David Cameron is keen to place a cap on immigrants. I don’t know whether it will have a big ‘I’ on it and I don’t know if it will be removable or fastened under the chin with an unbreakable tag. I don’t even have the energy to find out if Clegg has announced his conversion to the idea. I expect the position is clearer now he’s seen the books. I don’t mean books written by immigrants, some of which are jolly good, obviously; I mean all those books with numbers in that ministers keep in their desk drawers.
In the pre-election debates, Nick was keen to talk about the system being a mess and not really talk about numbers, save to say that a cap could be a problem because we might reach it and then find we need someone who’s really good at something. He mumbled his way half-heartedly through his sort-of amnesty which he asserted was definitely not the same as an amnesty.
Gordon agreed with David that it would reward criminals. I’ve seen those criminals, bent double over the fields of Kent, up to no good.
Gordon did recognise that we have a skills shortage, but stressed that ‘We’re training up our own chefs’, which means we won’t need any more foreigners coming over here to cook our biryanis. All three men spoke as though immigration is nothing but a problem. None suggested that a human being is worth more than what they can add to GDP, and none mentioned the right to freedom of movement.
But it’s impossible to argue that people should be forced to stay where they were born – certainly not Belgium or Aldershot – so it follows that we’re allowed to move about. Isn’t that really the point?
Jeremy Hardy is a comedian and writer who regularly appears on BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.