Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I saw a 16 year old boy dying in the street yesterday, he had been stabbed. He is the fifth London teenager to be murdered this year, and it’s not even the end of February.

I am not going to attempt to explain the knife and gun culture which seems to place so little value on human life, nor am I going to suggest remedies, plenty of other people have been doing that. What I do want to nail on the head is the way that an appalling act of senseless violence is used by some people to blame away all of society’s ills on immigrants.

The first thing to say is that I have no idea where this boy was born, or for that matter where his attackers were from, all I know is that he was dying when I walked past him on my way home from work. So as far as I or anyone else knows immigration has nothing to do with this murder. That inconvenient little fact however does not stop some people from seeing the words black and Plumstead and coming up with the word immigration.

Once the word immigration is mentioned then along comes other derogatory words such as scrounger, criminal etc. So I thought I would have an objective look at immigration, I was told by one person in the comments section of the newsshoppers that ‘the majority of immigrants are only here for the benefits. So I did a bit of research and came across an report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) published in September 2007, it made for interesting reading.

Here are a few of the inconvenient truths from the report, if you were born in Ghana, Zimbabwe or Poland you are more likely to be working than if you were born in the UK. If you are from Nigeria, Kenya, India and a whole lot of other places you are likely to be better educated than if you were born in the UK. The average person born in the UK works 36.5 hours a week, someone from Nigeria puts in 38.5 hours, a Ugandan 39.5 and a Pole does 41.5 hours. If you are from Jamaica or Uganda or India you pay more income tax than someone from the UK. If you come from India or Sri Lanka or Ghana you are less likely to be on Income Support than people born here. If you are from Pakistan or Kenya or India you are much less likely to have a council house.

I could go on, the fact is that the majority of immigrants are here to work, are working hard and paying their taxes, the reasons they are here are that 1) They do the jobs that UK citizens don’t want to do like looking after the sick and elderly. 2) They do jobs where there are skills shortages often because some people born in the UK didn’t work hard enough in school. 3) They take jobs because there is a proportion of the population born here that doesn’t want to work and has no intention of doing so the ‘I’m on benefits brigade.'

Now I am all for having a reasoned debate on the costs and benefits of immigration, but what I can’t stand is blaming everything on a group that is different to you. All groups have problems and difficulties, some groups problems may go deeper than others, but rather than mudslinging at others let’s all have a look at our own communities with a critical eye and see what we can do to make them better.


At 4:04 pm, Anonymous ??? ??? said...

er...There's lies, damn lies and Stat's.
i've worked for a front-end Goverment Department for neigh on 17 years in a variety of offices and I hate to say it immigrants do make up a large preportion of the people I see on a daily basis.
Yes, it's mostly home born & bread scum but don't believe the stats...
It's certain groups.


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