If you seek cheap entertainment, the sight of government ministers defending their immigration policies to the foreign press is always worth a sardonic chuckle or two. And, lo, it came to pass that David Cameron assured Indian TV that, actually and despite the impression his coalition may have given, Her Britannic Majesty’s government is jolly keen on bright young Indians coming to the United Kingdom.
Which is just as well. If, as the Prime Minister is keen on suggesting, Britain is but one entrant in a keenly competitive “global race” then it makes no sense at all to restrict our selection policy to those born on these sodden islands. The global gene pool is deeper and better than ours.
Fortunately, Britain remains an attractive place to study, work and live. This despite a Conservative party that has done its best to send the signal that, actually, Britain is “full” and we’d rather not have you here. No, not even if you are smart and highly-skilled.
Now the Prime Minister is scurrying around wondering why anyone could possibly have got the impression that Britain would prefer it if you took your talents and energy someplace else. Well, that’s what happens when you pander to your base.
Still, it’s always good to see politicians recoiling from the consequences of their own rhetoric:
David Cameron has urged Indian students to come and study in the UK as he tried to address concerns about tougher visa rules ahead of visiting the country.
Ministers have come under fire for tightening the rules on post-study leave to remain in the UK which some businesses and universities believe is deterring people from applying.
Mr Cameron accepted that policies may not have been “communicated properly”.
[…] “Now we need to take that message out to talented young people in India and say if you want to make that choice, Britain will be incredibly welcoming.”
And, presumably, not just to Indians but to students from all across the globe?