Flogging a dead horse, I know. Bear with me as I ramble.
To sum up, immigration into the UK has increased at a huge rate since Labour came to power in 1997. Most of these immigrants have come from the Third World and do not speak English. This has put a burden on the resources and finance of the country and many British report a feeling of insecurity in their own country and a perception that their culture is being eroded. Government has done nothing to limit the numbers coming in or to make it more difficult to settle here.
It’s worth asking what makes Britain such an attractive destination for immigrants, and there are a couple of answers. For one thing, Britain for all its ‘social mobility’ problems is still one of the few countries in the world where a person can better their circumstances. There is a stable political system, comparatively little crime, violence, and corruption, and even in economic downturns it is possible for most people to work and make money. For people who are sick of living shitty lives in shitty places, Britain looks like a slightly less salubrious version of paradise.
For people who are sick of living shitty lives in shitty places and don’t want to work and make money, Britain is a lovely prospect because it has an extremely generous welfare state. If such people can get here, they are set for life. Perhaps not comfortably or in any kind of luxury, but certainly in a kind of plenty that is unavailable to most in the countries they are coming from.
It is impossible to eradicate the conditions that make Britain attractive to people who want to work and make money without seriously and stupidly disadvantaging the British themselves, who also like the stability and relative prosperity. Although scaling back the welfare state would probably result in lower immigration, again this is something many British don’t want to do, as such a course of action would also disadvantage the much of the native population.
However, as I can offer from my own experience, it is by no means easy to settle in Britain as an immigrant if one is honest. There are complicated forms and applications to complete, outrageous fees to be paid, and tremendous amounts of time and frustration involved. Whether one is applying for a work permit, residence permit, or marriage certificate, nearly every aspect of one’s life is investigated, checked, and double-checked for legitimacy. The Border Agency, whatever its faults, is very thorough, and I don’t think it applies its bureaucratic box-ticking stringency only to white Anglophone types. If there are people who are not legit whose applications are being granted, it is for one of two reasons: (a) collusion and falsification by officials in their own countries, or (b) collusion and falsification by officials here.
Thus it is entirely possible to limit immigration to the UK without voting for the BNP or appearing racist. Simply get rid of the welfare state and the corrupt bureaucrats here and abroad who are involved in the immigration process. In one fell swoop, Britain would become both harder to get into and less attractive as a destination, and people could stop whinging on about floods of brown people into the country who dilute white British culture.
Because for a large number of people who complain about immigration, it’s not because they think the country is becoming too crowded. It’s because they think the country is becoming less British, and because their hard-earned tax money is being wasted on supporting the same foreigners who are ruining the native culture. Or because the foreigners work too hard and steal the jobs. If the majority of immigrants to this country were wealthy, white-collar-industry, white, English-speaking Australians, Canadians, and Americans who used no public services but paid oodles of tax and only stole the jobs of Tory-voting middle class types, the outcry would be a lot smaller.
Before anyone accuses me of either criticising the British people or being a hypocrite, let me add that attitudes toward immigration in the US are no better, and in many ways actually worse. Although we have much more limited welfare – which means many immigrants to the US end up working – it’s very easy for people to get into the country illegally and incredibly difficult for people to get in legally. The INS operates on a quota system and more often than not refuses the applications of very hard-working foreigners who would benefit the economy of the country enormously. The US is harder to get into than a Promise-be-ringed teenaged virgin if you’re legitimate and easier than Jenna Jameson if you can climb over a fence. So I realise that my own country has its own contentious immigration issues. I don’t subscribe to them, however: the US has space and work enough for ten times as many people as live there, and we’re rather stupid about the whole business. We also have not historically had much of a problem with ‘diluting’ our pristine culture – so the objection to immigration there appears to be based entirely on the idea that living in the US is a privilege that should be granted only to a few deserving foreigners if they’re stupid enough to ask first rather than just barge in and demand amnesty.