Saturday, 29 June 2019

Jonathan Portes: Boris's immigration policy is vacuous - the UK must open its arms to migrants

Jonathan Portes is one of the most important people in recent British history. He was a very senior British civil servant until 2011 and very influential in persuading Tony Blair's government that mass immigration was a good thing, something to celebrate not worry about. He has made a career out of this since leaving the civil service and becoming an academic. 

He regards Sir Roger Scruton and Douglas Murray as very wicked, though he is careful not to use words that would enable them to sue him

In the Guardian two days ago he says Boris's immigration policy is vacuous and the UK must open her arms to migrants.

He remembers that a “tough new Australian-style points-based system for immigration” was announced by Liam Byrne, immigration minister in the Labour government in 2007. 
'I was a civil servant then, and I complained to a special adviser colleague, more in sorrow than in anger, that what we were proposing had little or no resemblance to the Australian system – and wasn’t even really a points-based system. “Of course, I know that perfectly well,” he said. “But the focus groups love it.”'
Copying the Australian point system was a scam then and he thinks Boris's announcement that he will implement one is a scam now. 

I agree with him completely.

He says he hopes the departure of Theresa May will enable Sajid Javid to make immigration easier. It will.

According to the Telegraph, Boris's proposal is that 
'foreigners who want to work in Britain will have to be able to speak English and must have a job before they arrive.'
But this is the situation now, says Mr Portes.

Indeed. More importantly, these things are necessary but certainly very far from sufficient.

As Bernie Sanders said in the American 2016 presidential election campaign,  a country exists for the benefit of the people in it, not of foreigners.

If restricting immigration hits profits for the people who want to employ the immigrants, so what? 

In future immigrants should come into very overcrowded Britain to do jobs necessary for the good of society and for which British workers will not apply, even if wages are raised substantially. 

Doctors are an example - but why do the British not train more and keep them from leaving to work in countries where doctors are better paid?

The UK at present gets roughly 300,000 legal immigrants a year, roughly half from the EU. Of the non-Europeans the important figure is the 60,000 who are given leave to settle every year, compared with the 50,000 who came each year in 1968, when Enoch Powell made his controversial speech saying we were literally mad to allow it.

Sherelle Jacobs in the Telegraph today is more reasonable.
"Instead, the next PM must tear down our whole immigration apparatus, which is built on lies and bureaucratic obliqueness. The question of what replaces it should be founded on one simple thing: basic honesty. The current scale of immigration to Britain is unsustainable. 

"This is not prejudice (or even hypocrisy in my case, as the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant); it is just fact. So is the uncomfortable reality, swept under the plush, Polish builder-laid office carpets of our ruling class, that migration will not generate the tax receipts needed to finance the new infrastructure we require to accommodate the scale of population growth. Any immigration reform worth its salt must, therefore, involve a reduction in numbers."

This grossly understates the case. 60,000 people move to London each year, two thirds of them foreigners. Those immigrants are the legal ones. Almost 9 million people now live in London legally. Perhaps a million illegal immigrants live there too. 

Whenever I visit London what always strikes me is how very much kinder and politer everyone is than when I lived there in the late 1980s. London is not at all an unhappy city, although it is a materialistic one and its trains and drains are under terrible strain. On the other hand, I hang around the centre and stay in St James's. Further out the gang fights, killings and the epidemic of stabbings, predominantly committed by ethnic minorities according to Trevor Phillips, suggest that this is not the whole story.

Neither the Brexit crisis nor even the very great danger that Britain will have a government led by Communists is as important as the question of mass immigration. The biggest danger from the far left (including the Greens, were they ever to come to power) is that they would make immigration much easier.

Exactly the same things are happening in the USA (read Andrew Sullivan here) and in Europe. 

On both sides of the Atlantic immigration from the poor world to the rich world is assisted by liberal-minded judges, academics, priests and civil servants. 

The Dalai Lama's view on migrants is much wiser, I am sorry to say, than the Pope's. He has just repeated that he wants Europe for the Europeans.

'Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad' seems to have been said first not by Euripides but by Dr. Johnson, in Latin. It was very famous before it was quoted by Enoch Powell in that speech in 1968.


  1. There is also the so-called liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.

    When the migration problem came to a head, many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered. Although those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well. That is great, but what about the interests of their own population when the number of migrants heading to Western Europe is not just a handful of people but thousands or hundreds of thousands?

    As for the liberal idea, its proponents are not doing anything. They say that all is well, that everything is as it should be. But is it? They are sitting in their cosy offices, while those who are facing the problem every day in Texas or Florida are not happy, they will soon have problems of their own. Does anyone think about them?

    The same is happening in Europe. I discussed this with many of my colleagues, but nobody has the answer. The say they cannot pursue a hard-line policy for various reasons. Why exactly? Just because. We have the law, they say. Well, then change the law!

    So, the liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.

    From Vladimir Putin’s interview with The Financial Times

    June 27, 2019 22:00The Kremlin, Moscow.
    Full transcript:

  2. Doctors are an example - but why do the British not train more

    You're seriously suggesting that the function of universities should be to produce people wth the skills that the country needs? Rather than just producing more arts graduates with majors in basket-weaving?

    That's fascism!

  3. The UK at present gets roughly 300,000 legal immigrants a year,

    That's a very low number. When you consider Britain's much bigger base population that's less than half the rate of immigration to Australia.

    Australia leads the world in replacing its population quickly, efficiently and legally. Other countries can learn much from us.