In a recent LSE article in response to the recent Italian elections James Newell wrote that;
“The right’s success in exploiting immigration as an issue was revealed by the results of a poll carried out by the private research institute, Tecnè, in early February.”
This sets a very interesting frame, that apparently having an anti-immigration mandate is exploiting the issue in favour of more political support. There is apparently a very small margin in which you can discuss the issues of immigration and integration, anything too critical is deemed exploiting and unethical. Solidarity, human rights, and acceptance are at the core of the European Union and when related to the immigration crisis it is only natural that as exemplar the EU should be host to those that are in aid. But being blindsided by the long-term consequences is becoming more apparent and calling cultural conservatives racists helps neither.
After reading Murray’s book on the strange death of Europe, I come to realize how much of an issue it is to debate about the consequences of immigration, since people even take offence at the word crisis these days. Murray highlights numerous examples of politicians, professors, and writers who had warned about it had either been ignored, defamed, dismissed, prosecuted or killed. Rarely, if ever, even after the facts changed, did the actual victims receive much sympathy.
Immigration itself has many repercussions for the host country, from decreasing wages in the lower labour market, housing shortages and the extra burden on the education system. All of these may be serious questions that need proper management but not impossible. An often-skipped burden is also that of integration. As a liberal society who are we to tell immigrants to adapt to our lifestyle. Traditionalist populist parties often argue for more integration since when in Rome, do as the Roman’s do. But what if those recently arrived do not adjust to the same values we live by?
It is exactly this question the social democratic parties are too afraid to try to answer, and instead, strange analogies are made to compare the current immigrant crisis to that during the second world war. Isn’t it the strangest thing that it is the liberal societies that go quiet on bigotry if it comes from a community of immigrants.
Murray; - “No one had prepared for the possibility that those arriving might not only not become integrated but might bring many social and religious views with them, and that other minorities might be the first victims of such lack of foresight.”
And it is for this reasons that we as Europeans do need not shy away from what values we treasure and expect being upheld by all residents. A big melting pot is just, for now, an unreachable utopia, and if the social democrats do not want to join the debate on this topic, Italy sadly won’t be the last country to have an EU-sceptic anti-immigration government.