Students and migration – Evan Davis asks good questions


Mr Davis asked a couple of good questions yesterday on the Today programme. Faced with Michael Heseltine saying student numbers should be left out of the net migration statistics, he asked him how this would make any difference, as in a steady state the same number leave their courses at their end as start courses at the beginning. It should on this basis make no difference to the net figure.

Lord Heseltine said this was a good point which he then proceeded to ignore, as he was clearly unable to answer it. What he should have said was there had been great growth in student numbers coming to the UK under Labour. Many of these came to institutions other than universities, including a large number of bogus colleges which gave cover to young people to enter the country and then to find work without the correct permits.

The Coalition government has taken tough action to close down a large number of these bogus colleges. In the year to June 2010 the then UK government granted 320,000 student visas. In the year to December 2013 this had dropped to 219,000. The fall occurred in the non university numbers. The government saw that it could not control the overall totals of new migrants without controlling student visa numbers, because this system had been so abused. It made sure that all students properly qualified to come to a UK university are able to do so, and are welcome.

Mr Davis then asked Lord Heseltine to discuss the wisdom of having a net migration target, suggesting it was something sketched on the back of an envelope. His guest took the easy option, talking about the lack of envelopes in use in framing policy, and praising civil servants for the work they do to flesh out Ministerial policies. He once again ducked the interesting question of whether we need a gross or net target.

What he could have said was a net target matters because public service provision is most sensitive to the total number of people in the country needing public  service. Controlling net migration offers some control over the amount of extra roadspace, new trains, and extra health and educational capacity we need as we respond to the changing population. If one extra person enters the country at the same time as one person emigrates there is not the same increase in demand as if an extra one person enters.

I think we need to look at both net and gross migration. You could have  a situation where the public spending consequences of no net migration need managing, depending on who leaves and who arrives and their requirements for public spending support.  You need to look at the impact of large amounts of change in the population either way. Big change in population can also have large geographical impacts, if many arriving choose to settle in the faster growing more populated areas, whilst those leaving come from a wider geographical base.

In the year to September 2013 the net migration figure was still at 212,000 for the most recent year. The gross inward migration figures was 532,000, with 320,000 leaving. Under Labour gross inward migration reached 600,000. Within this inward  migration from non EU countries was well down on the Labour years,  but EU migration was increasing.  We need to be concerned about gross as well as net.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    We need to stop using the term migration, and talk about both immigration and emigration.

    We also need to count the numbers of people coming into this country, and the numbers leaving. It would also be useful to know where these people are coming from.

    Finally. We need to take measures to stop health tourism. Whilst EU Member Countries citizens can access the NHS, we should do all we can to stop those from other countries coming here solely to benefit from free medical care. eg All women who are 6 months or more pregnant.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Mark–I’m with you on the annoying use of “migration”, which is something wildebeest do in the Serengeti–Very obviously some genius decided that the government should drop the word immigration because the very concept is anathema to most voters. Anything with “net” in front of it of course appears to minimise the problem so would appeal to Cameron’s PR approach.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Exactly the “right on” language of people clearly just trying to deceive and trick voters.

    • Margaret Brandreth-J
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Very true Mark. ‘Just popped into to the UK to have my baby and pick up a few medicines before leaving’ Can I have 6 months supply of my medication whilst I go back to (named foreign country ed)?(although Expensive air fare for medication!)

      We were a little lax on inward migrants and vaccinations. The law seems to be tightening in this respect. We let all diseases in and sent home protected.

      • Realist
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        However if you are stupid enough to catch Ebola abroad then we will end out an RAF plane to re-patriate you & bring you to the largest city in the UK.

    • outsider
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Dear MarkB, How can anyone take the supposed drive to reduce net or gross immigration seriously so long as the public services, partyicularly rhe NHS, continue to recruit actively overseas?

      • Mark B
        Posted August 28, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

        Side stepping your point. I am against MASS – immigration, not immigration par se. Even amongst EU Member Countries, I believe there should be a points based system.

        Quality over quantity everytime.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      John Redwood is occasionally fluent in the language of the politically correct because of I suspect, t a (misplaced) fear that he may upset thin skinned immigrant voters. Those same voters that in reality would never vote for a Conservative. It’s a pity he feels the need to bend his knee to such nonsense.

      • William Gruff
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        You can’t blame Dr Redwood for conserving his life’s work. How many of us would willingly throw that away?

        Most people will bend the knee when oblivion, and dependence on the NHS and other state services, is the alternative to an occasionally bad conscience.

    • bigneil
      Posted August 27, 2014 at 1:00 am | Permalink

      Not only EU can use the NHS. Recently reported case of an American drug dealer finished his sentence and was about to be deported back. He claimed he would not be able to afford the insulin he needed when back home – so was allowed to stay??? Gobsmacked – how can anyone – even someone who sold “death” -be rewarded with a free life here?? -The govt should have “co-operated” with the ruling on his insulin cost -gave him the cash – and deported him, no cost on housing him or any other health issues he may develop -no pension costs – GONE. Nothing so sensible -reward him with a free life till he drops – -it’s only taxpayers cash after all.

  2. Old Albion
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t dispute your figures JR. But those figures do not, indeed can not include the thousands of illegals that enter every year.

  3. Richard1
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Well one country we are going to get a flood of immigrants from if they vote for independence is Scotland. Alistair Darling’s performance was very weak on the debate, and although Salmon’s still has no answers eg to what currency Scotland would have he appears to have ‘won’. I don’t suppose Scots will be foolish enough to vote for independence, but if they don’t it will be no thanks to the Darling campaign.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Britain is an older union than Germany, Spain, the USA Why don’t these countries (made up from principalities) have these problems ? Why is the answer for the EU always closer unification yet for us it isn’t ?

      Why of all places is Britain being considered for break-up ?

      I despair that we have even reached this point. I can’t quite believe it’s happening. Where did it come from ?

      Tony Blair. Devolution. He has utterly ruined our country. He has imperiled its people.

      The whole point of this is not to create an independent Scotland but a Scottish Socialist Republic – free from ever being run by Tories ever again.

      The Left have won. Whichever way the Scots vote. Until they find that the Tories plant the money trees that the Socialists chop down.

      No wonder 300,000 Tory voters (mostly) are leaving the country ever year and 500,000 Labour voters (mostly) are coming into it.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        “Why don’t these countries (made up from principalities)” Not the USA of course. But we don’t ever hear of US states calling for independence.

        The English have been totally maligned.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          “No wonder 300,000 Tory voters (mostly) are leaving the country ever year and 500,000 Labour voters (mostly) are coming into it.”

          Britain as a whole, that is.

          • Roger
            Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            Sadly that is probably true and makes me despair at what the future holds for this country. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a breakdown of the background and education of voters by party. I don’t think it would throw up any surprises though.

          • Bob
            Posted August 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            ““No wonder 300,000 Tory voters (mostly) are leaving the country ever year and 500,000 Labour voters (mostly) are coming into it.””

