Lies, damn lies and immigration statistics

The influx of Romanians and Bulgarians has been ‘reasonable’, according to Dave.

Leaving aside the question of whether or not an oxymoron like ‘reasonable influx’ can exist in the English language, one still wonders about the information on which this conclusion is based.

Let’s see. In the first quarter of 2014 the number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in Britain has gone down from 144,000 to 140,000. Yet at the start of last year that number stood at a mere 112,000.

Ignorant as I am of the finer aspects of maths, I’d suggest that the longer the investigated period the more reliable the result. Thus it would seem sensible to disregard the shorter-term stats and remark mournfully that the number of employed Romanians and Bulgarians has gone up by 31.36 percent.

I don’t know the top limit of a ‘reasonable influx’ Dave sees in his mind’s calculator, so let’s just say that the increase has been quite high, though not yet catastrophic.

If that seems reasonable to Dave, he’s entitled to his opinion. Equally Nigel Farage is justified in describing this statistic as a ‘huge rise’. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

From where I’m sitting my perspective suggests that the statistic is well-nigh meaningless either way. It would only begin to mean something if it were a subset of a wider finding, that of the total number of immigrants from those two countries, employed or otherwise.

Out of idle curiosity one would also be interested to know if the contribution of these people to Britain’s crime rate has risen, both in proportional and absolute terms. The number of those seeking the jobseeker’s allowance and other benefits is also significant, as is the number of those who do odd jobs for cash in hand (there has to be a large overlap between these two groups).

Actually, my curiosity isn’t exactly idle. You see, I spend a few months every year in France, which my UKIP (and conceivably even French) friends probably regard as a scouting mission behind enemy lines.

Well, over the last few years France in general, and over the last few months our sleepy corner of Burgundy in particular, has been inundated by a far from ‘reasonable influx’ of Romanian and Bulgarian gypsies.

These chaps move in, set up their nomadic camps and begin to terrorise the immediate area. Before you contact the thought police, I’m not suggesting that this has anything to do with the racial, ethnic or even cultural peculiarities of these groups. I’m simply making a factual observation.

My next-door neighbour is a chef de brigade at the local gendarmerie, a job that until recently he admits had been a sinecure. Then Bulgarian and especially Romanian gypsies began to move in, and suddenly the police are desperately short-handed.

Many houses in our area are used as second homes, mainly by Parisians and, well, me. That means they remain empty for prolonged periods, making them easy prey for burglars.

I hope you won’t accuse me of indulging in the rhetorical fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc if I remark that, in spite of that, burglaries had been practically nonexistent until the ‘influx’. Now they’re rife.

And if you do decide to accuse me, I’ll blame it on the horse’s mouth from which I got this information: my good neighbour. According to him, those gypsies break in, help themselves to everything floggable and then trash everything else. By way of a farewell gesture they densely cover the slashed carpets with faeces, in volumes suggesting they don’t suffer from malnutrition.

The traditional gypsy pastimes of picking pockets and rustling horses aren’t practised as widely around us – the former, because exponents of this fine trade prefer to operate in Paris and other crowded cities; the latter, because internal combustion has reduced the use of equine transport.

Call me an alarmist, racist or, if such is your preference, Little Englander, but I’d rather not see the same outrages that happen around my second home starting to happen around my first.

Coming at the problem from this shamefully selfish angle, the number of Romanians and Bulgarians in work seems of real relevance. It’s the number of those out of work that’s cause for concern.

Will Dave be kind enough to elucidate the issue? You see, statistics don’t have to be used for party-political propaganda only. Sometimes they may tell you something important.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.