Magazine article The Spectator

How the Government Endangers British Lives

Magazine article The Spectator

How the Government Endangers British Lives

Article excerpt

SEVERAL hundred years ago, the British brought mass death to foreign lands. They crossed the Atlantic, sneezed on the native Americans and watched them die of the common cold. Now the tables have turned. We live in fear of foreigners bringing death to our own land. Tony Blair said on Tuesday that it was 'inevitable' that al-Qa'eda would try to launch a terrorist attack on the United Kingdom; but immigrant terrorists are by no means the most potent threat to British lives. It is not through letting in terrorists that the government's policy of mass immigration - especially from the Third World - will claim the most lives. It is through letting in too many germs.

From exotic cuisines to driving entrepreneurialism, Third World immigration brings many good things to this country. But it also brings the epidemics that blight the poorer countries: HIV infection, tuberculosis and hepatitis. And the diseases that mass immigration is bringing to Britain will probably claim more British lives in the long run than terrorism. The thousands of infected immigrants who are arriving in Britain each year are doubling the rate of HIV, trebling the rate of TB, and increasing twentyfold the rate of hepatitis B. All of these are life-threatening diseases which could be, and in some cases have been, passed on to the host community. Between them they claim six million lives a year worldwide. TB can be cured, but HIV infection and hepatitis B can only be treated - at huge expense to the NHS. Even if victims survive for many years, HIV and hepatitis B are incurable.

Britain's new epidemics are the direct result of Labour policy. The government is not only importing epidemics, but is also failing to tackle them and indeed is trying hide what is happening from the British public. Obviously the government has no desire to spread disease, but its fear of being branded racist means that this is precisely what it is doing. The government is culpable. These are Blair's epidemics and to think I voted for the man.

The government has made much noise about cutting back on abuse of the asylum system - which is, of course, used as a means of immigration - but, through fear of the refugee lobby, it has done virtually nothing. While almost every other European country has managed to slash the number of asylum-seekers, the numbers coming to Britain grows rapidly. Last year they swept past 100,000 - a dramatic increase on the 40,000 in 1996.

On top of this, the government has said that it wants immigration at a rate of at least 150,000 settlers a year. It has increased more than fourfold the number of work permits, most of which can lead to a passport, from 41,000 in 1996 to a target of 175,000 this year, with people from the Third World making up almost all the increase. In addition, it increased the number of student visas to more than 339,000 last year, with two thirds coming from the Third World or Eastern Europe.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, has said that he wants fewer holiday workers from Australia and New Zealand (which have good public health) and more from Africa and Asia (which are blighted by epidemics). The government has tripled net immigration - the numbers arriving, less those leaving - from the Third World and Eastern Europe from almost 70,000 in 1996 to almost 200,000 last year. And it is promising more - it is passing legislation this year that will make Britain the only major Western European nation to give 73 million Eastern Europeans, who also suffer high disease rates, the right to immigrate and be given free medical treatment. Britain has no health tests for immigrants, either as a condition of entry or in the form of compulsory screening after they arrive.

In contrast, the United States, Canada and Australia all insist on tests - usually paid for by the aspiring immigrant - to show that they will not be a threat to public health or a burden on the health system. I went through the Canadian immigration system and had to pay for X-rays, blood samples and urine tests with a Canadian accredited doctor in London to prove that I was clean. …

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