I must have missed it. You did too. Following the release of the latest migration statistics, where was the real debate and analysis about the UK’s electorate’s number one concern? It must have emigrated.
Immigration is endlessly discussed these days, but only in the most minimalist and shallow way our political masters think they can get away with. For instance, Thursday’s figures were, as usual, presented in terms of net migration, a figure that shields the fact that there are huge migratory flows in both directions. At these levels, a net migration of zero would still have colossal cultural and social side-effects as the population is remorselessly churned or replaced.
On that note, let’s discuss emigration for a change. Brits have always emigrated in substantial numbers, but it would be worth understanding why. Are people leaving for a well-earned retirement in the sun, or is it highly skilled youngsters at the peak of their working years? If the latter, how many leave for ever? How many come back, perhaps more enriched and more productive? It might be worth understanding that if we want to solve ‘the productivity puzzle’.
You can go on and on asking such reasonably simple questions but not finding any real answers that the political elites want to give. Has the increase in people leaving happened for perfectly positive reasons, a globalised world affording them more opportunities to do so? Or are people being ‘pushed’ rather than ‘pulled’, leaving because they no longer feel they know or understand their own country, or feel welcome in it, thanks to years of political correctness and vast immigration? Is emigration ‘gendered’, to use that awful word? Census data showing a shortfall in young men certainly suggests so. If this is the case, why? Does male alienation play a part? Is there really a ‘sexodus’?
That is quite a list, and we haven’t even started on immigration. Was the fall in EU nationals arriving and rise in those leaving due to Brexit, as is often alleged, or simple due to the fall in the pound making working here less attractive? Do EU migrants now feel increasingly alienated, perhaps in part due to Theresa May’s characteristically unimaginative and mean-minded decision to use them as a bargaining chip in EU negotiations? If so, how will that affect future social cohesion in our country with the majority of the now over 3million of them who may wish to stay?
Finally, we come to non-EU migration – and we all know what that is a code phrase for, don’t we? The real elephant in the room here is, of course, Islam: the rapid growth of the Muslim demographic is to a large extent driven by immigration, caused by New Labour’s scrapping of the Primary Purpose rule in 1997. Islamic migration causes the public far more concern than any other immigration-related issue, and with very good reason. ‘Family reunion’ policies allow British-born Muslims to bring in relatives via ‘arranged’ marriages and other devices. Usually low-skilled with often deeply restrictive religious values, this type of migration flow has severely hampered or even reversed integration and allowed sectarianism and separation to flourish – with tragic and severely negative consequences for our society. It has also greatly increased the strain on the health service in Muslim areas, due to the cultural habit of marriage between first cousins leading to a huge increase in birth defects.
In essence, so what if net immigration is down? It may be welcome in the limited sense that it may help the lower paid, and therefore vindicate those brave but vilified souls who campaigned on the issue and helped win the Brexit referendum on the back of it. However the figures conceal deeper truths our society desperately needs answers to, but which those in power are deeply reluctant to give.