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Thursday 14 May 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:19 UK time, Thursday, 14 May 2009

Here's Gavin Esler with a look ahead to tonight's programme:

Today's Quote for the Day:

"The skin of the custard has been peeled back and it is bubbling underneath. That's how it is in this country at the moment" - campaigning actress Joanna Lumley on the MPs' expenses scandal.

In tonight's programme, we'll begin with a bit more peeling back the skin on the custard, and more especially the news that the former Labour environment minister Elliott Morley has had the Labour whip withdrawn after claiming mortgage interest on his Scunthorpe home 18 months after paying off the loan.

But we'll also be devoting much of the programme tonight to something which affects all of us - immigration.

What has happened as a result of the recession? Are immigrants - especially from Eastern Europe - going home? Or are they, as some fear, taking what the prime minister once referred to as "British jobs" for British people?

We will try to get to the bottom of the contentious figures and will debate the issue.

Join me at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Have you invited Coleman and Green from MigrationWatch on? How about asking Lynn on too, if only by phone? Otherwise you'll just be debating in a rather bad way...

    What matters comes from the inside out - it's nearly all genetic you know - and it has consequences.

  • Comment number 2.

    The Programme tonight. 14.5.09.

    Thank goodness Newsnight has the courage to discuss an issue that - if you actually listen at street level - is more likely to play a part in the forthcoming local & EU elections than a large segment of the Media would have you believe i.e. Immigration.

    Phil Woolas MP is actually doing a pretty good job at trying to deal with the issue of global migration and its current & future effects on the UK. (Oops! Forgot to say .... but there is still plenty he can, and has, to do!) The sad thing is that the media in general refuses to/ is afraid to report policies and/or actions to support its own political stance or - more the case with the BBC - to avoid any accusation of racism! Both practices which, in my opinion, just increase the drift to the right which is happening as a natural outcome of the current global financial crisis.

    Shame on the Media!

    It doesnt take great deal of thought to realise ( and present in a logical non-exploitive way ) that the most serious aspect concerning immigration - into any country, including the UK - is ...... Numbers versus Infrastructure.

    Sadly those on the extremes of the debate emblazon the issue of immigration with the isolationist and divisive tags of religion, race, creed and colour which is morally and completely wrong at this, at the very least, effectively destroys any validity in any of their claims. Each side calls the other Racist in one way or another, which completely suppresses ANY sensible discussion of the subject that will eventually have a detrimental effect on us all!

    If we as a society cannot discuss the subject of immigration from the starting point of Numbers versus Infrastructure, and instead continue to bleat Racism we will sadly reach the point where the issue can only be dealt with by policies and actions that history will record as ultra-extremist ....

    And that cant be right!

  • Comment number 3.

    Gavin 'two-jobs' Esler has just been spotted reading the 6 O'Clock News!
    Not a Pole in sight ....... though perhaps he's working for a big Czech?

  • Comment number 4.

    We will try to get to the bottom of the contentious figures and will debate the issue.

    I will await, with interest.

    Mind you, speaking of disconnects between what we are to expect and gets delivered, on my iPlayer catch up I can't seem to locate the surprising judge choices for the main event, as promised by Mr. Paxman earlier this week.

    Was it in the bit that 'dropped out' on Tuesday, or are we yet to meet these individuals tasked with such a difficult choice? Maybe being saved, with their thoughts, until last? How refreshingly non Dragon's Den and/or Apprentice but I guess very Eurovision Song Contest. Hopefully no bloc voting on non-musical bases, mind. Is it to be just 'points' (and no 'nil's' in sight, we trust) with no feedback? A pity if so, as balanced judging can be as key as the rationales behind representation in these things. No easy thing between a rapper and a rock group. Especially with passionate supporters who have now discovered the Newsnight blog and will, I am sure, stay with us long after the contest is over to share their thoughts on key political issues of the day.

    Steering clear of further musical comment as even this seemed to propel one into contentious realms, I have actually found all the selected entrants engaging personalities at least, and their stories of interest. Only a pity to find that out of all the immigrants welcomed to our shores and given this opportunity, there was perhaps not more of an opportunity for at least one female lead band to shine. But maybe that is a cultural thing. A little bit of feisty overseas girl power might have showed real multi-cultural integration at its best.

  • Comment number 5.

    Immigration.. [stifles yawn..]

    No doubt this will be some sanctimonious tosh about how anyone..no, actually let me guess what the programme will be like...

    It will take some of those musicians round various London nightclubs, and when the doormen say 'You are not coming in here, you are wearing trainers.' there will no doubt be some specious analysis of whether their inability to get into the nightclub is due to the colour of their skin.

    Then they will enter a pub, and start to play their music, and be asked to leave because the pub doesn't have the incredibly bureaucratic public entertainment licence mandated by the state. Cue more hand-wringing about whether we should be more welcoming to outsiders.

