Wales Online reports the reaction of politicians to comments made on Facebook by independent Welsh councilor, Mike Harris, in support of classifying all immigrants to the UK as ‘illegal’. Harris declares his support for the BNP's immigration policies and links to the far right anti-Muslim party’s website on his Facebook page. He also writes ‘Muslim extremism is flourishing on the streets of Britain’ and that ‘Towns and cities all over our beautiful country now resemble parts of Asia and Africa.’
From Wales Online:
“An independent councillor has provoked outrage by advocating that all immigrants to the UK should be classified as illegal.
“His comments on his Facebook site were condemned by former UK Cabinet Minister Paul Murphy, the Labour MP for Torfaen, and the constituency’s Labour AM Lynne Neagle.
“Mr Harris’ Facebook comments include: “I would put a fence around the entire UK and stop any more illegal immigrants with immediate effect.
“Ahead of the fence builders I would rush an Act through Parliament to reclassify all immigrants as being illegal immigrants.”
“The comments were challenged on Facebook by Labour councillor David Daniels, who wrote: “Are you seriously saying that you would personally welcome ALL immigrants being reclassified as illegal? How far back into the family history of each citizen do you suggest we go? I’m pretty sure that if I traced back far enough through my family tree, I’d probably find that we’re not totally ‘British’ anyway.”
Responding to Cllr Daniels. Cllr Harris stated that “David, I am a British ex-serviceman who wants to see the Great put back into Britain. We were doing just fine and dandy in science and entrepreneurialism before immigration started to get out of hand. Native British are now treated like second-class citizens in their own country while asylum seekers and immigrants are pushed to the front of the queue for housing, jobs and benefits.
“Towns and cities all over our beautiful country now resemble parts of Asia and Africa.
“Muslim extremism is flourishing on the streets of Britain. What would our war heroes think if they could see Britain today? They fought to keep this country British. They fought to keep our nation free, sovereign and independent. They did not fight for multiculturalism, political correctness, or to see our country flooded with foreigners and our own people made into second class citizens.
“Time to put a stop to any more immigration or we will lose our identity.”
Commenting on the remarks made by Harris, Welsh Assembly member for Torfaen, Lynne Neagle said: “These hateful comments from Independent councillor Mike Harris have no place in Torfaen – or in modern society. It beggars belief that a local councillor not only holds these vile views, but has chosen to parade them on Facebook, complete with links to a far-right extremist website.
“The fact that he would like to expel all those who have chosen to move to our country to live suggests he is incapable of discharging his duties with any fairness at all.”
Torfaen Labour MP Paul Murphy said: “In a summer which has shown the best of modern Britain, it’s disappointing to see a councillor with such extreme and hateful views. Here in Torfaen, we’ve always prided ourselves on being tolerant – after all, many of us came from Ireland or the south west of England to get jobs in our valley, in the coalmines or iron and steelworks.
“I hope Coun Harris will reflect on that history before making such inflammatory statements.”
Defending the link to the BNP’s website on his Facebook page, Harris states, “I’m not a racist. There is a difference between being racist and being anti-immigration. I’m anti-immigration.”
Harris’s opinions ignore entirely the many and diverse contributions that immigrants have made to the UK, both historically and in modern times. One of the most recent examples which received significant attention is Mohammed ‘Mo’ Farah’s performance and sporting victories at the Olympics 2012, where the Somalia-born Muslim athlete won two gold medals for Team GB in track and field. As well as national sports icons, many individuals of migrant origins have contributed a significant amount to the economy. Chancellor George Osborne recently argued that immigrants are very much needed to help to UK get through these troubled economic times. As for British identity, large-scale survey research has found that ethnic minorities tend to identify more strongly as British that the white majority. As MP Paul Murphy is quoted as saying, one can only hope that Harris will “reflect on that history before making such inflammatory statements”.
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