People worried that Britain’s supposedly overcrowded, damp island will soon burst at the seams from rising population levels should always remember that although immigration has been high lately, so has the exodus of many people. Of course, if you are bothered about underlying trend, it is not exactly cause for celebration that so many Britons, especially if they are young and talented, want to get out of here as quickly as possible. To say that this thought has not occured to the Samizdata crew would be an understatement. (Although one might debate whether yours truly is young or even talented).
In the 1960s, there was talk about a “brain drain” from high-tax Britain. The situation is a little different now: I think the reason(s) for leaving are as much about the regulatory climate, the bloody awful weather, crime, the general ugliness and boorishness of Britain, and the better perceived better chances of raising a family. I am not saying that all these reasons are valid: countries like Australia or the US have their own problems and having been to the States regularly, I find it bizarre that that country is held up as a beacon of freedom sometimes, if only because some states like California seem hellbent on copying the worst regulatory excesses of Europe. But such caveats aside, this exodus ought to be an issue for Gordon Brown and the opposition to think about. If such large numbers of people want to leave, it is sending out a message.