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Theresa May’s Hypocrisy Over Refugees

Posted on 20th September 2016

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These two stories (about the Prime Minister's speech about immigration, to the UN, from the Guardian before and from the BBC after she delivered that speech) highlight the racism and lack of humanity of the British people, and the hypocrisy of Theresa May.

She claims to have concerns about the proportion of immigrants who are economic refugees, and plans to deal with this by limiting the number who reach Britain, and the number who are allowed to stay. It seems to be true that many people who apply to stay in richer countries are motivated by money, and that they are the wealthier of the immigrants; I have previously written about this issue amongst immigrants in Germany, here. There are, however, a number of flaws and hypocrisies in her arguments:

  1. The wealthier immigrants are precisely the ones that Britain and other host countries should be encouraging, because they have money, and will therefore be less of a drain on the country, and are more likely to work hard and earn well in the future, and make a greater contribution to country. The governments of most rich western countries will privately admit that they desperately need immigrants to fill skill gaps, rebalance the age distribution of the population as the existing populace gets older (to help pay for pensions and health care), and to generally boost the economy. It is time for some honesty about this issue, although modern politicians seem to find honesty very hard.
  2. If these wealthier immigrants are not those in real need (and there seems to be an admission in Theresa May's speech that there are some who are really fleeing in fear of their lives due to war or political persecution), then where is the plan to encourage those who are deemed more deserving? By all means turn away those who are just trying to gain money, but replace them with those for whom there is a real humanitarian case.
  3. Where is the moral justification and the fairness in her plan to insist that refugees must instead be allowed to stay in the first country (in the EU or elsewhere) that they reach? If the social and economic stress on Britain is high when large numbers of immigrants enter, it will be even higher on the poorer countries (such as Turkey, Hungary, and Greece) that they reach first.
  4. As the Americans say, "what goes around, comes around". One day, Brits may need to move elsewhere due to war or environmental disaster (and Brits are already common economic immigrants around the world, notably in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and various parts of the EU). This anti-immigration attitude will not serve us well in such a future.

I think it is well past time for some common sense, some honesty, and some sound ethics in politics and in the attitudes of people on the streets, around the world, and most especially in Britain.