Biggest invasion since 1066?

There are only two dates in British history that one needs to remember according to the authors of the wonderful 1066 & All That: A Memorable History Of England, Comprising All The Parts You Can Remember, Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings And 2 Genuine Dates . The title actually gives one away: 1066, the year of the Norman Conquest, which was the genesis of England’s political and class system. The other was 55 B.C., when Caesar first landed in Britain, although the Roman conquest didn’t get into full gear for some time after that.

England has had other conquests, of course. The whole Anglo-Saxon and Danelaw era during the Dark Ages reflected the fact that England was alternately overrun by Angles, Saxons and Vikings. However, it was with 1066 and the Norman conquest that all that immigration stopped. People have, of course, immigrated to England in the thousand or so years since 1066, but not in any waves worth noting. Instead, England sent people the other way, seeding America, most of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, England achieved dominance over, and sent many people to, parts of East Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Now, for the first time since 1066, the wheel has come full circle, and England is taking in more foreign nationals than she is sending out English people:

Britain is experiencing unprecedented levels of immigration with more than half a million foreigners arriving to live here in a single year, new figures show.

Last year, 510,000 foreign migrants came to the UK to stay for at least 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics. At the same time 400,000 people, more than half of whom were British, emigrated.

An exodus on this scale – amounting to one British citizen leaving the country every three minutes – has not been seen in the UK for almost 50 years.

Overall in 2006, there were a record 591,000 new arrivals. Only 14 per cent of these were Britons coming home.

It is the first time the number of foreign migrants has topped half a million and the statistics do not include hundreds of thousands of east Europeans who have arrived to work in Britain in the past two years. This is because most say they are coming for less than 12 months and do not show up as long-term immigrants.

The figures suggest that only one sixth of the immigrants were from the states which joined the EU in 2004.

The biggest influx was from the New Commonwealth – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – with more than 200,000 migrants.

Since Labour came to power in 1997, nearly four million foreign nationals have come to Britain and 1.6 million have left. Over the same period, 1.8 million Britons have left, but only 979,000 have returned.

More than 50 per cent of the British emigrants moved to just four countries in 2006 – Australia, New Zealand, France and Spain.

An organization called “Migration Watch UK” has more data about the huge influx of non-Brits into Britain over the past many decades. As the government records for the last year hint, the numbers are not trifling. Instead, assuming the organization’s numbers to be accurate (which I do, since they dovetail with the government’s own report), England has been taking in people wholesale, without any regard for whether the infrastructure can support this influx:

Immigration is now on an unprecedented scale. The Asians from East Africa who arrived in the mid 1970s amounted to 27,000. We are now taking more than 10 times that number every year. Indeed, net foreign immigration reached 292,000 in 2005 (of which just 11,000 was accounted for by the net rise in asylum claimants).

Much of the recent debate has concerned immigration from Eastern Europe. From 1st May 2004 when eight East European countries joined the EU 510,000 applicants have registered under the Workers Registration Scheme, 63% from Poland. (Workers from Eastern Europe can only claim full welfare benefits after they have worked here for 12 months.) However, the self employed are not required to register. A Home Office Minister (Mr Mc Nulty) has estimated the total over two years at 600,000. It is not known how many have since returned home. About half of those registered say that their employment is temporary. If they have all returned, net immigration from Eastern Europe would be about 150,000 a year (compared to the government’s prediction of a maximum of 13,000). The ONS estimate that net migration from the new EU members in 2005 was 65,000. This was based on the data collected from the International Passenger Survey. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that this estimate is too low. Migration from the new EU countries is, of course, in addition to immigration from the rest of the world .

According to Government projections, immigration will result in an increase in the population of the UK of 6 million in the 27 years from 2004 that is 6 times the population of Birmingham. Immigration (immigrants and their descendants) will now account for 83% of future population growth in the UK. The population projections took account of increased migration resulting from the expansion of the EU but they assumed that total migration flows would rapidly decrease from 255,000 in 2004-5 to just 145,000 in 2007-8. So far there has been no sign of a decrease in immigration from the new EU countries and the accession of Bulgaria and Romania (and possibly other East and Southern European countries) will add to immigration pressures.

