A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The real demographic time bomb

Some complete nonsense about immigration today from former CBI boss Lord Turner. He thinks we don't need more immigrants (or babies!) in case the south east gets "over-crowded".

I can assure him from recent trips to Kent that it is in no danger of getting "over-crowded" any time soon - I spotted quite a lot of wide open countryside.

The real demographic population the UK and Europe as a whole face is that we have an aging population and a declining birth rate in most EU countries, and therefore a smaller and smaller number of working age people supporting more and more longer-living pensioners.

Assuming Turner does not advocate euthanasia who, other than immigrants and babies, does he think will care for us when we get old, or pay taxes and keep the economy going to pay others to look after us?

How exactly will the UK and Europe compete economically with China and India's huge and growing and increasingly skilled and educated populations if we don't get an influx of new young workers through immigration?

Turner is afraid we might end up with a population of 75 million. I'm afraid of a different future where we might not reach a population of 75 million, and there might not be anyone around to switch off the lights when the last of us croaks it in the under-populated geriatric home/museum known as Western Europe.


Blogger Merseymike said...

Depends whether you take sustainability seriously or not - the Chinese certainly do, hence the one-child policy.

3:39 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

You talk some real tripe mate. Are you really suggesting we turn more of our country side into urban sprawl? We can barely feed ourselves now and what happened to hitting our carbon cutting agreement.

The argument that we should solve our demographic problems by importing people is simple the worse idea I've ever heard. What about giving British families incentives to have more kids.

We are trying to convince the world about green issues yet here we are suggesting destroying more of our open space. Are we not the most populated country in Europe already?

What about water, electricity, gas and space....are these not important considerations. We can't afford rapid population growth.

This Labour government is taking this country down a very dangerous path. I predict civil unrest and poverty.

4:52 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

Do immigrants not get old, then?

The South-East, even excluding Greater London, has the same population density as the Netherlands, which used to be the definition of overcrowded.

I can't believe the level of short-termism and economic illiteracy which surrounds this debate.

We've demonstrated that we can't get enough houses built.

If more old people end up living in poverty in thirty years it won't be due to a lack of immigrants.

It will be because they're still paying off their seven times salary interest-only mortgages to the Chinese and Middle Eastern governments who have bought up the Western banks with oil / export money after their subprime misadventures.

So people will have to work for a few more years before retirement, and the public sector will have to accept an affordable pension system. That's better than fifteen million people we don't know how to house. Or indeed, in the long-term, to transport and to feed.

5:04 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just take this message onto the streets of Hackney at the next election.

Better still, I'll make sure your message will on the streets in any election anywhere you stand.

5:36 pm, February 13, 2008

OpenID Kris said...

Oh, Luke. It won't be part of or known as "western Europe" in 75 years' time.

7:37 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

"The argument that we should solve our demographic problems by importing people is simple the worse idea I've ever heard. What about giving British families incentives to have more kids."

I'm sorry rich, this is pure racism and you need to be called on it. The idea that we should encourage British people to breed faster so we need less immigrants is Galton rehashed. Answer me this question, please: what is better about British kids compared to foreign-born kids? Do they work harder? Are they smarter? It the shape of their skulls?

Oh and as for most populous country in Europe - fair enough, it's debatable whether Russia counts as part of Europe. Ditto Turkey. But most people would accept that Germany is part of Europe. France also had a higher population last time I checked, and Italy wasn't far behind.

jdc - making people work longer and accept smaller pensions isn't going to be enough (even if it was acceptable, politically or morally). We need more young people, full stop. I'm glad a Labour government has outlawed age discrimination but we have to be realistic when planning ahead - older people take longer to retrain than younger people and the nature of our economy is changing fast.

8:57 pm, February 13, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

It's also about the kind of country you want to live in. I want to live somewhere vibrant, dynamic and with a mix of cultures to interact with and learn from and enjoy. Countries with a tradition of inward migration like the US or Australia generally have greater social mobility and more entrepreneurship because immigrants tend to be those people highly motivated enough to better themselves that they will even move country.

I can't think of anything more boring, depressing and conservative than a mono-cultural country.

Maybe that's why I live in Hackney.

9:23 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Tim F, how is that racist? I honestly think you don't know what the word means. I don't want limitless immigration and over 80% of British people agree with me....whether they are white, black, polish,asian oriental...everyone wants it stopped.

Being British is defined at birth or whether you accept citizenship. So don't start that race crap with me.

If you want to destroy this country then go ahead but don't be suprised when it all goes pear shaped. 1000 people a day is far too much for this already over populated country...there no room left.

With attitudes like that you can kiss goodbye to winning the next election.

9:52 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few factual points-

jdc is right that the UK is the most densely populated country in Europe other than Belgium and the Netherlands. France etc. as someone mentioned are not as densely populated as the UK.

