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June 15, 2007


Surreptitious Evil

I know that the media scream about the presence of Eastern European prostitutes in our major cities but "pubic transport"? A small grin on a generally depressing day.


Mark Wadsworth

It depends which ones you "send back" doesn't it?

If we send back building workers, nurses, bus drivers, store security guards, office cleaners, that's probably a bad move.

Deporting foreign criminals on teh other hand is a no-brainer.


Sorry, S-E - I've corrected the typo. But you've proved Freud right.

Surreptitious Evil

More even, than usual, I hope I survive the day. That would be a truly appalling epitaph :)



"What would happen to your mortgage rate as the Bank of England worried even more about the possible effect of labour shortages upon inflation?"

Surely this would be largely countered (if not completely neutralised and then some) by falling house prices as a result of significantly reduced demand?

"What would happen to food prices as crops rotted in fields"

According to local news in the south east, this is already happening with soft fruit due to the govt limiting seasonal immigrants.

". The costs of immigration - bigger class sizes, crowded public transport and (yes) some extra crime - are salient and clear. The benefits are less obvious."

You omit one of the biggest costs - massively increased house prices. Do you not accept that with the massive immigration over the last few years, together with a lack of new council housing has lead to a major housing shortage?



This seems a simplistic way to view things. There are defintely costs and benefits to immigration - in the south east these are possibly more pronounced than in other areas. There has a significant change in demand for housing and services in London which in part can be explained immigration (both legal and illegal) - that may be reducing the standard of living for the indigenous population. All of the problems identified in the post effect the middle classes:

- base rates: unless you inherit the ownership rates among younger B/C/Ds are relatively very low so doesn't effect a large proportion of the population.
- waiting lists: health inequalities and access to health treatment inequalities are a much greater factor.
- fruit crops: fuck that - how much fruit in tescos is from Kent? It's cheaper to buy in from Zimbabwe.
- being served in pubs? surely the identified issue is of unskilled job wages being put under downward pressure - no evidence of a shortage of labour in unskilled professions. The differences in the price of beer in London is not explained by labour costs.

The question isn't how much the population would pay to send them back, it's whether that majority of the population feel let down by the outcomes our democratic system where some populist opinions are deemed unpalatable by all major parties.

It's not to say it is the "right" or wrong" opinion - but it is a huge challenge to the legitimacy of our democracy. To argue whether people are stupid or ignorant is to miss the point if you truely believe in democracy.

Not Saussure

Transports of delight, eh, SE?

As to the instant question, to my mind it's hardly surprising that so many people think there are too many immigrants, since that's what they hear from so many papers and politicians.

A more significant question might be something on the lines of, 'What problems that you, yourself, encounter in your daily life would it immediately occur to you to attribute to there being too many immigrants, as opposed to your having a hopeless local council or there being over-restrictive planning regulations for new housing or Virgin not putting enough carriages on the trains... or whatever?'


There are even more costs than the ones you mentioned. In the world of millions (billions?) of passengers passing through Heathrow alone the only way immigration can be controlled is to have a far larger customs that have to stop each person coming in, and check their details through a massive bureaucracy to see if they will be let in. The wait alone as each person gets checked upon arrival makes this a non-starter, and that’s before we factor in the inevitable inefficiencies and cock-ups the bureaucracy will make plus the increased powers the state will give itself (ID cards, electronic databases etc). It would be a big government nightmare and significantly increase taxation. All so Mr Daily Mail reader doesn’t have to see a foreigner….


Thank you Chris. That clarified my thinking on the issue.
Well, I shall take the opportunity to thank you for the blog in general. I'm a regular reader and 'am learning a lot.


Yesterday afternoon Sky News was whining because it had discovered flooded roads that had not been closed by the authorities. So it was daylight, and drivers have to have good eyesight, yet they persisted in driving into flooded sections of road. It seems that attempts are being made to condition us to want a nanny state. Its the same with immigrants: they disturb the perceived status quo, so there are too many of them. Rain, rain, go away, come again another day...
(PS The later footage on another channel of the young woman who was allegedly stuck in a flood and was rescued by a nearby householder with a 4x4 showed that when she stopped and began to get out of her car it's engine was still running - exhaust only half submerged and splashes of water showing - so she could have reversed out...)

Matt Munro

"What would happen to hospital waiting lists as nurses and doctors went home?"

They'd go down as the number of people on the list would reduce disproportianately. Maybe some newly qualified doctors without posts who are currently leaving the country would stay and fill the vacancies ?

"What would happen to your mortgage rate as the Bank of England worried even more about the possible effect of labour shortages upon inflation?"

Er mortage rates have gone up as migration has increased, in part beacause migration pressure cooks the housing market. Where exactly was the evidence of this famed "labour shortage" 2, 5 or 10 years ago ?

"What would happen to food prices as crops rotted in fields or farmers had to pay more to harvest them?"

Most food is imported anyway. Maybe farmers would have to pay a decent wage to their workforce and/or increase investement in automation ? Again - where exactly was the evidence of this famed "labour shortage" 2, 5 or 10 years ago ?

"How much longer would we have to wait in pubs and bars for higher priced beer and food as catering workers went home?"

Most of the price of beer is tax and, british pub food has always been and will always be a rip off whoever is serving it. Traditionally these jobs were done by students, in preference to racking up 5 figure debts at uni, why wouldn't they do them again ?
As for waiting for your beer it now takes longer because most Polish bar staff don't really understand English......

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