6pm downstairs sitting room, Downing Street, London, SW1.
‘It’s not a moral issue, it’s an electoral issue !’ the Prime Minister shouted in frustration at Barnaby Brainwick, The head of the newly formed Camberwick Green Policy Unit.
‘I know that David, but I’m not sure that many members of the Fourth Estate will see it that way’ replied Barnaby, he was standing in front a TV screen currently showing yet another Sky News report about ethnic and religious tensions in the UK.
‘The so called Fourth Estate can stick their Islington based analysis straight up their Upper Street’s as far as I’m concerned’, the PM snaps back, ‘most British people don’t want to see any more immigration, and I’ve got to be seen to be doing something about it. Right, I want suggestions, earn your Cabernet Sauvignon’.
The room fell into an uncomfortable silence, there was much inspecting of shoes and shuffling of papers.
Finally, Michael Manacle, Home Secretary pipes up ‘Well, David, it’s simple, you tell me who to keep out, I tell the Border Agency to refuse those people entry, and we’ve all been see to do something’.
‘ah-hem, there may be the small issue of legislation,‘ Rosalind Righter, Cabinet Secretary, begins to sound a note of caution before she is rudely cut-off by Manacle.
‘legislation ? legislation ?! we don’t have time for that the country will be over-run by ne-er do well foreigners before we can legislate, even worse than that we may even see UKIP or the BNP in The House if we don’t do something soon !”
Barnaby Brainwick, with hand clutched to forehead, cries ‘this is all getting rather heated. PM why don’t I work up a few proposals, use the assembled Oxbridge eggheads below stairs, and present them to you tomorrow ?‘
Cameron feeling relieved, as he has tickets for the Opera which starts in 30 minutes, sighs ‘yes, Barnaby, it would seem that we need to bring a rational strategy to this discussion in order prevent a knee-jerk response’.
The meeting broke.
8.30am next day Cabinet Room, Downing Street.
Barnaby Brainwick is giving a presentation to the senior members of HM Govt, and their Permanent Secretaries.
‘The immigration problem that we face is the same as a Channel 4 interior design show: people pretend to like a colourful variety, but often revert to minimalist off-white in their own homes. So, in abstract very few people would admit to being racist, most people like the people in their community regardless of their ethnicity, however most people imagine that there are hordes of freeloaders trying to batter down the gates of Dover or Heathrow to take advantage of the wondrous fruits of our benevolent welfare society’.
‘So what you’re saying is build bigger gates at Dover and Heathrow ?’ cuts in Charles Carrington, Foreign Secretary.
‘not too far from the truth Charles’, replies Barnaby, but before he can continue Michael Manacle intones with a gravel-like growl
‘our polling of the indigenous people in areas of high ethnic density, such as Bradford and Leicester, does not indicate that the community of freeloaders is merely imagined’
‘yes, yes, I’ll come to that’ replies an increasingly frustrated Barnaby. ‘now, if I may continue ? the trick that we must pull is showing that we support an ethnically diverse UK, whilst also acting against a perceived external threat of people trying to get in’
the PM raises a hand to ask a question ‘but are there not a large number of economic migrants coming to the country ?‘
Barnaby knew this question may arise, and was dreading it. He turned to his prepared answer, and carefully read from his notes
‘Endogenous growth rates depend upon an interpolation of factors both external and internal to UK, many of which are beyond HMC control. Internal factors include the economically productive capacity of the workforce, the savings rate, and the marginal cost effectiveness of the workforce, in all of these factors economic migrants compare favourably with the settled domestic population. Micro-economic behaviours such as competitive risk investment, SME initiation rates and locally corporatised financial arrangements are also typical of economic migrants and are positive stimulators to growth. I could further elaborate, if needed’
The PM, and assembled politicians, were totally confused, the Civil Servant’s reactions ranged from the aghast to the mildly amused.
The PM decides to rephrase the question in terms with which he is more familiar
‘humour me Barnaby, if we were batting on the final day of The Test would we be ahead, or would the tourists be ahead ?‘.
Barnaby smiles ‘rest assured PM, with you as our captain, we would win any test as long as you follow my advice’.
‘and what is your advice ?‘
Barnaby feels relieved to have avoided the most difficult question, and is now able to comfortably return to his presentation:
‘I give you The Dulux Plan
this is a 5 point plan:
1. The South East needs a new airport, and we’ve run out of land. We will build a new airport on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary for all long haul flights. We tell the British people that it is a high security quarantine area for foreigners wishing to enter the country. We will tell the rest of the world that it is a high quality transport hub for welcoming guests to our country. If anyone ever notices the difference between the words quarantine and quality we will just say that it was a typo.
2. Young people from certain UK communities are more successful gaining entrance to university than young people from other communities. However, our UK universities are straining under financial pressure and limited spaces. It would be advantageous for us to offer young people, from ‘certain communities’ free study at universities in the country of their parent’s origins. Thus, we encourage a ‘return home’ policy whilst being seen to support education of minorities.
3. We don’t want to restrict all immigration to Britain, obviously we want people with money to come here. So let’s introduce a bond system, we ask people to make a financial deposit, say £3,500 on entry, then we will give it back to them when they leave. This has two benefits, one it ensures that they leave after they’ve been shopping, and secondly we can temporarily invest their money in the markets whilst they’re here, thus the scheme pays for itself.
4. We want to encourage a set of good old British values again, the sort of values found in the 1950’s village school written about by Enid Blyton. With the NUT in charge of schools we just can’t trust that children are being taught the glorious national story of our Christian island. So, I propose that the Education Secretary sends every school a copy of The King James Bible, and further, I think that he should rejig the examination system so that it tests British History and British Geography.
5. We are a devolving Govt, and we believe that individuals should take responsibility for their own actions. We should apply the same reasoning to people who wish to travel to these shores. Therefore we will send a colour palette chart to every UK Embassy and Consulate around the world. Call it ‘an immigration palette chart’ similar to the Dulux Colour Chart. The chart will match skin tone with probability of being granted access to the UK. Therefore people can make an informed decision as to whether they should bother to apply for a visa, and what their chances of being granted access to the UK are, before they leave home.‘
At this point Barnaby ended his presentation with a humble nod to the PM, to be greeted by clapping and cheers of Bravo ! from the Govt ministers. The civil servants were quietly withdrawing, with grim, drawn faces of shock.
The PM quieted his colleagues, and with a beaming smile spoke ‘wonderful work Barnaby, so carefully thought through, right now that’s sorted out, let’s all go for shampers at The Carlton, first round’s on me !’