Blogs by Don Flynn
A month ought to have been long enough to assemble thoughts on what Brexit is going to mean for immigration policy, but the truth is the great puzzle over what life will look like outside the EU is going to be perplexing us for a long time to come.
The imminent end of free movement, at least in the form that it has taken during the 43 years the UK has been a full member of the European Community/Union, will bring to the forefront of the thinking of many people the huge benefits that have come from this way of managing migration over this time.
The vote to leave the European Union has thrown politics into a massive period of uncertainty.
It is clear that deep public concern about immigration has been one of the most important factors encouraging 52% of voters to take the drastic action of the probable severing of the connection with the largest economic market in the world.
The perceived need to ‘regain control of our borders’ has been a potent message which summed up the feeling that many people have about a country that has changed so much in recent decades. Immigration, as many have said, has functioned as a proxy for the misgivings about living in a world where markets have taken the place of democracy in determining the quality of public life.
Today is UN World Refugee Day and in Britain it marks the start of our annual Refugee Week.
As the UNHCR reminds us, it kicks off this year with a record high level of displacement of vulnerable and persecuted people. One in every 122 human across the face of the planet is now believed to be a refugee shockingly half of them being children.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi’s judgment of the tone of the referendum debate this morning is worth quoting at length. She said:
“This kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink xenophobic racist campaign may be politically savvy or politically useful in the short term, but it causes long-term damage to communities.
“The vision that me and other Brexiters who have been involved right from the outset, who had a positive outward-looking vision of what a Brexit vote might mean, unfortunately those voices have now been stifled and what we see is the divisive campaign which has resulted in people like me and others who are deeply Euro sceptic and want to see a reformed relationship feel that they now have to leave.”
Right throughout the current debate on around the in/out referendum there is one question that is being asked incessantly by the millions who are trying to decide how to cast their vote, and it is perhaps the one that the supporters of a positive case from immigration have found hardest to answer: just how did we manage to become a country of large-scale inward migration anyway?
The answer most frequently touted is that is has come about as the result of incompetence and poor judgement on the part of national politicians. According to this version of events at some point in the 1990s or thereabouts, someone in some ministry or another decided that that immigration was the simplest and most direct way to continue to grow the economy and went for it hell for leather.
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