Im­mi­gra­tion fears

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

Would the course of his­tory in the UK, par­tic­u­larly views on im­mi­gra­tion, have been markedly dif­fer­ent if the al­ter­ca­tion be­tween then Prime Min­is­ter Gor­don Brown and Mrs Gil­lian Duffy in the 2010 gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign never hap­pened?

Joyce Mcmil­lan over­stated the case about the way the in­ci­dent and its af­ter­math has af­fected pub­lic and po­lit­i­cal party at­ti­tudes to­wards the num­bers com­ing into the coun­try (“The im­por­tance of stand­ing up to im­mi­gra­tion ‘big­ots’”, Per­spec­tive, 14 Septem­ber).

It is not big­oted or xeno­pho­bic to be con­cerned about the net in­flow of peo­ple into these is­lands for a sim­ple rea­son: even if that in­flow was made up of the op­ti­mal skills mix that business and pub­lic ser­vices re­quire, the au­thor­i­ties do need to be con­cerned about the ef­fect that in­crease has on the in­fra­struc­ture and com­mu­nity co­he­sion.

Peo­ple go­ing about their daily lives are en­ti­tled to ex­press a view about con­ges­tion and over­crowd­ing. If they do that in a ra­tio­nal, sen­si­ble way, they do not de­serve to be la­belled a bigot.

Mr Brown’s per­son­al­ity was a fac­tor in Labour’s fail­ure over eight years ago to get enough seats to form at least a coali­tion of some kind with the Lib­eral Democrats. Even if he had suc­ceeded in hold­ing on to power, this might not have pre­vented the rise of Ukip. The lat­ter’s suc­cess in the Euro­pean elec­tions in 2014 (in­clud­ing in Scot­land, where David Coburn sur­pris­ingly won a seat) was the rea­son we had a ref­er­en­dum on Europe.

The mil­lions who voted for them could not by the wildest stretch of the imag­i­na­tion all be racists and xeno­phobes. It was a protest about im­mi­gra­tion lev­els cer­tainly, also a cry against overt po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and what some peo­ple saw as the ar­ro­gance of the po­lit­i­cal class.

What­ever the out­come of the cur­rent ne­go­ti­a­tions on Brexit, the de­bate on im­mi­gra­tion lev­els will con­tinue. We should not as­sume al­ways that it is the ill-in­formed and the ille­d­u­cated who are keep­ing it go­ing.

BOB TAY­LOR Shiel Court, Glen­rothes

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