskilled, uneducated welfare seekers to this small island who have never paid a penny to fund the welfare state - where does this fit into your 'fairer society'???

  • Comment number 32.

    What is the point in talking about the influx of foreigners to the UK, it has been going on now nearly my whole lifetime, the 1950's saw imigration from the West Indies to come to the UK - TEMPORARILY - to work for London Transport, did they go home, NO. In the 1960's we had imigration from the Sub-Continent when Indian and Pakinstini people realised they still had "British Passports" a passport to the riches of the UK Welfare State, they came in here in droves and changed our once settled and BRITISH cities into the streets of Bombay and Karachi, not integrating and carrying on their lives as if still in their homeland and this is still the sad way it is to this day. Immigration needs to be stopped completely and a more stringent approach to those who are here to integrate, not criminalising those who are appaled by the no-go areas in our main cities that are Ghetto's of people who DO NOT want to integrate and are laughing at those who ARE integrated British because of the totally unfair balance that is written into legislation.

  • Comment number 33.

    Immigration is one of the two biggest issues of this election (the other being the economy) and it is just not being discussed openly.

    We have made a HUGE mistake in the UK of confusing Immigration with Racism. It isn't and never should have been about people's race, ethnicity or country of origin. It should always have been about NUMBERS. England is now the most densely populated country in Europe - 'nuff said.

  • Comment number 34.

    Of course immigration should be talked about, it is one of the only things that people are worried about, crime is up because of it, the Country is in deep financial trouble because of it, my vote goes to whoever controls it best, repatriation is the only answer.

  • Comment number 35.

    It doesn't matter if they talk about immigration or not.
    With the vast majority of immigrants coming from EU countries, none of them can do much about it.
    Their talk about quotas or limits is so much hot air.

  • Comment number 36.

    The 3 dont's of election issues and yet the 3 most important.

    1) Immigration - costing the working man hundreds of billion of £'s
    2) Overseas donations - tax payers money wasted
    3) Nationlisation - Utilities should be taken back from foreign owners.

  • Comment number 37.

    Of course they should be talking about it. It's a major issue affecting the country today. The trouble is that they (and too many others, it has to be said) are blind to the difference between people who are against immigration for racist reasons ("don't want any weird foreigners here!") and those who are against it for practical ones ("the country's full"). The first opinion, and those who support it, deserve to be ignored and treated with contempt, but the second is a very, very important issue.

    Refusing to make the distinction is probably favoured with politicians because it gives them a means of avoiding awkward questions.

  • Comment number 38.

    It's the mainstream politicians own fault, they have ignored the social consequences of immigration, deprived those most serously stretched local authorities of resources to deal with their problems and left the topic to the extremist right.
    The likes of the NF, BNP and to a certain extent UKIP have all prospered on an anti-immigration platform(which ties in nicely with their general xenophobia).
    The general tone of the argument is always couched in the terms that immigration itself, is the problem, not how successive governments have dealt with or have failed to address, the issues and problems raised by immmigration.
    Because the government keeps on figures, inaccurate numbers are deployed in the argument about illegal immigration. The Lib-Dems propose an amnesty for illegals as part of a policy to regulate immigration and are howled down by the media and their political opponents, none of whom appear to have a better solution.

  • Comment number 39.

    The government has avoided the real problem with immigration which has occurred within the EEU .

    The red herring is new controls from out side the EEU.

    Brown consistently defers all enquiries pertaining to EEU immigration by mentioning these new controls.

    the facts are that our country has been flooded by east europeans, the government made no preperations to accommodate these people.

    as usual its the local english families that cant get council housing or jobs because they are not prioritised.

    no matter who comes into this country they must never be put before the native english.

    to hell with Brown who would be more at home in the polit beauro than a democratic country

  • Comment number 40.

    Brown says when asked about millions of migrants coming here that we shouldnt forget that a million brits have gone abroad to work.I have no problem with a migrant coming here to do a job no one else wants,or can afford to take, but how can a migrant start a new life here and support a family on the wages they are earning,(unless they are getting a lot of support in benifits).
    Does this mean i can go to Spain ,Portugal.France,because they are in the new Europe,head straight for the benifits offices and say "hi im from England i.d like to start a new life here,can you find me somewhere to live,and look after me,and dont even think of sending me back to england cos i'll have you on human rights"- nope i dont think so.
    Its unbelievable in this country how you are bending over backwards to accomodate people,who dont have work to come to and then tell them to take jobs no one else can afford to take.
    Actual figures state that over 200.000 brits WORK abroad.
    What good is it doing this country,we are just a small island for christs sake.
    Wake up people and realise that somewhere politicians are getting a backhander for all this.
    AND No i am not RACIST.

