Ultimately, the long-term answer to this problem lies in reducing the number of migrants who are crossing into Europe from Africa. Many see Europe, and particularly Britain, as somewhere that offers the prospect of financial gain. This is not the case – our streets are not paved with gold.
The streets of the UK are paved with gold. And I’m not talking about the welfare system either.
They’re coming from places where the average wage is $50 a month. Maybe $150, $200 a month after we account for price differences (ie, use PPP exchange rates).
Hand harvesting some strawberry patch in Cambridgeshire looks very attractive indeed as compared to that.
Yes, this is economic migration. Yes, this is highly dangerous economic migration. That they are still coming, given the danger, for economic reasons, shows us that our streets are indeed paved with that gold. Only that can explain the risks they are willing to take.
I’m afraid that people really just don’t understand what sub-Saharan poverty is like.
Recall, the World Bank’s definition of absolute poverty is $1.25 a day. And there’s half a billion people out there on that. That’s half a billion people living on what $1.25 a day, a buck and two bits, will buy you in a US Walmart. To cover food, shelter, clothing, health care and everything.
What sort of risks would you take to multiply your income by 20? By 50? Is there anywhere at all in Britain where you wouldn’t be able to consume (note, not necessarily earn, but consume) £30 a day?
Yes, the streets are paved with gold.
And it’s the decades of wittering that we’ve had about relative poverty that is disguising this simple fact.