The National Union of Students (NUS) conference is over, but the decision of delegates to commit the NUS to a strategy of opposing the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) has continued to be controversial. The youth wing of UKIP recently challenged conference delegates who voted for the policy to explain themselves, and as one of UEA’s delegates – and someone who voted for the policy – I thought I should do just that.
UKIP’s main policy in the last few years has been not only its opposition to the European Union, but its virulent opposition to migration, and its desire to restrict migration severely – both “illegal” and “legal” migration. UKIP has made claims about “Romanian crime waves”, whipped up scare stories about migrants taking jobs, promised to “end support for multiculturalism” and claimed that parts of the UK are “unrecognisable”.
I voted to oppose UKIP because I believe that no-one is illegal, and because migration brings immense benefits to Britain. Concerns about wages, jobs and housing are being blamed on migrants by ex-banker Nigel Farage and his racist party – but wages are low because bosses choose to make them low, jobs are scarce because the government has chosen to cut services and jobs, and housing is scarce because the government has refused to build the housing we need. Migrants are our friends, our neighbours, our lecturers and our classmates, and students should stand against any attempt to demonise migrants and blame the UK’s problems on them. We should all oppose UKIP.