  • Comment number 41.

    So Alan Johnson says its NOT Off Limits to mention immigration, how magnanimous of him to allow us mere mortals to actually mention the word immigration. As far as Brown is concerned he know understands our concern, to late, the barn door has been wide open for the last decade.

  • Comment number 42.

    " 10. At 12:16pm on 29 Apr 2010, This is not you wrote:

    I agree, people that think that immigrants shouldn't be here are bigoted. Immigrants come here to improve their life since it is obviously better for them here than it is where they came from.

    Think you can get better elsewhere? Goodbye then."

    Come on Gordon, at least use your own name.

  • Comment number 43.

    All parties will not discus immigration because the reason is under the EU we have free movement of workers and therefore any move to restrict such will upset their bosses in Brussels.

  • Comment number 44.

    Whilst we can all symathise with people wanting to come here from countries with £30 per month incomes, we cannot find them jobs and as a lot of them are young males with poor english then what chance have they got without a lot of expensive assistance.

    Keeping a low profile for a few years is a way guarantee citizenship because of human rights lawyers who claim that they now have a life here.

  • Comment number 45.

    Immigration isn't an issue for me.

    As far as I'm concerned it is nothing more than a distraction from the real issues that affect us all but because British people are so easily manipulated by the media it has become a perennial talking point in politics.

    Let’s be clear;
    1. Unless we leave the EU we can not control the number of migrants entering this country from other European nations.
    2. We are never going to leave the EU.

    Those two points make every other point about immigration meaningless.
    Only a complete idiot would believe that we're going to leave the EU because there isn't a single political party with any influence that believes we should leave the EU.
    The BNP, UKIP and other minority parties may love to get their knickers in a twist over the EU & migrants but they're only minority parties and will never be anything but minority parties because the majority of people consider them to be little more than a bad joke so they will never have enough support or influence to change anything.

    Almost one in ten British born people live abroad, that's over 5 million people living as migrants in other countries, it is nothing short of complete hypocrisy for British people to then complain that a few million foreign born people have chosen to live and work here.

    5.5m Britons 'opt to live abroad'
    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6210358.stm

    In all honesty no-one I know considers immigration to be a big issue, it's hardly ever brought up in work or in the pub when we discuss politics and when it does come up it’s normally to joke about the usual lies and propaganda that's been printed in the Daily Mail and other right wing tabloids.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    Of course they should talk about immigration.

    More than that, they should do something about it. Britain is full. Until a gov can do something about the infrastructure to cope with another 15% (if the prediction turns out right), we should take no more.

    Brown (who is in the leading spot on the News Home page yet again today I note) claims he understands. He understands nothing, certainly not about immigration or he'd have got Blair to do something about it years ago. Brown is impotent in most matters but particularly immigration and benefits.

    So yes, let them talk about immigration. Let them talk about the number of new public service jobs created during labour's reign that are filled with indigenous British people. "British jobs for British workers?" A joke and a half.

    And I don't believe all this Grecian creative accounting that shows that immigrants have brought more to the economy than taken out.

    So, talk they may, but let's have some action. And truth about what they collectively really cost us taxpayers.

  • Comment number 48.

    Absolutely! We are an island and therefore have a limited amount of space available. The immigration problem can be solved very easily by asking possible immigrants a few questions.
    1) Do you speak fluent English?
    2) Do you possess enough money on entry to support yourself or have a job/accomodation to go to immediately on arrival?
    3) Are you in good health and free of any diseases? (Medical required)

    If the answer to any of the three questions is no, then automatically barred. Obviously this wouldn't apply to Commonwealth citizens who've served in HM's Forces as they've already made a cotribution to defending the UK and have earned the right to be here.

    Illegal immigrants to be deported to country of origin on military flights en masse. They're here illegally which is a criminal offence therefore we can remove them by force if neccessary. They are not welcome here. They didn't see fit to ask if they could come here so send them home. Repercussions? Should have thought about that first. If I walked into someones home that I didn't know unannounced and said I was moving in I would expect to get filled in. Obviously I'm not saying do that just deport them to wherever they came from. If they're worried about torture then start a revolution. It's worked before!

  • Comment number 49.

    Should politicians be talking about immigration? It might be better if they talked rather less and listened considerably more. One thing to keep in mind is that immigrants have a viewpoint too, and any discussion about immigration cannot ignore those viewpoints. I admit to a certain bias, as I am an immigrant myself, albeit in a non-UK country, and as a result, might be supposed to have a little specialised knowledge of the topic.

  • Comment number 50.

    What a ridiculous question - should immigration be off limits?!

