Sunday, November 22, 2009

Immigration myths (2): "Immigration is Labour's fault"

Part Two of our myth-debunking series on the tabloid-fuelled anti-immigration hysteria.

Another typical remark you hear is that Labour is almost single-handedly responsible for Britain's overcrowding as "the population has grown by 1.8 million because of immigration since Labour came to power in 1997".

According to Migration Watch UK, one of their SIX KEY FACTS is that "net immigration has quadrupled since 1997 to 237,000 a year".

So let's look at population figures and growth rates in the same period around other advanced countries.

France. In the last ten years, France has overtaken the UK in the ranking of Europe's most populated countries. It is now third. Migrants continue to come in from both former French colonies and other EU countries. From 59.3m people in 1999, the total population surged to 62.2m in 2009. That's 3m people since Labour came to power in the UK. For the record, during those ten years, France has been almost exclusively ruled by centre-right administrations.

Italy. Italy's population went from 57.4m in 1997 to 59.6m at the end of 2007 (also see this), almost an extra 2m people since Tony Blair won the elections back in Britain. 488,000 people alone arrived between 2007 and 2008. The figures don't account for illegal immigration. In the past twelve years, Italy has been run by both centre-left administrations and Silvio Berlusconi's openly anti-immigration coalition.

Spain. According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística de España, under both the conservative Aznar government and the current socialist one, the population of Spain has seen a massive increment of 5m people in less than ten years (2000-2008): from 40m to the current 45.8m. Large-scale immigration from North Africa, Latin America, Britain and Eastern Europe accounts for the significant increment: five times more than the population growth in the UK.

The Netherlands. Despite being one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, Holland has seen an increase of almost 1m people since 2000, but out of a total population which -at 16.7m- is a quarter that of the UK.

If comparative figures from other EU countries aren't satisfactory enough, we can also take a peek at the population trends in other prosperous nations across the planet.

Australia, for example. With their "point system" often cited as a model to imitate, the Ozzies have seen their population increase by 13.6% in the last nine years, mainly under the expert watch of John Howard's ultra conservatives. In 2000 they had just over 19m people. In 2009, the figures stand at 21.6m. That's over 2.6m people since Labour came to power in the UK.

New Zealand, with an open immigration policy, has experienced an annual increase rate of about 1 per cent. In 1997 there were 3.7m people in New Zealand. The current total is estimated at 4.3m. Apparently a new migrant arrives in New Zealand every 17 minutes and 55 seconds.

The United States of America boasts one of the highest migration rates in the world. It is currently home to 308m people. In 1997 there were 276m people. In the twelve years since Labour gained power in Britain, the USA experienced a population growth of 32m people (also see this) - under the watch of both Republicans and Democrats.

Canada, also known for being home to a very selective immigration policy, has seen a population growth of 5.4% between 2001 and 2006. That's an extra 1.6m people. It sounds reamarkably similar to the UK figures "since Labour came to power in 1997".

[Read "Immigration myths PART ONE" here]


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Be warned, posts like this attract single-issue bigots.

Newmania said...

Not a single issue bigot DHG I have a broad range of interests and tolerance of other views you might learn from.I saw this site on Bobn Pipers blog.
After ten years of claiming Conservatives are closet racists because they wanted immigration controlled now you are saying you did to but were the helpless to pull the drawbridge up( what with that international pressure ?) Poltically it verges on pathetic ….but its another interesting post so I `ll take it seriously
The average net migration in the world is zero . Poland is a prosperous country by many measures .You have selected , high net inflows for your own purposes which to argue that New Labour have not legislated for high immigration , yea errm but they have , its all there to read .. This is much the sort of ridiculous comparison used speciously to confuse the fiscal horrors Brown has visited upon us by reference to Japan.
.The borders of Europe have not been stable and its regions have frequently fallen under higher authorities , the Holy Roman Empire French Domination , Hapsburg rule , the EU and so on . Discussing migration in Europe then is a little like talking about migration within the USA although clearly that is not a comparison to be pushed too far . It is certainly dominant of the German pattern and important in the Netherlands and not remotely comparable with Britain unless you counted Scottish immigration into regions of England . Internationalists dominate most European elites left and centre right . The centre right see their role as building a new Empire of the West to challenge the Anglo Saxon World , especially the USA, in the case of France it is a sort of Proxy gloire . This is why the Conservative Party is isolated in Europe just as the Labour Party would be in the USA , there are a few nutty socialists there I think , just a few . .An over populated borderless region under super National control is what what New Labour to become so in quoting Europe you are quoting the destination not the evidence .
I really canot be bothered with countries in the Anglo-sphere as empty and dependent on inward migration as you mention otherwise . Migration makes them richer as the House of Lords agreed it does us no economic good ( ..missed that myth didn’t you)
Lets take one …
As you correctly point out Holland is crowded .Its land area is 41526 km2 and the souls therein about 16and a half million from memory . It has been run by a much mocked “Progressive regime” although there is enormous disquiet about the levels of immigration and a powerful far right Politics emerging now .
A reasonable comparison would be London and the South\east both from the point of view of urbanisation and population .London and SE contains nearly 16 mio so that’s very close. The same population however is contained in about half the area , 20446 sqaure km actually so there is almost twice the population density in this region to the comparable Netherlands region. This means the crucial issue of housing is vastly more vexed although the level of tolerance greater.

The tolerance shown is all the more remarkable when you look at inward flows to Netherlands over time which have not much changed recently and the ethnic character of in and out flow to the UK.Interesting that 90% of BNP votes are cast in Labour areas many of which have hardly felt the efects of New Labour open door

Do you really think immigration would have been this high under a Conservative Government ? Do you really ? Incidentally I hate you Nazi points system , I do not want to cherry pick Australian Doctors , all are welcome in manageable numbers.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Bloody hell Newmania, you're on the defensive aren't you?

