2014 is here, and on New Year’s Eve, I finally formulated my New Year’s resolution. So from now on, there shall be a daily post from myself which shall analyse and scrutinise an article or pieces of writing in the days news and aim to inform you about some of the main debates and less discussed issues in the UK and more International issues.
HAPPY NEW YEAR? NOT FOR UKIP.
2014 has already began, and the fierce battles have already begun over the end of restrictions on EU migration from Romania and Bulgaria to the UK. With campaigners claiming 50,000 Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants could arrive in the UK in 2013, UKIP have gained ground, & importantly, the power to set the political agenda, arguing for independence from the EU, and certain Conservatives have gained significant public sympathy for supporting, or sympathising tougher stances on immigration. But I don’t feel that immigration from Bulgaria or Romania is a significant problem, actually, I think it has become incredibly hyperbolised. I think it’s important to examine the trend of where Bulgarians and Romanians are emigrating to – 3 million Romanians and Bulgarians have already left their homelands, yet how many of them have come to the UK? Under 1%. To assume that Romanians and Bulgarians will want to come on mass to the UK, instead of other ex-eastern block countries which have far better employability prospects for them, and also, far fewer linguistic differences, is slightly naive. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper immigration debate without the Mail scaremongering, from claiming that planes and buses are “full of migrants” – I link this article reluctantly – despite the previous article from the independent and statements from Blu Air, an prominent airline in Romania, which assures the UK that it does have free seats to the UK, on all flights, for most of the winter months. Another idea the Mail tries to sell us is that Romanians who are “cash stripped, ready to claim higher earnings in the UK” can afford the extortionate, and apparently popular “£3,000 tickets”.
But the Mail always has to resort to even shoddier journalism, confusing the boundaries, between “Roma”, an ethnicity of often travelling communities that’s cultural name originated from Romania, and Romanians themselves. The best reason the Mail seems to come up with against Romanian immigration is quite unbelievable…
So, their argument against a usually, in my experience, hardworking group of immigrants, is that a travelling community who sometimes come from that country, and their ethnicity and nationality shares similar linguistic roots, but aren’t necessarily connected, defecated on doorsteps.
But earlier, I claimed UKIP have gained the power to set the political agenda, I am about to say that actually, I was underplaying their power slightly. They also have the power to set policy. We saw earlier this week that the Coalition announced charging migrants for usage of NHS emergency services which to me, is a dog whistle to UKIP. Lord Howe, said that it would stop “the fraudulent usage of the NHS by a minority of immigrants. Indeed, this will stop immigrants coming to the UK to be involved in accidents and be hurt in emergencies. And on a final note, having been in a hospital A&E unit, all of time, staff and funding is required to save lives. This distraction from what our NHS A&E system should be attempting to treat, and what principals it’s founded on is a way of apparently “pacifying UKIP”. But appeasing UKIP is a dangerous move, the Conservatives need to define themselves both as a unique party, and also, importantly the more they concede to UKIP, the more they will be seen as weak. And if there is anything UKIP are excellent at, it’s sensing weakness.