Objections to newcomers rest on more than economicsby Prospect Team / November 7, 2014 / Leave a comment
Each week, Prospect asks five experts, and our readers, to come with answers to the questions dominating the headlines.
Immigration is rarely out of the news agenda, and will only get more coverage as we approach the next election; according to YouGov, voters consistently rank it as one of the most important issues affecting the country. This week, though, there was a reminder that immigration brings many economic benefits, in the form of a new report from UCL which found that EU immigrants contributed around £20bn to the economy between 2000 and 2011. Objections to immigration are complex, and can never be reduced to the purely financial.
Since I was a boy immigrants have been the low hanging fruit that politicians and less reputable media outlets pick when they want to wind up the electorate. I can assure you—because I have lived through times that have been more difficult than today—that immigrants have always made our country stronger financially and contributed beneficially to our society’s culture. The only way ordinary people are going to realise that their lifestyles are not under threat from immigrants is when companies and councils start creating venues for everyone to meet and discuss the benefit the immigrants bring to communities. But before that, they must demand accountability from our politicians and media. If we allow those who spread hate and misinformation to set the agenda on immigration we will always be a nation that rejects progress for prejudice.
Harry Leslie Smith, author of Harry’s Last Stand (Icon Books)