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Antony Antoniou – Reform UK Northampton North
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
(PPC) 2024 General Election

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The hostility for any discussion about immigration

Immigration is one of the most divisive and emotionally-charged topics in the UK today. Any attempt at reasoned debate is often met with hostility, abuse and accusations of racism from those who seek to shut down discussion.

The Comment That Sparked This Post

I recently received a critical comment on my YouTube channel from a lady called Celia, who took offence at my video discussing immigration. She accused me of being a “wannabe amateur politician” trying to fill the vacuum left by Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson.

While I welcomed Celia’s differing viewpoint, her hostility highlights the inability of many to tolerate other perspectives on immigration. Rather than engage in constructive debate, they attack the speaker’s character and motives.

 

 

The Scale of Immigration Since 1997 Has Been Unprecedented

It’s undeniable that immigration to the UK has reached record levels over the past few decades. When Tony Blair’s government swept to power in 1997, one of their first acts was to open the floodgates to mass immigration.

Blair could have eased restrictions gradually to allow society time to adapt. Instead, he sprang the policy on an unprepared nation almost overnight. Consequently, the UK has absorbed around 8 million immigrants since 1997.

Such rapid demographic change has placed public services under intolerable strain in many communities. Access to GPs, dentists, school places and other resources has become severely restricted due to excessive demand.

The Disproportionate Impacts On Some Areas

Celia may reside in an affluent neighbourhood untouched by mass immigration. But for millions of Britons, their day-to-day lives have been radically transformed, often without consent.

Many children now attend schools where English is a second language. Public spaces echo with foreign tongues. Local culture and customs have been displaced in some districts by those of newcomers.

It’s easy to dismiss these concerns when your own community has been shielded from the massive influx.

Our Leaders Are In Denial

Celia accused me of exploiting public anxiety about immigration with populist rhetoric. But leaders still refuse to acknowledge legitimate public unease.

They extol the economic benefits of mass immigration, while ignoring its social costs. They smear opponents as racists, bigots and xenophobes. They arrogantly lecture Britons that diversity is strength, denying any downsides.

With mainstream politicians living in denial, many voters feel disenfranchised and powerless. This has fuelled support for protest parties like UKIP.

Europe Too Is Buckling Under The Strain

The UK is not alone in struggling to cope with mass inflows. Germany, France and other EU nations are now tightening borders and deporting illegal immigrants.

Italy seethes with anger as 18,000 migrants amass on Lampedusa, while the EU breaches its own rules on burden-sharing. The Schengen zone is on the brink of collapse.

European leaders belatedly realise the EU’s open borders are unsustainable. But their voters’ patience has run out.

Dismissing Critics As Racist Stifles Honest Debate

By accusing immigration sceptics like myself of racism or xenophobia, critics seek to close down discussion entirely.

Branding opponents as bigoted wrecks constructive debate. Some possess genuinely intolerant views, but most critics simply believe immigration must return to more sustainable levels. Dismissing them all as racist hard-right extremists is itself an extremist stance.

Celia’s hostility typified this: rather than rationally challenge my arguments, she attacked my assumed motivations. This stifles free speech and thoughtful discourse.

What Drives Such Zealous Pro-Immigration Views?

It’s worth analysing what motivates the most strident immigration advocates. Some feel a misplaced post-colonial guilt, believing the UK owes atonement to former subject peoples.

Others have a naive ‘citizen of the world’ mentality, dismissing national borders as artificial. Some activists pursue a political agenda, using immigration to undermine Western democracies.

Few seem to prioritise the welfare and wishes of their fellow citizens over abstract globalist ideals. Their claimed compassion for immigrants seems absent for the communities disrupted by mass inflows.

Immigration Needs Calm, Balanced Debate

The immigration debate has been framed in terms of polarised extremes: xenophobic anti-immigrant demagogues versus high-minded multiculturalists. Most Britons occupy the reasonable middle ground between these camps.

What’s needed now is honest, thoughtful discussion. The costs and benefits, priorities and trade-offs of various policy options must be weighed dispassionately. And politicians must address voters’ legitimate concerns, not simply dismiss them as ignorant bigots.

Only then can we forge a measured, humane and sustainable immigration policy that commands broad public consent.

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