Saturday, April 23, 2005
Opinion polls are showing that the Conservative Party's tough stance on immigration in the UK general election is turning more voters away than it is winning.
The policies of tighter border control and quotas on asylum seekers are part of the big five promises in the Conservative manifesto and have featured prominently in the party's advertising campaign and party election broadcasts.
The policy has increasingly been an embarrassment for the Tories, however, since a Guardian/ICM opinion poll last week showed that floating voters and those on the liberal side of the party were being put off by the policy, and that only 8% of voters consider immigration a significant problem.
This was followed by the revelation that tighter border control would apply only to the country's largest air and sea ports.
The Tories' Australian election strategist, Lynton Crosby, is widely credited with having prompted the unpopular policy, so similar to that used to swing voters by previous employer the Australian Liberal Party in a recent Australian election. The tactic, harping on supposed xenophobia of the average voter, has been called 'Dog Whistle' politics.
Intellectual debate was completely bypassed in the Australian election, when Labor, the major opposition party, failed to tackle the subject through rational debate, but instead competed with the government, scrambling to tackle the supposed external threat.
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== References ==
Alan Travis. "Immigration strategy backfiring on Tories" — The Guardian, April 14
Nicholas Watt. "Tory candidate under fire for 'send them back' asylum ad" — The Guardian, April 14
Nicholas Watt and Michael White. "Howard sticks to guns on immigration" — The Guardian, April 20
Matthew Tempest. "Call to ban Tory election chief from New Zealand" — The Guardian, April 22
Michael White. "Blair hits back over migrants" — The Guardian, April 23