Walaa Idris grew up in Sudan but has lived in London since 1991, where she is a Conservative activist and former ward chairman. She blogs here.
Immigration has always been a lively and controversial topic. Ever since Enoch Powell's infamous "Rivers of blood" speech in 1968, the subject has been made more difficult to discuss in dispassionate terms. In fact, it became a taboo subject. But we must discuss immigration, and it is not racist to want to do so. I caution all parties though to use sensitive and thoughtful language when doing so.
For too long immigration has been used as a crude political football during General Election campaigns. All parties try to outbid each other with stronger and more aggressive language on the subject, and usually in a desperate attempt to win the "popular vote". The danger of this attitude is that it makes the subject emotive, and its appeal is to the voters’ basic instincts. These instincts are usually dangerously flirting with racialist over-tones.
Let me be clear: immigration is a force for good. Our membership of the European Union is as much about immigration as it is about trade. Citizens of the EU are able to move freely from country to country and live, work and vote in countries from which they do not hail. London is the financial centre of the world because of the significant benefits immigrants in the financial services sector have brought with their international business knowledge. But immigration is more than about free trade. It is about a way of life. It is about religion. It is about cultural identity. It is also crucially about national loyalty. This is where the subject becomes more complex.
That said, the host country has the right to attach conditions to entry. It has the right to demand loyalty to national institutions - the rule of law, Parliament, our courts - whilst the right to peaceful protest is also enshrined in British values. But there must also be an acceptance that unlimited numbers of immigrants wanting to come and live in the UK is not acceptable. Just as you limit the number of passengers allowed in a taxi, so too is it essential to limit the number of immigrants wanting to settle here.