But the migrants are right here

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.

64 thoughts on “But the migrants are right here”

  1. But yet we still see arguments from Libertarians (which I do tend to count myself among for most things) about Freedom of Movement. A country’s borders exist for a reason people, they can act like fire doors preventing the spread of diseases be they medical, cultural or economic…they aren’t just there to annoy you.

  2. We cannot absorb even a tiny fraction of African poor without destroying ourselves. The antics over in Calais indicate this lot are willing to use violence to gain their ends.

    They can’t be allowed in. They are getting in thanks to that shite Camoron but it will have to stop. The promise of social services for them must stop also and they must be made aware of that.

    Also–sub-Saharan poverty isn’t exactly new. Why is it that this is all kicking off now? Syria/Libya ok–but why the rest–why now?

  3. Given the poverty in home country those whose families can raise the funds to pay for the journey and agent’s fees are not from that country’s poorest or least-influential.

  4. I suspect that the rise in immigration from Africa stems in part from Africa getting less poor- thus Africans can (just) afford to come now, whereas previously they couldn’t.

  5. I think Pat nails it. The flood of economic migrants is actually the consequence of increased wealth in Africa, not increasing poverty. All those middle men charging a fortune for a place on a floating death trap are getting paid, and that money has to be earned somehow.

  6. Spot on. Because the debate was shifted from a poverty threshold – which is valid – to the difference in income, the Gini coefficient, coined by Mussolini’s favourite economist. The Gini gap is measured to feed the lazy, envious, and greedy lefties of society.

  7. At the end of the day, these people lives are so shit in their home country that anything is an improvement. Frankly, unless you intend to hunt them down in the UK and torture them in a concentration camp, then they will keep on coming.

  8. Were living through what Toynbee called ‘volkerwanderung’. It is epochal.

    The other thing that strikes me, regarding the scenes in Calais, is that if an attempted invasion does not look like this, then then what would an attempted invasion look like?

  9. These people are in an EU country already – are there not asylum laws regarding which country you should be claiming asylum?
    Personally I’d send in airstrikes and troops to mop up. Make the risks too high to come here.
    Luckily enough the UK government in its wisdom have not put me in charge. 🙂
    Seriously politicians wring their hands but nothing gets done. How many years have the immigrant in calais been an issue?

  10. I love the way none of those seeking rationalisations for their own hatred of foreigners, immigrants, and general ‘darkies’ will ever talk about the real numbers. There are maybe 2,000 migrants in Calais trying to get across.

    We’ve already spent tens of millions trying to prevent 2,000 people from coming here to work, and that’s not even looking at the billions in lost trade that the Calais migrant crisis has cost so far. We could literally make each of the migrants a millionaire for the money we’ve spent failing to keep them out.

  11. We’ll, you see, Dave, if we let in this 2,000 illegal migrants, tomorrow there’ll be another 2,000. Or more likely, 4,000.

    But I guess you’d be happy to let them in. Fine. What’s your postcode, again?

  12. Martin Davies, indeed. It’s about time we appreciated that France is facilitating this. And as for that Calais lady mayor who wants us to pay for the porousness of France’s borders, she should be shown two fingers.

    That said, I’m sympathetic to dealing with this porousness, which is after all more than just a French problem, on an allied basis provided the other countries pull their weight for once. Whether that might mean naval and army patrols to repel boarders, or neo-colonialism to make more habitable the hellholes from which they are trying to escape, I cannot decide.

  13. I don’t need to rationalise it, Dave. I really, really hate wogs, coons, darkies, nig-nogs, hottentots, yids, eyeties, dagos, wops, pakis and piccaninnies.

    Now we’ve got that out of the way, pretty please can we discuss societal transformation?

  14. Why is it the elites have decided that Europe no longer belongs to Europeans.. that we are obliged to house, clothe, feed and educate people that have fucked up their own countries.

    It’s similar to chavs smashing up their council houses. What do you think will happen if you give them a new better house?

  15. Julia>

    I assure you, you’re not that attractive. There aren’t the floods of immigrants you imagine are coming here to admire your figure.

    It’s really wonderful the way you manage to hold two totally contradictory ideas in your head at the same time. You undoubtedly think that our borders are porous, all-but freely open, and yet you also manage to believe that letting in a couple of thousand more immigrants would somehow trigger a tidal wave of those who’d come here because it was so easy to get in. You can’t have it both ways.

