Were we right, or were we wrong? The UK was one of only 3 countries that opened its doors to the citizens of new EU members, back in 2004. The government very obviously lied to us about how many were expected to arrive. Because I believe in personal freedom, I was actually positive about us "doing the right thing" at the time. Now I am not so sure, and neither is Frank Field, former minister in the Blair government. Mr Field's particular area of interest is welfare, and he thinks that immigration is placing a huge burden on public services.
"We foolishly went ahead and had an open-door policy and instead of between 5,000 and 13,000 people arriving, in the first year something like half a million did."Now he wants to limit the numbers coming from Bulgaria & Romania.
"We've now got Bulgaria and Romania coming down the road at us. We need to impose those barriers until there is a Europe-wide policy."It's difficult to argue with the logic that says, if everyone shuts their doors, then they will all come to Britain.
However, I have one big problem with the whole argument. If we are being told the truth (that they all come here to work) then their utilising public services should be no problem whatsoever. They are all tax payers after all. If they are unregistered, welfare cheats or otherwise criminal lowlifes, then that's a different matter, but that is certainly not what the government is telling us.
So which is it? Are they useful additions to the work force or a drain on public services?