Even this number does not include illegal immigrants. About 50,000 illegal entrants are detected every year but nobody knows how many succeed in entering undetected.

Legal immigration at the present projected rate will lead to a requirement of about 1.5 million houses in the period 2003 – 2026. England is now nearly twice as crowded as Germany, four times France and twelve times the US.

Meanwhile, asylum has been allowed to become a back door to Britain. In recent years over 60% have been refused permission to stay here but only 1 in 4 of those who fail are ever removed.

At present there is no reason why immigration should come to an end.

The pressure on our borders continues. Demand for visas has risen by 33% in 5 years and is now 2.5 million per year. In 2003 one in five visa issuing posts was consistently unable to cope with the daily demand for visas, despite the time allocated to each case being reduced to only eleven minutes. No one is recorded as they enter or leave the country.

Keeping those numbers in mind, you should also keep in mind the fact that Britain, despite Thatcher, still has economic elements of a socialist state, with huge automatic welfare benefits. The current infrastructure is expected, not just to provide economic opportunities for these immigrants, but to provide them with the full panoply of benefits, including medical care. This is proving to be a problem:

Yet despite high levels of emigration and a low birth rate, the population is still growing rapidly because of immigration by the equivalent to a city the size of Bristol every year.

This is placing huge pressures on public services, with councils claiming they are not getting enough financial help from the Government.

Sir Simon Milton, the chairman of the Local Government Association, said the Government – which earlier this month had to apologise for publishing incorrect figures on foreign migrants working in Britain – had no clear idea of where all the immigrants were going and their impact on services.

“No one has a real grasp of where or for how long migrants are settling so much-needed funding for local services isn’t getting to the right places,” he said. “The speed and scale of migration combined with the shortcomings of official population figures is placing pressure on funding for services like children’s services and housing.

”This can even lead to unnecessary tension and conflict.”

Reading about Britain’s travails trying to sustain an unprecedented number of people should have you thinking about current Democratic policies, which urge upon Americans something akin to an open border policy, along with ever expanding government benefits, including a national health care plan. Even if you have a pie in the sky belief that these are good ideas, common sense should prove instantly that they’re not sustainable.

UPDATEItaly is also having a huge invasion, probably the biggest since the Goths and the Vandals and, as is true in Britain, it is having troubles coping with the numbers of people it willingly allows in.  Incidentally, when I was in Italy last year, a young woman on the train, although clinging precariously to PC language, nevertheless spilled a boatload of complaints on me about the burden ordinary Italians were feeling from the overwhelming flow of immigrants, in terms of economic effects and criminal ones.  I heard the same on another train ride, this time in Switzerland, from a woman who told me that Switzerland was falling apart as a result of the demands on its economy from the immigrants, as well as from the crime they bring with them.


Must read Mark Steyn about the real war on children

Mark Steyn took Pete Stark’s lunatic ravings about the pseudo Republican War on children and honed in on the real issue and the real war.  After pointing out how much material wealth Graeme Frost’s family has (jobs, homes, cars), yet it still demands free health insurance funded by those less wealthy, Steyn wrapped up with this point:

The Frosts are not emblematic of the health care needs of America so much as they are of the delusion of the broader Western world. They expect to be able to work “part-time” and “intermittently” but own two properties and three premium vehicles and have the state pick up health care costs. Who do you stick with the bill? Four-car owners? Much of France already lives that way: A healthy, wealthy, well-educated populace works a mandatory maximum 35-hour week with six weeks of paid vacation and retirement at 55 and with the government funding all the core responsibilities of adult life.

