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.
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 then Prime Minister, made a ‘cast iron’ promise.
“…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 [See Part 1] have been adjusted (upwards) in the subsequently published figures [see above]. 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 National Insurance Numbers issued, 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. Is that why Barnsley Hospital is facing £90m cuts and department closures? The Barnsley people still need the services, but where will they now find them?
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 at home; perceived prospects for a more prosperous future – the reasons are varied and countless. Whilst the ‘whys’ are relevant to certain planners, the ‘how many’ 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 to understand why immigration control is essential.
Hypothetical example 1:
Planner A works in the Department of Energy. 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:
Planner B works for the NHS. His job is to ensure that the general practices, hospitals and other medical centres are adequately resourced in fully-trained doctors. 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 20 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.
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. Immigration can be controlled but the Labour, Conservative and LibDem parties choose not to, whereas UKIP proposes to. As a member of ‘The Single Market’ our government agrees with foreign parties not to control immigration. This is a dereliction of duty.
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.
James Dalton is the UKIP candidate for BARNSLEY East in the coming General Election.