Avoiding an Immigration Debate
Anyone who read my last blog posted learnt of my use of Bloglines to martial potential stories for inclusion in my blog. Right now there’s a bunch of stories, ranging in location from Scotland to Greece, that cover a topic I rarely, if ever, manage to set about typing up my ideas on: Immigration.
Apparently Scotland is considering offering extra points to immigrants prepared to go and live there. This doesn’t surprise me, and it makes a lot of sense for a country that, in the main, has far fewer immigrants that the rest of the British Isles. True, Glasgow is pretty multiracial, and Scotland has its non-English speaking communities in a more indigenous sense, though very few.
Once again I’m reminded that Scotland seems much more left-wing in general. That’s not to say it follows some kind of “Celtic Socialism”, but it is a far cry from the world of English political culture where things seem to be sliding more and more to the right. To learn that there’s one small corner of Britain prepared to make foreigners welcome is a very reassuring thing indeed.
But that’s not what’s happening elsewhere. In Greece, Italy and France, hundred of police offers are being thrown at the “task” of keeping people out of Europe. In Greece, riot police have flattened a refugee camp. In France, they’ve been harassing the residents of “the Jungle”, the strip of land on which many are forced to attempt to survive as they seek a new life in Britain. And in Italy, the Prime Minister has given permission to vigil ante squads to deal with the problem, leading to government sanctioned violent race crimes.
Its not just a worrying trend, though, its a very depressing one; literally depressing, as in “why do I even bother getting out of bed if people are going to act in such an evil way towards each other”. I get the fact that I’m often a little quick to post people under “good” and “evil”, but I make no apology for using that language in this case. Especially not when the Italian government sought a show trial not very long ago where they jailed fishermen for giving normal maritime assistance to a group of asylum seekers who’s boat was going down. The message: treat these people like humans and we’ll jail you. I despair.
Aside from individual cases, there doesn’t seem to have been a single significant victory in recent months. When I campaign on climate change, I can see the government making half-hearted efforts to sound green, and it shows I, and those around me, are having an effect. With immigration, a humanitarian response just gets you laughed at (or so it feels) as most people don’t really get why the “Right” are wrong on this, and its not that straightforward to explain apart from the straightforward “treat people with respect/put yourself in their shoes” argument.
I might be given to speaking up on just about any issue under the sun, but with immigration, the facts seem so utterly depressing its proven rather hard to get something out “on paper” for everyone to see. Its not that I don’t care, its that I don’t know where to start, quite how to verbalise my feelings and moreover, the whole thing seems rather hopeless. Perhaps someone else can get this issue moving, in which case, I’ll be more than happy to carry it forwards, but till then, its tiring just thinking about it..