Attacking people who “cannot speak English properly” with suggestions of unemployment is just the tip of the iceberg of inimical and inhumane anti-foreign and anti-immigrant policies that threaten to lead Britain into socioeconomic retrogression. Farage also claims that “middle management” would be his target in making cuts in the NHS and, though this aspect is justified and welcome, the fact that it’s accompanied by the aforementioned divisive rhetoric reveals the discriminatory sentiment and true roots of his policy suggestions.
Of course, this proposal would only affect the NHS but the danger is that when such sentiments are formally empowered in elections, it will inevitably lead to similar regulations being extended to other spheres and, therefore, also inhibit the private sector’s ability to recruit talented individuals. The Entrepreneurs Network released a report showing how we are already failing international graduate students and, therefore, British businesses: “Although nearly half, 42%, of international students intend to start up their own business following graduation, only 33% of these students, or 14% of the total, want to do so in the UK” – current immigration policy is already unfavourable toward beneficial, legal migration.
Mukand (2012) found that “the globalization of labour could dwarf those from foreign aid or even the liberalization of trade and capital flows. For example, a decision by developed countries to liberalize immigration restrictions by a mere 3% could result in an estimated output gain of more than $150 billion”; simply put, the proposed policy road UKIP is signalling with its anti-immigrant, anti-multicultural and xenophobic rhetoric is poor Economics that will, undoubtedly, make Britain poorer.
The attraction for many Europeans to come here, instead of elsewhere, is to learn English; the best way to learn a foreign language is to speak it and live where it is spoken. A major reason why India has been particularly successful in exporting services is the workforce’s inherent, multilingual capabilities. The only way Britain will be able to compete effectively, develop and exporting more is to have more multilingual people and this will inevitably require native speakers of foreign languages. A hostile environment toward bilingual and multilingual peoples will exacerbate the pre-existing shortage in both the private and public sector (the military, for example, is facing a particularly acute shortage). Furthermore, if people are discouraged from coming to Britain in the first place, it will significantly diminish our cultural capital.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the upcoming UK elections are only really relevant for Britain. Just because our economy and our armed forces make up a far smaller proportion of world output and military strength than they did previously does not change the fact that this election’s outcome will have profound, global implications. The whole world is watching closely, as was the case with Scotland’s independence referendum.
Though both Britain and the USA are doing comparatively well (growth, unemployment and all that), Britain has the added attraction of having a welfare state that Europeans (amongst others) love and, therefore, this means that many look here. The increase in migration (both perceived and actual) reflects Britain having fared better (probably also contributed to it having done better) and, thus, people the world over look to British public policy; hence, as the voting public, we have essentially been called upon to be global leaders and good leaders lead by example.
Farage has carefully exploited anti-foreigner rhetoric and UKIP is our (albeit more civilised and less extremist) version of the extremist parties that have gained popularity during these hard times. When we vote anti-foreign, it will encourage those who look to us to reciprocate. Subsequently, trade restrictions and currency wars will intensify alongside a myriad of other protectionist policies and international hostilities (all of which happened in the run-up to WWII). We need to think carefully about the examples we set and the rhetoric we reward and, what’s equally as important, the rhetoric we keep quiet about.