Recent posts by beauval on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / #hyperthetical: 300

Technically speaking, counting backwards from 300 means starting at 0 and counting up. That’s even easier. But I’d rather be paid in pounds to stop the banks robbing me on the exchange rate.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Questioning the Nature of Your Embodiment

Flying would be interesting, but I think I would really like to be a deep ocean submarine. It’s the great unknown, and there’s plenty of room for pioneers and explorers down there.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Questioning the Nature of Your Embodiment

Would this be a one off permanent change, or would we be able to reconfigure multiple times?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Hypnosis Video

After five minutes of that dreary voice, I felt like committing murder.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Hypnosis Video

What video??

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Topic: Serious Discussion / What will happen when lab grown meat becomes cheaper than "natural" meat?

The need for other animal products opens up a whole new world. Hospitals and the cosmetics industry use cultured human skin, so I don’t suppose it would be a great leap to producing animal skin complete with hair, wool, feathers etc. I’ve no idea how close we are to making a disembodied cows udder, but it’s an interesting thought.

Or perhaps the government might end up buying the ‘byproduct meat’ wholesale for use in government institutions (Army rations, school lunches, prison lunches, etc)

Now there’s a political shitstorm waiting to happen!

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Topic: Serious Discussion / What will happen when lab grown meat becomes cheaper than "natural" meat?

It’s not as if lab grown meat will replace the real thing overnight. It will take a long time to convince everyone that the lab grown product is ok to eat, and the whole price structure of meat production will change gradually. Meat farms will stop breeding animals and stocks will slowly deplete.

Fewer farmed animals will mean more space for wildlife, which should please the bunny huggers.

All those people who base their self worth on how “vegan” they are will no longer be able to spam social media sites with false moral superiority.

That’s good, isn’t it? Depriving them of an opportunity to be sanctimonious would be most satisfying.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / What do you think the impact would be if Serious Discussion were to receive more regulars from Off-Topic?

Maybe Pete’s talking about tuna.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

I’m so glad I don’t live in Pakistan. I’d expect to be dead next year.

It’s more about health than years. Family history suggests I’ll make it to about 90. I’ll settle for that as long as I’m still reasonably mobile and don’t go gaga in the meantime.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why the Kong SD forum is as close to perfection as you can get.

When I first came to SD, I got a rather nice message from you encouraging me to continue posting. Perhaps we should do that more often when a newbie comes along, irrespective of whether we suspect an alt account.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

Leads with interest in American media…

I was merely musing whether the deaths of 800 Africans would be considered important enough to get a mention on Foxnews… that seems to be America’s favourite source of wisdom on current affairs. We’ve just seen another sinking with associated deaths – has Fox mentioned that yet?

Continues regarding the cause of the problem, though the “cause” is erroneously blamed on the nature of the Mediterranean Sea

Now that’s something I didn’t do. I mentioned the Med simply to point out that it’s normally calm nature was not to blame for that tragedy. At the risk of boring you all to death I will repeat that imho the prime cause is the wave of violence engulfing much of Africa and Asia. The secondary cause issue is the growth of people smuggling into a major international organised crime ring. If you think I’m overstating that, here’s Interpol’s take on it.

Beaval then suggests that because nobody has the guts to actually go out and sink these migrant boats that there’s no leadership. This would be a grotesque crime against humanity and I find the suggestion repulsive.

I never imagined that anybody would take that as an incitement to sink the boats while the refugees were still on board. I rather suspect you’re just taking the piss now, but just in case you’re serious I will stress that the suggestion was to commandeer the boats in harbour, tow them into open water and sink them while empty. Not even the people smugglers would be killed. And it’s beauval with a “u” by the way – it’s the name of the road where I grew up. You can look it up if you like and check the spelling.

Then Beaval continues to relate the challenges faced by the EU with the United States’ own immigration issues.

There are parallels there, so of course I mention America. But the main thrust of the thread was always intended to be the wave of refugees who see Europe as a safe haven.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

Beauval. I’m happy to see you take such pride in Britain’s imperialist past.

