Friday, April 20, 2007

Will the Last Person Leaving

The Times reports that five hundred Britons are leaving the UK every day to live in the sun or find work abroad, according to the Office of National Statistics. A record 380,000 people left the country in 2005. More than half were British citizens leaving for more than a year. The top destinations are Australia, Spain, France and New Zealand.

Meanwhile 565,000 people arrived, (immigration has pushed up the British population by nearly one and half million in a decade) slightly down on the previous year, so the overall population rose by 185,000. Most came to work or study. According to the ONS, it is estimated that more than 100,000 new homes each year will be needed for the newcomers. Similar pressures are building on the Health Service, social services, transport and policing.

One in five Britons moving abroad headed for Australia. Large numbers also emigrated to Spain, where there is an established expatriate retirement community. Canada and South Africa are also very popular.

A point made in an earlier report was that we are now seeing an acceleration of the old "brain drain" effect, in that those emigrating are several times more likely to be more highly educated and skilled than those arriving to find work. As an example, very little Research & Development is now done by large international companies in the UK and so if your'e in this field, you are probably reading this on the West coast of the United States or the Pacific Rim. An old friend of mine now working for a US technology company, tells me that he's only staying in the UK because he doesn't want to take his children out of school and I've heard the same story from several people of my age.

Emigration on this level is now a source of real concern for the future of the UK economy, which has focused on attracting "cheap" labour, rather than skilling the workforce to compete in the 21st century. More interestingly perhaps, it also shows that the middle classes are fed-up with the mess they see around them and many are starting to vote with their feet.

17 comments:

Doctor Doom said...

Some worrying statistics there, Simon, which the vociferous Little Englander element among your readership would do well to take note of.

A snap-shot figure for one year, 2005, may or may not be indicative, but let’s toy with those figures a moment.

The overall population rise of 185,000 that you cite may at first glance give cause for concern about the additional strain on housing, services and infrastructure, but the reality is likely to be far more benign. How, for example, does this figure equate with the need for 100,000 new houses? Are we really expected to believe that over half of these immigrants are single people who will want a house each? If the 185,000 figure was broken down by number of families arriving then the figure for new housing would drop dramatically. If we also take into account most of the new arrivals will quite happily cram into multi-occupancy units and bedsits then that new-housing figure drops all the more.

Given many of the immigrants are from countries where family values still mean something, and farming out elderly relatives to care-homes and poorly-supervised residential flats is quite unacceptable, then the figure for demand for new housing is all the more spurious.

In fact most of the new housing we here about is precisely that – secure accommodation for the elderly so that relatively wealthy British families can shuffle their inconveniently ageing relatives out of sight and mind.

Of course, the Little Englander element will then move on to the dreadful strain on our education and other services, which of course is bringing our once great nation to its knees. We all know the routine.

Someone they know will know someone else who knows for a fact that an immigrant couple with two children moved in to the area (usually Cliftonville) on Monday, was given a five bedroom house with swimming pool by the Council on Tuesday and on Wednesday their kids started at the top-rated nearby school that has been oversubscribed to locals for the past fifty years. And of course the poor, victimised local kids are being taught in a class of 70 by a non-English-speaking teacher wearing a veil, and all they learn in geography is the direction of Mecca.

While you can’t fault them for sheer imagination, the reality is that most immigrant families arriving here come from a culture where benefits are unknown and anathema. Of course they come here for a better life (do we perhaps think the British emigrate abroad to Australia, Spain, etc to take a drop in living standards?), but their idea of a better life is a regular job and a wage to support not just themselves but their extended family. Their example is one the growing “benefits-class” among the British would do well to take notice of.

It may well be true that the immigrant children going in to local schools will require a little extra help at first to cope with the language barrier, but as anyone who has travelled abroad with children (beyond the confines of the foreign hotel swimming pool, that is) will know, a child can soak up a new language easily and quickly, especially when immersed as the immigrant child will be. Poor performing schools may well chose to cite the influx of immigrant children as a scapegoat for their own deficiencies, but the keyword here is scapegoat.