            So long as the incomers can stop ukip, that all that matters to the Tories. EU before party and all that.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            Where are UKIPS Nigel Farage’s prediction of 5000 a week Rumanians and Bulgarians? The ONS has released the first set of figures for the number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK since the lifting of transitional controls in January. It has fallen by 4,000.
            Deluded lies and fantasy from a non party with no policies appealing to ….. right whiners like yourself Bob.

          • REPay
            Posted August 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            Thank you anonymous for pointing this out! The type of people Britain needs are leaving unremarked. The last administration succeeded in swelling its voter base and was no doubt glad to see troublesome higher rate taxpayers leaving. We get called “non-doms”…and they take away our vote.

      • outsider
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        The main reason that the UK is fissiparous, I feel, is because very large numbers of its citizens no longer think it is a country worth belonging to and being loyal to, thanks in part to the mediocrity and obsolete ideas of its political leaders. If you are Welsh or Scottish, you have the more inspiring (if less practical) alternative of creating your own fresh dynamic country. If you are English you can only vote Ukip, which does not have quite the same positive appeal.

        • matthu
          Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          Of course the fact that citizens no longer identify as strongly with the UK is all part of the great design to promote the EU.

          Hence EU flag identified with everything good, England flag with everything bad. EU identified with giving grants, UK with collecting taxation. Power in EU is centralised, power in UK is devolved. Equal rights to every language, gender, faith, ability, size etc. etc. so in then end everything is homogenised.

          Now even David Cameron is being urged to replace Lord Hill with a female representative!

          (Good luck with the negotiations, by the way. And please ask DECC why they support limiting the size of a vacuum cleaner to 900 watts, how much energy that will save over a year and how much that will lower global temperatures.)

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Be prepared for the Cameron and his fanatical Unionists going soft on such things as the currency, tax raising without the loss of the Barnett formula and so on. My guess is they will let Scotland keep the pound if they vote YES maybe even without the debt and I dare say subsidies will continue for years, until the formal break which may be years away, in spite of so-called tough talk at the beginning. So win or lose Scotland will get pretty well everything it wished for and demanded. Guess who will be the losers, and how much more will the English have to put up with and bear.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        The Scottish government would continue with the pound anyway, but only as users and in the meantime be applying for membership of the EU. The aim will be to adopt the Euro in due course.
        If separation is achieved then the next referendum within Scotland will probably be on the future of the monarchy and no doubt the propaganda will do its job well.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Richard–If that audience last night was unbiased and selected (by PR Consultants) so as to be balanced and neutral and all the rest then I am a giraffe

      • Richard1
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        I agree the whopping and shouting by the nationaists was absurd. The event was ill tempered and poorly chaired. Salmonds divisiveness is unpleasant but appears to be partially successful. God help Scotland if they get independence with him in charge.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        The SNP supporters make a noise out of proportion to their numbers as the far-Left always do.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 27, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          Max–We must hope that, unlike the loud-mouthed Nationalists, with their patently yobbish element, the Unionists are keeping their counsel and with luck will demolish the insufferable conceited and deceitful Salmond. It was a pity though that Darling was clearly not on form the other night. How could Salmond be allowed to get away with talking nonsense such as “three Plan B’s” when what he needs but hasn’t got is one decent Plan A ? As I say, maybe the good guys quietly noticed this sort of thing for the bilge it was.

  4. matthu
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    If the UK government is succeeding in reducing the annual inflow of students as you suggest, are they seeking to exclude this reduction from the net migration figures i.e. by not reporting their success?

    Or should we draw the conclusion that they are planning a substantial increase in the number of students and do not want this to reflect badly on their efforts to reduce net migration?

    I suspect the latter.

  5. alan jutson,
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    The simple fact John, is we have no idea of the exact amount of people arriving or leaving.

    It would seem from many reports, that our so called border controls are no controls at all.

    It should be so simple to count people in and out, by the simple scanning a passport/visa.

    It seems this simple action is beyond the abilities of any Government department or computer system yet to be installed so far, if we are to believe the excuses given..

    Illegals will always foul up the figures, but not to be able to count all legal arrivals and leavers is simply a nonsense, as any figures are simply a calculation, and given that the governments record of so called calculations on almost anything past has a huge factor for error, it is almost meaningless.

    You only have to walk around any large town or city with your eyes open to see the difference immigration has made to the make up of our population during the last 20 years.

    As I have mentioned on this site before, the amount of sewerage being produced and treated would give you more accurate figures as to the true level of our population and its growth..

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      The government clearly just do not want to count people in and out, it does not suit them politically.

    • qubus
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      If Tesco can manage to scan my Clubcard every time that I go in for my newspaper and a few small items, and then post relevant free coupons to me based on my recent purchases, why can’t HMG devise a similar scheme to count migrants in and out of the country. It is exactly the same in principle, just on a much bigger scale.

      How much have they wasted on failed IT projects?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but as I say:- The government clearly just do not want to count people in and out, it does not suit them politically.

      • bigneil
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:51 am | Permalink

        So -if you let Tesco run immigration we could be worse off – -let one in -get another free.

        • alan jutson,
          Posted August 27, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink


          Had to laugh at that one.

          But it could be refuse one, refuse two.
          They could all be past their entry date.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    “The gross inward migration figures was 532,000, with 320,000 leaving.”

    How does this affect the tax take ? Does it balance ? Is this exchange bringing wealth and ability into the country or is it leaving ?

    Also – foreign students at legitimate universities. Are they being chased up for their fees ? Are our own students being denied places at good universities ?

    • qubus
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      And what about all these young foreign students who bring their wives with them and have children born in the UK using the NHS?

      • qubus
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Having said that, I have to add that, on the whole, I find these young foreign students are a pleasure to get to know. Our own young people could learn a lot from them.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Qubus – You’re generalising too much about our young.

  7. ColinD.
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    There are additional benefits of tracking gross numbers in and out:
    (1) Those that leave are probably British or at least imbued in British culture and speak English. Those that enter are probably different culture/language with all the resultant stresses and strains on the British population and services
    (2) Those that leave are probably on average more healthy than those that enter. Why would you leave the country if you needed the NHS badly?
    (3) I suspect governments deliberately use net because it is smaller and makes our immigration problems sound less significant and less of a worry. But all government estimates of numbers have proved too low and too optimistic. Quoting ‘net’ smacks of cover – up and should no longer be allowed.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Colin – The majority of those leaving will be those with Conservative instincts.

      Skilled, resourceful, clever, hard working, easy to assimilate, self funded…

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        ………..well educated, entrepreneurial and willing to take risks for their own adavancement

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Demographic changes are perhaps the most important thing that is going on in England at the moment. Public services depend on a hard working, honest and productive citizenry who contribute rather than receive. People who prefer peace to war.

    Because of a number of factors: abortion, contraception, family and marriage breakdown, compulsory education stressing “success” for women, cost of housing and replacing various kinds of sex with actually having and rearing children, we, the aborigines of Great Britain are in demographic decline and, inevitably, our ideas of how to contribute based on Anglican Christian principles will decline. I believe this is already happening very fast indeed.

    Soon we will be in the minority, leaving the cities to people who do not share our ideas. King Canute couldn’t do anything about the tide coming in. Neither, it seems, will any government do anything really conclusive.