No, not really. But I do take a pride in the sheer magnitude of the achievement. For a small and relatively overcrowded island to end up owning or controlling a third of the world was just astonishing. Empires are old hat; if you are taking me for an imperialist then you are very wide of the mark.

This is the claim I think demonstrates my point. You don’t have the resources to give the “hordes” of refugees a future (meaning what? They’ll die?)… but you clearly have resources—being the world’s 5th largest economy and all—for something else… (see comment from a million years ago regarding two-car garages and personal watercraft).

I don’t know what I have to say to make you understand this. Even if we had a magic wand which could produce a couple of million houses at the drop of a hat, we have nowhere to put them. What do you want us to do? Pave over all our farmland perhaps, so that all our food has to be imported at considerable cost? If we did that, we would see some of our citizens, legal or otherwise, starving because they couldn’t afford the new food prices. Take a look at the map and see how small we are. This country is already heavily populated, and the same goes for much of western Europe.

There is more space in the east, but that’s not where the refugees are heading. They have had their heads filled with bullshit by the traffickers, who are rapidly becoming an international organised crime ring, that the EU has infinite resources to help them. We don’t.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

The problem is not one of enforcement but rather of the depiction of immigration as a net negative and draw on scarce public resources when in actuality it more often than not provides benefits to the host country.

Immigration of people with skills, money, or just a burning ambition to work hard and prosper, is very different from the mass migration of people with nothing at all to offer who need to be provided with everything by the host country.

Britain has had the largest empire in the history of the world,…

Not bad for a small island off the coast of mainland Europe!

…and it bears remembering that there was a day when it was entirely appropriate for Britain to “set up house” in other countries.

Yes it was (for several European countries in fact), but they tended to be people of substance intent on building businesses. The British and Dutch empires especially were built on trade rather than conquest.

I’m not saying that the current immigration challenges are the effect of karmic balance, but rather that immigration to Britain is certainly the partial result of Britain having a familiar presence in so many remote countries.

Certainly people from the Commonwealth have an easier passage if they want to come here. The rules are complicated, but it is still controlled immigration. That’s very different from hordes of refugees turning up on our doorstep unannounced and expecting to be housed, fed, clothed and given a future. We don’t have the resources to do that.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / The Purpose of All Things

I’m slightly puzzled how Mexicans are seen as being among the happiest people, when so many of them want to leave their country and become third class citizens in America.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

Karma, unemployment in the UK is lowering and the economy is improving

Undeniably true. If we now indulge in a round of uncontrolled spending, as the last Labour government did, it’s all going to go pear shaped again. There are many areas – NHS, education, policing etc. – which are higher up the wish list than building houses for immigrants. Tough but true.

Apparently you have a real problem with building materials…

No, not really. We do have a problem with land.

America has 300 million people living in half a continent. We have 60 million living in a country a third the size of Texas. So for a start we don’t have the wide open spaces that you do. Much of what we do have is designated farmland, and there’s not enough of that. We have a lot of rain, and a lot of minor waterways which drain the land. Waterways need flood plains; if you build on a flood plain, well, the buildings get flooded. If the development is walled off to prevent that, it just moves the problem to the next development downstream. We’ve tried that, and it didn’t work out well.

Then there are the protected green belt areas around urban developments. The population values them highly, and there will be a political shitstorm if any government tries to relax the rules to allow building there.

On top of that, every development needs planning permission. The system for that is slow and cumbersome, and that is a failing. Successive governments have tinkered with the process, but to little avail. There is also the problem that many developments hit local opposition, and that has to be dealt with by way of public enquiries, and that takes time.

You can add to that all the land that building companies are just sitting on. For them, it’s a matter of supply and demand; if they make a lot of housing available quickly, the price drops. For them it’s a simple matter of supply and demand. They don’t exist to provide cheap housing, they exist to make money. It’s the American way, so you must be able to understand that bit.

Are you claiming that there are not enough places to live now with UK’s current population?

Congratulations, you just hit the nail on the head.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

beauval, short term … until real headway IN the country of possible/likely emigration, what did you thing of my idea of TEMPORARY camps to safely handle the sudden, huge influx? Table for the moment my idea of “renting a country”. I forgot how many islands you have in that area. Set up camps there something like triage so that decent assessments can be made and best plans for handling the enormity of it all is a lot easier because it more isolated & not any too easily integrated into existing social order.

