Many of us are feeling that life is only getting harder at the minute; wages are being driven down, the cost of living is rising, house prices are completely unaffordable, public services are overstretched, and our neighbourhoods sometimes feel like they have lost that sense of community so central to British cultural life.
I want you to know that if that is how you feel, I feel it too. But immigration is not the major cause of these problems.
At times like this it is more important than ever that we refuse to be duped or fobbed off with easy answers that are too good to be true. The Liberal Democrats are serious about controlling immigration and ensuring that it works to our net benefit, that is why we are committed to re-introducing full entry and exit checks to the UK’s borders; so that the government have the right tools and information to get a proper handle on the thousands of immigrants who are living here illegally. But we refuse to engage in the shallow politics of blame, stigmatising good people who have come here legally to work hard and contribute their skills to our economy.
We recognise the important contribution many immigrants make to our country, in particular the fact that immigrants bring a net overall benefit to our economy, and will support controlled immigration where it is in the UK’s best interests or where there is a moral duty to protect those seeking genuine asylum. We will be courageous in the face of intolerance and xenophobia, building policy on evidence as opposed to dogma.