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Reviewer: TomathyJones

Category: Life

Subject: Immigration

Sitting in my work restaurant earlier, I was obliged to listen to yet another tirade on the topic of immigration given by a bunch of ignorents. I am ashamed to admit that I withheld my opposing views for fear of provoking a ruckus. Perhaps I can partially cleanse my conscience by posting some of my thoughts on Rusta.co.uk, that well known forum for political debate.

I suppose the main reason I get upset when I hear people giving immigrants a hard time is because I see immigration as really positive. One only has to look at the composition of the England football team, the music charts or the medical profession to see that immigrants are making a fantastic contribution to the fabric of our country. I live in Tooting, which is an area of London dominated by South Asian immigrants. I love the unusual sights, sounds and smells that are thrust upon me every time I take a stroll down the high street. I hear people who have lived in Tooting for a long time bemoaning the changes that have taken place over the years and I wonder whether they have ever bothered to take the time to learn a little about their new neighbours. Perhaps it is understandable for the elderly to be unwilling to embrace things unfamiliar, but surely the young people of our country should be thinking more progressively than their grandparents. The many immigrant communities of London are here to stay; why not view them as a resource to learn more about distant parts of the world rather than treating them as stains on our city?

Many of the people who offer negative views about immigration do not, in my experience, have any actual examples of immigrants specifically causing them problems. These people love to cite examples of “salt of the earth” British citizens being turned away from GP surgeries because their books are full of asylum seekers; or of asylum seekers stepping off a plane (or falling from the undercarriage of a Eurostar train) and straight into a council flat. The fact is though that often these anecdotes are nothing more than regurgitated nonsense. Personally, I like to talk about the Polish builders doing the jobs that British builders feel are beneath them, and about the Nigerian security guards who work twelve hour shifts for a pittance. I challenge all those who claim that immigrants are bringing our country down to actually examine whether immigrants are bringing them down. If they find that immigrants are having no negative influence on their lives, then I would ask them to honestly reassess their position. Live and let live!

Nobody, not even I, can argue for uncontrolled immigration; it is obvious that the country simply could not cope with that. But our country is nowhere near “full” at the moment so I really cannot see what the problem is. Of course, there are some who come into our country with the intention of exploiting us. It is my contention however that these “bogus asylum seekers” are very few and far between. The economic and social benefits that immigrants bring to our country are such that we should accept and ignore the few bad eggs. We currently live in a country where the gap between the rich and poor is increasing alarmingly. We live in a country which has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the EU. We live in a country with a sub-standard transport network. Compared to these issues, surely the “problem of immigration” pales into insignificance? Let us all concentrate on improving our country and making it a much more tolerant place to live; this will be for the benefit of us all.

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