New Minister not welcome
The appointment of Phil Woolas as the new Minister for Immigration is not good news for anyone dreaming of, or trying to hold on to, an anti-racist society that welcomes newcomers.
One blog noted earlier this year, when Woolas was Enviroment Minister, that his comments sounded "like BNP propaganda" when he
"blamed immigrants from rural Pakistan for a rise in birth defect rates due to the inter-marriage of cousins."
The Times says of his appointment:
"In his first interview since being given the job yesterday, Phil Woolas vowed to toughen the current legislation, claiming that it was vital to "provide confidence to the indigenous population that migration is under control"…."
This government has often recently justified its control measures as appeasing 'the indigenous population', which it must imagine as a bunch of racists. By doing this, the government has actually appropriated far right arguments and policies and is employing these arguments as its own in its speech and actions.
When "population control" becomes an uppermost consideration, the debate on immigration is completely lost as people are no longer seen as individual lives but numbers to be crunched. Woolas has a very skewed idea of most of the residents of the UK if he thinks that they will be delighted by xenophobia and more measures of control.
This appointment only makes it more urgent and important that we continue to demonstrate our own welcome of foreigners and our disgust at racism.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.