  16. @Crazed Weevil.

    Indeed, most libertarians turn out to be very libertarian when it is in their interests. Paying less tax. Being able to move to a foreign country yourself but not have foreigners come to your country. It’s amazing how nationalistic libertarians can become when there’s forriners coming in tekkin’ their jerbs and wimmin.

    It’s why I’m not a libertarian, because it’s very hard (and ultimately not in anyone’s interest) to be a parsimonious libertarian. The west has put Africa in a position where it doubles its population every 19 point something years, and has just enough wealth to get many millions of those young men on a smuggler’s boat that lands on the mediterranean cost of Europe. For all the talk of stronger borders and so on – at that point it is already too late. It’s not possible to deport someone who won’t tell you where they are from and whose government won’t let them back in anyway because they have too many mouths to feed as it is.

    This I am afraid needs an Australian solution. Genuine refugees are refugees, so we set up camps for them. Where they can be refugees (i;e. not being shot at back home). These should be spartan places to not encourage people to go there – being in a refugee camp should be better than being in a place where you are shot at, but not much better than that. I hear there are a number of hoteliers in Tunisia looking for business, so maybe we can send some their way.

    Then there are economic migrants. These should simply have their vessels towed back to the coast of North Africa, be ejected onto the shore, then the boats scuttled, and those attempting illegal entry should be barred for life from entry to Europe. I can’t for the life of me seeing the Libyan navy being able to stop this.

  17. Dave, be candid:

    1. Do you welcome mass immigration, or are you merely indifferent to it?

    2. Does your answer to 1. depend on the origins and destination of the given migrant?

    3. What is your reasoning for your answers to 1. and 2.?

  18. I’d like to see a market solution. I think Pat and Machii have a valid point effectively that skinny brown people do have more money to travel than before, but they want to do even better in their terms.
    So open a consulate in Mogadishu and Juba etc and sell 3 year unskilled work permits stamped NRTPF to identifiable non-criminals at 2000 USD a time ( refundable on return ). It doesn’t have to be that price, just whatever price the market will stand which is affordable and results in say about 50,000 a year coming.
    Aargh, we can’t exploit them like this, some would say, compassion is the answer.
    Bollocks to that, this is not about getting into heaven, it’s about recognising that migration for asylum or for a benefit claim are massive failures, but migration for work is a massive human success story.

  19. The basic thing really being that this isn’t an economic issue, as even La Farage said before the election, it’s not actually about GDP.

    Speaking as some sort of Libertarian myself, the big blind spot among free market/Libertarian/classical Liberal/whatever types is the tendency to consider people homo economicus, but the reality is that there is more to us than that. And sometimes it’s the other stuff that matters.

  20. Why has the west put Africa on a position where its population doubles every nineteen years? By Band Aid and curing malaria?

  21. I quite like the migrants. Before the migrants ordering a pint in a pub was a horrible experience, with a bad pour, rude and surely service combined with a crappy sense of entitlement of the British under class.

    Now I receive a nice pint, good friendly service, intelligent conversation and a nice bright smile from a lovely looking young woman.

    We have migrants in the country to do the jobs we do not want to do or for the jobs that frankly we would not want our own underclass to do.

  22. Dave

    “There are maybe 2,000 migrants in Calais trying to get across.”

    Seriously, do you think that’s the total number of people from Africa who want to come to the UK?

    And that if we let those 2,000 in that’ll be the end of the matter?

  23. Salamander, where any of those nce friendly migrants, serving you in the pub wearing a black tent and eye grill? Thought not. There are economically useful, hardworking and assimilable immigrants and hostile colonists eager to leach welfare off the taxpayer. Discriminating between the two would be a start.

  24. Dave

    And, for that matter that the 2,000 (if that’s the right number) who are currently there are the same 2,000 that were there, say, a year ago, and a year before that?

  25. It’s about time we appreciated that France is facilitating this. And as for that Calais lady mayor who wants us to pay for the porousness of France’s borders, she should be shown two fingers.

    No sorry, I can’t agree with that. The reason so many immigrants are camped in Calais is because – for whatever reason – they find Britain to be an attractive destination and Calais is the nearest point on continental Europe to Britain. This is absolutely nothing to do with France whatsoever, and far from their maintaining a porous border they are spending millions on huge double fences around the ferry port and Channel Tunnel entrance (I’ve seen them, and the refugee camps myself) and – as I think Bloke in Spain pointed out – the French police put up road blocks way inland of Calais to check for illegal immigrants trying to get into Britain.

