Friday, 4 January 2008

Ann Cryer MP (Lab, Keighley)

Prompted by Verity over at DK's, I have uncovered some fascinating statistics.

Another Labour MP making evidence-based-policy! Whatever next?

She doesn't always get it right though - she called for immigrants to be forced to learn English a few years ago, which is bollocks of course. Once people are here they are here, you can't deport them for failing a language test. The cheaper and better solution would be to grant residence permits only to people who can already speak reasonably good English when they apply.

* Update - a subsequent post at Vindico's has set me thinking - would such a ban be in the slightest enforceable? Hmmm...


The Great Simpleton said...

Good stuff from Ann, but don't get too carried away, she's Strongly For ID cards and the smoking and hunting bans.

anthonynorth said...

The Human Rights Act will eventually stop this idea of making immigrants speak English.
Of course, they should. It's the Act that will be in the wrong.

Scott Freeman said...

Why not just stop giving benefits to immigrants? If English speaking is really valuable, they won't be able to make a living and won't come here. If English speaking isn't actually that valuable then they will be able to and we should stop pretending that it is important.

As for banning cousins from marrying, does that even address the issue of defective births? Pregnancy and marriage are not the same thing.

Mark Wadsworth said...

SC, as to first point, that's already in the MW manifesto.

As to second point, it is perfectly clear that e.g. building workers can managed perfectly well with very little English, that's not the problem, it's the fact that children who can't speak English are an enormous drag on the education system.

As to third point, yes, how would a ban on first-cousin marriages be enforced? No idea. And there would be too many ways round it.

The Great Simpleton said...

It's not the spouses of first generation immigrants that are the real problem, but when their children are born here and don't learn English as their first language.

This is (or was at least when my wife taught) a problem mainly for girls who don't appear to get the same support as boys in a number of immigrant communities.

Mark Wadsworth said...

GS, that was my second point.

Admittedly, the fact that the parents can speak reasonably good English at the time of applying for residence does not mean that they will teach their children to speak English.

BUT, provided we can put an end to the whole victim/dependency culture, parents will be forced to accept that they are doing their kids a huge favour (vis a vis education, getting a job, getting proper healthcare etc) by speaking English at home, at least some of the time.

An uphill struggle I know, but the sooner we start the better!

Scott Freeman said...

"it's the fact that children who can't speak English are an enormous drag on the education system"

No benefits for immigrants doesn't exclude education ;)

If English is a valuable skill then parents will want their offspring to have it. Granted, some immigrants may have different social norms to us and perhaps educate their females less than their males, but it's not illegal for native parents to treat children differently - is that something we really need to legislate on? Aren't they still going to better off than in their native countries? At least not worse off.

Mark Wadsworth said...

SC, I suspect we are actually in complete agreement on this one.