An open goal for our opponents, a reason for illegal immigrants to come here in greater numbers, what more can you say ?

If I were the Tories or the Labour Party I would be rubbing my hands with glee at the thought of the Lib Dems passing plans to grant amnesty to virtually any illegal immigrant who has been in the UK for more than ten years.

The plan may have some financial merits in terms of raising money for the treasury, but then again so would legalising cocaine and taxing it. However, money is not the prerequisite for a policy being a good idea. It is also fine for Nick Clegg to say ;

"I do not think our party should ever be cowed into silence by fear of controversy"

but that is the political equivalent of saying to someone

"you're not a chicken are you ?"

By saying what he said, he was daring the Lib Dems at conference to prove how different the party is from the other two main parties.

The biggest and greatest downside, aside from the inevitable "Lib Dems will give away British Passports to illegal immigrants" headlines on opposition leaflets across the country, which let's be fair, is true and not a lie, is that this will now make Britain even more of a Mecca for asylum seekers.

On the Radio yesterday I heard that in Cherbourg they arrest 100 asylum seekers a day trying to get on to lorries heading to the UK, and that is just one port of many. Multiply that figure by a multiple of your choice, and that will be the numbers that this policy would see trying to get in to the country.

Before people get on to me, I am not against migrant workers. I personally think our economy would not be as healthy as it is were it not for all the East Europeans who have come over to this country in recent years. However, I am not an advocate of laws and rules that encourage illegal behaviour, and that is what I believe this new Lib Dem policy is.

Aside from the naivety in bring this policy to conference just months before an anticipated election, I simply think it is wrong and send all the wrong messages.


Daily Referendum said...


Are you sure Ming is a LibDem? If I were a betting man I would bet he is a plant trying to destroy your party.

Wolfie said...

The thought of them gaining any power just makes my skin crawl.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you'll be attacked by other LibDems, but as a LibDem I agree with you. This policy is badly timed and will work more as a magnet to illegals around the world.

jimS said...

Too many of the conference folk are living in dreamland. The party is sleepwalking into an election where it will lose a third of its MPs and staff. Yet they are doing it by talking to themselves and not the voters.

It is delusional, but it started with pretending that we made progress at the May local elections.

sid said...

Well said. Our party is too out of touch. People here legally have told me how they are incredulous how we let in so many people illegally. Further, i have met people who have left this country rather than stay illegally - they had no desire to criminalise themselves, even though they could do so easily. We encourage criminals to come here and keep the honest out.

This policy can will only encourage people to come here - Britain is notorious as 'soft touch'.

As for helping the economy, is it not the case that some concils don't have enough enough money for services due to newcomers? How is it they are not paying council tax?

And the rate of immigration is unprecedent; my local areas have seen huge change in the last few years. Not that many party members see this, of course. We are far too middle class and avoid such areas - unless canvassing for votes.

Chris Black said...

Nich, you are quite right. The other points in the motion were generally good, but I regard the amnesty proposal as a big mistake.

Hywel said...

Your jumping from asylum seekers to legal and illegal migrant workers and back again several times.

Asylum seekers are not here illegally - and can't really be classed as workers as they are barred from working whilst their claim is considered. If granted asylum then they can work - but again they aren't in any way illegal.

The motion passed today is explicitly clear on the difference between the two. It is simply not true to say that it is a policy of "Lib Dems will give away British Passports to asylum seekers"

Norfolk Blogger said...

Okay Hywel, I've changed that phrase to "illegal immigrants".

In many ways this is worse because at least asylum seekers have come here and attempted to make themselves legal whilst illegal immigrants over here working have not.

Joe Otten said...

Nich, Tory sock puppets, why not read the policy before you spout off on it.

Stephen Tall said...

But, Nich, there are currently an estimated 600,000 illegal immigrants already in the UK - how do you propose to deal with this issue?

Just ignore the fact?

Or pretend, like Labour and the Tories, that we can deport them all (at a cost of £11k per deportation)?

Nick Clegg has consistently emphasised the need for better border patrols. He has also come up with a plan for dealing with an existing problem - and Lib Dems are the only party to do so.

As for the political tactics, I disagree - Nick's policy will appeal to liberals in all parties and none, something we need to do more of, not less.

Paul Q said...

Why are you surprised about the LIB. Dems. saying what they are ???
The Labour government are about to inform us all of the 'LEGACY AGREEMENT'. It is giving all asylum seeker "families" (definition please ????) that have been registered as an asylum seeker for 3 years or more, Section 95 and Section 4, the 'right to remain in the country'. And that's a lot of "families" all going to the top of the local government housing list in your area. Don't forget the name, "THE LEGACY AGREEMENT"

Aaron Trevena said...

Is there any evidence that allowing a selection of long term trouble-free immigrants would encourage others?

Surely the reason we get lots of illegal immigrants is because the traffickers, gangs and criminal underworld can operate freely - after all they control and profit from much of the drugs trade, prostituion and illegal immigrants.

A well thought out plan would dictate that, as with drugs and prostitution - the best way to tackle it is by attacking organised crime, by taking it out of their hands, and into the hands of the trustworthy.

If you don't control the borders, and don't control what happens when people arrive, you can't control illegal immigration. You need to attack at both ends - you need to ensure strict border controls and you need to allow people to escape the situation they find themselves in.

In my experience, the system as it stands doesn't work - I've seen well qualified and much needed people doing everything correctly, but being deported or unable to work, while the dishonest walk all over the system.

What do you think the problem with illegal immigrants is?
* Too many darkies? (certainly what 99% of people who have a problem with immigration seem to think)
* Stealing our jobs? (usually people too lazy to work)
* Blagging free services and benefits (what people who don't know the facts and only read the Daily Mail think).

The biggest problem with illegal immigration is that people are stuck here and suffer oppression and abuse, while unable to contribute. Maybe you and others responding think that the middle class "too many darkies are affecting the house prices" voters are worth chasing - I'd rather hope we could expose their prejudice to the light of reason and fact instead of pandering to it.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Not sure about this one - ten years IS a long time. If they have intergrated and are working (even on the black market) then we should welcome them.

Tristan said...

I see petty xenophobia is alive and well in the LibDems too.

We should be making immigration easier - that would solve the illegal immigration 'problem' in one fell swoop.

It wasn't until 1905 that peace time immigration restrictions were brought in, that was controversial, its sad that proposing to let people into this country is now controversial.

The concept of illegal immigration is nonsensical on ethical grounds, if people come here looking for a better life on what grounds can we oppose them? Only if they seek to harm us, and what is criminal is the act of harming, not the possibility that one might.

David Nikel said...

Nich, you have a point. However, the policy also contains plans for a border force to help prevent the number of illegal immigrants coming into the country. So whether it encourages more or not, they will find it much harder to gain entry.