    Immigration affects the supply and demand of jobs and workers, demand on housing stock, food supplies/imports and health care provision. It can bring money and skills into the country and vice versa. It affects every sector of industry and every part of the economy. If anyone evades the topic they are acting with callous disregard for the wellbeing of the nation.

  • Comment number 51.

    i have a friend who who for Border Force and he is non-political. He learnt of the Lib Dem policy and he has said at least one party is talking sense.
    The fact is we do not know where illegal immigrants live. Offereing an amnesty will mean that they will come seeking us. When they do, we can see if they meet the strigent criteria. If they do not, they will go through the process, like all the others. It will mean that more staff will be required to deal with the surge in numbers coming forward, but it will help a great deal. As far as EU immigration is concerned, thats a bit more tricky.

  • Comment number 52.

    Yes, There must be more discussion about immigration. Legal immigration into this country is incredibly difficult and very expensive(my wife came to this country as an immigrant), but the responses by the party leaders only talk about points based systems for immigrant workers from outside the EU! Also the rights of eu workers need to be discussed
    as eu benefits are inconsistent. (would a British citizen get a similar package of benefits, if living unemployed in all other eu countries? I suspect most people are more concerned about illegal immigration and why the UK is such a magnet for economic migrants (and what to do about it). Clearly the english language is an attraction to some migrants, plus the belief (certainly in Africa) that the streets of europe are paved with gold. There must be many migrants living in miserable conditions in the UK, just to send back a bit of money to their relatives every month. I suspect embarressment at not 'having made it' is a major factor for many migrants not wanting to return home. It also needs to be discussed, the level of involvement that local authorities should have in providing accomodation (if any).

  • Comment number 53.

    Discussion on Immigration has never taken place but discussion might include, in no particular order;

    - marriages abroad, particularly family members "gaming" the immigration rules (abolition of primary purpose rule by Labour). Leading to high rates of congenital birth defects, and social segregation
    - abolition of EU exit checks by Conservatives, abolition of non-EU exit checks by Labour in 2008, and distribution of immigrants to avoid congestion
    - Intra Company Transfer visas (ICT), strongly supported by the business establishment and political parties. Recent rule changes still leave a gaping hole wide open for abuse. ICT's are literally denuding the UK IT industry.
    - the lobbying efforts of business with regard to immigration and their social role in the aftermath, for example the decision to import workers for northern textiles then pull out two years later leaving the immigrants behind. A more recent example being the influence lobby group EURIM has over changing immigration rules to suit their allies.
    - discussion of the costs of immigration, in freedoms given up, in monetary terms, in quality of life, in congestion and overcrowding, and in terms of which groups of immigrants are a drain on the economy and which aren't
    - UK research into how ethnic diversity hurts civic society, per the work of sociologist Dr. Robert Putnam in America.

    In short discussion needs to be broadened out from the cultural cul-de-sac of "race" to include issues which are affecting peoples lives. This means new voices in the discussion and a rejection of cultural snobbery from a minority of political commentators/vested interests.

  • Comment number 54.

    Why the EU Emmigration never talked of, what kind of Racist politician
    We have now?

    Knowing most of unskilled workers are from EU, and only few from our kin&kith, i.e commonwealth countries, who defended your parents lives,-
    from evil Nazis then, how could you be so ungreatful, all of you- politicos why?

  • Comment number 55.

    No subject area should be off limits for political debate in a democracy. When people want to make policy areas off limits for discussion its because they dont want to engage in debate because they either cant defend their position or they dont want to tell us what their position is because they know most people will disagree.

  • Comment number 56.

    Post 20 sums up for me exactly the problem with new Labour's approach.

    "What makes it so intolerable is that they are changing Britain to suit the expectations of these immigrants, rather than offering support and advice on how to adapt to Britain, for these immigrants."

    Britain has changed from a country we were once proud of to a strange melting pot of unintegrated ghettos... if one of the parties offered to solve this and improve integration and lessen the influx they would get my vote.

  • Comment number 57.

    Since when has immigration been a topic soley for bigots?
    "yesterday was yesterday, today I want to talk about the economy" says Gordon. Well, Gordon, what you want isn't of any concern to us... you should be more concerned with what WE the electorate want to talk about.

    Apologise as much as you like Gordon, but you obviously meant what you said otherwise you wouldn't have said it. If that's your opinion, then move over and let us have a leader who DOES want to talk about what the voters want to discuss.

    Thoroughly arrogant man - not fit for purpose let alone fit for governing.

  • Comment number 58.

