I write while awaiting the hordes of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants we were promised by the Daily Express to come piling into Bedminster. (Funnily enough, I haven't seen any yet). However, while I wait, I am somewhat puzzled at the opposition to their arrival by large sections of the Tory party.
After all, I am old enough to remember Norman Tebbitt exhorting us all to get on our bikes and seek out jobs. And, frankly, what is an economic migrant other than someone who does exactly that. (Ok, it isn't a bike, but you know what I mean).
Of course, the basic problem is the significant variations in standards of living between different parts of the world. The UK, for all its problems, is far wealthier than parts of Eastern Europe, and both are far wealthier than than parts of sub Saharan Africa (for example). As a Green, I have always thought that the answer was to bring up the standard of living of the poorest, while at the same time getting the richer countries to recognise the possibility that they may need to give up something. In fact, it is a vital part of any attempt to address the huge problems our environment faces. (When applied to Climate change, this is part of a well know theory known as 'Contraction and Convergence', for example).
So while I await the Romanian hordes, perhaps we could move the debate on from the usual petty-Englander 'chuck them out' nationalist claptrap, and start to seek serious solutions.
Candidate for Southville