The strain on the UK pension system by population ageing is not as great as right wing anti-welfare state commentators make out. Later retirement (maybe on a voluntary basis), raising employment rates among working age people,and acceptance of a bit of a higher tax burden in future years would resolve the problem.

Raising the Birth Rate OR immigration is NOT a long term solution to the problem as it would have to be repeated in each generation, implying a perpetually increasing UK and World population, regardless of environmental constraints.

"Countries with a tradition of inward migration like the US or Australia generally have greater social mobility"

In reality, the US is one of the most socially immobile of all Western countries, and has the weakest political left. Not really a great example.

9:56 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the same anonymous as posted at 9.56.

"1000 people a day is far too much for this already over populated country...there no room left."

If you think this, why did you say British people should be given an incentive to have more kids?

Such bad arguments on both sides of the question today.

10:02 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

anonymous, it was rich not jdc who claimed that Britain was the most populated country in Europe and he didn't say most densely populated, he said most populated. Hence I pointed out that Germany has a higher population, which it plainly does. If he is happy to state bald untruths on facts like that which anyone can look up, should we trust the rest of his argument?

and rich, the evidence is there for all to see. You didn't simply say that you don't want limitless immigration (the government agrees with you on that, just look at the huge number of deportations). You said we should give British families incentives to have kids so we need less immigrants. That is not a view on demographics, it is a view on race and what proportion of Britain is what race. A child could see why that is racist.

10:17 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

"Countries with a tradition of inward migration like the US or Australia generally have greater social mobility"

Seriously, Luke, has the spoofster hacked your blog, or what? I know there's a cool guy in the running for the Presidency who maybe used to be a bit black or something, but the US is not, generally, a beacon of social mobility! Also I'm sure Hackney is lovely, but most people in Kent would not be keen to swap.

"making people work longer and accept smaller pensions isn't going to be enough (even if it was acceptable, politically or morally). We need more young people, full stop."

We really don't. This is one of the big myths of our time. Apart from anything else, as people stay healthier for longer, many will choose to work. As women have fewer children, their participation in the workforce will be higher. As the age profile rises, the demands of older people will be partly met by falling spending on schools etc (which can still rise per-pupil).

Workers, as a proportion of the total population, will be a greater number in 2040, 2060, and 2080, than in 1960 - we are falling from an all time high because of the decline of the housewife and the fall in the birth rate (those are US figures but I have no reason to believe the relevant UK demographics would differ substantially).

10:36 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, but I assumed he meant to say most densely populated. Why would anyone care about the total population of a country being too big, regardless of density?

I agree with you that some of rich's comments are racist, though.

10:44 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Well then 80% of British people are racistm if we use your definition.

Labour are so far off the mark, truly shocking.

11:27 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

I do not believe that 80% of British people want British people to breed faster so we need less immigration. I would be very surprised if any reputable polling organisation had even asked this question.

I'm so confident of this fact I will send you a tenner through the post/paypal if you can link to research not conducted by the BNP that says this.

12:07 am, February 14, 2008

Anonymous rich said...



12:13 am, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:25 am, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have thought you would have to be an educated and intelligent individual, who as a labour politician would thoroughly research a subject, to be able to vote in a way that best serves the interests of your constituents. But I see that is clearly not the case.

You mention competing with china, etc.
1.There is no way on earth we could match these countries in population terms, even an increase to 75 million would have little effect.
2.More importantly, within certain limits population has little do do with the standard of living of a countries populace, which should be a politicians main concern. Take Switzerland for example, or Sweden. Both have high standards of living and comparatively low populations.

You mention seeing lots of open space. There's a reason for that, its called farmland, which it mostly is. The UK is a net food importer due to its high population density. If we brick more of it over we have to import more. There is already severe food price inflation due to increasing demands placed on the worlds food supply. Decreasing our ability to provide for our population is not a good idea, when it becomes more and more costly to import food.

How do we provide the necessary energy resources for an increased population? North sea oil is in decline and we now import much of our natural gas from Norway. Do we import this also? What affect would this have on our already perilous trade deficit? If you can't adequately provide for a populace its a ludicrous idea to advocate for an increase.

You mention having an aging population, and increasing the numbers of younger workers. So what do you do when the imported workers get older? Import more younger workers yet again? then again and again? 75 million... 100m... 125... 200... 400... See how ludicrous it gets? A stable population is needed rather than a continuously increasing one. If for no other reason than a continuously increasing population is not possible, and leads to a lower quality of life with more and more people crammed into a given area.

Another fact is that most of the imported workers are unskilled. I'm left wondering how imported floor sweepers, hotel workers, and other cheap imported 5 pounds an hour labour will help pay for my old age. I'm wondering how they pay for the benefits they already claim in fact.

