Tag Archives: immigration

Farron: Government doesn’t understand needs of universities or public perceptions of immigration

Universities UK has published the results of a poll carried out by ICM which shows that only a quarter of people think of foreign students as immigrants and that the vast majority of people think that foreign students make a valuable contribution and should be allowed to stay on to work here after graduation.

Two-thirds agreed that international students have a positive impact on the local economies of the towns and cities that they study in, and three in five (59%) agreed that their economic contribution helps create jobs.

The poll also indicated that seven in ten adults believe it is better if international students use their skills here and work in the UK for a period of time in order to contribute to the economy rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their stud

 Almost half (47%) of those polled believed there should be no limit on how long international students should be able to stay and work in the UK after they have completed their study, providing they are employed and contributing to the economy.

Tim Farron had this to say about the poll:

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LibLink: Willie Rennie: The Conservatives are fanning the flames of xenophobia

Willie Rennie writes in the Times that the Tories are throwing petrol on the fires of prejudice unleashed by the Leave campaign during the EU Referendum.

Telling doctors from other countries who are here saving lives in our NHS that their position is only secure until we can rush a crop of new graduates through medical school is not responsible. Telling people from other countries who are thinking about moving here to work and pay taxes that their names might be included on a list of foreign workers is not responsible.

If we are publishing lists of foreign workers, we may as well pull up the drawbridge. These policies are not about controlling immigration. They are about demonising immigrants.

The message this sends to foreign students, medical staff, businesses and others is clear. You are not welcome here. As a liberal who has always believed that we can achieve more when we work with those around us, this does not just make me sad. It makes me incredibly angry.

The Scottish Conservatives are just as responsible as their colleagues, he adds:

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: May’s legacy on immigration detention is callous and cold

Alistair Carmichael has written an article for the Times Red Box website in which he slams Theresa May’s record on immigration detention:

32,000 people is half the population of my home town.

He explains why immigration detention is so bad:

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Lib Dems react to closure of Cedars family immigration facility

One of the great things that Liberal Democrats ensured was that children would no longer be detained for immigration purposes. Instead, a pre-departure facility for families, Cedars, was set up with advice and support from Barnardos.

When we left Government, I feared it would be a matter of time before this excellent facility was closed.

And so, amid the flurry of announcements put out by the Government on the last day before the Summer recess, the news came yesterday. Cedars was being closed and families with children will once again be held in a detention centre Tinsley House.

Unsurprisngly, Liberal Democrats have reacted with horror.

Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Cedars was a civilised way of dealing with some of the most vulnerable young people in our care.

Ending the detention of children in lock-down institutions was something that the Liberal Democrats forced Theresa May as Home Secretary to do against her will. Now there are no restraints on her, she will indulge the more callous instincts of her party.

Having Tories in government is a bit like sharing your home with a cat. You may think that you have a domestic pet but the feral animal is never far beneath the surface.

He also sought assurances that families in Scotland would not be held in the Dungavel facility:

One of the first things that Lib Dems in government forced the then Home Secretary Theresa May to do was end the detention of children for immigration purposes. Days after coming to power she has thrown away years of progress.

What this decision means in practice is a return to situation where young children will find themselves in detention centres surrounded by razor wire and guards. This is a huge step backwards.

Previously, we had seen some children locked up at Dungavel for more than a year and there were damning reports on the level of educational support provided to children at the site. The last thing we need is a return to a situation where young people in the immigration system are treated like cattle, not children.

The Prime Minister needs to scrap her plans to close Cedars and we need urgent assurances that this inhumane decision will not open the door to a return to child detention at Dungavel.

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It’s time to be positive about immigration

The only publicly acceptable approach to immigration seems to be, more or less, stating “immigration is a problem” and then making vague promises to control it in some way. This was particularly obnoxious in the run up to, and aftermath of, the referendum but it has been the case for some time. If we really want to stand out, and promote a truly liberal approach, we need to do the opposite. We need to stand up and say “immigration is a solution”. As liberals we understand the importance of everyone being able to pursue their own good in their own way. This entails a positive approach to immigration. Right now we should be pushing to make sure we retain free movement within the EEA. In the future we should be working to liberalise migration arrangements with the rest of the world as well.

This doesn’t mean that in practice we have to advocate for completely open borders, no matter how ideologically attractive such a system might be. There are genuine issues with rapid population growth, such as short term strain on public services and downward pressure on wages, and we should address these, but not by following the popular route of promoting the illiberal idea that immigration is a problem in itself. Instead we must emphasise the benefits of immigration, both in economic terms and in terms of individual freedom, and confront the myths that support the xenophobia behind a portion of the Brexit vote.

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Post-Brexit questions on immigration and emigration


Migrations, big and small, have causes, so let’s start by looking at them.

War or military conflict, with and without “boots on the ground” is an all too frequent cause. The huddled masses trying to escape from the war torn and terrorised Middle East provide a pressing example.

“Real Estate” or land-grab forced migration is another category, of which the evictions of Native Americans by US governments provide examples. Not all examples are historic.

Politically purposed, forced migration was used in the Scottish Highland Clearances of the 1740s. The UK government forced Scots to emigrate to weaken and punish actual and potential Jacobite rebels. It is possible that the refugee precipitating conditions created in Iraq, Libya and Syria etc. may be similar. To wreck one country may be regarded as a misfortune: to wreck at least three looks like policy.

Religious and ethnic intolerance can be a people mover and divider, as the partition of India into India and Pakistan indicates. Managed bigotry is a powerful political tool.

The consequences of Global Warming are causing increasing numbers to move.

With sufficient perception, will and power all of these human-made migration-causing activities could, at least, be reduced. Prevention is better than cure.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments

As hate crime rises, Farron and Pidgeon visit vandalised Polish Centre

Probably the most awful of many bad aspects of the referendum is that that very small section of the population who are racists and bigots feel emboldened. They think they have 17 million mates. Social media is awash with reports of attacks and the Police say that reports of hate crime are up 57%. While only a tiny minority of Leave voters are racists, they all need to take some responsibility, alongside the Leave campaign, for allowing this appalling behaviour to flourish.

It’s not just in the last few weeks, though. This prejudice has been stoked endlessly by the media and both Tory and Labour governments for long enough. If they had done what Holly said, years ago, we might not be in this mess now.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 26 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 20th Oct - 8:23pm
    Well Joseph, that just looks like one law for some and another for others. Illiberal.
  • User AvatarBarry 20th Oct - 7:41pm
    Re Daniel Walker, your policy of supporting proportional representation is a good one. We do need to get rid of the archaic and clearly not...
  • User AvatarDJ 20th Oct - 7:30pm
    "though it perhaps serves the purposes of those seeking any excuse for a second independence poll." If the Lib Dems do want to be the...
  • User AvatarDJ 20th Oct - 7:25pm
    "I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done, but if we want votes we need to be crystal clear how the increase in benefits is going...
  • User AvatarPeter 20th Oct - 7:25pm
    The Lib Dems are surely not major supporters of parliamentary democracy given the party's willingness to transfer sovereignty to the EU and its unelected commissioners,...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 20th Oct - 7:22pm
    Eddie, The International Criminal Court has to be for the leaders of the losing side. Otherwise, the logic is that Stalin, Churchill and Harry Truman...