I previously wrote almost in despair about the immigration policy paper being debated at conference in September. You can read the blog post here. Lib Dem Voice has published articles too on the same topic.
I am always delighted when people leave comments and the following one was left by Janet King. I have published it below without edits because it throws some more light on the paper and the context for it. While I still worry about the inclusion of wording which suggests that immigrants are to be blamed for economic failures, Janet King’s long comment deserves consideration.
Janet King, August 19, 2018
This is my personal opinion although I am a founder member of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary and represent our organisation at Detention Forum.
Firstly, one has to be aware of what some members of the UK public believe to be the truth ie that immigration is a factor in their own unemployment, their children’s inability to find an affordable home. We all know that this is false and the result of illiberal mainly right wing media drip feeding their readers over many years.
No Liberal Democrat believes this to be true and we have a good record of supporting migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Please follow us on @LD4SOS and visit http://www.ld4sos.org.uk if you remain unconvinced.
When preparing a policy, any party does well to know the enemy and the policy paper is merely acknowledging the existence of an anti-immigration attitude which undoubtedly exists in parts of this country and which is unfortunately an influence on successive Governments’ policies on migration.
If you read further, you will see that the policy motion seeks to overturn this anti-migration stance and I am of the opinion that policy paper 131 on which the motion is based, is a very good description of liberal values. Indeed it is radical in its proposals to demand the right to work for asylum seekers in any occupation for which they are suitable if their application for asylum has not been determined after 3 months.
This will save a descent into destitution and dependency and also makes economic sense for both migrant and Government. Free ESOL classes as of right, no detention beyond 72 hours, alternatives to detention thus allowing the closure of 6 IRCs are both huge steps forward as you would realise if you had played any part in campaigning for a better, more humane asylum system in the UK.
Some of the policy motion could have been better worded and LD4SOS had sent a fairly long list of amendments to Federal Policy Committee, which we hope will be accepted preferably by the proposers or after debate at Conference.
Rest assured that the Liberal democrat party has not lost its ways and that paper 131, the policy passed at this September’s Conference and our next GE manifesto will not disappoint all those who, like us, are working for an immigration and asylum system which is humane, fair and works for the migrant much more than is the case at present.
Please send your concerns about the current system to the Home Secretary and support us as we try to convince him that the flaws in the system can and must be overcome.
The following comment was left on my blog post by Dave Page.
Thank you Dave and Janet.