Immigration benefits the country?

The UK Government puts out numerous claims that immigration is good for the country, and attempts to bolster this claim with data showing that EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they claim in benefits.  Some of this “data” is cobbled together by so-called academics at University College, London.   Well, it would be a wondrous thing indeed if this were not the case – how else would a surplus be generated to pay for public services (not to mention the cost of maintaining Cameron and his cronies)?

If we take the UK population as a whole, then what it pays in taxes (via income tax, VAT, excise duties, council tax etc) exceeds what it receives in welfare benefits by about 5:1.  And this is absolutely necessary because there has to be money over to pay for the health service, for old age pensions, for education, for infrastructure like roads, for council services, for police, for the army, navy and air force, for our annual taxes to the EU, for the …. you get the picture.  So to say that our EU immigrants pay in more than they take out via welfare payments is quite fatuous.  There would something extremely wrong if they didn’t.  Even they should make a contribution for all the public services that they get for “free”, like the rest of us.

However, if one wants to raise this issue, as Cameron & Osborne have done, then one should at least be more accurate.  In fact, as far as can be estimated (and everyone except Tweedle-Cam & Tweedle-Oz admit the estimation is fraught with difficulties and based on assumption piled on assumption), the immigrants from eastern & central Europe make a far smaller contribution to UK government revenues than the rest of us simply because their incomes on average are lower.   So these immigrants are certainly making a smaller contribution to all the non-welfare services which are actually the largest component of government expenditure.

Note that this comparison does not include the immigrants from the “older” EU countries like France, The Netherlands, Germany etc, most of whom are professionals earning considerably more than the average.  Because their numbers were always relatively small, they were never considered a problem in the way the current level of mass immigration is.

However, the comparison is invidious because one should not compare low paid immigrant workers to the UK population, but to low paid UK workers, and no doubt if that could be done, it would show very little difference between the two groups.  Both would make a small net contribution to the Government’s revenue.  But both groups use public services, which are predominantly paid for by others.  In that sense, both are subsidised.

So is the Cameron/Osborne claim that migration is a benefit to the economy correct?  The Tory Duo, as usual, either through ignorance or deliberate deception, mix up government revenues with national economic benefit. Yes, government revenues are increased by mass immigration (assuming the migrants work and work “officially” with an NHS record), but their call on publicly funded services more than offsets their small individual tax contributions.  But even more important, government funded activities are not the economy.  Mass immigration has a major spatial impact, the more so since immigrants tend to settle in already densely populated areas where job opportunities are more likely.  So the housing market comes under pressure, as do roads, parking, anything that requires space.  We need to build over 80,000 houses a year just to keep pace with the tide of immigration (ignoring any backlog) and where are these to go?  This is the part of the economy that Tweedle-Cam and Tweedle-Oz just don’t get.  Why should they?  They and their ilk are not affected by the pressures facing the rest of the population.

None of the above is an argument against immigration per se.  We all know that depending on economic conditions and needs, skilled immigration can be highly desirable.  What the above discussion shows, rather, is that mass immigration of low paid workers is hardly a benefit to the country.  What is good in the short term for government revenues is not good for the population, especially those in the recipient areas.  These people face not just increased competition for housing, space generally, public services, but also for their jobs.

A government that is unable to control immigration, that is unable to look after the interests of its inhabitants, that actually does not care about their conditions, is simply not a government – it is merely a mouthpiece of a foreign directorate.  Our Prime Minister is just a viceroy for the shadowy powers in Brussels.

The issue is not about “Immigration – good or bad?” but can we control the level and type of immigration in the interest of Britons as a whole.  Within the EU we cannot, and the only way to regain control is to leave this domineering and undemocratic power grouping.

David Owen’s Speech

I have always believed that when it comes down to it, people will vote in the Referendum on a single issue – the issue that is most important to them.  Staying in or leaving might affect so many issues – housing, jobs, environment, trade, economy, regulation, liberty, independence, identity, security, etc – that it is nigh on impossible for anyone to weigh up all that might happen (or not) and decide on balance how to vote.  I have made it clear in my opening blog (“A Greener Country?”) that for me the environment is the key issue and on that basis a Leave vote is essential to preserve some semblance of a quality of life.  But others will have different priorities.  The speech by David Owen is a rational and calm appraisal of the major political issues at stake and deserves much wider reporting than it has received hitherto (the BBC preferring to give publicity to the views of visiting Americans and French who obviously have our interests at heart).

So take a little time and listen to David Owen who as most of you will know is a former Foreign Secretary and was always supportive of the European Economic Community in which we voted to remain in 1975.  But I must add that even then I voted to Leave because I had studied the development of the Community since the mid-fifties, understood the longer term political objective, and had cottoned on to its undemocratic nature.  Even then, the Eurocats (sic) were taking the cream.




