Immigrants and Attitudes

The attitude of the indigenous population of the United Kingdom towards immigrants is changing. In April, an Ipsos Mori survey found immigration was a concern for 11% of people – the lowest level since 2001. Concern reached its highest level in 2016 when the Brexit referendum was being held. Why the change?

The media, always lovers of solutions which explain that “progressive thinking” is always correct, politically correct, point to equality and diversity training. I think that is nonsense; the answer lies in the character of the indigenous population and in that of the immigrants..

The people of these islands have always been tolerant. They accept those with different names, races and religions eventually but acceptance of immigrants into any society depends on the attitudes not just of that society but also on those coming into the society from foreign parts and this applies whether it is a large group of immigrants  from a far off place of which we know little or whether it is a family coming from a different place into a village.

It is not just society that needs to look at their attitudes towards diversity (whatever that means) and equality. Immigrants also must look to their attitudes towards the way of life of the society in which they choose to live and must be equally tolerant. I rather suspect that in the past few years many immigrants have become more tolerant and participate in British societies more fully than before.

Eventually, provided everyone has equality of opportunity, attitudes towards immigrants change as immigrants become friends, neighbours, husbands and wives and lovers of the indigenous population.  Familiarity of the immigrants and the folk who live where the immigrants have come) fight the ignorance  that suppresses normal instincts of tolerance and hospitality. Familiarity is a process of education.

Ultimately the only questions that society has to ask when addressing the issue of whether immigrants should come into it are

  • Do we have room for them? and
  • Do we have need of them?

The “need” question is easily answered; the “room” question is much more difficult especially when the starting point is that the world is already full of people.

Finally, there is a much overlooked issue of immigration. If you come to live in someone else’s country you should come not only to add what you bring into that country but also to assimilate into it and allow the country to change you in some respects as you will inevitably change the country in other respects. The most important thing you must do is to obey the laws of the country that you enter. Therefore entering a country legally is of paramount importance.

You cannot expect to be welcome in someone’s home if you enter it without being asked.


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