It appears The People, or at least that subset of The People that post on acrimonious talk boards and read tabloid newspapers, are getting annoyed by immigration.
This comment from this Commentisfree thread is a typical summary, directed at the kind of woolly liberals who think that offering a home to the poor and the persecuted might actually be a good thing:
You and others like you always take the moral high ground when it comes to defending the rights of illegal economic migrants, irrespective of their impact on the lives of ordinary working people, whom you know next to nothing about and I suspect care even less.
This rather misses the point that illegal economic migrants *are* ordinary working people.
It sounds glib, but it’s true: immigration massively increases the benefits flowing to people who are very very poor to start with, while possibly [the evidence that the native poor lose out at all is limited at best] having a small negative effect on people who are much much richer than them to start with.
So if I’m selecting my political preferences on a moral basis, why the hell should I care about the British working classes more than I care about the African starving classes? Why should Kev ‘n’ Tracy’s new widescreen TV take precedence over Abdullah having a roof over his head and enough to eat…?
Sure, if you’re a working class Labour voter, you might well be angry with the current government, because you voted Labour in the hope they’d buy you a new widescreen TV and not make you have to live next door to brown people. And that’s fine, just as it’s fine for rich Tory voters to be swayed by tax cuts. But don’t go pretending it’s a *moral* decision.
The only difficult question on immigration is – given that we live in a democracy where the voters are generally venal bastards – the extent to which policymakers should steer clear of doing the right thing, and the extent to which we should support them despite the fact that they are doing the wrong thing.
After all, it’s better for all concerned to have a Labour government that imposes too many restrictions on immigration than a BNP government that locks immigrants up in camps…