|Now Come the Gypsies...||John Tyndall asks: Has the Government gone stark raving mad?|
Britain is groaning under the weight of a flood of immigrants almost without precedent in its history. A recent survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has shown that we are now taking one in five of the so-called asylum-seekers now trying to get into advanced Western countries. This makes the UK the biggest dumping ground of all - bigger even than the United States.
The figures are for the year 2002. These show that during that year the UK took in 110,700 asylum-seekers while the USA received 81,100. Germany came next with 71,100, and then France with 51,100. And of course America is a huge, spacious country, while Britain, a fraction of its size, is already gravely overcrowded (England, where most of the immigrants are heading for, even more so).
The figures for 2003 have yet to be released. The Government claims that they have been lower than in 2002 but they are still likely to be higher than for anywhere else.
Why is Britain the main asylum-seeker target? Clearly because the measures being taken by the Government here to discourage the flood are wholly inadequate, even by comparison with our neighbours in Europe.
According to the OECD report, a number of countries - and here Germany, Belgium, Holland and Denmark have been mentioned - have reduced the flow of immigrants by tightening up on their controls by limiting the immigrants' rights to jobs and benefits, but Britain has shown no sign whatever of doing so. We are now the most popular destination of all because here the rules are softer than anywhere else.
And now, to make things worse, the Government is opening the gates to huge numbers of Gypsies from Eastern Europe. On May 1st, when countries like Poland and Slovakia join the EU, hordes of them will be making their way here. According to a report in The Sun, "Britain has pledged to welcome them with open arms - unlike partners such as Italy and Spain... Once here, they will be entitled to the same health, education, pension and welfare benefits as the rest of us."
This is utterly crazy - and indeed crazy from the Government's point of view just as it is from the nation's. Blair & Co. are not going to make themselves any more popular at election time by such a laid-back policy towards immigrants.
We must always remember one thing. Politicians do what they do to serve themselves and their parties, not to serve the nation. So why are they bent on what seems such a politically suicidal policy - a policy that can only lose Labour more votes? What strange power dictates their actions? What unseen forces are driving them in this direction? Have they gone stark raving mad - or is there more to it?