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

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

**SEN Primary Teacher Serf Unit **

£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experie...

Experienced Foundation Teacher

£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...

Day In a Page

An oil rig in the North Sea  

The Scottish people deserve the truth about North Sea oil and gas

Colin Tinto
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week