Tag Archives: migration policy paper

I’ve experienced the hostile environment – that’s why I’m determined to end it

I arrived in the UK just over eleven years ago from Brazil, eager and ready to build my career and life many thousands of miles away from home.

Fast forward to 2018 and I have just received in the post my first British passport. Hooray? Yes, hooray now, but even though I was lucky enough to first “enter” the UK immigration system in pre-“hostile environment” times, the journey from being a Brazilian citizen to a British one hasn’t been easy.

There were the exorbitant fees – for a spousal visa, indefinite leave to remain, and finally citizenship – the intrusive document …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 24 Comments

A chance to debate progressive and ambitious immigration proposals

The policy paper produced by our party’s Immigration Working Group has stirred a lot of comment on these pages. Quite right too. Lib Dem Voice is, after all, where we come to meet and talk about the things we care about most.

I am proud to sit on that working group, from a background first as a Lib Dem caseworker, helping thousands of constituents who been poorly served by our immigration system, and then at a small refugee charity.

I had thought about writing a piece rebutting some of the criticisms the paper has received. But I know how emotive this issue …

Posted in Op-eds | 45 Comments

Weak immigration paper needs to go back to the drawing board

The immigration motion (F16) and policy paper coming to Conference has already rightly drawn the ire of Lib Dem Voice commentators.  It’s weak, indistinct, and includes some seriously objectionable language and ideas. I and the Radical Association, of which I’m proud to be the current chair, will be opposing F16 at conference and demanding a full rethink of this poorly produced and inadequate policy paper.

We’re at a point in rebuilding our party from some bad electoral losses where it’s crucial that we build a clear, separate identity as voices to empower the voiceless, and being proudly pro-immigration is a vital part of that. Passing F16 would undermine rather than support that.

Let’s think about the debates we could – and should – be having over our immigration policy.  We shouldn’t need a conference debate to argue over whether ripping families apart for no crime other than being poor, a system maintained by F16’s ban on recourse to public funds for immigrant families, is wrong. Nor should we need one to tell us that migrants are our fellow human beings and that a motion with calls to “reap economic benefits from the diasporas” is utterly and shamefully inappropriate in its rhetoric.

Liberal Democrat debates on immigration should focus instead on how to best support and empower migrants. We need to show many families struggling with spousal income limits or visa processing fees, or getting wrapped up in red tape just for wanting to live with their loved ones, that we’re in their corner and taking their side. It’s time, too, for a serious discussion on enfranchising permanent non-citizen residents, from whom the UK state happily takes its tax share but who get no say in the system they live under – as sadly borne out in the Brexit vote.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

Immigration and Asylum: some thoughts from the house bureaucrat…

I note that the latest proposals for debate at Autumn Conference on migration policy have come in for some stick from my editorial colleague. And with good cause, for apologising for what is necessary and appropriate is never a good way to convince people that what you need is, indeed, necessary and appropriate.

But I come bearing something rather more practical, in that I want to talk about what underpins any immigration and asylum policy, regardless of how liberal it is, or otherwise.

For, no matter what your starting point is, you have to administer it properly. So, without actually outlining …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

Now this is how to write a motion on immigration issues

From the last paragraph of the Preamble to our Constitution:

Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries; we are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services. Setting aside national sovereignty when necessary, we will work with other countries towards an equitable and peaceful international order and a durable system of common security.

That’s a brilliant, positive statement of who we are and what we are against. It’s a very clear statement in favour of free movement of people.

Now have a look at the second paragraph of our new policy paper on immigration to be debated in Brighton:

However, migration today is not the peaceful, equitable, ordered guarantor of durable security that our constitution envisages. Fuelled by the failure of governments to spread economic prosperity widely, some people feel that their concerns about employment, housing, and social and welfare resources are somehow linked to immigration. There has been an alarming rise in hostility to all immigrants, including some British people settled here for a generation or more.

Some people also believe that the earth is flat. We don’t supply them with ropes in case they fall off the edge. We prove to them that they are wrong. The way to stop hostility to immigrants is to challenge the poisonous drip-feeding from the right wing tabloid press and right wing politicians, to to pander to it, don’t you think?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments
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  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Dec - 10:35am
    Is it too Machiavellian to suggest that Mrs May was the 48th Tory MP to send in a letter ?
  • User AvatarAndrew Melmoth 12th Dec - 10:23am
    I hope she gets 52% of the vote.
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:15am
    That should have been "I will be out in Bedale on Saturday"!
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:14am
    I have been campaigning for a Peoples Vote and will be out in Became on Saturday morning. I don't want a Peoples Vote though because...
  • User AvatarMartin 12th Dec - 10:05am
    At any other time, a PM in this position would not be able to continue. Joe Otten's assessment that roughly three quarters of Conservative MPs...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 12th Dec - 9:51am
    Am tempted to write, "It's the DUP, st*pid". I wouldn't like to predict this vote, but for Conservatives remaining in office is the absolute priority....