Employment and the BNP

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 - Blog, economics, Employment, Job Application, politics, professionalism, sunday thoughts

Employment and the BNP

This evening, BNP Leader Nick Griffin will take his place on the BBC’s political discussion programme Question Time. The decision by the BBC has proved highly controversial, with various politicians, Human Rights and equality groups, and media editors most often decrying the decision as legitimising the BNP; over the BBC’s argument of being editorially neutral.

Personally, and I will state this clearly, like many I think the BNP are an abhorrent and violent creation.

Unfortunately, I also conclude that their continued existence is in part fuelled by Government policy – and by that, I am not aiming anything at the current Government, just a series of small but continued lapses over decades by all administrations – added to by the current lack of community engagement by all political parties.

But what I wanted to do here is look at the BNP’s spin versus factual reality, just along the lines of employment.

The BNP’s core marketing line is: The British National Party is the only party which opposes mass immigration and surrender to the European Union.

Personally, if you don’t like the European Union or the UK’s approach to it, then UKIP would seem to be a better and more effective way of expressing that at the ballot box. But it is with the first part of the statement that I will focus this blog entry.

Mass Immigration?

For anyone outside the wondrous realms of UK Immigration, you would think listening to the BNP’s words that the UK borders were open to all, and that anyone can turn up and get a benefit.

Having worked on the Channel Tunnel and lived in Kent for over a decade, I think the idea that the borders were open pre-1997 would have been correct. Simply, then you could drive down the M20 and into Dover, and find enough immigrants to fill a double deck bus in a one mile drive. Further, the M20 was regularly shut northbound as various immigrants who had hitched a ride in Calais exited lorries heading northwards, and spilled themselves/goods over the busy motorway. Now, with no Sangate, a large amount of French co-operation, and the installation of equipment which means every truck is scanned before loading; the M20 might shut once a quarter for such an incident.

The only mass immigration therefore has to be via either legitimate means or the airports. And here, unfortunately, is where the BNP’s agenda starts to play to a wider audience. In 2007, the UK Borders and Immigration Authority admitted that they didn’t keep records of passports of those passing through UK airports, if they passed the required tests as it would not pass a test under the data protection act. This hence meant it was difficult/impossible for them or the police to track the 7/7 bombers of London!

Secondly, those wishing to come into the UK to work, now have to pass a more stringent, and more importantly focused on UK workforce gap-based, needs. The Working in the UK points-based system was introduced from October 2008, now means that unless economic migrants have money, or workers have required skills and employer sponsorship, they won’t get into the UK. For instance, did you know that we are short of skilled chefs, nurses, chemical engineers, etc? Only this week, the Migration Advisory Council suggested removal of some skills from the list in light of the recession. But all of these areas remain critical to long term UK success, and if I was the parent of a UK child looking for a long term career, then the Tier2 list would be a great start.

The third area of population increase in the UK, is entry of students. Pre-2003, there were a series of bogus colleges created by often criminal gangs to allow paid-for immigration, but under the points system some 4000 colleges were removed from the list. However, this week the BIA admitted that it had “lost” track of 40,000 people who came in on such visa’s pre-2003, and had no idea where they were.

The fourth area of immigration is that of relatives and returning existing British passport holders. Are the BNP suggesting that once you are out of the UK, you can’t come back in? Might make a holiday to Spain difficult, if not illegal!

The final area of entry to the UK is with asylum seekers, and again we are back to issues of administration over policy. The Labour Government since 1997 have undertaken two great immigration initiatives, one around the points-based workers system, and the second on the processing of asylum applicants. But again, pre-2003 the BIA have admitted lapsed policy and implementation.

In summary, UK borders are open not to “mass” immigration in policy, but may be to a slight extent in administration failure. Which, if you agree with this stance, could also be an extended argument against the European Union. So perhaps the BNP has a point: Britain’s borders need better administration?

No, clearly the BNP’s ethos and policies go much further than that, and hence their recent defeat in the courts re their racist membership policies. But spinning out the idea that Britain’s borders are open to mass immigration is false and wholly fear driven propaganda.

Just a thought in closing….. much as though I find a great deal to disgust in the BNP and its agenda, I do on reflection agree with the BBC letting them on to Question Time. Timing wise, now we are politically the post-conference season, and as a country swinging in towards two big family orientated events – bonfire night and Christmas, which is where most people’s attention is now. Question Time viewing is hence relatively low. We are heading into an election in 2010, and the BNP are well known for taking legal action to assert their rights. Putting Griffin on now means that the BBC have marked a line in the sand as to how far now legally the BNP can push their “fair coverage of all/politically neutral editorial” agenda or any legal case with the BBC: Well, you appeared on Question Time last year, we’ll see you at the next election! Much as though it could give the BNP legitimacy, I conclude that it is better get them out of the way now than the BBC face a legal case which could be leveraged into greater publicity in 2010’s heated political agenda

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