STRAIGHT TALK: Right-wing rhetoric is so wrong

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LOCAL MP John Hayes could barely contain his delight after the prime minister said the I-word last week.

LOCAL MP John Hayes could barely contain his delight after the prime minister said the I-word last week.

He told our sister paper the Lincolnshire Free Press that David Cameron’s pledge to cut immigration by tens of thousands was the “right speech on the right subject at the right time”.

The PM’s pre-election pronouncement (since disavowed as not Coalition policy by Lib Dem ministers) acted on him like “Walkies!” on a spaniel who’d been waiting too long to get out for a run.

Mr Hayes was eager to point out he’s been saying for years that immigration levels are too high and built up too fast.

Yes indeed he has – he’s been recorded in these two papers over the years expressing his concern. Back in 2007 he wrote a column describing immigration as an “immense burden” on public services that was “straining community relations.”

I think he spoke far too soon and too negatively, and four years on he’s doing it again. How does it help to rail against the situation when they’re here and they are not going anywhere?

Thank goodness the migrant workers have proved his dire predictions quite wrong.

The tiny number of East European men who found themselves homeless in Spalding and caused trouble are not the tip of an ugly iceberg – they’re floating free. And hopefully they’ve been helped to go home.

There hasn’t been a single instance in our news pages of violence by foreigners against the host population – and hardly any going the other way.

Migrant workers who could only get fieldwork when they arrived are integrating themselves into our society – taking college courses, getting better jobs, some of them acting as links between fellow foreigners and the rest of us, as factory line managers, CAB advisers and council staff.

Four years on community relations are actually quite healthy thanks to hugely positive efforts by the new immigrants themselves and their neighbours, workmates and employers, teachers, churches and community workers.

Of course immigration in the last ten years has made for a lot of changes in South Holland, which had seen nothing quite on this scale before.

Workers have come in mostly from the newer EU member countries but also from all points of the compass.

They all bring their own culture, spend more time outdoors in the parks and the streets than we do, and when you’re with your friends you speak your own language. That doesn’t mean you’re not making every effort to integrate into the local community.

Integration is the answer and the only answer, and getting behind the sterling efforts of everyone whatever their origin who’s trying to make it happen is what I’d expect from our MP – not sniping from the sidelines.

The PM wasn’t announcing any new measures to cut immigration – he was just trying to strike a note with us plebs to avoid a kicking in the local elections.