    They then proceed to another nightclub and because it is late there is a queue outside. This is the cue for the BBC to make a short film discussing the horrendous conditions in the queue as it has started raining and discussing whether the 'processing' of incomers is suffering because too much effort is being spent by the staff on serving beer to those already inside...

    Once the musicians get to the front of the queue, the nightclub informs them that they cannot come in until someone else leaves because the nightclub is full to the capacity allowed under the fire regulations, and hey 'Nightclub UK' does still adhere to such niceties.

    Cue another film debating whether the fire regulations would have been overlooked if the musicians were locals or had different colour skin.
    Dejected the musicians head across the street where there are two pubs side by side. The first says that they are a 'jazz pub' and are really geared to older people, but that next door is a hip and trendy new bar with a more youthful clientele which may be more suited to them.

    You see, migration is about numbers and demographics. It has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE, ethnicity and where they came from.

    If 100,000 young people move in from Poland, that can create issues to be dealt with in the education system. If 100,000 older people come from Rwanda as refugees then that can create issues for, say, language schools.
    But SO CAN 100,000 'British passport holders' who emigrated to Spain, and have to return because the pound is dropping, and unemployment rising on the continent. They will put extra pressure on the NHS.

    None of these are insurmountable obstacles. But they do need to be managed. They are not bad things, just challenges to be solved.

    No one is saying that universal healthcare, education, the benefits system are 'bad things' - but by the same token, as we have seen recently the expenditure on them does need to be carefully managed or we will find, rather as we do now, that the national debt is becoming out of control and unmanageable to the point where there may be a 'gilt strike' and we CANNOT fund the 'good things' even if we wanted to.

    I am fed up of the immigration debate being hijacked on both sides by people trying to say it is a 'good thing' or a 'bad thing'. It is just something which needs to be controlled and managed democratically and one shouldn't be labelled a xenophobe for saying so.

    We can all agree that capping carbon emissions is a 'good thing', but if it is imposed externally by agencies that we cannot control democratically it is unsurprising when the public 'kick back' against it, resent it and don't buy into it with hearts and minds.

    We all agree that immigrants can bring huge benefits to the country, but to surrender control and management of the process to unelected people in Brussels is half the reason why fringe parties can exploit this issue for political gain - and come the euro elections people may get a very unpleasant wake-up call indeed. And to resolve it requires DEMOCRACY not more fatuous 'talent shows'.

  • Comment number 6.

    Lets all go to Blackpool - "more than a quick kiss" everyone

    youtube - Dominique SANDA, Géraldine CHAPLIN : french kissing lesson!

    I know its not going to get past the mods

  • Comment number 7.

    #4JunkkMale
    "a pity to find that out of all the immigrants welcomed to our shores and given this opportunity, there was perhaps not more of an opportunity for at least one female lead band to shine"

    I wasn't going to post as I've had plenty to say on immigration (see hillsideboy - now locked out (probably in error), but I have to comment that some of the finest all-girl bands in the world are to be found in Philippines. But the latest figures published by Border Control Agency shows a Refusal rate of 56% for student visas from Philippines - compared with average of 10% from other countries in same region. JJ suggested 'risk of seeking marriage' as a probable reason, but surely Thailand is more widely advertised for 'mail-order' brides, so why only 12% Refusal rate there?
    In any case, from the massive evidence of lack of immigration control, shouldn't every Englishman (or woman)have the right to choose a spouse of any nationality, provided they meet the stated rules of 'no support cost to the public purse'. Yet I have it in writing that Home Office are not interested in the sponsor. Surely a necessary security factor?


    #5lordBeddGelert "migration is about numbers and demographics. It has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE, ethnicity and where they came from"

    We have been gagged and silenced for over a decade from discussing immigration by the 'racist' jibe. Perhaps JJ and others should soft- pedal on the constant posting of comment about 'race realism', even if the evidence is there, it is not going to be admitted in this present age of 'equalisation'. Hopefully, the current scandal that has revealed how some are more equal and privileged than others, may cause a rethink.

    Meanwhile, let's talk about the negative affect of population increase, on our countryside and our society (now and inbuilt)and even worldwide. Perhaps even ganglionofone will be able to make some new comment on that angle?

  • Comment number 8.

    PS #1 JJ
    Even if Andrew Green is not invited on Newsnight, a look at the Migration Watch website will provide all with a factual and non-political basis for any informed discussion on immigration.

    Incidentally, I have found a great deal of contentment since marrying into a different culture despite an IQ imbalance. My last test scored 139 compared with my wife's, which she admits is that of a Polo Mint.

  • Comment number 9.