The Greenish Red Party (aka The Green Party)

I once voted for the Green Party.  Yes, in the early days of its existence I thought I had found a political party which had the same core values as myself.  It pushed for more recycling, something which people of my generation had grown up with and believed was a normal element of civilised and economical living.  Younger people today may think recycling is a new found trend but it was a part of life for those born during the war and growing up in the 40s and 50s.  All glass bottles had a deposit which was given back when the bottle was returned to the shop, so no bottles were thrown away.  If by chance, some bottles were left lying around, they were eagerly grabbed by the kids who earned some pocket money from returning them.  I once tripled my pocket money by collecting, along with a crowd of other boys, the empty beer bottles left behind after the Derby race meeting on Epsom Downs. The milkman, of course, collected empty milk bottles daily.  Our newspapers were tied up in bundles and left once a week on the pavement for collection.  Old household goods were collected by the rag and bone man with his horse and cart.  There was very little waste.  Even uneaten food was not wasted.  It was either fed to one’s back yard chickens or collected by the swill man who boiled up a melange from a hundred and one households and fed it to his pigs.

The Green Party was also in favour of the preservation of the countryside, and that meant resisting developments that encroached on it.  But that was yesterday ….

But what is it now?  It’s a party that is blind to the nexus between population growth and the quality of life.  Blind to the impact of mass immigration on housing development, on the infrastructure to support a higher population, on the generation of household rubbish, on air quality in urban areas, on all those things that economists call “externalities” because they impinge on people without ever being taken into account in conventional market measurements.  Thus, GDP may increase for ever and a day, but it does not mean that individuals are better off.  In this, the Green Party is no better than the shower that constitute the present Government (and previous recent governments back to the Blair era).

Green Party Platitudes

What does the Green Party believe in?   Well, most of it is pious platitudes: a just, equitable and sustainable society, a society that meets everybody’s needs, a job for everyone, a secure and affordable place to live for everyone, and a planet protected from climate change.  I would think that every political party would support these aims.  However, there is not a great deal of “greenness” there.  Anyhow, how would the Green Party meet these objectives?

It does not say how it will guarantee a job for everyone (at the living wage as a minimum, of course), or meet everyone’s needs (and how on earth can it ever do that?).  But it does have a housing policy. It will build more socially rented homes (council houses used to be the term) and bring abandoned buildings back into use.  So as the population continues to rise inexorably (as the current Government expects if we remain within the EU), the Greens would be busily building more and more houses (300,000 needed every year according to “experts”), more and more roads, more and more other infrastructure associated with population growth.  But, hey!  What about our countryside, our towns and villages?  Are they all to be destroyed or degraded?  Yes, if the Green Party has its way.

And what is its solution to controlling CO2 emissions and meeting whatever target the EU imposes?  Obvious – we build more wind turbines (though the energy they produce is erratic and very expensive), more solar panel farms creating landscape eyesores (again expensive and hardly reliable), insulate buildings better (no problem with that, but it won’t power our cars, lorries or buses), and – hang on – phase out nuclear power even though it produces no CO2!  According to the Green Party, “a rapid transition to a zero-carbon sustainable economy will create millions of jobs and secure a safe climate for our children and grandchildren.”

It is all pie in the sky, totally unachievable, for even if the UK could get to zero emissions (which it cannot within the foreseeable future with current technology) then global CO2 emissions would not be controlled.  The UK is so small in world terms that increases in emissions from China, India, Russia and the emerging economies swamp anything the UK does.  If we face facts, something the Green party has an aversion to, there is nothing the UK can do to stop the rise in global CO2, and in fact there is nothing that even the EU can do, nor the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (NCCC).  It is powerless in the face of global developments.

Sustainability and immigration

There are 32 more policy areas which the Green Party believes will help the objective of sustainable growth to be achieved, in addition to the two identified above.  Given it wants to build millions of new homes in the next few years, what does it say about land use?  Well, it wants a high priority on the natural environment, and activities with high environmental cost should be discouraged.  Clearly, there are two parts of the Green Party that never talk to each other.

Does it say anything specifically about immigration?  You bet, given its leader is an ocker Aussie.  For a start, the Green Party does not believe the UK or any “richer” region has “the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term.”  So it’s open door for the world’s poor, about 6,000 million of them.   But wait, the “Pardee” as their glorious leader calls it, also says immigration should be restricted if the ecology of the area would be significantly adversely affected.  But the Greens only think this applies to national parks and the rest of the country can go hang.

