The Scotsman reported on 3rd February 2012:

High-earning migrants and promising student entrepreneurs will find it easier to work in Britain as the coalition aims to ensure only “the right people are coming here”, the Immigration Minister has said. Damian Green, a Conservative MP, said middle managers, unskilled labourers and benefit seekers would be kept out as the coalition seeks only migrants who “add to the quality of life in Britain.”

When politicians tell us that the only immigrants that will be welcome are those who will make a positive contribution and then goes on to exclude ‘middle managers, unskilled labourers and benefit seekers’ I am left wondering:

Does Damian Green believe that the millions of existing citizens in the UK who are middle managers, manual workers (I will drop the term ‘unskilled’ as nobody is unskilled) and people who rely on benefits (and there goes another tale) don’t add to the quality of life in Britain?

Together these groups represent more than half of the UK population. So, on this basis, Damian Green believes that most people in the UK don’t add to the quality of life. I hate to think where he would put disabled people or people with poor health.

The prevalent philosophical belief – rampant in all political parties – is in meritocracy: that the best should rule. They are the best (in their own heads at least) and the rest of us should be grateful for the great efforts they make on our behalf. In their imaginings: they contribute, we take.

Of course we are left with the paradox faced by all meritocrats – they need us to rule over and they need us to do all the things they think are beneath them. At its worst such thinking leads to eugenics – and we are certainly slipping down that slope.

I am reminded of a thought by someone much wiser, Rebbe Shmelke, who said:

The rich need the poor more than the poor need the rich. Unfortunately, neither is conscious of it.