    Perhaps we need a sense of perspective. Add up the trouser presses and cleaned-out moats: the total is way short of what Sir Fred Goodwin and his ilk have got away with. Why do we have the energy to chase a bunch of sad MPs with their Farrow and Ball paint jobs and Laura Ashley sofas while the people who have really wrecked millions of lives disappear into the sunset with the real money?
    Now, if I was a conspiracy theorist ( which I was'nt!).....a very right wing paper ( still in thrall to Mrs T who made it possible for Sir Fred et al to do their worst)has engineered a situation which fatally damages both a Labour Government and possibly the ( fairly moderate) Conservative Opposition. On cue, The Chingford Skinhead rises from the grave ( nearly) and advises us all not to vote for the main parties in the forthcoming European elections, meanwhile UKIP ( for whom Mrs T is probably a saint) and the BNP can hardly believe their luck.
    What price on a coup with Joanna Lumley invited to form a government....makes you think!

  • Comment number 10.

    BRITAIN'S HOUR OF D'ARC NESS

    The way politicians do 'damage-limitation' is more damaging than the original damage! It reminds one of the right royal mess the monarchy made of Diana's death. But then - we ARE dealing with denizens of the PALACE of Westminster. Perhaps it's a quality thing. These elevated ninnies are not used to defending their awful ways. Also, they are such poor judges of character - having little themselves - the draw to their aid, the most appalling characters as advisers, and get the advice they deserve. We, of course, must suffer all the fall-out.

    We need a champion. Will Joanna of Arc step up?

  • Comment number 11.

    So what is Julie Kirkbride MP saying tonight about her husband's recipe for custard? And why did they not swap recipes with Ed Balls and Yvette?

    Given all the publicity and the vindication of Mr & Mrs Balls after an enquiry it is hard to credit this was not discussed by all married MPs.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1564016/Ed-Balls-claims-27000-subsidy-for-2nd-home.html

  • Comment number 12.

    Japan is a very advanced futuristic country, with a suitably advanced and futuristic immigration policy. They have recently begun a repatriation scheme for 2nd generation immigrants:

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    "There are officially around 320,000 Brazilians living in Japan, but the true figure is closer to 350,000," said Hayashi. "Japanese companies were keen to hire them when business was good but now they say nothing can be done as Japanese are also having problems with unemployment."

    After two decades here, many of these second-generation Japanese-Brazilians have mortgages and children who have grown up speaking Japanese, but with little sign of the economic situation picking up many have little option but to return to Brazil."


    Let's compare some stats with Japan:

    Japan unemployment: 4%
    UK unemployment: 7.1%

    Japan population density: 338 people per sq km
    England population density: 395 people per sq km


    Here's a quote from a Japanese government official in the New York Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/business/global/23immigrant.html

    "Mr. Kawasaki said the economic slump was a good opportunity to overhaul Japans immigration policy as a whole.

    We should stop letting unskilled laborers into Japan. We should make sure that even the three-K jobs are paid well, and that they are filled by Japanese, he said. I do not think that Japan should ever become a multiethnic society. He said the United States had been a failure on the immigration front, and cited extreme income inequalities between rich Americans and poor immigrants."


    So Japan has a very sensible government with a pragmatic approach to immigration - in stark contrast to Britain's completely irresponsible and frankly dangerous addiction to mass immigration. An addiction that has lead to suicide bombings, loss of civil liberties and a potential for political instability. Now is a good time for Britain to follow Japan's lead and get itself some politicians with a more sensible approach on immigration, rather than the self serving politicians that we currently have, who only think about lining the pockets of themselves and their friends in multinational corporations and the EU.

  • Comment number 13.

    #6 Street Photo Being

    Oh you've got more to answer for

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2009/05/tuesday_12_may_2009.html#P79926915

    The full day was another trip to hospital. Ecolizzy knows I've been ill. Hello not heard from you recently!

    Anyway there I was in hospital, and the hospital radio request team come round. So you having initiated my Doors fix, I requested LA Woman. Which they played. All well and good.

    Until I went for a walk. There were these dear old ladies lying there with the ear phones in waiting for a request from their grandchildren. Having been subjected to the full version of the Doors LA Woman.

    Which brings us back to the above. Joanna Lumley's custard skin is surely Morrison's 'thin veneer of civilisation' from Doors Live. I will try and find a reference on the net.

    Is Lumley trying to introduce Jim Morrison in an 'awfully nice' way?

    Will be back if I can find the web reference.

    Leo Lion

  • Comment number 14.

    Sorry and all praise to Barrie, who often quotes Vaclav Havel.

    Morrison who was a great reader and seems to have borrowed.

    With regard to Lumley's custard skin above. Could I just suggest a Google or search for 'thin veneer of civilization'. The references are huge. Its a question of who is referencing who. I think Doors Live is 1970.

    Leo Lion

  • Comment number 15.

    indignantindegene (#8) "Incidentally, I have found a great deal of contentment since marrying into a different culture despite an IQ imbalance. My last test scored 139 compared with my wife's, which she admits is that of a Polo Mint."

