Contentious wording on immigration is to form part of a policy motion to be debated at the Lib Dem party conference in the autumn. It sends a message that I never envisaged would come from the party that I have long been a member of.
While this is not adopted party policy and is, at this stage, only a proposal from a working group I am still stunned that a Liberal party would even suggest that immigrants are to be blamed for economic ills.
The policy working group has come up with the following:
Leading Lib Dem blogger and an editor of Lib Dem Voice, Caron Lindsay, has written this great post and it is really quite heartening that many members do not subscribe to the view people like me, an Asian immigrant, bring discord and disharmony to the country. For isn’t that what the first sentence of the proposal states? If migration is not peaceful and equitable the strong implication is that immigrations have brought strife with them. This is the rhetoric of the Daily Mail, Nigel Farage and such ilk.
It makes me question what it is that has changed within the Lib Dems that such a proposal is deemed satisfactory enough to have passed a threshold to qualify as a conference motion.
It is hard to reconcile this motion with the strong centrist ground that the party has maintained. By all means, address the concerns that people have over immigration but, quite clearly, the proposal attempts to scapegoat rather than exonerate. I do think that it is possible to exonerate immigrants as human beings without collapsing the human angle with the economic arguments. Scapegoating immigrants is dirty down in the ditch dog whistle politics of racism.
Granted the last sentence of the quote does recognise the racism that exists against immigrants but it almost appears as an after thought. As if someone piped up at the final working group meeting to advocate some sort of toning down posturing without actually retracting the blame game.
The motion reeks of exclusive nationalism, them and us. Despite study after study showing that immigration does bring benefits in huge doses, the default position regardless of which political party is involved seems to be ‘blame immigrants’. I do expect this of the main political parties but NOT the Lib Dems.