I’m not spending half my time on holiday reading British newspapers honest, (though they’re better than even the LA Times), but I couldn’t help this one.
Will David Cameron’s succession to the Tory party mean they will become more friendly towards ethnic minorities, I asked earlier this month, saying he showed plenty of promise going by what he said prior to the election. I may now be proved right.
In his first interview published in the Observer today, Cameron says he wants to “change the face of the party, with more women and more representatives from black and ethnic minority communities”. On immigration he says:
The principles that the Conservative Party should apply are very clear: we think immigration is very good for Britain; we think that there are clear benefits in a modern economy from having both emigration and immigration, but that net immigration has to have a very careful regard to good community relations and the fair provision of public services.
DC has done three things here: avoided the rubbish and inflammatory rhetoric of his predecessors, laid out the truth on immigration (that it’s a net benefit to the economy), and makes the one distinction most “commentators” fail to do – between immigration and asylum seekers.
I’m passionately committed to giving people who are being tortured and persecuted asylum, and that means not just letting them in, but taking them to our hearts, and feeding and clothing and schooling them.
Bravo! Even the bloody Labour party refused to be so bold during the election last year.
How all this translates into action will have to be seen. His cabinet is unfortunately full of has-beens (IDS, Hague) who had no clue about what to do with immigration/asylum and just peddled the standard rhetoric.
You may ask, why the big interest? Let me explain. Firstly I believe this country has a moral responsibility like any other to try and provide for those avoiding persecution. Specially from the countries we invade. Note that other European countries and the developed world take far more asylum seekers than the UK. India and Pakistan particularly.
Secondly, paranoid attacks (based on speculation not facts) on immigrants/asylum seekers leads to more xenophobia and general ill-will towards all non-whites. If a person thinks their country is being overrun by immigrants (most think 25% of the UK is non-white when it’s only 7.9%), they probably won’t make the distinction between an immigrant or a British-born Asian/African. There are many studies to show the media bias and attacks on immigrants has lead to more racism but I can’t find them now.
Lastly, the Conservative Party is finally moving towards its natural position on this issue: pro-immigration / pro-market. It’s always struck me as amusing that when the economic benefits of controlled immigration are clear, the right-wing political party has traditionally opposed it. It shows their guts rule over their brains, but maybe the Conservatives are finally developing sense.
Though, it would be wise to read Neil Harding’s comment on this made previously.
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Filed in: Party politics,Race politics