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To be annoyed that immigration is the main issue for most people in EU debate?

(589 Posts)
susanketty Fri 20-May-16 16:47:21

Whether you are 'in' or 'out', I'm getting tired of immigration being the main issue for people - sure, it will have an impact, but brexit is not going to solve any problems with immigration that people perceive, and immigration fears does not seem to be to me a good enough reason to vote out. And voting in is not going to necessarily lead to a rush of immigrants.

We are not in the Schengen area, we have border control, and EU immigrants make a net contribution to our economy. Brexiteers often say they would like a Norway-esque agreement, which seems to me like all the problems (i.e., free movement of people) with none of the advantages other than being in the trade area (which we are already).

I just think there is more to the debate than immigration and it seems to me like it's been pushed to the front of the agenda to push more people to vote out due to fear.

Walkacrossthesand Fri 20-May-16 17:02:36

I agree. I'm trying to get myself as well informed as possible before voting day, and there's a whole lot more to it than immigration , that's for sure.

LurkingHusband Fri 20-May-16 17:02:40

You are of course right.

Now get the other 99% of people to see it that way.

What annoys me, is that there were complaints and protests about immigration in the 1950s.1960 and 1970,1971,1972, and 1973. All years when the UK was most definitely non in the Common Market/EEC/EC/EU.

So it's a tad disingenuous - verging in dishonest - for the clarion call of the Brexiters to be that we can somehow stem this tide of immigration.

I grew up in London, and in 1977, part of our street (the part I lived in - between two junctions) was not allowed to have a street party because (in the words of the Tory councillor who proposed the motion) "too many Indians live there".

I bet he's a Brexiter, if he's still alive. (The Brexit campaign appears to be trying to legitimise some form of racism - at least in some quarters).

SquinkiesRule Fri 20-May-16 17:10:00

Why does it bother you? if that is what they see as their main issue then they have every right to feel think that way.
We can't all see things the way you do, nor should we all want to.

Onlyicanclean10 Fri 20-May-16 17:13:50

Well clearly for them and where they live it might be!

You don't stop sensible debate about immigration and resources being stretched and smearing those who do as racist or stupid.

That's how Gordon let the tories in.

LupoLoopy Fri 20-May-16 17:17:17

You don't stop sensible debate about immigration and resources being stretched and smearing those who do as racist or stupid.

Exactly. YABU is expecting your priorities to be everyone else's priorities. if you can win them over with your logical argument as opposed to being "tired" by their 'tedious' analysis, you might effect the outcome of the vote.

You never win an opposing person over by labeling them. You actually make it harder for them to accept their prior position may be flawed. It's part of cognitive dissonance.

WhirlwindHugs Fri 20-May-16 17:21:34

I agree, it's really frustrating.

I can understand why some people might have a problem with immigration (although I don't agree) but being In/Out is unlikely to make any significant difference for all the reasons you say. I think it's pretty immoral that certain people are pushing the angle that an out vote will reduce migration and therefore protect jobs save the nhs etc when that's just not true.

scatterolight Fri 20-May-16 17:21:48

I think most people would agree that some amount of immigration is fine. People just disagree on numbers. It is a tiny lunatic fringe who support completely open borders and tend to skew the debate.

However the EU amounts, more or less, to completely open borders. Anyone with an EU passport can settle here - 500 million people. Currently we see an inflow of 600k+ a year. OP, I wonder if you think this is too many? If it isn't what would be your annual limit on the numbers?

An inflow of this amount of course has numerous practical effects - pressures on housing, school places, hospitals, congestion, environment etc etc. Yet it also impacts upon our social fabric and cohesion as a nation with a sense of who it is and what we want to be. Immigration is not a single issue because it touches so many others.

Who knows what precisely will happen to border control if we leave. Things may be similar, we may get a points system, or adopt work visas. However we do know a few things that will happen if we Remain. While vast economic disparities exist between EU nations we will continue to see inflow of 600k+ a year. Additionally Turkey and other countries are on track to join the EU, giving 70 million + more people the ability to come and settle here.

If you're interested in short-term corporate profit and upticks in GDP then you will feel positive towards an endless stream of cheap labour. However I don't blame anyone for thinking more long-term and making immigration the top issue which they decide the Referendum. It is the one with the most far reaching consequences in terms of practical impact and for our future generations.

nonline Fri 20-May-16 17:23:25

The problem is that in recent years people have seen new countries join EU and then people from those countries move next door, then assumed that's why they themselves can't get a job and the country has no money.

Squinkies - the problem is that too many people (where I live anyway) think that if we vote out suddenly all those foreigners will disappear (and don't have a clue about the myriad real consequences of leaving).

ghostyslovesheep Fri 20-May-16 17:24:13

YANBU op - people need to consider the wider debate

Elle80 Fri 20-May-16 17:26:23

Sorry? Who are you to tell people how to feel about possibly the biggest vote of their lives? Maybe to some people it is a major issue. Personally I will be voting out because I am sick of the dictatorship that is the EU. I want the politicians I vote for to have control over our country, not some unelected bodies in Brussels. How people vote and the issues they are voting about are really no one else's business.

wasonthelist Fri 20-May-16 17:29:46

A lot depends on the forum of debate - elsewhere on here (MN) a lot of issues other than immigration are being debated. No doubt people on each side aren't thrilled about being told others disagree.