The fact is immigrant children (again because they come from different cultures where respect for elders, teachers and authority still means something) are invariably better behaved, less disruptive, more eager to learn and, given the opportunity, will out-perform their British-bred peers.

As you rightly observe, Simon, successive British governments have for too long focussed on attracting “cheap” labour rather than training and developing the workforce to compete in the 21st century.

Instead of moaning about immigrants from East Europe and elsewhere we would do well to embrace them, learn from their social and family values and utilise their undoubted skills. It’s a tragedy how many highly-skilled engineers, health professionals, etc, are reduced to working in mundane, unskilled jobs here in the UK for no other reason than because their English-language skills are not quite to standard, while the UK economy is crying out for skilled labour which our own poorly performing schools and colleges have proven quite incapable of producing.

worm said...

Excellent Doc Doom. Well said.

DrMoores said...

One of the best and most reasoned arguments I have seen on the website for a long time and eaxtly why I put such stories up.. to provoke intelligent comment and criticism. Many thanks - SimonM

Anonymous said...

Blimey!

For the first time I agree wholeheartedly with Dr Doom!!!

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Without proper consultation and clear information given to the British people in manifestos, successive Governments have brought about the biggest shift in population this country has experienced in its long history. I am glad that Dr Doom views this in an optimistic and positive light. I personally think it has been a disaster and our future history will be an interesting one as a result. I am afraid I do not share his optimistic view and personally resent the label of 'little Englander' applied to those who may view uncontrolled immigration with doubt and misgiving.

Reepicheep said...

I too am what would be called a "Little Englander" yet I do agree with everything Doctor Doom says. My issue is not with immigration itself but as mentioned earlier; unchecked and uncontrolled immigration. I love the fact I can mingle with other cultures and embrace foods and music and the lovely women-folk. My concern is that of large numbers of criminals and unskilled immigrants landing on these shores who offer nothing more than a drain on the economy and society. Maybe I read too much into stats in the Torygraph but this does seem to be an issue. I think that this is the main issue that most people have with immigration.

As for the problem with the benefit class...

DrMoores said...

Read Dr Doom's comment and then visit
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=449826&in_page_id=1770

for an academic perspective on immigration reported by the paper

Anonymous said...

Dr Doom you should go into the farming industry. Your comments would make superb fertilizer.
Whilst I don't dispute your figures from 2005 I would suggest you dig a little deeper. You may believe that the majority of "immigrants" come from countries where they don't dump their elders in nursing homes but this is disingenuous. A lot of these countries are so poor that people don't make it much past 40. From my personal experience the majority of asylum applicants have come from countries like Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and they are overwhelmingly young men 17 to 30. They are almost impossible, given our "Human Rights" laws to return to their country of origin. Their claims for asylum are I would suggest invariably bogus. The Iraqis for example claimed to have fled Saddam's persecution even after we got rid of him. The Somalis don't even bother with a claim to have been persecuted because they know we can't remove them. They are refused asylum and a few months later we give them a travel document. Then, well would you believe it? They travel back to the country of claimed persecution!

Here's an idea why don't you ask your MP how many of the "refugees" from Sangatte are now gainfully employed.

The debate about immigration founders because people don't understand the level of change. Our country has people from all over the third world. They came here either as visitors who decided to stay or as failed asylum claimants. The government has been too incompetent to deal with them. These people may not come from a culture where benefits are available but trust me they waste no time in finding all that is available.

When people debate immigration they lump in countries like Poland. The majority of people coming here from Eastern Europe came here to better themselves and I for one am not moaning about them. People from Europe can come and go as they please. This is all well and good if they are "economically active" but what if they aren't? You would think that Britain would be able to tell people who come here with the sole intention of tapping into our welfare system they are not welcome. Unfortunately it seems our old friend Human Rights coupled to EU law prevents this.
The other factor you have not accounted for is the demographic change. Aside from British people on welfare it seems to that the birth rate amongst the productive part of our society is in terminal decline. This trend is happening throughout Europe. The people that don't seem to have this problem come from Islamic backgrounds. You may not think this important but I guarantee you if you are still around twenty years from now you will.

