How many people are in the UK?

The issue of migration will not go away. Some good questions have recently been asked about the large number of National Insurance Numbers issued to EU arrivals in the last four years, and whether this tallies with the smaller numbers of migrants acknowledged in the workforce. Have a large number come and gone?

The ONS has sought to give us some guidance about the longer term trends. They estimate that the population of 64.6 million in 2014 will grow to 69 million by mid 2024. They think a little over half the growth will come from new migrants. They also expect the newer migrants to boost the birth rate, adding to the natural growth of the population. The ONS is saying that migration will run at an additional 250,000 people a year. This is a drop on the current level, but well above the government’s target rate of under 100,000. Maybe Ministers should ask the ONS why they think the government will fail to limit migration as promised and learn from the ONS about the reasons why migration is still so high. For its part the ONS has to explain why it has been understating the recent rate of increase in its forecast.

It seems likely that the UK will continue to attract substantial numbers of new arrivals, all the time the economy is flexible and growing. The lure of the large number of new jobs the UK creates compared to the stubbornly high unemployment of much of the Eurozone will prove strong, both to the Europeans and to travellers coming through the EU from elsewhere.

Mr Cameron’s renegotiation has as its fourth aim controlling immigration from the rest of the EU. He has stated the need to cut the numbers of people coming into the country pointing out the strains it creates on NHS provision, housing and school places. He wishes to crack down on the abuses of free movement, allowing easier removal of foreign criminals and tightening rules on EU migrants bringing in non EU fiancées.
He seeks a four year ban on EU migrants receiving benefits or having access to social housing.

It is difficult to see how if he were granted all of this it would cut migration back enough to reach the promised levels. Many would still want to come for the jobs and better wages than in their own country. This pressure will be increased by the payment of the living wage. Meanwhile there remain disagreements between the UK and the rest. Most other EU countries wish to preserve freedom of movement, and wish to avoid discriminations between nationals and the citizens of other EU states.

Mr Cameron may end up with compromise which forces the UK to amend its benefit rules to comply. It is possible, for example, that a contribution driven system would be allowed and would keep recent arrivals out of claiming entitlements. The problem with this is could the UK find a way of entitling UK residents, without it being based on their nationality?

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    Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    No civil unrest is predicted due to increased immigration, here.
    Germany and France’s media indicate a two tofourfold increase in racist attacks within their own countries in the last couple of years and rising.

    I do no know the figures for the UK.

    Some say attacks rise proportionately to migrant presence as a percentage of the original native population. However, one reads of newly arrived migrants in Germany attacking one another..Afghans versus Africans; Iraqis versus Syrians; Iranians versus Jordanians. Also older established migrants attacking newer ones.

    Not so much in physical attacks, but UKIP membership does indicate amongst some previously foreign/migrant groupings, a certain opposition to new migrant arrivals and a desire to ban all.Now, are these people assimilating to British values or have they brought their own values from their countries of origin or their parents’ countries of origin?

    These figures can be brought to zero and one is sure they will be when all migrants are granted EU citizenship. Then it may be British attacking British, German attacking German and so on.

    No doubt everything will sort itself out in the streets as it is not being sorted out in the Ministry of Immigration. Cut costs. Close it.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      These are all weasel words.
      “Religious” includes the Pope, the terrorists, our local (saintly) parish priest and the juju man in Siberia.
      “Muslim” includes, among others, the Saudi Princes, people within my own family, Abu Hamsa, Al Bukhari and the President of Turkey. These are all quite different people.
      And “immigrants”! Almost alone, you point out that immigrants include a variety of people like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, lovely Oksana, witty Eis, Yveta with a face like the Mona Lisa, Mohammed Eri who likes politics, Abdurrachman who hates England…
      We badly need to stop lumping all these together.

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        I think your first 3 words are in the wrong order Mike.
        The majority of the public are fed up with uncontrolled immigration and all the problems it is bringing.
        Today our local cash machine is out of order because someone tried to fit a skimming device.
        This is a result of the cultural enrichment due to mass immigration.

      • matthu
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        I have always held Religion to be totally separate from faith. Religion is the totally unnecessary systemisation of faith and you can have strong faith without having any adherence to religion, whether you are a Christian, a Muslim or anything else.

        Religion usually relies on fear to impose faith and is probably to blame for many of the world’s worst conflict over the years.

        While it is right to tolerate another’s different faith, we should not always be so tolerant of another’s religion, and in fact should be free to mock or criticize religion.

        Except of course within the UK today where you probably commit a crime worse than shoplifting or swearing at a policeman if you mock religion.

        Posted December 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink


      • Dennis
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        “We badly need to stop lumping all these together.”

        Yes we do. If every immigrant was an Einstein, Picasso, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Beethoven, Mozart etc., etc, and all never claimed a benefit and paid £10,100 per week in tax it still would be a very bad thing.

        No society can be in a sane environment if it is overpopulated as the rich UK is and being an unfair drain on others’ resources to maintain our wealth due to our consumption. By saying no to immigration we should send the message to other overpopulated countries that this is their problem too and should do something about it – the Philippines comes to mind.

        Why is this necessity for the UK to become even richer than we already are?
        It is a policy of unrelenting selfishness and greed. We could be rich unselfishly if our population was much, much smaller, 5 -10 million? This would take time and some perhaps many sacrifices (does anyone now know this word and it’s meaning?) for our grandchildren and their progeny.

        Even Nixon, believe it or not, in the 1970s said that overpopulation was of great concern and should be addressed. Why wasn’t it – ‘cos politicians are short term people, not thinkers.

    • A different Simon
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 12:23 am | Permalink

      Christopher Houston ,

      I heard from a spook that the Home Office was absolutely paranoid about the prospects for civil unrest 10 years ago . There were sure it was going to happen .

      They were expecting the civil unrest to come from British Citizens .

      They could not believe the British people could be treated so badly without it causing a reaction .

    Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    One cannot believe a resident set of rich controlling people of any country the size of the UK would voluntarily live there. Not if one considers the fenced over grazed countryside devoid of fauna of every kind and wild flora unable to withstand sheep and of course rabbits where Mr Fox does not curb their numbers.
    So the excessively rich, not being fools, do not live here . What care they about the validity of resident British. Nothing. They are the real migrant problem.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      @CH; You speak of the UK countryside, farming and nature etc. in a away that those who live in cities or very large sprawling towns do, whose only contact with it is via a passing train, car or what you see by way of that BBC Country file programme (which seems ever more designed to appeal to the politically correct ‘Chelsea Tractor’ set…) etc! Your description is not one many who live in or close to the countryside, farming and natural beauty will recognise – unless of course they are being somewhat NIMBY.

      The UK has a population problem, compounded by political planning failings over the last 40 odd years (housing, education/industrial, transport infrastructure etc.), which is not necessarily caused by (im)migration, even if they are more visible as a result…

        Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Jerry.I can tell you love, absolutely adore, our countryside. Good of you. In truth I see the countryside regularly. But I understand you.

        In this connection I once saw a genuine painting in a pub, of all places, by Ashley Jackson. At the time I hated and despised it. It pictured the Yorkshire moors as an indistinct wishy-washy mess of dark mournful browns and dirty greys.
        Decades went by and I hated the depiction more and more. Then a visiting foreign tourist , when the purple flowers had died out, said he found the N, Yorks moors featureless and “nothing there”. I was angry and hurt. Very hurt.
        However, it made me take a fresh look at close quarters when laying the groundsheet of a tent in which I would sleep. The ground, every few inches and for miles was littered with sheep and rabbit drops, ancient, old, semi-old and new… every five inches.
        I would ask you to look again at our countryside and cry with me.

