CONFLATION (to fuse into one entity or merge) is one of my very favourite expressions, but it isn’t every day that it can be worked into your average conversation.
How fortunate, therefore, that I read such a fine example of it while reading the letters in the Dispatch’s ‘Have Your Say’ section in the edition of Friday July 6 (‘Will These 52,000 New Homes Benefit Local Population?’).
It appears that, according to UKIP, the principal objection to the development of new houses around Hucknall’s boundaries is not the impact on the local environment; not the pressures that will be placed upon our infrastructure; not whether Gedling’s plans actually address the needs of people who live within their borough; nor is it the extra traffic on our roads.
No, it is the ‘fact’ that the houses are being built for the sole purpose of accommodating those people with funny accents — not Geordies, but proper foreigners from abroad.
So UKIP conflates the issues of the need for new housing with immigration and cites that unblemished source — ‘Migrationwatch’ (any similarity to Crimewatch being purely accidental, of course) — to back up its claims.
Migration is responsible for 39% of all new homes planned, they say.
Well, I haven’t looked at the figures recently but what I do know is that ‘migration’ in such studies takes into consideration international migration but also, and rather more significantly, people who move within the UK.
Yes, the people who could end up living in a home near you could well be English and, whilst I realise that is not something UKIP wants to accept, it is nevertheless true.
All Hucknall’s Labour councillors have given their views, which will be included in Ashfield District Council’s response to Gedling’s consultation.
We welcome the opportunity to speak to anyone about these proposals — and anything else for that matter — to see how we can make sure that we achieve the very best for Hucknall.
It is best, though, that we leave it to others to conflate where they will.
There are very, very many genuine reasons to have grave concerns about the possibility of building so many new homes so far away from the main population centres within Gedling.
COUN JIM GRUNDY (Lab),
Ashfield District Council,