    The evidence is that people tend to assortively (aka assortatively) mate (people prefer to have things in common) and given the correlation of about 0.4 it obviously works for 'stupidity' too. Whilst there are always exceptions, people/women don't always let on that they're bright ;-)

  • Comment number 16.

    Politicians would have us believe that their expenses scandal is no more than a series of "errors" by individual members of the House of Commons and therefore capable of being corrected and normal business soon being resumed.

    They would have us believe that this is the disease itself and that they, and only they, have the cure.

    I believe that the expenses scandal is only a symptom, and one of many over the years.

    Politicians and political parties are the disease itself. They can never be part of the cure.

    Until a movement emerges from the people to increasingly isolate politicians and political parties we will be forced to endure more of the same.

    Politicians have wantonly surrendered all moral authority. In doing so thay have returned it to the people where it properly belongs.

    Good government in the future will emerge only from the proper exercise by the people of the power of their moral authority. Politicians and political parties will be left with nothing but taxation and brute force.

    The time has come for the Shadow Parliament. A home for the moral authority of the people and a final rebuff to the spent political class.

    All that is needed for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

    Wake up, act now!

  • Comment number 17.

    Not sure what Lord Bed...yawns fable/polemic about queuing outside pubs and fire regulations is supposed to illuminate except for a bonfire of vanities in the democratic deficit department or am I missing the point and this is supposed to be a serious debate about the relative merits of a carbon cap versus a cap on immigration numbers. Or maybe I'm just sick of arguments about numbers or trying to spot the epistemological underpinning of immigration debates.
    Still enjoyed fonts and hope they get to entertain us again in the future!

  • Comment number 18.

    #1 Jaded_Jean

    "What matters comes from the inside out - it's nearly all genetic you know - and it has consequences."

    What matters to most people is indeed what is inside.

    Something does tend to go badly wrong with the far right - your pal Hitler (mass murderer), the Baby P batterer (and child rapist) liked Hitler as did the Twickenham Green murderer and the wannabe nail bomber who was a far right paedophile. The wannabe Lowestoft train station bomber was also an SS admirer hence the manual he was carrying when caught. All in the last year or so.

    Thats also, on a separate matter, why the BNP probably won't do as well as expected. Once the media start to highlight what their views really are they will lose what is already a soft vote.

    More importantly internal tensions will probably rip them apart. How do you express ideology in a fascist party that essentially seeks to embody the absolute will of a failed leader who committed suicide in 1945?

    Is Griffins hand on power going to strong enough if they win a seat or two or indeed if they win nothing?

    As ever genetic variation is greater within a race than between races and there is no basis for your race "realism".

  • Comment number 19.

    'IT'S ABOUT WESTMINSTER' - ALL DISHONOURED BY ASSOCIATION

    Ming, dancing on a hook, is as unedifying as YouTube-Brown's dance of death. Was he any good as a lawyer?

    And why did Nick Robinson say that MPs are not all guilty, in his view? Fool or knave time again - and that's just Nick!

    Then we hear MPs speaking of 'being returned to Westminster by their constituents' as if THEY were voted for! How many times must I tell them: the simple voter votes 'ROSETTE' not individual. An MP's job is to hold the rosette high - in the lobby; which lobby the whips will dictate.

    Hello, Nick? MPs are party ciphers, i.e. people of 'diminished being', looking for false status, without having to have any particular credentials except subservience to party and leader. Small wonder, then, that they can be seduced by material gain and 'trappings' (advisedly) like the children they are.

    And as for the tobacco barons, and 'relaxedly wealthy' - and their ilk - what likelihood is there that such people care about the wellbeing and wretched lives of the sick and poor; a primary duty of governance?

    Above is an outline of a governing institution that belongs in the dark ages. They should all be sitting around in some cavernous, ornate, chamber, with hanging bellies and glazed eyes, rising only to attack and stab one another, under the influence of too much ale. Oh - I seem to have described Westminster.

  • Comment number 20.

    Wouldn't Kate Hoey be an excellent Speaker? If they got rid of Martin she would restore a lot of public trust and is not partisan.

    On the song contest and immigrant discussion I thought the whole package was really excellent and well thought out.

    Woolas came over as snide and arrogant as usual - despite Labour being one step behind. As for him talking about their grand new controls - they were saying there were twelve thousand Poles right up until the point that it was laughable. The controls could not have gotten worse. Given the nature of some of the far right posters that often frequent this page I should stress that all of the Poles I have met are very decent hard working people.



  • Comment number 21.

    I know Michael Crick is not allowed to water board Labour Party officials (though it would have an ironic justice) but where is McBride?

    Why is there not more pressure to find him?

  • Comment number 22.

    JJ Post NO 2 Correcto Throw Male? personages coming Soley 2 the UK 2 commit Crime 2 go 2 Nick WHY?

