Bishop attacks UK politicians for anti-immigration rhetoric

The Bishop of Dudley, the Right Reverend David Walker, has attacked UK politicians for greatly exaggerating problems caused by immigration. He told UK Sunday newspaper The Observer, 'The tone of the current debate suggests that it is better for 10 people with a legitimate reason for coming to this country to be refused entry than for one person to get in who has no good cause. It is wholly disproportionate as a response'.

The bishop, who is a trained mathematician, was interviewed in UK newspaper The Observer on Sunday 24th March 2013; days after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made a speech in which he abandoned his party's commitment to introducing an amnesty for illegal immigrants who had been in the UK for ten years and the day before David Cameron made a speech in which he said that he would bar recent immigrants to the UK from getting social housing, social security benefits or from using the UK's free National Health Service. Only a few weeks before, the leader of the Labour Party opposition, Ed Miliband, made a party political broadcast in which he committed his party to doing more to tackle illegal immigration.

Immigration fears 'bear little relationship to the reality'

The bishop said 'public fears about immigration are like fears about crime; they bear little relationship to the actual reality'. Later, in an interview with the BBC, the bishop said that the government was seeking to blame migrants for shortages of social housing or for unemployment but said that, as a mathematician, he had analysed the statistics and had found that the impact that immigrants had on housing or other shortages for which the government sought to blame them was negligible.

The bishop said seeing immigrants being treated 'as a scapegoat in a political battle' by politicians was 'especially galling' for Christians in Easter week because 'Jesus himself became a scapegoat in just such a battle'.

He said 'studies show that the vast majority of new arrivals in the UK enhance and enrich our society both economically and culturally. The true threats to our national well-being lie not with those who come to visit or make their lives here but with the increasing gap between the rich and poor among us'.

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