May I take issue with the view that unrestricted immigration largely made possible by the free movement of capital and labour in accordance with EU law is something that the country( and therefore Spalding) “never wanted or needed” (letter in last week’s Free Press).
True, it certainly changed employment prospects for many local people. For example, at the age of 55 in 2001 I was made redundant from a senior management position and found it impossible to secure a similar position because of the ageist prejudice which seemed to be the norm at that time. However, it was relatively easy for me to gain employment in a local food factory, which I did.
This work was tedious and low paid. At the same time, my ever-rising local council taxes (band D) eventually took 10 per cent off my gross wages.
Who would chose to embrace such working and living conditions here in Spalding given the choice?
Indeed, my children, with youth and time on their side, made the sensible decision to go elsewhere and earn a living. The EU extension allowing Eastern Europeans and others employment rights here in 2004, in my opinion, was timely as it met the needs of the local food industry and may have prevented these very important industries from re-locating.
While the march has every right to be held I believe that it is misguided and improper. Here’s why: The proposed Spalding anti- immigration march has little to say about the local injustice of low wages and regressive taxation that created the employment conditions that went some way to provoke the influx of migrants here.
While supporters of the march are right to highlight the inadequate state of public services that are needed to meet the challenge of future immigration that’s not necessarily a reason to stigmatise immigrants.
Also, I fear it may appeal to a racist few and those who, hypocritically, like to express loud xenophobic views while making money as landlords and employers of immigrants.
At all costs one should avoid such people. These are the reasons I will be shunning the march.