United Kingdom is a country of immigrants

Border staff
Border staff
Share this article

I am sure I will not be the only reader to respond to Pendle UKIP’s Graham Cannon’s rather scary letter.

It seems we have become the most “densely” populated country in Europe but does that make us a “crowded” country?

I don’t believe so and having just spent a weekend in the Lakes, I don’t feel crowded.

However, Graham and his UKIP friends see an opportunity to do some serious “scaremongering”, which is very irresponsible.

Maybe Graham takes the Daily Mail too seriously. Graham mentions there are 182,000 immigrants arriving here each year, which he states would mean a new city the size of Preston being required every two years.

Now if that is not political scaremongering of the highest order, I don’t know what is. I’ve been to Preston and I don’t think we deserve another one!

Seriously though, surely we can’t talk about immigration figures and not take into consideration the number of people who leave this country every year and also how many of the new immigrants go home shortly after they arrive. UKIP don’t want to discuss that because they want to scare the voter into believing this country is in grave danger from new people arriving in this country. However, listening to Question Time last week, it seems the mass influx of Romanian and Bulgarian people hasn’t materialised. Maybe it was just another Daily Mail myth? It also seems that many of the Polish people who arrived here during the last decade have also returned as the economy in Poland has improved. They came to work, earn some money and learn English. What’s the problem?

Graham asks the question “whose jobs will they take?” because this really scares people. So let’s look at this issue. There are over one million people unemployed in this country yet people can travel halfway across Europe, speaking only basic or no English, and clearly little money behind them, and yet find a job. Amazing.

During 2013, I have been served in hotels and bars by Polish, Bulgarians Russians, Ukrainians, Latvian and Lithuanians. On New Year’s Eve, we stayed in a hotel near Preston where the staff seemed mainly East Europeans. And … they all had a smile on their face!

If you go into a motorway service station or an airport café at 3am, it will almost certainly be a non-English person serving you. So perhaps, Graham, maybe immigration is not such a bad thing after all. Maybe, just maybe, our new arrivals are actually keeping things ticking over for us. Could it be that we actually need these people to do what over a million British people seem uninterested in tackling?

If I have some empathy for new people who arrive here it might be, because, with a name like McCabe, it is obvious I am a descendant of Irish immigrants who arrived here, starving, in the late 1840s. Graham, this is a country of immigrants.

Gerard McCabe