    Immigration is in no way the fault of the government or indeed any individual. We are faced with a choice: be Japan and exclude everyone who is not Japanese or come to terms with international travel and globalisation. At the moment we seem to be doing that quite successfully really.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Mike, I spent about 30 years living and working overseas. At all times I had to have a visa and at the end of my employment I was given a few weeks to pack up home and family and leave.
      If the third world can do it why can’t we.
      Education was paid for as was medical by the company usually.
      We owned property overseas and had to deposit a significant sum in a local bank and we had to produce health insurance.
      There is no reason other than stupidity on the part of our rulers why the UK shouldn’t do the same.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        “There is no reason other than stupidity on the part of our rulers why the UK shouldn’t [institute effective border controls as I, myself experienced them abroad].”

        Come on, Ian, you weren’t born yesterday!

        • bigneil
          Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

          Your right -he wasn’t born yesterday -Known him for over 42 years. One of the best people I have ever met -and he makes a nice cuppa as well.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Ian–And it is not just the Third World–When, long ago, I arrived in America for a “Tour of Duty” as arranged by my employer, and with just one suitcase, Immigration had a problem with my Visa and I was only (after much palaver) allowed to stay one night (as against being put on the next plane home–but I had rented out my flat), after which I was packed off to Canada (Toronto–the closest American Embassy in a foreign country, to whom I had to re-apply) and camped in a Hotel there before I was allowed in.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Mike – Japan pulled together after massive earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear catastrophe.

      Would Britain have done nearly so well ? One thinks not.

      Immigration IS the responsibility of government and their fault. The ‘success’ you mention ? Fortunately for us we were gifted with an environmentally safe country so our mettle hasn’t (yet) been tested. We have been ‘successful’ only by dropping our standards and turning a blind eye to appease those who would get nasty otherwise.

      They have destabilised and fragmented a once settled and secure country.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      “Immigration is in no way the fault of the government”

      Yes it is, unwanted mass immigration is ENTIRELY the fault of the government. For about three decades the UK government maintained a policy of “would-be zero” immigration, but since the early 1990’s successive governments have not only allowed but actively encouraged mass immigration on every possible pretext; it is ridiculous to try to absolve these politicians from their responsibility for a policy which in my view can only be described as wicked.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        And it is a an active policy that the SNP government in Scotland is pursuing with zealous determination. ‘It’s not about identity’ as the SNP said recently to the BBC. Even if England put strict controls on immigration there will be a serious risk that large numbers of economic migrants move south on arrival in Scotland. Anyone who thinks that Scotland’s problems are not their problems is at best naïve.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Well the be like Japan or have open borders is just a nonsense argument usually put by those with a vested interest in keeping immigration numbers high.

      We do a good deal worse than many other European countries in controlling immigration despite having the advantage of being an island. It’s just a question of political will. Unfortunately until we are rid of our wretched politically correct rulers we will never turn the tide.

  9. zorro
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Yes, this argument keeps rearing its head, and is based on the fallacy that students don’t have a net effect on the immigration total. It is, of course, nonsense, and I have attached a couple of useful papers which show how bogus students have stayed on in different guises and how the numbers had risen so much. This is not even taking account of those who just overstay or who abuse immigration law via the sham marriage route….

    As always, there needs to be a far more robust way of effectively measuring/managing entry/departures of students and other immigrants, something which governments have singularly failed to effect…… The E-Borders debacle and all its ramifications being the most visible sign of this phenomena. The only real reason why this has not been successfully enacted, is that any government will be petrified about what the figures really show about the rate of non compliance by visa holders and the true nature of overstaying in the UK…. Political dynamite….

    The cut in inward migration is very important as you can barely rely on an exodus of British migrating to balance your figures, and you really need a relative skills assessment of those arriving/leaving. It is far easier and less expensive to manage downwards rather than upwards, and less expensive in the long run and better for GDP per capita (which is what counts)….


  10. Lifelogic
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Above all we should be concerned about the relative economic potential and quality of those arriving & leaving and any language, demand for government “services”, and cultural problems that ensue.

    Oh, and an envelope and a pencil are quite enough to work out that HS2, wind farms, PV roofs, over taxation, over complex taxation, nearly everything coming from the EU, unselective immigration, over regulation and daft employment laws all damage the economy and wealth hugely.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    “… as in a steady state the same number leave their courses at their end as start courses at the beginning.”

    Yes, but leaving their courses is not the same as leaving the country, is it?

    I expect that somebody will post the statistics for numbers of foreign students, real or bogus, who have NOT been going back home over recent years; and didn’t Cameron himself visit India and tell the entire youth of that country that they were all not only free to come here and study, there was no limit on numbers, but also stay afterwards provided they could get a “graduate level” job?

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Denis, all but one security guards were I work are ex students from India, Africa and the M.E. All have done courses around Birmingham and show no intention of ever leaving. (allegation about an individual removed ed)
      I estimate over 60% remain (not specific to named group I assume ed) as illegal immigrants which is why Mark Field and stupid Hesletine want them removed from the count. They must think we just arrived in a refrigerated container.

      Reply People outstaying their visas is a problem for the UK. Many illegals are people who came here legally. I do not know how you could prove your very high general figure.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        I think you will find Migration Watch have used that figure. Anyway, there is no way the government is going to find out because it doesn’t want to know.
        All the excuses about counting people in ands out are finished John. Where there’s a will there’s a way. THERE IS NO WILL.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        “I do not know how you could prove your very high general figure.”

        Nor could your Government disprove it – which is the problem. I agree with Ian as it happens. I think that the Government is lying to us.

        No one is being fooled, John.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Of course the government is lying to us. Is the pope not a catholic?

          Just luck at the way they (and the police service) fiddle the crime statistics hand over fist, and the NHS waiting list statistics, and the government propaganda budget. They probably spend more time fiddling the figures and on propaganda than they do on urgently needed operations or catching “real” criminals.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply: Whether it’s 60% or 29% we know that there is a big problem. There are so many immigrants in our country now that the argument has moved on beyond statistics.

  12. APL
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    JR: “Faced with Michael Heseltine saying student numbers should be left out of the net migration statistics, ”

    The real question here is, Why has the ( I presume BBC ) rolled out the tired old backstabbing ‘has-been’ Hestletine for an interview?

    Apart from the fact that Hestletine hasn’t stood for election for, what 20 years, why are we listening to his tedious twattering?

    • Mark B
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Good shout !

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Why is Mr Heseltine included by the BBC ? Because he still has huge influence over the Tory party. More than its back bench MPs clearly.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          Well indeed the Tory Party is currently led by a Heseltine/Heath/Major/Ken Clark/BBC think person to his core.

          One who thinks HMRC should be able to steal money from voters bank accounts without bothering to go to court and that insurance & pensions should be gender neutral rather than consider the actual risks.

          • APL
            Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “Well indeed the Tory Party is currently led by a Heseltine/Heath/Major/Ken Clark/BBC think person”

            But don’t worry, John Redwood is on a mission to achieve ‘change from within’.

            So, that’s working out well.

