Those bloody courts again!

Judges block Home Secretary from deporting convicted terrorist
A convicted terrorist banned from Britain for being a risk to national security has been stopped by the courts from being deported.

And yes, so the courts should.

There\’s two entirely different points here.

The challenge hinged on interpretation of the Immigration Act 1971 and other immigration legislation. The court hearing included a debate about the meaning of the word “while” in the phrase “while he is in the United Kingdom” from the 2002 Nationality, Asylum and Immigration Act.

Patrick Mercer, a Conservative MP and security expert, said: “This is particularly worrying in view of the Home Secretary’s efforts to exclude this man. The immigration Acts have been exploited and this loophole needs to be closed.”

The first is that the politicians have not managed to pass laws which are entirely clear in their application. That\’s the politicians\’ fault of course, not the judges. And it isn\’t just this slightly trivial point of the law. There\’s a tension between the laws passed against terrorists and the laws passed proteting human rights. Indeed, given the waves of laws we\’ve had on both the law is at times directly contradictory.

Whether or not you think the Human Rights Act (no, Council of Europe, not EU) is a good idea or not it does make a difference to all sorts of other laws that we\’ve got or have passed recently. That\’s the point of it in fact. Very similar to all this stuff about privacy injunctions: the politicians can\’t whine about the judges working through the implications of these new laws that the politicians themselves have decided to impose.

The second point is much more important in this particular case:

Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Rix and Lord Justice Lloyd backed the terrorist\’s right to be in Britain while he mounts an appeal. Lord Justice Pill commented that denying him access to Britain could lead to \”potential injustice\”.

His case is that if he\’s sent to Tunisia then he\’ll be killed/injured/tortured/have his human rights violated.

He may be a scumbag terrorist. Might be a killer, might not be, who knows? But it\’s hardly the mark of a lenient justice system that we work out whether he can or should be sent to Tunisia to be killed/injured/tortured/have his human rights violated before we actually send him to Tunisia to be killed/injured/tortured/have his human rights violated.

What\’s the point of allowing him to appeal after he\’s been sent to Tunisia and been killed/injured/tortured/had his human rights violated?

Of course he should be allowed to stay in the UK while his appeal is heard.

Really, what are people making a fuss about?

At the extreme, the argument that we ought to \’oick \’im out straightaway is that those sentenced to capital punishment get their appeals heard after the execution of the sentence.

That\’s not quite what we\’d like in the land that invented liberty, is it?

Eminently sensible idea

Foreign footballers and international businessmen are to be offered a £15,000 personalised visa renewal service to avoid them having to queue, as part of an increase in immigration fees announced yesterday.

Officials from the UK Border Agency will offer to visit highly skilled migrants at their office or home to sort out their immigration documents.

During the visit they will take the new “biometric” photograph and fingerprints and then provide an on-the-spot decision on whether the visa will be renewed.

The Home Office admitted that the £15,000 price is in excess of the £1,982 cost of providing the “mobile biometric enrolment and case-working” service.

Those who can and are willing to pay for immediate service should of course be charged for such. Straight old price discrimination, a good thing.

All we need to do now is add another level on top of this. For £100,000 we\’ll guarantee that you get the visa, not just a quick decision but the right decision.

If there are those willing to pay for the right to live and work here we should charge them to do so.

Sounds sensible to me

Tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers will be able to obtain free health care following a Government rethink, it has been announced.

Yes, yes, I know, Johnny Foreginer freeloading…..but there are public health implications. We do want everyone to get their vaccines, get treated for communicable diseases, don\’t we?

Strikes again

Last time around these strikes were all about \”British jobs for British workers\”. Essentially, anger over EU nationals being shipped in to do jobs while UKites didn\’t get them.

Rightly or wrongly, that was the issue.

Around 1,200 contract workers walked out of the Total plant in Lincolnshire last week after 51 employees were laid off by one contractor while another was taking on staff.

They complained that an agreement not to cut any jobs had been broken – a claim Total denies.

Managers had sought to persuade staff to return to work but 900 of them were sacked on Thursday night, the Unite union said.

That particular part seems not to be an issue now, but the strikes themselves have escalated.