    I don’t blame the French for asking Britain to cough up for this: the problem is Britain is an attractive place for migrants (probably because English is spoken more than anything else) but also because the British (like all European governments) lack the political will to capture illegals upon arrival and stick them in jail and/or send them home as the Australians do. My sympathy for the French in somewhat limited because they are also too piss-weak to deal with their own immigration problem, but I feel sorry for the citizens of Calais who have watched their town turn into a refugee camp because half the third world sees Britain as a soft touch.

  26. The west has put Africa in a position where it doubles its population every 19 point something years

    I can only speak for Nigeria, but the reason their population is increasing so much is because its politicians and military have for years prevented the development of a reliable power supply enabling them to make millions importing portable generators and running refined fuel scams. Without reliable electricity, Nigerians have very little to do once the sun goes down at 6:30pm other than have more kids. This is nothing to do with the west.

  27. ndeed, most libertarians turn out to be very libertarian when it is in their interests. Paying less tax. Being able to move to a foreign country yourself but not have foreigners come to your country.

    It’s all about the contribution made and/or the damage wrought. One of the biggest fallacies the Left like to peddle is that immigrants cannot be differentiated between good and bad.

  28. Libertarians are for the free legal movement of people. Not illegal immigration. Legal means meeting conditions and fulfilling requirements. Illegal is sucking up money without giving anything in return.

    As for being in poverty and so coming here for a better life. They can afford to pay $1K-$2K to the smugglers to get them started on their journey into Europe. If they can afford to save that amount, they can afford to use that to better themselves and their fellow citizens in their own country.

  29. Africa’s population explosion mirrors that of early Victorian Britain. Those on $1.25 a day are not the people trying to get here. They cannot even afford a bus fare to the city. The migrants are from more monied families

  30. Tim, I think you could lash our two sets of observations together by allowing that the people of Calais have indeed been stiffed, but those responsible are the multiculti jellies in Paris before the multiculti jellies in Westminster.

    Look at it from the point of view of the Elysee Palace: the banlieues have been ablaze for a decade, the last thing France needs is more of that and with an obliging magnet 150 miles or so north, all France has to do is to find is a suitable funnel…

    I take your point about road blocks, but they sound like window dressing covering the exposed stable door – if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor.

  31. Tim, I think you could lash our two sets of observations together by allowing that the people of Calais have indeed been stiffed, but those responsible are the multiculti jellies in Paris before the multiculti jellies in Westminster.

    Yes, quite.

  32. Biggie: “Indeed, most libertarians turn out to be very libertarian when it is in their interests.”

    And everybody else–esp you –is selfless of course.

    ” Paying less tax”

    Paying no tax is the ideal.

    ” Being able to move to a foreign country yourself but not have foreigners come to your country.”

    When westerners are bringing money goods and expertise to another country –for sure. When we move permanently to other nations in vast numbers to sign on and behave in criminal fashion towards the natives–then come complaining.

    ” It’s amazing how nationalistic libertarians can become when there’s forriners coming in tekkin’ their jerbs and wimmin.”

    Pretty funny considering that’s what you are doing to the Germans (job anyway).

  33. @Tim, you can have sex without producing offspring – I’ve spent the best part (in all senses) of my life doing just that.

    Ljh has a serious point here, and its that generally, intra-European migration has been a huge success story. It works (in all senses), there is no particular culture clash, and (admittedly a little less with eastern Europe) it goes in both directions. Brits in Germany, Germans in Britain, of a similar order of magnitude. Brits in Czech maybe fewer than the other way around, but we all know of one, don’t we? It’s why I don’t understand the opposition to intra-European migration the same way I do migration from other, far poorer parts of the world, which threatens to be of an utterly uncontrollable order of magnitude.

    There are literally billions of people who would move to the west given the chance. The world would not be a better place if that happened. Europe is what it is today, in part at least, because of centuries of fighting and millions dead. The economic success is to some extent a side-effect of not wanting that again, of preferring freedom and democracy and getting along with our neighbours, including all the compromises that entails. It’s not something that will extend to sub-saharan Africa until they go through a similar process, and I don’t want them bringing their clan hatreds here.

