So, you're Home Secretary. You are responsible for internal affairs in England and Wales, which includes crime, justice, prison and immigration. Unfortunately, violent crime is up1, the justice system is in turmoil after your boss decided to reorganise it without actually consulting anyone, prisons are overcrowded and... wait a minute, immigration! Of course! If you create a system that is unbelievably unjust and unfair towards immigrants and asylum seekers, you won't lose any votes, they usually aren't allowed2, with the added advantage that you might actually win votes, thanks to your good friends at the Daily Mail (a registered subsidary of the British National Party).
Perhaps the above paragraph is a little unfair. Surely the Home Secretary and other politicians aren't guided by how many votes are at stake... Hold on. Why did Gordon Brown pump so much money into the NHS in the last budget? Was it because he realised, entirely independently, that our National Health Service was simply not up to scratch, with only 6.8% of our Gross National Product (GDP) invested in the health service. That compares to 9.6% in France, 10.7% in Germany and a whopping 13.9% in the good ol' US of A3. Or was it because of pressure from the public, most notably in the form of a day of television about our dire health service from the BBC called Your NHS. I really do wonder. Anyway, back to immigration. This nation has been fooled into thinking that asylum seekers/immigrants are stealing our jobs and destroying our way of life4. But really, how is that possible? There were only 85, 865 asylum applications in 2002 and unemployment is at its lowest for 28 years. Of course, I can't comment on our way of life being destroyed, it's a purely subjective point5, but surely people can see that asylum seekers are NOT destroying our country. They are fleeing from oppressive regimes in countries that want to kill or hurt them. Or has the Daily Mail won you over?
How can we turn the tide against this anti-asylum view? I don't know. That's partly the reason I wrote this entry. I simply can't figure out how to show people that asylum isn't bad. Any suggestions?
- Home Office Publication on Asylum Statistics - Used to calculate how many asylum seekers come from the Commonwealth.
- King's Fund General Election 2001 Briefing - Gives comparisions of health care funding as a percent of GDP.