Friday, 15 April 2011

Foreign hordes

 Once again Prime Minister David Cameron has been banging on about "mass immigration", "the large influx of people into Britain" and the strains and stresses this is causing to those already living here.

He happily repeats the enduring myth that the UK is being swamped by a vast tsunami of foreigners who're plundering the country and leaving the rest of us destitute and done-for.

It's no good telling him that actually the immigration rate is still a minute percentage of the population (around 200,000 a year out of a population of 62 million) and hardly amounts to an uncontrollable deluge.

It's no good pointing out that many of these immigrants are highly skilled and greatly benefit the economy, and that they often take on vital jobs that other people don't want to do.

And it's no good suggesting that anyway the problem is not numbers but organisation, that if public services were better managed and new arrivals got more help to integrate into British life, there would be a lot less of the current hysteria and panic on the subject.

If it's really a question of numbers, how come people aren't bothered by the 790,000 new children who pour into the country every year? They also need things like schools, healthcare and housing. They also need to learn the language and learn how to integrate into British life.

But we're willing enough to organise that. We don't see children as a huge burden and liability we can't cope with. We don't demand a crackdown on childbirth. We see children as a potential asset, not a looming disaster.

Politicians should stop fanning xenophobic anxieties to improve their election prospects and set a more responsible example.

And pigs might fly.

18 comments:

Scarlet Blue said...

Where are the children pouring from?
Sx

Apologies, I have a screaming headache and can't make head nor tail of anything right this moment.

Nick said...

Scarlet - They're pouring out of all the pregnant mums! Don't worry, they aren't being smuggled in by international child-smugglers....

newjenny said...

I'm bothered by the 790,000 new children each year.

Nick said...

newjenny - That's nearly four times the number of immigrants, yet we manage to cope with them quite easily.

Scarlet Blue said...

I don't think we cope well with the 790,000 children. We're rubbish at educating them and they grow up with no jobs to go to.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - The problem of mass unemployment is far more serious than immigration, particularly among young people as you say. When there are over 5 million people either jobless or economically inactive, I'm amazed there aren't serious riots.

e said...

Do those five million jobless include the persons who have given up looking for work? If not, the number might actually be higher, as it is here.

Politicians get away with all sorts of chicanery simply because no-one riots...

secret agent woman said...

I understand htis is not the point of your post, but the number of new babies makes me think about how important it is that we level off population growth and stop having so many kids.

Nick said...

e - They do. The official figure is 2½ million, but that excludes as you say all those who've given up job-hunting and those who aren't on the jobless register as they no longer qualify for unemployment benefit.

Secret Agent - Oh, another hot potato, population growth! I do agree with you, if the global population was only half its current level, the problem of declining resources like oil and gas wouldn't exist.

wendy house said...

It baffles me that the media/journalists dont use this type of quality framing analysis when presenting politicians comments. It's as if they accept stores as delivered at a superficial level and add minimum value beyond sentence structure and word limit, or a location back-drop. News stories rarely even hint at alternative viable interpetations.

Nick said...

Wendy - The standard of journalism these days is appalling. It's so superficial, so often the obvious questions go unanswered, and as you say alternative interpretations are ignored.

Rummuser said...

Nick, in India, we call it vote bank politics. The better informed take no notice of such rants. I would guess that Mr. Cameron's constituency obsesses about this subject. Am I wrong?

Nick said...

Ramana - The elections in May are for local authorities, and yes, plenty of voters are concerned about "soaring" immigration rates. Cameron is trying to stop them voting for the British National party and the UK Independence Party, who are vociferously anti-immigration.

nursemyra said...

Our politicians use scare mongering tactics about immigration too

Nick said...

Myra - Like politicians in most countries, I think. The Aussie detention centre on Christmas Island sounds pretty barbaric.

tattytiara said...

Truly, the way governments talk about immigration you'd think that immigrants were a race of people that miraculously survived without consuming any basic necessities - that once they come and earn the money and it then vanishes from the economy forever.

newjenny said...

Maybe the babies could be repatriated back into their mothers.

Actually maybe we could all be repatriated back into our mothers. Things were better there, by all accounts.

Nick said...

Tattytiara - This is the absurd assumption about immigrants, that they're all take and no give. Apparently they don't buy anything, they don't pay tax, they don't do any useful work, they don't do up their houses, they just relentlessly sponge off the natives.

newjenny - Or maybe we could have fewer children and spend more of our time and money on looking after the existing population - particularly the elderly.