    Just replace every mention anywhere of "immigrants" by "Jews". Then you'll see the Scun, Mail, BNP etc. in their true light. Do you HONESTLY think that the right-whingers sat down and said "oh dear, how can we help people - wait, maybe if we stopped immigration…?"
    No, of course not. They said "we hate immigrants, now how can we persuade the thick, ill-educated 'useful fools' who can hardly read beyond a headline, who actually believe what the Scun and Mail say, to blame them too?"

  • Comment number 59.

    Politicians should be talking about every issue raised by their constituents. They are elected to serve the public, and their issues.

    I have watched both of the debates thus far and immigration has been raised both in Manchester and in Bristol. David Cameron and Nick Clegg have at least put forward policies. Gordon Brown has simply used the same four words. "Net immigration is falling". For someone that says he is about policy and sustance, this is one policy area that Gordon does not seem keen to discuss.

    If the parties continue to avoid the issue of immigration and turn it into a political taboo, the BNP will, unfortunately, continue to grow. They play on the fears of white, working class voters that that have traditionally voted Labour, but have become disillusioned with the party because they feel Labour is avoiding this issue.

  • Comment number 60.

    The trouble is, that they won't!!!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    When I was working in the shop floor a few weeks ago, an old lady said it to me, "Be careful! Your skin is not white, you may get kicked out of the UK anytime."

    Gee! Am I carrying a foreign passport on my skin?

    Guys, are you talking about immigration or racism?

  • Comment number 62.

    Maybe the PM should borrow a line from his predecessor and adapt it:

    "Immigration, Immigration, Immigration".

  • Comment number 63.

    Apart from Nick Clegg the politicians seem to confuse the illegal immigration with legal immigration they are not the same.
    Legal immigrants contribute to society whereas illegal immigrants do not, Nick Clegg is at least tackling it head on and he is right, you cannot deport 900,000 illegal immigrants if you don't know where they are, i for one am grateful to finally be treated as a grown up by a politician.
    I for one would rather have half the illegal immigrants coming forward and joining our society as full members than remain a drain, and living in fear constantly be it from deportation or from the criminal gangs controlling them.
    We are all of us descended from immigrants, my ancestors came here from mid Europe in or around 710A.D.

  • Comment number 64.

    Immigration has created 3rd world countries within Britain and these countries are expanding rapidly. We now have councillors within Britain that do not speak a word of English, how can this be? Call me old fashioned but councillors should at least speak English. Immigration has spawned separation at all levels; as an example we now have black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh Police associations...... what was wrong with the just the British Police association?
    I can understand why a number of British people vote BNP, we respect all other cultures and religions but our own.


  • Comment number 65.

    We really should be focusing more on this issue! Its quite bonkers with all politicians attempting to avoid the subject!

    We have too many immigrants, our infrastructure cannot cope, we have too many UK citizens unemployed to justify importing cheap labour! Its beyond a sick joke!

  • Comment number 66.

    Of course it should.

    It's an issue which pits the vast majority of the public against the main parties.

    It's also an issue which impacts massively on people's lives. The typical pro-immigration view was summed up by the recent IPPR report, paraded as 'news' by the BBC.

    That view is that immigration is good, and only the benighted, poorly educated types failed to see the benefits.

    The reality is that people see its effects every day, in the form of overpopulation leading to more urban sprawl and crowded roads. They see foreigners taking jobs. They see foreigners using schools, hospitals and other services.

    They know that low paid foreigners can't have contributed enough tax, if they pay any, to cover the costs of the services they use.

    And they KNOW that foreigners take jobs, and keep wages low for for those that remain.

    The politicians, and the IPPR, BBC etc, need to get real, and realise that opposition to immigration is based on people's daily experience, not on what they read in the papers.

    Of course the subject shouldn't be off limits.

  • Comment number 67.

    Politicians should certainly talk more about immigration, and there should, in general, be more discussion of the issues involved. At the moment it is left to the right wing parties and sections of the media to exploit the ignorance of many members of the public, and this is very dangerous.

    The different classes of immigrants are grouped together and there are racist "dog whistles", bringing the irrelevant issue of ethnic origins into the question. No one ever bothers to explain why governments, including a former Tory UK government, agreed that it was a good idea to complement the European single market, by the freedom of workers to move within the EU. People are deliberately left with the impression that an evil and unaccountable body called "Brussels" are responsible.

  • Comment number 68.

    Why will neither of the major parties seriously address the question of uncontrolled immigration ? After the economy, it is the single biggest worry for most people. I deliberately exclude the Lib Dems as their policy of amnesty is clearly ridiculous and unworkable. (Or does that make me a bigot as well ??)

  • Comment number 69.