    An Easy Cushy Life behind Bars IE 3 square meals warm Bed ETC ETC

    I AM REALLY REALLY REALLY GOING 2 PAY FOR THAT.

    not (poke my eyes out with a sharp stick)

  • Comment number 23.

    Out Of Chaos/Crime Comes ............Money

    Who gets the Money......Politicians/Judges/Barristers/Lawyers

    Who Pays for It..........Idiots

    (money for old rope)

  • Comment number 24.

    lordBeddGelert (#5) "Immigration.. [stifles yawn..]

    No doubt this will be some sanctimonious tosh about how anyone..no, actually let me guess what the programme will be like..."


    You weren't far off were you? ;-(

  • Comment number 25.

    thegangofone (#18) "Something does tend to go badly wrong with the far right - your pal Hitler (mass murderer), the Baby P batterer (and child rapist) liked Hitler as did the Twickenham Green murderer and the wannabe nail bomber who was a far right paedophile. The wannabe Lowestoft train station bomber was also an SS admirer hence the manual he was carrying when caught. All in the last year or so.

    Thats also, on a separate matter, why the BNP probably won't do as well as expected. Once the media start to highlight what their views really are they will lose what is already a soft vote.

    More importantly internal tensions will probably rip them apart. How do you express ideology in a fascist party that essentially seeks to embody the absolute will of a failed leader who committed suicide in 1945?"


    1. I didn't know Hitler myself. However, rationally, you should try to explain to yourself how millins of Germans voted for, and revered Hitler and his polices in the 1930s. Were they all like the people you describe? If not, why do you keep posting what you do?

    2. I suggest you try to grasp why the German National Socialists were so harsh on those who they saw as damaging the country (essentialy the pincer movement of 'financial services' and anarchists), giving some thought to our anarchism and public sentiment today.

    3. I suggest you try to see Old Labour in 1945 as essentially a Socialism in One Country/National Socialist party, and those who opposed them as free-market neo-liberal anarchists, as that I suggest is really what vilification of the BNP is really obliquely deriding. It is all to keep Old Labour off the political map.

    4. Finally, a warning from history.

  • Comment number 26.

    Usual stuff in here I C

    Who is going to investigate how Blair's receipts got shredded and all the other cowboys on the range? Inspector Clouseau?

    Ive had several experiences with *immigrants* all bad I'm very sad to say, was once offered 2k to marry an Iranian women in 1981.

    Now then, can you french kiss Kirsty, Martha, Sarah
    Do you know where Black kool is

    c m

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-VE265Wuxc&feature=related

  • Comment number 27.

    PROVENANCE JJ? (#25)

    Hitler would seem to have written in a composed manner (ignoring the underlying delusion) that belied the pressure on him, his exhaustion and the time of day. I would have expected something more like the inane stumblings of J Gordon Brown - recently displayed.

    I would guess the original was dictated and typed, and forged signatures in old ink are not beyond those who know how. So how good is the provenance?

  • Comment number 28.

    'Justice minister Shahid Malik has gone on the offensive after becoming the latest MP to be singled out by The Daily Telegraph over expenses claims."

    You would think they were being guillotined! Its pretty fair coverage in the national interest and has hit all parties.

    Poor old Hogg having to pay to have his own moat cleaned .... "One gets knocked down, but one gets up again, ain't never going to keep me down"?

  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    Nos28

    "Justice minister Shahid Malik has gone"

    Storm coming on in

    Who believes Clare Short and the rest of um ? who wouldn't know that they over paid their mortgage, crikey Clare do you think anyone believes that ?

  • Comment number 31.

    barrie (#27) "I would guess the original was dictated and typed, and forged signatures in old ink are not beyond those who know how. So how good is the provenance?"

    Is it inconsistent with anything else that's written/said? Have a look here and here to see what the French Yellow Book recorded. The Germans were clearly incensed. For destroyed, read expelled/resettled, as in destroying 'The Opposition', a political movement pretending not to be?

  • Comment number 32.

    IT'S ALL A BIT ODD

    Don't you think?

  • Comment number 33.

    On the subject of immigration, it is useful to see how some of the world's leading economies deal with immigration. Japan is a very advanced futuristic country, with a suitably advanced and futuristic immigration policy. They have recently begun a repatriation scheme.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/5204546/Japan-pays-foreign-workers-to-go-home.html

    "There are officially around 320,000 Brazilians living in Japan, but the true figure is closer to 350,000," said Hayashi. "Japanese companies were keen to hire them when business was good but now they say nothing can be done as Japanese are also having problems with unemployment." After two decades here, many of these second-generation Japanese-Brazilians have mortgages and children who have grown up speaking Japanese, but with little sign of the economic situation picking up many have little option but to return to Brazil."

