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21 Feb 2023
Jack Montgomery

NextImg:Britons More United on Migration Being 'Too High' Than Any Other Issue

The British people are more united on immigration being “too high” than on any other issue, polls suggest – but their political class are continuing to give them more and more of it.

UnHerd Britain polling released on Monday showed every single one of the 632 parliamentary constituencies (electoral districts) in Britain bar one saw more agreement with the state “immigration levels are too high” than disagreement.

The sole exception was a constituency in Bristol, the English city where, perhaps not coincidentally, a Black Lives Matter mob kicked off the “statue wars” in 2020 by tearing down a historic memorial of Edward Colston with the backing of woke local police leaders.

Interestingly, this constituency also polled as the most supportive of controversial gender self-ID legislation and the most unhappy about Brexit.

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Agreement that “immigration levels are too high” was also surprisingly consistent across the political spectrum.

Eighty per cent of people who voted for the Brexit Party, now Reform UK, in the 2019 general election concurred with the statement, along with 72 per cent of people who voted for the Conservative (Tory) Party, which has promised substantial reductions in net immigration in every general election campaign since 2010 but has never delivered them, compared to seven per cent and ten per cent who disagreed, respectively.

But a majority or substantial plurality of all the leftist opposition parties in the House of Commons also agreed, possibly to the surprise of those parties’ often very strongly pro-immigration politicians.

Sixty-eight per cent of people who voted for the Welsh left-separatist Plaid Cymru party, whose Commons leader Liz Saville Roberts has previously called for her small country to be transformed into a “nation of sanctuary for refugees”, think immigration is already too high as things stand, for example, suggesting the separatist grassroots is extremely poorly represented by its politicians.

The far-left Green Party, even more remarkably, has many more voters who agree that immigration is too high than disagree, at 47 per cent to 29 per cent, with a similar split in the supposedly centre-left Labour Party — which currently looks set to become form the next British government — at 45 per cent to 31 per cent.

Scotland’s left-separatist Scottish National Party (SNP), which has a pro-immigration, anti-Brexit stance despite its notional support for national identity and sovereignty, also appears to be failing to represent its voters, with 44 per cent agreeing that immigration is too high against 38 per cent who disagree.

Even the Liberal Democrats, a party defined by their identity as a bastion of middle-class liberal-leftism, do not enjoy a voter base that supports its pro-immigration agenda, with 41 per cent agreeing levels are too high against 29 per cent who disagree.

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All of this suggests that, unless the Richard Tice-led Reform Party can somehow achieve the nigh-impossible and sweep the boards in the next general election, British voters will not have representatives who reflect their views on immigration whoever enters government.

Labour has pretended — unconvincingly — in the past to want to control immigration, but has now largely abandoned even the pretence that it would try to decrease it, and none of the other left parties are interested in representing the pro-borders majority either.

Britain’s governing Conservative Party, meanwhile, have a now infamous record of promising one thing and delivering the opposite on immigration, promising to reduce net immigration “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands” ahead of the 2010, 2015, and 2017 general elections — as if a net influx of 99,000 a year would still not be very high, historically speaking — but never came remotely close to delivering on these manifesto pledges.

George Osborne, former second-in-command to David Cameron, who governed from 2010 to 2016, essentially boasted in 2017 that this was because, in fact, the party’s senior figures never agreed with their activists and voters on the need to reduce immigration, and actively decided to break the “tens of thousands” promise — though they kept making it — in their private deliberations.

Boris Johnson, despite his wholly unjustifiable image among both fans and foes as a “hard-right” populist who would deliver on the Brexit manifesto “taking back control” of Britain’s borders, dropped the pledge altogether for the 2019  general election, though he did pledge a vaguer “overall reduction” in immigration — a lowered bar which he still could not clear, with the country seeing net legal immigration hit a record-breaking 504,000 in the year he left office.

Current Tory leader Rishi Sunak signalled almost openly that he, too, has no intention of reducing immigration, indicating to an audience at the CBI — a trade body representing the companies most hungry for cheap foreign labour operating in Britain — that he believes the public can be persuaded to go along with the status quo on mass legal immigration if he can be seen to at least appear to be doing something about the smaller but also out of control issue of illegal immigration.

Brexit champion Nigel Farage, who has retired from frontline politics but still serves as honorary president of the Reform Party, has warned that the consequences of trying to take immigration off the political agenda despite the persistent gulf between the people and the political class on the issue will be “huge”, a prediction the new polling on national feeling on immigration appears to underline.

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