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`Politicians need not adopt tougher stands on immigration’:study

Should rebuild trust and confidence in democratic politics

Politicians need to build stronger communities and education system

 

19th April 2010: Immigration may have emerged as a core issue during the campaigning for the general elections, but a study suggests the politicians need not adopt a tougher stand.

The study says the mainstream politicians need to work all the more harder for building strong communities and strong education systems.

Their efforts should be directed towards rebuilding trust and confidence in democratic politics, so that the marginalized and vulnerable people do not feel disconnected.

In doing so, they serve the interests of these communities more effectively. In the process, they weaken the support for the BNP.

The researchers say the implication of their finding is that isolation and dejection rather than immigration is driving voters into the hands of the BNP. It should give politicians and observers the confidence to stand against and oppose the idea that much tougher border controls must be introduced in order to regain public support.

The assertion comes at a time when more than a few political parties are going to the polls with anti-immigration agenda.

Tory plans cap on immigration. In fact, David Cameron has already made it clear that he is in favour of slashing annual immigration by 80 per cent, if the Tories win the general election.

The UKIP has also called for end to mass uncontrolled immigration, while the British National Party too has gone to campaign with halt-immigration-invasion issue.

Only Prime Minister Gordon Brown has categorically ruled out the possibility of setting an upper limit on the number of migrants. Lib-dem election manifesto too says let illegal immigrants become British citizens, if they speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long-term.

The study, by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), suggests the idea that politicians need to adopt ever-tougher immigration controls to undermine the BNP is misleading.

In its place they need to work harder to build strong communities, strong education systems and rebuild trust in democratic politics so that "marginalized and isolated" people do not feel so detached.

Issues such as social barring, including lack of qualifications, weak social cohesion and low levels of voter turnout are far more important suggest the study, which looked at the roots of BNP support across 150 local authority areas.

The study acknowledges immigration is a matter of concern to the British people and has had some disapproving negative effects on parts of the UK, but say where people have significant direct contact with migrants; most are not concerned enough with immigration to vote for the BNP.

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