Thursday, 15 April 2010

Gordon Brown speaks to BBC 1's Nihal about immigration, the BNP and the BBC Asian Network

Excerpts from an interview that began cordially enough but ended with Gordon Brown sounding like he wants to pull out whatever hair that remains on Nihal’s head...I found the picture from another blog; seems Gordon’s penchant for ill-fitting suits goes back at least 30 years...

...Nihal: One of your five pledges, highlighted in your election campaign is to talk about fairness for communities, specifically by controlling immigration. Now is it possible for you as the Prime Minister, in this current climate, to talk about controlling immigration without sounding a tad racist?

PM: I hope we don’t sound that at all because Britain has benefitted from immigration. As a history, our nation is built on our openness to trade and the ideas and the talents of others and that’s also our future. But I think that everybody knows that in every country, migration must be managed and must be tightly controlled, and that’s why our new system, which is called the points based system, has been introduced. First of all, we want to make sure there’s no illegal immigration and where it happens, we deal with it. And secondly, we want to say to people, look if your coming to our country, we want you to have a skill to offer our country and there are certain skills that we need and obviously there are certain skills that we don’t need and we make it clear to people that here are the skills that we do need and if you have these skills to offer, you are very welcome. Now of course for students and for dependents, we have arrangements also but the key of our new system is this points based system and as a result of it, I think we are getting people with skills who are coming to the country but we are not encouraging people without skills.

Nihal: Prime Minister, why is it that the press or certain sections of the press will lead us to believe that there is a flood of immigration and people who live in this country, who were born in this country also believe that they are now fighting for jobs and for homes with people who have recently come into this country? Who’s telling the truth, who is lying?

PM: I think we had a world financial recession that has been very difficult for people and I think it’s true to say that people are worried about their jobs when there is a recession. And I think it’s also true to say that we are trying to give people in Britain the skills that are necessary for the jobs that we are going to have in the future. And I’m in a college today in Derby, where people of all backgrounds are here studying for the qualifications to get the jobs….

Nihal: But what’s the truth, what’s the truth? Are we being flooded by immigrants or is the fact of the matter something quite different, that we are actually not being flooded with immigrants? Because if you pick up the papers one or two of them are saying, there’s a flood of immigration, all these things are happening…Are you in danger of pandering to these right wing sensibilities and the beliefs of the British national party and the English Defence League if you start becoming more hardcore as it were about immigration?

PM: Well I don’t pander to anybody and I do what is right. Net migration has fallen in this country and that’s the phrase that is used at the measure of the International Migration Series. Net migration as measured by the long-term International Migration Series was 233,000 in the 12 months to December 2007 and then in 2008 it was 163,000. We don’t have the long-term migration figures for the 12 months to the end of 2009 but we expect that they will be less. That is the truth of what is happening that net migration has been falling over the last three years. And it’s better to start a debate by telling people what the truth is. Where there is illegal immigration, we deal with that. We’ve got a new borders agency, we’ve got a bio-metric visas, we’ve got identity cards for foreign nationals coming to the country, a far better system than before but where we have skills that are needing to be met in our economy, we are not taking the view of the Conservative Party that you put a crude cap or quota on all non EU workers coming into the country. We are saying that we should do it by a points system, which I think people see as fair.

Nihal: Prime Minister, why do you think the British National Party are more of a force than they were when the Labour Government came in in 1997? Is that a failure on your part, on David Cameron’s part, on Nick Clegg’s part, the fact that you haven’t managed to satisfy the needs of your core constituency and also, our listeners, British Asians, are worried by the rise of the British National Party, especially my parent’s generation?

PM: Well you know what truly matters about a person, you know I follow Martin Luther King, it’s not the colour of your skins, it’s the content of your character. And I think it’s the job of decent people from every party to expose the BNP for what they really are. They are trying to exploit peoples concerns about immigration and housing, they use them to push their own ideology which is based on race. That ideology of the BNP is totally wrong, and it’s got to be exposed. It’s also not British, because our fathers and our grandfathers fought together in a World War to defeat an ideology based on race.

Nihal: Is everyone who is considering voting for the British National Party then Prime Minister, a racist?

PM: No I didn’t say that and you know I didn’t say that.

Nihal: Well are they, because I just want to know why then they are voting for those people. It’s fine for you to quote Martin Luther King but what about for those people in Barking. Asian people that live in Barking, black people that live in Barking, that are now looking like, the British National Party may do quite well there.

PM: I think you’ll find that the British people are far more sensible about the future and I think they see through an ideology which is based on race, and my point to you is that when people look in-depth at the ideology of the British National Party about the views that they stand for, about the constitution they had until the courts forced them to change it, which was a constitution that was emphasising an ideology based on race, then the British people will see that it’s better to vote for other parties and better to vote particularly for parties that are going to offer the jobs and the housing and the answers to the questions that people have and the concerns that they have.

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