The Greens also think immigration should be restricted if the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous inhabitants is adversely affected.  So that’s something, isn’t it? But no!  This exception only applies to the likes of Australian aborigines and not for the traditional lifestyle of you and me.  The UK under all Green Pardee criteria must keep accepting more and more immigrants.

Somebody in the Pardee must have thought this might lead to problems, so of course they have a policy for that.  Migrants and the local community should negotiate a resolution of any problems that arise, and that, of course, will solve everything.  What cloud are these people living on?

Its ideas on limiting population growth …

The Pardee reaches its pinnacle of contortion and contradiction when it details its population policy.  It starts by saying over-consumption of the Earth’s resources will lead to conflict and reduce the Earth’s carrying capacity.  The Pardee is thinking purely in anthropogenic terms and the material consumption of human beings.  Impacts on wildlife and their habitats are of no consequence to them per se.  Their solution to excessive population growth is to promote international brotherly love, eliminate war, environmental disasters (not defined), inequality (again not defined) and social strife.  Somehow, in this perfect world, population levels will suddenly stabilise and the problem will disappear.

Turning to the UK, the Pardee notes that the population of the UK currently consumes more resources than can be sustainably supplied from within the UK, and, even worse, more than its fair share of global resources to the detriment of the people and the environment in producing areas.  So the Pardee is against international trade, which virtually everyone else considers to have been a major factor in raising living standards since it allows specialisation and scale economies, with benefits to the producer and consumer.   The Pardee wants to reduce the UK’s “ecological footprint” by reducing total consumption, but it does not square this with also welcoming increased immigration.  No one in the Pardee can even add up the simplest sums.

Its short term policies to attain its golden vision of a sustainable population level (and presumably those it would initiate immediately if ever, heaven forbid, it ever gained power) are quite simple: comprehensive sex education, free family planning service with free condoms for all,   and new methods of contraception.  Simple, yes; simplistic, yes indeed. And quite futile.  The Pardee shies away from any broader policy measure which might make people actually responsible for any children they produce, and which might introduce some degree of control over the number of people in the country.  And importantly, the Pardee supports continued membership of the EU, even though this condemns the UK to unlimited immigration and population increases.

Real greens should reject the “Pardee” and EU membership

So it is not surprising that I will never vote Green as long as the current bunch of naive simpletons are running things.  And it is why I believe that anyone with any real green tendencies should vote to leave the EU.   Leaving the EU in itself will not solve our overcrowding problem, our housing, our congestion, or the assault on our countryside, but it is a sine qua non for starting the process.  Stay in the EU and we really condemn ourselves to an ever declining quality of life, a loss of countryside, and a continuing decline in the quality of our environment.  The Pardee puts its socialist ambitions above any green objectives.





A greener country?

Green issues have so far not had a high profile in the EU in/out debate.  The official Green Party line is that the UK should stay in as the EU provides better environmental protection than the UK would, and it is only the EU big stick that makes us toe the line. Other environmental campaigners use a similar argument.  According to these people, we owe whatever environmental standards we have to a bunch of Brussels bureaucrats and left to ourselves we would not bother.  A curious argument which flies in the face of all the evidence.

England had its first clean air act in the 13th century, and this was followed by others, notably in the 19th century when the use of coal increased dramatically.  And in the 1950s and 1960s, other acts followed.  Since the 1970s, being a member of the EEC, the UK has adopted whatever standards the EU/EEC has directed. It has not been a case of the UK being forced to do something it would not otherwise do.  What has happened in the past two decades is that research has shown the potential health dangers of many particulates not previously considered dangerous, and the understanding of climate change drivers has forced a reassessment of the use of fossil fuels.  This has been while the UK has been a member of the EU so naturally it has been the EU’s responsibility for establishing environmental standards.  It would have been pointless and irrelevant for the UK to duplicate this process.  To say that the UK would not implement environmental policies in the absence of the EU is just, well, bonkers.

One never mentioned fact about EU climate change policy is that each member state is given a target reduction in CO2 emissions, and can be fined if it fails to reach that target.  Yet the source of most of these CO2 emissions is the country’s population which consumes power for heating, cooking, driving, traveling even on public transport, sitting in traffic jams, etc.  In fact, almost every human activity in a modern consumer society involves the consumption of power, most of which in the UK is generated by fossil fuels (and is likely to remain so for at least another 40 years until better technologies are available).  But another strand of EU policy is the free movement of people, and the UK has around 3 million immigrants from other EU countries.  These all undertake the usual consumer activities which produce CO2 emissions which makes it harder and harder for the UK to meet its targets which were based on lower population levels.  And the Government’s own projections anticipate another 3 million EU immigrants over the next decade.

