Saturday , May 25 2024

EU and Elephants

Don’t worry, this isn’t about circuses or zoos.  Though, before I move on, and given just as something that ‘tickled’ me. I came across a lovely Polish saying, on Twitter.  Not my circus, not my monkeys – so not my problem.

Anyway, back to the European Union and Elephants.  Or rather, the Brexit vote and Immigration.

There. I said it.  I used the immigration word.  Naughty me!

Immigration though is a key, maybe the key factor affecting Britain’s relationship with the EU.   Ronald Reagan is famously quoted as saying ‘a nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation’. Within the European Union, that is the position in which the UK finds itself.

I have posted on this blog before about all of the fallacious and specious economic arguments put forward by those that want Britain to remain in the EU.  Simply put, they are wrong, they are based on unfounded fears that the EU will, as a result of a vote to Brexit, punish its largest single export market. Isn’t going to happen, so let’s move on.

We can also discount the somewhat deranged comments from David Cameron, who seeks to suggest that a vote for Brexit could lead to World War 3.  Suppose for just a second that this was true.  Why then would he risk such a situation by holding a referendum that might produce a Brexit vote?   Oh I know he only offered the vote to scupper UKIP but still, if he actually believes what he said, then it is madness to continue with a vote.  Truth is, just as Cameron said earlier, as recently as February 2016, the UK can survive outside of the EU.

So let’s look at immigration.

The numbers of people that are immigrating to the UK, from within the EU seem to be incredibly difficult to obtain.  Then when they are published they don’t add up – more on that in a moment.

According to the most recent numbers of immigrants, in the year to September 2015, the numbers were

55,000 from the EU 2 – Bulgaria and Romania, up from just 5,000 in 2007.

69,000 from the EU 8 – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. This is up from 53,000 in 2004.

130,000 from the rest of the EU countries , up from 53,000 in 1991.

These total to 257,000 when rounding is taken account of.

One issue with these numbers, is that the number of new National Insurance (Social Security) numbers that were issued in the same period was 630,000.  The UK government has so far failed to explain who received the ‘missing’ National Insurance numbers.

We need to consider, why these people are coming to the UK.  I doubt it is the weather.

The strong suspicion is that people are coming to the UK because of the strength of the UK economy and the economic benefits that are available.  Add to this the disparity in the UK minimum wage and that prevailing in the ‘sending’ countries as well as ‘in work benefits’ and we have a cocktail mix that guarantees the attractiveness of the UK as an immigration destination and, most importantly, one that will continue.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Based on recent data, from 2015, the minimum monthly wage in the UK is Euro €1,378.

In countries that are suffering IMF/EU and World Bank restrictions, countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal, the rates are €684, €757 and €589 respectively.

In Bulgaria and Romania the rates are €194 and €235 respectively.

In the so called EU 8, Czech Republic €335,, Estonia €390, Hungary €345, Latvia €360, Lithuania ¢325, Poland €410, Slovakia €380 and Slovenia €791

The minimum wage in the UK acts as a magnet for economic migrants from EU countries.  For some of these people, they can come to the UK, take-up a low-paid job and be far, far better-off than they would be in their home country.

Then add to this ‘in work benefits’.  These are things like Working Tax Credits.  This is an invention of the fiscally incontinent former Chancellor, Gordon Brown.  These effectively subsidise companies by providing workers with taxpayer-funded handouts which supplement the low wage they are receiving.   For those migrants from low minimum wage countries, this just makes the UK look like a better and better choice.   Add in child benefit – another taxpayer-funded handout and a migrant would be crazy to go anywhere else.

Note I am clear, in my mind and media comment supports this, that migrants do not typically come to the UK to be ‘benefits scroungers’ who will ‘sponge’ off of the welfare state.  Rather they come to the UK to work.  Many of them end-up doing the work that work-shy, benefit dependent simply won’t do.
David Cameron’s much vaunted ‘victory’ at the EU summit, on the UK having the ability to apply some kind of ’emergency brake’ on benefits to EU immigrants is essentially worthless.  These people do not come here for the benefits, they come here for jobs.

The problem for the UK though is more about available resources.

The NHS is straining under its current load.  In reality, it cannot cope, today.  On any reasonable metric, the NHS is failing.  It isn’t even a question of money – the NHS gets flooded with taxpayer money.  The problem is human and infrastructure resources.  Not enough doctors, nurses and hospitals. The requirement for these resources cannot keep up with ever increasing demand.  The existing population is living longer and that is a challenge so you can imagine what kind of a burden an extra 257,000 people  places on the system.

The problems facing the NHS are replicated in schooling and housing.  It has been estimated that more than 50% of all new homes that are being built (and there’s nowhere near enough of them, for ‘locals’) will be needed for immigrants.  It has been estimated that a new house would need to be built, every 6 minutes, just to keep pace with the housing of EU migrants.  That’s 240 a day, every day.
Classroom sizes in certain areas are approaching 3rd World levels.  Oh and not all of the children , or their parents, speak English, which places a further burden on an already over-loaded system.

So immigration on this scale is simply not sustainable.  London is said to have an immigrant population of greater than 50% and there are parts elsewhere in the UK, where the indigenous population are feeling swamped.

Oh, and on top of the 257,000 people from the EU, there was a further 273,000 immigrants from outside the EU.

And then, just around the corner is Turkey.  Germany, suffering under Merkel’s madness has agreed to ‘energise’ the ascension of Turkey, with its 79 million population, into the EU.  Consider that Turkey has a monthly minimum wage of €425.  How many of them might want to upscale their earning capacity and move to the UK?  Turkey being a predominantly Muslim nation then layers religious and cultural differences on top of the immigration problem.

The only realistic solution for the UK is for the country to take control of its borders and to restrict the number of people that can come to the UK.  In reality this would mean very dramatically reduce the number coming in.  It would mean ending working tax credits for immigrants and child benefit, unless the child accompanied the immigrant – many currently don’t but stay in their home country.

Saying the above, it is therefore crystal clear that the UK must vote leave – Brexit – on June 23rd.  Not doing so, will simply lead to further and ever increasing deterioration in public services as well as a sense of alienation and non-belonging for the native population.

So, consider, then do your duty and vote Brexit.

This post was originally published by the author 10 May 2016.

About Tom O'Brien

Tom is an English Conservative Christian currently working as a Finance Manager in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq. When not in Iraq, his home is in Grantham, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom; also the hometown of Margaret Thatcher.

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