Immigration and asylum turn voters off UK Tories

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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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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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