It’s a topsy-turvy world when the UK is condemned to ever harder-to-meet emission level targets whilst not being allowed by the same central authority to take prudent steps to limit the number of agents that produce them.  The counterpart is that it is easier for the EU countries with net emigration to meet their environmental targets!

Then there is water quality in the environment – our rivers and seas.  According to those hypnotised by EU propaganda, any standards we have are due entirely to the Brussels bureaucrats.  Without Brussels, our rivers would be dead and our bathing waters a sewer.  Yet there was major UK legislation on these issues long before Brussels decided it was their province to establish standards – what about the Water Act of 1973, the Control of Pollution Act 1974, and the establishment of river authorities and river boards before this?    The transformation of the Thames into a thriving wildlife habitat owes nothing to the EU.  All that Brussels has done is to assume responsibility for what the standard should be, while avoiding any responsibility for actually finding the money to fund them.  And of course, its free movement of people policy ensures that there are more sources of pollution in the UK every year.

I have heard people argue on the television and radio that without the EU there would never have been any schemes to protect the countryside, schemes such the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, the Farm Woodland Scheme, the Hedgerow Incentive Scheme, nor any of the regional schemes which subsidise activities in remote rural areas.  The irony is that these schemes only exist because the UK argued for them.  The UK has historically had much greater concern for the preservation of the countryside than EEC countries whose main preoccupation was agricultural production for production’s sake – the more one produced, the more subsidy one got.   All the current EU countryside environmental schemes have their origins in UK policy goals and schemes.  And even the EU regional schemes are merely developments of UK schemes of the 60s and 70s.  This is not to argue any great virtue on the part of the UK – it was indeed a mix of policy preferences and budget practicalities.  Under the Common Agricultural Policy, the UK being a food importer paid a large amount into the EEC/EU budget but got very little in return.  Getting the EEC to adopt environmental and regional programmes was one way of getting some of this money back.  Essentially, this budgetary imbalance still exists, because of the importance of the agricultural budget.

But all this is just a part of the fundamental irreconcilability of the preservation of the environment with EU policy on free movement of people.  If a country is large, spatially, in relation to its population, then uncontrolled immigration might have minimal impact for some time (though not for ever).  For a spatially small country like the UK with an existing relatively high population density, a high rate of immigration has a disastrous impact.  This is especially so when most immigrants go to all already densely populated regions.  There might be space in the Scottish Highlands or the Welsh hills but there is no work nor infrastructure there to attract the migrants.  The main environmental impact of this immigration is firstly demand for housing, which impacts on an already tight housing market.  Three million migrants need housing, even more houses have to be built, towns and villages expand, new towns are developed, and we have the suburbanisation of the countryside.  And it does not end there.  Every barn in the countryside becomes a developer’s dream because planning permission rules are relaxed to meet the exigencies of the housing market.

The necessary huge increase in house building is one impact.  Another is the increase in traffic and congestion, leading to calls for more roads, wider roads, more motorways etc.  These developments all require space, something even politicians cannot conjure out of a hat.  So we lose more countryside.

I have a house and a garden.  It is sufficient to accommodate my family and any visitors I care to invite.  Imagine the chaos and decline in the quality of life if I had to take in anyone who cares to turn up on my doorstep!  But that is what is happening.  Living abroad I see the changes from mass immigration more starkly when I visit periodically than people living in the UK who have had the changes creep up insidiously.  It is much more serious than people realise.

I haven’t even mentioned the impact of mass immigration on health, education and other public services ….

This point of view has nothing to do with racism or xenophobia.  I don’t believe that British is best, or the average Briton is necessarily superior to a foreigner.  Not at all.  But I do believe that the British have a right to preserve their culture and quality of life, and the countryside is a key part of that.  And villages and towns for that matter.  Their character is being destroyed by development.

The EU is not the only source of immigrants, and it is true that successive UK governments have done little over the years to restrict immigration from other regions of the world.  There has been no overall population policy.  Governments have regarded a larger population as a goal in itself as it increases the size of the tax base.  No one in government is concerned about the preservation of the countryside, protecting it from urban and suburban creep.  Those of us who do care are just the hoi-polloi.  The Establishment, and the large corporations that buy power from it through political donations and the bribery of individuals, never face the same problems as the rest of us.  With their money and connections they can buy themselves the privacy, the large estates, the services they want (made cheaper by immigration), the holidays abroad etc.  They don’t even see the degraded countryside as they speed along the motorways on their way to their secluded, private country houses or their overseas villas via the airport.   Their lives are extremely satisfactory.

This referendum is not just about trying to preserve our environment from crushing population levels, it is also about trying to wrest back control from the rich and the powerful.  It is the people against the privileged.