As for myself I'm off. I have seen the damage NuLabour's experiment in uncontrolled immigration coupled to a welfare state run by Human Rights lawyers has caused. The future is not bright. You may delude yourself that these people will bring a happy multi culti la la land to Britain but I don't want to take the risk.

Doctor Doom said...

In response to Anonymous 9:31: the figures are not mine - they are from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and were posted on the Thanet Life site by Simon, not me.

More importantly they are snap-shot figures from one year, taken totally out of context to be used or misused to suit. The Daily Mail report Simon thoughtfully appended to stir debate is a fine example of same.

The Daily Mail, citing the right-wing Little Englander think-tank Civitas, delights in the observation that immigrants are flooding our besieged country at the rate of one a minute, a figure that will hereafter be a permanent feature of the Little Englander rhetoric.

And let’s be honest, it’s a sobering observation indeed, if true. And at first glance the figure does seem to tally with reality. The Government’s very own ONS state 565,000 immigrants arrived in the UK in 2005. There are a mere 525,600 minutes in a year so it does seem, if anything, to be an understatement.

But hold on, The Mail, unlike The Times, accidentally forgot to mention that the total UK population over the previous ten years increased by just 1.5 million. Now it’s not rocket science to work out that if over half a million immigrants are flooding the country every year then over a decade we should have had a population explosion of well over five million marauding foreigners.

In actual fact, as The Times notes, once the emigration figures are introduced, the net population increase in 2005 was just 185,000. Which means, following through, the total population increase over the next ten years will be just 1.85 million, barely exceeding the previous decade.

Yet incredibly the Mail, not content with this distortion, tells its quaking readership “we shall need to build 200 houses a day, every day, for the next 20 years just to house new immigrants.”

Again a terrifying prospect for the country if true. But again, a simple pocket calculator will show this claim to be firmly in the realms of Little Englander fantasy: 200 houses times 365 days times 20 years is an incredible 1.46 million new homes - just for the new immigrants!

So that’ll be one each, then, will it? And all council houses, of course, because none of these “forinners” have any intention of getting a job as we all know.

The other concerns Anonymous 9:31 raises are not without merit, but perhaps warrant closer scrutiny.

The bulk of recent immigration has come from the new EU member states, understandably taking advantage of new-found freedom to travel and work to come to the richer countries of the Union. As the fourth richest country in the world it’s hardly surprising many choose the UK, but of course many more go elsewhere within the EU.

As the EU migrants apparently are not a problem to Anon 9:31 let’s briefly consider the plight of the rest. Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that many immigrants are white Americans, Australians, South Africans, etc, who somehow find themselves welcomed with open arms, let’s ponder the reality of the Third World migrants / refugees / asylum seekers which concern Anon 9:31.

“A lot of these countries are so poor that people don't make it much past 40,” Anon observes. Presumably Anon 9:31 has in mind the former European colonies we British (and other EU countries) exploited for so many years to create our own immense wealth and now treat as cheap sources of exotic foods and foreign holidays while the local populations, left bereft after nominal independence, continue to live in abject poverty the likes of which most Europeans will thankfully never experience.

These of course are economic migrants, not asylum seekers. One can see examples on the beaches of the Canary Islands as bodies and a few survivors are washed up day after day on the tourist beaches of Tenerife and Lanzarote, much to the dismay of the rich, white Europeans topping up their tan.

They arrive there, alive if they are very lucky, having left the shores of West Africa in search of a better life.

Whilst in West Africa I’ve personally tried to talk many out of trying, for the journey is fraught with danger, and only disappointment and a boat-ride back awaits the few that make it. But in lands of abject poverty like Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau, all they have is hope.

