My position is not racist or cultural in origin but one of practicality. I believe that a population of 64 million people in a country as small as Britain, with a particular emphasis on England, is high enough. I am constantly dismayed by the wall of Goebbels-style propaganda put out by the pro-mass-immigration lobby and I find their arguments frustratingly naïve. “Immigration is good for the country” has become a monotonous refrain. Many on the pro-mass-immigration side are as prejudiced and bigoted in their views as the most extreme, racist, anti-immigration advocates are with theirs. The idea of a sensible middle ground seems to have vanished from this debate.
For the rest of this piece I will use the term ‘pro-immigration’ to mean ‘pro-mass-immigration’. Most people are ‘pro-immigration’ in that they do not believe we should completely close our borders to everyone. Being pro-immigration is not the same as being in favour of unlimited mass immigration, but to avoid repetition I will dispense with the word ‘mass’.
I’m convinced that many on the pro-immigration side believe they are intellectually and morally superior, that they are ‘Enlightened’ (a phrase used by former-MP Simon Hughes on Any Questions), that they are the Good Guys and the ‘nice people’, and those that disagree with the present open-door policy are the Nasty People who must be opposed at all costs, lest they descend into decadent fascism.
I believe the pro-immigration “luvvies”, as I call them, are wrong. They are neither ‘enlightened’, nor are they intellectually wise or morally virtuous, and they are jumping on a fashionable bandwagon of ideals that have ignored many practical and pragmatic issues. I think many mainstream politicians who make up the majority of the pro-immigration luvvies still exist in an ‘Enoch Powell Apologist Era’ where they feel they have to advocate mass immigration to perpetually demonstrate their non-racialist credentials. It is now decades since Enoch Powell’s infamous speech, we have had the tragedy and aftermath of the Stephen Lawrence murder and surely it is now time to believe we are in a ‘post-Enoch Powell’ era. Non-white Britons today are just as opposed to further mass-immigration as white people and it is about time the debate was allowed to happen free from accusations of racism. It would appear that left-wingers in France are not so obsessed with pushing mass immigration as they have less hang up about racism and empire. Their principle concern is the well-being of French working people.
Audiences on debate shows typically respond like a bunch of clapping seals to any politically-correct comment in order, I think, to be among the ‘good guys’. Opinion polls show the public is not as enthusiastic towards mass immigration as such audience responses suggest so either they do not reflect the true public mood or that people feel straight-jacketed into applauding mass immigration for reasons of expediency.
Immigration is “good for the economy”
Is it? Studies into this have commented that recent Eastern European immigrants have paid more in tax than they have claimed in benefits. That may be true, but it is also the case that, on average, immigrants coming from outside the EU take more in benefits than they pay in taxes. However, Eastern Europeans so far have been young, probably single and largely childless, can simply hop on a plane back to Poland if they lose their job, and are most likely to be fairly healthy, and, like many of a similar age here, are not big draws on social security and healthcare. That situation may well change as they get older, become ill, and have children.
However, one point ignored by ALL surveys on this subject is foreign remittances. British-based immigrants send around £10bn a year out of the country. British ex-pats send approximately £5bn a year into the country. Immigration already loses the country £5bn in this way, but immigrants have to be contributing at least £10bn a year just to break even, and even the most optimistic assessments say they only just do that. And that is before they start to have children, get old and ill, and therefore become a net drain on the taxpayer.
It is often said that recent Eastern Europeans pay £2bn a year more in tax than they use in services; perhaps, whilst they are still young, in good health and without children, but if they have depressed wages then British people will be paying less tax. It would only take a reduction in average earnings across the UK of around £15 a month for British workers to be paying £2bn less.
The Labour government was involved in a scandalous amount of spin in support of their mass immigration agenda. They claimed "immigration leads to lower interest rates”. How exactly? Because immigrants lead to downward pressure on wages, leading to lower inflation, leading to lower interest rates. The point about "downward pressure on wages” was quietly glossed over. “Immigration is good for you because it makes you poorer” is another way of putting it. We later learn that it was a secret agenda to stick two fingers up to the BNP, but for a time it actually served to strengthen the BNP, and now immigration has become one of the biggest political topics.