12:55 am, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke you will never get selected to be a parliamentary candidate talking shite like that. Anyway Harriet Harman wants black and ethnic only shortlists. You'd have more chance with the Liberals or Tories.

New Labour want droves of cheap, unskilled immigrants to keep the living standards of the British working class down.

Luke do you ever watch the news or read newspapers almost all crimes are now committed by immigrants. Labour welcome foreign criminals with open arms into the country with no questiosn asked. Nothing will be done until one of the Labout Party donors or MP's is mugged or has his mansion robbed.

10:44 am, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Countries with a tradition of inward migration like the US or Australia"

Luke for you information Australia up untill the 1980's used a White Only immigration policy!

10:50 am, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

The crucial point here is not to let quasi-racists get away with posing their prejudical anti-immigration policies as anything to do with 'population control'.

The over-crowding issue is a lot more complex. Couple of years ago I listended to a presentation by the Mayor Of Barcelona at John Prescott's excellant Urban Summit. The mayor showed us night-time satellite images of a bloated sprawling Birmingham and compared that with the greatly more compact Barcelona (and I think, but not sure, that Barcelona's population was either as large as or larger thta Birmingham's).

It was all to do with urban form. Barcelona was well into the European tradition of tenement (and now flatted) city habitation, whereas England has long been wedded to the front-door-back-and-front-garden-castle in suburbia perspective (sometimes even in the inner suburbs).

A insight into this is that generally the knee-jerk response of commentators in England is to equate the word 'tenement' with 'slum', whereas in Scotland and most of Western Europe, tenement remains a legitimate form of habitation and current development... it's the coming thing for England if you want sustainable development:)

11:40 am, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

I don't have the stats on immigrant crime so I'm not going to comment on this. The fact is all races commit crime, but surely it would make sense to vet everyone coming to the UK....even if they are from the EU.

I am English, I want to keep my garden and my countryside. I want my children and their grand children to have more than I have.

I am surrounded by countryside, I grow my own veg and keep my own chickens, cattle, cows and pigs. Why on earth would I want to give this up to live in a box surrounded by roads and pollution.

12:02 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

British workers do come first in my company. I have an open policy of rejecting immigrant applicants, it's my company I employ who ever I like.

It has nothing to do with race, I have a mixed race work force....but they are all British or Joint Nationality by birth or by passport.

Your country comes first.

12:11 pm, February 14, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Immigration is certainly an important area of debate.

I tend to agree with Luke on this one. An aging popultion and low birth rate is bound to effect our welfare state. We need people of young age and of various skills to support our welfare system. Yes JDC immigrants get old, but we will still have a steady stream of workers to pick up the slack, also don't rule out migartion from the UK to other parts of the world. I think globalisation is mad, but it exists. If capital can move from country to country so should the workforce, in the future we might see a movement of workers from the UK to eastern countries of the EU.

1:13 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

This is not what 80% of British people want to hear.

1:35 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

Barcelona City has a much higher population density than Birmingham City, this much is true.

However Birmingham stretches up to Sutton, whereas Barcelona is a tightly drawn urban Council (the population density of Barcelona Province is much lower).

If you look at regeneration work in Barcelona, much of it aims to reduce population density. Similarly, if you search for urban green space away from the waterfront, there's not a lot.

Building upwards regularly comes into vogue in the UK. It generally then fails, but we have yet to succeed in creating vertical mixed communities. A block either goes upwards (yuppie flats, eg. Rotherhithe) or downwards (sink estates, eg South of Elephant and Castle).

People who can afford it generally want to have gardens, especially people with children. The more you build on existing green spaces, the more people will want their own.

Luke I really don't get it. You are one of the clearest voices on issues such as crime saying that we have to understand that the liberal left position has been nonsense for a long time, and that it haemorrhages votes. This issue has both those qualities in spades, yet you take up a purposefully contrarian line which seems designed to annoy the voters and the tabloids. What gives?

1:55 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...


2:09 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need government incentives to encourage British (English/Scots/Welsh/Northern Irish)women to become mothers. The country should be investing in our future with proper hospitals and nursery care with good schools creating a well educated workforce for the future. This is impossible at present with all our hospitals, schools and local services under extreme pressure by the Labour policy of mass immigration. Babies and mothers under this Labour government are now dying in our hospitals, children are leaving school at 16 unable to read or write properly and on every avaliable patch of land (in London) shoebox sized flats are springing creating the slums of the future. Plasterboard only has a life of 20-30 years if that.

Come the 2nd English Revolution Luke your head will be on the block together with all your private school educated Champagne Socialists

2:15 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

rich, if you're gonna print this and distribute it then legally you'll need an imprint on it. You'll have to include an address where you can be reached as part of that imprint. Then we can find out which company you run and take it to court for illegal employment practices (provided someone is here legally, you cannot discriminate against someone purely because they are an immigrant).

