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Totally agree with this. Immigration is certainly a subject we should campaign about (Sayeed Warsi I thought struck the right note on Any Questions)but we must do so with more skill than we did in 2005.
I was not aware Portillo had lost his column on the Sunday Times. If that's true I'm quite glad. He is just another embittered has been seeking revenge on old colleagues. He can be interesting at times though.

I thought you only wanted a focus on crime and the NHS, Tim?

Crime and the NHS would certainly be my two big themes, Felicity.

I would also have immigration as one of two second level themes.

The other theme would, I think, be what I've called "achievable environmentalism". There's probably a better name for it. That's environmentalism that focuses - not on changing the planet - but recycling, reducing waste, protecting natural habitats, ensuring clean water, planting more trees, better design of social housing.

Within the crime message, of course, is the whole of IDS' social renewal agenda.

I hope this helps.


What about Europe?

I really don't think banging on about these sorts of things is really going to be constructive to the Conservative cause. These are issues which are simply old-hat and we should be concentrating upon more serious issues facing mankind, such as Climate Change and the damage wrought by over-use of short-haul flights in the UK by the masses.

Immigration is simply an out-of-date issue which lost us the election in 2005. The public doesn't care about such things, so we must stop banging on about it. I love living in the Britain of today, not the Britain of yesterday. Anyone who thinks or feels that we should be doing anything different to that which we are is simply delusional.

I think we need to hit home about controlled immigration. UK Plc cannot cope with the current influx and it is shown in the way our health service and other key areas are suffering.

We need to show the country that Labour isn't working.... and not just on Immigration.

Excuse any presumption if this has already been discussed. I think the BBC's 'concerns' here should be kept in perspective with respect to its typical MO and that of your left-wing media, all but coercing both politicos and the citizenry into your multicultural abyss. It might help to point out the Beeb's recent 'poll' and write-up on the problems of integration for "British Asians" (Muslims). They basically come down on, who else, the white British citizen for not allowing Muslims to be, Muslims, and instead expecting them to be white, western and British. As long as multicultural guilt rules, don't expect laws to change.

Do we know why Portillo was let go by the Sunday Times?

Also on Portillo - I always found it odd that his views on BBC's This Week were usually insightful and even handed, but in his articles for the ST he would completely contradict what he'd said the previous Thursday...

Anyhoo. Immigration IS an important issue, but - and has been said millions of times before - the Tories have got to be careful about the issue. People remember 2005 so they already know the Tory party wants more control of immigration. So there doesn't need to be any 'ramming home' of the point.

It may turn out that the 2005 was the right campaign - fought at the wrong time. Perhaps it was 2-3 years premature of mainsteam public opinion. The message that needs to be conveyed to the public now, quietly but clearly, is - 'Conservatives: Right from the start'.

I can remember being in Peterborough twenty years ago and I always remember it as being a very nice place. It was very sad to see on the politics show the way that immigrants have trashed the area, dumping piles of rubbish and atracting rats. I can hardly believe it is the same town. Just goes to show how a town can break down after ten years of Labour government.

Actually 'crime and the NHS' cannot be seperated from Immigration - Felicity Mountjoy @ 20.33. The Chief Constable highlighted the problems of crime and immigration on her patch only this week.

It's absurd for benefits to be being paid for people who are not living in this country, whether someone is a British citizen or not they should not be able to claim benefit for a child who is even briefly outside the country.

Leave the EU and the UK would also be able to extend restrictions on those who are not citizens from claiming non-contributory benefit - if someone is not resident they should not be able to claim any benefits, and even resident non-citizens should only become eligible if they have been granted asylum. For anyone returning to the UK there should be a period of requalification required.

For it to be acceptable for the UK to remain in the EU there has to be huge reform; I have no problem with those who can support themselves financially coming to the UK so long as they keep within the law and are not a terrorist threat, however the UK does need to regain control of it's own borders. However many enter the country it needs to be on the terms dictated by the UK parliament, there should be an end to the concept of EU citizens and a move to a Free Trade area.

Immigration is definitely an issue: I live in a rural area and the locals are seriously concerned about cheap migrant labour taking their jobs.

Sure we should make health an issue too - but that means focusing 'health' and not the NHS. Long-term the NHS is doomed and we must offer the strivers a helping hand and a way to take control of their own healthcare (by 100% tax-deductibility of private insurance premiums) if we truly want to win them over.

Steevo, if you're going to comment on this site it might be a good idea to know at least a tiny bit of what the thread is about. The BBC report was not about Muslims at all but immigrants from Eastern Europe. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of your prejudice .

Please keep exchanges civilised please, Malcolm!


