Immigration & The Environment

By Sir Leslie Fielding, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex and Chairman of the Sussex Overseas Development Institute.

The issue of continued large scale immigration into the UK, while immediate, also needs to be seen in a longer-term perspective, in the context of two of the greatest issues of our time: the changing climate of the planet, and the world’s ongoing population explosion…

In the event, therefore, of a climate crisis in the not too far distant future of ultimately manageable, rather than totally catastrophic, global proportions, a great deal would depend, for Britain, on cogent and enforced EU and national immigration policies and controls…

This will not be a straightforward exercise. It is understandable that the Prime Minister should want a British statement of values, to serve social cohesion and underpin national identity, at a time of unprecedented change in the way we now live. But, where migration and multi-culturalism are concerned, political correctness and ethnic-religious separatism are undoubted obstacles on the path of frank parliamentary and public discussion. The Chief Rabbi is on record as believing that Britain is becoming a place where free speech is at risk (The Times, 20 October, 2007); the Bishop of Rochester, that fundamentalist Islam risks creating urban no-go areas. Nor will there be any glib technical solutions, cost-free to the tax payer: we are nowhere near agreement on how to count and control migration and operate a national identity scheme…

Read the full Briefing Paper

1st February 2008 - Policy

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