While the image of Britain as a tolerant country that welcomed migrants is a debatable one, if you read the right-wing press you might be forgiven for thinking that any welcome that did exist had disappeared altogether, and in terms of its migration regime it most definitely has. Despite increasingly draconian laws however, there are still many people who believe that somehow the UK Border regime is too tolerant and needs to ‘toughen up’. Take Paul Goddard over on The Lone Voice blog, who recently commented on Babi Badalov‘s deportation:
“it is rather satisfying to see that the Immigration Agency actually do throw people out when they find their cases wanting.”
We are sad to say that the UK Border Agency (do try to keep up Paul!) carry out around 180 deportations every day – that’s a person every 8 minutes – with these often being to countries which the government knows are unsafe. Some contributors to “a lone voice” seem fully aware of the dangers people are deported into, commenting:
“Lets hope he gets killed asap back in his homeland.”
and from another
“If Babi faces execution … will the video be available on You Tube?”
It’s quite common for advocates of “stronger borders” to be revealed as nothing more than racial supremacists. MigrationWatch, for example, possibly the foremost anti-immigration organisation in the UK was founded and is still partly run by Professor David Coleman, a long-term member and sometime office-holder of the Eugenics Society and its successor the Galton Institute (sneaky name change due to the highly discredited theory being widely recognised for the racist nonsense that it is!). Amongst other things he thinks Ethiopians should have fewer babies, and Europeans more. In a similar way MigrationWatch chairman, Sir Andrew Green, has publicly stated that
“We have no problem with immigration from Poland, which is valuable to all sides.”
but has great concerns about people from
“the distant cultures of Asia and Africa”
To these “balanced migration” advocates, Europeans = good, Asians and Africans = bad. Whitey is welcome, darkie has got to keep out. These outspoken voices often bemoan being labelled as racist for their views, claiming to represent mainstream opinion, or the ‘silent majority’.
Our experiences as No Borders activists paints a very different picture. Even though we hold what those in government, sundry influential right-wing nuts, and their apologists in the tabloid press might consider an ‘extreme position’ on borders and migration, we have found our views usually go down pretty well with the people we meet.
We do a lot of campaigning ‘on the street’, putting our message out there and making the case for the abolition of borders and in favour of individual migrants’ campaigns to stay. And far from continually meeting with abuse from knuckle-dragging racists we’ve found that once we make our case, and explain the human stories which lie behind the faceless (and dubious) statistics trotted out by the likes of Migrationwatch, people are usually quite quick to express support for what we do.
For too long now we have allowed popular discussion of migration issues to be dominated by the unthinking right and their allies on both sides of the mainstream political spectrum: a big part of our job now has to be to get out there and put our ideas in the public domain. We have to speak to our friends, our neighbours, and those in our communities; we need to produce our own media and sometimes engage with the corporate press. If our experiences since setting up this No Borders group are anything to go by, we’ll find more support amongst the general public than the shrill and callous ranting of a lone voice might suggest.