We learned yesterday that the Conservative Party has once again betrayed the trust of the public, this time in repeatedly assuring us all that it would bring net migration down to below 100,000 people a year.
Not only has this not happened – despite Cameron’s “no ifs, no buts” pledge at the start of his premiership – but actually, the number revealed today is 16,000 higher than those halcyon days when he and Nick Clegg skipped into Downing Street in 2010.
Since that year, almost all his Cabinet members and just about half his backbenchers have at some point gone on national television, or given quotes to the newspapers, seeking to assure us all that immigration would be down to the “tens of thousands” by the end of this Parliament.
Well now we know that to have been another Tory-led Coalition lie.
Of course, a lot of people don’t see the problem with mass migration. To that I say: ask the police, ask doctors and nurses, ask school headteachers, ask the planners at the Department of Transport – an influx of the type Britain has seen since 2004 is both unprecedented and unsustainable. The country simply was not ready for it, and our national infrastructure is now strained.
The argument in response is always “we didn’t expect that many people”. Well some of us did. Some of us predicted it. The same way we predicted the large number of Romanians and Bulgarians, even though we were derided for it before the start of this year, and called scaremongers and worse.
I get more than my fair share of criticism for being “negative” about this stuff, but I want to assure people I’m not. It’s just hard to be upbeat when you’re constantly lied to by the Government – and lied about by the press, with a number of stories yesterday claiming that “Ukip says” that babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants. No one from Ukip HQ said such a thing.
Ukip’s rising stars
Ukip’s rising stars
1/7 Suzanne Evans
A Tory defector who has only been in the party for a year. She was rapidly appointed national communities spokesman. A former BBC reporter who now runs a PR agency, she has won plaudits within the party for her confidence in front of the camera.
2/7 Steven Woolfe
A barrister from Manchester whose father was mixed-race and mother was white. He was invited to become financial services spokesman before he had even joined Ukip. Now an MEP, his ethnicity and northern upbringing are in strong contrast to the Ukip stereotype.
3/7 Margot Parker
A local businesswoman who impressed Ukip’s hierarchy with her spirited campaign in the Corby and East Northants by-election 18 months ago. She was elected as an MEP for the East Midlands last week. She has a no-nonsense style which party chiefs believe will be persuasive on the national stage.
4/7 Patrick O’Flynn
A former Daily Express journalist who became Ukip’s director of communications and was a strategist behind the Euro-elections campaign. An experienced performer on television who is close to Mr Farage. With his media background he could become a culture spokesman.
5/7 Amjid Bashir
A restaurateur of Pakistani lineage who is one three Ukip MEPs representing Yorkshire and the Humber and currently speaks for the party on small business. After his election he said: “Here I am... of Asian birth, of Asian parentage, Muslim, and I have been selected by this so-called racist party. It disproves that completely.”
6/7 Louise Bours
Until her combative appearance alongside Piers Morgan and Joey Barton on Question Time last Thursday, she was one of Ukip’s lesser-known faces. The new MEP for the north-west is a former actress whose full name is Louise van de Bours. Her northern credentials could come in handy in wooing Labour-leaning voters.
7/7 Paul Nuttall
Long serving activist from Merseyside who became Ukip’s chairman in 2008 and deputy leader two years later. He is a key weapon in the party’s attempts to broaden its appeal to working-class voters in the North of England.
We would treat the children of migrants the same as those of British citizens. But the children of any incomers inevitably add to the weight on Britain’s public services – and that must be taken into consideration, too, when deciding how many foreigners our government grants licence to stay here. We encourage family life. All we actually want is to make sure this country has the resources to support all the families in it.
I have a feeling, however, that I’m not alone in feeling sick of being lied to. For the avoidance of doubt though: I want to see sensible levels of immigration, not no immigration. I want us to treat the world equally and fairly, not have a discriminatory attitude towards Europe and against places like India, Australia, Canada, Africa, and so on.
I want Britain to prosper, and immigration can be a part of that. But not on this scale, and certainly not this quickly.
I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the usually down-to-earth Tory MP Mark Pritchard, who I like a lot by the way, and who appeared opposite me on the BBC’s Daily Politics on Thursday, say that he believed you could both be in the European Union and have control of your borders. The point I was making, that you manifestly cannot, is not one of opinion. It is a statement of fact. And yet the Conservatives continue to live in denial of this.
Well so be it. And let Cameron go on television this morning and make more excuses, and claim further victories from a European Union that demands Britain accommodates 260,000 extra people a year, and charges us billions of pounds for the pleasure of it. We’ll continue to tell the truth – and we’ll continue to campaign for a fair, points-based immigration system with a Britain outside the EU.
No place for men like Monckton in Ukip’s parade
Speaking of being vindicated: a man I sacked from his position in Ukip last year has now said something appalling about gay people and their sex lives.
Viscount Monckton, who once ran our Scotland branch, has claimed that homosexuals have an average of 500 to 1,000 sexual partners in their lifetimes, and some have as many as 20,000.
Now, I’m not sure where Viscount Monckton is getting his statistics, but to frame these comments as he has is both deeply offensive and fundamentally wrong.
This sort of disruptive, crass and insensitive work serves to underscore why people with views such as these, openly mocking while seeming oddly threatened by homosexuals, should get no support from Ukippers.
I’m delighted to say that LGBTQ in Ukip is growing, and thriving, and has over 1,200 Facebook followers. How many other parties have an MEP who describes himself as “spectacularly homosexual” and a “great big screaming poof”. David Coburn MEP’s words – not mine!
I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: Ukip isn’t a place for division or malice. The word “United” is in our name.