    "#10. At 12:16pm on 29 Apr 2010, This is not you wrote:
    I agree, people that think that immigrants shouldn't be here are bigoted. Immigrants come here to improve their life since it is obviously better for them here than it is where they came from.
    Think you can get better elsewhere? Goodbye then."

    You are clearly missing the point. If you feel, and perhaps have actual experience, that by coming '..here to improve their life...' thay have in some way diminished or restricted your life/prosperity, you have every right to object to it happening (or at least discuss it).

    The alternative of course is you say nothing and either put up with the 'imposition' or move away, neither of which are very fair or satisfactory.

    So, stop with the 'any discussion of immigration is bigotted' rubbish at wake up to the fact that unrestricted immigration is a serious issue, not the only issue, but serious all the same.

  • Comment number 70.

    Yes, politicians should be talking about immigration even if they've refused to admit its importance until 7 days before the election. Immigration affects the lives of ordinary people in many ways, and the issue should not be ignored.

  • Comment number 71.


    Immigration should be no. 1 on the political agenda. Britain has millions unemployed, but millions of EU migrants working here. The taxpayer is the loser - funding the workshy to sit idle while immigrants take the jobs.

    It's not the fault of the immigrants - who are hardworking and prepared to do the jobs the Brits don't want.

  • Comment number 72.

    12. At 12:19pm on 29 Apr 2010, Khawaja Ikram Ul haq wrote:
    immigration is a sensitive issue it is mixed up with race,ethnics and even islam...some worry that the indians and pakis will outgrow the whites in fifty years..that is not what they should worry about...but whether the country can deal with a burgeoning population...if u cant stop new immigration..just relationship immigration should be enough...yes talk about it if u mean todo something about it...just waxing eloquent on a sensitive subject is dangerous with so many listening in


    Unfortunately, looking at just a few factors, I'm pushing for a halt on immigration unless it's to import a very rare skill that cannot be cultivated here: funding isn't there for a huge expansion in the infrastructure; the limited resources we have (such as water; and energy because it'll take 20 years to get a decent amount of nuclear energy going); the destruction of such culture as we have left for a mixed bag of isolated communities that inevitably lead to tensions and racial violence; and a few other things.

    So I think that if immigrants want to import the rest of their family we should say "No," and offer to reunite them with their family on their native soil. I hear of immigrants of certain religious beliefs being allowed to have a maximum of four of their wives brought here and clapped on benefits. We cannot afford that any longer - for many reasons.

    If I sound bigoted then perhaps I am. However, I've brought children into the world in the UK and fear for what the future holds for them: inter-community tension; failed infrastructure; job availability and so on.

  • Comment number 73.

    They should definitely be talking about immigrants from non EU countries.

    Genuine non EU asylum seekers and those who have something to offer the country should be made welcome.

    Those who intend to stay here must learn the language as they have to integrate with us, not vice versa.

    The so called influx of Eastern Europeans is not the issue as free movement between EU countries works both ways and many businessess would lose a valuable workforce, ie people who do the jobs the British refuse to do.

    Immigration should not be confused with racism.

  • Comment number 74.

    Labour does not want to talk about immigration because if it does the full extent Labour's incompetence will also have to be discussed.

    For example, plumbers are in short supply so we import them from Eastern Europe. Why do we have to import them - because after 13 years of Labour government we do not have enough plumbers. Why do we not have enough plumbers - because despite the Blair mantra about education, education education and the Brown mantras about British jobs for British workers and jobs, jobs, jobs Labour has failed to create (a) an environment in whcih industry can grow and (b) a workable framework for meaningful apprenticeships with sufficient incentives for employers or employees. Labour also persists with its obsession that everyone must go to university irrespective of whether the degree they get will actually be any use and irrespective of the actual cost of going to be any use.

    If Labour spent more time talking about the creation of jobs through the support of manufacturing and training some elements of the immigration debate would doubtless go away.

  • Comment number 75.

    They have spoken about it, a lot. Immigration is good for the economy, as long as the immigrants are paying their taxes. I agree with the idea of a limited amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been here for ten years or more.

    By now, they are probably significant contributors to the economy in many other ways anyway. Having been here for 10 years the fear that they will bring double that number here as dependants is unfounded. The probability is that they already have dependants here who are part of the 1.1m or who are here legally.

    The argument for a 'points system' is valid, but what that will really mean is that the immigrants who do come to this country will have higher skills, and so will start to take more of the higher paid jobs, rather than the low-paid jobs that are so readily available now.

  • Comment number 76.

    Labour are the MASS IMMIGRATION party and everyone knows it.

  • Comment number 77.

    Talking about immigrations is ten years too late.

    What politicians should be talking about now is how to rid the country of the undesireables who have waltzed through labours immigration fiasco.

