Miliband urges Britons to embrace diversity

By Keval Dhokia

Ed Miliband travelled to the Shree Kadwa Patidar Samaj hall in Tooting, south London, last Friday to defend last week’s census figures, which showed around one in seven people were now born outside the UK. In a direct rebuke to the Home Secretary, Theresa May’s, speech attacking these immigrants last week the leader of the opposition said: “I say this as the child of immigrants. I wouldn’t be standing here if it hadn’t been for the generosity of Britain.

“We are a multi-ethnic, diverse Britain and increasingly so as the census showed. And let’s recognise the way the British people have embraced this diversity. Because frankly we’ve had our fair share of doomsayers in Britain over the years.”

Mr Miliband’s speech was purposely conciliatory to Britain’s foreign born population after Mrs May claimed that immigrants put unsustainable pressure on public services like the NHS. He said: “Our NHS is staffed by nurses from all over the world. One third of Team GB medal winners had parents or grandparents born outside this country. A quarter of Britain’s Nobel Prize winners were born overseas.”

However Prime Minister David Cameron, riled by his opponents comments, spoke out while on a trip to Brussels: “(Labour) presided over a completely broken immigration system that over 10 years allowed 2 million people net (sic) to come to the UK ­ that is two cities the size of Birmingham. What we inherited was a complete and utter meltdown and mess. Theresa May made an excellent speech in which she explained some of the steps she has taken, including closing down 180 bogus colleges. The challenge for Ed Miliband is: will you now support these steps that you opposed and for 10 or 13 years refused to put into place?”

Admitting that the previous Labour government had made mistakes in its immigration policy, Mr Miliband claimed sufficient English language skills were key to harmonious integration, and unveiled his alternative three point plan to aid in the assimilation of these new migrants into British society. The proposals f were: Transfer of funding from translation materials to English language les sons for newcomers to Britain; Employees in publicly funded jobs that involve interaction with members of the public should be required to have a certain level of English language proficiency before being recruited; Schools and parents of foreign born pupils should agree in writing to share the responsibility of ensuring their children are fully comfortable with the English Language.

The only Asian member of the Labour shadow cabinet, Sadiq Khan, echoed these sentiments, adding: “We need to do more to make sure everyone in Britain knows how to speak English. Those who do not speak English are less able to get a good job and less able to make the most of living in Britain.”

Moreover, London has become particularly more diverse with all four of the top foreign born constituencies in the country falling within the city ­ (London Borough of) Brent (55 percent), Newham (54 percent), Westminster (53 percent) and Kensington and Chelsea (52 percent). Mr Miliband said: “I went to a comprehensive school where today there are young people whose families come from over 60 countries, with 50 different languages spoken. It is part of the success story of London: a truly global city. I love the diversity of London.”

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