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Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne: Immigration appears to be cooling as an issue

This might be wishful thinking on my part - and it certainly goes against a recent opinion poll in the Sun newspaper - but the temperature on the immigration issue appears to be cooling. There is noticeably less news on it, the articles are less alarmist and more managerial, the tone of pundits is less angry and more measured, and Labour are being pretty silent about it. The public appear convinced that the government is taking their concerns seriously, even if there is debate about how exactly the government will achieve its policies. It is a stark contrast to the previous government, which adopted hard-right rhetoric ("British jobs for British workers") while demonstrating a left-wing inability to control of the borders. The public smelt a rat, and became very concerned. The cooling of the immigration debate is good news on a number of levels - it will hopefully lead to more rational policy-making; it will reduce support for racist parties such as the BNP - which got just 1% in the latest polls; and it will soothe community tensions. It has been observed by others that although Labour campaigned hard against the BNP, the BNP prospered under Labour rule. In contrast, its scaremongering and thuggish policies are likely to get far less traction with voters under a Conservative-led government.

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