A bad idea
Sir: Your editorial in favour of an amnesty for illegal immigrants (‘The case for amnesty’, 9 November) flies in the face of extensive evidence. Italy, Spain and France have, between them, granted any number of amnesties; almost without exception, each one prompted further waves of illegal immigration. In 2005 the French Interior Minister said further amnesties were out of the question. His German counterpart in the same year said that ‘wide-ranging campaigns to legalise illegal immigrants such as in Spain mean more illegal immigrants are drawn to Europe’.
Your editorial avoids any mention of the potential risks to life highlighted by the recent tragic events, and suggests that a ten-year rule would have little effect on inflows. Yet if there is a considerable draw with no such prospect, its announcement can only increase the draw.
Illegal immigration is a serious concern to 77 per cent of the public (according to a project28.eu poll conducted in 2018). The inclusion of an amnesty in the Conservative manifesto could only add to doubts as to whether they are serious about reducing the current levels of immigration.
Chairman, Migration Watch UK, London SW1
Or a good one?
Sir: It’s heartening to see a prominent publication on the centre-right set out the arguments for offering citizenship to illegal immigrants. The most common objection — that such a move would encourage further illegal inflows — is simply not borne out by the best economic evidence. Rather, it would be a sensible measure to boost the economy, prevent exploitation, cut crime and encourage integration. I hope that more conservatives and free market liberals such as myself will voice their support in the coming months.
Head of Programmes, Adam Smith Institute, London SW1
Why I’ll vote for Boris
Sir: Tanya Gold (‘Utterly betrayed’, 9 November) is correct in her analysis of the anti-Semitism that pervades every corner of Corbyn’s Labour party. But unlike her, as a synagogue-going Jew, I will have no hesitation in voting Conservative at the forthcoming general election. Boris Johnson is a strong supporter of Israel and the British Jewish community, and the Conservative party’s traditional values are attractive to many British Jews.
Sir: The ‘Dear Mary’ column is always entertaining and usually right, but she is surely wrong to suggest that eating before a theatre performance dulls the responses (9 November). I am far more likely to be distracted by hunger pangs than by feeling satiated. Given many restaurants in London have a menu designed to get the meal finished by 7.30 p.m., to give patrons time to get to the theatre, I would suggest that the majority of theatre-goers agree with me.
Our national teams
Sir: Mark Lyall Grant (Letters, 9 November) fails to identify fully the complexity of the way in which our national sporting teams are structured. Of the sports he mentions, only in football do ‘four separate national’ teams represent the United Kingdom. The England cricket team is the responsibility of the England and Wales Cricket Board, perhaps confusingly abbreviated to ECB. Scottish cricket became independent in 1993. Across the water, international borders are ignored, with Ireland meaning the island of Ireland not only in cricket but also in rugby and golf, with the sports administered and teams selected on a 32-counties basis. The Ryder Cup used to be competed for between the United States and Great Britain and Ireland, not just Northern Ireland. The amateur equivalent, the Walker Cup, still is.
Sir: Andrew Block (Letters, 9 November) draws attention to role models mentioned in the book Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different. He mentions ‘the unnamed man who defied the might of the Chinese Communist party by standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square’, on 5 June 1989. Tank Man, as he became known, was identified as 19-year-old student Wang Weilin. Some say that he was arrested and charged with ‘political hooliganism’, after which he was executed, although the Chinese Communist party maintains that he escaped and that his current whereabouts are unknown.
For me, another hero of this encounter was the commander of the lead tank, who repeatedly refused to run over an unarmed citizen. Had he done so, one imagines that he would have been absolved of any blame and suitably rewarded by the Chinese state. The tank commander’s identity has never been revealed and his current whereabouts are also ‘unknown’. Two role models emerged on that day: one an exemplar of courage, the other of humanity.
Dr Andrew Mason
Norton, Bury St Edmunds
Sir: Roger Alton writes of ‘Seven things we’ve learned from the rugby World Cup’ (Sport, 2 November). I was impressed by the thorough Japanese organisation of the games, and especially with the young mascot who sang the Welsh national anthem, in what must have been a difficult language to learn.
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