Anon 9:31 would do well to get himself along there one day and ask these would-be immigrants what they hope to find if they are lucky enough to reach the sparkling, jeweled magnet that is Europe. Words like benefits, council houses and hand-outs are simply not in their vocabulary. Work; the ability to earn a wage; to be able send money back to their families – these are the thoughts that drive people to risk their lives to come to Europe.

But of course, being economic refugees and asylum seekers, not EU citizens, they will not be allowed to work even if they do manage to get here. Just a thought, but could that possibly be why Anon 9:31’s refugees from Sangatte are not gainfully employed?

One last point, Anon 9:31: In reference to asylum seekers you state, “Their claims for asylum are I would suggest invariably bogus.”

Perhaps you could elaborate on what your position is within the Home Office that gives you access to such privileged and personal information about the individual circumstances and background of these claimants?

DrMoores said...

Very good. I should give you editorial rights for when I'm away!!

Anonymous said...

One last point, Anon 9:31: In reference to asylum seekers you state, “Their claims for asylum are I would suggest invariably bogus.”

Perhaps you could elaborate on what your position is within the Home Office that gives you access to such privileged and personal information about the individual circumstances and background of these claimants?


Without wishing to reveal my privileged position it is relatively simple task to undermine the vast majority of asylum claims by simply asking where they travelled from. The answer in most cases is a European country. They are therefore in a safe haven and in a position to claim asylum. Or do you go along with some of our idiotic judiciary in the belief that European countries are not safe? The people in Sangatte and Sangatte 2 are in France are they not? Why then do they not ask the French for asylum? They don't claim there because a: their claims are bogus and b: The French unlike us in most cases would refuse their claim and remove them.

The hard working people you claim are economic migrants coming from Africa use the asylum system to prevent their removal. Therefore they are bogus asylum seekers. It is not rocket science.

But of course, being economic refugees and asylum seekers, not EU citizens, they will not be allowed to work even if they do manage to get here. Just a thought, but could that possibly be why Anon 9:31’s refugees from Sangatte are not gainfully employed?

Actually Dr.Doom if you care to trawl back through the news you will see that the Sangatte "refugees" were given work permits and in any event asylum seekers pre refusal are allowed to work, but don't let the facts spoil your argument.

Oh and you might like to enquire why people are really coming from countries like Senegal and Guinea Bissau. One of the principle drivers is the EU's common fisheries policy. The EU negotiated deals with these countries for fishing rights, now the Spanish and Portuguese have decimated fish stocks.

As for your analysis on the dreadful way we exploited the colonies. Well we could debate that all day but one statistic I found interesting. In Ghana prior to 1961 the average wage in Britain was 30 times that of Ghana. Now the average wage is 90 times that in Ghana. So much for the benefits of post imperialism eh? But doubtless you will find a way to blame this on us as well.

Dr. Doom you have clearly made your mind up on this issue. Just don't blame me if it doesn't turn out quite as rosy as your tinted specs would indicate.

sue said...

Anon 9.31am said:

"A lot of these countries are so poor that people don't make it much past 40."

Surely this is reason enough to accomodate as many as possible. Don't you want to share?

Anonymous said...

Anon 09.31:

Bye.

Anonymous said...

so anon 9.31/ 8.42 your off to become an immigrant in someone elses country are you?
No doubt you will want to change their culture into a psuedo english one like so many who have 'escaped' and then tried to turn their particular little corner into a Little England. Well I wish you luck and will probably see you back here in a couple of years because you cant stand the heat, the water, the food or the foreigners.

Doctor Doom said...

Sorry, Anonymous 7:35 (nee 9:31) – I’m doing my best to understand your viewpoint, but finding it difficult as you seem to have a rather poor grasp of elementary geography.

You said, above, “From my personal experience the majority of asylum applicants have come from countries like Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan.”

Then, in answer to my query you respond, “Without wishing to reveal my privileged position it is relatively simple task to undermine the vast majority of asylum claims by simply asking where they travelled from. The answer in most cases is a European country. They are therefore in a safe haven and in a position to claim asylum.”

Perhaps you can tell me the title of the atlas you use which places Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan in Europe, just so I know not to buy it in the future...

