November 2009


Will Britain’s population reach 70million soon? According to the Balanced Migration group, led by MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, we’ll be hitting that figure some time around 2030, by which time we’ll all be so confined in our crowded little country that the Government could be done for cruelty.

The population increase is down – entirely – to immigration. On Question Time last month Jack Straw answered a question on this subject by pointing out that the Government could hardly control people’s fertility or stop them having children (oh, but I bet they wish they could). He was either being dishonest or stupid– Britain’s fertility rate is around 1.7 children per women, way, way below replacement rate, so that in a migration-free world the population would soon start to tumble once the first of the baby boomers started booking their one-way tickets to Switzerland.

On their website the Balanced Migration group refer to Britain facing a population increase equal to seven Birminghams, the city that is usually used as a unit of population increase these days (the equivalent to the “Wales”, which is a measurement of land space). However, no new Birminghams will be needed for the migrants themselves, of course, but for the natives of that city and other big urban areas who leave as they become increasingly foreign to them – indeed, Birmingham will become the second British city to have a non-white majority way before the UK hits 70 million.

Seven Birminghams also equals one London, a city once seen as a sink that sucked in people from around the country, but which now spits them out at a far greater rate. Over the last four years, on average 70,000 more people have left London for the rest of Britain than have entered, a vote of no confidence in the multi-cultural society if ever there was one. Because however much middle class parents and journalists like to dress this issue up simply as a matter of better schools, safety and space, every single problem ex-Londoners identify with living in the metropolis is heavily aggravated by immigration, and the problems with living in what sociologist Robert Putnam identified as low-trust, socially isolated, multi-ethnic areas.

It is not just about numbers, although south-east England’s high density is certainly one reason why our attempt to mimic America’s melting pot has failed. Were Britain’s population increase down entirely to a high birth rate, it would not have the same effect on people’s quality of life – in fact, it would arguably have less of a social cost than if 400,000 Brits left every year and 400,000 people entered, as the Balanced Migration group advocate. That policy of “one in, one out” will not solve the problems of segregation, inequality, alienation and unhappiness that results from too much diversity (I’m not against cultural diversity, just too much of it, like I’m against too much of anything). Indeed, the most likely flashpoints of the future are among the least crowded areas in England, the former industrial towns of Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Midlands. It is demography rather than density that threatens social stability.

Certainly the Balanced Migration group are right to point to the dangers of over-population, and runaway immigration, but it is not the full story, and we should be honest about it. This morning the pressure group Sense About Science were on Radio 4 arguing – rightly, in my opinion – that in Britain scientific study and debate is hampered by our strict libel laws, and that we should be free to search for the truth, whether we find it comfortable or not. The same could be said about sociology and demography, except it is an unwritten code of politeness, embarrassment and social stigma, rather than libel law, that stops us being honest about how we run our small island.

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The Swiss advertisement above is from some time back and depicts three white sheep kicking a black sheep out of Switzerland. The words translate as “For greater security”. It is not only blacks and Muslims that many Swiss are dubious about, however. Lots of Germans have taken over top jobs in Switzerland in recent years and that causes some teeth-grinding. Fancy anybody not liking Germans! I quite like them myself but not many do. In Italy they tend to be regarded with horror and even French arrogance becomes rather brittle when the topic of the “Boche” arises

Switzerland made a “mistake” by not imposing temporary limits on European job seekers during the economic crisis, Swiss Economics Minister Doris Leuthard said in remarks published Sunday. The government will re-examine in the coming year whether it should activate the safeguard clause built into a deal with the European Union that allows Europeans to work in Switzerland, she added.

“The cantons and social partners were skeptical. They were undecided on the effect (of the safeguard clause) and did not want to spark a new conflict with the EU,” said Leuthard in an interview with NZZ am Sonntag. “In hindsight, that was a mistake. With the safeguard clause, we could have kept thousands of people away from the Swiss job market,” she said.

Under an accord between Switzerland and the EU, European workers can take up jobs in Switzerland without being subject to a work permit quota system. To protect the Swiss job market from over-saturation, the deal also includes a clause allowing Bern to impose temporary restrictions in specific circumstances. It can be activated if immigration grows by more than 10 percent in a year compared with the average rate in the previous three years.

