Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A Rational Debate On Immigration? Not Involving You Mate!

Andrew Green, that 'well-known' one-man "influential think tank", has availed himself of the Guardian's 'Comment is free' facility again (see for example) to call for "an open debate" on immigration, which he claims "would be welcome, but it must be both calm and rational on all sides." Yet his ability to be rational does not, as we have pointed out before, stretch far enough to be able to grasp the correct terminology - "That is not quite right [Denis McShane's claim that nothing has changed in the immigration debate since the 1970s]. In 1971, net immigration (sic) was -40,000: in 2008, it was +163,000."

The correct term is net migration, i.e. the total increase in a population (births plus immigration) minus the total leaving that population (deaths plus emigration). This is not mere nit-picking, this goes to the heart of both his grasp of the underlying concepts and, more importantly, his basic anti-immigration standpoint. Just look at his use of terminology such as "the foreign-born" and the way he marshals his arguments.

For example, his continued stance that asylum is a 'problem', even if it is only 10% and "a small part of the overall problem" (we hate to think what he would be saying today if New Labour and the EU had not made it virtually impossible for anyone wishing to seek asylum to actually make it inside the walls of Fortress Europe, let alone make a successful asylum application when here). Then there is his obsession with this mythic 70 million figure and the manipulation of statistics that allegedly show exactly how 'overcrowded' the British Isles actually are (human habitation accounts for roughly 4% of the UK land mass and most of that is taken up by land owned by a wealth few percent of the population).

And does he really believe that he and his front 'organisation', MigrationBotch, constant stream of anti-immigration diatribes and selective use of statistics do not "somehow help the BNP"? If he does, then all he has to do is check out the BNP's website as to how many times they quote him or release press statements citing him or MigrationBotch* (basically the same thing really) or the mass of pro-BNP comment posted on-line below his newspaper articles or those articles that appear almost daily in the Tory red-tops and broadsheets that basically rehash his press releases.

* Surely his 'organisation' should have been named ImmigrationWatch if he were really being honest about his position?

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