It is always interesting how stressful events bring out people’s true nature. A friend of my wife was walking down the street with her children and accidentally bumped into a man and apologised. The obvious reaction is to accept the apology and move on. Yet what happened next unfortunately does not shock me, as it appeared she had managed to randomly bump into a bigot and a racist. This is relevant because she is a British Asian. He first aggressively told her to watch what she was doing, which was an overreaction in itself. But when she asked him not to swear in front of her children, he responded by telling her not to tell him what to do in his country and that he thought ‘we had sorted immigration out’.
It is a revolting story, but unfortunately with BREXIT, it seems to be starting to be a common one. So, are there more racists in the country and why is immigration seen as bad for this country?
Let’s start off with removing the excuses. Immigration is not bad for this country. It has never been bad for this country. I have a couple of graphs that show GDP and immigration in the country over the last 60 years.
GB GDP 1960-present
Source: World Bank
Now correlation does not mean causation, but the one thing that stands out is that immigration does not affect the economy in a negative way. When immigration is increasing, so does the nation’s wealth, its GDP. Statistics can be used to show many arguments, but the large rise in immigration over the last 20 ways seems to be having a direct impact on the large rise in our GDP. There are obviously more factors than just the number of immigrants, but it would appear it helps. In a recent report*, just before the BREXIT vote, it was shown that immigrants have a net contribution of around $2 billion a year. That only 15% claim tax credits, showing the other 85% earn a good wage, so they are not ALL on low incomes. The report showed this was because nearly half the immigrants have a degree. I remember seeing this report, but it was not highlighted in our mainly pro BREXIT press. It should also be noted that while we had this mass immigration, we also had unprecedented levels of employment as well and the statistical zero unemployment (below 5%). Yet the common misconception is that ‘they’ are taking ‘our’ jobs. This ludicrous suggestion falls flat when evidence shows ‘they’ tend to do the jobs ‘we’ don’t want to do.
Some people like to claim that the public services are put under greater stress because of immigration. Yet industry, the NHS and universities have openly acknowledged that without this immigrant population, we would struggle to even offer basic services or have any growth. So, if there is a failing it is the politicians who have failed to resource the areas that have been impacted by an increase in numbers, such as funding extra doctors, hospital and school places. It is not the immigrants, who are supporting our economy, fault.
Does this mean that I think immigration control in the EU does not need to change? No is the simple answer, but not for the reasons so often reported. Free borders is the desired scenario. When this was conceived, we had 12 stable economies within the EU and so you would never have mass migration. When the eastern bloc countries joined, it should have been expected that people would want to improve their worth and get jobs that paid a decent wage and where they could enjoy that wage. Something we aspire to. For me though this ignores the impact in the departed country. There are now villages in Poland where the demographics show very few young people and the villages are dying. It is also causing issues with their infrastructure with a lack of nurses, doctors and teachers. This is holding the growth of these countries back because the very people who go out and are entrepreneurial are the very people who are likely to leave to follow their dream. This is the only reason we need balance of immigration, with some controls for both countries, and once the economies are balanced, we can then have open borders again.
So, what about this open racism. Are we more racist or at the very least less tolerant of immigration. Who are these people who can attack verbally, or physically, British citizens in the street? They will be white. Male. Likely to be poorly educated on a low wage. They will feel it is someone’s else’s fault that they don’t have much and look for someone to blame. Preferable a female in the street or a lone male when they are with a group. I don’t think there are more of these racists in this country but with the likes of UKIP they have become emboldened and feel justified in their thoughts. An example is the ‘ban the burka’ from the bigoted UKIP Party. Now like all believable lies there is always a small truth to the comments. The first is that with a burka we cannot use our surveillance on individuals who wear them. This is true. Yet if that thought process is continued, we should ban the hoody (the desired clothing for the criminal fraternity who are predominantly English and white), scarves, a variety of hats and even the comedy glasses with fake nose and pop out eyes. Yet these have not been mentioned because the root of the ban is a racist, bigoted thought process. They also throw in that it would help integration. How does attacking a community help integration? How does forcing individuals into doing something, make them integrate and happy in that country? What is needed is dialogue as to why women should feel they are not forced to wear the burka from their own community. That it should be a matter of their choice.
So, the racists are emboldened and the consequences are there to be seen. That is why UKIP is Fascist and should be fought at every turn. We cannot change these people’s minds in the short-term, but they should be too embarrassed to openly abuse anyone whether immigrant or not.
The intolerance though is my biggest concern. When I see twitter and Facebook repeat the lies of the Daily Mail headlines and then follow it with some offensive bile or excuse why they have not got something, I despair. When all the evidence shows that immigration is hugely positive to the economy and culture, why have we been fed lies over the years with the newspapers negative headlines? This again is a failure of our politicians. Complacency from the liberals thinking no one would believe such rubbish. They did. Failure, because it allowed cheap excuses for their and individuals failings. Failure by the regulator for not stamping out the blatant lies printed time and again in the headlines, which is proven for people to just read and make their own presumptions.
Finally, as with any of this, it takes away from what we are actually talking about. It is our humanity. The people who come over here are people. Not immigrants, but people wanting a better life. When I described my wife’s friend as British Asian this was wrong. She and I would describe her as British. She has lived here all her life, been part of the community and is now bringing her children up in this country. She is as British as the rest of us. By putting people in groups without the word human, we do in fact dehumanise them.
We need to remove the cloaks of what we think it is to be British. These people who want to go back to the 1960’s, for whatever delusional reason, forget that we had just fought 2 world wars, not for the white English-speaking population, but for the common values, freedom, equality and democracy. That is the only test of Britishness, not the accent, the colour of their skin or the denomination of their church.
*The research report – written by Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini from CReAM – provides an in-depth analysis of the net fiscal contribution of EEA immigrants in each fiscal year since 1995 – See more at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1113/05112013-ucl-migration-research-salt-dustmann/#sthash.ggiIueGv.dpuf