I’m in favor of tax credits for child health care, and Health Savings Accounts for adults, and any other reform that emphasizes the citizen’s responsibility to himself and his dependents. But middle-class entitlement creep would be wrong even if was affordable, even if Bill Gates wrote a check to cover it every month: it turns free-born citizens into enervated wards of the Nanny State. As Gerald Ford likes to say when trying to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. As I point out in my book, nothing makes a citizen more selfish than socially equitable communitarianism: Once a fellow’s enjoying the fruits of Euro-style entitlements, he couldn’t give a hoot about the general societal interest; he’s got his, and who cares if it’s going to bankrupt the state a generation hence?

That’s the real “war on children”: in Europe, it’s killing their future. Don’t make the same mistake here.

Why don’t they move away?

The San Francisco Chronicle has a heartrending story about a couple that earns $53,000 a year, but can only afford a small rental in an icky San Francisco neighborhood:

The hard truth is that $53,000 a year doesn’t cut it anymore in the Bay Area. Tens of thousands of working families in the region, even those with what many would consider decent-paying jobs, find a modestly comfortable standard of living is out of their reach.

A family of four in the Bay Area with two working adults must earn $77,069, equaling an hourly wage of $18.53, just to pay for basic necessities, a study released today calculates. If only one adult works, that figure falls to $53,075, largely because the family doesn’t have to pay for child care, according to the report by the California Budget Project, a liberal Sacramento research group. But that one wage-earner must make $25.52 an hour.

And a single parent with two children needs to take in $65,864 annually, at an hourly wage of $31.67, to cover expenses, the Budget Project figures.

Statewide, the two-working-parent family needs an annual income of $72,343 to cover necessities; the family with one working adult must earn $50,383.

That’s in a state with one of the highest minimum hourly wages in the country – $7.50. In San Francisco, the minimum wage is even higher, $9.14. The federal minimum wage is $5.85.

“Most Californians live on less than $50,000,” said Michael Shires, an associate professor of public policy at Pepperdine University.

The Bay Area is by many measures the richest region in the United States. Median household income – the level at which half of households are above and half below – was $62,024 in 2000, the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau.

But that means that almost half of all households in the region don’t take in what the Budget Project reckons is needed to make ends meet. Those families often must do without some of the things viewed as essential to middle-class life, such as health insurance or a separate bedroom for the kids.

You have to plough all the way through article’s hard luck stuff to find the proposed solution, which is, of course, more government money:

The project says its findings show a need for public spending on social programs, such as subsidized child care and health coverage. Health spending is at the center of a major policy debate in California, where Gov. Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers are weighing plans for universal coverage.

“Many families may need assistance to make ends meet,” said Ross, the project’s executive director.

I’d like to propose my own solution, which is one that my parents used when they were living in an economically untenable situation:  move somewhere else.  If the Bay Area is so expensive, move someplace cheaper.  That’s what Americans have been doing since the very first settlers.  If they can’t make it in one place, they move to another.  When did it become a Constitutional right to stay in the geographic region of your choice, a right so important that the taxpayers have to cough up the money so that you can do so?

Ants and Grasshoppers

You all remember the Aesop’s fable about the Ant and Grasshopper, don’t you? That’s the one where the Ant works hard all year, while the Grasshopper just dances around. When winter comes, the Ant is comfortable in his warm, well-stocked home, while the Grasshopper is miserable and hungry. Or maybe you know the story of the Little Red Hen. She keeps asking for help as she plants her seeds, waters her wheat stalks, harvests the wheat, and bakes her bread loaf. To each request for help, her lazy farm companions say “no.” Then, when her bread is finally baked, they ask her to feed them, to which she replies “no.” These are both old stories. Aesop’s fable is probably about 6,500 years old, while the Little Red Hen story is at least a hundred years old and probably much more. The stories are blatantly moralistic: if you work hard, you will be fed and sheltered; if you don’t, you won’t.

We all know, of course, that life is not fair and that hard work will not always provide you with life’s necessities. Bad things happen: lost jobs, war, illness, drought, economic disasters, and other things over which even the hardest working individual has no control. And I believe that those of us who are in a more comfortable position have a moral obligation to take care of those who are victims of things over which they have no control. BUT (you knew there was going to be a “but” here, didn’t you?)….