    But the BBC will no doubt brand me a bigot!

  • Comment number 78.

    i do not care where people come from as long as they are prepared to work that said i do not think that they should be allowed free health care they should be made take out insurance to cover them for at least two years, and deport any one who breaks the law

  • Comment number 79.

    If such a tiny percentage of the world's population didn't control such a huge percentage of the planet's wealth & resources, & if people would let others live their lives as they wish, instead of trying to get them to conform to laws, mores & religions that are outdated and draconian, the disadvantaged, minorities, the persecuted & free-thinkers would have no need to seek refuge in other countries. Share the wealth, not the opinions!

  • Comment number 80.

    Understanding and actually doing something about it are two completely different things.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think that the question of immigration used to be about race and different cultures. Now, however, it is more about overpopulation and the effects that this would have on the country. We hear about pressure on education, the NHS and housing but other effects of an increasing population are never mentioned. What about water supply for more people, food supply, gas supply, electricity supply, oil supply for transport supply? What about the number of vehicles on the roads or the extra amount going into the sewerage system?

    As for people coming here for jobs (eg from Eastern Europe), they do not just do jobs that the British refuse to do. Many are here in office jobs (eg reception which stops British people having them. We hear a lot about the pressure that our pensioners (ageing population) put on the country but, I for one, would like to be back at work and I'm sure I'm not alone. I have applied for jobs but, very often, a foreigner has won it and I know why. It doesn't matter where someone new to the country came from, whether it was Bulgaria or Zambia or Brazil, the jobs are often adverised in those countries so that we don't even get a chance to apply.

    It is possible that some people who come here finish up on benefits because they come for work but can't get it. So, we're back to the old argument of the indigenous population moving down the accommodation waiting lists. It is not just pressure on the facilities and services that are British, it is pressure on us, the people of Britain, when they see that there is not enough eg housing going round just because of the extra people coming here. Why are people who come to live here allowed to claim child benefit for children who do not live here? Any British people living abroad in similar circumstances are not allowed to claim their new country's child benefit.

    As for the business of net population, today it was announced that roughly the same number of British people move to Europe to work as the number of Europeans who come here. I bet that some of those who move to Europe do so to get out of this ONCE Sceptred Isle to retire away from it all in the French countryside or to the Spanish warmth. If things changed here, they might well come back to contribute again.

    There is so much that the government does not know or apply itself to. I heard recently that a British young man applied for a housing association flat in which to live while he was at university. He was told that he should go to univrsity, the housing association would get him a job, he would get a flat and he would then have to leave the university to work to pay for the flat. A student from abroad went to university and, with no such proviso, he was given a flat.

    On ea separate issue, Are those young women who have been interviewed and said that they would not vote unaware that women died in order to get them the right to vote? I vote so that their sacrifice was not worthless.

  • Comment number 82.

    More bigots come to the fore! Well just one word for you lot of halfwits…….
    Colonialism, yes, colonialism the word that everyone has conveniently forgotten about. Ever heard the saying what comes around comes around? I would add a few more words to Browns list, hypocrites, imperialists and elitists. How can UK citizens forget about the fact that we have colonised whole continents, we didn’t just go looking for work, we went to plunder and pillage, and we did it with great relish, destroying whole cultures, treating the indigenous peoples as sub-human and we still continue to this day, who the heck do we think we are!!!
    Yes my dear UK citizens who whinge about how hard done to they are because some foreigners are willing to work for a living, UK citizens who are ignorant about bigotry, in denial of their racism, wrapped up denial at just about everything. Imagine if the 22milion Australians, native English, were repatriated, wow now that would cause a few problems, would the BNP welcome them back with open arms!?. Those living in glasshouses should not throw stones!
    Bigot is probably a much politer way of putting things, I would say far worse. In context the whole issue of immigration is pathetic and stinks of the imperialist dogma that institutionally envelops the so called great british culture, who do we think we are ranting on about a green and pleasant land!!. The reason why discussing immigration is nothing to do with jobs is because its to do with institutionalised racism, yes racism, the UK public don’t like foreigners and most are racist. I’m sick and tired of hearing people say I’m not racist but…. And then spout on about their racism disguised as job worries, housing, numbers, pathetic, I don’t agree one jot with the BNP but at least they are being honest about their fascism.

  • Comment number 83.

    34. At 12:35pm on 29 Apr 2010, Bernard Eaton wrote:
    "Of course immigration should be talked about, it is one of the only things that people are worried about, crime is up because of it, the Country is in deep financial trouble because of it, my vote goes to whoever controls it best, repatriation is the only answer."

    Repatriation? Does that mean I'll be forced to come back to England to live? No fear! The wife would never forgive me.