“The NHS would collapse without immigrants”
Indeed it would as 30% of our doctors are immigrants. The pro-immigration advocates see this as a means to justify ever more immigration and to talk down to those who oppose them. Their sweeping and rather immature assumption is that anyone who suggests any restriction on immigration secretly wants to close the borders entirely. However, it is perfectly possible to have a fast-track visa scheme for medical professionals whilst not having a total free-for-all.
The substantive point that is never discussed is why 30% of UK doctors are immigrants in the first place. It may be true that many UK-born doctors and nurses emigrate to the many English-speaking countries around the world, in which case there would be a need for immigration in this field due to the time it takes to train new medical staff, but it does not explain all of it. This is odd because reports suggest that there are greater numbers of UK-born doctors leaving medical school than there are jobs available for them. If immigrant doctors make up 30% of the total then it is quite true to say that immigrants are “taking our jobs”. Perhaps better terms and conditions within the NHS might help to retain UK-born doctors here but while there is a constant flow of immigrant doctors willing to work crushing hours in poor conditions then there is no need to do anything about it. I would propose a one-in-one-out immigration policy for skilled staff and a more managed higher education system that ensured the country produced more of the skills needed.
Simon Hughes, on Any Questions, celebrated the fact that some Indian engineers were brought over to help upgrade the West Coast Mainline. Personally, I think that the country which pioneered the industrial revolution now requires foreign expertise to maintain a railway line is a national disgrace.
At the other end of the jobs market there has been a massive influx of people carrying out low-skilled work, particularly in farming and food processing. Farm labouring the world over is done by transitory workers and this is nothing new, but many such jobs are made unavailable to local people because employers deduct a large portion of the wages paid in lieu of accommodation provided on site. I believe that the minimum wage must be paid in money and any accommodation provided must be in addition to that and not instead of it.
There was concern that British curry houses would close without more immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. Why? Isn’t that a racist recruitment policy? I can remember a docu-drama from the 1990s following people in Manchester where the son of a curry house owner who entered a chef competition was exasperated when the winner was a white man.
Altogether mass immigration has become like a zimmer-frame propping up the British economy and acting as a diversion for our failure to produce enough skilled people from our own population. There is no excuse for substantial skills shortages in a country of 64 million people. We should be taking a close look at how we operate our education and skills system to provide the skills we need from our own population instead of forever turning the immigration taps on. Were the flow of immigrants curtailed we would simply have to work harder to train up our own people.
“Immigrants are needed to pay for the greater number of retirees”
Once the children of present young immigrants enter the workforce in the future they will increase the numbers working relative to the number of people in retirement. The “demographic” time bomb is given as a reason to massively increase the UK population. There is this option of pursuing an immigration ponzi scheme but it means that even more immigrants will be necessary 40 years later to support those who will have then retired. Where does it end? Japan is facing such a time bomb but has not gone down the route of mass immigration.
An alternative is to provide work for the 1 million unemployed British youngsters, the million-plus disabled people who wish to work and the 3 million or so over-50s who are unemployed and don’t show up on the unemployment statistics because they are not eligible for benefits and have given up looking for work. Also, better childcare could allow more mothers to work if they wish. We could increase the number of working people in Britain by 5 million without any increase in the population. Of course, this would mean moving away from a “Thatcherite” or “Monetarist” approach to running the economy towards a social-democratic approach that has genuine full employment as a core objective with active government intervention in the economy.
Britain grows around 60% of the food requirement of the UK population though this figure is on the decline due to the relentless rise in the population due to mass immigration and the rising birth date, which is itself largely due to immigrants having more children than the native population. Also, erratic weather (due to global warming or a wild-jet-stream age – take your pick) is making food production less secure. In 2008 Russia banned grain exports, and it is concerning that were the US and Brazil to do the same following a few years of bad harvests then much of the world, including Britain, would be in big trouble. The famines of the future will happen in countries like Britain, Japan and in the Middle East where there are large populations and nowhere near enough home-grown food production. The more mouths to feed the worse this situation would become. I don’t think future generations will be thanking the pro-immigration luvvies for presiding over a massive increase in the UK population whilst they queue up for rationed food supplies – or worse. There is only a small chance of it getting that bad of course, but the consequences are so severe that it is wise now to pursue a balanced population as a necessary insurance policy against future world food shortage.
How does it affect the countries they come from?