Also, I note you have still not apologised for or defended your racist comment earlier on. Since it was indefensible, you'd have more credibility if you apologise for it.

I'd also pick up on some of the racist comments left by anonymous commenters, but I won't because I suspect that some of (not all) the anonymous commenters are BNP and not worth discussing with.

2:40 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

On a more constructive note, since I know you're an influential guy -a couple of things the Government needs to be doing about the lack of space in order to make room for the 15 million people you think are on their way;

* Making sure the forthcoming cut in capital gains tax is not taken advantage of by holiday home owners - see the woman in unaffordable Cornwall today who is the only full-time resident in her block of 30 flats? No more of that please.

* Preventing land-banking by the housebuilding companies. When house prices aren't rising, many of them restrict supply to keep their profit margins up, by sitting on viable building land until the market upturn. They should be taxed on the loss of utility of this land - forcing them to build on it, or sell it to someone who will.

* Restructuring the tax system in a way which differentiates between investment in the creation of new housing (great), renovation of existing housing to bring it back into use (pretty good), the purchase of existing housing for rent (morally neutral, not especially helpful), and the purchase of existing housing for pure speculation (bad).

* Getting the planning system out of the way when local councils and local people have a viable plan for sustainable extensions to their communities (you may demonise NIMBYs, but I can equally give you examples where Parish Councils have put in planning proposals for extra housing and had them turned down by Government Inspectors and Ministers).

2:45 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that the only solution to the demographic time bomb is for the population to keep on growing for ever ? That does not seem very sustainable to me. Even if all immigrants benefit our economy which lets face a lot don't I know they I am married to one she pays her way but none of her family do !

3:17 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, this idiocy is why you will lose the next election. You may want to live in a vibrant, multi-cultural zone like Hackney, but many other people in the UK do not.

And, in the name of democracy, you have to respect that. Imposing it is authoritarian.

3:19 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I suspect that some of (not all) the anonymous commenters are BNP and not worth discussing with."

tim f, how very socialist of you: these people do not agree with you, so therefore they must be extremists and/or stupid!

All over the UK, in quiet corners and at bars, most people are mumbling about being truly annoyed. Not only about the well-documented negative effects of immigration, but also by their gagging by The Enemy (i.e. Labour). The majority are not being listened to; instead they are told that they are wrong/racist/stupid or even all three. Now that Brown's miraculous economic illusion is collapsing, they'll soon remember who to blame.

I have an area of special, purified hatred in my heart for Labour. In fact, you are all terrorists: no other group has done more to damage the long-term interests of this nation. At the next General Election, when the foul treacherous scum are swept from office [at this stage, I care little for who does it] and consigned to the dustbin of history, I shall be smiling.

4:28 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God help us all with complete and utter raving imbeciles like timf in the country.

Every single time Labour get into power all the lunatics come screaming to the fore and wreck the country.

When they've done their damage they slope off back to their Guardians and we won't see them for another generation.

Racist to think we should encourage native Brits to have more kids over importing more immigrants? You are barking mad timf? Completely BARKING MAD. I'd wager over 90% of the people in this country would think so. Try getting out more.

According to you, I am a racist as is everybody I know. We've had this unimaginative way of silencing us used one time too many by you lunatics. We no longer care whether idiots like you think we are racists or not.

I see civil unrest coming in this country. Caused by people like you. I can only hope that you pay for it.

At least Labour will be out at the next election and all you parasite socialists will have to blend back into the background and shutup.

4:31 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Tim I'm not going to apologise for something that I think is right. Why shouldn't British people come first.

I'll think you will find that all my employees actually appreciate my stance. At the end of the day I'm protecting their jobs at my own expense. I could very easily sack all my staff and employ cheaper workers. So if your going to report me then do so, just explain to my staff why they are all losing their jobs.

4:52 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great attitude Rich. I also recruit from time to time. I will always try to take on a Brit.

If that makes me a racist then I'm a racist and couldn't care less.

Thank God we're not all barking mad, hey?

4:56 pm, February 14, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Some of these later comments have bordered on the insane; we have had the full right wing balderdash spewing forth, from one commentator saying immigrants don't work to others saying Britain is so intollerant we can't stomach foreigners living here.

Lets get this in perspective. The majority of immigrants coming here are from the EU. They have a legal right to come here and work. Along with that anyone discriminating against EU citizens is commiting an offence. Whether the act makes you a racist or not (my view it is not as you can't tell a frenchman from a Scotsman unless they talk)is irrelevent.

In fact should any of you want to immigrate to any EU country you can do that too. We can go over there and take their jobs, women (or men if you are that way inclined), homes and anything else that takes our fancy.

