How about an 'Immigrant Idol' reality TV show?

They could parade their skills before a celebrity panel, then viewers would select 12 to stay

Share
Related Topics

Ellen MacArthur's lucky she didn't get 50 yards from British waters and find Charles Clarke there, waiting on a boat with immigration officials, announcing: "You can't come in this country, love, we're full up."

Ellen MacArthur's lucky she didn't get 50 yards from British waters and find Charles Clarke there, waiting on a boat with immigration officials, announcing: "You can't come in this country, love, we're full up."

From now to the election, Labour and the Tories will carry on competing for who can look toughest on immigration, as if they're playing a party game. The last of these contests was won by Blair. The Tories said they'd keep all asylum-seekers in camps. So Labour said they'd cut all their benefits; the Tories came back with not letting them apply for jobs; then Blair said he'd take away their kids, at which point Howard put his hands up and said: "You're too good for me mate, I can't keep up with that."

In response to the Tories' "quota", the Government has proposed that potential immigrants should be awarded points, to work out whether they'll be an "economic benefit" to the country, and if they don't score enough they won't be allowed in. It would be fairer if they had to parade their skills before a panel of Sharon Osbourne, Geri Halliwell and Simon Cowell. Most of them will get Cowell snarling: "Call that carpentry? It's pathetic. Get back to Burma, you deserve to be tortured." But a lucky few would go through to a grand "Immigrant Idol" final, ending with a viewers' poll to select the 12 that can stay.

Because how do they know who's going to be an "economic benefit"? Perhaps they're planning to get one of Cherie Blair's mates to stand at the immigration queue reading everyone's palm. Then they can make recommendations for deportation, based on who's got a strong burden line.

The plan seems to be that we'll let someone in only if they're a doctor, or can perform a trade we need. So maybe we should start placing orders. For example, at the moment there's a shortage of tradesmen in London. So we should write to the Indonesian government, asking: "Would it be possible to torture around 200 plumbers, so that they might apply for asylum in our country where they would be able to mend our drains, and provide economic benefits."

We could probably be even more careful. A Sri Lankan dentist may be a benefit while he's working, but during the weekend he'll borrow books from our libraries and cross the road at our pedestrian crossings and so on, proving an utter burden. So why not let him stay while he's working, then deport him every Friday night until he's willing to be a benefit again? After all, what are we - mugs?

It could be argued that our society is enriched by immigrants, even when they're not economic assets. But apparently, that's wrong. Next time you walk past a vibrant Pakistani market selling a flamboyant array of textiles, spices and mangoes, remember the real question is whether it could yield greater fiscal potential if it was turned into office space.

Several countries may wish they'd been able to apply similar rules to the British, when we were keen on settling in foreign lands. I bet India would have loved a rule that went: "You will be deemed liable to deportation if you make yourselves an economic burden by, a) claiming milk tokens you're not entitled to, or b) destroying our native cotton industry. Furthermore, just one more massacre at a temple and you're off."

But it's doubtful whether any of this is about economics at all. In one paper yesterday, there was a huge headline complaining: "Workshy British force boss to recruit Poles." It turns out that a box-packing business can't recruit staff, so they've had to hire 400 Poles. But isn't Poland one of those countries from which hordes of migrants flock to lap up our over-generous benefits? But now it's apparently the Poles who want to work and the British who are lazy. So surely the only economics that makes sense now is to kick out all the English. If we're to save this overcrowded island, there can be no room for the hordes of us English, busting our public services that are already breaking at the seams. We must be prepared to be tough and replace the entire population with Poles.

There's no logic to the ranting about asylum-seekers, yet as with crime, every time the Tories scream, Labour follows. So part of Blair's reply to the Tory proposals was: "The Government has legislated several times on the issue - each time toughening up - and is prepared to do so again." By the time of the official election campaign, Labour's broadcasts will start with film of Blair cutting his finger and pressing the blood onto a deportation order. Then he'll take a deep breath and whisper: "Man hath no greater thrill than to vanquish an economic burden."

It makes you realise the Tories don't want to win the election. They don't need to, as they run the country anyway, and don't have to bother with the paperwork. It's as if they've got a servant to do everything for them. In the New Labour headquarters a bell goes, and a voice says: "Chuck out another batch of immigrants would you, old boy." Then Labour runs around doing it while the Tories are off to lunch. You watch. If they look like they might be catching up, they'll bring back Iain Duncan Smith to make sure.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test