1 JUNE 1985, Page 5


WHATEVER else they may have contri- buted to the vitality of our national life, coloured immigrants have not been leaders in the field of sexual equality. It is there- fore amusing to find their cause upheld by the European Court of Human Rights, on the grounds that they have suffered sexual discrimination. According to the Court, it Is wrong of the British Government to forbid immigrant wives to bring in hus- bands while allowing husbands to bring in wives. This is a ridiculous ruling. Immigra- tion control is a particularly savage form of protectionism, restricting the movement of people rather than goods, and protection- 1,5m, since it is based on no principles of Justice, is bound to operate arbitrarily. Governments should be decent and humane in their immigration policies, but they should also — indeed must — be discriminatory. In the end, any 'right' which allows large numbers of people in will have to be infringed by any govern- ment serious about immigration control; so one hopes that the only effect of the ruling will be that the husband's privilege will be withdrawn rather than extended to the wife. What is absurd is that governments should be hamstrung by the decisions of a Court erected on speculative principles and with no proper jurisdiction. It is interesting that Britain is top of the 'league table' of offences brought before the Court and yet Britain — or rather, England and Scotland — has the most enduring, sophisticated and civilised law in the world.

'Why do we want another cold, godfor- saken island with nothing on it?'