Tag Archives: immigration

Jo Cox: Brexit is no answer to real concerns on immigration

As part of our tributes to Jo Cox, we’re linking to this article in the Yorkshire Post, published last Friday. In it, Jo Cox very persuasively argues that Brexit will not solve concerns over immigration. She accepts that those concerns are genuine – sincere worries about pressures on GP surgeries or schools.

But she explains that Brexit will not answer the concerns and calls for practical steps to improve the situation.

Posted in Europe Referendum | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Challenging the narrative around immigration

It’s a referendum about Britain’s future, at the risk of being decided by the prejudices of past generations. Both Labour and the Conservatives are divided, facts are manipulated to suit the needs of the day and the voices of the young are generally being drowned out by those of the old.

The outlook is bleak for young and first time voters, but more than anything else related to the EU referendum I am disappointed by the amount of fearmongering and negativity that has dominated the ‘Brexit’ campaign.

Financially speaking, Boris & Gove don’t have much left to stand on. Reasonable discourse and sensible debate have been thrown to the wind as the Brexit economic argument collapses under the weight of its own incoherence. Now, in tried and tested fashion, those politicians who would have us withdraw from the EU are turning to the politics of fear and division. The anti-immigration rhetoric has been stamped in bold all over this referendum for the world to see, almost at the cost of any other pro-Brexit sentiment. Should we, as a nation, decide to leave the European Union on June 23rd, the message that decision will send to the continent and to the world will not be one of national pride of reclamation of sovereignty it will be one of collective xenophobia and isolationism.

We are surely better than this. That’s why, when Brexit point the finger at foreigners we have to speak out and challenge the narrative that we are somehow not masters of our own fate.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 14 Comments

It’s time to come clean about immigration

It is time to come clean about immigration. It is a good thing. It is a good thing culturally and economically.

My life is vastly enriched by friendships with people who have come to the UK as immigrants and others who are the children of immigrants. They include people who came seeking asylum and people who came seeking a better life. My life is enriched by other friends who have emigrated, through whom I have valued networks of friends in many other parts of the world.

Economically too, migration matters. People sometimes talk as if there are a finite number of jobs and immigrants increase the competition. This is nonsense. Immigrants come, they work, they buy things, their presence boosts the economy. They create more work and more possibility.

study published in 2014 showed that European migrants pay substantially more in taxes than they take in benefits. They arrive having finished schooling, and all the costs to the state of bringing people to adulthood.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 27 Comments

‘I came from Bangladesh, the Government lost my passport and now I’m a Liberal Democrat’

The Plymouth Herald reports:

Voters in next month’s council election will be confronted by a host of new names – but none with a more fascinating story than the Liberal Democrat candidate for Efford.

Rafiqul Haque grew up in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, and came to the UK on a family holiday aged 14.

While they were here their home country elected a new government and their citizenship was revoked, rendering them effectively stateless.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Baroness Sally Hamwee writes…Another win for humanitarians in the Lords

I bumped into the Lords Home Office minister immediately after one of the Government’s socking defeats on the Trade Union Bill, consoling himself that losing by 17 in the vote on an Immigration Bill amendment time-limiting immigration detention was almost a victory.

But the Government lost – we won!  The amendment was led by crossbencher Lord Ramsbotham, who was Chief Inspector of Prisons and so knows whereof he speaks, supported by the Labour and the Liberal Democrat front benches: 63% of our peers voted compared with 46% of Labour’s.  Of course it may not stick.  The Bill will go back to the Commons where the Government could ping it straight back to the Lords (parliamentary ping-pong), or propose a compromise or changes ranging from the substantive to the technical (or accept it unchanged – but that almost never happens), but it cannot be ignored.

There is much to be said about immigration detention and the conditions in immigration removal centres.  I will simply note the paradox which causes detainees so much despair: You have no hope, as you don’t know when you might be released, and at the same time you have no certainty as you might in fact be released tomorrow.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Tim Farron MP writes…The liberal challenge on immigration

It’s not often that regional elections in other European countries get much attention in our press, let alone become headline news. The fact that elections yesterday in a handful of German states made front pages here today demonstrates the unusual situation Britain and Europe find itself in. It also highlights the growing need for strong, liberal voices across our continent.

Those of you who heard my speech on Sunday, or in fact have heard me speak since I became leader, will hopefully have a sense of my beliefs on the refugee crisis and on the wider issue of immigration. Our government has tended to bury its head in the sand, but with no short term end to the conflicts scarring the Middle East and climate migration on the rise, we cannot let a policy of ignorance be maintained.

More than ever, it is our responsibility as liberals to stop the immigration debate descending into hard line, xenophobic rhetoric that sets community against community. The relative success of Alternative fur Deutschland in these German elections shows how challenging that can be. Especially when the “pro-immigration” parties in Germany still vastly outweigh the anti, just one story makes better headlines than the other. Similarly, here in the UK, we would be foolish to think the decline of UKIP will see an end to the blaming of the other. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 34 Comments

One particular “fear” could decide the result of the EU Referendum

BMW writes to its UK employees highlighting the dangers of Brexit. A French minister threatens to wave through migrants at Calais en route to Dover and to roll out the red carpet to welcome financial services to his country if we leave. Boris and others say none of this will happen. Great Britain still is great. From his residence across the Channel Lord Nigel Lawson tells us not to worry. The EU needs us more than we need them. Confused? I bet many people are.

Like Lord William Hague, I’m an EU pragmatist. Better inside the tent etc. Unlike our former leader I don’t think that the EU will be ‘about the same’ in ten years’ time. The remarks from Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, following last week’s summit were very apposite. The ‘negotiations’ undertaken by David Cameron, while casually dismissed as ‘thin gruel’ by Eurosceptics like Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, have whetted the appetite of many recent, and not so recent arrivals in the EU for a fundamental change of direction for a project that started life in the aftermath of WW2 when many parts of the world were on their uppers and the numbers of nations actually making things was a shadow of what exists today.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 28th Jun - 9:23pm
    It can happen, has happened, that one party gets more votes and another gets more seats, that is the effect of the current electoral system.
  • User AvatarRoland 28th Jun - 9:07pm
    Brian, a good clear level-headed piece about the progress of this emotive bill and what efforts you and the other LibDem peers will be doing...
  • User AvatarRoland 28th Jun - 9:05pm
    @Is it worth funding the construction HS3 (Northwest) and HS4(Southwest), before HS2.? Well in the context of Brexit, the downgrading of the UK's credit rating,...
  • User AvatarDerek Campbell 28th Jun - 9:04pm
    @ David Raw Is constitutional history binding?
  • User AvatarGordon 28th Jun - 9:02pm
    Katharine - Thanks for those kind words and also for the original article. My first comment was a comprehensive rejection of the party's policy stance...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 28th Jun - 8:42pm
    Sorry, should have said his or her judgement.