Migration and the stoking of hate and fear by a xenophobic media

I was pretty disgusted by the Metro’s front page headline and story today: “Migrants ‘ready to die for your British benefits'”:

Metro 291014


Stories like this serve only one purpose: to criminalise those who wish to come and be a part of our country’s future.  And it sickens me that so many of our politicians (most of whom should know better!) fall back on the lazy and irresponsible argument that immigrants are to blame for unemployment, low pay and poor housing.  Oh, and the erosion of British culture and identity – whatever that is.

But these societal ills are nothing to do with immigration.

Government austerity, the savage welfare cuts, attacks on workers’ rights, and the failure to build affordable homes are to blame.  Not people coming here to contribute to our economy, our communities and our future.  Indeed we know that immigration is a net contributor to our economy: over £22 billion between 2001 and 2011.  And we can’t escape the fact that the UK is a mongrel state, made up of many different identities and cultures; a product of centuries of movement of people.  If the Scottish Independence Referendum is anything to go by, it is clear that we cannot identify a single British identity, a single British culture.  And nor should we try to do so.  Instead, we should celebrate our diversity, and value the richness that it brings to our lives.

Back in January, as I saw in the new year in Edinburgh, I tweeted a welcome message to Romanians and Bulgarians who achieved full rights to live and work in the UK.  The European principle of freedom of movement is one we should treasure.  Indeed, I wish we would extend it beyond European boundaries: geography should not determine someone’s legitimacy.  I hope that, at least in Scotland, we will be able to move towards an immigration policy that is based on internationalist principles of equality and justice.  It seems that most of us want this, and perhaps we can then dispel the myths and prejudices peddled by those who seek to use fear and hate as a means of control.

0 comments on “Migration and the stoking of hate and fear by a xenophobic media

  1. Hi Maggie.
    I just wanted to say well done for putting this out there.
    You mentioned the laziness of the politicians as a contributor to rhetoric, however, it is, in my humble opinion, the msm that perpetuates this myth.
    All too often, they take, well perfect example, 2500 folk at calais as an example of what immigration is against the reality of several thousand more each year who come here, pay taxes, contribute to our parents and grand parents pension payments and benefits system and in return we criminalise and demonise them all as shirkers.
    Can you imagine, even after the rent and council tax is paid, getting by on 36 quid a week? I couldn’t. They still have their leccy to pay after that as well.
    So lets please put some perspective on the statement by the mayor of Calais.
    Oh aye, one other point that hasn’t been mentioned, the people are most likely asylum seekers, which is a completely different kettle of fish as well! Just thought id point that out.

  2. Well said.

    I’d add: how can a person ever be “illegal”? A lot of people need to step back and examine the term `illegal immigrant’ for both its constituent parts.

    And: obsession about this negativity makes the country small-minded and bitter. It falls far short of the maximum good it could be doing – treating every person as an individual, maximizing their dignity.

  3. Exactly how does adding to those working, not ad to those not working? This seems to ignore that the world is finite.
    For sure immigrants ad to the societies to which the migrate, because of the social dynamics of those who select immigration. Immigrants mostly are, healthy, motivated, intelligent, young, and does not care about the injustices of the job market they are entering.

    Who are displaced are those who have a strong investment in place, who are mentally or physically disabled, who are difficult to employ because of other social concerns (family or distance from employment, or part time jobs, religious concerns or AGE for example).

    Who would willingly pay thousands to modify a work station, when they can hire a Pakistani doctor for less than a local?

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