    Let's compare some stats with Japan:

    Japan unemployment: 4%
    UK unemployment: 7%

    Japan population density: 338 people per sq km
    England population density: 395 people per sq km


    Here's a quote from a Japanese government official in the New York Times, revealing the Japanese government's approach to immigration:

    "Mr. Kawasaki said the economic slump was a good opportunity to overhaul Japans immigration policy as a whole.
    We should stop letting unskilled laborers into Japan. We should make sure that even the three-K jobs are paid well, and that they are filled by Japanese, he said. I do not think that Japan should ever become a multiethnic society. He said the United States had been a failure on the immigration front, and cited extreme income inequalities between rich Americans and poor immigrants."


    How very socialist of the Japanese government to think that the three-K jobs should be well paid and it's concern for the income inequality that mass immigration creates.

    This is in stark contrasst to Britain's Labour government, with it's Atlantic slave trade mindset that the three-k jobs should be done by a low paid immigrant underclass.

    So Japan has a very sensible government with a pragmatic approach to immigration - in stark contrast to Britain's completely irresponsible and frankly dangerous addiction to mass immigration. An addiction that has lead to suicide bombings, loss of civil liberties and a potential for political instability. Now is a good time for Britain to follow Japan's lead and get itself some politicians with a more sensible approach on immigration, rather than the self serving politicians that we currently have, who only think about lining the pockets of themselves and their friends in multinational corporations and the EU.

  • Comment number 34.

    japan figures on refugees are more enlightening. last time i looked it was about 100 people let in a year.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20081012a2.html

  • Comment number 35.

    Did anyone think that last night's Newsnight report on immigration was something of an ill-informed, right-wing polemic? The language used in the report was as inflamatory as it was uninformative. How strange it is, then, that I found my interests pricked only by the comments of Nigel Farange, UKIP, anti-immigration, anti-Europe zealot. UKIP hit the nail on the head when they frame the Eastern European immigration argument in terms that we are either with Europe or against them. The problem is that there is little public argument about this save from the occassional outbursts of fringe loonies such as Msrs Farange and Griffin.

    UKIP and the BNP (despite their differing political standings) have surprisingly similar views on immigration and, in particular, their view on Europe - i.e. they want to withdraw from the EU. I don't mind this. It's a valid standpoint if backed up with good old solid fact and argument. The problem is that noone wants to anter into the counter-argument - i.e. that being a member of Europe is an altogether good thing, particularly in times of financial crisis. The UK would be incredibly weak without the backing of Europe and would be ill-placed to survive a global meltdown. Size has its own intrinsic benefits as does the promotion of free and uninterupted trade. Protectionism (which is the inevitable result of UK independence) is the last thing that the global economy needs at this time.

    These are the frames for discussion of Eastern European immigration. Unfortunately, Newsnight chose to present a simplified feature based on "letting them in" as if this raises no further arguments or secondary concerns. This was wrong and made it appear like we can simply turn immigration off to suit ourselves. I was, in short, disappoined.

    Incidentally, of what relevance is the fact that streetphotobeing was offered £2000 to marry an Iranian or that video of him playing the piano?

  • Comment number 36.

    Parliment must be a right unhappy place at the moment; watching ones career go down the pan can't be be much fun. Most of the general public are losing their jobs due to the economic downturn; this lot, our elected reps will be losing their grace and favour abodes and careers due to forgetting whats right and proper conduct...the fall from grace is unprecedented and the public are raging..well, how else are we to react. the French had a revolution, we could go down the same road as Romania ,when they put a couple of bullets through the heads of Mr and Mrs Ceausescu. After watching Beckett on question time last night i really wished we could dish out some similar fate to these grubby folk.

    as i watch BBC news ,Shahid Malic - who hasn't been an MP for more than five minutes has just given another million votes to the BNP.

    An apt tune; imagine a scene with gallows on top of a hill and the end of democracy as we know it...ohhh

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bonRzJzQ8iw&feature=channel_page

    " speaker martin...any last request?.."
    I'll be listening to chas and dave meself

  • Comment number 37.

    OK - re: MPs' expenses. I am somewhat concerned that we are getting bogged down in all these claims. So some of them have their hands in the till, some of them have claimed excessively, some of them "acted within the rules". We knew that. It's not good. It's taudry and grubby. Heads must roll etc etc. However, there is a deeper issue here, beyond what the MPs will want us all to beleive about the system stinking.

    This is a constitutional issue. The problem is that Parliament makes it's own rules and always has. The doctrine of parliamentary supremacy means that no body has power over it - not the Crown, not even the courts. Even if a new independent body was set up to deal with the (comparatively small) issue of pay and expenses, parliament could easily ignore it or legislate it away. Moreover, considering that the governing party is in almost total control of the House of Commons which is, in turn, in total control of Parliament, the government of the day is in total control of the system within which it operates. Parliament is trusted with those power. Few other systems have that amount of powers vested in one body which is at the same time Legislative and Executive and I, for one, find that much scarier than a cleaning bill or a little white lie about where one's first home is.

