Back in 2015, when I was head of the British Chambers of Commerce I wanted to find out the facts related to Brexit, a key one being migration. It was striking how little information was available. The extent to which the UK government appeared to have willfully avoided looking at the matter of migration was remarkable.
Notwithstanding this, my research team came up with some quite alarming figures. If migration continued at the then going rate, by the 2040’s half of the population of the UK would be migrants of modern times or their children.
This was exacerbated by the fact that people leaving Britain were generally young British professionals and retirees, with few returning, so the net result was a significant shift in the nature of our population. It would be the greatest movement of people since Neolithic times.
For any nation to absorb those numbers and for there to be a continuance of the values, norms and culture of the host, the challenge would be unprecedented. The British people recognised this in the referendum. The people of the rest of the EU are now just beginning to make their voice heard too.
As a consequence of what has been named by the establishment “populism” (in other words democracy), the elites of the EU have recognised that they must do something about migration lest their privileges be overthrown by the people.
There has been a recognition not least that the open door policy of Angela Merkel has been a disaster for EU social cohesion. As a consequence, this week, the leaders of the EU burned the midnight oil to come up with a weak and wholly inadequate response based on vague ideas of Reception centres in North Africa and a little extra money to police the borders.
Many EU countries are suffering very high levels of unemployment and debt, the wages of the self-interested mercantilism of Germany and France. The people of Europe are crying out for solid measures, in short order, to tackle migration and the inability of the EU to deal with this adequately is indicative of the bankruptcy of the EU “project”.
At last the leaders of the EU are beginning to recognise, too late and too little, that economic migration is not a legitimate reason to allow the movement of people unless it is to the advantage of the host nation, does not place excessive demands on taxpayers and public services and takes place in numbers that can be integrated. Any other sort of economic migration used to be called invasion.
To read John Longworth’s piece for the Telegraph in full, click here.