Challenging values on immigration
22nd October, 2009
Maybe its a figment of our society’s imagination but I thought there was a general consensus that as humans evolve over time they would become more liberal minded… or maybe this was just me. I felt sure that the days of xenophobia, homophobia and sexism were on their way out. The next generation would be all about equality for all and respecting peoples differences, right? We’re all humans after all.
So, I was surprised when I saw the results of our new values theme. From a representative sample of 16-25 year olds in the UK 41% of 16-25s believe that immigration is not good for the country versus 34% who think it is. Not a massive statistical difference but a sign of two significant opposing views and to be honest it swung in a favour of the view I was not expecting.
These numbers were then compounded by a number of messages we got through to The Voicebot over the past couple of months, a selection of which I’ll share with you here.
Is this young people regurgitating the views their parents have impressed upon them? Or the stuff they’ve read in the tabloids? Is it an indication of a lacking education system? Or is this genuinely a fresh set of eyes surveying their country and making their own educated conclusions on what is and is not working about our society and economy?
I have to admit I was relieved to see an equal number of messages coming through to The Voicebot with a ’stop the BNP’ stance, otherwise I would have feared we’d traveled back in time. What’s interesting is the presence of these two equally strong views coming through from a young generation at a time when I really thought we would have moved on. Is it an indication that perhaps as a country we haven’t struck quite the right balance with immigration yet or simply that ignorance lives on. It’s easy to look for someone, something… some people to blame if things aren’t going so well in the economy. So during this period of recession as employment levels are low, perhaps people are lazily and somewhat shortsightedly pointing the finger at the non-British citizens living in this country. If there’s not enough to go around amongst our nationals perhaps we should defend our assets more?
Its pretty frightening watching the knock-on effects and social implications of the recession unfolding – the BNP are using it as an opportunity to drum up more followers and Nick Griffin has even made it onto BBC’s Question Time. Who would have dreamed this would have been possible?