So refreshing watching the Scottish election debate last night. The audience there saw immigration as a positive thing, bringing fresh skills and wage earners (and tax payers) to the country.
This is in such sharp contrast to the UK general election leaders debates, where questions about immigration were all of the “what are you going to do about …” kind and prompted the prospective prime ministers of all parties into a competition as to who could put the boot in most vigorously. To be fair, the least anti-migrant was Nick Clegg including his memorable attempt to get David Cameron to admit that most migration was from EU countries and so not going to be affected by any of their policies.
After that UK debate the Telegraph challenged Nick Clegg’s claim that 80% of migration was non-EU. However, BBC News 24 had a sort of ‘facts behind the claims’ slot and in their figures the net non-EU migration was actually negative; that is in the last year there were more non-EU people leaving the country than entering. Unfortunately BBC News don’t have this information on their web site to link to 🙁 My guess is the difference in the figures depends on whether you take into account student visas where there will be a very large influx and outflux each year, and whether you simply look at total immigration in a year or net migration. Certainly the BBC News figures suggested that all the major parties were overestimating the ‘problem’.
The great thing in the Scottish debate was that this was not viewed as a ‘problem’ at all.