Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Immigration Issue

The result of the UK referendum on whether or not to stay within the European Union resulted in a narrow majority to leave.

However since the vote there are many who have protested, called for a second referendum and slated the result with such a passion it makes you wonder if they had shown the same commitment to the EU during the campaign whether the result would have been different!

The important thing now is to move forward and truly understand why people voted to leave in order to ensure that the deal eventually reached by politicians is one that tackles the concerns of those voted, whether or not it be for leave or remain.

Immigration is of course the hottest issue but there is a failure, particularly on the Remain side, about why. A poll has shown that 77% of those who voted leave are happy for existing EU migrants to stay, so if it is not the actual people who have moved to the UK what is the reason that immigration has resulted in a leave vote?

It is the perception of the impact of immigration that is the real issue and one which the Remain campaign dismally failed to counter.

Many people believe that those coming from the EU jump to the front of the queue for housing, benefit payments, hospital services etc. There is also a belief that migrant workers take British jobs and that, in doing so, they push down wages for the rest of us.
Most of these beliefs are over exaggerated (of course there area few migrants who abuse the system but equally some British people do to) much of the over exaggeration is fostered by those in Government seeking to deflect the blame from themselves for many of the economic problems they have caused, unfortunately most were also on the Remain side hence their reticence in being truthful!

So the challenge is to dispel and nullify these perceptions whilst retaining the free movement agreement as part of the UK’s new deal with the EU.

This has to start at the top – both in the UK Parliament and with other EU leaders, who have continuously failed to understand the mood of many citizens of the EU and whose failure to do so has led to the increase in Right Wing organisations across the continent.

But equally all of us have a responsibility to challenge those perceptions, not by branding people as racists but by demanding that those we have elected to represent us, both in the UK Parliament and EU Parliament, tackle these issues immediately and deal with the UK’s exit from the EU swiftly, in a manner allows all the citizens of the UK to benefit from a trade deal that allows people to travel freely across the EU.

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