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>Immigration expanded substantially during the Blair years, but anyone who raised concerns was just called a racist and told to shut up.
That was because they were, in fact, racist and their "concerns" were not, in fact, legitimate. They were no more legitimate then than they are now. If you disagree, I invite you to suggest some genuine, legitimate concern about immigration that is actually about immigration, and not about how society is structured and how government operates.
>By the mid-to-late noughties, it was already far too late - legitimate concerns had been shut down time and time again, so any trust that might have existed had been shattered.
Again, I invite you to suggest any such concerns. I contend that there were none really, and they were concocted to avoid thinking about other things. While people are focused on immigration, they're not talking about why we let large companies and the wealthiest individuals haggle over their taxes, or why we allow public services to be plundered for private gain, or why housebuilders aren't building anywhere near as many homes as we need, or why local authorities are letting their own run-down properties remain empty and in disrepair, or why many provincial towns that have lost their industries aren't regenerating properly, or why after a brief recessionary blip inequality is on the rise, or why in an age of increasing automation and productivity we're not all doing 10-hour weeks and living a life of leisure. You know, all the little things.
>Policy after policy had been steamrollered through without any real debate or acknowledgement of opposition, most significantly the botched A8 accession.
What exactly about the A8 accession do you believe was botched? Do you have any other examples of relevant policies? Remember, we're specifically talking about immigration here, not the general ramming through of legislation by Blair's unassailable majority.
>You can't insult someone again and again for years, then expect them to engage in an open-minded discussion.
Thankfully, nobody's done that. You can, however, invite someone again and again to engage in an open-minded discussion, and carry on without them when they refuse again and again.
>Blair ignored concerns over the A8 accession
That's because there weren't any really.
>and chose not to employ transitional controls
That's because none were necessary. Before the accession, there wasn't any indication that large numbers would settle here, and that's been borne out in practice. A large proportion of the Polish contingent in particular when asked said they weren't coming to settle, and while some have stayed longer than they initially expected, the majority of those who said they were coming temporarily did indeed return home.
>leading Britain to receive the highest rates of intra-EU immigration of any member state
... and consequently the highest rate of improvement to the support ratio and the highest potential expansion of the tax base. I mean, people do still want to be able to retire at some point, right?
>He failed to properly invest in infrastructure in areas that received disproportionate levels of immigration.
Do you have any evidence for this, or is this yet another rant against immigration/Blair/politics in general/all of the above?
>Most of all, he failed to do anything significant to address the decades-old social and economic problems in de-industrialised communities, focusing instead on photogenic "regeneration" of urban areas.
What's this got to do with immigration? I suspect you're trying to change the subject away from ignorance towards the genuine non-immigration-related concerns of the poorer half of the country as a way to slip in "immigration was a concern" through the back door.
>Oh, so my home town has 18% unemployment because people chose to stay behind.
I'm talking specifically about the immigration debate. Though if you want to address that, then ask yourself a couple of questions. Why aren't they going where the jobs are? More importantly, why aren't new jobs coming to the area?