  13. APL
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    … on any topic whatsoever?

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    “In the year to September 2013 the net migration figure was still at 212,000 for the most recent year. The gross inward migration figures was 532,000, with 320,000 leaving. Under Labour gross inward migration reached 600,000.”

    In other words, this government has utterly failed even on the basis of the Tory promise to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands and even supposing that to mean less than a hundred thousand – not the interpretation most people would immediately put on it, and if that is what was actually meant then why was it not couched in those terms? – and the best that can be said is that at least gross immigration is somewhat reduced from the horrendous peak number under the Labour government.

    The people of this country, the established body of citizens, do not want anything like that level of immigration; one poll showed that gross immigration of about 70,000 a year would be considered too high by half of the citizens, with the other half thinking that it would too low, so that would be what is called the “median”; and yet it seems that the politicians in the old political parties don’t give a damn what the citizens may think – who do these plebs think they are to decide this, are they really so foolish that they believe this to be their country? – and are determined to keep immigration an order of magnitude higher.

    • Feodor
      Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

      Are you seriously suggesting that the way to determine what level of immigration is needed/beneficial is to conduct a public opinion poll!?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        My very serious suggestion has been and still is that it should be put to an official national referendum. That could be structured in the same way as some of the opinion polls, inviting the citizens of this country to choose one a range of options for the maximum level of annual immigration into their country, with “zero” at the bottom of the range and “no limit” at the top. That would be the democratic way, enabling the established body of citizens of the UK to decide among themselves how many new citizens they wished to add to their numbers through immigration. However failing an official referendum there is ample information from opinion polls which the government could use to shape its policies, if it chose to do so. Instead it chooses to defy the clear will of the people that immigration should be drastically curtailed, a fundamentally anti-democratic attitude which you seem to find acceptable. Of course if there was such a national referendum then you would have a vote to cast and could express your support for what is effectively the present government policy by choosing the “no limit” option, along with a very small percentage of your fellow citizens. Instead the few who would favour “no limit” on immigration are getting their way year after year, in fact now decade after decade, over the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the citizens.

  15. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I didn’t hear the programme. I am pleased that on this particular edition of Radio 4’s flagship programme some good questions were asked. So often this is not the case.

    I agree with JR’s analysis of the relevance of the questions and the usefulness of the answers.

    It would have been an even better question if the “envelope” had not been included: the means by which the target is established is not the way to judge the wisdom of what results.

    BBC coverage of politics and current affairs is devalued by poor questions. There are loads of examples; for instance, to the relevant expert: “what do you think should be done about the problem, do you think it should be A or B?”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is not ike Evan Davis to ask anything very demanding or sensible of lefty pro EU “BBC think” people like Lord Heseltine or even Cameron.

  16. Nick
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Still missing the basics. Why should I or anyone else be forced to pay for a migrant to be in the UK?

    It’s all about net contributions. If a migrant, black or white, red green or yellow makes a net contribution, lets have them here.

    If they are criminals, lets kick them out.etc ed

    So why are we paying any migrant non contributory benefits?

    Why are any migrants allowed into social housing?

    All point to the fact they are too poor to make a net contribution.

    You spend 11.5K per person per year. If they accrue a state pension, that’s another 6.3K a year in tax they need to pay. Per migrant, dependents included.

    Not happening. You are making the UK poorer.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Indeed anyone on less than about £30,000 is almost certainly a net financial liability and is worsening the deficit. Unless perhaps they have no children, are in good health and do not live too long after retiring.

    • Stevie
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      What happens when we run out of money to pay all of the benefits that individuals claim. Borrow more and more but what happens when no one will loan us money because of size our national dept.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The net number is useful as a broadbrush measure. But for practical purposes gross numbers and where to they go or from they leave matter more.

    I suggest there is an even more important ingredient, probably impossible to measure, of the net financial impact of migration resulting from the respective earning power, tax potential and call on public spending of migrants. Perhaps someone has attempted a comprehensive analysis of this balance. Most of the analyses I have seen trotted out have been tendentious not neutral – usually in attempts to justify the huge increase in immigration in the past 10-15 years. These have not been convincing.

  18. Iain Moore
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    There seems to be another establishment push on mass immigration. Fraser Nelson has sought to rewrite the asylum laws by suggesting we should take asylum seekers from source as well as those that wash up on our borders. Mark Feild MP has popped up making claims we are all in love with foreign students, and along with Hesletine wants to fiddle the immigration figures by excluding foreign students.

    Mass immigration is an ecological and cultural disaster for our country, that our political class is incapable and unwilling to get to grips with it says all you need to know as to why people think politics is a complete and utter waste of time, for quite simply the British political establishment are bloody useless. For neither Labour , Conservatives or Libdems are able to control our borders, which if the first role of Government is defence, being unable to manage our borders means they have failed at their first task.

    Personally I have come to the conclusion that nobody can be as incompetent as the British political establishment are over mass immigration. I believe what they are doing is to deliver an immigration policy of manufactured incompetence, for as we see with Fraser, Field and Hesletine, the establishment don’t really want to control immigration, for their backers are making too much money out it. So we get a load of pretence that they are taking the issue seriously but make sure they miserably fail at the task.

  19. JoolsB
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    What we haven’t seen yet is the impact this Tory led Government’s discriminatory £9,000 tuition fees against England’s young will have on net migration figures. The first post graduates to be lumbered with crippling debts will not be finishing their courses until at least 2015.

    What we can expect to see is a massive brain drain when many talented English youngsters realise that the only way to escape this enormous debt which will take most of their working lives to pay off if they stay (unless they have rich parents like Clegg and Cameron that is) is to take their talents to far off countries.

    Then the stupid politicians will be wondering why there is a shortage of doctors (English ones that is), scientists, mathematicians etc. in England but at least they will be able to pat themselves on the back and claim that net migration has gone down. Not because there are less coming into the country of course but because more and more English kids will have left and who can blame them?

    • William Gruff
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      The mess our higher education system has become is principally the fault of successive Conservative governments under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and later Blair and Brown, and although I detest the man, it isn’t really fair to blame Grooovey Dave. The system was well and truly broken long before May 2010.

      The elevation of the polytechnics and other institutions, many of which provided first class vocational courses in areas in which we once led the world, to universities was a catastrophic blunder that we have yet to suffer the full consequences of. As English students shy away from higher education, because of the insupportable financial burden, English universities will increasingly depend on overseas students to keep them in business – which may be why various Tory grandees want foreign students omitted from immigration figures – becoming less attractive to our own kind as they remake themselves to appeal to foreign talent, which talent will then take the skilled jobs Englishmen and women will no longer be able to do.

      That foreign talent will become the ‘British’ middle and upper class and we will be second and third class citizens in our own land, serving people who have no understanding of our history and heritage, our traditions, our laws and our culture, and may well actively dislike us, as is already the case with some of our minority communities. Our forefathers, who suffered so much that we might not, must be turning in their graves at the carelessness with which we have allowed our political class to give away what of our nation they cannot sell.

