Commentary by Sir Andrew Green
Chairman of Migration Watch UK
The Daily Telegraph, London, 13 November, 2009
Gordon Brown's first speech on immigration was a seriously missed opportunity. He, himself, said that it was an issue to be dealt with at the heart of our politics but his own contribution was remarkably feeble.
He claimed that he "gets it" yet he clearly doesn't, He seems to have no idea of the huge concern about how the whole nature of our society is being transformed by mass immigration on which we have never been consulted. The English are privately seething with resentment.
This should be a moment for over-arching political leadership, not a laundry list of trivial measures, many of them re-announced.
Clearly the government are still in denial. They have lost control of our borders, permitting the arrival of nearly three million immigrants since 1997 plus perhaps another one million illegals. Now their own projections show that, unless there is a major change in policy, immigration will add another seven million to our population in the next 25 years. The result will be an irreversible change in our society, transforming the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Gordon Brown's solution? His shiny new Points Based System. However, the system only covered one fifth of those granted visas last year. In any case this so-called "tough" system is, in fact, quite the reverse. The key to granting a visa to come to Britain should be a judgement as to whether the applicant will return to his home country. That judgement was previously made by an experienced immigration officer. Now immigration officers have been effectively taken out of the equation and replaced by a box ticking system that relies on documents that can easily be purchased in many third world countries. How else do “students” from the North West Frontier District of Pakistan turn up in a bogus college in Manchester to undertake “business studies”. A real immigration officer would not have given them the time of day.
Yet again the public are being misled by tough sounding talk - or they would be if they believed a word that this government says on the subject. What is really needed now is a clear political commitment to ensure that our population will get nowhere near 70 million. Not a whisper of that, of course.