It has become increasingly clear that the net migration of EU citizens to Britain is now already at sustainable levels (its lowest level in six years). So, why this banging on about sustainable levels, arbitrarily set in the tens of thousands?

If EU migration ends, or is drastically reduced, the Telegraph says that women (yeah...) would have to quit their jobs to care for their ageing parents due to a lack of EU carers in Britain.

Already now, fruit are rotting in the fields due to a lack of EU fruit pickers. If EU migration ends, or is drastically reduced, then say goodbye to your raspberries!

Already now, there is a shortage of doctors and nurses due to drops in EU-based doctors and nurses coming to Britain.

Also, according to Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), “the hospitality, warehousing and food and drink sectors rely heavily on EU nationals and if they can’t continue to fill these roles we risk damage to supply chains that will affect all our daily lives.”

“Ah!” you may say, “but it is the British people. It is the ‘Will of the People’ to end migration. We cannot give the people an end to austerity, but let’s at least turf out the foreigners to make them happy.” The problem is, this narrative is incorrect.

In fact, attitudes towards migration in Britain are now more positive🔒 than a few years ago.

Is it because people expect that migration will fall after Brexit? No, surprisingly, the positive attitude is across the board, also with people who believe net migration will increase, as this rigorous article by Rob Ford, Politics Professor at the University of Manchester, shows.

Click here!!

So, in the light of all this, why does the Minister of State for Immigration, Caroline Nokes🗳️, bang on about reducing the net migration to the tens of thousands? It is not desirable for the country (see above) and the public doesn’t want it either, certainly not at any price (staying home for your older parents, anyone?)

It is the old, tired narrative of blaming immigrants.

In the first place, calling EU citizens who exercise treaty rights ‘immigrants’ is a peculiar thing the British do. Just like they have invented this weird concept of ‘net contribution’ to the EU, under Thatcher...

While EU citizens contribute to the coffers and the working-age population, you blame them for the effects of austerity. Old trick, but aided by the Murdoch press, it certainly works.

Also, here is the thing: many politicians in power don’t like foreigners and ignore their plight. But it is so convenient to project one’s own xenophobia on an indistinct ‘Will of the People’ to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.🔷

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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)

(Cover: Dreamstime/Ulf Wittrock.)