Leuthard said the government will reopen the issue again in the coming year. “We will relook this in hindsight in 2010 and 2011, because the unemployment rate is expected to rise further. We must also look at whether there are other control mechanisms,” she said.

Even though unemployment in Switzerland hit a four-year-high in October, reaching 4.0 percent, net inward migration is expected to reach 70,000 for 2009. In 2008, the country registered its biggest rise in permanent resident population in 40 years amid record immigration.

Leuthard said the government had expected more foreigners to head home amid the toughening job market in Switzerland, but she noted that “we were wrong.” With unemployment rates in the eurozone higher than in Switzerland, Europeans have decided that it was better to remain here, she added.

Leuthard said that the government would look into the impact on the social security system. “We need to analyse the situation, to examine for instance, whether we need changes made to claims on unemployment benefits,” she added.

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Desperate men reach for desperate tactics, and staring in the face of near certain electoral losses in 2010 the Democrats have reached for a familiar strategy – race baiting. Yes, in an effort to blunt conservative momentum the Democratic leadership will attempt to use immigration as a wedge to divide the GOP and convince minority voters that all this opposition to Obama is really just thinly disguised racism.

Immigration was already shaping up to be a hot button issue in 2010. Health coverage for illegal immigrants has become a focal point of criticism in the health care debate. And Rep. Lamar Smith recently fired a salvo Obama’s way over the issue. But Republicans have to be careful around this topic or risk losing minority voters. That could be significant in the contested 2010 races here in Travis County. To wit:

* HD 48 is 12% Hispanic and 18.7% of voters speak a language other than English in the home

* HD 47 is 19.2% Hispanic and 17.8% say they speak a language other than English at home

* CD 10 is 18.7% Hispanic

Although Latinos do not make up a majority in any of those districts, the elections last time around were all close. The two state legislature races in particular were razor thin, and a difference of a few thousand or a few hundred votes in 2010 could potentially carry great significance. Conservative commentators have already begun pontificating how Republicans can best handle this issue and turn it around to their advantage. If they can do that, perhaps one of the oldest tricks in the liberal playbook will finally be put to rest.

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Lord Pearson of Rannoch has been elected leader of UKIP. It should be interesting: as I reported last month, the new man has said he will make the fight against radical Islam a major focus for the party.

Today The Times reported: “A UKIP source said that if Lord Pearson or Mr Batten were elected “You are going to see quite a lot stronger position from us. Nigel has always been afraid of the Islam thing backfiring. But the BNP are taking ownership of issues that have not been addressed by Labour, the Conservatives or the Lib Dems and they need addressing.”

So I imagine UKIP will now probably make immigration and radical Islam as much their thing as Europe, and move closer to the Dutch Freedom Party, whose leader Geert Wilders is an ally of Pearson. It might not make them the darlings of White City, but it will play well to the public, many of whom are horrified about the direction the country is taking, and who want to physically puke every time they see a Westminster MP on television, but who are not prepared for the mental leap of voting for the BNP.

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You can bet there would be none of this if the bureaucrats were spending their own money

TONNES of bottled water, costing thousands of dollars, are being airlifted to Christmas Island for dehydrated asylum seekers as they step on to the arrivals wharf – despite a tap being just metres away. And the Federal Government will not splash out a couple of thousand dollars to bring a new tap closer for the thirsty arrivals, preferring to jet in the expensive bottles.

Problems arise when refugees first land on the island. Initial screening takes place at the wharf with the tap about 20m away. The asylum seekers are then moved to a construction camp – formerly used by workers who built the detention centre and now housing refugees – where the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said there were “limited options for tap water”.

The latest shipment of water, about 2.5 tonnes, was flown to the island on Monday on a department charter flight. The department would not reveal how much it cost, but a four-tonne delivery earlier this year is understood to have cost $6 a kilogram – or $24,000.

One long-standing islander, who did not want to be named said: “It’s bloody ridiculous. There’s plenty of water to drink on the island, there are taps near the wharf, but the Government won’t fix it up. “I could do it for a couple of thousand dollars. No worries.”

Flying water to the island also angered local businesses but it is understood that when the Government invited them to tender for the supply their prices were higher than the cost of air-freighting.