One thing though, are they actually allowed to sack people who strike? Does labour law allow that?

The trouble with planning


The “e-borders” system will log passenger information according to the data provided by the airline, which in most cases will be from the non-British passport used for the outbound journey. As a result, a dual national – even if readmitted to Britain by an immigration officer on showing a British passport – could be registered as an alien with no more rights than any other tourist, and limited to six months in the country.

On a subsequent trip, such a person attempting to return to Britain could be recorded as having broken immigration law. An airline, under the “e-borders” system, would be denied permission to carry the passenger home. Even if a British passport were presented, it would have to be verified by the nearest consulate or by the Passport Agency in the UK.

There\’s some half a million who could be affected by this problem.

Now I agree, there are indeed somethings that need to be planned. However, when you try to plan things you find out that the real world, full of those persnicketty autonomous individuals, always has more wrinkles than are allowed for in your planning structure.

That\’s why planning needs to be used sparingly, only in those situations where it must be, rather than where it might be.

Those migration figures

Mark Wadsworth tells us that economic migration is indeed the largest part of total immigration.

Can\’t say I\’m convinced. Table 2.04 from the 2 series at this page which he points us to.

A quick eyeballing says that out of 1991\’s numbers of 329 k immigrants there were 50 k with a definite job, 21 k looking for work, 90 k "accompany/join", 56k formal study, 67 k other and 45k no reason given.

For 2006 of a total 561 k the numbers were in order 161k, 70, 104, 157, 56 and 43 (all k\’s).

Unfotunately I can\’t see a cross reference to the point of origin numbers.

We can see how many immigrants were New Commonwealth, for example, and we can see how many were economic migrants and family members (accompany/join). But what I can\’t see are numbers for non-EU economic migrants.

The Frank Field solution addresses specifically non-EU economic migrants and them only. What we\’d like to know is how many ofthem there are/were before we can see how much of a difference it will make.

The details of \”Balanced Migration\”

Frank Field lays them out.

Employers would have to advertise jobs, first locally and then throughout the EU – as they should now, but some plainly do not. For its part, the government would wish to ensure applicants\’ qualifications were genuine. These workers would then be admitted, but only for a maximum of four years. They would come to the UK on that clear understanding. Employers would have to produce evidence that workers had left at the end of their contracts. No departure, no approval for new contracts.

This is very, very different from what everyone else seems to be reporting. One in one out depends not upon the number of Brits coming in or out, nor the number of any others groups, EU nationals, family members or asylum seekers.

It\’s purely that the number of economic migrants will be capped and for one to come in one must leave.

I still need to see the report itself to see what the relative numbers are but I really don\’t see howmuch this might help anything. I\’m still working on the assumption that non-EU economic migrants are the smallest part of immigration as a whole. It\’s also true that economic migrants are the people that we arguably want more than any of the other groups….

Balanced Migration

This is interesting.

A cross-party parliamentary group – the first to tackle such a politically divisive issue – says net immigration must be reduced to zero, with the numbers arriving balanced by those leaving.

Under such a scheme my moving back would deprive someone of the opportunity to immigrate?

As there are no rules whatsoever about my ability to enter or leave the country, about who I must inform if I do so, how does this work then?

But there\’s a rather larger problem:

The group acknowledges that EU freedom of movement laws, mean the UK government has no power to control immigration from inside the European Union, but says most immigration has come from beyond the Europe.

Has it? Are we certain about that?

As far as I\’m aware (and I\’ll have to wait for the report to actually be published to find out what numbers they use) there are four groups that immigrate.

1) EU citizens.

2) Asylum seekers.

3) Family reunion.

4) Non-EU economic migrants.

We\’re not allowed to limit 1 and 2 under international agreements. 3 is something that\’s rather tough to limit with any semblance of fairness and I am certainly under the impression (mistaken or not) that 4 is the smallest of the groups anyway.

I\’m not sure I can see how the proposed changes are going to make much difference to be honest. Anyone spots the whole report in the wild do let me know.

There\’s an answer to this you know?

Harsh as it may sound, it\’s also a pretty simple answer.

