Dave’s Home Office launched a poster campaign aimed to encourage illegal immigrants to do the decent thing and go back where they came from, without trouble like.
The posters show a pair of handcuffs and say, ‘In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.’
The response was predictable in some quarters (LibDem spokesmen) and unpredictable in others (Nigel Farage).
The former complained that “these poster vans were not cleared or agreed by Lib Dems in government” and called them a “disproportionate, distasteful and ineffective way to do it.”
Farage jumped on the bandwagon by opining that “the tone of the billboards is nasty, unpleasant”.
The only adjective in the whole lot that makes any sense is ‘ineffective’. The rest of them are frankly puzzling.
Doing anything illegal presupposes the likelihood of arrest. The two go together like politics and opportunism. I mean, the posters didn’t show the muzzle of a gun pointing at the camera with a caption of “come to Britain illegally, see the sights.”
‘Ineffective’ is just about right. The government already has a backlog of 500,000 cases, which cover an estimated half of all illegals in the UK. Clearing those cases would take more than a long lifetime even with the will to do so.
Rather than proving yet again that all politicians are alike, Nigel Farage ought not to distract attention from the second part of his message: the real problem we have isn’t with illegal but legal immigration.
In five months, any of the 28 million Romanians and Bulgarians will be able to settle in Britain as of right. The government is assuring us that only very few will want to do so.
Where have we heard this before? Oh yes, in 2004, when citizens of eight Eastern European countries became eligible for entry into Britain.
Not to worry, said the government then as it’s saying now. No more than 10,000 would come. Well, pushing the envelope all the way, let’s say 13,000. Tops.
How many did come immediately? 627,000. Fifty times as many as predicted. And many more in the next several years.
Of course my old friend Vince Cable doesn’t think this is a problem. Quite the opposite: those immigrants are like new blood flowing into the veins of our economy.
Think of all those Polish plumbers fixing all those leaking taps. Think of all those funny-sounding scaffolders, working for £5 an hour, cash. Brits, says Vince, wouldn’t cross the street for that kind of dosh, never mind climbing six storeys up.
Well, part of the reason the Brits wouldn’t want low-paying work is that socialists like Vince have created the welfare state. It takes a reasonably well-paying job to earn as much as full benefits – and few of those on the dole are qualified to get any job at all, never mind a good one.
You see, in parallel with creating the welfare state socialists like Vince also created a system of education that only trains a pupil to collect a welfare cheque and sign his name on the receipt – in the unlikely event that he knows how.
But even the argument that those hardworking, low-paid immigrants are good for the economy is specious. For in a few months or years they too will qualify for welfare and, since the education in their home countries is better than ours, they’ll figure out that it makes no sense to seek menial work.
So whatever benefit they do bring is strictly short-term – especially since a great part of their income isn’t spent in Britain. It is Western-Unioned straight back home.
Yet when talking about Romanians and Bulgarians, one doesn’t anticipate any net benefit at all. We don’t know how many of the 28 million will come, though close to a million would be a fair guess.
We can be absolutely certain though that the Gypsy population of both countries will make up a lion’s share of new arrivals. This population isn’t negligible.
At last count there are 621,573 Gypsies in Romania and 325,343 in Bulgaria. Considering that Britain is considerably fuller of easy pickings than their homelands, one can confidently predict that at least half a million will end up in our streets.
If you’re wondering what effect they’ll have, we already have a taste of things to come. There are already 200,000 Gypsies in British housing and at least 100,000 on sites, technically homeless.
Most of them don’t become plumbers or scaffolders – they become beggars, thieves, pimps, muggers, squatters and fraudsters. Now triple or quadruple their number in your head and feel it explode.
Dave’s head doesn’t. He’s happy with the situation. His own street is blocked off by a cast-iron fence manned around the clock by sharpshooting guards, so Sam has nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile he can busily erect a multitude of Potemkin villages hiding until the next elections the catastrophic state of our economy, public services, education, defence capability.
And immigration? Well, just put out a few inane posters and hope that not too many voters will get mugged or raped between January, 2014, and mid-2015.
Hope’s cheap. But it can be very dear at the price.
P.S. My tomorrow’s blog will appear on archbishop–cranmer.blogspot.com/