Anyone who has been a regular reader of my writing during this campaign will notice that I have never given a firm stance on immigration. It is clear that immigration is an important issue within the referendum, but I do feel that the discourse on both sides has not reflected the realities of immigration. I am a firm believer that immigration can be a positive thing, but for me the problem with a Remain vote is twofold. Firstly, the way the EU imposes an immigration system upon the UK – and secondly the discriminatory nature of that system.
When the government of the United Kingdom is elected on a pledge to implement a specific set of immigration targets, it should be able to meet those targets. The commonly held belief in this country is that there needs to be a cap on the level of immigration. Whether you agree with that or not, that is what the Conservative Party was elected to do. It is fundamentally against the principles of democracy that a government elected with such a pledge should be prevented from achieving its mandated policies.
It is the same with any form of immigration system – regardless of which party is elected into office, regardless of their stance on immigration or their political viewpoint, there is only one set of decisions on immigration open to our government: free movement from the EU, and then a choice about non-EU migration. It is not democratic to have such a system in place, which elected governments cannot change.
We have to remember that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – if you feel strongly about open borders, do not make that your sole reason to vote Remain. This referendum is not a choice between open borders or closed borders. It is not a choice between immigration or no immigration. It is quite simply a choice between choice or no choice. It is a decision over whether you think that the British public should have a say in our immigration system, or whether you think that system should be dictated to us.
If you want open borders, don’t vote to Remain in the EU to guarantee them but take part in a democratic debate on immigration. Voting Leave does not mean supporting a system of less immigration, it means supporting the idea that the British electorate should be able to elect a government with the immigration policy they wish to see – be that a points-based system, be that open borders, or be that any system in between. You are not voting for a specific immigration system on June 23rd, you are voting for democracy.
The system of immigration that the EU thrusts upon us is inherently discriminatory. It is a system which gives people born in 27 states more of a right to come to live and work in this country than people born in the other 169 states. I don’t think that immigration should be about nationality – your result in life’s first great lottery shouldn’t make a difference to your ability to live in the UK. Should we not have an immigration system that looks only at the people, not what flag they were born under? Should we not have an immigration system that is fair to everyone – where everyone who wants to live in the UK should be considered on who they are and not where they are from?
I do not believe that it is right for a doctor from Delhi to have any less right to live in the UK than a plumber from Paris. I do not believe it is fair for a lawyer from Lahore to have any less right to live in the UK than a road-sweep from Rome. I do not believe it is just to have an immigration system where your place of birth matters more than who you are.
Together we can bring fairness back to our immigration system. Together we can end passport discrimination. Together we can guide the future of our immigration system.
It is not about immigration or no immigration; it is about choice or no choice. It is not about whether or not we should have immigration; it is about whether or not we should have a fair system. On June 23rd, vote for choice and vote for fairness – vote Leave.