France has a very generous state system, where amung other things your kids can be educated for free to university level (I am one of the last group of home students who did not have to pay fees), hey they even pay 2/3 of you residence fee! Ofcourse you would have to learn french but that is ok.

As long as immigrants can speak english, work hard and not be violent criminals as the majority are then we should welcome them here.

Anon said

"I have an area of special, purified hatred in my heart for Labour. In fact, you are all terrorists: no other group has done more to damage the long-term interests of this nation. At the next General Election, when the foul treacherous scum are swept from office [at this stage, I care little for who does it] and consigned to the dustbin of history, I shall be smiling."

Hey Luke it must be nice to know Tony Blair reads your blog!

5:25 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

Rich - if you won't apologise then defend it, instead. Again, do you think children of Brits work harder? (Most polls show most people believe the opposite is true even if they think immigraiton levels are too high.) Do you think they're more intelligent or friendlier? Just tell us why!

I'd also point out that stopping disciminating against immigrants when it comes to new applications for vacant obs would not mean that you had to pay your workforce less and neither would it mean you'd have to sack anyone. Just because unscrupulous employers do that doesn't mean you'd have to.

anonymous, I'm not a Guardian reader, btw. I don't think you have to read the Guardian to be anti-racist.

As for lefties wrecking the country, we've had the longest period of sustained economic growth in living memory, smaller class sizes and better school results (the worst schools being the ones that have improved the most), better paid nurses and doctors than ever before which have resulted in - guess what? - the highest frontline staffing levels ever in our hospitals, leading to more treatment than every before and shorter waiting times than ever before. I could go on and on but if the evidence around you doesn't persuade you then I won't be able to. Obviously the people that voted a Labour government into office three times in a row disagree with you.

And not talking to the same three people you always talk to when you go down the pub doesn't make me out of touch. I've probably talked with more people about this issue than you will in a lifetime. I'm quite happy to have discussions about immigration with people who disagree with me but there comes a point with some people where you have to stand up and say "that's racist". Advocating birth incentives in order to fix the racial make-up of the country at a particular level is racist. It's nothing to do with population levels, it's about preferring people from one country over another. If you want to persuade me there's a logic in that that isn't racist, you have to tell me why kids of Britihs children are better than kids of children from other countries. No-one has been willing to make that argument, probably because it can't be made without resorting to out-and-out racism. Again, is it the shape of their skulls that's the problem?

Of course there are people who have concerns about immigration. But you're making the same mistake you accuse me of making - you're assuming your limited group of friends represent the majority of public opinion. As we're on the internet, people will only be able to guess which of us talks with a wider group of people from a wider range of backgrounds, which one of us does more door-to-door canvassing and has conversations about this issue that way, and which one of us actively seeks out people's opinions on this issue.

5:43 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

"Advocating birth incentives in order to fix the racial make-up of the country at a particular level is racist. It's nothing to do with population levels, it's about preferring people from one country over another."

Hang on Tim. It's fairly clear that Rich is a racist, but I don't think this is a good example.

If advocating birth incentives instead of immigration is racist, why isn't advocating immigration instead of birth incentives also racist?

6:05 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

I've got no problem if people choose to have more children!

Having said that, although there are many things I'm an advocate of the state doing, telling people how many kids they should have isn't one of them. Similarly I'm not in favour of kidnapping people from other countries and forcing them to come here if they don't want to as a means of solving demographic problems.

Of course you can argue there's a difference between incentivisation and compulsion, but at some stage the line blurs.

Being completely neutral between births and immigration would mean if we incentivised births we should incentivise immigration, too. I think a policy of incentivising neither, but giving less well-off families more financial support so they are not disincentivised from having children because they can't afford them, and not punishing immigrants simply for migrating would be best.

That really shouldn't be a particularly radical thing to say!

6:26 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

anyway, point is I don't think that migrants are "better" than British children, or that British children are "better" than migrants.

Rich does. I'm still waiting on him to explain why.

6:28 pm, February 14, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Oh dear...

There's some pretty repugnant stuff amongst the comments here. And two commenters have admitted breaking the law (despite one being concerned about something being 'illegal' on a different thread...)

I find it pretty offensive to hear it suggested that 'the average' person's concerns about immigration - the existence of which is hardly surprising considering the media onslaught of misinformation and racist lies - has any common currency with the blatantly racist (and illegal) claptrap spewing from Rich and one of the Anons.

Fortunately, with arguments like "what about giving British families incentives to have more kids...we can't afford rapid population growth" - I'm not sure these ideas are going to catch on.

7:08 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

You want me to explain why I think we should be encouraging British families to have kids rather than importing people.

Luke is using the idea that we need immigrants to solve a demographic problem. If this is the case then help British families, don't import them. Young people can't afford families. I've had to take a second mortgage just to get my kids on the housing ladder, its a disgrace that you lot can use this an argument for immigration.

