Gerald Warner: Eleventh hour ‘fightback’ on immigration

WOULD you credit it? In spite of Dave’s robust rhetoric, immigration has risen again.

Scottish Conservative Party Conference 2013, The Albert Halls, Stirling
Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the conference.
Pic Neil Hanna
Scottish Conservative Party Conference 2013, The Albert Halls, Stirling Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the conference. Pic Neil Hanna

Clearly, something has gone wrong. Yes indeed; it went wrong circa 1960, when the political class determined, against the known wishes of the majority of people in this country, to impose mass immigration on a resentful population as a symbol of its own power, enlightenment and contempt for its fellow countrymen.

Only recently has the sheer catastrophe of this experiment, aggravated by EU dictatorship, broken through the deafening silence imposed by intimidatory laws and complicity among the party political consensus. Even today bad news is sanitised by weasel language and massaged statistics. We are told that “net” immigration into the UK in the year to last June increased to 182,000. That is a meaningless statistic. It conceals the reality that, in that one year, 503,000 legal migrants entered Britain. Add to that the 517,000 who entered the previous year and you have a total of more than a million in the past two years. The number of retired Britons or homebound Polish plumbers who left during the same period is irrelevant to the social, financial and cultural effect the gross figure of 1,020,000 immigrants had on British society within those 24 months.

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Politicians invented the concept of “net” immigration to camouflage the demographic revolution they are imposing on this country. Thus, we were told there had been “net” immigration of 2.5 million since 1997. In reality, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) calculated 3.8 million incomers in the decade 2001-11. Even that is almost certainly an underestimate. The ONS has admitted to undercounting immigrants from countries that joined the EU after 2004 – a key source of migrants. The Commons Public Administration Committee denounced the ONS figures as guesswork, “not fit for purpose”. As for illegals, years ago a study by the LSE estimated their number then at 863,000, surely well over a million by now. Fewer than one in 60 illegal migrants caught is deported. However, the fightback has ­begun: Dave’s “Go home or face arrest” poster van campaign persuaded one Pakistani man to give himself up and return home.

Now, as we await an influx of skilled brain surgeons from Romania and particle physicists from Bulgaria, clamorous public alarm has compelled Dave to mount a grandstanding “crackdown” on EU immigrants: they will not receive out-of-work benefits during their first three months in Britain and payments will be stopped after six months if they have no “genuine” chance of employment. If the pathetic sanctions imposed by Dave are so “nasty”, why is it that the UK has 37 per cent of migrant job seekers who have never worked, compared with just 16 per cent in France and 18 per cent in Germany? In fact, other EU countries’ benefit systems are much more difficult to access. Meantime, why does Dave not tackle non-EU immigration – 242,000 entrants last year – on which he is free to act?

As for the much-lauded immigrants who do work, why is that a benefit to this country, when UK unemployment stands at 2.45 million? South of the Border public opinion has forced politicians to rein in their galloping immigration policy. In Scotland, as last week’s White Paper showed, packing in more and more migrants is still the SNP’s ambition, allegedly to boost the workforce – though there are 199,000 Scots unemployed. Already 4 per cent of Scots are immigrants; 32,266 pupils in Scottish schools have 138 first languages that are foreign. In the year to June, 35,900 migrants came to Scotland.

The political class has declared immigration a moral good, an economic benefit and an “enrichment” of our culture. The “economic boon” canard was exploded as long ago as 2008 when a House of Lords report found “no significant economic benefit” from immigration. The alleged fiscal contribution of £6bn a year from immigrants was cancelled out by the pressure on public services. A Treasury report reached similar conclusions. There is, however, a negative impact on employment prospects for UK-born workers: of the 2.9 million new jobs created between 1997 and 2011, immigrants took up 2.1 million.

By 2011 the Census showed 13 per cent of the UK population was born overseas. Why should there be anything morally reprehensible about querying the wisdom – or, indeed, the morality – of destroying the cultural homogeneity of a society on so vast a scale? Thanks to the indiscretion of Andrew Neather, former speechwriter to Tony Blair, we know that Labour’s accelerated mass immigration policy was designed for the highly moral purpose “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity”. Such crass irresponsibility highlights the urgent need to brush aside inane leftist propagandist terms such as “xenophobic” and take a long, hard look at a serious problem we must address. «