      Blair pushed tuition fees through in England on the back of Scotch votes; England MPs voted against them, and had we an English Parliament with responsibility for education there might be no problem now. There are far too many universities and far far too many students in higher education and until that situation can be reversed the days of free higher education are over. Grooovey Dave cannot now really do much about the issue.

      Only an English Parliament can properly represent the interests of the people of England.

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    JR: “In the year to September 2013 the net migration figure was still at 212,000 for the most recent year.”
    The following is a quote from your party leader in the Telegraph on 10 January2010:
    “In the last decade, net immigration in some years has been sort of 200,000, so implying a 2 million increase over a decade, which I think is too much.
    We would like to see net immigration in the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands. I don’t think that’s unrealistic. ”
    His performance has been an abject failure and your latets figure is higher than the one he thought was too much. Many of us realised, of course, that whilst we are in the EU there can be no control over net or gross immigration. Hence your party was being deceitful and still is. Similarly, many of us have long believed that: ” We need to be concerned about gross as well as net” but, unlike the majority of the population, the three main Westmisnter parties would prefer not to discuss immigration but actively continue with it at a pace. Perhaps you could explain just why that is?

    • majorfrustration
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Spot on. Wonder why the Government is looking at selling down the student loan book?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Last I heard repayments might be a low as 50% with EU students and particularly some women, who tend to take career breaks and often choose lower paid professions and part time jobs unlikely to repay much.

        Thus costing about the same as the old grant system.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          They ‘choose’ lower paid professions, not have them given to them? They take career breaks? Like having children you mean. This is a break? It would not be a ‘break’ if similar circumstances where had by men would it?

          • Martyn G
            Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

            Are you not looking at what is being proposed – long breaks being given to men off months 0ff work after the birth of their child? Catch up with the real, albeit increasingly insane PC world, please.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      You quote Cameron ‘we would like to’. Not ‘We will’. The issue is a home grown one. The EU is a convenient scape-goat for the politicians who claim to want to reduce immigration. How would the French deal with their immigration disaster under a Le-Penne government?

  21. Andyvan
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    All this chat about how immigration should be controlled does not address the cause of the type of immigration that causes problems. What most people do not like is the benefit tourism kind of immigration. Those people that come purely to claim benefits that they have not contributed to in other words. The best way to combat that is remove their ability to claim and that could be achieved by instituting minimum contribution levels before you could claim or, better by far, is to eliminate the benefit entirely. We have become an entitlement society that cannot imagine having to live life without the nanny state looking over our shoulder and giving us some illusory payout. What nobody sees is the huge cost of government that makes us all much poorer every day. Roll back the state and let people earn enough to stand on their own two feet and then only those immigrants that have something to contribute will come here.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      How would that tackle low pay?

      • outsider
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bazman, Not sure which way you are arguing here but even the most basic economics tells us that the price of labour will rise if the supply is reduced. A more subtle (if tedious) option is to insist on qualifications for what are now low-paid jobs: eg you can only be a waiter if you have completed a two-year course and earned a diploma in hospitality studies.,

      • Bazman
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        These skill shortages never increased the wages in the metal trades. You propose labour to be so restricted as to raise the rate. Never happen. You are saying more jobs than workers? Not real and if you live in the real world the is already more jobs than labour, but these are skilled jobs in certain locations. How come the rate has not raised to fill these positions? Labour law are not the reason. Simplistic magical right wing thinking.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          The metal trades have been reduced by overseas competition.
          High energy costs, wages and land prices relative to these emerging poorer nations, gave us no chance to compete in many engineering trades.
          The dilution of wages has happened partly as the UK tried to compete and because millions have arrived here recently at a time when millions were already looking for work.
          If employers were unable to find good staff then wages would inevitably rise as happened in the sixties and seventies.

          If you were a boss of business would you pay much more for staff than you had to?
          Because if you did and all other local busineses paid normal rates you would struggle to survive long term, unless you hsd some unique selling point that enabled you to charge more and still get loads of customers.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Large shortage of metal trade workers, but no rise in pay levels. Many companies are going under due to skills shortages, so so much for that theory. The lower end of the skill market was boosted by East Europeans, but at the higher end a skills shortage exist, but no, or little rise in pay rates to help this leading to the conclusion that it is shortage of money not skills.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

            What you are claiming is that despite millions of new arrivals and several million unemployed there is a large skills shortage in the metals trades and firms are so stuborn they are going bust and closing down rather than pay more to attract the staff they need.
            You say it is because of a lack of cash.
            And presumably they are also stubournly refusing to train up staff for the work they need doing as well.

            Having spent decades in this industry and still being involved all over the UK, you are taking about a situation I simply do not recognise.

  22. Graham
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Clearly not much has been done, nor does there seems to be the desire, to reduce the gross incoming.

    Politicians lower in regard than a chocolate teapot (typified by Heseltine as a do nothing useless hanger-on for years). How about doing something for the taxpayer for a change.

  23. acorn
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Agreed JR, the more you can get the data to look like a “cash flow statement” the better. Official national statistics are presented, by ONS, in the format that parliament requested them. So politically embarrassing numbers are usually avoided; like gross immigration. If you are part of Border Force or Customs at the ports the gross numbers are an indication of the amount of activity you will be dealing with.

  24. Steve Cox
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “The gross inward migration figures was 532,000 [in 2013], with 320,000 leaving. Under Labour gross inward migration reached 600,000..”

    I’m not sure quite what point you’re making here. A reduction in gross immigration of only some 10% since the Labour ‘boom years’ for uncontrolled immigration is hardly a wonderful achievement for this government.

    I also wonder if the data is available on the original nationality and job skill sets of the 532,000 immigrants versus the 320,000 emigrants? The headline might sound vaguely positive in that net immigration was “only” 212,000 (compared with the supposed target of tens of thousands) but if most of the 320,000 who left were highly skilled British (many of them white, of course, but by no means necessarily all) citizens while most of the 532,000 who arrived were unskilled foreigners, many of them probably not interested in integration but intent on simply joining their kinsfolk in the ghettos of Bradford and Luton and Leicester and elsewhere, then that is hardly good news for the country. (Of course the champagne Socialists who run and own the country would strongly disagree with me as without a steady supply of unskilled cheap foreigners how would they ever be able to afford the nannies and cooks and gardeners that they have become so dependent on?)

    This is an apposite article from this morning’s Telegraph:

    I know several people who are faced with this very same problem. Why is it that terrorists and illegal immigrants are evidently entitled to a family life in the UK whereas British people who have lived and worked and paid taxes in the country most of their lives are being denied it? If the Conservatives expect us to vote for them next year they’re going to have to do a lot better than this. And please don’t blame it on those beastly Lib Dems and the horrible realpolitik of coalition government.

    • Mark
      Posted August 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Some data for 2012 here:

      Occupation prior to migration

      Professional and managerial…..132…..-119…..13
      Manual and clerical………………105…..-80…..25
      Other adults………………………….48…..-32…..16

      Students dominated the net inflow.