Whilst at it you might care to elaborate on the reason “people are really coming from countries like Senegal and Guinea Bissau.” You state, “One of the principle drivers is the EU's common fisheries policy. The EU negotiated deals with these countries for fishing rights, now the Spanish and Portuguese have decimated fish stocks.”

Well silly me. What other reason would there be for people to risk their lives in a leaking boat and make the perilous journey to the Canary Islands?

Or perhaps they use the same atlas as you and think once they get to Tenerife it will be a short walk to Sangatte, then straight into a council house in Cliftonville.

Admittedly Guinea Bissau was once a Portuguese colony, but that’s a somewhat tenuous link in the blame chain, wouldn’t you say?

Your comments about post-colonial Africa are barely worthy of a response – Britain is the fourth richest country in the world. Ghana is one of the poorest.

I shall limit myself to one simple observation: You say the average wage in Britain pre-1961 was thirty times that of colonial Ghana. What a damning indictment of Britain’s treatment of its colonies...

Further to Anonymous 1:36's comments re: your decision to emigrate abroad to a country of your choice for no other reason than because you are mildly unhappy with your own country’s immigration policies.

How incredibly, incredibly, incredibly fortunate you are to have that option.

Now I’m just guessing here, but would I be right in presuming you won’t be risking your life in a leaking dinghy crossing treacherous seas, or strapped to the undercarriage of a lorry or train, or smuggling yourself into an aircraft cargo-hold to exercise this choice?

Presumably you won’t be arriving in your new country penniless and homeless, leaving your impoverished family behind, not knowing if you will ever see them again?

You have a passport that is recognised across the world and a visa, if indeed you need one at all, will be a rubber-stamp formality.

How very fortunate you are to be British. How utterly hypocritical that you will emigrate to another rich country for no other reason that a few less fortunate than you want to exercise the same choice you have.

Oh, and well said, Sue.

Anonymous said...

Then, in answer to my query you respond, “Without wishing to reveal my privileged position it is relatively simple task to undermine the vast majority of asylum claims by simply asking where they travelled from. The answer in most cases is a European country. They are therefore in a safe haven and in a position to claim asylum.

Are you being deliberately obtuse? Look it's simple enough. Get yourself on a ferry and go into Calais and have a chat with the "refugees" Ask them where they came from and ask them where they are now. You deliberately avoid this issue because you have no answer. They came from countries like Afghanistan and Iraq but they are in France. A SAFE COUNTRY. How hard a concept is this to grasp?
I shall limit myself to one simple observation: You say the average wage in Britain pre-1961 was thirty times that of colonial Ghana. What a damning indictment of Britain’s treatment of its colonies... However the point I am making is they are considerably worse of post colonisation and they are one of the better examples in Africa but again you avoid this.

And to answer you Sue if we accommodated every one seeking a better life in Britain we would end up in the same position as the places they are leaving. Why do you think Governments spend millions having border controls? Do you think they have nothing better to spend the money on? I'm sorry but you people clearly don't get it. But don't worry you will. Just give it time.

Doctor Doom said...

The Thanet Life blog is hardly the place to debate the politics of post-colonial Africa, but to say the former colonies are considerably worse post-independence is really not the issue. Of course they are. How could any country go from being financed by one of the biggest empires in history to economic isolation without struggling? Of course they might not struggle so much if rich countries had not stripped them of their resources in the first place, and did not dictate their cash-crops by debt-repayment conditions, bribe their teachers and health staff to come and work for us rich nations to save our training costs, and pay a pittance for the few exportable resources they do have.

I’m sure in Sangatte or any situation we can find individuals out for themselves. But let’s be honest, the few “refugees” at Sangatte, legitimate or not, are hardly changing the country. If Little Englanders so desperately need a scapegoat for all that is wrong with our society, a mirror might be a good start.

The real issue is the utter hypocrisy of people like yourself who assert their right to move to another country when it suits them, while denying others in far more desperate plight the right to do the same.