British Prime Minster Cameron today has angered people especially his Coalition partners by re-opening the dabate on the sensitive issue of UK immigration policy. Tories unlike Lib Dem want to limit the immigration in order to avoid creation of a society where people are unable to speak English or unwilling to integrate thus making a “kind of discomfort and disjointedness”.
Indeed, on average about 1/3 of Londoners are born abroad and potentially many of them have difficulties to integrate in society due to lack of English language skills and their general ability to find a job and become an active members of community.There are thousands of them who depend on British social benefits and are clearly ‘takers’ rather than ‘givers’.
However, Cameron is hypocritical. Most likely, consciously. Why? The more competitive UK will be, the less competitive will be other countries, especially the ones, from where the non-English speaking poor immigrants are coming from. In a way UK governments acts, it is not a win-win game. It is a zero-sum game – the more someone is winning, the more someone else is losing. Moreover, if UK wants to win this game, it has to pay a price: if it wants to have the biggest and most successful business companies, the smartest students, the most advanced science, the most competitive tax system etc etc etc, it should understand that in such a way UK is not only getting richer, but it is also making some other countries poorer.
This redistribution of resources (financial, intellectual, human, economic, social) which is driven by wealthy countries results in having thousands, hundreds of thousands desperate, hopeless people leaving their home countries for UK or other wealthy countries to survive. If UK would do all it can to enable poorer countries to develop and provide decent, human social standards to their people, immigration would decrease. Tax policy (including disastrous tax havens’ system), aid policy, IMF (where UK has a relatively powerful voice), promotion of export in global South by depletion of their natural resources and privatization of profit by western multinationals, etc etc are just some of the areas which could make a huge difference.
Cameron should for once go and meet some immigrants and ask why they, first of all, have come to UK. He has to think a bit what are the causes. Why so many people leave their home countries? And, he will learn, that it is not about British weather, Big Ben, high prices or living in a different culture. For many this is escape, the only chance to stay alive, therefore he must understand that as one of the global leaders he is responsible for the causes of this problem partially created as well as maintained by UK. Dealing only with consequences will not stop immigration and all the side-effects Cameron is worried about. He should face the causes and see UK’s role in it.