Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 23 January 2014


I understand that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, the important thing is having the right balance.

It is the same way with immigration. There is good immigration where people from other countries come to the UK with skills and their own cultural varieties to enliven and enhance our own society. We have seen many examples of this over the years and are reaping the benefits today, not least in sport and creative arts.

We have also seen examples of bad immigration. Perhaps the Roman invasion 2000 years ago was the first, the mighty legions coming here with their short swords and their spears, subjugating the local population by brute force.

Since 1997 over 4 million people have come to our shores in a much more recent example of bad immigration. The numbers were too high, nobody was encouraged to integrate and in many places the local people felt swamped. Too many people, too quickly and as was inevitable, there is now a back lash. This was poor short-sighted governance and should never have happened.

Since 2010 the coalition government have tried to slowly close this door and have made good progress but in some parts of the country the damage has been done, and public perception has been severely impacted.

Concerns about immigration have been dominating my postbag and inbox for many months now, which is why there needs to be a proper policy response if we are to avoid fears being stoked by extremists that could have unpleasant consequences.

What the country now needs is a few years of much lower immigration to allow us to catch our breath and for communities most heavily affected to come to terms with a changing landscape. We need to make sure that people intending to live here in the long term embrace our British way of life and that integration is encouraged.
Newcomers living here should also embrace our language; after all it is not as though English is not spoken throughout the rest of the world. We need to ensure that our benefit system is only available to those who have contributed and is not a magnet to other nations.

We need to ensure that the settlement between the indigenous population and visitors is fair and sustainable over the longer term.

Fortunately, these are precisely the policies now being pursued by the coalition government, but it will take time to see the full benefits coming to fruition. 

posted by Gary @ 10:28