The Village Soapbox
Ron looks at the many immigration problems facing the UK
Earlier this summer I was disappointed to read that a Sikh family conducted a cremation by means of an open funeral pyre. Funeral pyres are against the law in this country but, in this instance, it appeared that the police chose not to interfere for fear of damaging race relations. More recently I learned that Muslim groups had had a meeting with Ruth Kelly to urge her to introduce legislation that would permit the Muslim community to adopt Muslim laws even if they contravened existing British laws, and I was appalled to think that the Government would even listen to such arguments. It would seem that there is a growing demand for immigrants to have the right to follow their own traditional and/or religious practices. Immigrants choose to come to this country, they know of our customs and way of life. I feel strongly that they should be required to accept our language, our laws, our morals (not the lack of them) and our ways of behaviour and dress, with the aim of blending in to produce a more homogeneous community and culture and to have a society without serious friction. If they are not willing to do so then they should not come and should not be welcomed. I do not accept that ethnic/religious groups should be allowed special concessions in law.
For many years I have thought that our so called 'multi-cultural society' is leading to the demise of British culture as we knew it and, as I have said before, I do not believe that we should encourage multi-culturalism, I consider it a recipe for future strife as communities develop their own life styles in isolation and misunderstandings arise. Clearly we cannot accept such traditions as 'honour killings' of truculent daughters or forced marriages, but neither should we accept any minor practice that is against our laws, such as open funeral pyres. It is something of a relief to hear now, if very belatedly, that the government is no longer boasting about our multi-cultural society and is talking more about integration, although they continue to favour the divisive policy of fostering state sponsored 'faith' schools. It seems, however, that the primary reason for this change in government attitude is concern over the existence of terrorists within the immigrant communities rather than the commonsense realisation from the start that integration would be preferable to multi-culturalism.
The way in which government spokespersons deny that British foreign policy may have influenced the risk of terrorist activity in the UK by our immigrant population, makes me angry. They must think the general public are stupid. Many observers, including myself, predicted that the invasion of Iraq would increase the risk of terrorist action in this country and events have simply verified those predictions. There is no doubt in my mind, as in most people's I'm sure, that the root cause behind Muslim terrorist activity in the world is the injustice of the situation in Israel/Palestine, this injustice has been further exacerbated by the illegal invasion of Iraq. The injustices to the Palestinians are many and manifest, the whole attitude by the US, and to some extent the UK, towards that conflict, is unbelievably one sided and hypocritical and I am ashamed that our politicians cannot speak out more strongly for justice.
Needless to say I am also deeply concerned, like the majority of people in the country, over the scale of immigration that has taken place in recent years. Even if would be immigrants were willing to accept our ways there remains a need for much tighter control of the numbers coming in. I do not know the total number of immigrants, legal and illegal, that have entered the country in the last ten years but I would think that two million would be a very conservative estimate, truth is I doubt if anyone knows and any government figures are likely to be a serious underestimate since they are aware of the unpopularity arising from their failure to apply effective controls. An additional two million people has put enormous strains on our infrastructure and our environment. It has generated a demand for an additional almost one million new homes, most of which has been for 'social housing' leading to competition between the incomers and the existing homeless. It could mean a requirement for 400,000 additional school places, it might add almost another million cars to our overloaded roads. It all puts a severe strain on government resources and some local authorities. There is a requirement for more public transport, more doctors, more hospitals and social services, more water, a need to generate more electricity etc, the list goes on.
I do not believe the claims of economic benefit that arises from this mass immigration or that we need immigration on this scale to fill job vacancies. An economic growth of 3% with a population growth of 3% does not seem much like a success story to me. I have seen figures that indicate that we currently have 1.6 million unemployed and that there are almost 500,000 actively seeking work with only 250,000 job vacancies (what is happening to the other 1.1 million unemployed and why they are not seeking work was not explained). Immigrants are exploited by some employers which tends to lower wages, lower living standards and reduce the employment opportunities for those already here. After the estimated 600,000 migrants that have come from eastern Europe following the last increase in the size of the EU (government anticipation was 15,000, how wrong can you get? How incompetent can the Home Office be?), the prospect of Bulgaria and Romania joining is worrying and I strongly support those who are requesting the government to impose very strict limits on migrants from those countries.
Tough on Crime?
In a case not unrelated to the foregoing, an Asian man had a liaison with his niece. He was seen by his family to have dishonoured the family name. Three male members of the family kidnapped him, they took him to a hotel, where he was assaulted, they then took him to some open farm land and executed him by chopping off his head. The farmer's wife heard his screams. Two of the three men were subsequently arrested and found guilty of murder and sentenced to eight years in prison, the third fled the country but was subsequently caught and sentenced to six years. Presumably they could be free within three or four years, but it was an 'honour killing' so that's all right then.
This was a bloodthirsty, cruel, pre-planned murder, a heinous crime. I wonder what sort of murder one would have to commit to warrant a longer sentence?