Divide and Rule – Cameron Plays the Race Card

08:07 Thursday 14th April 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Top story this morning is all about the speech that has yet to be made. David Cameron is to promise the UK will reduce the level of immigration to 1980s levels, as the result of Government measures. But in a speech later, the Prime Minister will also say the country will always be open to the best and brightest from around the world. He’ll also argue that foreign workers have taken jobs because the welfare system has paid British people not to work. Here’s our political correspondent Ross Hawkins. (TAPE)
ROSS HAWKINS: The Prime Minister will acknowledge that in certain neighbourhoods, an influx of people, some not speaking English, or wanting to integrate, has led to discomfort and disjointedness. He’ll blame the way Ministers handled the topic in the past for creating a space in which extremist parties could flourish, and say a welfare state that paid British people not to work left migrants filling gaps in the jobs market. Labour said the PM had made big promises about his immigration plans, but hadn’t set out workable policies to actually deliver them. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, friend of the show, was asked on Newsnight to respond to newspaper coverage of Mr Cameron’s speech. He said that poor language skills among some immigrants didn’t help. (TAPE)
ERIC PICKLES: English is the great equaliser, and if you don’t learn English, don’t understand English, you’re effectively precluding yourself. I used toi live in Bradford. Bradford has high unemployment right next to the prosperity of Leeds. And a lot of people there who have the dextrous skills, the ability to go forward, lack being able to speak English to a level that effectively takes them out of the job market. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Eric Pickles was also asked to respond to the suggestion that David Cameron blames Labour for a rise in the British National Party in some places. Pickles said he believed that everyone was at fault.(TAPE)
ERIC PICKLES: We’re all to blame, because I think that we underestimated that feeling of abandonment in some of the larger working class estates. I say this as someone who comes from a working class background. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well tighter controls on student visas and the number of skilled workers coming in to the UK are also to be introduced. Sir Andrew Green, the Chairman of Migration Watch says he broadly supports the Government’s approach. (TAPE)
ANDREW GREEN: They took over a system that was frankly a shambles. The previous Government had quite clearly lost control of immigration. And this Government is making a start on dealing with it. A long way to go, but at least they’re pointing in the right direction. And I think the importance of this speech is that he has again nailed his colours to the mast. He has said he understands what the public feel. He’s going to have a serious shot at dealing with it.