    Once a country is on a similar economic level to yours (and doesn’t have many more muslims than yours) you can open the border and there will be a small flow of migration, of similar magnitude in each direction. That will bring all the enrichment you need, with no costs. Literally millions of young uneducated African males with a one-way ticket could be a serious disaster – along the lines of concentration camps and bombing runs on boats in the med.

  34. @Fecks,

    Not selfless at all (read up one post). I just don’t see any parsimony in the form of libertarianism that says “I should be charged no tax and be allowed to go where I please but the government should pay for border guards to keep others out.” That is just one of numerous contradictions in the currently fashionable form of anarcho-libertarianism. In that sense it is like many other “take from them and give unto me” political philosophies, and supremely ironically closer to the left-wing variants of such than the right.

  35. BiG, given the uselessness of big government migration controls, there’s surely much to be said for the empowering of local militias with skin in the game. I think Arizonans have tried this, but with what success I do not know.

    But of course you then get into the free-rider/Ship Money problem relating to the provinces behind the front line….

  36. BiG, there are anarcho-libs who don’t want to pay any tax but want the state to do everything. There are also realist libertarians who want to pay minimal tax for the essential bits, such as a military to patrol the border. Such libertarians realise that there is a need for a state, just that it should be as small as possible not non-existent. Most anarchists turn out to be marxist anti-capitalists shouting that the state should be disbanded because it’s limiting “their” freedoms yet want a state to stop the freedoms of everyone else.

  37. @m’lud,

    Borders within Europe are really pointless. To establish borders to control a migrant flow you would need Berlin wall-style fortifications on every border, and Berlin wall-style shoot-to-kill policy, which will see people shot and killed, and will still see people making it across. We can’t afford that and don’t need it.

    To illustrate the scale of the problem, Israel has a problem with illegal immigrants. If a country with that unprecedented degree of security paranoia and border watching can have a problem with illegal immigrants, how on earth are we not going to have one?

    We do need a Berlin wall of some form across the med, and on the Greek/Bulgarian border with Turkey, with costs met by all the countries securing themselves behind that border. And we need the power to drop off those arriving from north Africa back on the coast of north Africa with very little process. This is going to involve some form of refugee camp/safe haven areas in certain north African countries, and that will require payments being made to distasteful regimes and warlords – so business as usual.

  38. To call these young men (aged mostly 20-25) political refugees is absurd. Of course they are economic migrants.

    “Why now?”
    Family or clan back home has enough money to club together to send one member, usually the best and the most resourceful, who has already learnt English.
    Add technology; mobile phone, whatsapp, internet money transfer.

    It’s a shame they should come to a shit job in England when their prospects back home may be – at least in class terms – brighter.
    The problem we’ll face later is the family reunion, arranged marriage, dependent granny and so forth. That is plainly unaffordable.

  39. BiG, how are we not going to have a problem?

    Quite. The flippant part of me thinks maybe we should just allow Britain to become as big a dump as Mauritania: job done, the magnet loses its attraction. Fact is, the motives of these people are sensible. In their shoes, I’d do the same thing. Seems to me, though, that if they’re entitled to look to their own interests, then so are we. Neither side need be ashamed of it.

  40. Tell you what. Why don’t we invite all the free-market entrepreneurial Africans over to our country, on condition that we can balance the numbers by deporting all the socialist / authoritarian Englishmen back to Africa?

    If it’s ‘conflict of cultures’ you’re objecting to, that is…

  41. Edward Lud-

    The problem is that according to the Proggies and orthodox Libertarianism, there is no “we”.

    Which might not be quite such a problem if we didn’t live in a world full of other “we’s”. And that democracy is demographics.

  42. Superficially not a bad idea, NiV. Problem is, clash of cultures is broader and deeper than that.

  43. Ian, your objection occurred to me as I wrote: it’s much easier for an individual to make the cost-benefit analysis than it is for a nation. But I persisted with the comment because I don’t think we should be embarrassed to try, even if we cannot agree.

  44. Tim, you can have sex without producing offspring – I’ve spent the best part (in all senses) of my life doing just that.

    Not in shacks with no electricity you can’t.

  45. Electricity has never played any role in my nonprocreative proclivities.

    If you can do the logistics to feed that number of children you can do the much cheaper logistics to prevent them from coming along in the first place. Thus even in Africa having children is mostly by choice. You ultimately need to change the economy to make children a huge financial burden (like in the west) rather than an investment that pays off pretty quickly (like in much of Africa) if you want to control the population explosion.

  46. If you can do the logistics to feed that number of children you can do the much cheaper logistics to prevent them from coming along in the first place.

