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

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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month  

General Election 2015: Politics is the messy art of compromise, unpopular as it may be

David Blunkett
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'