This written offering is not about immigrants. It’s about Immigration. A simple word which engenders an increasingly emotional response when mentioned in a political or social context. The process of immigration when broached in conversation can attract accusations of racism, xenophobia, extremism and other stigmatising terms to those who wish to talk. These accusations come from those who find it uncomfortable or inconvenient to talk about immigration and these accusations have been encouraged by a political class. Thus, immigration is a subject that has become ‘toxic’, one which could result in social rejection and personal or professional ramifications if discussed in the ‘wrong’ company. We recognise this as ‘Political Correctness’.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition:
Immigration – noun – The action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country.
A relatively easily understandable term. The term ‘gross immigration’ refers to the number of people who come to live in the UK in a given time period. The term ‘nett immigration’ refers to the number of people who come to live in the UK, less the number of people who move permanently from the UK to another country, in a given time period, usually expressed in the units persons/year.
Immigration is a word that defines a process. A process which describes the relocation of one or more human beings from one country to another. It is toxic, because it has been made toxic for political reasons. It has been and is made so by conflating discussions about immigration (a process), with discussions about immigrants (a disparate variety of human beings). Intelligent discourse is replaced by emotional response. It is made so in our schools, on the television and in the media. It is made so by a political class which choses to use race, ethnicity, religion, colour, sexuality, age, health and wealth as tools to, put quite simply, attain power. If the subject of immigration were to be discussed, as it should be, in a rational, scientific and academic manner, the importance of the subject in relation to our political decision making may be somewhat different.
Immigration is a subject which lies at the heart of the forthcoming election, but one which is still avoided and toxified by the usual culprits in the mainstream media. The former leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband MP, commented on the subject of ‘talking about immigration’ as the Telegraph Newspaper reported at the time (18th April 2015):
“…Admitting that Tony Blair’s government had made serious errors in 2004, when people from across Eastern Europe were given free entry to the UK, he [Ed Miliband] said “working people” had been left facing “dramatic changes in their communities that were not planned or properly prepared for.” “Let me be clear. It is not prejudiced to be concerned about immigration,” he added…..”
Permission from Ed Miliband was granted, but politicians don’t talk too much about immigration. Politicians talk about ‘talking about immigration’ and fail to get round to actually doing it.
“…by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail…” Benjamin Franklyn
Some numbers are helpful to give one a sense of the scale of immigration rates. Planners need statistics and numbers, to enable them to plan. Numbers are published by a variety of parties including the Office of National Statistics. Other organisations such as Migrationwatch have data from alternative sources. Since 2012 however, the numbers have increased:
“…Net migration into the UK in the year ending September 2014 was 298,000,” according to Office for National Statistics figures.
The data showed 624,000 people immigrated to the UK that year, viewed as a “statistically significant” increase on the 530,000 in the previous 12 months. An estimated 327,000 people emigrated from the UK….” The Guardian Newspaper 18th April 2015.
Older readers will recall from their Geography lessons, learning about demographics. The study of birth and death rates, infant mortality rates, population changes and associated measurements. These topics were introduced to us as they are important measures which assist society’s institutions in their responsibility to plan – and when some kids leave school they may mature to be adults who become planners. Over recent decades, especially over the last twenty years (as can be seen in the above graph), immigration rates have increased to historically unprecedented levels and the process of immigration is a significant factor in the population increase over and above natural population growth through birth/death/mortality rates.
So why does this population increase matter? Well, for one, the ability to plan. Without accurate numbers and the ability to predict what future numbers are likely to approximate to, the ability to plan, no matter how much of a genius the planner may be, is impaired.
Whilst not herein the subject, the societal and the social aspects of immigration are not to be dismissed and their importance to the peacefulness and wellbeing of our society should not be underestimated, or worse, ignored.
The Conservative Party were elected on the promise that they would reduce nett immigration to the tens of thousands. This promise has been broken. It was a promise that the Conservative Party knew it was not empowered to keep. As members of the EU, and we remain members, the UK Government cannot control the gross immigration rate. This is no longer a matter of dispute (the science on this is ‘settled’). In Part 2 of this series the impact of uncontrolled immigration on social services provision will be discussed.