        • stred
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

          CH. Are you likening the sheep and rabbit immigration problem, resulting in the eating of flowers and excessive droppings on the Yorkshire moors, to the national and international over population problem? There certainly is an excessive sewage problem. But you should be careful not to compare people with rabbits, or Mrs Plod from Common Purpose may be coming down your burrow.

            Posted December 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            Please read what is written

        • Jerry
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          @CH; “I would ask you to look again at our countryside and cry with me.”

          Why would I, why should I, cry because of what is actually naturally occurring nature?! It sounds to me that you are wishing for some sort of countryside ‘theme park’, were the less pleasant side, or the natural dullness, of nature is kept out of sight, out of mind – I can’t blame you for that is what the BBC and Country File serve up…

            Posted December 20, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Jerry. Please read what is written

          • Jerry
            Posted December 21, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            @CH; “Please read what is written”

            You have asked that of two people replying to what you wrote, did we both misunderstand you, if so perhaps you did not actually write what you meant to say…

  3. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Dear John–You inadvertently let a single “immigration” creep in to your tsunami of “migrations”. For those of us who hate immigration in principle, all your and the Government’s use of this silly euphemism manages to do is make us more annoyed. And with an entirely typical naïve and obvious piece of PR slipperiness, what Cameron ( I believe, but am not certain. himself) said was “to the tens of thousands” not to “below 100 thousand”, as you have just fallen in line to say.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      This all assumes your leader has a plan. There is no plan, the men is an utter fool. No plans, no principles, no ideas. He is clueless. His only thought is his next meal or mindless press statement how he can spin his latest failure. Another day to bury bad news!
      Retire him. Our Country is crying out for real leadership not these clones who know nothing. Migration? No invasion. Any real leader wouldn’t be asking the EU for crumbs but telling them what is going to happen and then they could do their spin to accommodate. The last time I was paying the bill I didn’t ask for the receivers to tell me what to do! Tell them to rewrite the rules to accommodate us or go ask some other benevolent fool to pay their bills. They are so used to dealing with weak, impotent leaders that the Franco/German alliance laugh at the UK!
      Please get Camerfool onto a leadership course or come visit. Our way or no way.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I don’t hate immigration in principle, although if you were to put in the adjectives “mass” and “uncontrolled” then I would certainly be moving in that direction.

      Likewise I don’t think people in Cumbria hate rain in principle, what they hate is being (literally) flooded with an excessive volume of rain over a short period.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Dear Denis–Be assured that I would of course view an approved relatively few immigrants as acceptable but equally of course that is not what the bare word “immigration” is all about. “Migration” BTW is what wildebeest do across the Serengeti.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Well clearly no one trusts a word Cameron says. Even Cameron himself, by now, must know that he merely says anything that he thinks will help him at the time. As the vibrations die away “the cast iron” or “no ifs no buts”, “low tax conservative at heart”, “Heathrow”, vote blue get greencrap pledges are just forgotten and discarded like used toilet tissues.

      He is a politician, he has no principles or sense of direction. He has been very lucky indeed to finally win an election due to having had such poor opposition and the rise of the SNP.

      I remain unconvinced that we will even get a fair EU referendum now should he thinks he might lose it. Even if we vote to leave I am not certain we will ever leave some fudge will be found or a second referendum.

      • majorfrustration
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Agree. I also have concerns as to who will be allowed to vote. Clearly with the number of immigrants allowed in over the last few years, and who are more likely (if given a vote) to vote to remain in the EU one can see that Cameron, despite his assurances, is happy to see the migrant numbers continue at their high level

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Well, on Thursday the European Union Referendum Bill received Royal Assent and it is now the European Union Referendum Act 2015:

        and it still doesn’t say what would actually ensue from a vote to leave the EU; any more than it did when it was first introduced by the government, and before that when it was Wharton’s Private Members’ Bill.

        And it still allows large numbers of foreigners to vote in a referendum on the future of our country, not their country, as well as giving the Lords the power to veto any date that may be proposed for the referendum.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          Indeed a fair referendum would not leave the choice of date and the events post result in the hands of the in side. The choice of date gives the in side a huge advantage. An out vote will be followed by a revised improved deal and another referendum no doubt. Then perhaps a third and fourth one?

        • Chris
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Denis:
          Furthermore, the Electoral Commission has said apparently that there must be a minimum of 10 months between the Royal Assent for the Bill and the actual referendum, so all the hype regarding a June referendum is nonsense. Cameron knows that this would be illegal.
          This has been highlighted by R North and Peter Oborne.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

            Thanks for that.

            However I find that the Electoral Commission merely noted that the legislative framework for the Scottish referendum had been clear for ten months before polling day, and it actually recommended a minimum of six months:


            “We continue to recommend that best practice for future referendums is that all legislation should be clear (whether by Royal Assent to a Bill or the introduction of regulations to Parliament for approval) at least six months before it is required to be implemented or complied with by campaigners, the Chief Counting Officer, Counting Officers or Electoral Registration Officers.”

            So six months from Royal Assent could mean late June, but six months from the introduction of regulations to Parliament for approval would obviously depend on when that was done which could mean later. They don’t seem to have taken into account the theoretical possibility that the regulations could be introduced to Parliament but not be approved by the Lords, so on that criterion the legislative framework would still not be clear.

            Personally I think that there are grounds for objecting to the referendum being held so soon after the May 5th elections, much the same grounds that there were for objecting to the referendum being held on May 5th itself:

            “It is important that voters and campaigners are able to engage fully with the issues which are relevant at these elections. It is also important that any debate about the UK’s membership of the EU takes place at a time that allows the full participation of voters and campaigners, uncomplicated by competing messages and activity from elections which might be held on the same day.”

            Under the Act the “referendum period” runs for 10 weeks up to polling day, and so any date in June would mean that the “referendum period” started before or during the campaigns for those elections.

            For Cameron a June referendum would have the advantage that he could claim that there was not enough time to agree detailed treaty changes, and so we would have to vote on a promise of treaty changes some time in the future.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 21, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            I find that this is wrong.

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        There is some similarity with Major’s lingering demise after Black Wednesday, September 1992. He also won an unexpected victory a few months earlier, again in fortunate circumstances. Cameron’s get out of jail card 2010 -15 was the Libdems – we are not masters of our destiny. Now he is, we are seeing the man for real. This so called re-negotiation is politically dishonest, nothing of note was ever going to be on the table and surely all the Oxbridge Firsts involved realised this. Much more honest would have been and still is to say it is a straight forward in/out referendum on a federal EU including us or keep our sovereignty by exiting.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          He won because people thought he was Thatcherite but with a friendly face. He was in fact a complete disaster, the opposite of Lady Thatcher and rather a daft, fool to boot. Even now no hint of an apology from the man for the huge damage of the ERM or his great subsidiarity lie.

          The faux Tory MPs put even him back in in preference to JR when he “resigned”.

