UKIP is not 'anti-immigration'
Categories: Latest News
Friday April 11 2014
UKIP party leader, Nigel Farage, in his weekly column in the Independent wrote yesterday that “UKIP is not ‘anti-immigration’, we are anti-uncontrolled immigration” adding that his part was concerned with the ‘quality and quantity’ of immigrants coming to the UK.
The statement comes in response to the recent media storm created by Conservative defector and former ‘young face of UKIP’, Alexandra Swann, who resigned from the party over alleged dissatisfaction with the party’s anti-immigration rhetoric.
Farage, claims that Swann’s decision stemmed from not being selected to stand as an MEP for the party in the upcoming European Parliamentary elections before clarifying that “UKIP doesn’t have a problem with letting foreign-born nationals come to live, settle and work in this country”.
“Providing refuge and opportunity for skilled migrants who want to work hard and assimilate into our society is not [a problem]”. Farage goes on to make an argument about young people in the UK losing out in jobs as migrants from the expanded EU come to the UK in search of work and the corollary effect of a brain drain in migrants’ country of origin as the ‘brightest and best’ head for foreign shores. Neither situation is in the interests of the UK and Farage suggests that UKIP’s policy of quality and quantity control is a sensible way forward.
Farage argues that the situation to date has worked against Britain’s national interest saying, “What we have seen over the past decade is an unprecedented level of migration such as we have never seen before, with no skills or language tests for entry but with full access to one of the most generous welfare systems in the world.”
The claim that migrants coming to the UK have neither the skills nor willingness to contribute to the economy has been refuted in several studies, including one which has seemingly been suppressed by the Government because it doesn’t fit with the populist mood or anti-immigration bias in the right wing media.
Farage’s comments also raise doubts as a former leader and other UKIP party members in the past have been vocal about their anti-immigration and anti-Muslim stance, which include proposals for a 5-year ban on new migrants. Former party leader Lord Pearson claimed Muslims were “breeding ten times fast than us”; one UKIP parliamentary candidate spoke of the “uncontrolled practice” of Islam in the UK and a further member denounced “Muslims nutters who want to kill us and put us under medieval Sharia Law”. With expressed views such as these it is little surprise there has been an exodus of ex-BNP supporters to the party.
UKIP have placed immigration at the forefront of public debate in the run up to European Parliament elections. Encouraged by the 2009 election’s breakthrough, which saw the party gain 13 seats, and its recent electoral success in by-elections in the last year, UKIP, alongside other far-right groups such as the BNP and Liberty GB, is hoping to exploit the rising anti-immigration and xenophobic mood in the UK and across Europe to win seats in May’s elections.
Professor Alan Sked, founder and former leader of UKIP, has in the past criticised the party for “creating a fuss, via Islam and immigrants.”
Sked referring to the party’s flagship policy during the 2010 general election, banning the burqa said the party had little to offer in terms of policy ideas on mainstream issues and that its views on “immigrants and on [banning] the burqa are morally dodgy.”