Last night Channel 4 aired a thought provoking documentary called Make Leicester British which ultimately aims to explore; identity, patriotism and immigration. Immigration is probably Britain’s hottest political topic right now. With both the rise of UKIP and Cameron’s crackdown on immigration benefits, everyone in Britain is talking about immigration amongst themselves and it seems to be a somewhat disagreeable issue.
I’ve lived in Leicester for over three years and it was only recently that I realised that born and bred locals view immigration in a very different way than I knew. With views ranging from “we’re full” to “who cares?” it’s clear there’s no common ideology on the topic. Make Leicester British follows eight British born and recently emigrated citizens as they live together in an attempt to understand the many sides of a group of people we refer to as immigrants. Hailing from Eastern Europe, Somalia and even as exotic as Kibworth (the white middle class village my other half lives in.) The eight participants move into a shared house for 1 week before branching off to each other’s houses to see how their counterpart lives. The views of each individual are all very clear and very strong and I feel like channel 4 did a great job of representing the city and the views of different groups of people. I particularly related to Jen, a 20-something single mother and bar manager as she was most like myself not only in that she was a similar age but also held very similar views and had a decent array of inked masterpieces. There were a two specific people I would have loved to grab and shake and others who I just couldn’t make my mind up about.
Even after watching this documentary, I am still in a constant battle in my own mind as to how I feel towards immigration. I feel like in some senses we do have an immigration problem, there are problems with the system in that our economy is supporting people who need asylum but are unable to work because they have children. In my mind these people have a right to asylum and to live a fair and normal life but at the same time our tiny nation can’t support every person who needs help. How do we balance these issues without turning away people to their death or suffering? How do we get a handle on who deserves and who doesn’t? As human beings we do not have a god given right to anything but our health and basic comfort. But does being born somewhere give us more of a right that others? Of course not.
Ultimately there is no solution to the ‘immigration problem’ because it is both an internal and external issue. Britain is overpopulated because the world is overpopulated. No human being is more deserving than another to basic human rights. Every single person on this earth is different and we cannot categorise people by race, religion or nationality but by their behaviour as an individual- so how does Britain decide who is worthy of their citizenship?
Did you watch Make Leicester British or Make Bradford British? What are your views on immigration?