Prime Minister Gordon Brown has stepped up his pre-election rhetoric on immigration by telling would-be illegal migrants: "You are not welcome." No shit Sherlock. (Of course he's addressing the electorate, not would-be illegal immigrants.)
With Labour facing a challenge in some areas from the anti-immigration BNP, Mr Brown urged a "united front" among the main parties to combat "xenophobia". You expect me to unite around your nasty, populist, xenophobic rhetoric? Fuck off. Talking tough on immigration doesn't combat xenophobia, it creates it. It plays to the BNP's agenda.
But he said it was right for politicians to talk about immigration and address people's "needs and fears". People need immigration and shouldn't fear it. Sorted.
The Tories said Mr Brown had "failed on immigration" and had no new ideas. The Tories haven't changed from their ideas in 2005.
In his third major speech on immigration (I thought you couldn't talk about immigration these days?) since becoming prime minister in 2007 Mr Brown said Labour's points-based migration system for workers from outside the EU would reduce the UK economy's dependence on migrant labour as British workers were trained up to meet skills shortages. It doesn't work like that… skills requirements fluctuate, but training is slow and costs money. Immigration allows for skills shortages to be filled quickly and cheaply, which is good for the economy.
But he also stressed the importance of addressing voters' concerns about the impact of immigration on their communities. If you don't like your community, move. Don't stop others from moving.
He highlighted recent tightening up of restrictions on newcomers and changes to housing rules to allow councils to favour local people and a new fund to help high-migration areas cope with the added pressure on public services, paid for by migrants. Migrants already pay their taxes and put in more than they take out.
'Fears' Oh piss off, BBC.
And he delivered a stark message to illegal migrants: "To those migrants who think they can get away without making a contribution; without respecting our way of life; without honouring the values that make Britain what it is - I have only one message - you are not welcome."Illegal immigrants are forced into this position by the government. They don't choose to be illegal, the government has made their circumstances illegal. They can't make a contribution because of their status.
Giving his reaction to Mr Brown's speech, Conservative leader David Cameron said: "I'm delighted that the prime minister has converted to the cause of controlled migration, but people will wonder what he has been doing for the last few years." He's been blurting out the same nasty rhetoric as usual throughout his premiership, David. Why haven't you been paying attention?
The Conservatives would broadly continue with Labour's points-based system, which sets criteria immigrants from outside the EU must meet to work in Britain, but would also set an annual cap on the number of work permits issued. i.e. discriminating based on application order. Huge human cost + cripples business.
They say they want to cut net immigration - the difference between those coming into the UK and those leaving - from "about 200,000" people a year to the "tens of thousands a year we saw in the 80s and 90s".
The Conservatives say they would achieve this by stopping students transferring automatically from study to work (this will mean breaking up relationships formed at university) and by capping the number of skilled workers admitted from outside the EU, although they would encourage more high value migrants such as entrepreneurs, doctors and scientists. How about letting the market decide who is of value? Blummin' Marxist Tories!
They would also introduce a border force to combat illegal immigration and English language test for the spouses of legal migrants. More breaking up of relationships. I thought the Tories were meant to be pro-marriage?
Shadow immigration minister Chris Grayling said: "We want to continue to attract the brightest and the best people to the UK - but with control on the overall numbers coming here."
'Amnesty' Nice work BBC. Plant the opposition's spin into the reader's mind before they get to the explanation. Cocks.
In his speech, Gordon Brown called the Tory capping plan a "pre-determined quota" which he said was "misleading" as it will not apply to 80% of migrants, including EU nationals, family members and students. Wow, something true! I think I'm going to faint!
The Liberal Democrats favour a policy of earned citizenship for illegal immigrants - dubbed an "amnesty" by their opponents. Much better than Labservative policy, but I don't like "earned".
They also say they would channel skilled migrant workers to parts of the country where there are labour shortages, away from the overcrowded South-East of England. Immigrants would channel themselves there if it wasn't for government interference.
Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said there was "more consensus than meets the eye" on immigration and that "after many years of chronic mismanagement Labour have now got their act together". Sigh. Could someone please remind Chris about the word Liberal in our party's name.
But he said a border force, with police powers, was needed and he called for the reintroduction of exit and entry checks.
The BNP (oh fuck here we go), which is seeking to win its first seats at Westminster at the general election, want an immediate end to all immigration to the UK, including from other EU countries, and a programme of "voluntary repatriation".
What? That's it? No criticism? Just regurgitate BNP immigration policy and move on? The BBC are dangerous imbeciles.
The UK Independence Party (I think I'm going to vomit) is also focusing on immigration in its election campaign. It is proposing a five year freeze on immigration for permanent settlement.
UKIP wants withdrawal from the EU, like the BNP, and would end the automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in the UK, replacing it with a work permit system.
Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP's MEPs, said Britain would have an "open door" to the rest of Europe "while we are a member of the European Union". (which has been universally positive for almost everyone)
"This is the great thing that the Labour and Conservative parties don't want the voters to know," he told the BBC News Channel.
...And once again, no criticism for UKIP. I despair.
*Ahem* you covered the BNP and UKIP's immigration policy... so are they the only minor parties? Aren't you forgetting the Greens? Liberal BBC bias my arse.
In his speech, Mr Brown sought to differentiate between the position of parties such as the BNP and UKIP and "mainstream parties" who he said share a consensus that immigration is a positive force in British society and a necessary contributor to economic growth. So stop limiting it!
But he told the audience "how we conduct this debate is as important as the debate itself". Agreed. For instance, it is important that immigrants aren't blamed for things that aren't their fault...
And he called on mainstream parties to unite against "those who want to end immigration not because of the pressures it places on our communities (...like that! That's the government's fault, not immigrants') but simply because they don't like migrants".
Mr Brown announced changes to the points system, which will see two occupations - care workers and chefs - on the shortage list removed.
An aide said this would only reduce numbers entering the UK from outside the EU by about 2,500 and would not come fully into effect until 2014.
Mr Brown said he wanted to encourage young British people to take up social care and catering as careers to reduce the need to employ people from outside the EU. There's no way of doing this without it costing money.