THERE is a limit to the number of migrants the UK can accommodate, the former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, said last week, in a statement in which he supported the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey. The Bishop’s statement follows criticism of Lord Carey for playing into the hands of racists.
The former Archbishop is a member of the cross-party Balanced Migration Group, launched by the MP and former minister Frank Field, which wants to stop the UK population from reaching 70 million: it has asked political parties to include balanced migration policies in their election manifestos.
The Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, told The Times last Friday: “I [do not] believe Lord Carey or the group are racist, but their approach can play into what becomes a racist opposition to people who are not from a white, Anglo-Saxon background.”
Dr Nazir-Ali congratulated the former Archbishop: “Lord Carey has broken the church consensus,” he said in his statement.
Britain was a small country. “Not only is there overcrowding, especially in the metropolitan areas, but social, educational, and medical services are placed under increasing strain, and there is always the concern about jobs and housing for the indigenous population, particularly from its poorer sections,” the Bishop said.
The issue was not only about numbers, but also about quality. . . If immigrants settled permanently they should be subject to an integrated strategy of citizenship and security, thought out not only by the “mandarins of Whitehall”, but also by “those who have experience and expertise in the cultural, religious, and ideological dimensions of this question”.
People from Islamic lands should not be isolated by drawing a cordon sanitaire around them, although the security situation made that a temptation, he said.
“Radical ideology, which claims to be Islamist in inspiration, has caused havoc in many parts of the world. In the Islamic world, many courageous human-rights groups — women, politicians, and others — are fighting to purge their countries of this infestation. We must not allow it to take root here.”
Unrestricted EU immigration to Britain might not be sustainable, “especially if the EU continues to expand and may, one day, include countries like Turkey, Albania, and the former Yugoslavia.
“Britain has a good record for being a refuge for those fleeing persecution, but it seems to be getting more than its fair share of those claiming to be refugees.” Lord Carey and his colleagues had “begun an important debate”, Dr Nazir-Ali said.
A YouGov poll of 57 crucial marginal constituencies, carried out for pressure group Migrationwatch, found that 44 per cent of voters in Labour-held marginal seats would be more likely to back the Conservatives if David Cameron pledged to set a 50,000 annual limit on immigration, the BBC reported.