Over on The First Post, Richard Ehrman has written an article called Immigration: Britain’s wake-up call that gives us a splendid example of how the left and right generally share ‘meta-context’ (the unspoken axioms that we take for granted when we discuss something):
The new population projections are shocking [...] Over the next 25 years, the Office of National Statistics expects the British population to rise to 71million, from 60m today. After that, it is on course to hit 75m by mid-century. [...] And because we are not producing enough children to replace ourselves, most of this dramatic growth will be due to immigration. [...] Population projections have proved wildly out in the past, so this latest version should be taken with a pinch of salt. But it should serve as a wake-up call, too.
If we are going to rely on immigrants to pay our pensions and do the jobs we don’t want to do, we are also going to have to build an awful lot of new houses, roads, schools and hospitals to accommodate them.
The fact the population is growing in Britain is shocking, apparently. Okay, yet for some reason I am not shocked. However why is this something we should regard as a “wake up call”? Personally I am hearing something more like a dinner bell being rung. Richard Ehrman is associated with Politeia, an allegedly market-friendly think tank, so why should ‘we’, by which I very strongly suspect he means ‘we-as-taxpayers’, be building houses, roads, schools and hospitals for anyone? In less benighted times the arrival of more people would have been referred to as a ‘growing market’ (i.e. a good thing) rather than an impending liability which needs a “wake-up call” to alert us to a problem.
Let me quote something very germane that was uttered yesterday at the Libertarian Alliance conference in London, by Shane Frith of Progressive Vision on more or less the same subject:
“The claim that immigration puts strain on ‘vital public services’ is a myth. The reality is that immigration only puts ‘pressure’ on the inefficient state sector such as state schools and NHS hospitals. Vital public services provided by the private sector welcome the additional customers. In the vital field of food supply, you don’t hear Tesco complaining that they hadn’t planned on the increased business – we face no food shortages. Neither does Vodafone struggle with the technical demands of providing mobile phones to all these immigrants. Immigration merely highlights the existing failure of the inefficient, unreformed state sector.”
Quite! If indeed much of Central Europe is decamping from their homelands and heading for this Sceptred Isle, what an excellent time to abolish the decrepit socialist legacy systems (which are rather like running 1980′s era computers in 2007 and then wondering why things do not work) that have inexplicably survived into the Twenty First century. Time to replace them with adaptive market driven approaches that are neither distorted nor crowded out by an idiotic and fantastically inefficient state run medical system, preposterous public sector housing and ever more dumbed down state schools. None of these things, not one, is logically something the state should have anything to do with. As I have argued before, perhaps the changing demographic realities may force exactly the sort of changes that should have been introduced decades ago.
And if that is true, it is yet another reason to thank the latest wave of immigrants. Guys, you might actually save us from ourselves.
Vitajte v Londyne!