I don’t think we have anywhere in the UK where we could do that. We’re actually several thousand islands, but most of them are little more than rocks sticking up out of the sea. Almost every island of any consequence is already inhabited, and almost all of them would be too small for the job anyway.

On top of that we are part of the EU, and any proposal of that nature would probably need to be approved by Brussels. If we decided to do it despite that, there would likely be a political shitstorm to distract us from the main issue. Brussels is run by muppets, and getting a fast and sensible response from them is not an easy thing to do. If you check the backgrounds of most of our so-called leaders, you will find that they are political yesterday’s men who have been rewarded for their failure with a seat at the top table in Europe. It’s a bit like failing companies giving the bosses mllions in bonuses – I’m sure that happens as often in America as it does over here.

This is a European problem, not just a British one, so Europe will have to come up with at least some of the solutions. Every country has its own unique problems with immigration, and the solutions they propose often seem to boil down to finding ways of dumping the problem into somebody else’s lap. It’s a mess, and I doubt that the politicians are going to wake up to the size of the potential problem we are facing until it is upon us.

The more I think about this, the more I think some serious arse kicking in the UN has to be at least part of the solution. We somehow need to find a way to make life more tolerable in the countries these people are trying to escape. It’s the sort of problem that the UN was created for, and for a whole range of reasons it’s just not doing its job. I very much doubt that we will see much action there either, until thousands more have drowned in the Med, or died of exhaustion while trying to walk to Europe.

So the outlook seems pretty bleak. It’s the great failing of a democracy – everything has to be talked to death before any action can be agreed. I’m not sure that we have the luxury of the time to do that.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

The “housing shortage” is the kind of argument that the British Nutjob Party makes when advocating for stricter immigration control.

Well there’s a surprise! Highlighting a long standing social issue which can easily be twisted to show immigration as its cause (it isn’t) is one way the BNP can win the occasional seat on local councils. Beyond that, the BNP is a fringe group of little consequence. You seem to be confusing it with mainstream political parties in the UK, and it definitely isn’t one of them.

When you refer to “large scale” immigration, Beauval, are you talking about 1980 levels? That’s what the BNP is proposing… are you all up in their platforms? That’s fine if you are… just claim it.

First of all, nobody much gives a monkey’s fuck what the BNP is proposing. We may not be all that politically astute over here, but we can recognise a bunch of shit stirring extremists when we see one. As for me being one of their supporters, I can scarcely believe you really believe that. Underneath this fiscally conservative exterior I’m a socialist to the core – just a very pragmatic one who would prefer to tackle problems that I can actually deal with.

Now, large scale immigration: I’m really talking about the huge numbers that are likely to head in our direction in the coming years. There are millions of displaced people in Africa and Asia who are looking for a fresh start in a safe environment. If they start to hit the EU’s borders in ever increasing numbers (and it looks as if they will), then we just don’t have the infrastructure to cope with an influx of refugees on that level.

Considering the crappy job that the UK Border Agency did before it was disbanded two years ago, my country will struggle to deal with processing all the applications to enter the country legally, and will fail abysmally at keeping out all the illegals. But that will be a cakewalk compared to trying to deal with the root causes of the problem. When PleaseDont brought the UN into the conversation, I thought we were moving into more interesting and pertinent waters. We seem to be back to discussing whether or not I’m a fascist. I’m disappointed. I can’t seem to make you understand that this is a looming problem which is likely to need some concerted international action if we are to stand any chance of getting it under control.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

Yet the hypocrisy abounds.

Of course it does, but you’re highlighting the reactions of a poorly educated and very vocal section of the community. And it’s not all bullshit – southern Italy, where the illegals from Africa usually end up, is very poor. All the money is in the north. There is a housing shortage in Britain, especially at the lower end of the market, so social housing is pretty much all taken already. There are always problems with integration. I live in the world’s most cosmopolitan city, and I see it all the time. What you are denigrating as the product of greed and selfishness does actually represent some genuine social concerns, and governments have to react to that. Their solutions are not always well thought out.

