UK: Record Support For Severe Curbs On Immigration

Amazing shift in U.K. opinion:

Support for sweeping curbs on immigration to the UK has reached record levels, a major study of public opinion shows.

Almost eight out of 10 Britons now believe that the number of new arrivals should be limited and nearly six in 10 want to see major reductions in the number allowed in.

The numbers advocating a large cut have swelled by more than 40 per cent since before the expansion of the European Union, according to the latest findings from the British Social Attitudes survey, which has been charting public opinion for more than 30 years.

Strikingly, it shows that even among those who believe that immigration has boosted Britain’s economy and enriched its culture, clear majorities now want to see it cut.

Elites, as in the U.S., are significantly more likely to view existing immigration numbers favorably…

There is also a sharp divide along class lines, with an elite of highly paid and highly qualified people twice as likely as workers from middle and lower income families to view immigration in positive terms…

When responses were analysed along class lines, one of the most notable findings is that only a third of those in the top earnings bracket see immigration as bad for the economy compared with around half of those in the middle.

Even immigrants themselves think more restrictions are in place. (Which proves my longstanding point that, in the end, only white liberal elites clamor for more immigration, and that there would be no backlash against nativist voices making immigration restriction arguments.)

Significantly, attitudes have also hardened even among those from immigrant families themselves with less than half now convinced that it is good for the economy and a quarter doubting the cultural benefits…

Significantly, 54 per cent of those who see immigration as good for the economy still want to reduce it, including a quarter who would support severe reductions. Among those who see immigration as culturally beneficial, 55 per cent now support curbs…

Only one in three Britons believe immigration enriches Britain culturally, against 45 per cent who think it is detrimental.

Strikingly, the proportion of first or second generation immigrants who believe migration is good for the economy has slipped below half in the last two years. A quarter of migrants now even doubt that it immigration is even benefiting Britain culturally.

As was mentioned the other day, the U.K. Left now even acknowledges how wrong they were:

Speaking in a BBC documentary, The Truth About Immigration, he described the cap, a flagship Conservative policy, as “not sensible”.

In the same programme, Jack Straw, the former Home Secretary, described Labour’s estimates of migrant numbers ahead of the main eastward expansion of the EU in 2004 as “completely catastrophic”.

And David Blunkett, his successor, admitted that the Blair government had not spelt out likely the full impact because of a “fear of racism”.

Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, who presents the programme, said at the weekend that the corporation had made a “terrible mistake” in downplaying public concerns over immigration…

Government estimates a decade ago were that around 13,000 people from Eastern European member states would come to Britain a year. According to the ONS there are now just over a million people from Poland and the seven other countries which joined the EU in 2004 living in the UK.

“The predications were completely catastrophic,” Mr Straw told the programme.

“I mean they were wrong by a factor of 10.

“On immigration, it was bluntly a nightmare and it got more and more difficult”

What might this portend for U.K. politics?

Immigration is expected to dominate the agenda in the lead up to the European elections later this year and a General Election next year.

While the UK Independence Party is expected to take votes from the Conservatives over the issue, the study shows that Labour voters are the most sharply divided over immigration.

Similar proportions of Labour voters – roughly four out of 10 – see immigration as helping or harming the economy and Britain’s cultural life.

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