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.
UPDATE: Italy 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.