But, lately I feel as if we, the hard working middle class, are being asked to take care of people, not who are victims of ill-fortune, but who are victims of their own bad choices. Right now, this issue is playing out on the macro field, with the S-CHIP debate. Or, more specifically, with the discovery that the boy whom the Democrats chose as the spokesman for imposing S-CHIP costs on working Americans is, in fact, from a middle class family whose father is following his employment bliss (that is, he has made the choice not to get a steady job) and who decided not to get insurance, even though he could afford it. That is, Dad made the choice but we, the American taxpayers, are being asked to pay for the consequences of his bad decision making.

I understand that it’s not the child’s fault that his parents make lousy decisions. But really, if we’re being asked to pay because the Dad is a dunderhead, maybe we should get more control over the situation. We have to assume that this Dad will make more and more choices that negatively affect his children and for which we, the taxpayers, then have to pay. (I think we can make this assumption because Dad is not apologetic about and has not learned from his choices. He’s instead using them to suck up wealth from people who, apparently foolishly, opted to work hard and be self-reliant.) Since he who pays the piper calls the tune, maybe we should take these children and put them in a home where the parents have proven track records of good choices? Eh. You’re right. I don’t think anyone is going to go for that. But really and truly, I don’t want to be called upon to pay for bad choices, without any ability to force those same people into making good choices that will cost me less.

I happen to be very sensitive about this issue because of my own life experience. Years ago, when I was a young, idealistic lawyer whose gay friends were dying left and right from AIDS, I got involved with a free legal service for people suffering from AIDS. My training consisted of attending several hours of lectures about helping these people maximize their Social Security, Medicare and Medical benefits to pay for their expensive treatments and other life needs. I never once put that training into use. I had about 15 referrals over the two years I stuck it out in that program and, without exception, the men who called on my free services were absolute flakes whose only skill was using the system to avoid paying for the messes they made. All had (or probably had) AIDS, but the illness was entirely unrelated to their demands on me. What they wanted me to do was relieve them of their obligations to pay rent or credit card debt. And they didn’t need this help because their disease had rendered them unemployable. All of them worked, and all of them, grasshopper-like, spent their money on drugs, alcohol, clubbing, clothes, trips, etc. Indeed, they spent their income on anything but rent and paying off all the debts they incurred supporting their hedonistic lifestyle. I became incredibly hostile to the whole organization, feeling (rightly, I think) that I was being used, and quit.

Ironically, as I was providing free legal services to these deadbeats, a friend of mine was slowly dying from AIDS and working himself to the bone to keep up with his obligations. He worked when he could hardly walk because of the mushroom shaped tumors bursting out from the bottom of his foot. He worked when he could hardly stand upright because if the giardia ravaging his system. He worked when all his hair fell out. He kept his health insurance alive to the bitter end, with the only government help coming from MediCal augmentations to his insurance. I gladly loaned this man money when he needed it. When he had to sell the little boat on which he lived to pay all of his debts, he insisted on paying me back, even though I tried to refuse the money. At the very end, a friend of his took him in, and he spent his last weeks dying slowly on that friend’s couch. These two men were Ants, and they’ve always lived in my memory two of the most decent, moral people I’ve ever met.

I appreciate that, once a bureaucracy is in place, it won’t, or can’t, distinguish between ants and grasshoppers. All it will do is means testing. That is, once someone shows up at the bureau’s door and proves he has no money, the inquiry stops. The bureaucracy won’t and can’t take the time to discover whether his money vanished because his employer laid him off (despite his being a good worker) and his kid has a horrible disease, or if his money vanished because he’s an unemployable flake who can’t be bothered to hold down a job, but who still likes living the high life. We pay for them all. But to the extent we do pay for them all, I want to be damn sure that every new government program is carefully crafted to pay for extremely limited services and that it is set up, as much as possible, to help the Ants, while shutting the door on those damn Grasshoppers. S-CHIP, which is casting an ever wider net of those for whom the taxpayers must pay is the antithesis of what an Ant-oriented government program should be.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more on the Frost family (the S-CHIP family), in which a neighbor makes it plain that they are the ultimate Grasshoppers — although it appears that they are Ant enough, after having lived the high life, to rouse themselves to milk the system for their benefit.