Immigration means more pressure on housing and less for home grown brits who are currently being shelved by this government.

If standing up for British working people is considered racist then that's what I am and I'm proud to be one. I'll say it here and I'd say it to your face.

My loyalty is with my family, my friends and my country. I have proved this with over 20 years in the armed forces and served in every conflict since 1984. My father served in the Falklands and my grandad was prisoner of war captured in Korea. I will not stand by and watch my country be destroyed by a bunch of liberal nutters.

10:33 pm, February 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes more sense to encourage residents here to have more children (whatever ethnicity) than bring in and integrate fully grown individuals simply from an efficiency perspective.

Its also not sustainable to have ever exponentially increasing numbers of people, native or migrant, to temporarily fix demographics. You just delay the inevitable problem and make it even worse at the same time.

Come on, you dont want to lose the sustainability ground to Cameron do you?

11:22 pm, February 14, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

I'm sorry, but the pressure on housing does not come from immigration, it comes from the policies of successive governments who have chosen to sell off housing stock without investing in new. Immigration has not caused house prices to rise. Immigration has not left any public services under-funded. By accepting the scapegoat of immigration you accept that 'British working people' will not solve the problems you outline. I rent privately - far more than I can afford - and can't afford to buy a house anywhre near where I work, despite getting a higher than average salary; but I don't pretend that my difficulties in that area are the fault of people who are generally in a worse situation than me, and more vulnerable - I tend to assume I'm being screwed by the those who are doing very nicely from the current social and economic system. And I tend to be right.

If you want to help working people, stop looking for scapegoats, stop blaming easy targets, stop playing the race card (and therefore dividing working people), stop blaming 'liberal nutters' who - believe me - are not in any position of power; try and actually understand the root causes of the problems you outline.

11:09 am, February 15, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

"I'm sorry, but the pressure on housing does not come from immigration, it comes from the policies of successive governments who have chosen to sell off housing stock without investing in new."

Duncan, no.

Selling of council housing to the extent done was indeed wrong.

Failing to build more housing was of course wrong.

But selling a council house to its tenants has absolutely zero overall net impact on 'pressure on housing'. Demand for social housing falls by one household, supply falls by one household. Demand for owner occupied housing rises by one household, supply rises by one household.

Of course there's more pressure on UK housing if an extra one, two, or fifteen million people come here than there is if they don't.

There might be arguments as to why that's a pressure worth bearing / meeting, but to argue that those people don't create extra housing demand just makes us look silly.

12:08 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

John, that's an over-simplification as you know. Housing is clearly not a zero-sum game, especially not when some houses stand empty, others are one-person households, etc. And, of course, the pressure on housing is all at the 'affordable' end of the market; there is no shortage of 100k + houses on the market for those who can afford them; no shortage of expensive properties for rent. So the issue of pressure on housing is all really about pressure on social housing, and that is because there isn't enough of it. To assume the 'replacement demand' for council housing when a family buys is an immigrant demand is not logical and is not borne out by the facts on the ground. The issue about the 'aging population' is not so much about the cost of paying for our pensions (though there is an issue there) but that that inevitably also means a falling population; the increased numbers you refer to is not a simple case of addition. Of course I can't disagree that it doesn't mean greater competition for resources than 'if they don't [come]' but neither does it mean that they can be factored in just as 'cost' and 'takers': they are produce resources as well as consume them.

12:26 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

A few random points typos and extra words there, sorry!

12:27 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Oh, and to the earlier point about 'do immigrants not grow old' - certainly a lot of EU immigrants have no intention of growing old HERE.

12:28 pm, February 15, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

Fair enough, we have a different definition of shortage of housing.

A 2-bed flat round here starts at around 200k. Sure, there's no shortage if you've got 200k. Lots of people don't.

Why does a 2-bed flat in chav hell cost 200k? Because there is a "shortage" compared to the number of people who want one - so the price goes up until enough people who want one can't afford one, and "funded demand" as opposed to total demand, comes back into line with supply.

We have a different definition of resources too - hardly anyone in the UK 'produces resources' now. That's not specific to immigrants.

We mine less, pump less, and farm less, than we ever have. Partly because we're running out of oil, metals, and farmland, and partly because we can earn more doing other things, and exchanging those things for oil, metal, and food from abroad.

But at the moment, and I think in the long term, the value of the things we do now is going to fall, and the cost of oil, food, and metals, is going to rise.

So if you've got some immigrants who are experts in renewable energy, recycling, and GM crops, I'll take as many as you're offering.

12:46 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

I still argue that the 'shortage' you refer to is caused by a shortage of affordable housing for rent, causing a mass of competition at the lower end of the housing market, that can be and is created by a lack of supply.

