Friday, December 14, 2012

New Labour's immigration revolution has transformed England, and not entirely for the better

I wonder what odds bookmakers are giving on the Conservatives winning the 2016 mayoral elections, now that Greater London has a white British minority for the first time in history (the figures for London proper are even more startling, especially in areas like Newham).

Yesterday’s census figures are Tony Blair’s legacy: a demographic revolution unprecedented in English history. As Kevin Myers once put it, “London has undergone a demographic transplant unlike that experienced by any European capital since the Fall of Constantinople in 1483”. Vast numbers of foreign nationals now live in Britain, including not just Indians, Poles and Pakistanis, but a surprising number of groups like Germans; only the Irish have declined in number, the Celtic Tiger having brought back some emigrants. (Ireland’s population, now at 6.2 million, is the largest since the famine, yet still smaller than it was in the 1820s. Even Germany and Russia, which endured wars and genocides in the modern era, are triple and double their early 19th-century populations respectively.)

There are many people who welcome this, and not just cynical Labour Party apparatchiks who realise that most immigrants vote Labour (as will their children). Aside from the cultural (and culinary) benefits of diversity, which are in fact sated by fairly small levels of immigration, a society that breaks down the barriers feels nicer. London is, all things considered, a pretty amazing achievement: a city where anyone can walk down the street holding hands with whoever they want.

But much as I like the psychological absence of barriers, we should not pretend that it does not come with huge costs, and that these are mostly borne by the less privileged. How many liberal commentators send their children to inner-city schools that aren’t inside those precious middle-class catchment areas?. Those commentators, often rural-based, talk about unhappy people stuck in high-immigrant areas in the same way conservatives talk about those in areas of high unemployment – move, loser!

I have a book out early in the New Year setting out the arguments against mass immigration, which should make me tremendously popular in the middle-class part of Haringey where I live: an area where the Greens finished ahead of the Tories in the last council election. The truth is I quite like living in a liberal part of town because, aside from the food obviously being better, liberal environments are quite pleasant. It’s that environment which has made England, and in particular London, so open to the world.

But you can have too much of a good thing, and liberalism is a fragile prize. The main cornerstones of liberalism, things such as the jury system and parliamentary rule, are themselves products of very mono-ethnic societies, namely England, Denmark and the Netherlands, where people felt a lot of trust for fellow citizens. The Left likes “diversity” because it hates racism, and because immigrants overwhelmingly vote for the Left, they assume it can only make the country more liberal. But what I suspect (and perhaps fear) is that this demographic experiment our leaders have embarked upon (without asking whether or not we wanted it) is going to make us less liberal. All the evidence, from social sciences and from history, tells us that that highly diverse societies tend to be less trusting, less free, more unequal and more corrupt. These are not the sorts of societies where people will willingly pay for each other’s housing when hard times fall.

That’s probably not what people in nicely diverse middle-class areas of London want to hear, because tolerance is so highly prized. But tolerance is not a faultless good; it can also be the flipside of apathy and selfishness. That’s why “celebrating diversity” is so easy to do.


Migrants 'will push England's house prices up by an extra 10%', Theresa May warns

House prices will rise by more than 10 per cent unless mass immigration is controlled, Theresa May warned yesterday.   The increases in the years to come would go beyond other pressures on the housing market – dealing a blow to young Britons already struggling to get on the property ladder.

In a speech in London, the Home Secretary delivered a blunt analysis of the impact of Labour’s ‘open door’ immigration policy.

She said the influx had driven down wages for the working classes and placed huge pressure on schools and social cohesion.  Mrs May cited house prices as an example of how demand created by migrants was having an impact on the wider public.

Her officials pointed to research by Professor Stephen Nickell which predicted that, if net immigration runs at 190,000 a year, house prices will end up 13 per cent higher over the next two decades than they would if migration were at zero.

Currently, net migration – the difference between the number of people arriving in the UK and those leaving – is 183,000, though Mrs May has vowed to reduce it to the ‘tens of thousands’.

She said: ‘More than one third of all new housing demand in Britain is caused by immigration.  ‘And there is evidence that without the demand caused by mass immigration, house prices could be 10 per cent lower over a 20 year period.’

Mrs May delivered her speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank only 24 hours after publication of the 2011 census.

The survey showed how, under ten years of Labour, nearly four million immigrants joined the population of England and Wales.

In total, 7.5million people who were born abroad were living here last year – and more than half of these have arrived since 2001.

In a blistering attack on the Labour years, Mrs May criticised the last government for failing to measure the impact of immigration on public services and housing, and for assuming it had no impact on the jobs and wages of the settled population.

She warned that mass immigration undermines social cohesion by making it ‘impossible’ to establish the relationships, family ties and social bonds that create a community.

Mrs May said the Migration Advisory Committee, which is a panel of government advisers, had found ‘a clear association between non-European immigration and employment in the UK’ – with 160,000 British workers ‘displaced’ between 1995 and 2010.

Some 23 British workers were  kept out of employment for every additional 100 immigrants employed, she said, adding: ‘For those on lower wages, more immigration means more workers competing for a limited number of low-skilled jobs.
farm pay driven by influx.jpg

‘The result is lower wages – and the people who lose out are working-class families, as well as ethnic minority communities and recent immigrants themselves.’

In future, government impact assessments will no longer assume that migrants make a positive contribution to the economy by paying taxes and spending their wages.

The burden they place on public services will also be considered, she said.

Mrs May also denounced the student visa policy inherited from Labour as a ‘mess’ which was ‘abused on an industrial scale’.

Last night Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, said: ‘At last we have a Home Secretary who is honest about the consequences of mass immigration and ready to take on the bogus arguments for it.’

    Fewer than one in every 150 last-ditch immigration appeals is successful, ministers will reveal today as they launch plans to combat ‘spurious’ court actions. Critics say the appeals are often a ploy to let illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers prolong their time in Britain.


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