"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Live: Immigration Debate

Before I go any further, here's a link to a clip from this morning's Daily Politics show with Manish Sood and Wee Dougie Alexander being questioned about Sood's comments that Brown is the worst ever PM.  Mr Sood says his parents were staunch Labour voters and now he wants to: "educate the Prime Minister, educate the Cabinet, educate the Members of Parliament, educate the Labour Councils throughout the country, and it's as simple as that."  Somebody beam him up.

It was argumentative from the word 'go'.

Andrew Neil and Mark Easton posed the questions to Phil Woolas, Secretary of state for Immigration, Damian Green, Shadow Secretary of State for Home Affairs; Tom Brake, LibDem Spokesman on Home Affairs, and Nigel Farage, UKIP.

UKIP was up first: 5-yr freeze on immigration; future immigration capped at 50,000 pa; leave the EU; triple UK Border agency; repeal Human Rights Act; end support for multiculturalism.

Farage was asked why Lord Pearson, head of UKIP, opted out of the debate. Farage said it's because he was busy but I suspect it's because Farage comes across better than Pearson who is too laconic.

Conservatives: Bring net immigration down to 1990's levels; annual limit for non-EU economic migrants; National Border Force; apply controls when a country joins the EU; English tests for those coming to the UK to marry; crack down on student visa abuse.

Green was asked whether, in light of his experience and if he were Immigration Minister, his first message to Civil Servants would be to leak documents to Opposition Parties. Green said nothing was leaked illegally and that if he were a Minister he would dislike leaks but they happen. The way to stop them is to keep morale of staff high and be frank with the public in the first place.

Labour: Australian-style points-based system; no unskilled migration from outside the EU; newcomers must earn citizenship; electronic database for border controls; help local communities manage migration; tougher English Language requirements.

Question to Woolas: How ashamed are you that it is under your Labour government that the first ever BNP member of the European Parliament was elected? Woolas: Well, in my area... cockwaffle about having beaten the BNP followed and Neil took him to task. Woolas said it was shameful and the fault of 'ordinary' people who didn't vote.

LibDems: Regional points-based immigration scheme; National Border Force; increase cost of work permits for migrants; support a common EU asylum policy; allow asylm seekers to work; review social housing allocation policies.

Neil to Brake: How prominently in your election literature are you informing voters that you are "in favor of an amnesty for illegal immigrants?" Brake: "Well, clearly, immigration and this issue of earned citizenship is one that has come up repeatedly in debate and on the doorstep..."


Neil: How prominent is it in your manifesto and your election literature?
Brake: As this debate shows, there is no need for it to be prominent...

Phil "immigration has been tied up too long in issues of race" Woolas.  Hypocrite.

Green was asked if Farage was a closet racist - Green said, yes

Judge for yourselves. Videos to follow:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
UPDATE: EuroStat gives lie to Labour's EU immigration figures

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