He and his brother, Ian, are third-generation fruit farmers and produce 5,000 tonnes each year, requiring an extra 100 workers at harvest time. \’We think we are fully booked, but quite often people don\’t turn up,\’ he said.

\’The bottom line is, if there are not enough pairs of hands on the farm when a crop is coming towards the end, the farmers will just have to shut the gate and walk away, leaving good, unpicked British produce still on the plant. That is criminal,\’ he added.

Melvyn Newman, of Newmafruit Farms, hires 200 seasonal workers for his 1,200 acres in Kent. \’It\’s getting more and more difficult,\’ he said. \’Two or three years ago we had a flood of people knocking on the door. Now there are very few coming and looking for jobs.\’

Part of the problem is that the foreign pickers, once grateful for the £6 per hour a fruit picker earns for this physically demanding job, can now earn more elsewhere. \’Change that back into euros and it\’s against them,\’ said Dave Morton, who runs Aston Fruit Farm, near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. \’So they are now more inclined to go to the eurozone, where they will earn more money, and we are losing out to France, Holland and Belgium.\’

If you can\’t get the labour you want at the price you\’re offering then raise the price you\’re offering for the labour you want.

It just ain\’t rocket science.

Marriage licences

I would call this utterly predictable.

Confidential guidelines have been issued by bishops to warn clergy of the scam, which has exploded since a Government crackdown on sham marriages was introduced in 2004.

Official figures show that the number of bogus weddings performed by Anglican priests has risen by as much as 400 per cent in some dioceses over the last four years.

Foreign nationals have turned to the Church because it is exempt from rules that require all foreign nationals from outside the European Union to obtain a Home Office certificate of approval to marry in a register office.

The prize of legal residence is so great that close off one route of getting it and  people will find, pretty quickly, any other means of getting it.

One wonders what the bureaucrats behind the original decision thought.  That immigrants only knew about register offices or something?

This is also depressingly predictable:

These regulations, which require people not legally settled in the UK to seek special permission to marry, were ruled as unlawful by the Law Lords ruled last month, but a Home Office spokesman said that they would continue to operate the current scheme to investigate individual applications.

We don\’t care what the law is, we\’re going to do what we want anyway. Typical of the Home Office.

White Americans to be minority by 2042

An interesting thought: if this is indeed true (and I see no reason why it wouldn\’t be) just how long would the "white majority" have lasted?

Taking the current borders of the country, so that we include say California and Oregon right from the beginning, when did the US first have a white majority?

Certainly it didn\’t in the 1620\’s(?), when Jamestown was first settled….but did it even by the time of Independence? There were, what, 3 million or so in the 13 (ex-) colonies? Was the Indian population of the rest of the area higher than that? At a guess, I\’d say yes (very much a guess as well).

So, the white majority by, say 1850? Earlier? Later?

So this white majority would be something that lasted a couple of centuries perhaps? No more than that, or only a couple of decades more than that, you think?


That Immigration Report

The number of immigrants entering Britain should be capped, an influential House of Lords committee has warned.

OK, how?

The vast majority of the immigration is from other EU states. We can\’t change that in any way at all.

Asylum seeking is regulated by UN agreements isn\’t it?

Which leaves extra- EU immigration for either economic or family reasons. The economic immigration is a small part of the flow in itself and it\’s already pretty difficult.

Which leaves family immigration: again, a small part of the problem anyway and are we really saying that we\’ll have solved the perceived problem if someone\’s elderly granny can\’t come and live with the kids?

What, in fact, can actually be done, within the set of regulations already woven around the subject?

We can leave the EU of course, and take back the powers currently weilded by Brussels over who is allowed to enter….


The Benefits of Immigration


"Our overall conclusion is that the economic benefits of net immigration to the resident population are small and close to zero in the long run," the report will say.

Let\’s say they\’re right.

The benefits to the immigrants are large, if not huge. It\’s thus a net addition to human happiness.


Snark, Snark

Many British expatriate communities refuse to integrate with their host nations. They congregate in ugly ghettos in the French countryside and along the Spanish coast, eating their own food – egg and chips; imported Marmite – and speaking their own language. They offend the tolerant and peaceable people of their host nations with their imported and alien customs of "binge drinking", promiscuity and visible displays of pink flesh.