    Nope. For a start, when you’re living in a Nigerian shack condoms are expensive compared to food, especially when you take into consideration the travel costs to obtain them. Secondly, the sleeping arrangements in a Nigerian shack are not conducive to finding and applying a condom in the dark. Finally, the Nigeria government acknowledged that a reliable electricity supply is required to control birth rates.

    Electricity has never played any role in my nonprocreative proclivities.

    I suspect that’s because you have always had a reliable supply.

  47. BiG: subSaharan African women prefer injectable depo contraception because they can keep it secret from their menfolk. Getting to a clinic discreetly may require spending money on busfare and permission to travel to town. In patriarchal societies, a man providing for his children is not as important as keeping on the right side of influential men (also true of Muslim societies). Children are useful from an early age to their progenitor, babies are women’s area of responsibility.

  48. “Superficially not a bad idea, NiV. Problem is, clash of cultures is broader and deeper than that.”

    Which was my point. Cultures are not neatly divided along nationality lines, so if you’re going to discriminate on cultural grounds (I’m not in favour, but I can at least see the point and it’s considerably less stupid and objectionable a philosophy than nationalism), then you’re going to have to find a way to deport a lot of English-born. Or possibly get deported yourself – depending on who’s in the majority.

    If that’s the real reason, of course. Personally, I suspect it’s just rationalisation for basic animal territoriality. ‘Us’ and ‘them’ – exclude the outsiders from the herd. That sort of thing.

    I agree the clash of cultures is a serious matter – in fact I’d say it’s a war. But I’d also say that our culture is stronger and more effective, and that it is only by holding them in close proximity that our culture can invade and take over theirs. Their kids listen to western music, and shop for jeans and T-shirts on their iPhones. Why do you think the mullah’s want to isolate their societies, and cast out the West? They can see their culture losing. It’ll take another 50 years to do the job, but we can see which way it’s going already.

    Multiculturalism is unstable, and inevitably leads to cultural integration. There’s inevitably some friction along the way, but when you consider the numbers involved, remarkably little. In my view, anyway.

    “I thought you lot believed in laissez faire ,laissez passer.”

    Some of us do. Others are only human, tempted off the true path by the juicy-looking apple of Protectionism in one of its many other forms. 😉

    What can I say? I *understand* why people think labour unions and minimum wage legislation are a good idea, too. It sounds so plausible and ‘obvious’. I can just see that they’re wrong.

  49. “I thought you lot believed in laissez faire ,laissez passer.”

    So a 250 year-old economic doctrine developed in the context of mercantilism more rampant even than it is now and at a time when most people did not stray more than twenty miles from their village is, distilled to its four most famous words, both an adequate response to migration on a scale never before seen over such a short period and a fair description of some of England’s advocates of liberty?

  50. NiV, a country which isn’t prepared to enforce its borders isn’t a country. Now, you might think it’s a good idea to abolish England, or France, or whatever, but if that is done we end up with the flippant counterfactual I described above: in a few years’ time, we’ve become Mauritania both to the bottomless detriment of the people who already live here but also to that of however few or many from such countries we have hitherto been willing or able to welcome – we cease to be a haven and become a place from which people wish to escape.

    Your comparison with minimum wage legislation is a red herring: if you abolish borders your ability to make your own laws becomes purely theoretical.

    FWIW, when I become dictator, and abolish about 95% of the British state apparatus and every piece of multiculti legislation I can find, I’ll offer bilateral free trade treaties to any other nation wanting them – including free passage of people – the only provisos being that a furriner who comes here must deposit an open-ended return ticket on arrival and that criminal records checks are readily-available in his country of origin.

  51. “So a 250 year-old economic doctrine developed in the context of mercantilism more rampant even than it is now and at a time when most people did not stray more than twenty miles from their village is, distilled to its four most famous words, both an adequate response to migration on a scale never before seen over such a short period and a fair description of some of England’s advocates of liberty?”

    Yes. The argument for free trade applies generally. They knew it then, and it’s just as true now.

    But even today, people still argue that you can’t allow free trade – not really free – because of all the terrible things that would happen if people were just allowed to get on with their business, uncontrolled.

    This is just the same tired old arguments, this time being applied to the free trade in labour, and the free trade in cultures. People fear competition, and so introduce laws and invoke government force to shut it out.