If an election is called,any rational person knows there are only two issues
1. The EU
2. Immigration
they underline and affect all other issues from schools to health to crime to foreign policy to economics.
my personal view is that the Tory party should announce that immigration is now a national'emergency' and it must cease totally provisionally while a proper effective system is worked out.
But I dont think present tories are intelligent or resolute to do anything.

Tanuki (Sept 23, 2007 at 22:03), it seems I have yet another supporter for my proposal for a health system that promotes autonomy and encourages responsibility, as outlined in Platform on this website!

The general feeling is that immigration is an issue that concerns all law-abiding citizens regardless of colour or creed, but it now extends more deeply and warrants urgent attention.

As for election issues, I have campaigned in Bradford and Leicester. Listen to the greater numbers of those willing to switch to Conservatives, from council estates to private housing. Crime, immigration and the NHS regularly tops the chart.

I hope Team Cameron will not flinch from these issues if Gordon Brown calls an election. The fevered election pitch suggests that this momentum is becoming unstoppable!

David Cameron should not be frightend of talking about immigration, 2.5 million people offically and probably even more than that in practice, in the last 5 years is totally out of control. It is a question of logistics not race or racisim,it cuts across all areas. The enviorment,one third of the extra 3 million extra houses planned to be built are down to immigration. Crime, one in 5 crimes in London are according to the Met committed by foreign nationals. Health, education and social services are in many places struggling to cope with the impact.

You avoid immigration at your peril as polls show it is many peoples top 3 issues, be brave and mention it or be a coward and avoid it because you are worried at being labelled racisit.

Editor likes Steevo. >:)


"Do we know why Portillo was let go by the Sunday Times?"


Even the Sunday Times has standards....

There are a number of rules associated with discussing immigration.

First, discuss it but don't let it dominate. Second, assess it in terms of practical impact. Third, be quite clear in your remarks. The conservatives blundered in 05 by sounding sneaky and ashamed of the subject and yet obsessed by it as well. Such is the degree to which they are psychologically dominated by their enemies.

The fourth rule is to allow for some nostalgic sentiment, but only after the material disadvantages of immigration have been canvassed. Michael Howard shied away from this when pressed by John Humphries during the last election. It should not be impermissable to highlight the anxiety felt by the long term residents of an area which finds itself suddenly transformed by the arrival of migrants. Their locale is their home and they have every right to expect its character to be respected and preserved.

As you say, even the wretched Beeb has woken up to the issue. Worse, you can bet your bottom dollar that Brown will try to claim it, too. How foolish the tory leaders were to leave behind their entrenched positions! Portillo, who started up this "modernising" nonsense and who yet chose to snipe at his protege, Cameron, has a lot to answer for. It doesn't surprise me to find he has been sacked from the Sunday Times.

Simon Denis (Sept 23, 2007 at 23:48) will have the approbation of many voters when he spoke of the need to "highlight the anxiety felt by the long term residents of an area which finds itself suddenly transformed by the arrival of migrants. Their locale is their home and they have every right to expect its character to be respected and preserved."

Politicians should never be embarrassed or evasive, and they must have courage too!

'we must stop banging on about it.'

Much as I yield to no-one in my low opinion of Michael Howard, I ought to point out that in 2005 it wasn't actually a major part of the Conservative program, and in fact the policy was not that different from Labour's. What happened was that the left-wing press, including all the broadcasting media, ran a highly successful smear campaign which the Tory leadership was too incompetent to adequately counter.

Good for the Sunday Times. Roll on the day Portillo is off our late night TV screens too.

The idea that the public is somehow favourably disposed towards immigration is another of the 'Big Lies' created by the Left, aided and abetted by the employers of cheap labour, and eagerly picked up by the so-called 'modernisers' in the Conservative Party.

Those of us whose memories go back to the momentous immigration speeches of Enoch Powell will be aware that the majority of the public have always instinctively opposed immigration. Not that they have ever been permitted a say in the matter.

Since then, it is true, the bogey of 'racism' has been carefully orchestrated in order to shut down debate on the issue, but that does not alter the private opinions of the people.

Sadly, it will now be difficult for the Conservative Party to take a lead on an issue upon which the Cameron trumpet has always sounded an uncertain note.

Those of us whose memories go back to the momentous immigration speeches of Enoch Powell will be aware that the majority of the public have always instinctively opposed immigration
Enoch Powell though in February 1974 advised people to vote Labour and in fact support for both main parties collapsed, whereas support for the Liberals and Nationalists who were more favourable towards immigration surged.

""Crime and the NHS would certainly be my two big themes.

I would also have immigration as one of two second level themes.

The other theme would, I think, be what I've called "achievable environmentalism".""

Tim, no problem with these as long as we don't forget clear issues like Iraq and Brown's shabby treatment of the armed forces, the pensions crisis etc etc, but we need to stop talking about "Climate Change" and "Green Issues" and start talking about "Sustainability"

People compare Brown's well spun statesmanlike solidarity and gravitas, and promises to safeguard Northern Rock savers, with DC's perceived love of windmills (they don't see the context and we haven't painted the bigger picture well enough) and the proposed tax on supermarket car parks, and the result is the polls we are getting at the moment.