          What complete and utter dopes they were, he then buried the party for 3+ terms and we ended up with another John Major II, but one who can at least speak in full sentences. Not that he ever does what he says he will.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Leslie Singleton; “For those of us who hate immigration in principle”

      Good grief… but thanks for being so honest at least. 🙁

      I take it you wish to see all those born and breed UK citizens, who hold or once held UK passports and are currently living outside of the UK, return to Old Blighty [1] – or is your principled “hatred” of immigration somewhat asymmetrical to say the least (do as we say, not as we do ourselves)?

      [1] something that would cause far worse problems for the UK than the current (reported) levels of immigration

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I know quite a lot of Baltic immigrants. Quite honestly, once they have been to the charity shops and bought British clothing, and once they have learned English, they fit in perfectly. Their children are simply bi. They are English or Baltic as they wish. And the ones I meet are all really nice people too. And boy do they work!
    On the other hand, when I go to Peterborough and see my home town suddenly turned into ( a foreign place ed), I get upset. Totally different people. My wife is pushed aside as people barge in front of her. The driving is quite often dangerous. There is quite a lot of racial undercurrent too as young bloods from all over the world stride across the market place. It is crowded and, I imagine, rather like ( a foreign city ed) although I have never been there. I used to be very proud of my home town. Now, I am a foreigner.
    How will stopping immigration help this? You tell me. The damage is done. But flooding even more people in will create more and more slums – yup they are there too as wooden sheds spring up in what were once private gardens – and more and more white flight into the nearby villages which once were pretty little limestone hamlets clustered round a charming historic church.

    • matthu
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Wow, John.

      Is it no longer permissible even to compare one place with another? Westminster must be a very sanctified place indeed if every MP is just as careful as this not to offend anybody at all. I’m surprised any work gets done.

  5. Ian wragg
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Amending the benefits system based on 4 years residency can be done by domestic legislation as it won’t affect 99.9% of the population.
    This is a straw man and no doubt Dave will spin it as a major concession from Europe.
    I believe he will cut and run for a summer referendum having achieved 100 % of nothing.
    This will destroy the Tory party and if I was a cynic I may think this is the intention.
    Mugs we are not.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      It would certainly be done by domestic legislation, how else?

      But the question is whether the EU’s Court of Justice would then declare it to be in breach of the EU treaties, unless the treaties had been changed to give the UK a special treaty exemption like the one that Denmark enjoys on who can and cannot purchase second homes in Denmark.

      I’m not an expert on ECJ case law, and even if I was I would still be reluctant to say absolutely definitely what the ECJ would say about it; but on a quick google search I found that in 2011 the EU Commission thought it had a good enough case to take Italy to the ECJ over a rule that applicants with two years’ residency would be given preference for public jobs in the province of Bolzano, that being in their view illegal indirect discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

      And they cited a 1996 case, where the judges said:

      “20 It follows from all the foregoing case-law that, unless objectively justified and proportionate to its aim, a provision of national law must be regarded as indirectly discriminatory if it is intrinsically liable to affect migrant workers more than national workers and if there is a consequent risk that it will place the former at a particular disadvantage.

      21 It is not necessary in this respect to find that the provision in question does in practice affect a substantially higher proportion of migrant workers. It is sufficient that it is liable to have such an effect …”

    • bratwurst
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Not sure he can go for a summer (2016) referendum as the electoral commission wants a 6 month period between passing the necessary legislation and the start of the campaign. It then wants a campaign period of at least 16 weeks. So the earliest it could be is in 10 months time.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg; Amending the benefits system based on 4 years residency can be done by domestic legislation as it won’t affect 99.9% of the population.

      No it can’t, at least not until the UK has left the EU, I think you’ll find that it would be ruled illegal under EU law – that of course would not stop domestic law being changed so that everyone has to have paid (or be credited with) four full years of NI contributions before they could draw from our benefits system. Although such a change would likely be political suicide to any parties involved, it could make the protests and political ramifications of the Poll Tax and Bedroom tax combined look like a village churches Sunday tea party.

      The europhobic political right really do need to be careful, there is a real danger of the political pendulum swinging (the equal distance the other way), last seen in 1979 due to the policy excesses of the hard left, so yes the Tory party could be destroyed and all it has stood for the last 40 plus years. The political left have learnt from their past mistakes, I’m not sure the political right have…

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        That’s precisely the point I’m making. he could make it a contribution based or residency based system which would not require EU consent as it would apply to everyone.
        people born and bred here will qualify the residence test anyway.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          @Ian Wragg; A system based on paid/credited contribution would likely be OK (provided that migrants can still ‘claim’ and thus be credited with NI contributions of course), a residency period system would likely not, unless UK adults also had to wait, simply having been raised as a child in the UK would likely be seen as discriminatory under EU law [1]. Both ideas will still adversely affect UK citizens, both UK youth and their parents (who might have to finance their teenage children a further four years, until at least age 20 and quite possibly age 22 once the school leaving age is raised).

          [1] a child has little or no say in which country they are raised.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          “people born and bred here will qualify the residence test anyway”

          Exactly, and even I can see that this would still be INDIRECT discrimination on the grounds of nationality, largely to the potential disadvantage of immigrants born and bred in other countries.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted December 21, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Much simpler to put the burden of support on the origin country.

          If a Romanian comes here they can claim benefits (in or out of work) from day one but the Romanian taxpayer foots the bill. There is no discrimination and no further transfer of taxpayer funds from one country to another.

          The intrastat VAT repoerting system has shown that these large transfers of funds can be easily tracked so there is no administrative reason not to do it.

          Polish prime minister to British prime minister “No you can not cut child benefit or in work benefits to our citizens in your country”

          British prime minister “Oh Ok then, £5 billion please for the six months to December 2015”

          Polish prime minister “maybe we should revisit this concept”

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 23, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

          Ian it would be interesting to be told how many “people born and bred here ” currently claim benefits without ever contributing four years national insurance (mothers have their NI contribution maintained whilst raising children). We then need an investigation on the reasons why people can’t find any work at all, what are we as a nation doing wrong when it’s seen that “such a change” to out of work benefit eligibility “would likely be political suicide to any parties involved, it could make the protests and political ramifications of the Poll Tax and Bedroom tax combined look like a village churches Sunday tea party”. How do the other EU members provide benefits we really do need to compare numbers claiming, reasons, schooling.

          How many benefits can be claimed in our neighbouring countries from arrival? How many benefits in Poland for example and do they have to provide housing for British nationals arriving but unable to find work? Perhaps we need to educate our people how to find housing and jobs in neighbouring countries, have job clubs where jobs can be found and homes linked for young people unable to get on the job ladder here. I saw an advertisement for a program Tristrum Hunt was doing about job seekers in Stoke bemoaning a lack of jobs but there is work all around that area perhaps bus services need laying on in Stoke low cost to neighbouring towns with vacancies and then we should look to resettle British born people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      The Tory part is, but for perhaps 100 sound MPs, essentially a Libdem party of tax borrow and waste, pro EU, BBC think, over regulation of everything, green religion, lefty dopes. Or just career politicians who will do or say anything for a good salary, a few “consultancies” and a nice pension.

  6. Antisthenes
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    We tend to forget that immigration has it’s positive side. As the economy grows so does the need to fill job vacancies that it creates. Because of immigration it is estimated that the UK will soon pass Germany and become the largest European economy. Looking at the unemployment figures it would suggest that economically at least immigration is not a problem. If it was then surely the unemployment figure would be higher.

