Britain Is Addicted to Mass Migration – And It Is Not Racist to Say This Must Change
Camilla Tominey, The Telegraph, March 17, 2023
There was something horribly ironic about Gary Lineker claiming to “speak up for those poor souls who have no voice” on the question of immigration, after effectively trying to silence dissenters with comparisons to 1930s Germany. He was right in one sense – there is a group of people who don’t have a voice on this issue – but they certainly aren’t the ones Gary’s advocating for.
No, it’s the silent majority with legitimate concerns about mass, uncontrolled migration who have been cut out of the debate by elites who consider it crass to want to manage Britain’s borders. They are the ones hounded and patronised into submission by supposedly “tolerant” liberals who use their sense of moral superiority to justify political browbeating. And this tactic, which has been hugely successful in shutting down the national debate, helps to explain why the Conservative Party has failed to get a grip on post-Brexit immigration.
Of course, Britain is a welcoming country and proudly so. But the truth of the matter is that our immigration system is broken and the public can see it more clearly than those politicians too busy pandering for progressive approval. Just this week, the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) confirmed what many had long suspected: that it isn’t just the boats crossing the Channel that are a problem, but our entire visa system. On present plans, soaring migration is set to continue despite Rishi Sunak’s tough talk about “stopping the boats”, or Suella Braverman’s efforts to reform our asylum system – the efforts Lineker described as “beyond awful”.
First, it’s worth understanding what Mrs Braverman actually said, given all the selective quotes floating around. “If you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay,” she said. You will be detained and removed to your home country if safe, or a safe third country like Rwanda. We are committed to helping those in need like the hundreds of thousands of people we have supported from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong in recent years. But it’s not fair that people who travel through a string of safe countries and then come to the UK illegally can jump the queue and game our system.”
Far from being “beyond awful”, then, she is proposing an immigration system based on fairness, rather than one exploited by criminal gangs. That’s obviously to be welcomed, not least on behalf of the vulnerable fathers, mothers and children sent to their deaths on barely seaworthy crafts.
But the Home Secretary needs to be even more honest and admit that the Home Office has lost control over those coming here legally, too. According to the latest OBR figures, prepared for Wednesday’s Budget, net migration is projected to hit 245,000 a year by 2026-27. That’s almost double the level it predicted early last year and 40,000 higher than its November forecast.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the current scale of migration is unprecedented in our history. Net migration has run at more than six million since 2000. Communities are being asked to sustain population growth of at least a quarter of a million per annum without the infrastructure to support it. That’s the equivalent of a new Wolverhampton or a new Luton being absorbed into the UK every 12 months. Extraordinary.
Furthermore, just as it is completely misleading to claim that all migrants are asylum seekers, we now have evidence to contradict the spurious suggestion that all migration benefits the economy. Of the total 1,437,000 non-visitor visas granted in 2022, nearly 50 per cent were non-work, non-study visas. This represents a trebling of the numbers under the pre-Brexit immigration system when just 31 per cent were neither study nor work visas. And while visas granted to Hong Kongers and Ukrainians may have contributed to this rise, what it reveals is that we do not need such high numbers for our economic survival.
As the OBR pointed out, non-work, non-study visas were the “fastest growing category” since the pandemic which meant they have scaled down the impact the migrant population would have on jobs growth. “It is likely that the participation rate of migrants under the post-Brexit regime will be lower than in the past, so we have assumed they will have the same participation rate as the resident population,” they say.
It all begs the question, are the politicians behind this system acting in the Brexit spirit? That vote may not have been a direct mandate against mass migration, but the public were definitely promised that leaving the European Union would result in controlled migration. Somehow, in the process, we have ended up with a system that appears to be spiralling out of control.
Still, anyone who complains about this sorry state of affairs is easily shut down. Critics are belittled as stupid uneducated reactionaries, or even slandered as racists. If you wish to survive cancel culture: don’t say there’s too much migration, and certainly don’t say that Britain is full. To say that “Britain is full” is to expose yourself as an awful bigot.
This censorship deserves scrutiny. Granted, Britain isn’t “full” in the technical sense – even though, at 434 people per square kilometre according to the Office for National Statistics, England is one of the most densely populated nation in Europe. The real problem is that Britain’s infrastructure and public services have their hands full. Many find it difficult to see how we can cope with such high levels of migration when school places are so scarce, house prices and rent are spiralling out of control, transport and roads are so congested and GP appointments are so hard to come by. It’s easy to sympathise with that view.
This is not to say that immigration is a bad thing. My great-grandparents moved to this country from Ireland and Italy. Like the millions of immigrants who have come here over the past century, they helped to contribute to making Britain the multicultural envy of the world (despite what our detractors might have you believe). The problems being raised are questions of balance, proportionality and durability. Indeed, if we control migration the situation would improve for immigrants, too, since bad public services don’t make a distinction between different groups.
It would be easy to take out these frustrations on smug Leftists, who arrogantly assert their views on immigration as if they were gospel. But the Tories are responsible for this mess. Successive Conservative governments haven’t just embraced Tony Blair’s lax approach to the borders, but doubled down on it.
Worst of all, they claim to be the party of strong borders – at least when an election campaign comes round. David Cameron even promised they would bring migration down to the tens of thousands. Surely our inept leaders can’t get away with such broken promises forever.