Written by Åsmund Austenå Løvdal.

A campaign is under way to make the migrant voice heard in British politics.Jacek Musialik. Photo: Åsmund LøvdalIn the coming local elections three people from Eastern Europe will stand as independent candidates for seats in the City of Lincoln Council. Jacek Musialik from Poland, is one of them and he believes that immigrants’ involvement in politics will help their integration with wider community.

“The talk of closing borders and leaving the EU is just hot air. Britain needs young people from across the world who want to come here to work and live a good life,” said Mr Musialik.

“Migrants bring their skills, ideas and entrepreneurship. The scaremongering about people coming here to live on benefits or offer to work on less than minimum wage is far exaggerated.”

Musialik studied economics and works as an adviser at well known national charity.  He says immigrants must strive to do well and integrate into their new community, but it is not all up to them.

He said: “Integration goes both ways. We as newcomers must respect our new country and do our part, but the English society must also accept us and be open.”

“The best method is openness and continuous dialogue to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.

“I don’t stand to be a representative of the immigrant community, but of all the people in the whole ward.

Musialik believes everyone should use their vote to get involved in their community. Until now the turnout among Eastern European in the UK has been low.

His decision to stand in the coming local election is part of a nationwide campaign to engage foreign born workers in politics. He said:

“Politicians follow the vote, and up to now the immigrant population has not exercised their right to vote to a sufficient degree. It is the same way with young people and students, they don’t bother to vote and therefore they don’t count as much.”

“I want to change this and make migrants take an active role in their society and help shape it to be more inclusive for all.”

The turnouts at the last local and European Parliament elections were 31% and 34% respectively, so a mobilisation of Britain’s over 2 million EU migrants could influence the result in many areas.

Igor Kartel, one of the campaigns supporters, says the share of Lincoln’s population made up of migrants from Eastern Europe is over 10,000 people. He said:

“We work hard to reach out to all migrants in our area in a drive to get them registered to vote and to care about politics. Many of us came here because of Britain’s democratic traditions and the best way to help preserve them is by using them.”