    Socially there are problems. Strains on infrastructure are causing difficulties for healthcare, education and housing. These problems though are not as serious as most believe they are as they can be tackled and the government is making progress in doing just that. It cannot be done overnight and some forbearance and patience is needed. The other problem is a cultural and religious one. Some immigrants do not or will not fit in with the British way of life and some even wish us to change our way of life so that it will be more like the one that they have come from. The bulk of these immigrants come from countries outside of the EU.

    There are many reasons why the UK should leave the EU but under normal circumstances immigration is not one of them. If we are to have foreign born workers and we do need them for the good of our economy then it is better that they are Europeans. Europeans may have differing cultures but they are not so different that integration is not possible it most decidedly is. However Merkel and the mad men of Brussels have now made uncontrolled immigration within the EU something very much to be avoided because of their allowing so many people to enter the EU with cultures and religions that clash with our own.

    Always we will have to accept immigrants that integrating with will be difficult. However with proper controls it can be done in a manner that is not disruptive to society. Inside the EU no control is possible. Outside the EU it is possible and no doubt most of those we accept will be European born citizens.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      According to Gideon we have 1.5 million wore workers now than 5 years ago. The majority are immigrants if you study N.I. numbers dished out.
      Per Capita income is not yet back pro rata to 2008 levels so how come immigration is good.
      The growth we have had is primarily due to immigration and of no benefit whatsoever to the British public. Gideon expects another 1 million in the workforce by 2020 of which 80% are expected to be immigrants.
      The whole house of cards is built on the back of increasing the population and at the same time reducing funding for public services.
      this won’t end well.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. Meanwhile Osborne is spending the extra tax receipts (conveniently forecast recently – but not yet received) while completely ignoring all the additional demand on schools, the NHS, social services, roads, the police and everything else that the additional immigration causes.

        So the NHS and much else if getting even worse by the day. My priority in three letters is the N H S he said. What a sick joke that was. The best thing to do to the NHS is start charging for it and break it up. It is a system of rationing, delays and much incompetence, it is killing thousands.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Can you not think of a single reason why increasing the economy might not be a good thing? There are many.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 21, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      The economy may be growing but GDP per capita is shrinking and so we are getting poorer individually. Therefore for the individual (and let us assume each voter votes for the individual) immigration does not improve the economy.

      The country needs to be run for the majority not solely for the desires of big business.

  7. Margaret
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    We need to ban migrants for 4 years .We need to stop pussyfooting around and say we have enough people on our ground already to carry out all the jobs which need to be executed. We cannot afford any more.
    I have paid NI contributions for 44 years and get the same pension as those who have paid a lot less. I still work , being far more qualified and experienced than those who get a higher wage to get as much as I can to support myself throughout the old age I might live . Manchester closed my ward 20 years ago , and threw me out to agency , so I couldn’t pay superannuation but use all my experience in most hospitals on zero hours contract for 20 years as I watched all overseas workers taking posts which I wouldn’t need training in. I havn’t been able to get a employers contribution as it wasn’t in force and now am told I am too old.

    I am fed up of doing all the work for others to take the glory and money.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Margaret.The whole pensions thing is a charade. I paid N.I. for 47 years and get £ 200 per 4 weeks less than my neighbour from South Africa who has paid nothing into the system only arriving here 5 years ago aged 67 and being born and bred in Durban.
      They used all their money to buy a house and having no savings they get council tax relief. Then people wonder why we get angry.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      @Margaret; “I am fed up of doing all the work for others to take the glory and money.”

      Sounds more like your ‘beef’ is with the changes made to the NHS since 1979, not migration per se, after all there have been (im)migrants working (at all levels) within the NHS since at least the 1950s.

      In this day and age ‘over-qualification’ is as much a problem as under-qualification is, not just within the NHS, no employer/manager wants to spend money on paying for skilled staff (who might well also be a threat to the line manager filling such positions) just as they do not want to pay for training if at all possible.

      • Margaret
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        No I think it is the fact that if we are not allowed to pay into pensions at a senior rate ( or any rate in the past for me) then they don’t have to pay us a pension.
        It is about keeping people down professionally abusing them and refusing to recognise the past.
        I have just been into work to talk about issues which are upsetting me , being left out of a team ( and it hurts when you are single) just to be told by the manager that she has no time to listen to my issues , but the other girls……
        BTW I am old enough not to be bothered about my weaknesses as well as my strengths.

  8. JoeSoap
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    “Have a large number come and gone?”
    No of course not. The better question would be “how much income tax do they pay per capita, net with tax credits?”

    “Many would still want to come for the jobs and better wages than in their own country. This pressure will be increased by the payment of the living wage.”
    Good that you recognise this causal link and contradiction. Can we then both reach the conclusion then that your leadership cares more about socialism and control of wages than control of immigration?

    “It is possible, for example, that a contribution driven system would be allowed and would keep recent arrivals out of claiming entitlements. The problem with this is could the UK find a way of entitling UK residents, without it being based on their nationality?”
    Actually this one is turning the other way. Cameron has the choice of going along with the EU or enacting a terribly real Conservative policy of contributory-based benefits.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Government debt is increasing at an exponential rate.

      This is the one truth that they cannot spin with their lies.

  9. Ralphmalph
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    With respect to your last paragraph I believe that bringing in a contributory benefits systems for all, including current residents would be a significant vote winner.

    All surveys show that the low paid dislike so called “benefits scroungers” more than the better paid.

    Selling the Big Issue (is questionable ed) because of immediate access to substantial tax credits.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I doubt that it would be much of a vote winner with people who had left school or higher education with no contributions record and who were then unable to get a decent job, or any job at all, to earn enough to live on and simultaneously build up a contributions record, or with their parents who might have to help to support them, or with their other relations and friends who quite correctly thought that this was an unreasonable way to treat our young people.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      @Ralphmalph; “I believe that bringing in a contributory benefits systems for all, including current residents would be a significant vote winner.”

      Not for very much longer, the 50 plus baby-boomer (along with their parents) voter base has peaked…

  10. agricola
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Face it John, accurate information on migration is just not available. On the legal side there is no count of who enters or leaves. There is no immediate way to identify anyone at large in the UK. On the illegal side it is anyone’s guess. The government was reported this week to have lost 10,000 asylum seekers. The whole business is an unmitigated disaster, while Cameron struts in Brussels making a fool of himself. A collection of sixth formers could come up with a better way to run things than this government or it’s predecessors.

    I conclude that all of you in the conservative party bare collective responsibility for allowing Cameron to perpetuate his long term deceit of the British people. He should have been stopped long ago. Not one of you in the HoC stands up and subjects him to the surgical dismembering that Nigel Farage achieves with the leadership of the EU parliament. What fun “Spitting Image” could have with this , had anyone the guts to let it roll the airwaves.

    My own experience of flying into Birmingham from Dublin one evening last November was that there were no passport checks, no customs checks, just an open door to anyone. It gave the impression that it was a dry run at complying with Shengen. The whole concept of any form of control or accounting for numbers is none existent.

    Reply If Mr Farage is so good why has he failed 3 times to win a Westminster seat? To win for Out we need 51% not 12 %.

    • agricola
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply.

      One ring fenced reply does not alter the facts. It is the sort of response one hears ad nauseum at PMQs.

      Nigel beat everyone in the European Election while in UK elections he battles a grotesque bias in the system. 4 Million votes and one seat while the SNP and Lib/Dems get I think 64 seats with a combined total of far less than UKIP.

