Monday 1 May 2023

In London 37 per cent of the population were born outside the UK


News item in what Americans call the London Times.

"In London, where 37 per cent of the population now were born outside the UK, the number of payrolled employees grew by 152,000 between December 2021 and 2022. But only 40,000 of those were from the UK. A full 120,000 came from outside the EU, and the number of EU workers actually shrank by 8,000."

I read this in this article in the Times by Robert Colville, who argues that opening our doors to Ukraine and Hong Kong is 'absolutely the right thing to do'.

Why does he think that?

The UK is nowhere near either Ukraine or Hong Kong, their peoples are not our kindred or our neighbours and have very many other places to go.


  1. I can't imagine what he might think. The right thing for Britain now is about making society feel less unfair.

  2. Of course the number of EU workers shrank. That was the whole point of Brexit: to get rid of those Polish plumbers. And Romanian truck drivers and Czech NHS nurses and so forth.

    Unsurprisingly, the result has been labor shortages in a bunch of different sectors, most famously the NHS but also transport, retail, and construction. This has contributed to inflation, a crash in the quality of service, and the current wave of strikes.

    This was predictable and, in fact, was predicted. Remainers pointed out that EU citizens were 7% of the labor force, and driving them out would have obvious consequences. Leavers wobbled back and forth between "British workers will pick up the slack!" and "our new points-based immigration system will fix everything". Neither of those things have happened. Britain's labor force is stagnant, growing more slowly than any other large economy's, and hours worked still haven't returned to their pre-COVID levels.

    As to immigration: you're on record as disliking the whole idea of immigration into Britain, Paul, despite being an immigrant in Romania yourself. So you don't see why Britain should want any immigrants at all. But if you take the position that *some* immigrants are desirable, then yes, Hong Kongers make a lot of sense. They're generally well educated, notoriously hard-working, usually speak English already, and are familiar with British culture. And as a conservative, you should appreciate that they're generally socially conservative and usually Christian. Presumably Colville is making an implicit argument here: the UK needs at least some immigration, so who would you rather have -- Ukrainians and Hong Kongers, or Syrians and Somalis?

    -- Does the UK need at least some immigration? Well, the UK's birth rate is well below replacement, and has been for many years now. So it's either accept at least some immigration, or watch the UK's population age, shrink and decline -- along with the accompanying labor shortages and inflation and whatnot. You may not like that choice, but it's the choice you have.

  3. “Bizarrely, as immigration began to change Europe at its economic and cultural core, the political vocabulary remained the same as when immigration had been a fringe phenomenon. People kept talking about restaurants.” Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West

    1. "Economic and cultural core" -- it's really hard to see how a million hard-working Hong Kongers or Ukrainians would be anything but good for the UK's economy and culture.

      (I note that Caldwell's next book was about the terrible, very bad effects of the US Civil Rights Act. Economic and cultural concerns, of course.)

      Anyway. Change is going to come; that's inevitable. You want to close the doors and keep the foreigners out; okay. Then your children -- not /your/ children, but the next generation of Britons -- will live in a UK that's shrinking, aging, stagnant and declining.

      Colville thinks he can solve this by admitting the right sorts, or at least less bad sorts. Caldwell wants to close the doors entirely.