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: Multi-skilled Maintenance Engineer - Electrical Bias

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Grantham, Lincolnshire...

Recruitment Genius: Data Centre & Systems Support Engineers

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This accelerated growth ISP company is current...

Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administrator - London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administra...

Recruitment Genius: .NET Web Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would hasten the process of devolution to the major city regions

Charles Handy
 

FIFA awarded the World Cup to a state where slavery is actively facilitated

Aidan McQuade
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003