      It is not that your party lack articulate MPs, it is that none of them dare prick the Cameron balloon. An unworthy reply that does not address the problem, as at PMQs.

      • Dennis
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


      • Jerry
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        @agricola; So Nigel has a load of MEPs, what does that prove (other than he can win under the PR), the point our host made is very valid, if UKIP can’t win more than one parliamentary seat [1] under a simple majority voting system then it doesn’t bode very well come a single (binary style) referendum question, that is not to say that UKIP and Mr Farage will not play a part in securing our preferred outcome but it won’t be a UKIP/Farage wot won it headline for a Tabloid in the days following.

        As for PR, sure UKIP might have got far more seats at Westminster but at what cost, so will the Greens, so might other small parties that the inevitable coalition would have to appease to form a government, UKIP might well be asking for the poisoned chalice that results in the death of an independent UK.

        [1] and the latest internal UKIP spat might just end up in there being one more independent MP (who might be even more electable as a result come 2020) at Westminster and one less UKIP – well non actually…

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply–You talk a lot of twaddle on anything to do with UKIP. Farage has worked miracles starting with very little. How would you fare if you yourself left the wretched so-called Conservatives and were trying to found or consolidate a new Party? His task has been and remains very very very difficult. He should fire Carswell. I remember wondering what that man was all about the first time I heard him utter anything. Farage and UKIP have been simply unlucky in so many ways. Carswell doesn’t seem to understand the obvious overwhelming effect of the combination of postal votes and a 25% essentially block-voting “community”. You didn’t either I seem to remember,

      Reply Has Mr Farage now lodged a formal complaint about Oldham? What evidence does he have to back up his claims?

      • Richard1
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        It is extraordinary the extent to which UKIP has reinvented itself as a single issue anti-immigration party. It used to be a party of small govt, low taxes, free trade etc. Now it’s all about limiting immigration which is invariably talked about negatively, though many, probably the large majority of immigrants, make a strong positive contribution to the UK. Gone are the calls for spending controls or competitive taxes, we hear nothing of this from UKIP. It’s interesting to look at Breitbart, which seems to be Mr Farage’s media mouthpiece. Rather unwisely – and perhaps out of ignorance – they are giving sympathic coverage to unpleasant (and in most cases in reality left wing) anti-immigration parties elsewhere in Europe, such as the Sweden Democrats, the French Front national and the True Finns. Mr Carswell should re-rat. He is an essentially decent man who doesn’t belong in this company.

        • matthu
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink


          I take it from what you write that you would be in favour of absolutely unlimited immigration.


          • Richard1
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 12:22 am | Permalink

            No but the tone of much UKIP comment – Farage saying he’s uncomfortable on a train full of people speaking another language, some other UKIP twerp putting up a sign saying something along the lines of ‘leave the EU or get a Koran and learn Arabic’ – is negative, divisive and counter-productive.

        • Dennis
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          “probably the large majority of immigrants, make a strong positive contribution to the UK. ”

          That no one understands that this is the major problem clouds the understanding. Eat very well – must be good for you so eat much more.

          • matthu
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            That would also explain why Greece’s GDP has been going through the roof just now.

          • matthu
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, reporting in April 2008, said that what mattered was GDP per head. They concluded that:
            “We have found no evidence for the argument, made by the government, business and many others, that net immigration generates significant economic benefits for the existing UK population.”

            In January 2012 the Migration Advisory Committee went further. They said that even GDP per head exaggerated the benefit of immigration because:
            “It is the immigrants themselves rather than the extant residents who are the main gainers.”

            They suggested that the GDP of residents should be the main focus.


      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        It is all about the old party brands of Labour and Conservative and the many always have voted X voters plus the FPTP voting system. Try competing with Coke cola as virgin did or Amazon – not so easy.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply–If something is obvious it is obvious and it is obvious that the combination of postal votes and a tight-knit community where a good few cannot speak English and are going to vote (if that’s the word) as they are told is a toxic one. Although a horrible situation, it would not surprise me if much of what is done a la “I’ll help you fill in the form so all you have to do is sign” is not against the Law in any event. The idea of postal votes in such situations is just plain crazy.

        Reply It is also possible that many people voted Labour because they wanted to. I await the evidence. Mr Farage now has to put up or shut up on this important issue. Where is the evidence?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Reply–There you go again with one of your do-gooder statements which though true isn’t a vast amount of help. Of course some will have voted Labour because they wanted to but not 99% of them. What sort of evidence do you hope for in this supposedly secret ballot? Blair knew what he was doing when he introduced postal ballots.

          Reply Fine. All I ask us that we are shown the evidence and a proper complaint is made.We need to follow up on any abuses. When will we get the official complaint? I can’t make it as I have no evidence.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Those in the Conservative party just need to find they’re back bones and tell Mr David Cameron what he can do with his useless re-negotiation and modernising agenda. Too many career plodders unfortunately.

      Jacob Rees Mogg showed the way – he basically called David Cameron out on BBC Question time for his sham re-negotiation…and the sky didn’t fall down.

      Too many seem overly grateful to him for the thin gruel of a weird alliance with the Liberal party and a slim majority when going up against the comical red Ed figure.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      “If Mr Farage is so good why has he failed three times to win a Westminster seat ?”

      Ask most people why we got an EU referendum at all and they won’t mention the name John Redwood.

      But please, do carry on. I like it when you sneer at Mr Farage. This means that voters who yearned to vote UKIP but switched back to the Conservatives to keep the Miliband/Sturgeon beasty out of office can see how foolish they were to do so.

      They go unthanked, unacknowledged and ignored for sacrificing their vote in what must have been an extremely frustrating act of restraint.

      Record busting levels of immigration under Cameron have followed. Add to this arrogance – such as this from his back benchers – to help to ensure that their trust is not taken for granted again. Especially when the economy goes tits up before 2020 because this whole ‘boom’ is based on froth generated by an over pressurised housing market which could blow at any time.

      Reply I know why we got a referendum as I was there at the meetings that produced the Bloomberg speech. I did not see Mr Farage there. I do not sneer at him, but nor can Mr Farage be free of the normal enquiries made of politicians and especially party leaders.

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – And was the rise of an independence party – and the risk of MPs defecting to it – not mentioned at those meetings ?

        The narative in the run up to the last general election was thus:

        – the only way to ensure a referendum is to vote Conservative

        – the only way to keep Miliband/Sturgeon out of office is to vote Conservative

        – Nigel Farage is a racist

        Mr Farage has endured way beyond ‘normal’ enquiries. He has been subject to concerted campaigns between both major parties, the press, UKIP-a-like ‘candidates’ and even celebrities standing against him.

        You assertion that he was not good enough to be elected ignores the extraordinary efforts made to keep him out of office.

        A referendum simply would not have been promised without him.

        On another issue: I read that Tendering District Council is going to charge OAPs a call-out of £26 each time they have a fall. Perhaps we should consider charging drunks for blocking A&E at weekends before we set this precedent – and it would be a wonderfully Conservative way of helping to save the NHS.

        Reply No, UKIP was not mentioned in the meetings because UKIP had no votes in the Commons. What was on the PM’s mind was the large number of Conservative MPs who had already defied the whip to vote for a referendum, and the further action with additional support that we were planning to take.

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          PS, If Mr Cameron hands over office at the next election will Mr Osborne honour the referendum pledge ? Will it still be active ?

