There’s much ‘hoo’ and plentiful ‘hah’ at the moment regarding the question of Syrian refugees.
The obvious and morally correct answer to the question “should Britain take some of these migrants in?” is yes, of course we bloody should.
Nevertheless, the kneejerk response of “no, enough is enough, they can sod off” needs to be understood and respected, if for no other reason that you can’t persuade those of that opinion if you don’t understand where they’re coming from.
For 15 years or more, the immigration situation in the UK has been a disaster. Open borders across Europe have led millions of people to our shores both from within the EU and without. And why would they not want to come here? Who would remain in France when the far more generous, prosperous and free UK is just a step away?
The problems with immigration have been manifold. First there’s the problem of the “wrong kind of immigrants” i.e. unskilled EU people coming to the UK, secondly there’s the problem of the UK being prevented from deporting those who are not welcome here (not that this has stopped various home secs from denying work visas to “wrongspeakers” time after time), and thirdly there’s been the political use of immigration by the left to “rub our noses in it” and to gerrymander the voting system. Thankfully, that last wheeze has blown up in their face as working class voters abandoned Labour in protest.
Then there are the localised problems caused when immigrant communities cluster in a particular area – Aldershot is a case study in this respect, since a whole Ghurka community has sprung up there. In what was previously a white working class community, resources have not been expanded to cope with any sort of influx, and they are stretched to breaking point – schools, NHS, transport and housing all come under immense pressure, and you have to sympathise with the indigenous population who feel that they’ve been let down and squeezed out by PC politicians looking to curry favour with immigrant communities.
I don’t blame these people for saying “no more”.
And so the politicians and talking heads say “yes, of course we should let them in”, knowing damned well “they” are not being let into Primrose Hill, Godalming or Sevenoaks. It is the relatively disenfranchised lower classes who will experience further pressure on their local amenities.
So, if we are to let people in – and we should, but judiciously and conditionally – the politicians need to accept the fact that there are consequences and costs. I’m not just talking about any welfare entitlements new arrivals may avail themselves of. I mean all of the knock-on consequences for places in schools, hospitals, GP registers, housing and other infrastructure. Also the opportunity cost of increased competition for low skilled workers that may see an aggregate increase in indigenous people on benefits and looking for meaningful employment.
There also needs to be acknowledgement of some of the other fundamental domestic problems that have given rise to frustrations.
The cost of housing is insane – a combination of loose monetary policy and tight planning restrictions have kicked ever more people off the housing ladder, while enriching those who were fortunate enough to get on it before the millennium and stay on it.
The folly of the minimum and living wages also needs to be acknowledged and understood, however counter-intuitive the truth of the matter seems to be.
But here’s another thought.. why don’t we usher all these Syrians onto a P&O ocean liner and send them all to America? After all, it is ISIS that the Syrians are understandably fleeing from, and ISIS are the child of America’s insane foreign policy.
So at the bottom line, if people of the UK are reticent to accept even more immigration, don’t point at them and scream “waycism”, point at the politicians whose warmongering, short-termism and self-interest have created the climate in which anyone feels the need to say “NO”.