Though many of them claim to have been "forced" out of their own country by a "totalitarian" government and a punitive tax regime, let us be clear: these people are selfish economic migrants. The worst of them write seditious letters to newspapers back home in an attempt to destabilise the Government.

A large number sponge off their host states – taking advantage, for example, of the advantageous tax regime available in the Republic of Ireland, or earning money in the United Kingdom by "teleworking" and failing to declare it in their host nations. Some join the black economy – taking payments in cash or avoiding tax by domiciling their assets offshore. Still others turn to crime, using their expertise to join the banking sector.

But to stereotype all emigrants in that way is to ignore the vast contribution they can make to the countries in which they live. It is to fall victim to one of the ugliest and most canting paranoias of our age.

The vast majority of emigrants are people who only want the best for themselves and their families. Indeed, many of them form the backbone of their host nations\’ economies – bringing skills in short supply over there, and doing the jobs that natives of those countries consider beneath them: as lawyers, public relations executives and marketing men.

Is it so bad to take advantage of the lowest tax regime you can find, within the law? And is it so wrong to save up as much of your monthly pay-packet as you can, so as to send money – as very many do – home to your family back in England?

Tee Hee. Very good Sam.

Charging For Visas

The basic principle here seems sound enough:

Foreigners coming to Britain are to face a new "immigrant tax" under Government plans to try to make them help pay for the schools and hospitals they use, ministers are to announce.

Why not charge people who want to come here? However:

Sources indicate that the additional levy could be set at 10 per cent of the visa fee – an additional £20 for the usual £200 visa granted to those wishing to stay in Britain longer than six months.

That\’s not actually what they\’re doing. The amount is so inconsequential, almost certain to be swallowed up in the costs of administrating the scheme, that it\’s simply a political gesture, look, see, we\’re doing something about all these appalling foreigners. Dog whistle stuff.


Yes, I know, we have limited resources, we don\’t want to have health tourism, we can\’t have open immigration and the welfare state, yes, I know the arguments:

The deportation of a Ghanaian woman with terminal cancer was defended by the head of the immigration service yesterday, who disclosed that there were hundreds of similarly difficult cases each year.

Lin Homer said that the removal of Ama Sumani, who was in hospital in Cardiff, back to Accra was heart-rending but not exceptional.

She spoke as The Lancet described the removal of Ms Sumani as atrocious barbarism. “To stop treating patients in the knowledge that they are being sent home to die is an unacceptable breach of the duties of any health professional,” it said. “The UK has committed an atrocious barbarism. It is time for doctors’ leaders to say so, forcefully and uncompromisingly.”

Ms Sumani, 39, suffers from malignant myeloma and was receiving dialysis at a hospital in Cardiff when she was taken by immigration officers and flown back home last week because her visa had expired. She left the hospital in a wheelchair accompanied by five immigration officials before being driven to Heathrow to board a flight to Accra last Wednesday.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said that he had spoken by telephone to Ms Sumani in her Accra hospital shortly before a hearing of the committee — at which he told Ms Homer, the chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency: “Her health has deteriorated since she arrived in Ghana.”

A little bit more of the milk of human kindness (not that a bureaucracy can offer that of course) would have been appropriate. Sorry, for all my supposed economic rationality I would have said bugger it: treat her. While I\’m not a believer in the rationale for the New Testament certain of the lessons contained strike me as being true: our Samaritan didn\’t ask whether the near corpse at the roadside was a Jew or a Palestinian, did he?

Blindingly Obvious

Nice to welcome Migrationwatch to one of the better known ideas in economics:

The report says more effort should be expended on getting our own population into work rather than encouraging immigration.

But this becomes more difficult with generous benefits and means testing.

The report shows that:

* A family with two children is just £30 a week better off working on the minimum wage than not working.

* A single person under 25 on the minimum wage of £193 per week is only £10 a day better off than a non-working person.

* A family with two children and one working member receives £79.50 a week of Working Tax Credit. However, after means testing he keeps only £6.77.

* Working families with children and one working member on the minimum wage are slightly worse off than the same family receiving the maximum Incapacity Benefit.

