Tag Archives: immigration

Breaking down Brexit

Anyone with some sort of political acumen has an opinion on the primary issue dominating British politics, Brexit. It has hard to employ the word in any sort of discourse or context without feelings of dismay ascending, either because of the lies or connotations that come by implication to the word, these obviously include identity, nationalism and immigration. Whether or not one is a Brexiter, the issue has become heavily polluted, however the thing that I find most infuriating and most dangerous is that the EU debate, held over a year ago, was devoid of any holistic examination about the implications and consequences of the United Kingdom’s potential exit from the European Union. Only now are we seeing the consequences of this, as Prime Minister May struggles to gain any sort of traction in her quest to depart the institution.

Firstly, it needs to be acknowledged that the EU are a bureaucratic and aristocratic panel of unelected and undemocratic, sovereign representatives, existing purely to satisfy and satiate cooperate interests. They are largely responsible for the centralisation of capital and wealth in Europe and the West and have contributed to the dearth of progress in developing counties. Yet, despite this very sufficient ineptitude, the argument most heavily proliferated against the EU has been related to immigration. This may be a question for another debater article, but are there deeper structural powers at play here? Because, surely, if the EU’s politics was the problem, then the aforementioned reason would be a more prudent and politically legitimate issue to raise.

Moving on however, by implication of the EU’s political sovereignty, the EU are integral to every part of British infrastructure. As Britain continues to establishes it self as a champion of the single market, propositioned by the EU, essential facets of British society engrosses itself into the EU’s remit. This includes the foundations of society’s structures; trains, buildings, planning regulations all go through procurement processes laid down by the EU and this is essential to Britain’s economy in both a financial and functionality capacity. The importance of this is evidence, yet it begs the question, why was this not mentioned in the debate?

Furthermore, the EU is heavily engrossed in Britain’s research assembly. This is again by implication of having a political system that is so heavily engrossed into the EU’s productivity The UK is one of the largest recipients of research funding from the EU. Over the period 2007 to 2013 the UK received €8.8 billion out of a total of the €107 billion expenditure available to research, development and innovation in EU Member States, associated and third countries. This represents the fourth largest share in the EU. In terms of funding awarded on a competitive basis in the period 2007 – 2013, the UK was the second largest recipient after Germany, securing €6.9 billion out of a total of €55.4 billion. Why again, was this not mentioned in the debate?

 

Then finally, economics. Through access to the single market, London has been able to attract institutional and corporate investment from Europe and beyond these shores. Why again, was this not mentioned in the debate? Conversely, on a different dynamic, with an estimated population of 8,615,246 residents, London is the most populous region, urban zone and metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. London generates approximately 22% of the UK’s GDP, with 41,000 private sector businesses based in London (at the start of 2013). The lack of economic, political and opportunistic devolution in the UK is indicative of the EU’s operational structure. The single market is the most lucrative version of itself in a centralised system where money, labour and politics transpires in the same space, because investors would rather invest in one super-economy with extravagant returns (London), than invest in a split of many healthy economies around where the returns may be more stable but less spectacular. This surely, like my first elucidation, is a far more prudent argument to make against the EU, than a largely fabricated narrative about immigration (which I will clarify in another debater article).

Conclusively, the thing that I am most trying to infer here is that the current format of political destitution and reporting, from both the politicians and the media, needs renovation. In the context of Brexit; the state of political analysis was repugnant. The aforementioned issues, that both highlights the advantages and disadvantages of being an EU member state, was largely ignored and a narrative manifested itself that seemed to purely oppose the establishment or at least a perception of an establishment. Is politics not supposed to be about creating a better society? Well you could have fooled me!

Terrorist Attack Could Benefit Trump

There is a constant question mark over which nation and which location will be the next to fall victim to a serious terrorist attack. In the United States, the possibility of an attack has taken on added significance with the presidential election looming, and there is little doubt which candidate would stand to gain the most politically should such an incident occur before polling day on the 8th November.

The recent bombs blasts that occurred in New York have not yet been claimed by any particular terrorist group. It is likely that it was an instance of lone actor terrorism inspired by Islamic State; however, this has not been proven. The most important aspect of the incident was instead the contrasting reactions that it drew from Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. One seized on the Afghan born perpetrator Ahmad Khan Rahami’s immigrant background to repeat calls for ‘extreme vetting’ of migrants entering the US, the other called for increased harmony between law enforcement agencies and Islamic communities in the US. It would not take a genius to deduce who said what.

