Sunday, March 08, 2015

Some Questions about Migration

The local newspaper rang up to say they were doing a piece about migration into Boston and Skegness and could I forward some questions to our Green Party candidate, who is currently at the Spring Conference in Liverpool, and could they have the answers by tomorrow morning, please.

So I thought I'd jot down a few notes.  Here are the questions:

1.What is your response to the figures [from the Oxford Migration Observatory]? Do they paint an accurate picture of migration in Boston and Skegness?
2.How big an election issue is migration in Boston and Skegness? Could it decide the outcome for the area?
3.What are your party’s policies on migration, and how could they apply to this new picture of migration to Boston and Skegness?
4.What actions would you call for to deal with a growing migrant population in Boston and Skegness, if any? 
5.What do you believe needs to happen next to make sure migration isn’t again a major issue for Boston and Skegness in the next election?


Last question first:

5. What do you believe needs to happen next to make sure migration isn’t again a major issue for Boston and Skegness in the next election?

Stop flagging migration up as a big issue by writing newspaper articles about it! But hey, we support a free press and the press’s right to write what they like, so on with the rest of the questions.

1. What is your response to the figures? Do they paint an accurate picture of migration in Boston and Skegness?

Let us accept that the Oxford Migration Observatory has produced data as accurate as is available, but the ‘picture’ is only seen when the numbers are set in the context of the wider Uk.  From the 2011 census figures the proportion of people not born in the UK was about 15% for Boston and less than 4% for East Lindsey.  Now compare that with a few other towns in the east Midlands: Peterborough 20%, Nottingham 20% Cambridge 29%, Leicester 34%, and if we go to the wealthiest parts of the nation we find these figures: Kensington and Chelsea 52%, Westminster 53%.  So we see that Boston and Skegness do not have an unusually large proportion of non-UK born residents.

2. How big an election issue is migration in Boston and Skegness? Could it decide the outcome for the area?

Not a very big issue and no, it will not decide the outcome of the election. Boston and Skegness has always been a safe Conservative seat with the Tory candidate gaining 49% of the vote at the last general election.  Labour gained 21% the Liberal Democrats 15% and the other 15% being split between two far-right parties.  In the 2015 election we expect the anti-EU and anti-immigration vote to be split again between the two far-right candidates, one from UKIP and the other a former UKIP candidate.  That vote will be further split by a candidate from the British National Party and an ex-Conservative party member who failed to be selected and is now standing as a Lincolnshire Independent on an aggressively anti-immigration ticket.

The Green Party, which did not contest the 2010 election, expects to gain votes from disaffected LibDems, Labour and Conservative voters but is unlikely to have any impact on the 15% of the voters who support one of the smaller right wing parties.

3. What are your party’s policies on migration, and how could they apply to this new picture of migration to Boston and Skegness?

Green Party policy is set out at length here

It is important to understand the Background and Principles involved.  Unlike the other parties, the Green Party has a long-term vision and looks to the interests of the youngest children who hope to see in the 22nd century and develop a sustainable world order beyond that.  But we also have to deal with the practicalities of the short term.

Background
MG100 The Green Party's long-term global vision is of an international economic order where the relationship between regions is non-exploitative, each region is as self-reliant and economically self- sufficient as practicable and the quality of life (social, political, environmental, cultural and economic) is such that there is less urge to migrate. Logically, in order to move away from the current level of immigration controls, we must create a fairer world.

MG101 The existing economic order and colonialism have both been major causes of migration through direct and indirect violence, disruption of traditional economies, the use of migrants as cheap labour, uneven patterns of development and global division of labour.

MG102 We are aware that, in the 21st century, there is likely to be mass migration of people escaping from the consequences of global warming, environmental degradation, resource shortage and population increase.

MG103 The Green Party recognises the contributions made by many migrants to their recipient area or community. We value the cultural diversity and intercultural awareness resulting from both temporary residence and migration.

Principles
MG200 The Green Party's highest priority is the creation of a just and ecological world order in which environmental devastation is minimised and needs can be met without recourse to migration.

MG201 We believe that the world's people have an individual and collective responsibility to ensure ecological sustainability, human rights and social justice. Within this, they have the right to self determination.

MG202 International action and a willingness to share resources will be required to meet the needs of environmental migrants.

MG203 Richer regions and communities do not have the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term.

MG204 Communities and regions should have the right to restrict inward migration when one or more of the following conditions are satisfied:

a)The ecology of the recipient area would be significantly adversely affected by in-comers to the detriment of the wider community (eg. National Parks, Antarctica);

b)The recipient area is owned or controlled by indigenous peoples (eg Australian aboriginal people) whose traditional lifestyle would be adversely affected by in-comers;

c)The prospective migrants have, on average, equal or greater economic power than the residents of the recipient area and they or their families were not forced to leave the area in the recent past.

MG205 Migration policies should not discriminate directly on grounds of race, colour, religion, political belief, disability, sex or sexual orientation. Preference should not be given to those with resources or desirable skills.

MG206 The Green Party is opposed to forced migration and forced repatriation.

MG207 Regions or communities must have the right to reject specific individuals on grounds of public safety.

MG208 The interests of both prospective migrants and the recipient area or community must be recognised and, hence, the appropriate resolution of a particular situation (unless covered above) must depend on negotiation between the parties affected.

We support the free movement of people within the EU and acknowledge the positive contribution that East Europeans are making to the economy of Lincolnshire and to the enrichment of our culture.  Boston has a long tradition of trade with the Baltic going back many centuries and it is our relationship with other lands that has been central to the town’s history, remembered in the 14th century Baltic oak roof timbers of the Guildhall and the emigration of the Separatists, or Pilgrim fathers in 1607.  Migration is not all one way and in modern times many Lincolnshire folk have found employment or retirement overseas.

It is with great concern that we view the desperate migration of people from war-torn or drought-stricken parts of North Africa and the Middle East across the Mediterranean to seek sanctuary in Italy.  As global warming proceeds throughout the coming century we must be prepared to come to the aid of the displaced environmental migrants.  It is not actions of the Pacific Small Island States that cause sea level rise but our shared humanity calls us to act positively when whole nations sink beneath the waves.

4. What actions would you call for to deal with a growing migrant population in Boston and Skegness, if any?

As population grows national and local government has an obligation to see that the infrastructure of public services, health and welfare, education, transport, housing and so on, are provided to meet changing demand.  It is always thus, with increased expenditure being matched by revenues from the increased economic activity.  Some folk may shout ‘They’ are taking ‘our’ jobs!  But this is to misunderstand the economy.  There is not a fixed number of jobs; rather, new jobs are created out of new economic activity.  It is well documented that our recently arrived migrants make a positive contribution to the UK’s wealth. When we have migrants for whom adjustment to a new culture is a challenge, then translation and advice services are needed to make the new-comers feel welcome and allow them to quickly and constructively assimilate into their new home.

5. What do you believe needs to happen next to make sure migration isn’t again a major issue for Boston and Skegness in the next election?


Returning to this question again, migration just isn’t a major issue for the next election, though a small minority make much noise to try and make it so.  The main issue is whether we continue with the Tories’ neo-liberal economic agenda of austerity, a shift of spending from the public to the private sector, a shrinking of the state, a transfer of wealth from the great majority into the hands of a select few and a denial of the urgency of addressing global warming.  Or are we ready for a real change, for hope and security, for the common good?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

more garbage

9:07 pm  
Blogger Health Beam said...

Migration is caused by many factors, but money is the big one, period.
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5:37 pm  
Blogger Christo Might said...

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7:12 pm  

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