If mass immigration is good for Britain then what about the countries the immigrants come from? How does it affect Eastern Europe if large numbers of their most hardworking and educated young people leave? If they send remittances back to Poland and elsewhere then they may be having a beneficial effect, but only, in that case, at the expense of Britain. It is unclear what the effect is, but my point is that it has not even been discussed at all. It is not very sporting of us to acquire the brightest and best of Eastern European youth whilst ignoring the possibility that it is having a detrimental effect on those countries.
Most of the attention on immigration has been towards the Eastern Europeans even though immigration from the Indian Sub-Continent has always been higher. Perhaps because people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh assimilate into established communities in Britain their increase in numbers is less noticeable. But if the UK population is to be kept under control we will have to significantly curtail immigration from everywhere. There is a lot of work to do in this because we have the legal right and ability to stop any immigration from outside the EU and yet we summarily fail to do so.
The UK has recently seen the fastest rise in its population in history, combined with the lowest level of new house building since records began. It doesn’t take much intelligence to realise this is going to cause huge problems. People complain that landlords in London are renting out houses to immigrants in overcrowded conditions, there is an emerging shanty town of breezeblock back garden sheds – well, where are all these new arrivals supposed to go?
Furthermore, probably a majority of people oppose any further greenbelt developments. But since the population of Britain expected to rise by 10-15 million over the next 40 years, with mostly England, and then the South-East of England taking the majority of this growth, the greenbelt around London will have to be significantly built on. I don’t think the pro-immigration advocates have properly contemplated the enormity of the changes they are unleashing on this tiny country. If all greenbelt development was as beautiful as the town of Bath then people may not mind so much but architects today seem to lack the talent to design and developers the willingness to pay for anything other than ugly and insensitive developments. Some believe that our planning laws should be relaxed but because people know this would unleash a swathe of inappropriate building it is generally opposed. Given the poor quality of building today I actually think we could do with the planning laws being tightened up.
You can’t love mass immigration and love the greenbelt – it’s one or the other. The English love their countryside and we have strong property rights and building on huge amounts of countryside goes against our nature. Why should English culture and identity be trampled over just to suit the fashionable whims of the pro-immigration luvvies? Only 11% of our country is built on but this ignores the fact that anywhere in the vicinity of built-up areas feels urbanised even if you are standing in a field nearby.
In the post-war period governments planned for such things and towns such as Milton Keynes, Croydon and Stevenage we built to accommodate the rising population. Planning all but stopped in the 1980s as the Thatcherite belief in leaving everything to the market prevailed. However, it can be seen that housing in Britain is one sector of the economy where the free market fails miserably. I would say to those who believe in mass immigration at least you should accept that mass immigration needs to be planned for. All immigrants flush the toilet five times a day. Thames Water has had to build an energy-intensive desalination plant to provide more water for the South East. Heavy rainfall in recent years has made it temporarily redundant but in order to ward off water shortage in future a whole string of them will be needed across the South East to secure water supply for a further 10 million people. This will undoubtedly push up the cost of water for everyone in and around London. All immigrants use electricity and the UK is facing a power shortage as it is. Another 10 million people will require electricity generating capacity equivalent to 5 large nuclear power stations. Have we started building these, or any other form of power generation? Have we got planning permission for new power stations? It would appear not, and forward planning is not something deemed necessary by government these days. Planning policy in Britain since the 1980s can be summed up with the phrase “oh shit”.
The heavy rain and flooding in the west of England in February 2014 should have acted as a reminder of the necessity of open countryside to facilitate flood management. Soil soaks up water and releases it slowly thus acting as a sponge to absorb heavy rainfall. Concreting over huge amounts of the greenbelt around London will only make water management worse. The south east of England is low-lying and slowly sinking. Flood management ought to be integral to any plan for massive population growth and yet the difficulty and expense of achieving this appears to have been completely ignored.
House prices in London are going to carry on rising until housing demand is met with adequate supply – which is most unlikely - and this will deny to many young people today the chance of ever owning their own home as someone from a similar socio-economic background 30 years ago would have been able to. Hundreds of thousands of people will be condemned to rent expensively for the rest of their lives. I don’t ever hear the pro-immigration luvvies expressing any concern about that.
If Britain had the same landmass as Russia then this would be very different. Russia could accommodate another five cities the size of Moscow without it barely making an impact. The situation for England is very different.