By Essex Tory Youth Chairman & Backbencher writer Andrew Thorpe-Apps
After reading Geoff Brooking’s recent piece for tbg, there are a few points that should be made. Whatever Mr Brooking or Daily Express readers may think, EU migrants are not the root of all our problems.
When Geoff talks about ‘EU migrants’, I assume he is not talking about German engineers or French doctors. As with UKIP, it seems his anger is pointed squarely at Eastern European ‘benefit tourists’. Nigel Farage has suggested Britain could be swamped by 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians in January 2014 (the combined population of these countries is 27.5 million).
In fact, this scaremongering is directed at a group who have made a ‘substantial’ contribution to our public finances since 2000. A recent UCL study found that EU migrants are less likely to receive state benefits or live in social housing than more established groups.
Parallels can be drawn between Britain’s reliance on Eastern European labour, and California’s need for Mexican migrants. The 2004 film A Day Without a Mexican takes a satirical look at what the consequences would be if all California’s Mexicans suddenly disappeared.
I’m also reminded of the film Gangs of New York. If we substitute the Irish migrants for Eastern European ones, and add the likes of Nigel Farage and Mr Brooking into the mix, then we’ve got a fairly accurate UK version of that movie.
We can also draw historical parallels as well as international ones. Many of the Huguenots who fled to England in the late 17th century faced hostility. The same is true of Jewish migrants who came here in the early 20th century. Narrow-minded nativism is nothing new.
As Anna Soubry said on Question Time, "When times are tough there’s a danger, and history tells us, when things are not good, you turn to the stranger and you blame them."
I know Conservatives are better than this.