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Monday 25 October 2010

Tough On Immigration ... Or Maybe Not

First to go was the ending of free school milk, which was hardly a major policy initiative. There was bound to be more, shall we say, flexibility in the Coalition approach, and so it has proved. Yesterday, Corporal Clegg went on The Andy Marr Show (tm) and signalled a cap on tuition fees, and today it has been Young Dave’s turn.

Immigration – the Tories were determined to get tough on it. They wasted no opportunity to tell how Labour had employed an open door policy, and how that door would be firmly closed. But now, Cameron, in a speech to the CBI, has moved to modify the coming points based system before it has even started.

The Coalition is going to take a “flexible approach”. What that? Well, that part was not made clear. But Dave did say that the Government would not “impede” businesses from employing the “best talent”. And that is, well, clear as mud. Are we to have a strict points based system, with a cap on total immigration, or what?

Even if, as the Maily Telegraph has headlined, the flexibility is only a “hint”, this looks like there will be exceptions to the supposedly strict rules. What are they? Is there some kind of exemption list being drawn up? Or is it simply that when businesses shout loudly enough, they will be allowed to by-pass the system?

This needs to be thought through, discussed fully, and then formalised. Otherwise it’s not good enough. Again.

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