The overriding issue that was behind Brexit was immigration. There is a fear of terrorism, a feeling that we are being swamped with foreigners – particularly Muslims and Eastern Europeans, a sense that they are taking our jobs, receiving housing and benefits, causing overcrowding, creating problems for schools and the NHS, putting pressure on transport, displacing our culture and not wanting to assimilate and take on British values.
How accurate are these fears?
Is there a basis to them?
Is an opposition to mass immigration xenophobic or even racist?
The British people are a mongrel race. We always have been. We take in immigrants from all over the world, welcome them and assimilate them into our culture. I like the richness of culture that introduces. I like the cosmopolitan communities it produces and I like the way immigrants over the centuries have assimilated, become British, taken on our customs and values while still celebrating their own heritage.
But I do not think it is either racist or xenophobic to be concerned with mass immigration. It is the sheer numbers and attitudes of the recent immigrants that are causing the problems.
We have areas of the country with high Muslim populations who have completely displaced the indigenous people and culture. The perception is that many do not wish to assume British values at all. There are militants in the Muslim community who espouse to take over Britain and bring in Sharia law. The Hijab and Burqa do not fit easy with many people. It represents a culture and attitudes they do not agree with. Many, because of the association with terrorism and this strident, arrogant militancy, find it threatening.
There are a number of Muslims who support ISIS and the Caliphate. People find this traitorous to the country they have come to live in. ISIS is our avowed enemy. We have had terrorism from these militants. It creates suspicion and fear. In reality the number of incidents are few, the Intelligence Services are doing a good job rooting the militants out before they cause atrocities, and most Muslims do not subscribe to these extreme views.
There are Eastern European shops opening all over the place and Eastern European languages all around in many cities. I do not think that people have a problem with this until it reaches a point where they feel saturated and displaced.
Yes it does cause big pressures on the NHS, Schools, housing and the infra-structure. That causes aggravation but I don’t think it is the main issue.
The main issue is not one of racism, xenophobia or pressures on services – it is simply that there have been too many people coming in.
I believe we need immigration. We need labour for our economy. We need to staff the NHS, to pick crops, to work in Old People’s Homes. These people are valued. Their cultures are respected.
But when they come here they should respect our culture and if they are planning to stay, be prepared to assimilate into our communities.
In my opinion this integration is not assisted by more Faith Schools or concentrations of immigrants in any one area.
Education is the long-term solution. But mass immigration needs curbing. We need to stop so many coming into the country and the ones that do come in need processing. We do not need terrorists, criminals or people who do not subscribe to our values being allowed into the country.
We did not need to leave Europe to achieve this. Most of Europe wants the same thing. It surely is not beyond the wit of man to devise a practical system?