          Reply Whoever wins the leadership will of course honour the wishes of the electorate in the referendum. The referendum result will help inform who we choose as the next leader.

          • Anonymous
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

            PS – what of saving the NHS from killing people at weekends ?

            Why are pissheads never blamed but old people are ???

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            Why are you so confident that they will honour the referendum result? That is not what history suggests with other countries.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          Comment on Reply–Mercy!–Has it occurred to you to ask why the MP’s defied the whip?

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 12:55 am | Permalink

          Of course. SamCam, Mum’snet and actors and actresses such as Huge Grunt (whom I have the misfortune of watching under the duress of wifey at the moment) had more influence on those debates than Nigel Farage !

          Seriously though. Thanks for engaging with me as you do. I very much respect you for it. Sincerely.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            Indeed but are they not all “Actors” now so we cannot even know their gender. Or have we gone back of Actresses? Listening to Desert Island Discs convinces me that nearly all “actors” of any gender are tedious, lefty, self publicising, air heads with bad musical tastes and a deluded sense of their own importance.

            Usually zero intellectual content, but all delivered in a well modulated voice, with very irritating delivery and contrived pregnant pauses, a rewriting of their history and fake effusive out bursts.

            Hugh Grunt however was better than most. I think I remember he was quite funny, taking the Micky out of Sue Lawley.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply–Baloney–You need to understand better the main reason why Cameron made that speech, which was of course the unrelenting pressure from UKIP. I do not deny that a significant chunk of the Conservative Party does show sense in these matters: it is just that Cameron is not in that chunk. My own, Conservative, MP is a complete drip. In any event, not much of Bloomberg has survived in Cameron’s daft recent letter. It is so so obvious that Cameron is planning to come out with something like, “I achieved a lot of what I asked for” without of course mentioning that what he asked for amounted to very little indeed.

        Reply Why do UKIP supporters always have to deny the work Conservative Eurosceptics have done for years to get us to a referendum? Who voted for a referendum in the Commons? No-one from UKIP.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          Comment on Reply–Very profound comment on UKIP I am sure. It is because you always talk as if it were only the Conservative MP’s that invites simple disbelief.

        • matthu
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink


          Even when Leslie says that he does not deny that a significant chunk of the Conservative Party does show sense in these matters … you ask “Why do UKIP supporters always have to deny the work Conservative Eurosceptics have done for years to get us to a referendum?”

          You are the one in denial.

          I have never heard you grudgingly concede even the slightest possibility that UKIP may have had any influence at all over the Cameron’s sudden change of heart in allowing a referendum.

          Now I, as a UKIP supporter in the past (and who know who I will support in the future) gladly concede that several Conservative MPs encouraged Cameron to see the light after many, many years of his dissembling about being ready to hold a referendum.

          There. Now you have explicitly heard a UKIP supporter acknowledge the work done by people such as yourself and the very able (and recently admired on QT) Jacob Rees-Mogg over very many years as you dragged the reluctant, kicking and unwilling PM to a position where he felt obliged to offer a referendum.

          Well done.

          You in turn may wish to reflect on whether your task was made even the teeniest bit easier by the fact that UKIP’s popularity the previous year led to them winning the Euro elections.

          Reply I have done so and if it had been helpful I would say so. I can assure you it was always a question of numbers in the Conservative Parliamentary party, as we had the votes and there were no UKIP MPs. I have never criticised UKIP policy positions on this site though I do disagree with some of them, and do not resort to the kind of personal attacks that UKIP contributors regularly bring against Conservatives here.

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 12:57 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply to Leslie


          Reply I seek to tell you the truth as I see it. I also let noisy pro UKIP people set out their unreal view of their significance on this site all too often. I want to win this referendum and need help to do so from people who understand why 88% do not vote UKIP despite the obvious failings of the EU

          • agricola
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            As I seem to have kicked off this hornets nest of robust healthy discussion I should state that in my whole life I have never voted for UKIP even though I am at times sympathetic to their aims. I have always voted conservative with the one exception of abstaining at the election after Major when my feelings were a pox on all your houses.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    “the government’s target rate of under 100,000”

    If you recall, JR, when the Tory party was in opposition its promised target for net – not gross – immigration was “tens of thousands”, eg here is Cameron in January 2010:

    “David Cameron: net immigration will be capped at tens of thousands”

    ““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.

    “That’s the sort of figure it was in the 1990s and I think we should see that again.””

    “Reducing immigration to levels seen under the last Conservative government would mean around 50,000 more arrivals than departures a year.”

    Now I know that 100,000 can be seen as “ten tens of thousands”, but then 300,000 can also be seen as “thirty tens of thousands”, and so it could equally be argued that 300,000 does not breach the target of “tens of thousands” if any specious old argument is deemed acceptable; but most ordinary people hearing that “tens of thousands” promise would have taken it to mean just a few “tens of thousands”, maybe as much as that 50,000 but probably fewer, and they would not have taken it to really mean “under 100,000”.

  12. Richard1
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    One person who isn’t in Britain who should be is the distinguished scientist, Sir Tim Hunt, thrown out of UCL by a craven university administration after pressure from leftist-feminists after some supposedly sexist joke Sir Tim had made. It is very surprising and disappointing how little has been heard from leading politicians on this issue. UCL, like other universities, receives huge amounts of taxpayers money. University administrations need to be required by law to uphold the right to free speech against leftist campaigns to close it down on university campuses. Those who refuse should face the potential loss of access to state money – including student finance. That should get the silent majority into action and defeat the vociferous minority of student and academic leftists who are presently wrecking the UK’s higher education system.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed and it was not even a “sexist” joke merely an anecdote & observation, it was not even really critical of women.

      One could perhaps be critical of women in science by asking why such a low proportion of females chose to study further maths, physics and computer studies even at basic O & A level. Why are they are so under represented in hard science subjects when there are clearly no real barriers to their entry, other than the choices females choose to make.

      Of course there are very many capable female scientists around but I have yet to find many female Richard Feynmans or Albert Einsteins about.

      Of the 198 individuals awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, only two are women.
      1903 – Marie Curie (also awarded the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.)
      1963 – Maria Goeppert-Mayer

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Less single minded or obsessed than some men perhaps? Rather sensibly quite often.

      • Qubus
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        … and it was a fact !

      • Qubus
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        But did you know that women now make up more than 50% of the intake of medical schools?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          Indeed and good luck to them. Though as they tend to work fewer hours, post qualification, this increases the numbers needing to be trained as doctors by a large margin(and thus already high costs of training).

          It seems to be the Physics, Maths, Computer Science, Engineering, even Economics and some business areas that they are in general rather less interested.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      “She writes for numerous outlets including the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Sunday Times…”

      Oops! Gone!

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      @Richard1; Let’s test your argument (Changed words are in bold);

      “University administrations need to be required by law to uphold the right to free speech against rightist campaigns to close it down on university campuses. Those who refuse should face the potential loss of access to state money – including student finance. That should get the silent majority into action and defeat the vociferous minority of student and academic leftists who are presently wrecking the UK’s higher education system.”

      Hmm, nice little precedent, and a dangerous one at that, to set for any future leftist (government) to follow and use for their own ends….

