Is it racist to speak about immigration

Well it seem over the past weeks all we can read about Cleggybabe(Nick Clegg) leader of the LibDems which they only seemed to managed to win one seat in the European Elections and a call for him to resign as leader in all the leading media and press. I seem to recall an case for Gordon Brown to resign after the horrible defeat of Labour lost the general elections in 2010 which I’m sure many will remember. I still maintain that he was one of the best chancellor that Labour had although some may disagree I beg to differ until this day.

Who the cap fits let them wear it

Who the cap fits let them wear it

There is nothing wrong with having a healthy debate and one which I relish. I still think as much as I do not share LibDems ideology it pains me to say that Nick Clegg was right about the European Union. Britain is in the right position to be in it to gain in the Euro Zone to trade and we need our European partners but somehow UKIP seems to think by coming out of EU is better off out is really living in the land of cuckoo land.

By all means let’s have the debate of the so called mass immigration that supposed to happen since the boarders have been opened up. There seems to be the notion that it’s racist to talk about the subject. Well let me make it very clear it is the way how it is presented by a number of political parties and how people perceive it.

I’m a very proud son of an immigrant who came to this country to help to build the economy and provide employment to simulate this country if anything we all should be very proud of immigrants who came over to help build this country by the invitation by the then Conservatives and Labour governments.

Let’s not forget of our proud history of multiculturalism and diversity which stems from both First and Second World Wars. I’m sure that many of us will recall from our grandparents would have told us of horrifying stories that they both had to endure and reasons to keep out fascism and UK did its duty to save Europe and Third World countries from the fascists.

I would like to point out that racism is universal and as a nation we can do better instead of raising tensions in various communities by the few that seems to think by causing it, it seems to justify their pleasure to say that it’s foreigners that are taking away our jobs, houses, women and men.

Let’s not forget that there is no true English person either as many came to our nation to take lands away from them ie Germans, Finnish, Spanish, French, Romans and the list goes on which I make no apologies for highlighting this. If we all go back into the late 1940s to 1970s there were signs on the windows which said No Blacks, No Irish and No dogs. Is this what people have to revert back to?

So it comes to no surprise to me that The British Social Attitudes survey found the proportion had increased since the start of the century, returning to the level of 30 years ago.

Some 30% of the 2,000 people polled by social research company NatCen described themselves as either “very” or “a little” race prejudiced. Penny Young, chief executive of NatCen, said the findings were “troubling”. The survey also found wide variations currently across the country: 16% of people in inner London admitted to prejudice but the figure was 35% in the West Midlands. Older men in manual jobs were the most likely to say they were prejudiced, but the group recording the biggest rise was educated male professionals. Levels of racial prejudice increased with age, at 25% for 17 to 34-year-olds compared with 36% for over-55s.

Education had an impact with 19% of those with a degree and 38% of those with no qualifications reporting racial prejudice. The social attitudes survey has been carried out every year since 1983 – it recorded an all-time low of 25% of people describing themselves as racially prejudiced in 2001.

People were asked whether they would describe themselves as prejudiced “against people of other races”.

Ms Young told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme self-reported prejudice was “very difficult” to study in detail. It appeared to be in “inexorable decline” in 2001 as part of “increasingly socially liberal Britain” – but has since gone back up. The effect of the 9/11 attacks and an increase in concern about immigration were two possible reasons for the turnaround, she said. But the BBC’s home editor Mark Easton said that the figures were not conclusive evidence of rising racism, when they were analysed over a wider timeframe. On immigration, more than 90% of those who admitted some level of racial prejudice wanted to see a reduction in the number of people entering the UK. But so did 73% of those who said they were not racially prejudiced.

Ms Young added: “Levels of racial prejudice declined steadily throughout the 90s, but have been on the rise again during the first decade of this century.” Alison Park, co-director of the survey, said: “Racial prejudice, in whatever guise, is undoubtedly still part of the national psyche.” But there were warnings about drawing conclusions from people’s verdict on their own prejudices. Sunder Katwala, director of the identity and integration think tank British Future, said it was a “difficult measure to use”.

“People who said they were not at all prejudiced in 1983 often held quite tough views about race”, he said. Today, younger people “hold themselves to a much higher bar”, he said. “It’s quite a complicated way of doing it and not a good way to track things over time.” Politics lecturer Dr Rob Ford, of the University of Manchester, added: “The problem is there is no definition of ‘prejudice’ offered in the question”.

