“…I pity the poor immigrant
Whose strength is spent in vain
Whose heaven is like Ironsides
Whose tears are like rain
Who eats but is not satisfied
Who hears but does not see
Who falls in love with wealth itself
And turns his back on me…” Bob Dylan
…not ‘On Immigrants’, who are people.
In Part 1, the term immigration was defined, and official government statistics relating to nett immigration rates were introduced. The assertion was put, that immigration must be controlled to enable planners to undertake their function, such that peacefulness and wellbeing in our society can be sustained and improved.
The immigration figures for 2015 were reported on by the BBC on 26th May 2016 and the graph released (see below) indicates the nett immigration rate at approximately 330,000 persons per year. Not the tens of thousands which the Conservative Party had been given a mandate to achieve, and upon which David Cameron, the Prime Minister, had made a ‘cast iron’* promise.
[*Material scientists and engineers of machines, pipelines and structures will be most familiar with the particular weakness of cast iron. Brittleness. A propensity to fail and shatter – vulnerable to bending, tension and shock. Prone to impurities at conception generating unpredictable built-in flaws.]
LOWER BOUND NETT IMMIGRATION – UK
“…There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics…” Benjamin Disraeli, allegedly.
It should be noted that the nett immigration figures published to 2012  have been adjusted (upwards) in the subsequently published figures [see above]. As an aside, it is a common feature of government, for published figures to be adjusted in a direction perceived to be preferable at the time of initial publication only to be corrected later, the most obvious example being the government spending deficit figures. Who back-checks the numbers? And who listens to those who back-check the numbers and smell something fishy? Note in the unemployment graph below, how the presentation gives the reader the appearance of a downward trend (good news narrative) whilst revealing shocking implied rates of employment of young people. But I digress…
It may be sensible to accept the government, or more accurately, the Office of National Statistics figures as a lower bound figure for population increase due to immigration. As recent reports on food consumption levels and on the discrepancy between official figures for immigration rate and the number of National Insurance Numbers issued in the period, the accuracy of the estimated immigration as given by the ONS needs to be treated with scepticism.
The accounting of the numbers is a subject in its own right, but the trend is clear. Unprecedented levels of nett immigration not less than 0.4% of the UK population, vastly in excess of the range which the Government has publicly stated as a target. This margin of error, this unknown unknown, is devastating for the work of planners. More significantly, it is pertinent to the condition and ability of current service provision (as planned for many years ago), which was designed for a population level below that which we currently have, whatever the true population figure may be.
A 4 YEAR FORWARD PROJECTION OF SCHOOL PLACE SHORTAGES FROM 2012 TO 2013. WHAT CHANCE THE REAL PICTURE IS WORSE?
Currently, immigration from the EU member states is effectively determined by the aggregate of the individual actions of those foreign nationals who chose to move to the UK. This free choice is made without recourse to the rights of UK nationals to choose not to allow any number or all of these foreign nationals to enter the country. There is much discourse regarding the reasons why these individuals are making these choices – disparity in wage levels; high paid long stay working holidays with a bunch of mates; the ‘free’ health care and other welfare payments; lack of employment prospects in Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Italy; better cell conditions when you get nicked for pick-pocketing; perceived prospects for a more prosperous future – the reasons are varied and countless. Whilst the whys are relevant to certain planners, the ‘how many’s is of primary relevance to most. ‘How many’ is a key statistic.
WHERE WILL THE UNEMPLOYED OF SPAIN, GREECE, ITALY AND PORTUGAL SEEK EMPLOYMENT AND WELFARE?
I’m a Planner. What do I do?
This is an exercise that anyone can play, if they can think – a process applied scientists are particularly well qualified to engage in, though not a skill confined to applied scientists in particular. I will start you off with two hypothetical examples and allow you to ponder – how can this guy/gal do his/her job if there is no control over immigration?
Hypothetical Example 1:
Plan Man Alphadog works in the Department of Energy. He’s a top dog. He’s the dog’s dangly-bits of planners. His job is to ensure that the electrical energy needs of the peoples of the UK are secure, indefinitely. Amongst other factors, he wants to know, as accurately as possible, what the population will be in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years’ time as domestic demand is approximately proportional to population. Question – How many new power stations need to be constructed over the coming two decades?
Hypothetical Example 2:
Dr Deltamouse works for the NHS, the monopoly health provider to the people of the UK. His job is to ensure that the General Practices, hospitals and other medical centres are adequately resourced in fully trained doctors. He understands that there is no cryogenic storage facility in Warrington with frozen off the shelf ready to deliver brain surgeons and oncologists. He understands that these practitioners are moulded, formed, chiselled and finished over a period of many years, perhaps a couple of decades. He understands the importance of ensuring that the universities take on the necessary numbers of undergraduates today to provide the necessary numbers of skilled practitioners twenty years hence. Question – How many undergraduates need to be commencing their courses in medicine this year?
In the two examples above the inability to determine what the population will be at a future date has material impact on the likelihood that the future needs of the people of the UK will be met in terms of electricity production and of medical skills. It should be noted that we have a moral duty to train sufficient medical professionals and not import them as a ‘back up policy’. If we import a trained doctor from Mali, Hungary or Brazil, that is just one fewer doctor serving the needs of their home countries – so we shift our problem onto others (and in any case, will we be able to afford to in the long term as non-EU countries grow and get wealthier and the EU continues in decline?[2,3.4,5]).
As we have discussed, the two causes of population change are (i) birth/death rates amongst UK permanent residents and (ii) nett immigration. Inaccuracies in estimating population change through natural birth and death rates need to be accepted on ethical grounds. It is not morally sustainable to argue that control of the wombs of women can be ceded to the state in order to control population levels – it has been tried (China, for example) with resulting demographic and social impacts of which historians record, for those of us who choose to investigate. And I hope it is accepted that involuntary euthanasia is immoral! However, immigration can be controlled.
But our government does not control immigration as this control has been given away without the agreement of the people, to foreign agencies under the umbrella of the EU.
Our elected representatives need to be arbiters of what immigration levels are appropriate and held accountable for their actions through an honest and verifiably uncorrupted electoral system. The people, through the ballot box, need to hold the politicians to account for their manifesto commitments and the consequences of their actions – and the politicians need the power, and will, to treat immigration policy and immigration control with the seriousness and openness that the subject deserves.
The fallacy that the predicted economic indicators from Government funded bodies are of prime importance in the decision that faces the British people on 23rd June 2016 is short sighted, materialistic and quite frankly, insultingly intellectually infantile. In the upcoming referendum we must vote LEAVE and take back control of our borders and our immigration policy.
In Part 3 of ‘Immigration – Not a ‘Toxic’ Topic’ we will look at a real world example. The most basic and obvious need when accommodating a population increase, is accommodation – housing. We will look at an English local council’s ‘25 year Development Plan’, how it has been developed, and how the council has ignored its brief, its duty and ignored the needs of local people and local businesses in favour of allocating space for housing. Space for housing provision which is not demanded by current and recent local birth-rates.
If you have a postal vote to cast, Vote LEAVE today – Now that is a plan!
Graphic EJ Question Time from Ilford, East London. On the panel: Conservative business minister Anna Soubry MP, Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Commons Chris Bryant MP, UKIP’s Douglas Carswell MP, economist Ruth Lea [more…]