      As it is I agree with the thrust of your argument that political correctness has been allowed to rule absurdly in the case you highlight, even if the said chaps words/jokes were a little unwise, I just think your ‘solution’ is worse.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Conservatives never look to shut down debate – it’s always been the left who do that. Mobs, whether in the street or online, are for lefties.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

          Indeed, it’s a resurrection of “mobocracy” with a modern twist.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          @Richard1; “Conservatives never look to shut down debate”

          So why did YOU suggest doing just that?…

          Anyway plenty of right-wing politicos through-out history have shut down debate they dislike, and were doing so long before the advent of what is now considered socialism or communism etc, the deportation of the Tolpuddle Martyrs was one such attempt to shut down debate (and free speech) for example.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 20, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            It looks a bit desperate when you need to go back to 1832 to find an example to find a way of arguing against to Richard’s post Jerry.
            I’m no history expert but in 1832 wasn’t it a Whig government in power having ousted the Tories in November 1830.

          • Jerry
            Posted December 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “It looks a bit desperate when you need to go back to 1832”

            There are examples from the last 50 odd years, the problem with citing them is that many are or might still be contentious, problematic were official papers etc have been (once again) withheld – one such case from the early 1970s involving the building trade was in the news again only this month, and subject of a debate at Westminster and the press.

            “I’m no history expert but in 1832 wasn’t it a Whig government in power”

            That is why I did not use the term Conservative or Tory etc, just “right-wing”. You might need to think about that, due to the term being somewhat relative and movable!

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Right wing, being therefore any opinion you feel is to the right of yours Jerry.
            To get back to the original post, I still agree with Richard that the left are currently very keen and active in using various means both verbal and physical, to silence debate and opposition. As we have seen in the recent violence of marches in London and the desire to ban any speaker they dislike in Universities.
            I emphasis the word currently here Jerry as there, are I grant you, right wing regimes back in history that did the same.

          • Jerry
            Posted December 22, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Right wing, being therefore any opinion you feel is to the right of yours Jerry.”

            Oh do stop trying to pick arguments, nothing remains set in stone, for example many considered the post war Conservative leaders/PMs up to and including Ted Heath to be somewhat “right-wing” (especially the latter’s pay and employment policies, hence why he lost the Feb ’74 election), but now they appears somewhat centre, at least when compared to (certain) subsequent Conservative leaders and PMs.

            As for limiting free speech, all sides of the political divide try and control what is debated, the left just tend to be more viable due to always using that metaphorical pile-driver to crack a walnut (the protest march or “let’s ban him/her/them” approach), whilst the political centre dress it up as being non-PC and thus close down the debate that way, and the right tend to use intellectual augments against why the messenger should be allowed act as the messenger -hence we get the likes of BBC and Ch4 attacked- so whilst the actual debate carries on few rank and file ‘Plebs’ get to know about it.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

            There is only one person on here endlessly picking over every word of nearly everyone elses posts and desperately trying to argue pedantically for the sake of it Jerry.

            And it is not me.

  13. MikeP
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    While our population increases to near unsustainable levels, this can only happen by an equivalent decrease in the populations of other EU states. It says a lot about their ability to create jobs and economic growth that they seem more troubled by us not wishing to pay THEIR citizens from OUR welfare budget than lose the very workers who could create economic growth at home. But then they don’t have to pay welfare to those who have left so we shouldn’t be too surprised !

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Britain is there to absorb the EU’s unemployed and provide benefits to those who have no jobs.
      Of course they don’t want us to leave. What’s not to like??

  14. Edward2
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The ONS says 69 million population by 2024.
    Leading supermarkets think our current population is already millions higher than than that.

    The problem with the underestimation by the ONS is that the Government uses this figure to plan housing needs, energy capacity, health service requirements, school places, transport requirements and costs of welfare, amongst many other things.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Edward2. See headlines in the Herald in Scotland today as follows.

      Agenda: We have a major problem with electricity security due to failed

      By David Watson

      CAN the UK help meet the Paris Agreement objectives?

      Electricity security in our country is currently in a parlous state, fast
      approaching the edge and the “Houston we have a problem” moment is here.

      Ofgem and the National Grid Company predict no more than 1.2 per cent to
      two per cent margin of capacity over demand and only eight per cent if our
      interlinks to France and Netherlands are importing at maximum capacity this
      winter. The French are not guaranteeing this level of availability.

      You are right to point out that the Government seems unable to estimate many things including how much energy our grid is going to need. One really cold snap and lights off!! Note the reference to FAILED GOVERNANCE.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Edward 2 – Our sewerage/water usage is a better indicator of all that.

      • Jerry
        Posted December 22, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        @Anonymous; “Our sewerage/water usage is a better indicator of [population numbers]”

        Not really, it’s just a good indication as to the state of our plumbing systems, washing-up and personal hygiene practises etc. it tells us nothing about population numbers – one person living alone could easily use/create as much (waste) water as a family of four who have the latest high efficiency dish/cloths washers, and who take quick or family showers rather than individual baths, whilst using rain or grey water where possible, such as when watering the garden.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The government seems to think open door immigration is a net benefit to the country. Indeed some immigration clearly is, but most is a huge net liability to the state and the country, depressing wages (and thus tax receipts). increasing demand on schools, hospitals, old people’s care. benefits, social services, the police, the home office, roads and very much else.

    Much of it is at (or around) the minimum wage level so those with children (and they have more children on average), perhaps more medical problems, language issues, housing issues or those bringing elderly relatives are clearly not going to even come close to paying their way. Certainly not in the short to medium term.

    Mr “low tax Conservative at heart” Cameron and his side kick the “numerically and logically challenged” Osborne have increased tax rates (and tax complexity) hugely but mainly for the rich and are thus chasing away those few that actually did pay their way. Despite this (or perhaps because of it) they are still failing to collect anything like enough tax, even for the dismal level of services the state does actually provide. The NHS was dire and is now getting worse by the hour, schools, roads, social services, housing, the court system, anti-terrorism efforts likewise – in general it is all failing to deliver anything much of value.

    Osborne seem to like a small upside in tax receipts and slight GDP growth but ignore the huge costs on government services, the social problems, housing issues and the net pressure that is lowering earnings and GDP per cap for much of the existing working population.

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    JR: “How many people are in the UK?”
    Good question particularly when the Telegraph reports: “Government accused of cover-up as data suggests million EU migrants unaccounted for in Britain
    HMRC fails to release data which could show true number of EU migrants coming to Britain because it would be ‘unhelpful’ to renegotiation”. It goes on: ” A total of almost two million EU migrants have been allocated national insurance numbers in the last four years – far higher than the 760,000 counted into Britain via surveys….. HMRC said that disclosing the data would undermine Mr Cameron’s current renegotiation with Brussels. ”

    What can you do to find out the truth or is Cameron to be allowed to con the British ?public as Wilson did in 1975?

    • forthurst
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      “HMRC said that disclosing the data would undermine Mr Cameron’s current renegotiation with Brussels.”

      Obviously, CMD intends to misinform; the question is who? Why would the EU be less sympathetic if he could establish that unsustainable numbers had been arriving? On the other hand, in the campaign leading up to next summer’s referendum, the IN campaign, so far, has not been backward in its effords to mislead the people. Those around CMD know they are playing for high stakes: their intention is to destroy our nation and destroy our people by opening up our borders permanently to the whole world.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Well he is clearly trying to con them.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      The answer would be too politically embarrassing for the government and the IN campaign presumably…Yet again we are being treated like children.