  25. English Pensioner
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    The problem with “net migration” figures is that it doesn’t tell us who is coming and who is going.
    In our circle of friends and acquaintances, I think that we are the only couple who don’t have a child or grandchild who has emigrated, although our daughter and son-in-law are currently thinking about going to join his cousins in Australia. The majority of these children went to good universities and did well, and are the sort of people that this country needs. One is a doctor, who went with his wife, also a doctor, to America. Two other friends have grandchildren at university abroad, and the implication is that they will stay there when qualified.
    If we are exchanging these for, to put it kindly, far less well educated people, we are loosing out as a country, and in my view we need far better information about who is coming and who is going. This country can’t afford to loose these well educated graduates if it is to remain competitive in the world markets.

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    If you think Heseltine is bad, you should see what Clegg has been saying out in India.
    If he spent half as long talking to seasoned British IT professionals as he does talking to the Indian outsourcing movement he may begin to understand why he is wrong on so many levels.
    Personally I am disgusted that this person has been able to reach a position of power in this country, and is still allowed to trot around the world at our expense scheming like this when he has been comprehensively beaten by those with the opposite view at the last national election.
    “British jobs for Indian workers” the new political slogan…

  27. ian wragg
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Immigration is going to be the main topic at the next election, hopefully ruthlessly exploited by UKIP.
    Our ruling class are determined that we are to suffer uncontrolled immigration paid for out of our tax regardless of the damage being done.
    Over the next generation we are going to see a wholesale transfer of bright Brits and rich pensioners leave these shores and then lets see how third world non speaking immigrants finance the welfare system and the featherbedding of John and his mates.

  28. majorfrustration
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Interesting stuff but we are unlikely to see any real progress. On another issue which does require urgent attention now – whats your view on the Bercow car crash?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      “whats your view on the Bercow car crash?”
      Last week our host’s view was: ” I wish to consider the matter and hear more of the argument from both sides” and “before I decide on the wisdom or lack of it I want to hear from the 5 cross party MPs who chose this particular candidate.”
      This response was in reaction to observations made by Baroness Boothroyd who said Mrs Mills would be “totally out of her depth”and Rosemary Laing, the clerk of the Australian senate, who expressed “disbelief and dismay” at the proposed appointment of Mills.
      Today, with even more grounds for doubting her suitability for a £200,000 p.a. post, for which she has no parliamentary knowledge or experience, he apparently has no opinion to offer us. After all its only more taxpayers’ money they are prepared to squander and we know how much they enjoy doing that.

      Reply I am sorry you think an MP should blunder into an opinion without knowing the facts. The main job of the Clerk is to be CEO of Parliament, running large budgets and looking after the staff, buildings, catering etc. I wish to learn more about why 5 independent senior MPs thought she is the right person, and more about what her plans might be to improve the running of Parliament. It is difficult to judge someone you have not met or interviewed, and usual in a large organisation to mainly rely on the judgement of others who have been charged with the duty of appointing someone.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted August 26, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply, states : “The Clerk of the House is the principal constitutional adviser to the House, and adviser on all its procedure and business, including Parliamentary privilege, and frequently appears before Select and Joint Committees examining constitutional and Parliamentary matters”
        It goes on to say that: “The Clerk of the House is also the Chief Executive of the House of Commons Service of some 2,000 people, and chairs the Management Board, consisting of six executive Heads of Department and two external non-executive members.”
        This appointment should be stopped before it costs the taxpayers £200,000 p.a. and the resulting compensation costs when you find out, what is glaringly obvious that this lady has no parliamentary knowledge or experience of what the website appears to regard as the primary role. In any case why should an Australian be appointed to such a role in preference to a suitably qualified UK citizen?
        What is wrong with you MPs?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          If John Bercow or indeed David Cameron is in favour of something it is a very strong indication it is wrong and misguided.

          Why on earth £200K PA plus gold plated pension anyway? Loads of very good people around for £60-100K PA. Still it is not their money so the do not give a damn I suppose as usual.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 28, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        £200,000 Grand, plus perks. And this for a position of no authority, unelected and with most of our laws and administration being done elsewhere !!

        Scandal on top of scandal.

        I confess I neither know of this person or the position they wish to take, but I think this cannot be right in this day and age.

  29. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Surprised you can hear/follow them amid their mumblings…I need to got to earsavers or something?

    Students….pay loadsa money, get course and likely not get desired job?

    A month ago I attempted a swift walk to Snow Hill station from New St (Brum) about 10pm, distance 600yds. Got very long and complicated instructions from a cop. Noticed Brum council had run out of signpost street furniture , so asked various youths on the way. Out of 5 none could speak english (my polish, russian, serbo, spanish, french, arabic – whatever, is nil). Wandered into a mid aged english couple who seemed to be lost in space/time. An afro preferred I give him bus fare home…yeah!! Nearly walked past an excuse for Snow Hill station, but for student hand waving.

    As english I suppose I need to be multilingual, safer by car I think.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Try walking the streets of Huddersfield around the EfW plant at night. (lots of foreign languages being spoken ed) You couldn’t find enough locals to get a game of Bridge let alone start a Cricket Team.

    • Bryan
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure they were not local residents speaking with a Brummy accent?

  30. Tad Davison
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I wonder if this could possibly be the same Michael Heseltine who gave me his personal assurance in front of a meeting in Tudor Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire, just prior to the 1979 General election, that the UK would not become part of a pan-European political union where we lost most of our powers and the right of self-determination?

    Some years later, with the passing of the Single European Act, I wrote to him to remind him of what he said, and I even enclosed a photo that I took at the time to jog his memory.

    I could repeat what I and many others have said on many occasions about being railroaded into further EU matriculation by stealth, but I’m sure most of us have recognised that anyway. Immigration is just another area where we’ve been shafted by ‘say one thing, do another’ politicians. And then they wonder why we hold them in so much contempt.

    Of course, much of the present mess was caused by Labour who freely admit their mistakes, but it’s no good pointing the finger at one group of irresponsible politicians and saying how badly they got it wrong, unless the finger-pointers themselves are prepared to do something to correct it. Perhaps if we in the UK weren’t hog tied to past mistakes, or were prepared to put an end to it unilaterally, our present crop would be more credible, but just saying what they’d like to do doesn’t wash anymore. We need actions, not weasel words. I could ask a hundred people at random what Mr Cameron is trying to renegotiate, and I’ll bet good money that perhaps less than five could tell me.

    Tad Davison


    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Well even Cameron has only come up with vague & pointless drivel.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 28, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink



      And no, I did not leave my caps lock on by mistake. I am shouting !!

  31. lojolondon
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    John, once again you have hit the nail on the head. Who leaves the UK? Highly trained (often at taxpayer expense) professionals, who are leaving for better jobs in laeding countries, mainly the USA, a severe cost to the country in terms of brainpower, corporate profits. Resultant effect on tax collections is clearly negative.
    Who arrives? Some skilled people certainly, but many, many unskilled, large families, many unable or unwilling to work, many incapable of speaking English so only capable of the worst-paid labour-type roles. The resultant effect on tax collection is clearly negative.
    So, in my opinion, the immigration the UK is attracting is bad for our economy and the emigration the UK is suffering – are both bad for our economy.
    These should both be measured and reported, netting them off against each other is illogical and dishonest, a pure Labour ploy that needs to be exposed and reversed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink


  32. John E
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    The official numbers won’t include the 12 fit young men we saw climb out from under the tarpaulin of a lorry while stationary in traffic in the middle lane of the M4 westbound near Junction 5 a while back.

