Migrants are leaving in droves – and we’re screwed
It turns out the government has not been counting migrants properly.
But it’s worse than that. It hasn’t actually been counting at all – it’s been guessing.
And, just like any ignorant twit down the pub who reckons we’re overrun on the basis of no evidence at all, the government’s been overestimating some of its immigrants by 2,174% .
For years the people running the country – you know, the ones with access to passport details, NHS patients, tax records, all the sort of things you need to work out how many people are knocking around the place – have claimed that every year 100,000 foreign students bunk off without a visa.
But after five years of other people pointing out this guesswork was as bogus as Kelvin Mackenzie’s claim to humanity the government has decided to count up the students leaving using border exit data and concluded that, erm, whoops, just 4,600 students overstay their welcome.
Getting numbers a little skew-whiff is normal. Rounding up, rounding down, not quite getting the whole picture is a fact of life in a major bureaucracy like ours. But a figure being so out of whack that we think it’s 2,174% bigger than it was isn’t a cock-up – it has been disastrous
Overstating the number of students here illegally meant that the overall immigration figures were overcooked as well. It meant that in 2015 anti-immigrant groups were able to claim, through similarly shonky guesswork, that there were 1million people in the UK illegally. It meant that when the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford put the number of deportations at 40,896 in 2015 people thought it wasn’t good enough.
It meant that throughout her time in the Home Office Theresa May could repeatedly win headlines talking about “cracking down” on a problem that wasn’t as big as people thought, and order landlords, employers, GPs, and teachers to carry out checks the Border Agency hadn’t because she’d already cut its budget and staff to the bone.
It also meant that we were told there was something to fear. That in our green and pleasant land were faceless individuals hell-bent on destroying our NHS, destroying people’s jobs, and hiding from the taxman.
The problem is that we were told to worry about migrants, and we should really have been wringing our hands about UKIP.
In 2012, two years after becoming leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage told a public meeting: “I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare.” He has since resigned from his job, taken it back, resigned it again, told everyone who attempted to replace him how to do the job, told UKIP’s only MP to leave the party, and stopped concentrating on his actual job of being an MEP to crawl up the colon of Donald Trump, DJ in his down time and back a fascist as French president.
In 2013 he admitted setting up a family trust “for inheritance purposes” in the Isle of Man where many people send their money to reduce their tax liabilities. In 2014 he told the Southend Echo “most forms of legal tax avoidance are ok” and in 2016 when major politicians were forced to reveal their tax returns by the Panama Papers leak he refused to follow suit.
And in March of the same year, 9 UKIP MEPs voted against a series of powerful EU measures to stop tax avoidance.
Meanwhile the EU migrants kept paying 6 times more tax and national insurance than they claimed in benefits.
While UKIP told us the NHS was safe in their hands and that immigration was placing it under unbearable pressure, the migrants and their taxes kept it afloat.
At the same time the NHS budget was placed under unbearable pressure by Conservative-led governments that increased its funding by a measly 1% when it needed 4% a year to do the job.
While UKIP told us schools and our children’s education was under threat from classes crammed with migrants, the education budget was cut in real terms from 5.9% of GDP to 4.7%. Although the total number of children in primary schools increased, roughly 1% of them were in classes of 36 pupils or more – the same as it’s been for a decade.
And while UKIP bemoaned the high birth rate of migrants, the death rate declined, the cost of living increased, the state pension rose, and we had more need than ever before for a young, educated population to pay for it all.
But facts are dull and difficult. One charismatic man with a Rothmans in one hand and a pint in the other is always more interesting to watch on the evening news, and in the drive for entertaining news Nigel Farage was given the chance to voice his darkest dreams.
“Tuberculosis is costing the NHS a great deal of money, and much of that is coming from southern and eastern Europe,” he said, while no-one asked him what the cost would be of everyone contracting an infectious disease from a few people who had it to start with.
“Any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door,” he said, while no-one asked a Romanian how they’d feel living next to Nigel.
“I got the train the other night… It wasn’t until after we got past Grove Park that I could actually hear English being audibly spoken in the carriage. Does that make me feel slightly awkward? Yes,” he said, while only one pithy radio caller asked him how he felt about Mrs Farage speaking German.
When Nigel got his opportunity to hold forth, others heard only the claims and not the lies or the hypocrisy.
Suddenly every pub had someone in it spouting false figures about Romanian crime gangs. Every work place had someone who now muttered aloud about the foreigners they didn’t use to mind. The government was able to get away with making wild stabs in the dark about how many students overstayed their visa, the figures were reported as fact, and Theresa May sent out vans ordering people to go home.
And very few of us stopped to think what a foreigner actually was – we just assumed they were bad and didn’t integrate. We didn’t stop to count the Turks who ran the chip shop, the Muslims in the paper shop, the Hindus who keep the Post Office going or the Pole who fixed our telly, because they were obviously different.
Well, the latest figures show the foreigners are leaving.
The Office for National Statistics has found that 51,000 fewer EU nationals came here in the past year, while 122,000 superstate citizens left.
The racists will be livid because the numbers of black people coming here are roughly the same, and the drop in EU immigration means that proportionally there’s more of them. The non-racists will likewise be unhappy because they have the brains to know immigrants of every colour keep this country rich and successful, and if they’re leaving we’re stuffed.
Who’ll run the Post Office? Who’ll drive the buses? Who empties the bins, mixes the cement, sells us cigarettes at 2am? Who will be providing kebabs late at night, who delivers the pizza, who picks the apples and boxes the veg and puts the sandwiches in a plastic box?
Because it sure as hell won’t be Nigel.
He’s busy (Image: Twitter / Lily Allen)
Nigel is busy with his new career as an ageing Austin Powers, zipping around the globe dressed in Union Jack brogues to deal with supervillains and leer at the ladies. UKIP is on its arse, with a mere £150,000 in donations for the last general election in which its vote collapsed like Big Brother’s viewing figures.
Its current leadership election is a fascinating blend of incompetence and intolerance, with contenders wanting to pay black people to move out and accusing an entire religion of child abuse. But we’re barely seeing any of it because broadcasters allot TV time by vote share and with no-one voting for them we’re not even able to watch their demise.
But while the party is over and the showman has left the building, the legacy of false accounting for immigration has delivered Brexit to our door, like a takeaway someone has shat in.
Our hamstrung government is now trapped in the headlights of an oncoming juggernaut of legislative headache, able only to throw David Davis, Boris Johnson and Theresa May under its wheels one at a time. Our jobs are going elsewhere, the pound has lost 15% of its value and we’re headed into a new credit crunch fed by the debts a stuttering economy won’t enable us to pay back.
Meanwhile the brown face in our street feels unwelcome. The hijab on the bus keeps its head down. The people who not long ago looked on Britain as a place of wealth, peace and welcoming democracy now ask themselves whether they got it wrong.
Neither Nigel nor UKIP is responsible for that. We are, because we voted for them in our millions. But we did so because of fears of immigration that were not only wrong but ignored the facts which stare us in the face every time we buy a packet of ciggies.
Numbers matter. Because without our success as a nation, we wouldn’t attract migrants. Without migrants we couldn’t pay for all the trappings of a successful nation. And without our index-linked pensions, our doctors and nurses, our roundabouts and TVs and a bag of chips on the way home we’d be more miserable, sour, bitter people.
That’s the real legacy of uncontrolled immigration – it gave rise to UKIP. Hate had a persuasive voice, and it smoked 60 a day while telling a healthy country that it was sick.
If only there’d been proper border controls to stop his lot coming over here in the first place.