Immigration as a Theme in Seven Second Delay

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In the context of the forthcoming European Elections and the

apparently inexorable rise of UKIP and other anti-Immigration

parties I felt the need to put a few of my thoughts on the subject

into words.

One of the aspects of my book Seven Second Delay that I’m

proudest of is the positive portrayal of the central character,

Mila, as an immigrant. The book is set in the not-too-distant

future in which I’ve drawn a picture of a war-torn, broken

Europe (The U) alongside a utopian Britain (The Isles). Mila’s

natural inclination is to escape her difficult life in Eastern Europe

and move to Britain. I think it unlikely that the real Europe will

tear itself apart in the way my fictional version did, but

nonetheless, and even without the technological marvels

depicted in the book, the story is perhaps not so far from

today's world.

Immigrants have almost always faced suspicion and rejection

from incumbent populations. But ultimately immigration, even

mass immigration, benefits the host society. A healthy, strong

nation will inevitably attract more people and without an influx

of fit, strong-willed immigrants, many societies would stall and

stultify. This has always been the case. Even two thousand years

ago empires and city states recognised the importance of a

growing population (especially to provide fit young men for

war). Good governments have always understand the

importance of this, which is why few governments even now put

any real effort into limiting immigration. To do so would damage

the economy in the long-term. Who’s going to grow the food

and build the houses when our aging population downs tools?

Of course, a really good government would do more to address

the short-term frictions inevitable when the population of an

area significantly increases in a short time. But that would be

expensive. Governments recognise that people will sort things

out amongst themselves in time and that we’ll all be stronger for

it. Think of New York in the 18th and 19th centuries, wave after

wave of people from all parts of the world arriving, fighting,

crowding, settling and working. New York is stronger for it now.

London and Britain too have seen their own share of

immigration over the last two thousand years. Immigration is

not new. UKIP is not new.

In Seven Second Delay I created two political parties, arguing

over this issue. The Security Party, who want CCTV, razor wire

and watchtowers to protect Fortress Britain. And the Privacy

Party who insist on doing away with governmental control and

monitoring of private citizens. To an extent this dispute is a plot

device. Without the freedoms wrought by the Privacy Party Mila

would have been quickly tracked and caught. But there’s an

important issue here. I don’t see the current and future political

dichotomy as being Socialism vs Capitalism. I see it as being

Freedom vs Security. Do we police the internet? Or not? Do we

open the borders? Or attempt to tighten them? Do we watch

what people do? Or do we leave them alone?

These are the questions to be argued over for the next twenty

years and beyond. The issues aren’t going to go away, and

neither is UKIP.

#immigration #ukip #privacy #security

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