In the 1970s, getting drunk on a Saturday night and then indulging in a spot of Paki bashing was a regular activity for far too many people. I’m glad to say I never did it, but I knew people who did. It didn’t help anyone, but those mainly young people just didn’t understand the the Asians who were settling here could be productive too. They were seen as a threat. Allowing large scale immigration without paving the way first creates as many problems as it solved.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

I’m not trying to sideline America’s experience in this discussion; if America has any positive solutions then I would like to see them. Alas and alack, a lot of Americans, some of them rather influential, seem to think that building a wall along the Mexican border is actually a good idea. That wouldn’t work in Europe, as most of the external borders are coastline.

The real crux of the problem is how to stop the flow of refugees, and that will require more imaginative solutions than the one above. There are countless millions of people who see the west, and that is mainly Europe in this context, as a way out of the dire problems they are facing. The simple fact of the matter is that we just can’t cope with those sorts of numbers.

Pete, you wanted to know about the UK’s immigration policy. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth. Note that one of the headline mission statements is “controlling migration to limit non-EU economic migrants and minimise abuse of all migration routes”. It’s that second bit which is really important. Illegal immigration has become a huge industry which enslaves its victims.

I am friendly with a Chinese woman who was promised the earth if she came to the UK. She’s now doing crappy work (about 80 hours a week) for even crappier wages, and owes her gangmaster more money by way of travel expenses than she can ever pay off with her current wage plan. In other words she’s trapped. I am working on ways for her to earn some extra money that her gangmaster doesn’t know about. Getting her out of her predicament altogether will take a bit more head scratching, but I’ll get there in the end. I always do. There are a great many people in the same situation, and their numbers are growing. Meanwhile the gangs are making money beyond their wildest dreams, and it’s a very serious problem.

I have a question for beauval.
Would it be out of line to “request” the bulk of immigrant to not have children until such time that they are at least “off the welfare books” and likely are able to stay that way AND provide decently (“humanely”?) for any “new” kids?

You can request all you like, but you won’t get anywhere. Short of compulsory sterilisation there’s nothing you can do to stop them, and I think the human rights lobby might take a dislike to that kind of policy. Remember that most of these people are coming from parts of the world where it’s normal to have fifteen children and hope that a couple of them survive to adulthood. It takes a long time to eliminate cultural norms like that.

I also want to know if there is any concern that the immigrants, being basically “disadvantaged” upon immigration, will displace any/many citizens’ jobs simply because they likely would be willing to work for less?

Yes, of course, mainly from the less well educated quarters. It’s not as bad as it used to be. We seemed to hear of nothing else back in the fifties and sixties, when most of the immigrants came from the West Indies at our invitation to repair all the war damage, but I think even the idiots are becoming better informed these days. As for working for less, we have European minimum wage laws – it’s not the free for all that seems to be the American way. The unskilled immigrants, which covers most of them, will be looking for minimum wage work anyway. So it doesn’t matter if you are a WASP or a Nigerian, you get paid the same.

America has no problem doing this by exporting jobs to China because they work cheaper there. America has long IMPORTED cheap labor from Mexico … all mostly to enhance the bottom lines for wealthy Americans. Would it be any different in Europe? Are their movers-&-shakers as miserly as America’s?

At heart many of them undoubtedly are, but we do our best to ensure that they are not allowed to be. It’s called business regulation, something that the USA seems to be dismally lacking. Sure, we export jobs to China, India, Bangladesh (my jeans were made there) and a whole host of other, mainly Commonwealth, countries. Companies employing illegals is a different matter – there are some pretty hefty fines for companies which do that. And that means that all the illegals gravitate towards unregistered sweat shops, prostitution and crime, none of which helps to improve their quality of life.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

So we appear to be in agreement that an international governing body, given the proper tools, power, and credibility, could solve a lot of problems, including the world-wide immigration problem. How, then, should this movement gain political support without decades of slow and questionable cultural change, and how do we convince the other governments to assist us in this endeavor? That is the real question, and I am curious as to how you and others believe that this goal could be attained.

