The problem with mass migration is not so much the misuse of benefits by a minority – though that is wrong – but is the impact of mass, low-waged and unskilled labour upon the wages, employment opportunities and services in this country. I have been campaigning for years, not on the point of benefits, but the impact of the sheer numbers.
Even Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, couldn’t help but allude to the subject last week as he talked about a “staggering” 25 per cent slump in demand from Europe for British exports, combined with what he described as the effects of “more labour supply than we had previously thought”. [British humour translation: yeah, we’re fucked.] He went on to comment that we have “severe” structural problems due to a “chronic” shortfall in housing. Yes, these things are related.
Just look at the way that growth is disproportionately helping the rich, who benefit from cheap labour supply, while the low-waged see pay cuts and freezes. The Local Government Association tells us that there will be a shortfall of 130,000 primary school places in the next three years, caused almost entirely by migration and a soaring birth rate among first-generation migrants.
Open-door immigration from ex-communist countries with GDPs wildly different from our own has resulted in a situation where the lives of millions of our citizens are affected by an issue over which, due to our membership of the European Union, we have no control. But the Prime Minister is promising to bring in measures that will affect a few thousand people, rather than deal with an issue that impacts on the lives of millions.
What Mr Cameron’s article in The Telegraph yesterday really shows is the fear in this Government of the public’s anger, and its impotence in the face of its obligations to European law.
No amount of warm words or glib promises will provide any confidence that the Government has either the will or the desire to act effectively on migration. Nor will they change the fact that such action is impossible while Britain remains a member of the European Union.