Sir Andrew Green peerage: A highly misguided Lords appointment for the Migration Watch founder


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It is almost in the same league of gruesome, wince-inducing embarrassment as the Ukip calypso, and there are not many peerages that can claim that dubious distinction. Yes, and not unconnected to the Ukip phenomenon, the elevation to the peerage of Sir Andrew Green – self-appointed immigration cop and founder of Migration Watch – is odd indeed. Of course he was, so far as can be seen, a perfectly good diplomat during his long career in the Foreign Service, including stints in Syria and Saudi Arabia. That isn’t the problem.

The problem is that his nomination suggests the same degree of public acknowledgment for his more recent efforts in the field of immigration policy – tendentious and one-sided as they have been. Sir Andrew’s is supposed to be a non-political promotion. While one can easily see that in the case of his fellow nominees – former Commons Clerk Sir Robert Rogers, ex-MI5 boss Sir Jonathan Evans, and education expert Professor Alison Wolf – this is not so obvious in the case of Sir Andrew. What’s more, offering him the added authority of the prefix “Lord” is not in the wider public interest. It confers upon him and the organisation he fronts up a degree of respectability which is unwarranted.

If this is David Cameron’s idea of a joke then, like the Farage-inspired calypso we have heard so much about recently, it is in poor taste. Immigration does not need “watching”. Immigration by work-hungry, young, adventurous people is among the greatest economic boosts a nation can enjoy, solving at a stroke the demographics of the typical advanced Western industrial society – too few younger workers supporting our older people. Immigrant minicab drivers, NHS doctors and hotel cleaners will be paying the taxes that pay for Lord Green’s attendance allowance  when he turns up to their lordships’ house. Will he ever admit as much? Lord Green will certainly be a peer to watch.