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Migration to Britain brings benefits

How Britain’s migrants sewed the fabric of the nation. Immigration minister Damian Green last week said Britain did not need any more unskilled workers or family dependents; instead it should accept only migrants of substance. “We want only the brightest, top of the range professionals” who will “add to the quality of life”.

As chance would have it, his remarks coincided with the opening of a new exhibition at London’s Tate Britain designed explicitly to showcase the profound impact migrant artists have had on the native tradition. The show traces the way whole genres that seem typically British – landscape painting, for instance – were brought here by migrant painters before being naturalised.

The only surprise is that anyone should be surprised. A similar case could be made for literature, architecture, music and sport – as well as industry and finance. But a Conservative minister seeking to raise the barrier to entry even higher than it is at present should pause for thought.

Firstly, on a straightforward humanitarian issue, it is neither easy nor likable for a government to want to bring in a Wolfgang Mozart while refusing his wife leave to remain. Nor is it high-minded to wish to lure highly qualified people – doctors and engineers – away from their home countries. It was said not long ago that there were more medical practitioners from Malawi in the Manchester area than there were in Malawi. It may not be wise or right to sponsor brain drains on this scale.

The second objection is pragmatic. Just as governments are not good at predicting the exact week in which crops will ripen – and therefore when short-term seasonal workers are needed – so they are fallible when it comes to predicting which migrants should qualify. One lesson in the story of migration is that it is not a uniform experience.


Never do something quietly if you know that it can create media headlines.  Think immigration has become an issue due to politicians being terrified of leading, and following the peoples’ base instincts for easy votes (in marginal electorates or overstating the concerns of the public) e.g. an anti immigration stance makes good politics….. (even if we need immigration and it is generally positive, anyway, prospective immigrants can’t vote).

This is due to constant negatives associated with “foreigners” whether they be immigrants, refugees, international students, long term visitors, etc. (all the same, now in Australia they are all known as “immigrants” even if they do not want to stay….) and influence of kooky white conservatives who have learnt how to negatively influence people (this emerged in the US).

People seem swayed by the constant yet mostly invisible influence of the (generally evangelical etc. Christian types) “kooks” more sophisticated than the BNP (with access to media and politicians) who conflate any related proxy issue that not only alarms but can only lead to one conclusion i.e. non white immigration must stop because over population, infrastructure, language skills, education ability, cultural issues, national identity issues, environment, property prices, need for development in their home country etc.

It has become a very popular phenomenon in the Anglo world where in UK and Australia, especially the latter, the political and media class are still predominantly white and unconscious prejudices are evident on a daily basis.

Ironically the Australian political and media classes are about a generation behind the diversity in greater Australian society, but they have become out of touch, more conservative, or they themselves are racist in at least a condescending or patronising way?

Like political strategies borrowed from the US by Australia’s former PM John Howard e.g. advisor Textor, and infamous Tampa refugee “children thrown overboard” incident/stunt, it is about “dog whistling” and suggestion, i.e. does not need to be true, just repeated often, like Adolph Hitler understood very well.

Where are we now?  In at Australia at least, depending upon the situation, one must be careful of making statements positive about immigrants, refugees etc. as many do not like it, and they will claim that it is “anti white racism”…. which reflects the paranoid views they obviously hold.

Further, as a younger generation GOP person in the US opined, it is all very well to attack “foreigners” for political mileage in the short term, but those being attacked are the GOP’s natural future constitutents…..

“Wedge politics” can not only inconvenience political opponents (and the aggressors) by constantly having to address and act upon such perceived (non)  issues, but that the political class and media then get caught in the paradigm or narrative like quick sand…. grid lock….. nothing happens…. (which maybe the strategy for white conservative Christians in the US, as exemplified by the “Tea Party”).

AIEC QUEST Australian International Education Centre.

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