03 May, 2009


Criminals into Freeloaders

I was going to offer you my "considered opinion" on the claims of the "Strangers into Citizens" campaign whose supporters will be taking to the streets on Bank Holiday Monday, but Laban has already provided us with a comprehensive and righteous fisking of the detailed arguments. So I will confine myself to some supplementary comments.

Once the woolly-minded Geldofesque fluffy-bunny sanctimony, the outright hypocrisy and the cloud-cuckoo economic, social and demographic reasoning have been shovelled off to one side, we are left with the underlying barefaced lie. The Strangers into Citizens project posits its appeal for acquiescence by the general public on the categorical assurance that this is a one-off exercise. It asks us nasty racist indigenous thugs to accept the "regularization" of these deserving folk just this once; thereafter, they assure us, the doors will be slammed shut.

This is bullshit on two distinct fronts.

Firstly, the "amnesty" will simply send out a signal to the waiting millions, nay, tens, hundreds of millions, that if you blag your way into the UK, you need only keep your head down for as long as it takes for your sheer numbers to become a political and logistical embarrassment, whereupon the next one-off and absolutely, irrevocably final amnesty will take place.

Just consider the thousands who camp out at what is effectively Nouvelle Sangatte. Listen to the interviews. They have paid serious money to work their way across Europe in the hope of reaching what, despite all attempts at dissuasion, they genuinely believe to be some kind of El Dorado.

Worse, they also feel a sense of entitlement to be here, usually based on some woolly but unshakable notion of reparation for what the British have historically "done to their people". These guys are not simply attempting to break into the country for their economic improvement, they are exercising their perceived birthright. They are entitled, they believe, to the house and the benefits payments they expect to receive in the UK. The feeble attempts of the British authorities to exclude them are no more than an incomprehensible and unwarranted annoyance.

It is an attitude which finds echoes across the world.

You do not stem that determined flow by saying, "Look chaps, we're full now. Yes, we know we managed to find room for the last lot, but no more. Be good fellows and just bugger orf, will you. What! Wait a minute! No! Stop that man! — Oh dear. — Perkins, just, er, quietly increment that Absolutely Non-negotiable Limit again, there's a good chap."

An amnesty will not stem the demand; it will exacerbate it. I see nothing in the actions or intentions of our government to address that consequence. Nothing will work short of the universal understanding and belief among the waiting and desperate hordes that they will fail to enter, that if they do contrive to enter they will invariably be caught and removed, and that they and their benighted employers will derive no economic benefit from their stay. The employers in particular must learn to fear the certainty of draconian punishment for knowingly employing illegals, for it is they who both benefit by and facilitate this crime.

It's harsh, but it is necessary. If you are in a full lifeboat which is struggling to hold its present complement of 60 people and you see a couple of people in the water, you will help them aboard. But if you see 600 heads bobbing in the water, then if you are sane you will use the oars to beat them off, lest the boat sink under the weight and all 660 drown. And, extending the metaphor, when some of those you have already helped aboard see that it is members of their own clan who are floating in the sea, they will surely seize the oar from you and cast you and the rest of the original crew into the water to make room for their own. Bleak? Alarmist? Suit yourself.

An amnesty is hardly a sensible start, is it?

Secondly, the attractiveness of illegal immigrants to their employers, direct or indirect, is their very illegality. An "illegal" can be paid at any rate you choose to pay, or not to pay if you can get away with it. Legal minima do not apply. Nor do employers' national insurance contributions, nor health and safety regulations, contracts of employment, periods of notice, nor any other employment-related legislation. Illegal employment is capitalism at its most raw, in one hell of a buyer's market.

As soon as the present tranche of "irregulars" gains status, they will be dumped in favour of the next wave of hopefuls, meaning that our newly empowered citizens-elect will either have to agree to continue to work in the black economy, thus defeating the object of the exercise, or alternatively they will have to throw themselves (and in due course their chain-migrated families) on the mercy of the welfare state.

Once our hard-working stalwart Ahmed is settled in his council flat with his ILR papers and his pukka NINO and his freshly chain-migrated wife, then newly-arrived Ali, Mehmet and Olu will be queuing up behind him, ready to do his old job off the books and for half the minimum wage. So it's off down the doctor for your disability certificate for you, Ahmed, mate. What, your wife's expecting again! Gordon Bennett, hire some more Malawian midwives, quick!

Not of course that our Ahmed's prized status under this hare-brained scheme will necessarily be legitimately earned. Six years is a long time. I'm sure the ingenious entrepreneurs of Nigeria's 37th state, Thamesmead, will soon have a fine line in fake documentation available for a consideration, all guaranteed verifiable by their, ahem, inside agents and liaison specialists within the relevant public bodies.

Rinse and repeat.

Good points regarding the foolishness of an amnesty.

However, I am not sure how you reached these conclusions:

"Worse, they also feel a sense of entitlement to be here, usually based on some woolly but unshakable notion of reparation for what the British have historically "done to their people"."

How do you know this is the case?

How do you know this is the case?

(1) From newspaper and TV interviews with people camped out in "the swamp" in Calais. The viewpoint is expressed adamantly and entirely sincerely. There may be links out there to archived articles/footage.

(2) From talking to people in London, in particular people who I suspect of being illegals themselves as well as to those who are more likely legal immigrants sympathetic to the illegal cause.

Others report similar experiences. See for example the comments to Laban's post here.

And I do wish those clever chaps at Blogger (Google in fact) would fix the irritating little bug that swallows linefeeds which follow italicized quotes. It's very irritating.

Thank you for your reply, Edwin.

I have lived in London all my life (apart from a stint working abroad) and can only think of one incident some years ago, along the lines of the 'wicked English' argument you have described.

It occurred during an argument with a group of Irish lads in a pub - they were keen to remind me of what the English had done in Ireland over seven centuries and so on and so forth. Things went downhill after they came out with that.

I have found some articles online about Sangatte refugees, but their motivations expressed in interview appear to be entirely pragmatic: they have English as a second language, they have relatives already living here, they like the sound of our benefit system and health service.

In their position, I would no doubt feel the same, but we can't take the weight of the world onto our shoulders. England already feels overcrowded.

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