This week is apparently Immigration Week on Sky News. Which is nice, obviously, because we
don’t talk about it enough. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch much of the coverage but they seem to have had an array of guests, including fact-checker, economist and all-round sensible person Jonathan Portes, which is encouraging.
That said, what a fortnight it has been: the Immigration Bill annnounced, the launch of Movement Against Xenophobia and Go Home text messages. Here’s my top of the pops:
- Watching Hugh Muir get increasingly snarky. His usually very lighthearted Hideously Diverse Britain column is becoming increasingly incisive with each Home Office immigration clanger. In his latest column (the title of which I’ve ripped off a bit) he addresses the Go Home text messages sent to actual British citizens.
- Le Monde Diplomatique actually mapped Europe’s War on Immigration (their title, not mine) with some handy graphics that illustrate Europe’s visa system.
“We pretend to aid in development of poor countries, while in reality we export economic models that cannot work. And then we impose on their people our unattainable visas.”
- Bobby Duffy, managing editor of IPSOS Mori polling organisation looks in depth at public opinion on immigration on The Conversation – and frankly, it’s a bit of a mess.
“Overall, then, any government or political party has real problems on immigration: concern is high, views ill-informed, government is not trusted, they have limited policy levers they can pull, and the areas in their control are the ones people are least concerned about (such as students and highly-skilled non-EU workers).”
- And while we’re on the topic of governments, Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, said on BBC Question Time that the Go Home vans could yet be rolled out across the country. I don’t know why this has been reported as news because the Home Office has stubbornly stuck to that line since they hastily withdrew the vans following their “trial period.” They continue to say they’re assessing the trial, but refuse to respond to Freedom of Information requests or give details how and on what basis they will assess the success of the controversial ad campaign. They also steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the damaging and racist language used in the campaign – simply restating time and again that it is quite right for the government to seek to remove people here illegally. If nothing else, the media training has been a success: deflect criticism by restating a fact most people will agree on. It’s strangely fitting: the Go Home campaign is more about publicity than effective policy, anyway.
And that, I would argue, is a real immigration problem.