It’s not racism – it’s frus­tra­tion

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Paulstainton -

If you didn’t set lim­its on your spend­ing ev­ery month, the chances are you would soon find that your fi­nances were way out of con­trol. With­out a check and bal­ance on hot Dori­tos in our house, my daugh­ter would hap­pily munch her way through ten pack­ets a week and don’t even get me started on the reg­u­la­tions that I have had to put in place when it comes to gad­get us­age.

My point is that we are all hu­man and temptation with­out re­straint or re­stric­tion is im­pos­si­ble to re­sist for many.

It’s the same with im­mi­gra­tion; if you were of­fered the prom­ise of an in­fin­itely bet­ter life, in an­other coun­try, with­out con­straint, wouldn’t you grab it with both hands?

For­mer Prime Min­is­ter, Tony Blair, re­fuses to ad­mit that his govern­ment let in too many peo­ple, too fast, from eastern Europe and still in­sists to­day that it has had a “net ben­e­fit” on the UK.

He misses the point though, as his pre­de­ces­sor, Gor­don Brown did when con­fronted by a woman in Black­burn; he la­belled her a ‘bigot,’ for merely ex­press­ing her gen­uine con­cern.

Most peo­ple in this coun­try are not racists and most peo­ple are not against im­mi­gra­tion and the ben­e­fits that it brings - Af­ter all we are all im­mi­grants in one shape or an­other – It has been the speed and vol­ume of im­mi­gra­tion which has wor­ried so many and the huge ef­fects that it has had on so­ci­ety which has caused so much con­ster­na­tion.

It’s the main rea­son why so many peo­ple voted to leave the EU in this city; It’s not racism, it’s frus­tra­tion.

Peter­bor­ough and the sur­round­ing area has borne the brunt of this seis­mic shift in pop­u­la­tion and con­tin­ues to cope with the af­ter­math of it to­day, as our public ser­vices creak un­der the weight of num­bers.

That pres­sure caused many of our hos­pi­tals to cry for help last week and I saw first-hand, af­ter an im­promptu trip to ca­su­alty, just how over­stretched and over­worked our in­cred­i­ble health pro­fes­sion­als are.

I re­ceived fan­tas­tic care in the city hos­pi­tal, amidst a hazy blur of nurses, con­sul­tants and doc­tors, who seemed to be con­stantly rac­ing up and down cor­ri­dors, flit­ting from one pa­tient to an­other, in packed wait­ing rooms that re­fused to empty.

The sheer vol­ume of peo- ple that they were treat­ing was as­ton­ish­ing, but never did I wit­ness any­thing other than com­plete pro­fes­sion­al­ism and com­pas­sion.

Peter­bor­ough MP, Ste­wart Jack­son, called on Jeremy Cor­byn, to apol­o­gise for “the record lev­els of im­mi­gra­tion” and its im­pact on public ser­vices in the city, dur­ing the Labour leader’s visit to Peter­bor­ough this week.

Ket­tle, pot, black any­one?

Ste­wart’s govern­ment has hardly got a han­dle on the is­sue in the last six years, with tar­gets con­stantly missed and num­bers in­creas­ing.

The fact is politi­cians from all sides are guilty of cre­at­ing a prob­lem that didn’t need to ex­ist. With proper plan­ning and a lit­tle bit of com­mon sense most of the trou­bles as­so­ci­ated with im­mi­gra­tion could have been averted.

Many, like Mr Jack­son, think that Brexit will be a panacea for all our ills but if it is han­dled in the same cack-handed and ill-con­sid­ered man­ner then god help us all.

It won’t be doc­tor’s ap­point­ments and school places that you will be wor­ry­ing about, it will be whether you can af­ford a loaf of bread or a pint of milk.

BBC Ra­dio Cam­bridgeshire’s Paul Stain­ton writes for the Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph

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