Don’t come to the UK!
Don’t come to the UK! That might become the new slogan of a country that generates over £100 billion per annum in revenue from tourism. There’s more to the slogan than meets the eye nevertheless, its purpose can be easily misconstrued if received by those it is not directed to. The new slogan is the core message of a proposed elaborate ad campaign by the UK government meant to discourage immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania; two of the poorest countries in the EU with a combined population of 26 million who will be free to live and work in the UK next year. Although the ad campaign is creative and innovative, it brings to mind Mitt Romney’s disastrous idea of “self deportation” by illegal immigrants across the pond as a solution to the prevailing immigration dilemma in his country.
Between a rock and a hard place
The idea of a negative ad campaign may have been scoffed at by members of parliament but what else can the government do? It’s hands are tied. Joining the EU involves signing treaties and surrendering part of your sovereignty as a nation. The EU has a legal framework which guarantees the free movement of EU citizens across boundaries of member states, this was a bitter pill the UK had to swallow when over 1 million EU immigrants moved to the UK between 2004-2008. A more ridiculous case is that of Abu Qatada whom the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled cannot be deported by the UK in order to protect his human rights. The conservative government remains committed to it’s aggressive drive to reduce net migration to just tens of thousands but continues to come under heavy criticism especially from university vice-chancellors who fear for the future of their £14 billion a year sector.
Apparently, the government remains committed to promoting tourism while trying to discourage those targeting the easily accessible generous welfare programmes. The UK embassy in Romania recently launched a GREAT campaign to promote the UK. It doesn’t matter anymore if the government develops cold feet over the execution of its planned negative campaign and abandons the idea, readers of a major newspaper have already gone ahead with the plan. The message to the Bulgarians and Romanians was clear; the streets in the UK are not paved with gold, the politicians are not popular and the weather isn’t great.
An unintended message may also have been sent; there is an abundance of imagination and creativity here, and you are free to speak your mind.