Post 1997 Immigrants, and the Next General Election in United Kingdom.


By Austin Aneke

The fourth general election in UK since 1997 will be held within the next 70 days, and the last three were won by Labour party which has consequently been the ruling party. The wave of immigration since labour came to power in 1997 has been extra-ordinary. The EU expansion in 2004 from 15 to 27 states triggered a major move of Eastern Europeans into Western Europe including UK. In other words most of the UK immigrants especially since 2004 are East Europeans exercising their free movement rights under EU law. But it must be pointed out that unlike most other EU states, the UK did not impose or place any stringent conditions on citizens of the new accession sates over their exercise of these rights. The only notable restriction imposed by UK was the non-claiming of BENEFITS for the first one year in UK.

On the other hand most other immigrants in UK, since 1997 came from Commonwealth countries, South America, and countries ravaged by 9/11 induced wars- Iraq and Afghanistan.

The point of this article is that since 1997 (13yrs), these immigrants including those running away from epicenter of corruption like Nigeria, have only known and lived under the labour government. But as the election campaigns and debates kick off in earnest the feeling/fear of another party especially the Conservative party taking over power tends to create goose pimples on these recent immigrants. They have all known labour and want it to remain so. It is like the fear of the unknown and settling with the devil you know.  They have heard Conservatives being referred as NASTY, and the Conservatives denying and saying that they are a ‘changed party’. This denial makes things worse because it portrays the situation like –Ooh they were really NASTY.

These recent immigrants have been advised to have a look at Conservative controlled councils to have a feel of UK Conservatives in action. The truth is that such Councils are being mellowed and supervised by labour controlled central government. Consequently the councils cannot constitute a true reflection of the NASTY guys. So they are being re-directed to have a look at the rein of Michael Howard as opposition leader. He made severe restriction of immigration as his cardinal election promise but was crushed by the brutal strength of Labour under Tony Blair.

The unease of post 1997 immigrants especially the non EU lads is reflected in the huge increase of applications for UK citizenship. Immigrants feel the need to upgrade their status even from the formerly very strong position of permanent residence, to citizenship, in order to ensure a solid platform to face the unknown. The Conservatives are not really like British National Party, but they (the Conservatives) in 1983, erased the automatic citizenship for all those born in UK, by immigrants.

Furthermore the pressure being mouted on Labour by these scary parties has led to very serious tightening and introduction of draconian and ever changing rules by Labour, drawing UK very close to the status of an autarchic Island. The brutal point based system and complete ban of lower skilled immigration from Non-EU states are worthy of note.

As the polls point to a hung Parliament after the next election, post 1997 immigrants can only hope and pray that things do not really get NASTY.

 Austin Aneke

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