Okay 'producing resources' was a lazy language: contributing to national resources would be a better description, whether that be through general taxation, labour (whether that be actual production or in public services, etc.) and other contributions.

12:54 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I agree with Dunc and I think his point is well made. We have surplus housing stock ripe for redevelopment. We should nationalise this stock and rent it out to those who need it.

Blame the lack of housing on the failure of successive governments since Thatcher not to build more/redevelop more social housing not immigrants.

1:03 pm, February 15, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

Yes - and I've outlined some ways I think we could increase supply above, I'd be interested to hear anyone's reaction to them.

Meanwhile though, where's the supply which does exist at the lower end of the rental market going?


1:44 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Of course the competition for lower-end rented accommodation is going to include a significant proportion of migrant workers and students. So what? It's inevitable that more people will buy to rent as fewer people can afford to buy; it's inevitable that lower-income people will dominate rented accommodation, and it is not surprising that migrant workers are over-represented there; especially when migrant workers often struggle to get social housing (a lot of the accommodation you're referring to is effectively temporary accommodation for people on social housing waiting lists).

1:57 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Of course - the market imperative that leads to more people buying to let because of rising prices does also itself contribute to rising prices and as such I would agree with you that there are various ways in which the government could intervene in the housing market to improve the situation. But I really don't accept that immigration is a significant factor in that situation.

1:59 pm, February 15, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

So a significant proportion of demand is immigrants, but immigrants aren't a significant factor in there being more demand than supply (how I'd define a shortage) - how does that work?

If my nightclub is full on Saturdays, and we organise a Smiths special, and 50 Morrissey fans turn up, then some people won't be able to get in.

That's not to say Smiths fans aren't welcome (except David Cameron) but to argue that they aren't a significant factor in people not being able to get in would be perverse.

Let's try this another way. If a million people who have moved to Britain from abroad moved back to their countries of origin this weekend, do you think this would affect the availability of affordable housing to buy and rent in the UK, at all?

2:16 pm, February 15, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

Rich: "You want me to explain why I think we should be encouraging British families to have kids rather than importing people."

Yes, and you didn't. I've looked at your post clearly and potentially there is an argument I disagree with for less population in there somewhere - ie disincentivising British people from having kids AND deporting even more migrants, but if you want to have your cake and eat it you still have to explain why a British kid is better than a migrant. And I don't think you can do that without resorting to out-and-out racism.

anonymous, what are these "efficiency" benefits? Like many right-wing commentators you use the word in the belief it's an argument on its own. It isn't. This is only true if the state has to use more resources to integrate migrants into society than it does to integrate British kids into society. Actually you might argue that immigration is more efficient because you don't have to plough money into state-funded primary/secondary education, healthcare etc at a point when they're not paying back to the state through working!

I wouldn't seek to use "efficiency" as an argument for or against immigration, but hopefully the above paragraph demonstrates how absurd your point is.

2:34 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Because there is insufficient supply. I think from being over-simplistic at the start you are now over-complicating this! In reply to your second question, it would have a short-term impact, yes, but I don't think - nationwide - it would be an especially significant impact.

2:45 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

As to your nightclub - it merely suggests that perhaps you should do a couple of Smiths nights, not just the one.

2:46 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Sustainability does mean a necessary reduction of population.

That has nothing to do with immigration.

4:25 pm, February 15, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

When did I ever say British kids are better than migrant kids. What I said is that priority should be given to British children whether they are brown, black asian, chinese, white etc etc....

If you think that's wrong then so are about 99.9% of British people...because thats how they all think.

Once people are here you have to treat people equally but the whole point is not to let too many people in....otherwise people like myself kick off. If the government won't impose restrictions then I will. Labour are creating resentment in British people. So call us racist as it really doesn't matter anymore and no one cares. I know my community and it's close to civil unrest...so Labour better start preparing for riots as that's what's coming.

We are currently letting about 900 people a day into this country, if you think that is good news for Britain then you need your brain checking.

5:25 pm, February 15, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

"Sustainability does mean a necessary reduction of population.

That has nothing to do with immigration."

Or 'Getting thinner means I need to eat less stuff - that has nothing to do with how much food I put in my mouth'.

6:10 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger donpaskini said...

On housing supply, I thought that the major reason for the shortage was not the lack of social housing or immigration, but the fact that household size is shrinking, so that we need more houses for any given number of adults.

I am highly disappointed that none of the anonymous-es have mentioned this as an example of how the housing shortage was caused by evil libruls and feminists from the 1960s.

p.s. I agree with all of jdc's suggestions for increasing housing supply, though I'm not sure how we can do the letting local communities decide when they want to build more houses, but not let them decide when they don't want more houses in their area.

9:47 pm, February 15, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

"Once people are here you have to treat people equally"

but you don't! You've already said you won't consider immigrants for employment!