Trolling round blogs dropping your quote mines...ruddy hell fire.

Anita said...

Newmania said:

" Do you really think immigration would have been this high under a Conservative Government ? "

You may want to read a book called 'British immigration policy under the Conservative government', by Asifa Maaria Hussain.

Waves of mass immigration took place between 1950 and the 1970s under both administrations. British passports designated their bearers as citizens of 'the United Kingdom and Colonies', with the implication that every Commonwealth citizen was also a British subject, and, therefore, guaranteed the right of entry to the United Kingdom. The pro-Commonwealth Conservative Government, in power between 1954 and 1961, took the view that immigration controls were unnecessary and divisive.

Also, take a look at the number of migrants who entered the UK throughout the 1980s and until 1991- when the Tories where in power. The trend is clear. 3.5 million foreign born residents in 1981 reaching 4 million by the end of the decade.

Finally, like the article suggests, immigration has been a consistent feature of the entire western world since the 1990s, whether under leftist or right-wing governments, in Europe as well as in North America and Oceania.

Newmania said...

Anita Overall migration was in balance until the mid eighties the net inflow then increased to 50,000 a year. Since 1997 British emigration multiplied by four . Net foreign immigration tripled from 107,000 in 1997 to 333,000 in 2007 .It is therefore cobblers to suggest that ”tendencies” under any Conservative Government can be used to demonstrate anything all about the last ten years .Start with that , and why not read a paper while your at it where you will find New Labour admitting that they cocked up immigration.
I expect you like sub machine guns in your Jane Austen given the level of anachronism you can live with .Commonwealth citizens were not subject to control AT ALL until 1st July, 1962 amongst the Conservatives who wanted ties with the Commonwealth strengthened as a post Empire free trade area was one Enoch Powell.
Your logic then would require you to believe had Enoch Powell been running immigration Policy it would have made no difference to the last ten years . Comical stuff Anita … Comedy gold in fact .
These are the specific policy measures you feel Enoch Powell would have trundled on with….
Embarkation controls - In 1998 the Labour government abolished these controls for the rest of the world. (outside the EU)
The Primary Purpose Rule - imposed a requirement that the applicant should show "that the marriage was not entered into primarily to obtain admission to the United Kingdom". Dropped .(Immigration by spouses has increased by 50% since 1997.)
Work Permits - The number of work permits issued has trebled since 1997.
Eastern Europe 50,000 migrants could have been expected in the first four years. Only wrong by a factor of ten …

We are now at a stage where more than half of live births were to foreign mothers in London last year 54%. Many Boroughs have over half those in school speaking English only as a foreign Language . Britain for reason I have discussed cannot reasonably be compared with the United States of Europe or The United States of America .Globally, the percentage of world population who are international migrants has only increased from 2.5% in 1960 to 3.0 percent in 2005 if you are interested . Without immigration, Germany, Italy and Spain would decline sharply in numbers.

As we have seen the South East and London taken as a Region is twice as crowded as the Netherlands an area of similar urban living and population. That population , says the ONS is set rise by 19% by 2031 largely due to increased immigration . Where is the comparison with that nightmare ? Oceana ?
Do you have any conception of the difference between house prices /wages in Australia and France say with the SE of England ?

I think you are right to say that there are competing principles for Conservatives , at an early stage post Empirical errors ,but free trade and freedom of movement are consistent considerations . Equally the Nation as a bond of memory and allegiance is central to Conservatism . For this reason immigration would certainly have been initially watched and then moderated .We can be confident at least that the Conservatives would not have actively formed policy to increase numbers ( and conveniently for me , bragged about it …. )
Mr Blunkett, 2002."I have doubled the number of work permits this year to 150,000. We have opened up new immigration routes ….In other words, there is a massive social as well as economic agenda. But to sell it to the British people and to avoid the fear of change and flux which always creates tension and the danger of racists exploiting it, we need to do that effectively and legally. We need to have integration programmes that work."
Mr Blunkett 2003 that there was "no obvious upper limit" to the number of immigrants who could settle in the UK. This was the period Andrew Neather was talking about …

If I were you I would start wondering why New Labour wanted to depress wages so much, its not just Political Correctness its also slash and burn capitalism

claude said...


No-one is denying the radical increase in immigration. But the point is that every other 'advanced' Western country has experienced similar, if not more intense, patterns in the same period.

Nobody is suggesting immigration rates in 2006 were the same as 1982. So, stop banging about that and look at the point. It is not something that took place because of New Labour. If you look at the 1990s, figures were already on the increase around the end of John Major's tenure.

I'm not discussing whether it's a good or a bad thing here. I'm saying that cheap political pointscoring of the type "Tories better than Labour, Labour better than Tories", "black and white" is useless.

claude said...

Here they are. Take a look here.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Net Immigration for foreign citizens went from 382.4 in 1971-1980 to 445.2 in 1981-1990 and to 786.7 (thousands) in the period 1991-2000.

The trend would be obvious to a child. And remind me, who was in power between 1979 and 1997?

claude said...

I will give you one thing Newmania.
You got it right when you mentioned New Labour's policy of depressing wages and immigration used to some extent to fulfil that policy of "slash and burn capitalism", as you call it.

It's true, but again, the Tories would have done the same. If not worse (minimum wage=doomsday if I remember William Hague's apocalyptic words back in 1999).

Anonymous said...

both parties are to blame, but sadly new labour did little to help integrate the immigrants because they did not build the houses to house them, labour was to busy praying the Banks would flog them mortgages. Now we have a country which is pretty dam divided into groups of immigrants.