How to do it quickly? Well now, I didnt say it was going to be easy. For a start, on this particular issue at least, the security council needs a lot more power. And we need to find a way to stop countries like Sudan and Somalia from ever getting a seat on it. I can’t see much happening while the countries that are causing this problem have an equal say with the countries that are adversely affected by it. You have to remember that what for us is a serious humanitarian and (yes Pete) economic problem, for many of the countries these refugees are leaving it is a positive boon. For them it’s not only a great way to get rid of some of their insurgents, it also relieves the pressure on resources which are severely limited, often due to their own bad government management.

That alone could take years, but I do think it’s possible. A mixture of economic sanctions and good old fashioned economic bribery is a powerful tool. So it really comes down to whether the world as a whole has the will and the conscience to do something really constructive for its people, whether each individual country is prepared to make a small sacrifice for the benefit of the world at large.

I can’t answer that, but judging the matter in the light of all the rampant greed and selfishness that we see all around us, I sometimes have my doubts. There are too many self absorbed people who are in denial that in a global economy what happens on the other side of the world can have a direct impact on their own lives. They can’t or won’t see the bigger picture, and unfortunately some of those people have a lot more political clout than they deserve.

But that shouldn’t stop us from trying. It’s time we grew up and educated ourselves out of the tribalistic notion that our little group is the only thing that matters. I found out while writing in another thread that it has been calculated that nobody on earth is more distantly related to anyone else than 40th cousin. In that sense we’re all one big family, and we need to ackowledge that.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

Essentially all I’ve seen here are some of the same conflated perspectives used by the Republican party. “It’s about the economy, stupid!”

If we concentrate on finding living space for all the people who want to come to the west for whatever reason, then we will see an endless flow forever. For me this is not primarily about making today’s refugees comfortable, it’s about stemming the flow and making life tolerable for all these people where they are, in their own countries. You just don’t seem to be getting that bit, and to compare me with some of the loonies on the extreme right of your extremely right wing political system I find downright insulting.

To stem the flow, we need to find ways to deal with all the corrupt presidents and politicians, all the warlords and all the narrow minded tribalists whose greed, ambition and xenophobic attitudes are causing these problems in the first place. And we need to do that in ways which are acceptable to the people we are trying to help, not by America trying to impose its own ideas of democracy on to people who don’t even understand what democracy is and how it’s supposed to work.

Pleasedonot brought up the UN. Right now it’s little more than a talking shop, but if it was given some teeth to deal effectively with those who flout international law and to punish those who feel entitled to behave as outrageously as they want in order to become rich and powerful at the expense of milions of others, then we might begin to get somewhere. If the UN is to provide leadership, then it will need to have power, concensus, and a large dollop of wisdom. At this juncture it doesnt have any of them.

And for Christ’s sake Pete, stop yammering on about fucking America. This is a word problem, and America is only 5% of it.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

This is the quote that irks me: “There simply isn’t enough money in the world to help all the hard luck cases out there.”

Alright, let me put it a slightly different way; there simply isn’t enough money in the world to help all the hard luck cases out there at this present time. I can’t help wondering whether you grasp just how big this problem is. You harp on about how well California has coped with a relative handful of Mexicans while ignoring the main issue. Here’s a list of ongoing mainly armed conflicts around the world. The fact that you have never heard of some of these countries and regions doesn’t make it any less real. Armed conflicts always produce refugees, lots and lots of them, and giving them all a pound note and a cuddle doesn’t help anyone.

People trafficking is a big worldwide business, and it’s growing. They move people to new countries, saddle them with a huge debt which they can never pay off, and turn the refugees into slave labour for the rest of their lives. Millions of people are ready to fall into this trap, and many will not survive the experience, as was amply demonstrated by the incident which prompted this thread.

