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Mark Ellse: Dave’s immigration pledge is in tatters. Now only Brexit will do

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Eastern European accents prompted me to ask some removal men “Where do you come from?” a few weeks ago. They were Romanian and we chatted about Bucharest and their reasons for coming to the UK.

Petru and Grigore, though slight, were capable and careful. They arrived early and worked steadily without a break. In their late thirties, I would guess. Both have wives and a couple of kids in the UK, but they still regarded Romania as their “real” home.

And their reason for working in the UK? It’s obvious, of course. In Romania, they would earn £10 on a good day. In the UK, they get between £50 and £75, depending on the job. For them it’s a no-brainer: more than five times the salary.

Radu, their boss, is also Romanian. Pretty sharp, I thought, setting up a removals firm in the UK only months after the transitional arrangements to restrict the inward flow of Romanians. Radu guarantees them work. He can afford to – his quote was 30 per cent less than the next cheapest and he is very busy. I did a rough calculation: they were receiving the minimum wage – just. I’ve no idea about holiday pay or pension but I bet Petru and Grigore are not going to quibble since they feel they are so well off. Radu, I am sure, will be the cheapest removals company for a while.

And why on earth wasn’t this essentially unskilled job being done by UK citizens, some of the many “young people” who are not yet “in full employment”?

On 25 March this year, David Cameron made a speech at the University Campus Suffolk about immigration:

“..while I’ve always believed in the benefits of migration and immigration, I’ve also always believed that immigration has to be properly controlled…under the previous government immigration was far too high… Net migration needs to come down radically from hundreds of thousands a year, to just tens of thousands….”

The causes of mass immigration are obvious. The underlying force is the acute shortage of labour in the UK. Too many of the potential workforce are in the overmanned state sector, on benefits, retired, or following pointless school, college and university courses.

Our “child centred” education system fails to teach the young to act responsibly to reasonable demands that society places on them. Too few are happy to do a good day’s work.

The benefit/minimum wage culture (and the much vaunting of the economically irresponsible “living wage”) give a false sense of entitlement, distracting from the obvious fact that there are no rights other than those which are won by somebody’s hard work.

And, because of our membership of the EU, we are powerless to stop those from economically weaker EU countries taking full advantage of our totally self-inflicted mess.

In his speech last March, Mr Cameron outlined his measures for “proper control” of immigration, managing to steer clear of anything that would do any good. Yesterday’s immigration figures, an all-time high of 330,000 per year (that’s only the legal ones we know about), show how successful he is being.

David Cameron is like man whose trousers are round his ankles because he has ignored the force of gravity, eschewed the help of belt or braces but thought his undressed state would be adequately ameliorated by introducing a law against anyone else’s trousers falling down. When, in such a fundamental area, there is such a mismatch between what a politician says he is going do and what he is actually achieving, should we not doubt him elsewhere?

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Mark Ellse
Mark Ellse
Mark Ellse is a physicist and author. He is a former headmaster, independent school inspector and A level chief examiner.

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