    And we can see the inevitable results of prohibition at the Calais border crossing, just as we do in the drugs war. Erect a barrier to trade, and a black market forms to circumvent it, feeding organised crime and corruption while entirely failing to achieve its purpose.

    It’s *exactly* the same economic phenomenon as all the other forms of Protectionism, created by the same psychological and historical forces. You’ve formed a labour union with a closed shop – you’ve just called it a “nation”! And it’ll fail (economically, at least) for the same reasons.

    But the psychological appeal of Protectionism is eternal. Only unending education can keep it temporarily at bay.

  52. How do you uphold free trade when you’ve destroyed the culture which allowed it, if not exactly to flourish, then certainly to be militated for and occasionally achieved?

    You might say in reply to that, what’s the point of free trade in one country, or in only a handful of countries, and I’d agree it’s much less than optimal. But you’re wrong to assume that we can import, say, an able-bodied Somali youth who’s willing and able to work and that the effect is inevitably the same as importing a bottle of Chilean wine: the exchange of money for a benefit. It may be. But the calculus is infinitely more complex and becomes infinitely more complex again with each further human import because immigration (at least as is currently occurring) is not just a trade in labour as when Tim Newman pitches up for a couple of years in some oilman’s hotspot, it is a societal transformation.

    Over time the results manifest themselves in a variety of ways – human import rags to riches success stories, human import murderers, indigenously enacted laws to restrict reactions which may or may not in themselves be reasonable or proper to those murderers, or laws to oblige others to behave in an approved manner. That’s a compressed history, but it has metastasised into an unholy alliance between the multiculturalists and reactionary Islam to, most notably, restrict free speech – the very freedom with which we demand what we like to think of as all the others.

    Immigration in the form that it is occurring here and elsewhere in the West is not just an economic question. And this isn’t simply about competition – for women or money. I, for one, work in the law in central London – one of the most internationally competitive markets on earth and I’ve spent a large part of my adult life with gals from the fleshpots of the Levant and the Orient. I’ve swum in these waters for many years.

    Is it, then, about fearing competition for one’s culture? Yes, perhaps. I’m not as sanguine as you that we’re winning that one and even if I was I’m not attracted by the idea of importing large numbers of people who are either actively hostile to it or so indifferent to its norms as to make no difference.

    But in writing all of this it seems to me simplest to meet your objection by proposing a simple system of economic migration – if not of the kind I suggested were I dictator – then on a work permit basis. Dispense with the granting of nationality stuff, and no importing all the rellies. You say this is pure economics. All right: let’s make it work as pure economics. Paris can can have Tim Newman, we’ll have a crate of claret. Don’t like the claret, send it back, etc. …

    (with apologies to Tim N for taking his name in vain)

  53. “How do you uphold free trade when you’ve destroyed the culture which allowed it, if not exactly to flourish, then certainly to be militated for and occasionally achieved?”

    I agree. If this was the last bastion of freedom, and if losing the culture war might snuff it out completely for another couple of millennia, I might be more nervous of taking the risk and compromise on the principle.

    I just don’t see how you can really support free trade by arguing against it, or making exceptions. I think it teaches the wrong lesson.

    “Is it, then, about fearing competition for one’s culture? Yes, perhaps. I’m not as sanguine as you that we’re winning that one”

    That’s a point of view, certainly. Were the Luddites right to fear automation? In a sense, yes – it dramatically changed the entire culture of industry, and for those enjoying a comfortable and highly-paid indispensability, not necessarily in a good way. Culture changes constantly – and every generation always complains that it’s not as good now as the ‘good old days’. They’re not wrong, either – judged by their own standards. It’s a value judgement – there’s no absolute scale.

    Part of the problem with Islam, and the reason it’s failing, is that it has tried to lock it’s culture into an unchanging pattern. It can’t adapt. It locks out any change, legislating against it, and as a result the younger generation who know what they want just bypass all the rules and end up turning away from the culture entirely.

    In the long run you can’t ever fully isolate yourself from the competition; you have to compete. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose the race (even with the better product) if you don’t sell yourself. I’m not saying that if you just opened the borders and did nothing else, everything would be fine. Border controls are only one of the market distortions involved, and it may be that there is a partial cancellation. If you knock off the brakes on one side of the cart and not the other, you’ll slide off the road into the ditch.

    So I can accept the argument that you might have to do other things first – cut welfare, get rid of minimum wage legislation, educate people about free markets, etc. – before you can safely remove border controls. However, I think we do still need to be clear that border controls are a bad idea, like any other barrier to trade.

