This question can be answered on many different levels, and at the highest level it shouldn’t even be asked.
There is no difference, a believer would say. Neither one is better. We are all equal before God. St Peter decides whether or not to open the pearly gates on criteria other than national origin.
Having established this indisputable fact, only a silly ideological fanatic will then infer that hence we also ought to be all equal before the agency called UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI for short).
A sane person of even average intelligence will see that immigrants from some countries should be more welcome than those from some others.
An Aussie, for example, may at times drink too much Foster’s and throw up on your car, but then native-born Brits don’t mind that pastime either.
And yes, an Aussie may speak English with an awful accent, but at least he does speak it fluently enough, except when he has drunk too much Foster’s. Also, he doesn’t mind being called a ‘bloke’ or addressed as ‘oi, mate’.
More important, he’s already a subject of Her Majesty the Queen; he grew up not reading the same books English children don’t read even though they are supposed to; and, having caused damage to your car after drinking too much Foster’s, he’s comfortable with being judged according to the practices of the English Common Law.
Surely, as a new arrival to our shores, he’s preferable to someone who thinks drinking too much Foster’s isn’t a good idea but castrating women is?
Oh well, suddenly we find ourselves on dangerous ground strewn with landmines. In the actual reality governed by common sense, there would be no argument, this goes without saying. But in the virtual reality of our world, governed as it is by petty ideologies, harebrained notions and infantile point-scoring, such issues aren’t decided in the realm of reason.
Here, in our virtual world, the answer I’ve given to the question in the title isn’t just wrong. It’s borderline criminal.
It betokens racism, mono-culturalism (is that the opposite of multi-culti?), little-Englandism, conservatism, jingoism, chauvinism and every other vice no seeker of public office can possibly display without being publicly flogged in every mass medium.
Nigel Farage has found this out the hard way when interviewed on BBC Newsnight, that rigorous guardian of virtual morality.
The interviewer laid a trap by asking Nigel if he’d have a preference for someone from Melbourne over someone from Mogadishu or, come to that, for someone from the west of Europe over someone from the low-rent end.
The trap was devilishly clever. Everyone knows that Farage, along with about 90 per cent of our population, feels that our immigration policy, you know, the one we inherited courtesy of Tony Blair, is crazy to the point of being subversive.
The country has diluted not only Englishness but indeed Britishness to a point where a nonentity like Ed Miliband can become prime minister and have his wires pulled by the woman who hates the English with every passion of what passes for her soul.
Nigel knew that, his interviewer knew that, and they each knew that the other chap knew. But establishing the truth wasn’t the point of the interview, was it? It was to make Ukip look like a bunch of racist, xenophobic troglodytes.
Nigel knew that too, and he faced the stark choice of either coming across as an idiot, and an unprincipled one at that, or taking the bait. Commendably he chose the latter:
“I have to confess I do have a slight preference. I do think, naturally, that people from India and Australia are in some ways more likely to speak English, understand common law and have a connection with this country than some people that come from perhaps countries that haven’t fully recovered from being behind the Iron Curtain.”
Notice that Nigel was watching his step, as befits someone walking through a minefield. He confessed to only a ‘slight preference’. He added the qualifier ‘perhaps’. And he avoided the racial mine by only talking about East Europeans, not Somalis.
No matter. There’s no safe path through that particular minefield. Sidestep one charge and you’ll set off another. One way or the other, you’re dead.
Hence even The Mail, our most conservative paper, has described Farage’s remarks as ‘controversial’. Since, for purely medical reasons, I can’t read The Guardian or The Independent, I don’t know what adjectives they used, but one can guess.
What a world we live in, where a display of common sense becomes controversial. I can’t imagine there are many Guardian readers among you, but if you are, ask yourself this simple question:
Would I rather live in a neighbourhood that’s predominantly Somali, Romanian and Yemeni, or one that’s mostly Australian, French and Italian?
You don’t have to reply, certainly not in public: I know what you think. But wouldn’t you rather live in a world where your answer would be considered self-evident rather than controversial?
Don’t answer that one either. If you sully your hands with copies of The Guardian, you won’t give an honest reply anyway. And if you are a normal person, you’d think that answering such an obvious question is beneath you.