* A single person on the minimum wage would be £3 a week better off than a single person on the highest level of Incapacity Benefit.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: \’\’We keep hearing that we need immigrants to do the jobs that the British won\’t do.

\’\’It has been suspected for some time that benefit levels are a real disincentive to take work that is on offer and our research spells out why this may be so."

He added: \’\’An important factor is that wages are now so close to benefits that there is very little financial incentive for unskilled British workers to find a job.

\’\’By contrast, Poles have very strong financial motivation.

\’\’On the minimum wage in Britain they are earning four to five times what they would earn at home.

You can have open immigration or you can have a welfare state. Having both will necessarily cause this sort of problem.

As to what we can do about it, well, while we\’re in the EU, we can\’t change the open immigration part. So we\’ll have to change the welfare state part. Which is, I think, an interesting idea. The EU is based upon the idea, at least as far as welfare is concerned, on cementing the social democratic ideal. But as we can see, other parts of the mission make this difficult.

As to quite what we should do about the welfare state part, that again has problems. For what we need to do is "make work pay" and we can do that in one of two ways. Either lower benefits or reduce the amount of means testing (or, the same thing but different language, raise the taper rate, ie withdraw benefits more slowly as people earn more). Neither of which will really fly politically.

Which leads us to a citizens\’ basic income, something which has no taper rate at all (although some versions have it being reclaimed at high tax rates, say around where the current upper tax rate starts), which rather neatly solves the problems of those working seeing such high marginal tax rates. And thus, as is complained of, not actually working, having been (rationally) persuaded that working at 90% marginal tax rates isn\’t worth the candle.

However, this solution also requires leaving the EU, as we cannot pay such a benefit only to citizens, we must pay it to all, including the immigrants.

So, first step is to leave the EU, then we can decide which of the two solutions we\’d like to employ. But leave the EU we must.

Immigration and Unemployment

A new report:

More than 100,000 young Britons may have been pushed into unemployment by the new wave of Eastern European immigrants, an economic analysis on the impact of migration has revealed.

Mhm Hmm.

Since 1997, 1.5 million foreign workers have entered the British workplace, with many of these arriving from Eastern Europe in the past three years since the European Union expansion. This new group typically earns 40 per cent less than British workers.

Since 2004, the number of unemployed British 18 to 24 year olds has increased by 100,000, according to the study. "There is some evidence that the growth of immigrant employment seen in the last few years may have come at the expense of the domestic workforce," the report concludes.

They also report that interest rates are lower, the economy as a whole is larger, trend growth is higher etc etc

But let\’s think about those 100,000. Ignore the other points for a moment. We\’ve got 1.5 million hugely benefitting from the much higher wages here than they would have got (if they would have got any at all) in their native countries. We\’ve got (taking these numbers as presented) 100,000 sufffering from the good fortune of those 1.5 million. And at some point we need to weigh those two effects in the balance. 1.5 million benefit and 100,000 don\’t looks like an increase in total human happiness to me. Thus the whole process is a good thing.

It is of course possible to take an opposite view. That for 100,000 of us Brits to suffer is a great deal worse than whatever benefit might accrue to 1.5 million Johnny Foreigners. If that\’s what you think then carry on, go right ahead: while I\’m perfectly willing to agree that there\’s something special about us Brits I\’m not sure that valuing J. Foreigner at 1 fifteenth of a Brit is valid.

Enoch Was Right!

I\’m still really rather amazed about this scandal over Enoch Powell:

Nigel Hastilow, Conservative candidate in a Midlands marginal, wrote in a newspaper in Wolverhampton (where Powell was MP when he made his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968) that most local people think immigration is our biggest problem, and that “Enoch was right” to say mass immigration would change Britain “irrevocably”.

Because of course this is entirely true. Mass immigration did change Britain irrevocably. As did the invention of the telephone, the seed drill and as the internet currently is. That is simply a complete no brainer.

The rather more complex question is whether all four changed Britain for the better: I happen to think so, yes, but that\’s a rather different matter. That the change was predicted and that the change has happened are simply facts, facts that cannot be argued with. So why the lynch mob?