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Alan Murad and Jack Wharton: The fight against EU immigration is a fight for our national character


Forget about oversubscribed schools and lengthening GP waiting lists. Worry not about the pernicious social effects of migrants living parallel lives, in parallel communities. Common language, integration and national culture all matter very little.

Instead, a leading Brussels bureaucrat has the answer. Britain should stop moaning and build more houses for migrants. Instead of complaining about the symptoms of immigration, we should just spend more money relieving them.

The outgoing European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion – László Andor – argued that the UK is ‘taking advantage’ of EU migrants. The Hungarian economist said EU workers ‘usually’ pay more in tax and welfare contributions than they receive.

But immigration is a complex and contentious subject; its effects cannot be quantified by a simple tax/benefit analysis. The Great British Public know this instinctively. But in the upper echelons of European power, Mr Andor is part of a group of unelected policy makers who are increasingly out of touch.

These bureaucrats hold the key to David Cameron’s renegotiation strategy – and with comments such as these, you can understand why Get Britain Out has been scathing of the Prime Minister’s chances.

The truth is the European aristocracy simply doesn’t get it. They fail to understand that an integrated society cannot be bought; no matter how much money we throw at it. The fight against the EU is a fight for our national character.

Immigration was successful in the 1950s because it was manageable. Migrants made a huge contribution to our society because they were able to take part in it. Put simply, the pace of arrival allowed them to be absorbed into our national culture.  Today, as members of the European Union, we have no control over the number of people arriving on these shores.

Communication was vital then – just as it is now – in ensuring a culture of suspicion and intolerance was not fostered between natives and new arrivals. This is never more important than in childhood. But in our inner cities, English is now being taught as a second language.

At some schools, more than three-quarters of pupils do not have English as their mother tongue. What society are we bequeathing to the next generation when we are erecting such barriers to understanding?

But a growing population leads to a growing economy, right? Sure, but the share of wealth going to the average worker does not increase. The pie might get bigger but it doesn’t mean everyone gets a bigger slice. GDP is unimportant, but living standards matter more. The pace of immigration from the EU has destroyed living standards in the UK.

Our current open door border policy is inflicting the sort of competition for jobs, once reserved for the professional classes, upon some of the most vulnerable members of our labour market. Substantial numbers of our young people are simply locked out of employment, abandoned on the dole.

Our trains are full to bursting and our roads are strangled with traffic. Living standards are about more than wages, but about access to services. It’s about being able to secure the school place of your choice; or being able to access good quality healthcare when you need it, in your local area.

To relieve the symptoms of mass migration would bankrupt over-burdened taxpayers. It’s not yet clear whether or not Mr Andor will be donating some of his outrageous £212,000 salary to the cause. But if he did, it would barely scratch the surface of the problem.

We don’t need lectures from Commissioner Andor on how Britain should be run, even if he feels entitled to share his opinion. We need to Get Britain Out of the European Union, so we can control our borders once more; ensuring immigration truly works for the British public, now and into the future.

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