chapter  9
10 Pages

Migration through the lens of political advertising: how Taiwanese parties discuss migration

Over the past two decades, immigration has become one of the most salient issues in western party systems. Parties such as the Front National (France), British National Party (England), Progress Parties (Scandinavia) and Party for Freedom (Netherlands) have relied heavily on an anti-immigrant message to appeal to voters. In some countries these new challenger parties have made major inroads into the support base of older established parties. This was exemplified in how the Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was able to come second in the first round of the French presidential election in 2002 and contest the one-on-one second round. Anti-immigrant appeals have often caused the mainstream political parties to pander to anti-immigrant sentiment by offering policies designed to restrict legal immigration and even limit the numbers of overseas students. In 2007 the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown responded to concerns that migrant workers were gaining the lion’s share of new jobs created by projects such as the London Olympics by calling for ‘British Workers for British Jobs’.1 This was later exploited by the British National Party, which in 2009 ran a nationwide poster campaign (including in my own small town) showing three construction workers in helmets and the slogan ‘British Jobs for British Workers’. On British news programmes, non-governmental organizations such as Migration Watch regularly warn audience of how the country is being swamped by uncontrolled immigration. More recently, the British Coalition government has implemented policies designed to restrict the numbers of fee-paying overseas students from outside the European Union. The topic has even permeated the cultural sphere, with countless films and TV dramas, such as My Beautiful Laundrette and This is England, centred on the migration issue.