There’s an elephant on the carriage. Nobody sees it, but it’s why they’re all standing cheek by jowl on the London Overground line from Clapham Junction. The passengers are a smorgasbord of ethnicity and lingo: Oriental, Latino, Middle-Eastern, Russian and Somali, alongside a few white British. This is no tourist trail; the wayfarers are workers who emerge daily at Shepherds Bush, Camden or Hackney in a clammy sweat.
The trains are designed for maximum standing room, with merely a bank of uncushioned seats facing into the crowded aisle. According to ONS data, 155,000 passengers per day were forced to stand on London trains in the morning peak in 2015 – up from 139,000 in the previous year. That’s despite more people working from home, or doing flexible hours to avoid the rush hour. Yet if one said aloud: ‘London can’t take any more people’, it would draw stern looks, if not a Corbynite rant. Why would I have more right to travel, or to live in this city, than anyone else? We must endure journeys unfit for human consumption, as services buckle in overwhelming demand.
A new book by Todd Buchholz, The Price of Prosperity, takes a considered view of the challenges faced by Western societies. Throughout history, great civilisations have imploded due to internal weakness, as complacent citizens take for granted the hard-fought achievements of previous generations. Buchholz discusses five major problems for the affluent West: falling birth rate, globalisation, rising debt, diminishing work ethic, and loss of patriotism. Interventions by the State are ineffectual, or worse – as shown by liberal policy on immigration.
As recently as the 1980s, the British population was gradually falling, with births below replacement level. In my hometown, schools closed and swaths of council housing were demolished. Masking the decline was increasing longevity, but an ageing society relies on a shrinking tax base. This demographic trend was dramatically reversed in the late 1990s, when Tony Blair’s government opened the floodgates. Mass immigration readily boosted the workforce and revitalised fading towns, but as we are now experiencing, it causes problems more severe than it solves.
An annual influx of a third of a million amounts to a city the size of Newcastle, while over a million are living here illegally, contributing to an expanding black market. They all need homes, and the skyline of all major towns has transformed as apartment blocks rise higher and higher. Cambridge, for example, has morphed into a concrete and glass jungle, and the building boom is relentless. In an apparent win-win formula, more people means more profit and more political power. In an unholy alliance of corporate capitalism and socialism, the former exploits an endless supply of cheap labour, while the latter gains electorally from incomers without traditional ties to Queen and country. From the hard left to laissez-faire Conservatives, we hear that immigration is vital, as if there is only an ‘on’ and ‘off’ switch.
Those towers rising from every available urban plot are testament to the West wagering on a giant Ponzi scheme (preceding the Wall Street Crash, a rogue speculator offered a fantastic return on outlay, to be realised by continual growth in investors). Pass a building site and you will find immigrants building homes for immigrants, but there are unsettling implications of this gold rush. Not least is the environment, and the loss of green space. Particularly absurd is the policy of the Green Party, which should have sustainability at its heart, yet opposes measures to stem a tide that threatens our natural resources. But it is not simply a matter of numbers.
London now has a white British minority, and the rapid demographic replacement is most evident in schools, now dominated by the children of East European, Asian and African migrants. While racist ideals of a pure white Britain are futile and based on a false premise, we ignore the cultural effects of immigration at our peril. Buchholz argues that while multiculturalism is officially promoted, actually it detracts from community spirit. Evidence shows that compared to a homogenous society, a diverse populace is less happy, less trusting and less volunteering, as found by Harvard scientist Robert Putnam (who sat on the data for years, as it confronted his liberal mindset). Unlimited entry offends the basic desires of ordinary people for familiarity, security and a sense of ownership.
For all their obsession with equality, Western leaders are in danger of creating a very unequal society. Their pinnacle of vanity was Angela Merkel’s open invitation to the youth of the Middle East. So conscious of the lingering shame of Germany’s past, Merkel seems untroubled by fostering a near-future Muslim majority, and the self-loathing Left of this country is no different. Our Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment values are at stake, as female genital mutilation and the Charlie Hebdo massacre, for example, show that we cannot guarantee women’s rights, democracy, freedom of speech or religious liberty. Indeed, Islam prohibits such latitude. Parallel communities have arisen, maintaining alien customs, beliefs and de facto laws, and only an incorrigible Panglossian would regard such segregation as a model of diversity. When social mores attuned to sharia law are imposed, immigration will look less like enrichment than conquest.
Ponzi schemes are inherently destructive. An affluent middle-class establishment has allowed Britain to change at an unnerving pace. Virtue-signalling is not altruism, and a bludgeoning censorship has thwarted candid discussion of this massive social gamble. As recommended in a report this week by David Goodhart of Policy Exchange, we need a demonstrably effective immigration policy, which pursues social cohesion rather than simply economic growth. And we need this today, not as a vague manifesto pledge for the next election. Otherwise, Western society will be judged in perpetuity to have brought about its own demise. We opened the doors, but our party has been gatecrashed.
(Image: Tom Page)