Immigration, spiky subject. Amber Rudd has said that we should be able to have a conversation about immigration without being called racist and she’s quite correct. One of the problems with immigration is that we have allowed the right wing media and right wing politicians to dictate the conversation about immigration. We have allowed the racists and the bigots and the xenophobes to plaster their rancid racist bile across acres of newsprint. We have allowed David Cameron, acting as Prime Minister, to demean the basic humanity of vulnerable “foreign” people by collectively labeling them a “bunch of migrants”. Where Amber Rudd is incorrect is that anyone who wants to talk about immigration gets labelled a racist. Jeremy Corbyn has spoken on the positive role immigration plays in developing the British economy and many people have discussed the enormous contribution to British culture and society that immigration has made. None of these people were labelled racists.
The people who want to talk about immigration and who tend to get labelled racist are the ones who seek to scapegoat immigrants for the failings of our own politicians to manage our economy or invest in our public services or invest in and effectively manage our housing. Those people tend to be labelled racists … because they are racists. When politicians do it we tend to say they’re being racist but we label them something quite different.
Yes, immigration is a conversation that Britain needs to have and, yes, we need to recognise that there are good and bad issues associated with immigration but scapegoating immigrants for the failings of our own politicians is not made OK just because the Daily Mail and Daily Express spread millions of words of racist bile about it.