Newspaper Column

Immigration as big issue in UK 2015 general elections

BY M. Babajide-Alabi

It will be an overstatement to say that the April, 2015 UK General Elections will be “fought” and won on the immigration front. All indications are that this is the catch word for the politicians. It is no news that the path line to immigration as an election issue was drawn so many years ago.

Immigration has always played a big role in elections in the United Kingdom. It is not unusual to hear this word “thrown” about recklessly by politicians. The trend is now catching up in most of the “developed” countries. It is no longer a secret that politicians in these climes play on the sympathy votes and whip up anti-immigration sentiments as election year draws near.

From Austria to Australia and from Canada to the United States, immigration is usually a trump card for politicians to win cheap votes. It has been observed that these politicians really do not care about immigration until it is a few months to the elections. This is when they realise how negatively immigration policies have impacted on their countries and constituents.


In the United Kingdom, surprisingly, immigration issues do never leave the front “benches”. We keep it “warm and well tendered”. If the Migration Watch is not employing the scare tactics, the Home Office is making documentaries on border controls and the news channels are leading with sensational headlines and stories about immigration. In fact, there are newspapers popular for their anti-immigration editorial stands. To these media outlets, everything that is wrong with the United Kingdom is caused by immigrants.


This may be understandable to a point. As the economies of these “super power countries” took a “tumble” in the latter part of the last decade, some politicians searched for scapegoats. And in the immigration policies they did find.

Not a few times in the past have we heard stories of how immigrants might have contributed to the economic recession in some countries. As laughable as this argument seem, these are some of the nonsensical ideas pushed out by politicians just to win votes.

In the UK, the greatest immigration “culprits” are the policies involving the Non-EU applicants. These are the Africans, Asians, Americans, etc. It has always been easy for UK politicians to lambast the immigration policies towards these set of people.

As a result of this, immigration “goalposts” are always shifted when it comes to Non-EU applicants. Many policies have been tinkered with to deliberately keep the Africans, Asians etc out of UK.

While it is quite obvious that the economy of the UK “stands” on immigrants’ “contributions”, the politicians would rather “rubbish” these to please the voters.


The voters are concerned. This is understandable. They are complaining about housing, jobs, stretched health facilities, schools, benefits etc. So every squeeze from the government is indirectly attributed to the activities of immigrants. The immigrants are accused daily of “taking jobs away” from the British.

They are the cleaners, joiners, waiters, waitresses, taxi drivers etc while the Britons are “working” outside the JobCentre offices. It is easy to point the accusing finger on the immigrants.


In the run up to the April 2015 elections, there is a slight shift in the debate. While in the past the dominant concern of politicians was how to use Afican-Asian immigrants as the stepping board to vote catching, this time around, they are trying to outdo each other in regards to European Union migration. It is amusing how these politicians have been “shouting” on it.

This EU immigration trend was, no doubt, set by the leader of the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, an individual that has gotten the other politicians very jittery and wet at the collars any time EU is mentioned. Farage is daily winning converts and mostly from the Tories. Remember the recent defections from the Conservative Party.

The traditional British people are falling in love with Mr Farage who seems to spend most of his campaign times in the pub rather than on the soap box.

To be concluded

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I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.