In response to an article in the FT 07/12/18 about an IoD study relating to post-Brexit immigration plans.
This is one of those fundamentally divisive topics that reflects true divisions in people’s thinking which no longer maps easily onto the old-style Left/Right debate. My father-in-law would not accept that, in general, immigration was positive for the country, however much I used what I regarded as rational arguments. He had no problems welcoming foreigners, regardless of ethnicity, into his house or at the pub, but he would often make generalisations about people he did not know. He was Europhobic for that reason, even though our family exposed him to Europeans. He was basically tribal but a good, likeable and honest person. He read the Telegraph but was happy to read any other serious newspaper if the occasion presented itself. He was an old-fashioned Tory, who disagreed vehemently with Ken Clarke and Heseltine but still regarded them as honourable, intelligent and patriotic and was always open to compromise. He would never have been discourteous to people with whom he disagreed.
Nowadays it would seem that social media have not only broken down some of those lifestyle conventions which made discussion a pleasant pastime and learning experience, but the breakdown of Left/Right has been facilitated mean because people are no longer exposed to a broad range of views. Maybe they simply subscribe to a narrow range of opinion that they can easily follow. So we have the Labour voters who are convinced that their party should suppress Freedom of Movement, the Conservative voters that are internationalists and all shades including Farage that can exist outside his own Party! Maybe I am an irrelevant old fart that, on balance, prefers immigrant workers because they tend to try harder. Moreover, I now believe that there is no way, such as Theresa May’s plan, of healing social divides. We need another vote on Brexit simply to give legitimacy to the need to stay in the EU.