People are still not sure about Climate change (some scientists are still not sure), and like it or not the windmill thing, because we haven't joined up the dots, smacks to many of sandals and hippy campaigning. And let's not even talk about the tax on supermarket car parks.

Sustainability, on the other hand, strikes a chord with most people. Few people don't realise that we have finite water resources; most would understand that, under Brown, we have become more dependent on other countries for energy and food than ever before, which is a huge potential threat to our national security. (How, purely for example, would we defend ourselves against a Russia which suddenly became beligerent in say 5 years time if by then we are having to import 50% or more of our gas supplies from Russia?).

Come up with a properly staffed out plans for developing domestic microgeneration over the next five years including, where appropriate, domestic windmills, solar heating panels, solar elctric panels etc, which doesn't involve tax increases, and people will begin to come on board.

Which party is seriously coming forward with plans which will minimise disruption in this country when natural oil and gas suppies run out? - and remember, while there may be (say) 100 years of supply left, global demand continues to accelerate which means scarcity and prohibitive prices may start to bite even before the next government reaches its full five year term.

Most people, particularly DC's much loved middle ground, would agree that sustainability means not concreting over vast swathes of countryside to build more houses, and that a more thoughtful, more forward looking party would set out to stabilise the number of people on our island, not allow that number to run out of control and then run behind panicking to
build more houses than we would otherwise need.

Sustainability provides the key underpinning for setting a population limit and controlling the influx of people into the country to ensure we do not exceed that figure, along with making us more independent in energy and food, and ensuring that our waste doesn't end up polluting the finite space we occupy.

So Crime and NHS, and immigration as an integral component of Sustainability, not "achievable environmentalism"

(The use of the word "achievable" hints at compromise and acceptance of failure, the "environmentalism" word carries a flavour of the Greens and fringe environmentalists - I'm not saying I don't understand or support the point I think you're making, just that in terms of public acceptance and opinion forming this may not be the best terminology to use.)

And incidentally, on immigration, can we please explode the myth that we need immigration to dramatically increase the number of younger working people to support a growing older generation? This is only an attractive short term fix because the downstream economic problems it generates won't arrive until today's political leaders are retired on their gold plated pensions. The fact is yes we do have a growing demographic imbalance, and yes we do need to manage it, but providing we don't create a matching bulge in the lower age groups, the problem will go away as soon as the spike in older members of the population moves on. If we increase the population by pouring in younger people (to "support the demographic bulge") then the problem simply gets worse in 20 to 40 years time when all the young workers we've brought in to solve the problem reach retirement age themselves (assuming that their social cost doesn't bite sooner).

The logical extension of this process of bringing in more "younger workers" to support the bulge in the numbers of non working older people would be that we would have to continue growing the working population into infinity as each surge in youger workers retires - clearly an impossibility, and a classic outcome of short term thinking which brings us back to the need for sustainability to underpin everything we do.

Yet Another Anon (Sept 24, 2007 at 10:36), I think there is a lot of ambivalence and confusion over immigration - the situation now is different to that over 30 years ago.

Assimilation has taken place, largely successfully, but the problems now relate to sheer rate of increase, the volume and the inability of the infrastructure to cope. The issue is not about those who have become integrated but new and future arrivals.

The other issue that leads off immigration is related to law and order, and in particular the impact of Islamic fundamentalism on homeland security.

Well said Patriot, that's the argument I have been making and pretty much agree with all you have said.

Its frustrating that Cameron cannot see the logical extension of his green agenda, an extension to his argument which makes it relevant to peoples everyday concerns, rather than the loopy environmentalism it will get stranded as. Sustainability is about population, the driver of population growth is immigration, and from there extends into housing, public services, energy and food security, etc.

And as you rightly say, the economic case for immigration is also bogus, for essentially its being made on a case which would be illegal if any business sought to use it as a model, for it is no more than pyramid selling, but in this instance we are seeking to unload the problem on future generations, which is pretty despicable of us.

Those of you who think immigration is less important than the 'over use' of short haul flights should try looking at the problem from the other end of the social pile. Those, like my husband, competing with foreign migrant workers for skilled manual jobs and consequently seeing their wages forced downwards can only afford short-haul holidays to the Med or in our case, camping in wet west Wales!

Those of you with Polish nannys and Lithuanian plumbers are able to take a much more relaxed view because it is not your lifestyle that is feeling the pinch.

Believe me, C1s and C2s will flock to a party that takes a pragmatic, pro-British but non-racist approach to this issue. I hope DC will be brave enough to take the lead.

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