Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Migration Watch - sweating the small stuff

We've had roughly four million immigrants under the previous government - two-thirds of those were from outside the European Union ... since 1995, they have made a negative contribution overall.

So the verdict for non-EU is that the benefit to the exchequer is minimal or negative ...if you take the whole of the EU [the benefit was] clearly positive. 
Sir Andrew Green, of the pressure group Migration Watch, responding to a study by University College London, which concluded that immigrants to the UK since 2000 have made a substantial contribution to public finances.

 Interesting, that word 'minimal.' It's slipped out before when Migration Watch debated immigration. Here's the conclusion of a 2007 Migration Watch briefing paper:
Conclusion 20 All three methods recently employed in the UK are approximate but they all point in the same direction - namely, that the benefit of large scale immigration in terms of GDP per head is minimal. Indeed, all major overseas studies of large-scale immigration involving mixed levels of skills, such as we have in the UK, find that its net effect is very small in comparison to GDP.
If the net effect of large-scale immigration is 'minimal' or 'very small' in comparison to GDP, why invest so much time, money, organisational effort and emotional energy in campaigning against it?

I wonder whether Sir Andrew's career history has anything to do with it. As a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, he must have had to spend years networking with vile, oppressive, misogynist, theocratic autocrats with a terrible human rights record, pretending that we have some sort of common "shared values" with a regime utterly opposed to the concepts of democracy, tolerance, pluralism and fairness that we in Britain are ostensibly supposed to cherish, (or at least aspire to).

You must have to bottle up a lot of rage after years of dealing with a regime like that and the experience is bound to colour your attitude to foreign cultures. Perhaps Migration Watch is best understood, not as a reasoned reaction to mass immigration, but as an emotional ketchup burst from a man formerly tasked with the dirty job of sucking up to tyrants in order to lubricate the free flow of oil and arms contracts.

Maybe the problem that needs tackling here isn't immigration, but helping former ambassadors to repressive regimes to decompress and deal with the enormous load of unexpressed fury and cognitive dissonance they must have built up in post.