THE COLIN CAMPBELL COLUMN
TIME will tell if the new rules to curb immigration from the EU will have the devastating impact which has been predicted. If they will inflict a gaping wound on the health service through staff shortages, leave care homes stripped of carers, and leave the hotel and catering industry supposedly unable to get staff for love or money.
They Government’s new points system and minimum salary level is tough.
But an end to “freedom of movement” was the overwhelming reason a majority of people in the UK backed leave in the 2016 referendum.
For once the SNP is aligned with the Tories in Scotland in being opposed to the immigration curbs, and both have their agenda.
The SNP wants to appear to be “the migrants’ friend” in a bid to enlist their support if they gain voting rights in another independence referendum.
The Tories are representing the business sector which wants the continuation of a steady supply of cheap, young, ultra-flexible labour.
Together, they are able to present an argument which dominates the media with scarcely a murmur of dissent being permitted to intervene.
The difficulties which may arise are being exaggerated. But even if problems will emerge, no heed whatever is being paid to the flip side of the argument.
That housing capacity and the rental sector in Inverness and elsewhere is stretched to the limit, that schools are packed and overflowing, and that the NHS is struggling to cope with the demands being placed on it.
That’s as things stand – without the influx of people the EU continuing indefinitely and without pause.
It was Inverness MP Drew Hendry himself who told recently of how the lack of accommodation here was the second biggest source of concern and misery among those who went to see him, with only welfare problems surpassing it. Of how people in work were unable to afford to pay sky-high rents in Inverness, and approached him in a state of desperation.
Of course Mr Hendry would rather lie down on a bed of nails than admit that this has anything to do with the arrival of thousands of people from the EU in recent years. But most folk are able to join the dots with an open mind and reach the obvious conclusion.
“New Scots” as the SNP likes to call them have been welcomed, they play an important part in a changed landscape and we hope they will settle here and stay.
But that doesn’t mean we can afford to abandon control of our borders forever. There has to be a limit on the number of “new Scots” we can cope with. The new immigration rules are an attempt to do just that.
Many people want a fair balance on levels of immigration – and they’d prefer a much fairer balance in the arguments surrounding it also.
Black’s intolerance will ‘convert’ absolutely no-one
WHEN Ian Blackford and Mhairi Black set out on “A Highland roadshow” tour last year with the aim of converting voters to the cause of independence we said it was a doomed venture before it had begun.
The selection of this charmless pair was presumably based on their popularity with nationalists and took little or no account of the fact that many other people can’t stand them.
Aggressive and divisive, Blackford blusters on at Westminster PMQ’s every week.
And Black is even more adept at alienating people with her rhetoric and actions.
When she took a drag artist into a primary school to introduce young children to the world of transgenderism – a visit that should never have been allowed in the first place – many parents reacted with fury.
Rather than admitting she’d got it wrong Black had no hesitation in branding them “homophobes”.
And she still shows no signs of backing down.
She betrays the rampant intolerance of too many hardcore nationalists.
If you oppose independence you’re a weakling, a quisling or a traitor. If you want an end to mass immigration you’re racist. If you vote Tory you are positively evil. And if you hold any views on LGBT or gender issues which Mhairi Black and others like her disagree with you’re a homophobe or worse.
The SNP are backing a loser if they think the aggressive, abusive and intolerant approach of Mhairi Black and co. will convert undecided voters to back independence.