Lib Link: Immigration speech … an opportunity missed

Nick Thornsby, of this parish, adds his voice to the criticism of Nick Clegg’s speech on immigration, over at the Indepedendent.

Immigration is another area where the party has not just the opportunity but also a duty to shift the balance away from the negative rhetoric of the other parties and much of the media. Liberal immigration policies might not be politically popular, but it is the fate of liberals to be frequent holders of minority opinions, and we should do so proudly.

In a globalised world economy, where prosperity depends on succeeding in a global competition for innovation, resources and investment, doing anything that makes the job of attracting people and businesses to the UK more difficult is a major folly.

Caron Linsday and Stephen Tall have already covered the speech here.

This is a loud chorus that we’re not going to get anywhere trying to outflank the other parties on immigration, and that we need the positive benefits of immigration to be understood for a more rational and liberal policy to gain any traction. History is very clear, whether it is protestants fleeing to England, or Irish people to the United states, that prosperity follows migration.

I must say I thought Nick Clegg did make the positive case for immigration in his speech, but just happened to also say that immigration should not be a free for all, that systems should work, and that we will review the earned route to citizenship policy – which seemed more than any other to lose us the last election.

Yes, in politics speak, review generally means ditch. Nonetheless there will be a review, and that review will have to find a policy to deal with the people who have leave to remain and might otherwise be allowed to earn citizenship. Good luck with that.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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  • @Joe: Nick spoke of ‘high-risk countries, yes, well I have witnessed girls as young as 16 being treated like international criminals because they dared to be born in countries like China. Seriously, what happened to the principle of innocent until proven guilty and the idea of treating people with dignity and respect.

    His speech basically pushed for forward the idea that freedom of movement is only free to those who can afford it. This is the sort of thing we would laugh at Ms May for saying, so I have no idea what to think of our party’s leader saying it.

  • “This is the sort of thing we would laugh at Ms May for saying, so I have no idea what to think of our party’s leader saying it.”

    Cry, presumably.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 24th Mar '13 - 3:36pm

    The whole issue of immigration, along wiht asylum, is being considered in a policy working group, chaired by Andrew Stunell – as indicated in the FPC report September last year ! we have met twice and a call for evidence is going out soon. where a speech by our leader fits into this – well words almost fail me.

  • A Social Liberal 24th Mar '13 - 6:59pm

    And now Liberals join the race to the bottom. I despair !

  • I never thought I would hear Clegg doing a Michael Howard

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