This is a well balanced speech on UK's immigration problems. Cameron acknowledges the contributions of immigrants to UK but feels that the 'high' influx has strained its infrastructure and the social fabric of the country. This is now a very big issue in UK right now and the Cameron govt has to answer to angry citizens.
I couldn't help feeling amused halfway through the video:
"I'm also clear about something else. For too long immigration has been too high. Between 1997 and 2009, 2.2 million more people came to live in this country than went to live abroad. This is the largest influx of people that britain has ever had. It has placed real pressures on communities up and down our country. Not just pressure on schools, housing and healthcare - those have been serious- but social pressures too" - Cameron, 3:47 into the video.
Geee...as a Singaporean, the numbers PM Cameron mentioned seems very small for a relatively big country like UK...yet they are so alarmed by it.
I double check the figures he spoke about and found this article about immigration in BBC [Link] about UK's 'alarming' rate of immigration - about 145,000 a year. - that is causing much hue and oitcry among the British people.
"Between 2005 and 2009, Singapore's population surged by roughly 150,000 people a year to 5 million—among the fastest rates ever there—with 75% or more of the increase coming from foreigners. In-migration continued in 2009 despite expectations it would collapse because of the global recession." - WSJ article "Singapore's Expat Surge Fuels Economic Fears"[Link]
UK has a population size of 61 million people i.e. about 12 times the size of Singapore. That makes UK's per capita immigration rate one tenth that of Singapore's. UK land area is about 350 times that of Singapore. The British are protesting against a foreign influx that is miniscule compared with the rate in Singapore. Indeed PM Cameron is very serious about tackling a issue that is one-tenth the magnitude that of Singapore.
Very often PAP leaders accuse ordinary Singaporeans of being small minded and intolerant of immigrants. This is not true. The PAP's policy on the foreign influx borders on the extreme and in any other country the govt would have been voted out had their govt imported foreigners at such a high rate. The PAP is riding on some goodwill from a distant past and unfair elections which favors the incumbent. It should take this borrowed time for a hard reflection of this issue. Lets get this very clear. Singaporeans are very open and tolerant people - most of us lived in a multiracial and multireligious society all our lives. We tolerated 10 times the per capita immigration rate in Britain for years before it became a big issue when it affected our lives adversely. It is hurtful and insensitive when the PAP calls us small minded and says we are unable to integrate with foreigners. Many of us have friends and relatives who are foreigners. That was never the issue. The real issue is the extremely large numbers the PAP govt permitted into the country.