Intriguingly the Huffington post sums it up for me that there is a new consensus in British politics: foreign-born workers hurt the wages of British-born workers. Ukip, which came top of the European elections, has warned vehemently about migrants undercutting hard-working, low-paid British employees in their campaign messaging. Speaking in January, Farage said: “There is no question that it’s pushed wage inflation down; it’s helped big companies and big corporations and big landowners to make bigger profits – no argument about that.” He said that construction workers had been badly hit by unskilled migrants bringing down wages across the sector, with Brits now earning less than ten years ago and suffering higher living costs. Ed Miliband has weighed in too.

“When millions of workers already have low pay and poor job security in Britain and we add high levels of low skilled migration mostly from within the EU, some benefit but some lose out,” the Labour leader said in January, adding: “It isn’t prejudiced to believe that.” The Tories agree just as much, with James Brokenshire using his first speech as immigration minister in March to lash out at “employers who wanted an easy supply of cheap labour” at the expense of “ordinary, hard-working people of this country”. The wariness towards migrants is shared among all the major parties, except for the Lib Dems, whose business secretary Vince Cable recently waged war on “immigration scare stories”. Farage, Miliband, Cameron and co do have some evidence to support their concerns about EU migrants and their impact on pay. A joint Home Office and Business Department report reads: “Using a simple supply and demand model, immigration will tend to lower the wages of workers who are considered to be ‘substitutes’ to the immigrants”. Alongside this, a London School of Economics study in 2009 concluded that migrants have a “significant, small, negative impact on average wages”, adding that it tended to have the biggest impact on the semi/unskilled services sector.

However, there is a wealth of empirical evidence and academic research on the effect migrants have on Britons’ wages that challenges this wholly negative view. Leading economist Jonathan Portes, head of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, said: “EU migrants don’t appear to have a negative impact on the employment prospects of natives – several different studies have failed to show any link. “However, there is some evidence that migration, while having some positive impact on wages overall, might have a small negative impact for the low-paid. But these impacts appear quite small – other factors, like general labour market developments, or the minimum wage, appear to be considerably more important.”

A 2009 study by labour market expert Professor Danny Blanchflower, a former Bank of England rate-setter, and Bank of England analyst Chris Shadforth found that any negative impact on wages is “statistically insignificant”. In their paper, they conclude that “there is only a weakly positive but statistically insignificant relationship between those regions that have witnessed the largest increases in youth unemployment and those that have seen the biggest influxes of new immigrants”. And who exactly is hit by new migrants entering the labour market? Some may be surprised to hear it is more likely to include other migrants rather than the ‘native’ workers Farage champions. As the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory points out, “this is because the skills of new migrants are likely to be closer substitutes for the skills of migrants already employed in the UK than for those of UK-born workers.” A report for the Low Pay Commission found that between 1997 and 2005, migrants made a positive contribution to the average wage-increase experienced by native Britons. Professor Christian Dustmann of UCL’s Department of Economics, the report’s author, said: “Economic theory shows us that immigration can provide a net boost to wages.” Others find that migrants can help boost high-paid Britons’ pay packets as they can offer the right skill-set. As London School of Economics professor Jonathan Wadsworth, who sits on the government’s Migration Advisory Committee, writes: “There may also be a positive effect on wages in the high wage labour markets where it may take more time for the skills that immigrants bring to transfer.” The government itself has been much warmer about the impact migrants have on Britons’ pay packets. In 2008, the government’s response to a House of Lords Committee on Economic Affairs stated that research “continues to find no significant evidence of negative employment effects from immigration”. It went on to say that “migration has not had a significant negative impact on unemployment”, confirming that its view was “in line with the clear consensus among most UK labour market economists.”

But why are anxieties running high about the impact of migrants for native British workers when the government used to think there was nothing wrong? Professor Blanchflower notes that fear of unemployment has recently risen in the UK, which is “likely” to have limited prospective wage rises for workers. While Jonathan Wadsworth, concludes: “the evidence for the UK  labour market suggests that fears about adverse consequences of rising immigration in general and EU immigration in particular have still not, on average, materialised.” Even though politicians like Nigel Farage insist there is “no argument” about migrants pushing down Britons wages, the evidence tells a much less scary story.

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