Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

UKIP and their attitude to migrants

There is a furor about some children being removed from a foster family in Rotherham (where there happens to be a by-election pending) because the foster parents are UKIP members. (BBC News 26 November 2012)

Because we are dealing with issues of child welfare we do not know all the facts, but I am disturbed by the almost universal condemnation of this removal.

What do we know?

  • These children are “European migrants”
  • The foster parents are UKIP members
  • UKIP’s policies are distinctly less welcoming to migrants (including possibly particularly EU migrants) than most parties.

It is therefore quite possible that there is a danger that these children could read leaflets or hear discussion in their foster home about whether “European Migrants” are welcome in Britain and whether they should be “sent home”.  Without knowing the background of these children, it is quite possible that they might find such discussion unsettling.

Whilst I would not say that UKIP is, as a party, “racist”, I do think an argument can be made that migrant children should not be placed with foster parents who are members of a party who have strident views on immigration.

I think Rotherham Social Services were probably wrong to call the couple racist but I think they were also unwise to have originally placed migrant children with a couple who might have views on immigration that might unsettle insecure children.  I think political views should be included in the criteria to judge the suitability of foster parents.

So why have both Tories and Labour condemned this removal?  Could it be something to do with an impending by-election and the need to pander to those who are “not particularly tolerant” of immigrants?  Shame on them.

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