ANOTHER VIEW : How to ease racial tension

Share
Related Topics
The world recently marked the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Allies. To anyone asking why negotiated peace with Hitler would have been unthinkable, Auschwitz gives the answer.

Given Britain's proud record of combating fascism, racism and intolerance, it can only be a matter of great concern that racial tensions should be rising here.

In the East End and in some suburbs of London, as well as in inner city areas in the Midlands and the North, people of all ethnic origins walk in fear even of their lives. This applies to blacks, Asians and whites, and I have had many letters from people of every community telling of their experiences and fears.

Herman Ouseley, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, says that all the evidence on the ground from the network of agencies who support victims suggests the problem is getting worse. The anti-racist alliance has found the same thing, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews speaks of "a general rise of racism and racist violence in Britain".

Why? What has gone wrong? Have we changed as a people? Have we become less tolerant? I do not believe so. What has changed - and changed dramatically - is the size of the ethnic minority population.

When I first tackled this issue in 1967, the ethnic minority community numbered barely a million. Today, even by official figures, it has grown to 3 million. The growth rate is now 1 million per decade and risks putting enormous pressure on areas of ethnic concentration.

Senior officials in the Immigration Service, including Peter Tompkins, its former head, estimate that, while official figures show 50,000 immigrants entering the country each year, the true figure is between 100,000 and 150,000.

As the National Audit Office's new report shows, Britain's immigration control system is hopelessly antiquated and incompetent. It is nothing short of a scandal that incomers at our ports are still listed manually, with the installation of a new computer system running three years behind schedule.

The Immigration Service, at its own estimate, catches no more than 5 to 10 per cent of illegal entrants. Over the past five years, while 150,000 have arrived in this country, barely 5,000 have departed. Britain's immigration policy is claimed by ministers to be "firm and fair". It is patently neither, with 100 to 200 per cent more entering illegally than the official statistics admit. It certainly cannot be described as "firm". Nor can a policy that allows so many illegal entrants and bogus asylum-seekers to remain, while others with better claims are denied entry, be described as "fair". The time has come for the Government to come clean on this issue and to publish its own estimates of those who are entering and remaining illegally and, in the interests of racial harmony, to crack down firmly on all such illegal immigration.

The writer is Conservative MP for Davyhulme.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links