Party grassroots’ xenophobic message hits home
01 March 2010. A leaflet portraying David Cameron and Shadow Home Office Minister Andrew Rosindell discussing how to curb the the ‘floodgates’ opened by Labour has been distributed by Tory councillors within Rosindell’s Romford constituency.
‘Enough is enough!’ rants the flyer, reporting Cameron’s pledge to cut immigration by a massive 75%, to set up a brand new border police force with powers to track down and remove illegal immigrants, and to impose transitional controls on the right of nationals of the new EU member states to work in the UK.
As transitional measures are already being applied to the latest EU members, Romania and Bulgaria, retroactive restrictions on the right of Polish or Czech nationals to work in the UK, illegal under EU law, are implied.
‘Housing, schools, NHS and our prisons are at breaking point. We simply cannot go on like this’, is the flyer’s comment to the ‘result of Labour’s open-border policies – 1 in 9 people living in Britain are not born here, that’s 6.5 million people’.
Further policy points stressed by the leaflet are the end of bogus marriages and student entries, the scrapping of Labour’s Human Rights Act and ‘British Jobs for British Workers’.
The pamphlet, which features two Conservatives of Asian ethnicity, uses features pictures of "hate preachers" Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri Muhammad to support the promise ‘foreign criminals should be removed from Britain’.
Although caps on immigration have long been a standard Conservative guideline, what strikes is the tone of the pamphlet, described by critics as ‘alarmist and misleading’.
Mr Rosindell issued a statement disowning the leaflet, which refers to the MP as its promoter and is distributed in his constituency: ‘I did not write or approve this councillors’ flyer. Immigration is an important issue but, as David Cameron has made clear, we must be careful with both the facts and the language we use. This flyer falls short on both counts, and I shall be pointing that out to the councillors.’
Phil Woolas, Minister for Immigration commented, ‘It is deeply irresponsible for David Cameron’s shadow home office minister to be appearing on material using this sort of dog-whistle politics.
‘Of course, we need effective immigration policies – which is why we introduced the points-based system – but making misleading claims like this is dangerous and wrong.’
The pamphlet most likely answers to the urge felt by the party’s grassroots to place immigration as key issue in the Tory agenda.
ConservativeHome, a top conservative blog splot, released a survey of over two thousand Tory members which found 84% wanting immigration to be a top Tory pledge.
The Romford flyer wants to send this message home.