    The point I am making is this. The MPs want you to be focussed on the individual conduct of Blears, Smith, Campbell, Gove, Malik et al so that, in the game, some sacrificial lambs might be sent to spare the skins of the others. At the same time, they want to espouse an independent body which will, in all probability, give them an equal, if not increased, salary system with as little damage to the constitution as possible.

    Please don't get me wrong, the level of public anger on this is a gppd thing. It shows we're not all political apathetics as some thought we were. My point is, however, that this anger could be better directed towards real and lasting constitutional change starting, I would suggest, with greater checks and balances on the operation of Parliament.

  • Comment number 38.

    so it was mainly a refugee song contest. NN can't even get that right.

    given

    ...the number of refugees worldwide during 2007 was estimated at 16 million, with an additional 51 million internally displaced people....

    they all have a RIGHT come here?

    the immigration debate was the usual borderline hysteria.

    importing people is little different to shipping the jobs over there except that it highlights the power of the oligarchy to lock out the locals from work and access to resources. like the enclosures locked out people from common land and so deprived them of a means to get food.

    societies break up when either unemployment or immigration goes over 10%.

    commons

    we need a new parliament building that is modern. a fuddy duddy building promotes fuddy duddy thinking. we also need a written constitution, a new national oath that is to uphold the rights and laws of all the people and not just the privileges of one family and a new anthem that relates to the nation and is not a monarchists camp fire sing song.

  • Comment number 39.

    Speaking of pest control and gardening, it is worth checking out this in the Indy:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/ann-widdecombe-who-else-was-going-to-cut-my-lawn-the-cat-1685192.html

    The self-serving, blinkered actions and subsequent words of pretty much all from Labour had already consigned them the the compost heap of history in my eyes long ago. And already, even before this, such as Mr. Duncans HIGNFY effort has already raised a few flags on his party and leaders competencies.

    But Ms. Widdecombe, another alumnus of that fine show, has now ensured that, come June 4 and the GE, three votes will be going anywhere but the Conservatives as well.

    Maybe they' will soon be getting it.

  • Comment number 40.

    ...Newsnight chose to present a simplified feature..

    the bbc says itself it is not neutral. it is propagandising the relativist philosophy that leads to a nihilist society. that is their model of the good.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mr Malik talking about being a muslim MP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knk_jpq7Vx8&feature=related

  • Comment number 42.

    At first I was a bit surprised by Stephen Fry's comments on the expenses fiasco, but now I'm beginning to think he was perhaps right when he said that there are more important things politicians have got wrong than their expenses.
    Due to their nervousness about taking increases in salary, MPs have colluded in the perpetuation of "nod and a wink" approaches to expenses and allowances, actively encouraged by party Whips and the Fees Office; the prerequisite was secrecy, now gone; are you really surprised at the people who have been found out, or at the people who are clean?
    The issue needs to be sorted quickly, just as they did in Scotland - no big deal to do that.
    Voters MUST vote at the June elections, both local and European, and show whatever degree of dissatisfaction they may feel. Next year, the General Election will be a landmark when Cameron becomes PM in a minority government kept alive by the selective support of the Liberal Democrats - and New Labour will die an ignominious but deserved death, only to be re-born as Real Labour under the leadership of Cruddas with Ed Miliband as his Deputy.
    You wait and see.

  • Comment number 43.

    A few more 'explanations' and 'we could be hurting the country exposing its leaders foibles' 'scares' are still getting trotted out.

    If you are an honest, hard-working MP, then in all this you have nothing to fear and all to gain (though being part of a 'party interest first' system ruled by whips rather than constituent wishes will rather hinder you).

    Otherwise being ignorant, especially of the law... IS NO BLOOMING EXCUSE!

    I intend to revisit 'The Fugitive', especially when the 'hero' is confronted at the dam outlet and makes his case.

    These troughers are anything but innocent, so it is all the more delicious to savour the reply of implacable law: 'I DON'T CARE'. The next bit is fun in context, too.

  • Comment number 44.

    kashibeyaz (#42) "Voters MUST vote at the June elections, both local and European"

    They can choose xxxx-Lite 'tangerine', 'blueberry' or 'strawberry'... but MUST clear of 'toffee' and 'fruits of the forest' as they're of uncertain purity, or suspected of odd goings on in the bushes.

  • Comment number 45.

    Bookhimdano, I totally agree, the source of all our wo lies in architecture and the national anthem. I'll be down Westminster tomorrow with a wrecking ball and an architect and a composer.

  • Comment number 46.

    erratum (#44) Lost the steer - "but MUST steer clear"

  • Comment number 47.