    The best option, if you want to reduce immigration while supporting free markets, is to out-compete them. Find out what it is that foreigners can offer employers, and offer a better service at a lower price. Then nobody here will want to employ the immigrants – they have a range of natural disadvantages anyway compared to locals, like language barriers and not knowing the system – and they’ll stop coming.

    If foreigners can do it and offer the sort of labour that employers want at that price, despite all the difficulties of working in a foreign country, then why can’t the British? Find out how they do it, remove any obstacles stopping our own youngsters doing the same thing as well, and stand back as the imbalance sorts itself out.

    Immigration is a symptom – it’s telling you that there’s a major inefficiency in the way you run your labour market, that allows businesses to make money off the difference. Don’t ignore it. Don’t legislate away the competition. Correct it.

    That way, *everyone* benefits.

  54. The moment you let ‘hate laws’ be enacted you were all doomed.
    Bring back bigotry before you all are replaced.
    Nobody in authority cares about you.
    To them warm bodies are warm bodies.

  55. A thought experiment for us both: abolish all the welfare incentives and subsidies – and assume that we were in all other respects autarchically economically free in a world of nations generally far less so. Assume we allow free movement of anyone to and fro, as with capital, goods and services, but no special protective measures for immigrants. Assume also that somehow or other we’ve handled the national debt and don’t need to worry about trying to build the tax base in the face of a collapsing population. Assume (thereby?!) that unemployment is all but eliminated, however the opportunities for economic growth generally and individual prosperity are unshackled – start-ups soar, personal wealth increases.

    In those circumstances it seems to me we would remain an attractive destination – for plenty of good reasons.

    What if 35 million Saudis, Libyans, Turks, Indonesians, Pakistanis and Iranians decide to come in the space of five years?

    Is that cool? Does that work?

    Remember, we’re providing them with no means of support they cannot earn for themselves – so we’ve got the cream of the crop not the layabouts. Preference legislation has been abolished, so they can only make a living if people already here want to deal with them rather than because the law insists that that happens, and privity of contract would tend to suggest that in those circumstances the people already here were content for the 35 million also to be here. Since we’ve also abolished planning controls, home-building rises to meet demand and we all end up living in 80 storey-high glass shards – so there’s enough space for 100 million people to live here.

    For my part, I *think* I would incline to the view that this *would* work – *because* of all these preconditions, because this inflow of humanity would by definition be what we current inmates consider acceptable. It is consensual societal transformation, rather than elite-imposed.

    I still think I’d want those return ‘plane tickets lodged at the border, though. That way, if we all decide we no longer want to deal with, say, Somalis in the same way a make of car suddenly plagued by rust stories is boycotted then we don’t have to deport an entire sub-population, it’ll just have to leave because no one is buying its services. So, the border’s not abolished, we’re just a lot more hard-headed about how we enforce it.

  56. and that criminal records checks are readily-available in his country of origin.

    That would be a complete waste of time: all that would happen is a cottage industry springs up in the countries of origin providing “clean” records for a hefty fee. It certainly wouldn’t tell you anything about who is coming.

  57. “A thought experiment for us both”

    Imagine that Britain started off as an agrarian economy with 60% of the population working in subsistence farming, and then somebody invented “cities”.

    An industrial revolution creates exponentially rising demand for skilled labour concentrated around the big factories. At the same time, powered machinery reduces the demand for labour in the countryside by automating a lot of the jobs previously done by hand. Millions of people immigrate in from the countryside into the city, one of the biggest mass migrations in the country’s history up to that point, where they’re packed into high-density slums working all hours in sweat shops on minimal wages.

    Sound familiar?

    So would that be good or bad, economically, for the city? For the countryside? Which parts would end up richer or poorer? Would it change the culture? When would the flow stop? (Hint: supply and demand.) Could the crowded cities conceivably still sustain themselves with so many people?

    Do you think you could, or should, stop the flow by building a big wall around the city and only letting through people who were, in your judgement, “the right sort”? Would the factory-owners thank you? How would a free market deal with the problem?

    It’s an interesting thought-experiment!

  58. Its weird that the Left were all in favour of preserving the indigenous culture of mining villages when the Evil Thatcher™ was personally overseeing the destruction of the mining industry, but less so now that immigration is destroying the indigenous culture of the entire nation.

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