It's true that immigration in some form has been a feature of politics for a long time in the UK, and that it has been hijacked by racists on occasion, but that doesn't mean it isn't an issue for debate.

Yabu OP for seeking to narrow the debate and paint brexiters (who, like remainers) are a broad church with a single brush.

WhirlwindHugs Fri 20-May-16 17:31:49

The OP is NOT SAYING that immigration is not an important issue for many people. They are saying that immigration is unlikely to be significantly affected by the outcome of the In/Out vote.

pointythings Fri 20-May-16 17:31:50

I think the problem is that there has always been a lot of xenophobia from the right-wing press, and people believe what they read. Especially if it's repeated over and over again. How many stories do we get in the Daily Mail where if someone has committed a crime it's always 'Polish man beats up old lady' and so on - but if the perpetrator is a Brit it's either not reported at all, or nationality is not mentioned. With that kind of bombardment, can you blame people for believing the hype?

The other problem is that the truth about the impact of immigration is complex in terms of its economics. People want easy soundbites, they don't want to read the in-depth analysis - and the Remain camp have been very bad at getting the nuanced information about immigration across in simple English.

Lastly, people are entitled to not like foreigners. Personally I have little respect for people who are xenophobic for no good reason, but this is a free country and people are allowed to hold whatever opinions they like, as long as their actions are within the law.

I'm an EU immigrant myself.

Bolograph Fri 20-May-16 17:31:57

I just think there is more to the debate than immigration

The Labour Party agrees, and is doing an excellent job of winning friends and influencing people on the topic, too.

Banderwassnatched Fri 20-May-16 17:32:46

YANBU, I am considering an out vote and it is not about immigration at all. We need immigrants, I would welcome more immigration. Voting out would be about democracy.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Fri 20-May-16 17:43:15

I agree with scatter. The point is that the EU freedom of movement principles give us no right to prevent anyone with an EU country's passport from coming here.

I am voting Bremain but I recognize that many Remainers have a somewhat ivory tower view. Many wc communities have been decimated by unfettered immigration and find themselves unable to access GP and education services. No wonder they are pissed off and it's the biggest issue for them - they are not "wrong" to be concerned.

IPityThePontipines Fri 20-May-16 17:48:37

Whether you are 'in' or 'out', I'm getting tired of immigration being the main issue for people

This is a salient point.

Leaving the EU will have an impact far beyond immigration, yet this seems to be overlooked in popular discussion.

What's more, despite the media being full of discussion of immigration, people seem to think it isn't being discussed enough, hence some of the foot-stamping responses to what is a perfectly reasonable OP.


IthinkIamsinking Fri 20-May-16 17:50:27

People are entitled to vote based on their own experiences and opinion. Likewise people are entitled to be concerned.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 20-May-16 17:55:31


Immigration is a huge issue.

What would be your main points of discussion OP?

BornFreeButinEUchains Fri 20-May-16 17:58:52

scatterolight Fri 20-May-16 17:21:48

excellent post.

Op immigration has adversely affected so many peoples lives. We simply wouldn't be having a referendum if freedom of movement had not been part of an EU package.

It can be some ones no 1 issue with many other reasons coming in a close 2nd, 3rd and 4th etc.

Bolograph Fri 20-May-16 18:00:43

I'm as federalist as they come, and I think that most of the Brexit crowd are deluded and often ill-informed.

However, as basic doorstep politics, telling people that they are wrong for being concerned about something is basically "I'm cleverer than you and I'm telling you I'm right and you're wrong and I don't even need to explain why". It's catastrophic as a communications strategy, and the Labour Party (hereinafter "we") have a nasty tendency towards giving people academic lectures as a substitute for actually engaging with their concerns. It's the old Brian Clough joke about "when a player disagrees with me, I invite him into my office, we talk for twenty minutes and agree I was right".

if you're living in an area where housing, medical facilities and schools are are struggling to cope, you're not terribly interested in a bunch of Londoners talking about how wonderfully diverse it all is and how wonderful it is that schools are so full of different languages, especially when those Londoners have a tendency, like Diane and Jeremy and Emily, to think diversity is great for other people's children, but get their own kids as far away from the local state schools as they can.

Just telling people they are stupid, racist and provincial (as Gordon did, at Pat is doing, and Diane can't stop herself from doing) is electoral poison. Especially when genuine racists in the Labour Party, like Livingstone, get a free pass.

BornFreeButinEUchains Fri 20-May-16 18:01:43

The point is that the EU freedom of movement principles give us no right to prevent anyone with an EU country's passport from coming here

add to this a laissez faire approach to movement of criminals, rapists and murderers.

Personally if we can stop one more rapist or killer getting in by stopping this madness its worth it for me. How much is ONE persons life worth? After all, isn't this the main reason why we do not have the death penalty? In case one person was convicted of murder and we killed them?

manicinsomniac Fri 20-May-16 18:02:02

No, I don't think so. I've just sat through an hour long talk and QA session from a key Brexiter and the word immigration wasn't even mentioned. It was all about autonomy, independence, economics etc

BornFreeButinEUchains Fri 20-May-16 18:02:15

* sorry was innocent and we killed them.

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