UPDATE II:  Leave it to Mark Steyn to distill the Grasshopper lifestyle into a few pithy phrases:

At which point should the government pick up the tab? Ultimately it’s a reductive notion of liberty to say a free-born citizen can choose his own breakfast cereal and DVD rentals and cable package and, in the case of the Frosts, three premium vehicles, but demand the government take responsibility for all the grown-up stuff.

Non-contributing immigrants

Here in America, we are (rightly) unhappy about illegal immigrants who instantly sign up for all the welfare benefits they can get. Of course, they’d be stupid not to, because only a fool says no to free money. Also, I don’t think any of us doubt that the immigrants who come here, legal or illegal, mostly work and they work hard. After all, it’s the meat packing business and agribusiness who are most aggressive in encouraging immigration, legal or illegal, because these are the people who fill their factories and their fields.

Britain has the same thing: most immigrants work (in fact, they work more than the British themselves), but large numbers of them do sign up for the dole. In that, they’re just like American immigrants.  What’s really interesting in Britain, though, and quite different from the situation here, is that the immigrants who make the greatest demands on welfare are Muslims:

Labour’s favourite thinktank yesterday named the migrant groups which are a drain on the taxpayer.

Immigrants from Somalia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran are most likely to be out of work and claiming state benefits, it said.

There tend to be high numbers of asylum seekers among those groups who have failed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Britain’s open economy, a study found.

It’s important to remember that the study does not say that all Muslims in Britain are on the dole. It does say, though, that, of all immigrants who arrived in the UK and get on the dole, it’s the Muslim immigrants who suck up welfare in disproportionate numbers.

Right about now, you’re shrugging your shoulders and asking, “so what?”  Every country has its people who need, use, or abuse welfare, and in Britain its Muslims.  To single them out sounds nothing more than homophobic.  True, except for one weird unique wrinkle about Muslims when it comes to welfare in Western countries, something that’s summed up in a single word:  jizya.

You don’t know what jizya is? Mark Steyn defines it:

The jizya is the poll tax paid by non-Muslims to their Muslim betters. One cause of the lack of economic innovation in the Islamic world is that they’ve always placed the main funding burden of society on infidels. This goes back to Mohammed’s day. If you take a bunch of warring Arab tribes and unite them as one umma under Allah, one drawback is that you close off a prime source of revenue — fighting each other and then stealing each other’s stuff. That’s why the Prophet, while hardly in a position to deny Islam to those who wished to sign up, was relatively relaxed about the presence of non-Muslim peoples within Muslim lands: they were a revenue stream. If one looks at the comparative dissemination patterns, Christianity spread by acquiring believers and then land; Islam spread by acquiring land and then believers. When Islam conquered infidel territory, it set in motion a massive transfer of wealth, enacting punitive taxation to transfer money from non-believers to Muslims — or from the productive part of the economy to the non-productive. It was, in its way, a prototype welfare society. When admirers talk up Islam and the great innovations and rich culture of its heyday, they forget that even at its height Muslims were never more than a minority of the Muslim world, and they were in large part living off the energy of others. That’s still a useful rule of thumb: if you take the least worst Muslim societies, the reason for the dynamism often lies with whichever group they share the turf with — the Chinese in Malaysia, for example.

(Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, p. 164.)

Both Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan, make the point that welfare fraud is an Islamist speciality, not just to avoid work, but because the Islamists believe welfare paid for by the Christians around them is their due. That is, they differ from the usual welfare scammer who just wants free money. These are people who believe that they are using Europe’s and Britain’s own welfare systems to recreate the poll tax that non-Muslims are obligated to pay their Muslim superiors.  For this reason, they never have a desire to get off welfare — something especially true given that welfare benefits are so generous, and fraud so endemic, that some of the more adept users are bringing in six figure incomes.

Hat tip: RD, UP Pompeii