Is it racist to demand that immigrants have a basic level of English before entering this country? Liam Quinn is offended at that suggestion, and 97% of Britons agree.
In last week’s newspapers there was an article about a 58 year old Indian man who wanted to move to Britain to be with his wife.
The article created a storm in a tea-cup because the aforementioned man could not speak basic English. The topic was brought up on some dreary BBC Sunday morning show at the weekend. The BBC ran a poll “Should immigrants be forced to learn basic English before coming to Britain” (or something to this effect). The results were quite shocking. 97% voted Yes.
Whilst I am not shocked that the public was in support of the idea, the overwhelming majority did surprise me. So why is the topic controversial? Mrs Chapti claims that the decision to not allow her husband into Britain is “racist” and is against her human rights.
I totally disagree with her comments, whilst it is easy to jump on this case and claim anybody who agrees that they should be separated is cruel, fascist or racist is a symptom of what is wrong with modern day Britain. Any conversation on immigration and integration has become taboo. If politicians speak out, they are shunned by the press and told to be careful in future with their words.
Immigrants should have to learn a basic level of English. The most important benefit is to the immigrant themselves; imagine moving to a new country and not being able to communicate with anybody other than the people you already know? If they don’t know English before arriving they risk isolating themselves and causing tensions in the community. If they are unable to speak English they are failing to add any value to the UK’s economy or culture which part of the new immigration points system for those coming from outside of the EU. I have no problem with immigration at all and would be offended if somebody read into this in that manner, but basic English should be part of the pre-requisites of immigration to Britain.
“Real communities are bound by common experiences forged by friendship and conversation, knitted together by all the rituals of the neighbourhood, from the school run to the chat down the pub. And these bonds can take time,” – David Cameron on multiculturalism earlier this year. Breaking down the language barrier is a step to achieving real communities once again.
One quick response to this issue was “What about English people living abroad?” I firmly believe we shouldn’t have double standards and ex-pats should learn basic language skills, however it is easier to get by with English as a first language. This isn’t hypocritical, it is just common sense.