Alastair Thompson: Fair immigration – for all

Alastair Thompson takes on the charged topic of immigration and explains why he believes a post-Brexit UK needs to adopt a system which is fair to everyone.

There is nothing tolerant or liberal – as many Remainers seem to believe – about the free movement of people from the European Union.

Free movement is to liberalism what a wolf is to a sheep. Free movement doesn’t strengthen and protect liberalism, it rips it apart and leaves it in shreds.

Within liberalism there are key tenets. People are individuals and so they should be treated as individuals. These people should have equal opportunity. The EU’s system of free movement isn’t freedom for everyone, it’s freedom for some – and freedom for some is no freedom at all.

Prior to the formation of the European Union, nearly 100% of net migration into the UK came from non-European nations. Recent years have shown nearly 50% of immigration now comes from the EU, despite the fact that only 7% of the world’s population live within the EU. How is that fair?

Many politicians have come under criticism of late for saying that European citizens “Jump the queue”. Celebrities-turned-commentators such as Gary Lineker went as far as to imply ending free movement would simply be done to placate “Xenophobia”.

I would end free movement from the EU. Not because I have a fear of immigration, but because I have a love for immigration. There is nothing racist about declaring your opposition to this policy.

Opposition to Free Movement isn’t xenophobic, it’s an intolerance to intolerance, an opposition to placing Europeans above the rest of the world.

The prolonged Brexit debate has brought to light just how intolerant and unreasonable the system is. Take a look at just some of the responses those from outside of the EU get when they speak out against its unfairness.

Look at the way hundreds of people ‘like’ posts on Twitter attacking those such as the IEA’s Kate Andrews over a perceived absence of Europeanness, or similar attacks sent to the TPA’s Chloe Westley.

Ironically, as a British man, born to parents from Merseyside, I still receive attacks from Remain supporters simply for being born outside of the UK.

I was recently accused of being apart of some “Australian cell” with Chloe Westley.

The conspiracies are laughable, but the constant attacks on those perceived to be non-European for opposing a European Union system which discriminates against them is one of the greatest examples of this unbalanced system.

As we leave the EU, we should embrace the chance to value individuals as the individuals that they are. We should embrace a system based on merit – a key value of the Conservative Party – and equality – at the heart of Labour.

Let us work to ensure the UK will never again be beholden to a system that places emphasis on where someone originates from.

Establishing a truly United Kingdom, united across-party on these beliefs, is one of the many great advantages of a proper Brexit.

Alastair Thompson is an Economics and Politics student at the University of Bath. Follow him on twitter: @AlastairJT