In this EU-special we talk to Andy Mycock, Reader in Politics at the University of Huddersfield, about the role of identity and immigration in the referendum and to Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory, on what might happen to EU migration if the UK leaves the EU.
What we’re seeing is as much a debate about what it is to be British in the 21st century as it is about what it is to be European.
Is Scotland more pro-immigration and more pro-EU? Andy Mycock argues that this is the case to some extent, but that the question is more complex. He also views the issues of immigration and identity that are so prominent in the referendum debate as part of a longer trend of increasing identity politics in the UK. Andy has recently contributed to a new edited book on euroscepticism in the UK and has written widely on issues of identity and citizenship in the UK.
The debate about an Australian style points based system is a bit of a red herring. It is often cited as something that is designed to reduce migration to the UK, but points based systems like the one in Australia generally let people in without a job offer and has traditionally been designed to increase immigration.
Does the UK already have a points-based immigration system? Would EU-migrants have to leave if the UK brexited? Madeleine Sumption [15:50] concludes that it is very hard to predict what immigration might look like if the UK decides to leave the EU, as this depends on what policies are opted for and what relationship with he EU the UK will have. Asylum may be the least affected area and current EU migrants don’t need to worry too much about having to leave. The Migration Observatory has investigated several key aspects of the issue, find out more on their website.