A department spokesman said this week’s delivery was part of a freight consignment on a charter flight. The spokeswoman said the department and its detention centre service provider Serco, had a duty of care to people in detention. “The provision of bottled water occurs when new arrivals to Christmas Island undertake their initial screening procedures and induction to immigration facilities,” she said. “The initial processing is carried out on arrival at the wharf and subsequently at the construction camp. There are limited options for tap water to be provided at both these sites. “Those people are often dehydrated from an extended period at sea and sometimes nauseous.

“The department is aware that the water supply on Christmas Island is classed as potable and fit to drink and encourages all people to drink it as a matter of course.” She said the department was “sensitive to the needs” of local traders and endeavoured to deal with them equitably. “However, on occasions it is necessary to freight large amounts independently to meet demands imposed by a sudden surge in the numbers of arrivals,” she said.

Christmas Island Shire President Gordon Thomson said it was not the council’s responsibility to put taps on property “whether government or privately owned”.

The jetty and the construction camp are operated by the Commonwealth Government but a spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department, that has responsibility for the island, said: “There are taps with potable water in the picnic sites in the Flying Fish Cove area which are directly adjacent to the wharf. “As it is a working cargo wharf there is no intention to place a drinking water facility there. There is potable water available at the construction camp site, as there is with any other residential location on the island.”

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Simultaneous studies, released this week by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), document the true costs of illegal immigration in Maryland and demonstrate strong voter objections to the burdens placed on them by illegal immigration. The price tag associated with providing education, health care and incarceration of criminal illegal aliens is at least $1.3 billion a year, finds The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Marylanders. The impact is clearly recognized by Maryland voters. A new Pulse Opinion Research poll of 1,000 likely voters across the state found that, by a large margin, Marylanders believe that illegal immigration is harming their state.

The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Marylanders found that taxpayers spend:

* $ 1.1 billion a year to educate illegal immigrant children and the U.S. born children of illegal immigrants.

* $ 167 million a year on unreimbursed health care for illegal aliens.

* $ 29 million a year to incarcerate criminal illegal aliens.

* The total represents an annual cost to each of Maryland’s native-born headed households of $ 625.

The cost study is based on an estimate that the illegal alien population in Maryland is now 250,000 persons. The illegal alien population of Maryland has grown exponentially during this decade, nearly quadrupling since 2000.

In a separate report, English Learners and Immigration: A Case Study in Prince George’s County, Maryland, FAIR examines the impact of mass immigration in local schools in Prince George’s County. Because of large-scale legal and illegal immigration, the county has seen its non-English proficient student population grow from 7,064 in 2004 to 13,825 today. Programs to teach immigrant students English cost the county more than $66 million a year.

The Pulse Opinion Research poll found that:

* 73% of Maryland voters say illegal immigration has a negative impact on the state. Only 20% believe it has a positive impact on Maryland.

* 77% of Maryland voters believe illegal aliens have a negative impact on the state budget, versus only 15% who believe their impact is positive.

* 65% of Maryland voters believe that illegal immigration harms the state’s schools. Only 18% believe illegal immigration has had a beneficial effect on education.

* 55% believe illegal immigration should be reduced through better enforcement of immigration laws. Only 36% of Maryland voters favor amnesty or legalization for current illegal aliens.

“Voters in Maryland, like voters everywhere, want their elected officials in Washington and Annapolis to protect their interests, their jobs, and their tax dollars from the impact of mass illegal immigration,” said Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “The failure of government at all levels to institute and enforce sensible immigration policies is costing Marylanders jobs, billions in tax dollars, and their children the opportunity to get the quality education they need and deserve. At a time when state lawmakers are slashing budgets, spending on illegal immigrants in Maryland continues to rise over the strong objection of voters.”

“The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Marylanders, English Learners and Immigration: A Case Study in Prince George’s County, Maryland” and a summary of the Pulse Opinion Research results are available at http://www.fairus.org.

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Mapping out the strain on Britain’s NHS: 243 sick babies treated in one London hospital ward…. and just 18 mothers come from Britain

Countless red dots scattered across the world map on the wall of a NHS hospital reveal the story of the changing face of Britain. Each dot denotes the background of a mother with a baby in the neonatal ward of London’s Chelsea and Westminster hospital. The map was put up by hospital administrators to ‘celebrate the ethnic diversity’ of the sick children treated there, each at a cost of £1,400 a day. It shows dramatically how the NHS now treats patients from every corner of the globe.