    The police sounded keen to send a patrol to round them up until I said they had dispersed across the fields.

    I think we will take some persuading we have yet restored any real control over our borders, which is a particular concern given the position with the Islamic State fighters drawn from the UK.

  33. ian
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I do not think asylum seekers and refugees are include in the migration figures. The mount of people coming hear is not the really problem because you can ask them to leave. The problem is the amount of British passports you handing out to foreign people, over 200,000 a year which is something you can do something about. They have been up to 300,000 a year, then you got the children they have which will be British. All so the asylum seekers and the refugees are not in the population count.

  34. oldtimer
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    OT: The Bishophill blog has provided a link to a presentation by Professor Kelly of the Cambridge University Department of Engineering entitled: Future Energy Needs and Engineering Reality. He has also written an article on the same subject for Lord Lawson`s GWPF. If you are not familiar with them, I believe you will find them a useful and important read. In essence, he points out the practical, engineering reasons why UK energy policy cannot be delivered.

    The link is to be found here:

  35. A different Simon
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I thought that University education was one of Britain’s most successful exports .

    However a friend who works in university marketing tells me that in many cases the product does not stand up to close inspection and that many courses and establishments are trading on stale reputations .

    If people aren’t coming here because the product is good they must be coming here for other reasons .

    Perhaps we are kidding ourselves ?

    • outsider
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      You are right Simon that university education should be an important export growth industry for this country. But this needs to be subject to wiping out abuse of the system as a cover for economic migration. This could be done by the further education minister co-ordinating the plans of different universities for planned increase in numbers each year and then applying this increase (with a small addition) to the numbers shown to have left after completing their courses, in order to come up with a figure for the maximum new intake.
      As you say, however, all this is pie in the sky because the numbers are not properly counted and immigration is an issue for the people and not (PR aside) for any potential government.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Education isn’t an ‘export’- specially when much of the student debt goes unpaid and the whole thing is used as a gateway to our welfare system.

        Our own kids get spanked for 9k a year tuition and can find themselves excluded from good university places despite the required grades because of too high demand.

    • Mark
      Posted August 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      It is not merely the quality of the offering that is variable, and all too often inadequate. It is also the economics. While some students from outside the EU do indeed pay very handsome fees, overall the average fee paid is little more than that paid by EU students, which implies that the average non EU student is subsidised by the block grant – i.e. they are educated at a loss, paid for by taxpayers. The difference is that EU students also get student loans. The repayment experience to date suggests that we will be subsidising their education even more. There is a big difference between additions to turnover and additions to profit. That’s before we consider the implications on providing living resources to overseas students, including the consequences on employment and welfare for UK citizens.

  36. Dennis
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    What Evan Davis, Heseltine , Mr Redwood et al never have a thought about, so never question, is that even if all incomers leave so net migration is zero, the UK population increases by that amount with concomitant consequences.

    If one person or a million come one day and even leave the next day, every day, the UK population increases by that number. So to say that the numbers of incomers/students is unimportant if they all someday leave is absurd which seems to be Heseltine’s point.

  37. Bazman
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The bogus students obviously come here to work illegally not study, so the problem lies with illegal employment by business. Without this support they could not work. No mention of a crackdown on these employers I notice from the magical thinkers. Why is this?
    It’s bit like file sharing. How are these sites supported? By advertising, but none of the ones who are against file sharing have ever suggested prosecuting big business who pays for this advertising, The only ideas are to stop the people from using the sites.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Well there is a £5000 per person fine on employers if an employee is found to be illegal.
      Not a proper crackdown perhaps, but a bit of a shock if a small business is caught with two or three illegal staff.

      Still feeling a bit guilty downloading other peoples work for free I notice.
      Just imagime you were dependent for your income on royalties paid to you for your long hard work making original music or films or books which you then found criminals were stealing for free.
      I think I could expect howls of protest from you Baz.

  38. APL
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    John Redwood, has said on this, his blog that he is in the Tory party partly to effect change of the Tory party from within its own organisation. Which is a respectable enough position to adopt. After a while though, one needs to stop and review the success of that strategy.

    Michael Hestletine was asked to run an economic review which was discussed at some length on this blog back in 2013. As a fairly economically savvy individual and senior Tory, one might ask why Redwood wasn’t asked to present that review, instead of Hestletine. Perhaps John just wants a quite life on the back benches, so maybe he turned the opportunity down when it was offered. That’s fair enough.

    But suppose he did want the job but it was given to Hestletine instead, what does that tell us about Redwoods ability to ‘influence’ the Tory party from within?

    There is the opposite case to be made, that the Tory party is irredeemably Leftist, that people like Redwood are marginalised and ignored by the Tory administration, that there are at most 20 Rightist Tories in the Tory party, it is stuffed with ineffective placemen like Hestletine, Major and so on.

    At this point, one might ask, why would Redwood want to stay in the Tory party, if his strategy of changing it from within has been such a spectacular failure?

    Why not stand as an independent Tory, he could support a Tory party whenever he likes on issues he thinks merit support. He could oppose the party when it does stupid stuff, an ever more frequent occurrence these days.

    Even outside the Tory Party, Redwood would still have access to the highest levels of government, he is a member of the Privy Council.

    He has been an MP since 1987, has the loyalty of his constituency and is to all intents an secure financially independent man.

    He could stand as an independent Conservative and rally a group of like minded individuals in Parliament. Perhaps if the fifty or so Tories that are left of the Tory party were to follow suit, it’d be a very significant faction in Parliament.

    We could then see the Tory party for what it is, a party of complexion as red or possibly a few shades more pink than the Labour party under Miliband.

    It would be a service to the country and Tory voters throughout the country – and at a nominal political cost to himself.

    Reply Why can’t you see that we are changing the Conservative party? We have moved it from saying the current EU settlement works to saying we need a renegotiation. We have changed it from saying NO to a referendum to saying Yes to a referendum so we can all vote for out if the deal is not good enough. And it looks as if the official view is about to be that we need to leave the EU if there is no good new relationship on offer. Those are important changes, backed by more than 300 MPs. On my own I would get nowhere.

    • APL
      Posted August 27, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      JR: “Why can’t you see that we are changing the Conservative party?”

      On your own, you could still support those other 299 MPs.

      Frankly, I have waited twenty five years and have yet to see the Tory party administration show any inclination to undo the wicked damage Heath inflicted on us. One half of my life so far.

      Frankly, any progress you claim to be making within the Party is too slow and so small to be almost undetectable.

      Reply We stopped the Euro, and now we are going to get a referendum – if we could just unite Eurosceptics behind what is on offer. If I became an independent I would have no leverage over the Conservative manifesto and would then lose my seat in 2015. How would that help us?

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        I am sure you would be re elected as an MP if you stood as an independent for Wokingham, Prof Redwood.