  • Comment number 84.

    Awfully hard to discuss immigration without referring to other cultures. And this is out of bounds. How we have got ourselves into this position of cultural relativism is a major question in itself? Why have we lost respect for universal values? The doctrine of cultural relativism dominates political discussion and prohibits rational debate, where censorship is defended with appeals to toleration.

    I feel very sad about the way in which legitimate fears of mass immigration are converted into accusations of racism and bigotry. The lady from Rochdale clearly comes from the same socialist and internationalist background that welcomed that great man, Paul Robson, in Lancashire at a time when the US political classes were out to destroy him. Go further back and see the northern mill workers supporting the anti-slavery movement during the US Civil War. There are racists who oppose immigration because of their irrational hatred of other humans, but do not tar all who are concerned with the same brush. Many who are uneasy about immigration are concerned that universal values - respect for women, gays, and children - are being undermined by exponents of beliefs which support intolerance. Oh Dear. I am having difficulty in expressing these thoughts in a language that will survive BBC monitoring. But all over this miserable country we people are having conversations, expressing our moral views, knowing that we can never air them in the public domain.

  • Comment number 85.

    Those from other EU countries aren't counted as immigrants because of the rights to free movement and so the long term solution is to close all borders to all countries and then make all non-British to pay for visa to get into the country. Once they arrive with the correct documentation, they will be subjected to tagging, fingerprinting and iris scanning. What about those who are here? Remove all the unskilled but keep all professionals.

  • Comment number 86.

    Hasn't there been enough TALKING about immigration over the past 12 years?...Most of it has been lies, distortion of stats, pandering to Assylum & Immigration support groups and political correctness. The time has come for LESS TALK some POSITIVE ACTION to bring our ineffective and unfair immigration policies in line with better managed countries in Europe.

  • Comment number 87.

    Of course we must discuss the issue . It is a very serious issue and tensions will rise when cuts hit hard which they will and the cosmetic job creations Brown gave us are finally seen to be worthless . If we do not address this issue others will fill the vacuum and that is terrifying.

  • Comment number 88.

    All three main stream failed parties are Pro European Union and they well know that they can do nothing about the immigration problem from Europe because they have no control over it. So they all continue to fool many people by referring to capping immigration and introducing controls when they know that this can only refer to immigrants outside the EU

  • Comment number 89.

    Labour may claim they are not treating the subject of immigration as "off limits", but Gordon Brown's comments yesterday show exactly what they think of anyone who wants to raise this issue. It is their refusal to engage on the subject of immigration - a mistake all the main parties appear to be making - that has led to the recent rise in support for the BNP. It is quite reasonable to oppose unfettered immigration on the basis of its impact on our culture, infrastructure and employment, not for biggoted racist reasons. It is not clear which party the millions of ordinary citizens who hold this view can turn to for support.

  • Comment number 90.

    It is obvious that Labour are only humouring the public over the issue of immigration. They have happily presided over a deluge of immigrants over the last decade without batting an eye lid. In fact they are the ones who removed all the restrictions in order to open the floodgates, as Jack Straw, to his credit, said they would do if elected. All of a sudden, there's a general election and Labour need to listen to the public - until after the election of course, when they can forget about it again.

  • Comment number 91.

    EU Immigration is the problem.

  • Comment number 92.

    Immigration is an issue because we are an Island which has one of the largest populations in the world in relation to its size.Forget all the nonsense about what colour people are its purely about resources and nothing else.What people are outraged about is that immigrants get preference over English born nationals.Anyone who doesnt believe that is living in cloud cuckoo land.Councils are making English people wait for accomdation but insisting they have to give priority to immigrants by law.There is a very large supermarket chain openly discriminating against English born people when it comes to employment.Im sure most people could site many examples of discrimination against the very people who pay all the taxes in this country and of course were born here regardless of whether they are white,black or sky blue pink.As this must be part of government policy then its a very big issue bubbling away in the background.As the UK is made up of many races the issues relating to immigrants tends to be aimed at those who are of a different colour and speak a different language.Much of the anger is not against the people who arrive with both hands held out for benefits but government who either encourage rampant immigration or have no control.The latter seems to be case.Therefore to redress the balance we as a country need to stop this immigration in its tracks for the next few years anyway.There has to be a sensible approach to who works here ,how many are allowed in and of course what jobs they do.Remember,many of those who work here end up sending money home to wherever they came from which is a drip drip drain on our economy,a net loss to the businesses which depend on our service based economy to survive. Forget all the social implications as thats always been around regardless of race,religion etc;As it stands this country is bleeding to death because we can no longer be the Great British Empire we used to be and politicians need to get with it and solve the problem before it causes civil unrest.