    I like many others feel that the Politicians with their expense scandal have been take taking us all for a ride for many years, I was suprised to find out that they tried to stop the Daily Telegraph Publishing this informations on the grounds that the information was not giving freely, because the Telegraph paid for, Clearly they have to hide

    Even if they pay back what they owe, they have broken the Law , you and I would be taken to court, we would loose our job, we might even be arrested so the same rule should apply to them but they are getting away with it and I feel they are insulting our intelligent
    So I need your help, I have started a website call YourVoiceYourSay.Com and I need people to know about it , I need people to logon and give their views, if I can get 1000s of people I am going to ask if any of them want to become politician?
    The only qualification required is a bit of common sense.

    I think we should start a new political party run by normal people with a little common sense

  • Comment number 48.

    Whilst I'm sure most MPs are hard-working, you just have to look at what they work hard AT, to see their contempt for the British people and how irrelevant they have become.

    Some MPs are in the process, as far as I am aware, of trying to give 'communities' (of the prudish and puritanical sort) greater powers to control the location of lap-dancing clubs in the belief your proximity to one of the clubs determines your views of women. Apparently, if I walk past one of these almost-anonymous establishments, I'll spontaneously lose half my IQ and be forever compelled to objectify women. My education and upbringing cannot resist the evil power of a windowless, brick building.

    Some MPs have tried to move 'lads' mags to the top shelf, in the demented belief boys' and girls' opinions of each other are fostered by inanimate objects on shop shelving, as opposed to being a product of their education and upbringing.

    Some want the removal of cigarette displays in newsagents and in supermarkets, in the belief the displays possess the magic-like power to compel people to smoke. I'm baffled how I've managed to resist their power, despite having been less than a metre from these displays, on thousands of occasions.

    Some believe prostitution can be banned if you try hard enough, so they try and try and try, for years and years and years, without anything to show for it, bar a few dozen dead women, a few thousand further rapes and continued mass addiction to hard drugs.

    Some, even, think the most pressing need in this country is to alter the rules of the royal line of succession.

    The root cause of their increasing contempt and irrelevancy is the emasculation of Parliament. It no longer attracts the great and the good. Whilst most in power may not be as venal and shady as those on the Continent, they simply aren't the passionate and educated people who used to fill the benches. THOSE people know your passion cannot get you anywhere, any more, so why become an M.P.? Power resides with the Cabinet, with quangos and in Brussels - the home of our true masters. It's a waste of time believing, loftily, you, the representative of the people, can use the power of your argument and the mighty ballot box to effect change. Just turn up to an empty Commons, make a speech, get in 'Hansard' and satisfy yourself you've reached the pinnacle of power.

    My god, why should you care about politicians, when, in the upcoming E.U. elections, Labour won't even allow the public to vote for a specific candidate?

    Everywhere you look, there's contempt for the public, a lack of democracy and politicians twiddling their thumbs. No wonder fiddling the expenses comes so easily.

    By the way, in the last few days I've received a number of advertising e-mails along the lines of: '...you cant get everything for free, like MPs, but look at our deals...' I think 'MPs on the take' has entered the public consciousness to such a significant degree that it may take a very long time to change the perception, if we ever should.

    P.S. "ShedboyJ", post #35: You constantly confuse Europe with the 'E.U.'; something the left always does. I can't speak on behalf of either UKIP or the vile BNP, but UKIP certainly aren't anti-Europe, as you cant be against a continent a geographical entity. They are anti-EU against a political entity that has lost all meaning - to which I wholly ascribe.

    P.P.S. Mr. Fry was completely wrong in his assertion that the 'expenses' row is irrelevant. Their expenses show their relative level of contempt for the tax-payers. He is even incorrect in his belief you should base any vote, in any political election, on more weighty matters. You might as well base your future votes on this issue as it's as good as any for all the difference it will make to how our lives are governed.

  • Comment number 49.

    They have stolen our Money/lets have OUR money back from MP's golden pensions, There's a start.

    Local Goverment/Councils, Time 2 put the Cat amongst them Pidgens.

    MEP's The Same.

    3 layers of Govommit, 1 of them has 2 Go, the remaining 2 held strongly 2 account or replaced. (post 47)

  • Comment number 50.

    45

    if we listened to the role gaming monarchists there wouldn't be any democracy. They would like to repeal it still. They only consented because they were looking down cromwell canon.

    given the monarchy is by definition a system that opposes democracy, opposes human rights for all, discriminates by race and religion in its appointment why should we ask for God to save it? Should we not be asking for such a system and its oppressions never to appear in the uk again?

    if people wish to role game, dress up in cloaks and call themselves fancy and ludicrous titles then let them do so in their bedroom. Role gaming is not the right basis for the highest office of state nor the right basis for our national oath which should be to defend the rights and laws of all the people.

  • Comment number 51.

    50 (and others)boy do you MISS/MISSES the Point.

    Its called A Wee Bit O Siller, Not/Nae Gold.

 

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