The failed attack in New York re-emphasises how events beyond either candidate’s control could heavily influence the outcome of the election. The incident in New York thankfully did not result in any fatalities. However, what if another attack should occur in the coming weeks that does? There is every chance that such an incident will fuel more support for Trump and his hard line stance on immigration. In the aftermath of an attack, fear and anger rather than restraint generally take hold. The American people will demand tough rhetoric from both of their presidential candidates, something which Trump excels at projecting, far more so than the calm and professional Clinton. It is worth noting that Trump will be in a better position than ever to attack Clinton during the upcoming televised presidential debates that are set to draw massive national audiences.

It may seem cynical to focus on what Trump could gain in the event of such a tragedy. However, the reality is that Trump has harnessed the fear and anger that millions of Americans feel over issues such as terrorism to great effect. Another successful attack would inspire yet more fear and anger, and there is no telling how many more voters that he will be able to rope in should that time come.

The Immigration Debate Will Continue!

Even if Britain opts to ‘Remain’ on Thursday night, the debate about immigration is likely to continue. Immigration has been a key theme throughout the referendum debate and ranks very highly in voter concerns according to a recent poll from Ipsos Mori. A large ‘Leave’ vote, even a losing ‘Leave’ vote will be interpreted as a sign of disillusionment with current government policies on immigration and a signal that the public want a more effective system.

Above all else the British public want an immigration system that they can trust and that they view as fair. A government that repeatedly fails to meet its own immigration targets will not gain trust. Consecutive Conservative manifestos have pledged to bring immigration to the tens of thousands, but according to the latest ONS stats they remain well off that target. Feasibly there is no way that this can be met. The longer the government stands by this promise, the more trust will decline. Politically it is hard for any government to renege on a commitment, but a more considered targeting system, possibly separating skilled and non skilled migration which could be hit would be smarter.

Fairness must also be at the heart of future immigration policy. Immigration has had a disproportionate effect on certain areas of the country and this has caused some strain. A proper migration fund set up to help areas with high migration would be astute. Increasingly this idea is gaining traction with Yvette Cooper the latest to back this move. A contributory welfare system where new arrivals have to pay in before they can take out and rigorous enforcement of the minimum wage ensuring British workers cannot be undercut are also other possible suggestions.

It is not racist to be worried about immigration, nor discuss the topic and there are many legitimate fears which should be tackled and will continue to exist after the referendum. The conversation though must be sensible and reasonable. These reform proposals would not solve the problem overnight but are a decent starting point for debate post-referendum in the event of a ‘Remain’ win. It is time to move from the somewhat hyperbolic language we have seen in recent weeks to the more sensible, reflective and reasonable.

Hungary’s Response Has Been Far from Christian!

Countries and leaders across Europe have reacted differently to the migrant and refugee crisis. Notable amongst these reactions has been that of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban has adopted a hard-line stance towards the migrants and refugees and has refused to cave in amidst political pressure and adopt a more conciliatory tone and take in more people.

The Hungarian government have defended their position in a number of ways. However in all of the reporting there were some comments that particularly caught my attention. Orban has claimed that the influx of Muslim refugees poses a threat to Europe’s Christian identity and has argued that he was defending European Christianity. As a Christian, I feel the need to challenge these remarks and question whether Orban can really make this claim.

Claiming to want to keep a country or an area ‘Christian’ has become a common defence for many on the anti-migration Right for a while now. It is code for wanting to keep a country the same and not entertain change of any sort, including welcoming people from different backgrounds. It is based on a fear that everything is moving too quickly and that things were better in the past. This has little to do with the Christian faith and more to do with a political mind-set. It is a mechanism politicians will hide behind to conceal their true motives and feelings.

The Bible is very clear about how we are to treat the vulnerable and refugees. The Bible commands us to love our neighbour and show hospitality to strangers. These principles are further expanded on in a number of Jesus’ parables. On top of this God’s chosen people, the Jewish race were refugees and Jesus, the Son of God was also a refugee when He was born. The Bible leaves little room for debate in this area.

In difficult situations and scenarios, politicians will use all sorts of excuses to justify their position and make their stance seem more palatable. On this occasion though, this defence won’t wash. Orban is a democratically elected politician and does have the mandate to act on behalf of the Hungarian people and will have reasons for his position. However he does not have the mandate to claim he is acting on behalf of the Christian faith, especially when his principles are so contrary to what the Bible teaches. There is nothing Christian about what the Hungarian Prime Minister and government are doing, and that needs to be made clear.