  • Comment number 93.

    Being an immigrant, I would love to discuss immigration but, HYS would never allow it. No doubt this will be moderated.......

    Australia has much better rules and no ones calls them racist. The rules they have protects Australian jobs while allowing key skills which are required in.

    Immgrantion, just return the illegal immigrant back to the last country they came from. Automatic explusion.

    Stop Britain being an easy target for benefits and healthcare.

  • Comment number 94.

    The volumes of Immigration and inward migration should treated and discussed as part of our economy as a whole.

    Stress on space, services and natural resources is about numbers of people, not just about where they are from or why.

    Furthermore, existing immigrants are also very worried too about all the above.

  • Comment number 95.

    58. At 12:51pm on 29 Apr 2010, Brian Berlin wrote:

    "Just replace every mention anywhere of "immigrants" by "Jews". Then you'll see the Scun, Mail, BNP etc. in their true light. Do you HONESTLY think that the right-whingers sat down and said "oh dear, how can we help people - wait, maybe if we stopped immigration…?"
    No, of course not. They said "we hate immigrants, now how can we persuade the thick, ill-educated 'useful fools' who can hardly read beyond a headline, who actually believe what the Scun and Mail say, to blame them too?""

    It's fools like you who stifle sensible debate about this topic and muddy the waters by branding everyone who does want to discuss it as a racist. We don't have enough jobs, housing and money to be able to cope with high levels of unskilled immigration. Either give us a solution to this that allows immigraton to continue or let other people discuss other options without name calling and brush tarring.

  • Comment number 96.

    People's concerns about immigration veer dangerously close to racism when they start saying things like "Brits must come first", when it comes to access to services, jobs etc. They need to define "Brits". I assume by "British" they must mean people born here? What else can it mean? But there are hundreds of thousands of people who were born here, whose parents or grandparents came from another country... or maybe these closet racists really mean "white" and just don't want to say the word?

    It's no good saying it's "just about the numbers": there's plenty of room. In fact, immigration isn't the problem at all: What's REALLY the problem is that there aren't enough houses, or jobs, and wages haven't kept in line with the cost of living for the last 50 years. These problems would still exist, whether we closed the doors or not.

    THESE are the issues that need tackling: why aren't the big property developers building houses as fast as they can, to satisfy the demand? Because they can make more profit when demand is high and supply low, that's why.

    Why aren't there enough jobs to go round? Because if we, the public, could afford to be pickier about what we do to earn money, employers would be forced to raise salaries. And big business doesn't like that. Keeping us in fear of losing our jobs makes us accept lower wages and poorer working conditions.

    Unfortunately, by seeking scapegoats for the real problems, parties like the BNP are diverting us away from seeing what really needs to be tackled.

    There is enough land, and wealth, in this country for a lot more people to come here, if we wanted them to. But those who control the land and the wealth want to keep more of it for themselves, and not share it out in a fairer way.

  • Comment number 97.

    16 Osric - 'Its hardly the issue that dare not speak its name that some seem to be trying to make out'

    It is, if your views do not match those of the government! Not much better with the other two main parties either as they too are frightened of being labelled bigots.

    The biggest single problem is not race, creed or colour but education of immigrants. We already have enough burger flippers and toilet cleaners available in this country without importing more, what we need are immigrants with skills and education that can be used to the benefit of this country that we do not currently have a supply of.

    It really is not rocket science. But as it contradicts Labours politically correct brigade do you think it will ever be raised?

  • Comment number 98.

    Immigration and population need talking about, and fast.
    It seems to me everyone in the country is talking about it except the politicians.

  • Comment number 99.

    Yes. Most UK citizens do not understand EU nationals (Eastern Europeans) have a right to work here as the UK citizens can work in EU countries.

    Immigration control only applies to those coming to work in the UK from outside the EU.

    The real issue is that benefits payable to UK resident workers should not be sent to those outside the UK. This would end familiy allowances being paid to people in Poland from the UK.

  • Comment number 100.

    It is completely reasonable to have concern over population growth and limited resources, however it is very difficult to have a sensible discussion when confronted with a great deal of anti-immigration hysteria. The immigration issue is not unique to Britain, this affects most countries. The economic crisis was not caused by immigration and like it or not, immigration is necessary in a global world economy. It is simply not possible to turn back the clock and go back to the 1950s - Britain would collapse or become a laughing stock. Can you imagine asking all Brits working overseas to return?? A combination of the current points based system (also used in NZ and Australia)and a regional/local approach appear to be the best solution to a very complex issue. Those who simply say "stop" immigration or follow the delusional BNP don't seem to understand reality.

 

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