        • David Price
          Posted August 28, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          Don’t be so sure of that.

          I am a Wokingham constituent and ask myself on occasion who I would vote for in various scenarios. At this point in time if John became an Independent or UKIP candidate, despite my respect for his principles and a voice of reason in what has increasingly become a club of vain and dangerous idiots, I would probably not vote at all.

          • APL
            Posted August 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

            David Price: “John became an Independent or UKIP candidate, despite my respect for his principles and a voice of reason in what has increasingly become a club of vain and dangerous idiots ..”

            So you support Redwood in his support for a club of vain and dangerous idiots.

            But if he were to stop supporting the vain and dangerous idiots, you’d remove your support for Redwood?

            Curious logic.

          • David Price
            Posted August 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            @APL Logic? What has logic to do with the UKIP attitudes displayed on this blog?

            I support John Redwood in what he says he is trying to do which is to move the Conservative leadership towards a resolution on the EU and now an English Parliament that is acceptable to the electorate.

            My view is that UKIP will not form a government at the next election and they play the sordid political game of promising anything and everything without the danger of being required to deliver it. I view UKIP as being fully paid up members of the vain and dangerous idiots club as long as they are incapable of working with other people with the same aims.

            At the moment it seems the only way to get at least a referendum any time soon is to hold Cameron’s toes to the fire to ensure he does hold the referendum and deliver on the outcome. At present I believe Conservative MPs are more likely to achieve that than UKIP. Unless of course UKIP increase the number of EUsceptic MPs which seems unlikely as they are instead focussed on a goal of destroying the Conservative party.

            If John were to turn his coat as you would have him do then I don’t see how that would improve the situation at all, quite the opposite as the message to the majority of Wokingham voters would be he no longer represented their views but those of a party which came a very distant fifth with 3% of the votes.

          • APL
            Posted August 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            David Price: “What has logic to do with the UKIP attitudes displayed on this blog?”

            I was not advocating John Redwood join UKIP, I was suggesting he stand as an independent Conservative, and possibly be the leader of that faction in the Commons.

            In that scenario it looks like there might have been two independent Tories in the Commons if he had had his finger on the pulse.

            You asserted that you support JR now, good for you. But you then said if he stood as an independent Conservative, still advocating the same principled stance he advocates on this blog, and still supporting the Conservative party when he thought fit, just outside the umbrella of the Tory whip in parliament, you would withdraw your support – or decline to vote for him. That to me is illogical and inconsistent.

            I don’t think I mentioned once UKIP in my post, so am unclear why you would bring it up in your reply to me.

            David Price: “My view is that UKIP will not form a government at the next election . ”

            Neither do I.

            David Price: “At the moment it seems the only way to get at least a referendum any time soon is to hold Cameron’s toes to the fire … ”

            We don’t need a referendum, we need more independent Conservatives unshackled by the Tory Whip to vote and instruct the government to invoke article 50 and start negotiations on withdrawal.

            We only got a referendum after Heath had already taken us into the European Community, an ex post facto attempt to legitimise an unconstitutional act. By the way, it was a Labour government that conducted the referendum in ’73.

            David Price: “If John were to turn his coat as you would have him do then .. ”

            I am not asking him to ‘turn his coat’, I suggested he remain true to his political ideals, which is quite possible to do without the Tory whip.

          • David Price
            Posted August 30, 2014 at 5:35 am | Permalink

            If Cameron fails to step down and a faction were to break away instead then that would be a very different situation. All you’d need is someone to lead it.

      • APL
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        JR: “I would have no leverage over the Conservative manifesto ”

        What specific issues did you get into the last Conservative manifesto, that have since been implemented?

        JR: “and would then lose my seat in 2015”

        Then the voters of Wokingham are that foolish, they deserve what follows.

        How many times did Churchill cross the floor? And yet went on to lead a government of National unity during the war.

        Michael Foot too, it didn’t stop him from becoming Leader of the Labour party though, much good that did them.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Our perception is that you have been marginalised by your own leadership and your abilities under-used.
      I comment on this site not just because you are an MP in the Conservative Party but because I have a high regard for you as a principled man who has a strong following with a large sector of the politically aware conservative public and who is therefore perceived by his own party as someone who needs to be kept at arms length. The Beast of Wokingham?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Max–I agree with you in large measure, though before eulogising John one has to ask why he was called the Vulcan last time round the block whilst at the same time being viewed by some as a bit of a Goody Two Shoes. The so-called Conservative Party is no longer any such thing, and, whatever it is, it has a leader held in total contempt by many (myself very much included) who used to count themselves True Blue. John does not seem to want to recognise any of this.

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted August 28, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          I’m sure that Dr Redwood agrees with much of what we say on his BlogSpot but he is realistic and tends to tread a careful path. The fact that he allows so much criticism of his leader on this site suggests that he values freely expressed, and at times heated, opinions more than slavish loyalty to any particular individual in his party.

  39. Mark
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Today we finally had publication of the latest migration statistics. They show that in the year to March there were 171,000 immigrants who were students – 10,000 returning British (presumably mainly sons and daughters of ex-pats), 38,000 from the rest of the EU (26,000 EU15, 5,000 A8), and 124,000 from elsewhere (3,000 Old Commonwealth (ANZAC), 33,000 New Commonwealth, 88,000 other – mainly China looking at HESA data).

    For comparison, in the year to March 2011 there were 227,000 student immigrants – 7,000 returning British, 44,000 from the rest of the EU (28,000 EU15, 11,000 A8), and 175,000 from elsewhere (2,000 Old Commonwealth, 98,000 New Commonwealth, 76,000 other).

    The impact of the measures to reduce the level of abuse of student visas can be seen in the 51,000 reduction in the overall numbers from outside the EU.

    However, the data also reveal that just 75,000 former student immigrants emigrated, of whom 5,000 were British (may include some naturalised citizens who immigrated from elsewhere), 20,000 from the EU (16,000 EU15, 1,000 A8), 2,000 from the Old Commonwealth, 19,000 from the New Commonwealth and 29,000 from elsewhere.

    Former student immigrants who emigrated will include those who leave promptly after the course ends, as well as some who stay on for a while (maybe many years) to work in the UK. Course lengths also vary, but as the official definition of a migrant is someone who plans to stay for more than a year, many of those on a one year or shorter course should already be excluded from the numbers.

    If we assume for the sake of illustration a 3 year course duration followed by emigration, that implies that just 33% of student immigrants are emigrating: 71% of the British, 45% from the EU (57% EU15, 9% A8), 100% from the Old Commonwealth, just 19% from the New Commonwealth, and 38% from elsewhere.

    The disparity in the re-emigration rates according to citizenship is striking, as is the fact that it appears that the level of student permanent immigration in 2011 was of the order of 150,000 out of the total net immigration of just over 240,000, and if the same kind of pattern continues, we have admitted around 115,000 permanent student immigrants in the most recent period – almost half the total net immigration.

    To suggest that we can ignore student migration is thus utterly wrong. Of course, if Evan Davies had done his research, he could have put last quarter’s figures to Hesletine, which show much the same picture.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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