You need to understand that incentivising people who're already here to have more kids whilst simultaneously preventing immigration IS preferring British kids over immigrants. We can disagree about whether migration necessarily takes resources away from British working class people or whether we could all get a better deal if migrants and British working class people fought together. We can disagree about whether migration is preventable except by methods like deportation which are costly, ineffective and brutal. We can disagree about the positive effects of immigration (economic and cultural) and whether they're worth any costs of integration. But you cannot simultaneously claim that we should actually give incentives to British families to have more kids and that we need less immigration, without saying that there is some advantage to there being more British kids than without incentives as opposed to more migrants than there otherwise would be.

donpaskini - evil feminist man-haters may be the reason for the housing shortage, but don't forget it was immigrant women who turned our women into lesbians in the first place

10:29 pm, February 15, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Good point Donpaskini - the other problem at your Smiths night JDC is the people who insist on dancing on their own with a lot of personal space!

7:54 pm, February 16, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

Clearly the problem is the excessive burden of state regulation telling us that we can only fit a certain number of people safely in a certain space!

We're having a Depeche Mode night next Saturday, maybe that will go better. Or worse, if you see what I mean.

1:26 pm, February 17, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

If you hadn't downgraded to that smaller club after a load of people ran off to the posh 'Coldplay' night up the road, we'd never have had this problem in the first place!

3:42 pm, February 17, 2008

Anonymous Ed said...

With "moderate" Labour views like this, is it any wonder voters are turning to the BNP, such as in Havering where the BNP held its seat with an increased percentage?

Most people are strongly opposed to the transformation of their towns and country that all this implies. Hackney is not exactly a shining example of the benefits of immigration is it? I (briefly) lived on its outskirts and was genuinely shocked that this was England and not the Third World with the levels of crime, disorder, anti-social behaviour, grubbiness and generally low standards. People are voting with their feet: in the last 10 years London has had a net loss of no fewer than six hundred thousand native British inhabitants - the prime destination being the South West, not exactly noted for its "diversity".

We don't want our countryside concreted over and we don't want our towns turned into the likes of Hackney or Stoke Newington or Tower Hamlets.

As for relying on constant immigration, where will it stop? A larger population under this model will simply "demand" proportionately larger numbers of immigrants, thus growing faster and faster. If today with 65 million we "need" another 10 million, tomorrow at 75 million we'll "need" 11.5 million more to take us to 86.5 million. That will "need" 13.3 million more to take us to 99.8 million and so on.

Our model should be that of Japan, the world's second largest developed economy and arguably the world's most advanced, safest, most crime free, cleanest and generally civilised country - and all without any mass immigration.

2:51 pm, March 24, 2008

Anonymous Ed said...

"What is better about British kids compared to foreign-born kids?"

First of all, most people in all countries want to live amongst people of a similar culture, history, religion etc. This holds for Britain as much as for the Balkans or India. After so many examples of bloodshed, civil war and conflict in mixed societies such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Kenya, India/Pakistan/Bangladesh the folly of those trying to transform Britain from a stable and homogenous country to a multicultural one is staggering. All the experience points to the undesirability of it, yet they are so blinded by their fantasy world that hope triumphs over experience.

Secondly, many if not most immigrants come from countries and cultures significantly more dangerous and crime-prone and with lower standards than our own.

In 2007 more than HALF of murder suspects in London were foreign (Source, well known Nazi newspaper The Times: www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article2980432.ece)

1999 figures from the fanatically racist Home Office show the folowing:

Black Minority Ethnic (BME) were 3.3 times more likely than "whites" to commit violence against the person, with Asians 1.4 times more likely and "blacks" 6.8 times more likely.
For sexual offenses BME were 2.8 times more likely with blacks 6.0 times more likely and Asians 0.9 times more likely.
For robbery BME were 5.9 times more likely, blacks 15.8 times more likely and Asians 1.1 times more likely.
For drugs offenses BME were 7.9 times more likely, blacks 17.5 times more likely and Asians 2.1 times more likely.
For burglary BME were 1.8 times more likely, blacks 4.4 times more likely and Asians 0.4 times more likely.

So in all categories BME were significantly more likely to commit offenses, though Asians were slightly less likely to commit sexual offenses and significantly less likely to burgle.

Here's the Most Wanted page of the fascist Metropolitan Police: http://www.met.police.uk/wanted/
Not exactly an Anglo-Saxon gallery of rogues is it? As far as I was aware London was not yet five-sixths non-native British.

(Source: Race for justice - a review of CPS decision making for possible racial bias at each stage of the prosecution process. Published by the Crown Prosecution Service. Figures compare number of inmates.)

Given all these facts, is it unreasonable to not want further mass immigration?

3:47 pm, March 24, 2008


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