Survey of UK attitudes to migrants shows generosity and sense

Morning View
Morning View

A survey that we report on page 16 of today’s newspaper demonstrates the good sense of the British public.

People in the UK are shown to be both generous and prudent.

For all the talk of increased racism and xenophobia due to Brexit, support for immigration has increased – around half the population think it has been good for the economy.

But there are legitimate concerns too – more than three in five people (63% of those questions by Ipsos) are concerned about terrorists pretending to be refugees.

Plainly this has happened in attacks in Europe. So far the percentage of migrants involved in violence is minuscule, but the numbers of people entering Europe have been so vast that it only takes a tiny percentage to pose a risk.

The findings are part of an international study of attitudes towards immigration. While around half of British people think there are too many immigrants in the UK, this is merely in line with what other people in other countries think.

The number of people who think the UK should close its borders is almost two in five (38 per cent). That is too extreme but an understandable position to take. The southeast of England is one of the most densely populated places on Earth and is struggling to cope with the influx.

Meanwhile, Germany is getting tough with Islamic hate preachers and those who fight jihad abroad. Britain too must monitor Islamic hate preachers and prosecute them swiftly if they incite violence (instead of prosecuting respected members of the community like Pastor Jim McConnell, who did not even come close to inciting violence or hatred).

These must become Europe-wide policies, adopted by EU and non EU states: generosity towards extreme and genuine refugee claims but immediate removal of cheats or terrorists. If the continent shows reluctance to move away from a human-rights-for-extremists approach, then the UK must reassess its support for the European Convention on Human Rights.