The 243 mothers are from 72 different nations. They include Mongolia, the remotest regions of Russia, Japan, Africa, South America, swathes of Asia, Australasia and even Papua New Guinea. Only 18 mothers said they were from Britain.

The women were invited to put a dot on the map to ‘represent’ their home country. One, a London-born mother of a baby treated there earlier this summer, sent the Mail a photograph of the result. She said: ‘Almost every cot and incubator at this wonderful unit was occupied by a baby with a foreign mother. Interpreters were on hand to make sure the mothers understood the doctors. ‘Babies’ lives are being saved and that is a good thing. Yet this seemed like a free-for-all.’

It is impossible to say how long each of the mothers has been in this country. But the fact is only a fraction of them declared themselves as having a British background. In theory, only a woman who has lived here legally for a year or has a student visa lasting more than six months is entitled to free NHS care when giving birth. Yet few hospitals are prepared to turn away a pregnant patient in the late stages of labour. Indeed, the Government recently issued an instruction telling them to admit such women without question.

Health Minister Ann Keen pronounced in July: ‘We remain firmly committed to the requirement that immediately necessary or urgent treatment should never be denied or delayed from those that require it.’

Many nurses and doctors on the NHS frontline believe her words were dangerously naive, even an explicit invitation to heavily pregnant women to fly to Britain to have babies. Some have arrived at Chelsea and Westminster – and other London hospitals – straight from the airport with the ticket tags still on their suitcases.

Mothers-to-be target this country as ‘health tourists’ for a variety of reasons. Some do so because they face a difficult birth and want expert care unavailable in their home countries. Others have been told by doctors abroad that their baby will be born with a profound illness, needing a lifetime of treatment and medicines. They know the NHS will provide this with few questions asked even if the bill reaches millions of pounds.

The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s neonatal ward treats 500 newborns each year from London and the south east. Many of the babies have been born prematurely or have inherited illnesses. They include those with ailments such as sickle cell anaemia (which is prevalent in African and Mediterranean communities, while almost unknown among those of northern European heritage), the HIV virus passed on from the mother, as well as deafness, blindness and devastating neurological problems common among ethnic communities in which marriages between cousins are the norm.

Today nearly 25 percent of babies in Britain have mothers who were born abroad. In London the figure is 50 percent. The boroughs of Newham and Brent have the highest percentage, 75 percent and 73 percent respectively. Even in Chelsea (an area less associated with immigration) the figure is 67 percent, according to a recent Government report.

Britain’s population is expected to grow from 61 million to 74 million over the next 20 years, the Office for National Statistics said last week. The estimate is based on both the continuing high birthrate of migrant mothers and levels of immigration as well as the longer life expectancy of the entire population.

Meanwhile, at least three million foreigners have settled here legally since 1997 – a rate of 700 a day. Nearly a million more are living here illegally, the Home Office has admitted.

Bliss, a campaigning charity supporting families with premature and sick babies, recently said that the NHS needs 2,700 more neonatal nurses to cope with growing numbers of baby births. They now total 791,000 a year, up 33,000 from 2007.

Back at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, the colourful world baby map, proudly displayed on the wall for three months, was recently removed during construction work. Last night, a spokesperson for Chelsea and Westminster said that the hospital cared for patients from many different backgrounds, reflecting London’s population. The map was intended to illustrate the diversity of the families of babies on the ward.

The hospital also issued the following statement: ‘Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a specialist referral centre and cares for patients of many different backgrounds, reflecting London’s very diverse population. ‘Of the 550 babies admitted to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) every year, a very small number of these are overseas patients. In 2009, there have been just two overseas admissions.

‘The map was placed in the NICU nearly four years ago to provide the families of the babies we care for, as well as staff, with an opportunity to indicate their background if they wished. It is not an indication of country of residence or citizenship. ‘It was intended to illustrate the diversity of staff working on the unit and the families of the babies we care for, to encourage everyone to reflect on different cultures, in a fun and informal way.

‘Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s NICU provides intensive care, high dependency and special care facilities for babies and is a specialist referral centre for neonatal surgery.’

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