March 2, 2024

In post-Brexit Britain, voters don't care about migration policy

Political intelligence

In post-Brexit Britain, voters don't care about migration policy

Today, February 4, 2024 | 22:21

It was only ten years ago that concerns about uncontrolled migration dominated the thinking of the British electorate. A 2015 YouGov poll found that 71 percent of Britons were concerned about their country's migration and asylum policies at the time.

“Migration concerns dominated the Brexit vote [Abstimmung über den Austritt des Vereinigten Königreichs aus der Europäischen Union, Anm. d. Red.]”, reported in 2018 “Washington Post”. The seemingly uncontrollable influence of foreign workers in the country's low-wage sector left many voters feeling disempowered, which reflected a kind of reflexive isolation politically.

The results of a recent Yougov poll seem to paint a completely different picture: only 39 percent of those surveyed are still concerned about the migration issue. A survey conducted by the Center for Comparative Social Studies at City University London found that 59 percent of British respondents said migration was beneficial to the British economy. 58 per cent said immigrants had culturally enriched British life.

Experts see several reasons behind the Briton's change of heart

Where does this change come from? Also, will something similar happen soon in the Federal Republic? Would such a thing even be desirable?

Political scientists around the world are currently answering these and similar questions with varying and complex interpretations. Renowned political scientist Robert Ford From the University of Manchester, for example, believes that the radical test of Brexit has irrefutably shown the British that migration has never been the sole or main problem of the British economy.


“[Wir] Knowledge [nun]It is [uns] “If the government stopped the refugee boats there would be no food on the table,” says Ford “the world”. But it was Brexit that brought this clarity to the majority.

Brexit has effectively changed migration

But in practice, Ford says, the problem has also changed as a result of Brexit. With Brexit, the Conservative government has shifted decision-making power over British asylum and migration policy from Brussels to London. This act restored many voters' faith in their own country.

With the help of this regained decision-making power, the Conservatives have in recent years effectively adapted immigration to the needs of the British economy. The vast majority of immigrants coming to the country now are people whose professional skills are actually needed here and are therefore welcome. Fears that the “Polish plumber” will steal jobs from the Brits have caused delight in skilled, culturally enriching work colleagues.

Conservatives don't benefit from their own work

Ironically, the Conservative government is unlikely to benefit from its own policies in the next election, says Ford. People are already used to the new landscape. The young generation who have grown up in this landscape are not interested in migration policy. Economic growth, inflation, labor and health policy will determine the next election.

At least these are the insights that Brexit brought to the world and to Germany, Die Welt reports: to allay people's concerns about immigration policy, the focus must first be on immigration to be more consciously and economically managed. Humanitarian aspects must be considered.

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