London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, still on his self-promoting tour of Australia, has encountered someone who would very much like to live and work in the UK, and who has done so before. This person is encountering trouble getting “sponsored”, a feature of the “Migration Cap” which has been enthusiastically introduced by, er, his own party.
Now, this is not the first time that Bozza has complained about migration restrictions, which he sees as potentially harming the competitiveness of London, versus other major cities such as, well, anywhere in the rest of the EU, for starters. The thought that the dastardly Germans or the garlic-crunching French may instead attract talent to Frankfurt am Main or Paris is a recurring Bozza theme.
But today’s rambling, in the column for which the Maily Telegraph will have bunged him the usual £5,000 in “chicken feed”, suggests that the UK should relax its immigration rules for Australians, because they speak English: “As I walk around Sydney today, I see advertisements for the recipes of Jamie Oliver. I meet people who watch Top Gear”. And they’ve gone metric. Your point is?
There’s an undercurrent in Bozza’s argument which he never really gets round to addressing, and it’s this: there are many other countries around the world where the first language is English (or you can take it as read that those educated there to graduate level will be fluent), and they’ve heard of both Jamie Oliver and Top Gear. And many of those countries are also part of the Commonwealth.
Those that are not part of the Commonwealth – the USA, mainly – are English speaking because of their historical connection with the UK. So if Bozza wants there to be an exemption to current immigration rules for the English speaking, he’s going to open the UK up to a potentially far larger influx than a few Aussies who want to teach here – or all those Romanians the tabloids like to scare readers about.
Is he going to suggest that? Is he buggery. This is just another “look over there” device to allow him to bluster his way through another money-generating enterprise. And his attempt to pin the UK’s immigration policy for non-EU nationals on “Brussels” won’t wash, either: “I suppose there might be some objection from the EU – but they should be told firmly to stuff it”. Bullshit. You just made that up.
France makes its own arrangements with former colonies and other Francophone countries. Spain and Portugal do likewise (the latter only having divested itself of the last remnants of its own empire after the 1974 revolution). Bozza really does talk the most appalling drivel on the EU, and what is worse, he knows it. And his migration idea, taken to its logical conclusion, is a non-starter.
But it impresses Telegraph readers for a few hours, so that’s all right, then.