The Conservative Party in Britain was not able to run against the incumbernt Labour Party on the unpopular Iraq war because the Consevatives supported it as well. However, the Tories made large inroads by campaigning against immigration.
Blair's Labour Party was returned to power with a drastically reduced majority of an estimated 68 seats, down from 160 as the war in Iraq had a telling impact on voters.
Its forecast 36 per cent of the vote was the smallest winning share in modern history.
Labour MP Margaret Beckett said she had "a horrid feeling immigration helped the Conservatives".
Note the winning margin in their Parliamentary system. 64% of the British population voted against the winners.
The main opposition Conservative Party, which ran a pared-down, sharply focused campaign that emphasized law-and-order issues such as restricting immigration and adding police officers, would gain 30 to 44 seats, according to the projections. The third-party Liberal Democrats, the only major party that opposed the war, would gain five to 15.
In addition to a boost from voters turning against Tony Blair, Conservative canvassers were reporting that the use of the immigration issue had increased support among former Labour working-class voters, despite the widespread criticism that the tactic drew during the campaign.
The Conservatives propose an annual quota for immigrants and want to withdraw from the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention, which obliges countries to take in asylum seekers based on need.
Most asylum claims are motivated by the desire to move to a wealthier country and make more money.
"Sometimes I think the authorities are too soft," said Dalbir Deol Singh, a Sikh voter in the Ilford North constituency now held by the governing Labour Party. Although he's voting for Labour, he says his children will vote for the Conservatives "because they feel too many immigrants means trouble for all of us."
A substantial minority of Hispanics in America also want less immigration. British Prime Minister Tony Blair had to respond to the Conservatives on immigration during the campaign by proposing tougher policies on immigration and political asylum.
Blair is also promising a tougher stand on immigration. One of his campaign slogans is "Your country's borders protected," and he has vowed to recruit 600 more border guards.
Taking a position in favor of immigration restriction against asylum seekers has worked very well for the ruling right-wing Liberal Party in Australia. British sentiment is building against immigration and the same is happening in the United States. Politicians in both countries are becoming less afraid to openly voice immigration restrictionist positions. Expect to see the immigration debate to play a much bigger role in the US election in 2008.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2005 May 05 11:33 PM Immigration Politics|