Migrants' benefits debate is a proxy channel for xenophobia in some quarters

“EU referendum: David Cameron wins Theresa May’s backing” – reads the Guardian headline this morning.

Hello? Theresa May is the Home Secretary! It is incredible that her backing for Cameron on this is presented as some sort of surprise. What the Prime Minister does should automatically have the backing of the whole cabinet. Are we saying that there are cabinet ministers who do not support the Prime Minister on his referendum stance?

The cabinet’s support for the PM on a crucial national matter appears to be in question. This is quite an extraordinary state of affairs.

And it is also extraordinary that the national debate and focus is reduced to the ridiculous and narrow question of migrants’ benefits.

Hello? (Again).

We have 2 million-odd British migrants in the rest Europe who are entitled to benefits there too.

Migrants to this country pay tax and national insurance when they are in work (which is the overwhelming majority of them – why come here not to work? They may as well stay at home with their families and not work). So they are entitled to benefits. All the studies show that migrants are net contributors to the UK purse.

Due to the lack of any substantive problem here, I can only conclude that this subject of migrants’ benefits is a proxy debate in some quarters, as evidenced in the Dailies Mail and Express. For some, it is a way of channeling all the hatred of foreigners, all the Little Englander and all the “pull up the drawbridges” vitriol into something which sounds like an acceptable area of argument. That said, I acknowledge that many have genuine and sincere concerns about this policy area for legitimate reasons.


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