We have now reached the point where every week there is a major news story about the UK’s failure to deal with migration. This week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures showing that once again levels of migration and immigration had hit record highs with net immigration at 330,000 and overall immigration close to 700,000. That’s a rise of almost 30 per cent just compared to just last year.
Thousands of people are dying trying to enter Europe.
I have been surprised that there has been such silence from the right, particularly from right-leaning organisations who were once the cornerstones of the conservative debate in the United Kingdom. Immigration is one of the most significant issues that separates conservatives from liberals, inside or outside of the Conservative Party.
It wasn’t that long ago the majority of right-wing organisations in the UK could be relied upon to take a vocal and practical stance on immigration, but formerly conservative groups seem to now firmly hold a social liberal outlook.
For example, Oliver Cooper, the Chairman of Conservative Way Forward organising committee, the group which was founded to be the home of Thatcherites in the Conservative Party, said in response to the ONS statistics: “thanks to the booming economy, the UK is the go-to place for people to want to come to work from around the world”.
This is an insult to the millions of people who voted for the Conservative Party at the last election, expecting action on immigration. It was just a few months ago that these very same people campaigned on the basis of “controlled immigration” and returning net migration in the United Kingdom to the “tens of thousands”. Instead, we’ve come a step closer to seeing immigration into the UK hit one million people a year.
It is also a clear indication to me that the majority of “right-wing” organisations have now left conservatism behind in favour of a socially liberal stance, couching their language carefully so they still appear to be economically “right wing”.
The migration debate has been a subject that I have written and spoken on more than any other, and I feel I have presented the kind of realistic solutions that could make a difference. There is always concern around the controversy of making such strong arguments, and it’s why many who may agree choose not to speak publicly. I would have resigned from the Bow Group had there not been a willingness to make the issue a priority.
The migration debate needs more strong and practical voices to help solve this crisis and to answer the public concern. Over 70 per cent of the electorate list immigration as a pressing concern. We need small-c conservatives, which includes Conservatives and UKIPers, to stand up to advocate radical and workable solutions.
And no, we cannot rely on the media to give fair coverage, and we cannot rely on the government to act without pressure.
As we saw this week, little air time is given to advocates who do not fit the media’s polarised vision of this debate.
The media want to present the picture that the debate is between the caring left and the evil right. I was not surprised to turn on BBC and Sky News to see reporting with only white, middle aged men defending the conservative argument, set up to fail against the full force of the liberal assault.
I did not expect for mine or Breitbart London’s phone to be ringing last week with the mainstream media begging us to give comment on the issue. Even though this site’s editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam and I have been two of the most vocal voices on the real right over the migration crisis. We are young and brown, but to contact us for comment would spoil the vision the media are trying to portray to the public.
One debate I did get into; on the small satellite Islam Channel, was against Andy Slaughter, the Labour Member of Parliament for Hammersmith.
Andy, who was contributing via Skype, tried to twist my words and indicate I was a racist. He obviously thought I was the copperplate white middle aged punching bag usually offered up for slaughter (pun intended).
I overcame his lies by pointing out that my dark skin didn’t come about by being an indigenous Brit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand that urgent action is needed to solve Britain’s immigration crisis.
These tactics used by the liberal left and the mainstream media is why we have seen conservatism fall silent in Britain. If the right can come together across parties to deliver a coherent message on immigration, the media cannot ignore us.
The level of global migration has now reached 50 million, just under the population of the England. UKIP leader Nigel Farage often says the issue of immigration is not about right and left, but about right and wrong, or more importantly, about common sense. But inevitably it is the political right that need to stand up and demand a solution that meets the level of crisis. The defences at Britain’s borders will not cope with a constant influx of millions of migrants – the scenes at Calais will become a commonality.
The target of bringing down immigration levels to “the tens of thousands” is achievable – but not with a business as usual approach.
As a civilised nation, we have a moral duty to stop and control migration with a strong and impervious border. We need to send a message out that if you want to come to the UK and other European nations you need to do so legally.
The right is not only failing the nation by abandoning the debate, but failing the migrants who are dying by their thousands on the false promise of human traffickers who profit from their suffering, and our failure to send a clear message.
Nic Conner is a Senior Research Fellow at the Bow Group, Britain’s Oldest Conservative Think Tank