Monday, 11 May 2015

OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES, one of Wisbech's most ardent campaigners has been Victoria Gillick. Here is PART TWO of her report on the effects of immigration on Wisbech.
I make no claim over the accuracy of the statistics, and I neither endorse or refute her personal conclusions
. The report is long and detailed, so it will be published in sections over the next week or so. I have put statistical information in blue font. The remainder are Mrs Gillick's own views. YOUR VIEWS ARE WELCOME, both for and against, and you can make them known via the contact form at the bottom of the blog, or via Twitter -

                                                                 The Council's Strategy (2007-10)
Fenland District Council sprang into action the following year.....though not, alas, on behalf of local people. The sole purpose of the council's 'Migrant Population Strategy7 was to give all possible aid and succour to the foreign incomers. Their every need and every difficulty was considered in detail, the Council appearing to regard them as a small downtrodden minority, cruelly coerced here against their collective will. Thus migrant problems with housing and employment, welfare benefits and entitlements were agonised over, as also their need for interpreters, further education, skills training and qualification recognition, together with suggestions for their sport, art and leisure pursuits.  Even the migrants' apparent lack of family planning and sexual & mental healthcare were deemed worthy of conciliar scrutiny. Get everything really right for the foreign workers, avowed the caring Council, and '...multicultural community cohesion...' would assuredly follow. 
In pursuit of this happy daydream, Council officials began at once to organise a grand assembly of  45 organisations, the Diverse Communities Forum,8 to carry out research, produce leaflets and devise action plans. Verily, it was a bureaucratic heaven in the making. Here are just some of them:
Cambridgeshire Human Rights & Race Equality Support Service - Patient Advice & Liaison Service - Care Network - Drink Sense - Dial Drug - Strategic Migration Partnership - County Gypsy Traveller Manager - Migration Population Customer Advisers - The Ferry Project - Fenland Volunteer Centre - Citizens Advice Bureau - Job Centre Plus - Oasis Centre - Ormiston Trust - One Voice4 Travellers - Peterborough Race Equality Council - Richmond Fellowship - Roddons Housing - Rosmini Centre - Advice for Life - Mobile Europeans Taking Action - Fenland Travellers Forum - Learning & Skills Council - King's Lynn Area Resettlement Service - Fenland Play Strategy - CP Learning Trust - Single Information Portal Project - Adult Community Learning Fund - Keystone Development Trust - East of England Development Agency  etc etc etc..........                                                                                                                                 
                                       Government has spoken

Rack their brains as they might, local people would be unable to recall a comparable Council strategy ever having been devoted to their kith and kin, even though Fenland has been disadvantaged for decades, its uncomplaining inhabitants enduring the lowest wages and poorest housing, the worst health and most inadequate education in the entirety of East Anglia.                                                         
However, had local people ever actually seen the Migrant Population Strategy they would have realised at once why Fenland Council was so keen to assist the new foreign workforce rather than the indigenous one. Put simply, it was merely following the Labour Government's diktat, spelt out two years earlier by Immigration Minister, Des Browne, and quoted approvingly by the Tory-led Council in its Migrant Strategy:
"We are not and cannot be 'fortress Britain' if our businesses are to grow and prosper and our economy to thrive. We are a stronger player in an increasingly international market place and....we are successfully attracting the workers that Britain needs."                                                           
                                                                                                               (Des Browne MP    Feb. 2005)
                                           It's the economy stupid
The Immigration Minister's call for a migrant-fuelled economy was reiterated nineteen times in Fenland Council's Migrant Population Strategy.  The following five samples will suffice:
*  'Migrant workers....make a huge contribution to the rural economy, often filling posts where there is no suitable or insufficient local labour. Without this labour force many businesses would not be able to work at full capacity.'
*  'It is clear that local companies regard migrant workers as key components in their strategy for the current and future prosperity of the Fens.'
*  'Working with employers is a key for many reasons.....Many employers are keen to work with us as they see this as a means of helping their migrant workers, and will in turn help sustain their business.'
* 'Migrant workers bring £360m to the Region's economy. One in three are employed in food, agriculture, construction, hotels, catering, cleaning and manufacture, making them a highly significant element within Fenland's local economy.'                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
* 'The increasing dependence of Fenland employers on migrant labour and the continuing attractions of the Fens as a preferred destination for migrant workers, coupled with economic factors in EU accession countries, suggests that migrant labour is likely to remain an important feature of the Fenland labour force for the foreseeable  future.'

Somewhere in the midst of all this eulogy to migrant labour, the Council did manage a brief note of concern for the dire situation it was creating for local people, devoting three whole lines to Fenland's "indigenous unskilled" school-leavers and their slim chance of ever finding employment.

But it was only crocodile tears. For the whole aim and purpose of the Council's migrant strategy was quite clearly to assist local businesses achieve a smooth cut-and-paste transition: replacing the local workforce with a settled, compliant, and far cheaper foreign one.  

                                TO BE CONTINUED