If we are ever going to deal with this, it has to be done in a hard-nosed, pragmatic and methodical way, and will take decades even if we don’t make mistakes along the way, which we inevitably will. We need to educate the small minded racial and religious tribalism out of billions of people, somehow find a way to repair the basket-case economies which produce all the poverty and anger, deal with all the petty dictators and warlords who just don’t care about the misery they inflict on everyone else, and at the same time try to accomodate at least a few of the victims who are just a symptom of the underlying causes. Trying to give them all a new life is not an option. If we take in all the people who don’t just want but desperately need to come here, it will leave Europe destitute, and then we won’t be able to help anyone at all.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

Well, I live in one of the largest border towns along the Mexican border and there are few cities as prosperous. San Diego is thriving and has some of the highest property values in the nation. California bears the brunt of illegal immigration and it is the largest of the US states and continues to grow. So I’m not really seeing all this economic hardship that illegal immigration is supposedly responsible for.

So how were all these immigrants managed? What’s California’s secret? Did all these immigrants arrive by the trainload à la bestia, or did they come in manageable numbers? If the latter, what sort of numbers are we talking about?

I ask because right now Europe is facing a potential refugee problem which will dwarf America’s. What we are seeing now is just the vanguard. There are around 3 million refugees from Syria living in camps in the surrounding countries. They simply can’t cope with those sorts of numbers, and given time many of those refugees will gravitate towards Europe, especially when the people traffickers move in. That’s 3 million people from just one small country in a very troubled region.

There are civil wars in Libya, Yemen, Iraq inter alia, none of which look like coming to an end any time soon. Everyone I have spoken to who comes from the Middle East seems to think that it won’t be long before there will be a massacre of the Kurds in northern Iraq. Add to that the millions from sub-Saharan Africa who are trying to flee wars, hopelessly inept economic management and grinding poverty, an on-going civil war and genocide in Darfur, the utter madness that is Somalia, the Tuareg problem in the Sahara, armed conflicts in central Africa, and so on and so on and so on, and we have a potential refugee crisis which will suffocate Europe if we allow it to.

So what do we do, Pete? You appear to see all the solutions in glorious technicolour, while all I see is a grey fog of uncertainty. How did California get it so right, because right now Europe needs to know.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

I understand that there are political factors but I don’t understand how this isn’t—at its most fundamental level—a humanitarian issue.

It is a humanitarian issue, I am not disputing that. The question is whether we can afford to take in everyone who arrives looking for a better life. It’s all well and good allowing the occasional tramp to sleep in your garden shed, but what happens when 25 of them turn up demanding to sleep in your bed? It is undoubtedly a problem, a really huge one at that, and if we make no attempt to deal with it in a controlled manner then we are likely to be overwhelmed by it.

Militant Muslims, African Christian warlocks, genital mutilators and honor killers aren’t problems we’re facing when we address our immigration challenges.

They are where I come from. Not on a particularly large scale admittedly, but all these problems do exist in the UK.

if you’re only talking about people immigrating to the US for economic reasons

Why do Americans always assume that the USA is the only country where anything ever happens? This is an ever growing problem for Europe; it’s been predicted for years that we will have to face and deal with a huge influx of refugees as much of Africa, not to mention the Middle East, fragments into tribal violence and warfare. It’s starting to happen now, and will get worse.

Now, since you mentioned the USA and la bestia (I didn’t know about that, but wasn’t surprised), what do you propose doing if half a million Mexicans arrive every year expecting to find sanctuary and a better life? Where are you going to put them for a start? If America takes in every hard luck case who turns up on its doorstep, you will likely see refugee camps in every state, and cities like New York and Chicago sprouting shanty towns like the favelas in Brazil. Nothing will change for those people – they will still be struggling for survival in a giant slum, just like they were in Mexico. If this problem is ever going to be solved, it will need a more pragmatic approach than that.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Give me your tired, your poor

I’m not sure what you mean by “unacceptable cultures.”

Well, you could try shariat, some very bizarre African versions of Christianity involving witchcraft among other things, women being treated as possessions, female genital mutilation, honour killings, even election rigging

I’m not talking about people with skills – they are and always have been welcome here. The NHS would collapse if it wasn’t for all the immigrant workers in it.

I thought I had made it clear I was talking about refugees and economic migrants, who I see as a very big potential problem if they are allowed unfettered access into the EU, or the USA for that matter.