Is it me, or does Theresa May’s ‘temporary cap’ on immigration sound an awful lot like the latest attempt by BP to curb their little oil spill?
It has only been a couple of months since The Big Tory (liberal democrat) Takeover and already, the deluge – of legislation that provides enough anti-immigrant sentiment to keep the most vitriolic Daily Mail reader happy for the next ten years. “Introducing this temporary limit is necessary to ensure that we don’t get a rush of people trying to come through into the UK before that permanent limit is put in place next year,” said our Theresa. Oh good, I was really worried that some highly skilled migrant workers might come and camp on my doorstep and demand that I quit my job so they can do it for less.
It’s not that I don’t understand the arguments about immigration. Those of you scoffing at my left-wing liberal, bleeding heartness, I can hear you cry: “But we can’t have everyone and anyone leeching off our soft-touch state!” Calm down, dear. I have witnessed many a debate about the burden on our economy, the awkward race relations (including a particularly pernicious disagreement at work about whether any school should be allowed to serve pork, because it might offend someone) and the concerns about ‘integration’. Anyone who has the dubious pleasure of scanning online comments boards attached to news stories will know the phrase ‘soft touch’ makes more than a few appearances. We can’t be a ‘soft touch’, no, that would be terrible! People would take advantage and then where would we be?
I would like to believe that we could live in a state where debates about immigration aren’t fuelled by our innermost fears about identity and belonging. That we could eliminate discussion about migrant workers being denied access to NHS services. I would like to believe that arguments could be made about the idea of the state having a ‘human touch’, rather than being a ‘soft touch’.
Alrighty then. We could just elect a different political party next time.