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Friday, February 22, 2013

Prince Phillip jokes about large number of FT nurses in UK

Prince Philip jokes about large number of FT nurses in UK

With the many Filipino nurses working in UK, even the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, who is the husband of Queen Elizabeth, was prompted to joke that Philippines must be “half empty”.

He made the remark during a visit to Luton and Dunstable Hospital. The Duke met a Filipino nurse and told her jokingly, “The Philippines must be half empty – you’re all here running the NHS.”

The Filipino nurse laughed.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the visit of the duke had been “hugely motivational”.

However, the hospital spokesperson would not comment on the duke’s conversation with the nurse but said the hospital had not held a recent recruiting campaign in the Philippines.

“Luton is a very cosmopolitan town and the working staff at Luton and Dunstable Hospital reflects that,” the spokesperson said.

16,184 (2.4%) of the 670,000 nurses currently in the UK are from the Philippines.

Responding to Tuesday’s visit to Luton, Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on a private conversation.

During the previous Labour govt under Gordon Brown, immigration rules were relaxed, resulting in a surge of immigration into UK. UK’s immigrant population jumped by 3 million in the 10 years from 2001 to 2011, with 1 in 8 (about 13%) residents now are foreign-born [Link].

Last month, at the Fabian Society, UK Labour party chief, Ed Miliband admitted the last Labour government (then under Gordon Brown) did not do enough for ordinary people, becoming distant on issues such as immigration.

As a result, the Labour government lost heavily in the last UK General Election in 2010. The Labour party lost 91 parliamentary seats from 349 seats (53.7%) to 258 (39.7%). It lost control of the majority in parliament, giving way to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form the current coalition govt in UK. Gordon Brown stepped down as the Labour party chief and Ed Miliband succeeded him.

Miliband is distancing himself from his mentor, Gordon Brown, who famously described a Rochdale voter as a “bigoted woman” after she raised concerns with Brown, then PM, about immigration during the election.

Miliband said, “I bow to nobody in my celebration of the multi-ethnic, diverse nature of Britain. But high levels of migration were having huge effects on the lives of people in Britain – and too often those in power seemed not to accept this. The fact that they didn’t, explains partly why people turned against us in the last general election.”

In another public speech in Jun last year, Miliband also conceded that his party had “got things wrong” on immigration.

He said that people who worry about immigration should not be characterised as bigots – a reference to the same famous incident when his predecessor Gordon Brown, described the Rochdale voter as a “bigoted woman”.

Miliband said, “Worrying about immigration, talking about immigration, thinking about immigration, does not make them bigots. Not in any way.”

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