  17. Lifelogic
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    You say Cameron seeks a four year ban on EU migrants receiving benefits or having access to social housing.

    In other words instead of having selective immigration or restricting immigration by law he want to deter it by making it very unpleasant for them when they get here. Perhaps having them live in shanty towns, working illegally, living off crime, charities or begging to survive. Also depriving them of legal jobs with his high minimum wage laws.

    So this is his cunning plan is it to get around having to have any serious negotiation with the EU? He is pathetic.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      But they will still get hospitals, schools and one doubts that the courts will allow LEAs to permit the families and minors to live on the streets. Rights to a family life, education. social services and all that will be forced to act.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      In the EU treaties, Article 9 TEU, it is stated that:

      “Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship.”

      But clearly that is not true in cases where a national government is not permitted to give any preferential treatment to its own citizens compared to the citizens of other EU countries; then it is the EU citizenship which takes priority over the national citizenship; if it does not exactly “replace” the national citizenship then it will certainly “displace” it in order of importance, legal weight; and it will be the national citizenship which is then “additional”, and morever it will be an addition which no longer has any value in those contexts.

      I noticed that back in 1992 Denmark attached some unilateral declarations to the European Council Decision which became necessary after the Danish people had refused to accept what their elected politicians had been willing to swallow when they signed the Maastricht Treaty:

      which said inter alia:

      “Citizenship of the Union is a political and legal concept which is entirely different from the concept of citizenship within the meaning of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Denmark and of the Danish legal system. Nothing in the Treaty on European Union implies or foresees an undertaking to create a citizenship of the Union in the sense of citizenship of a nation-state … ”

      “Citizenship of the Union in no way in itself gives a national of another Member State … any of the rights, duties, privileges or advantages that are inherent in Danish citizenship … ”

      It is precisely those “rights, duties, privileges or advantages that are inherent in Danish citizenship”, or other national citizenship, which the EU has set out to destroy, and of course our own man Major was happy to go along with that.

    • graham1946
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Shanty towns and all of what you describe already exist – back gardens around Heathrow show abundant shed dwellers, but nothing is done. Illegals, like the Calais lot just want to get here. Minimum wage doesn’t come into it. They have no intention of troubling the tax authorities with a self assessment return or PAYE. They just need a NI number and it seem that the system is so lax they are just handed out and the benefits follow. There’s plenty of black market work available offered by others running illegal activities. This is probably where the discrepancy lies. Trump may (or may not) have been wrong about the police being frightened to go into parts of London, Bristol or Liverpool, but it certainly applies to HMRC. My accountant told me that years ago – their writ doesn’t run in these places – the gun often does.
      etc ed

  18. Old Albion
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Uncontrolled immigration continues while Cameron fiddles.
    If you want to see what effect this has on England, come to Maidstone. You will find something like eight building sites within a five mile radius.
    These are homes your government has told Kent CC they MUST build to house the expanding population.
    Only two of the sites are brownfield, the rest are on greenfield sites. Concreting over England to house the world! Maidstone is log-jammed every day.
    Despite all the new homes, people and cars. No money is made available to improve infrastructure.

    Meanwhile Cameron starts thinking how he will present his total failure to get change in the EU, as a success.
    The only way he can keep Britain in the EU is to tell us a pack of lies and hope the sheeple fall for it. Or cancel the referendum, We’ll see which it’s to be soon.

  19. Stephen Almond
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I find the question of the population of Great Britain much more interesting than fiddling around with benefits for immigrants.
    I would like to ask our leaders, “what population are you aiming for in, say, 2025? What in 2050?
    Population size is never discussed between politicians and populace.
    I have the feeling that a steady increase is required so that the BBC and government can talk about a ‘growing’ economy.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Quite right.

  20. alan jutson
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    A number of factors in place here.

    National insurance numbers are issued to People who want to work, no matter for how long or short.

    EG: one days work means you need a National Insurance number.

    Once you have a National Insurance number this is the key to all of our health benefits and others besides.
    Thus not a surprise that all who come here are available to work for at least a day for free healthcare.

    The number of National Insurance numbers issued will always be greater than Government Migration figures because:

    NI numbers are given to the GROSS number of immigrants who arrive here, but the Government only wants to talk about NET migration.

    The vast majority of the population know that the present rate of immigration is totally out of control, and non sustainable for any real length of time.

    All of our basic services are being put under strain.
    Water provision and use, sewerage, housing, National Health system, Benefits system, Schools and education, law and order, police capability, road capacity, rail capacity, electricity use, etc etc.

    No one knows the numbers who have and continue to arrive here illegally, some estimates are up to 1,000,000. do any of these have NI numbers ?

    What checks, if any, are made on applications ?

    We need to face facts, the DNA of the Country is now rapidly changing as is the traditional way of life of our population, as it seeks to try and accommodate all of the different values of those who are now entering.

    Will this eventual melting pot which people love to call multiculturalism work, I personally have no idea, I certainly do not like it much, as I feel it is being forced upon us at far too faster rate to be comfortable.

    This giant experiment (and that is what it is) of social engineering may unfortunately lead to conflict and civil unrest, I really do hope that is not the case, but human nature being what it is, it is very possible.

    The government now boasts that we are finding housing for refugees, finding school places for refugees, giving health care to refugees, and that is right if they are genuine refugees, but I wonder how many who have lived here, paid in to the system all of their lives and cannot get a decent pension, decent housing, decent medical/nursing care, or get their children into a school of their choice feel about that.

    Time to close the doors until we get ourselves sorted out properly, then it should be our choice as to who comes here, based on OUR need, not theirs.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Alan J.
      What a brilliant post! I totally agree. So much is being hidden from the general public. I think there would be serious trouble if the true facts were known, but every time concern is raised, we are told that untrammeled immigration is good for us, and that the NHS and other organisations would collapse without it. Along with others, I fear for the future of this country if things go on as they are. By then of course, those who allowed it to happen will be gone to their ‘country acres’ , Townhouses in smart parts of London, or villas in the South of France/Monaco. !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      But the whole point of promoting a “multi-cultural society” is that it is not a “melting pot”, instead it is an implicit admission that integration has failed and the different elements are not fusing together, and an attempt to pretend that this is a desirable situation.

      I remember in the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s various grandees on the radio issuing bland reassurances to the plebs that the (what then seemed to be) large scale Commonwealth immigration would soon peter out naturally and the new arrivals would quickly integrate into our society. It was when it became clear that this was not happening easily and quickly that the shift to publicly declaring the virtues of a “multicultural society” began.

  21. DaveM
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    In answer to the title of this blog, 1. no-one knows, 2. too many, and 3. your “leader” doesn’t care because it doesn’t affect him or his rich constituents.

    What seems crucial at this time, though, is that we close our borders and implement this closure with a new, strong border force – perhaps headed by someone like Jim Dutton, employing ex-servicemen and ex-policemen. We need to put very close controls on immigration and sort out the country, from projecting future industry and energy to, providing adequate housing, to the NHS, to the constitution of the UK.

    And while we have open borders and are governed by unelected Eurocrats, we can’t do this and things will keep getting worse. You don’t rebuild your house at the same time as leaving all your doors open and letting people come and go through at will, whilst feeding them and letting them dismantle bits of it.

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Could the discrepancy between the arrivals and the NI numbers be that some arrivals collecting more than one with the aim of securing multiple benefits under different names? Some time ago it was reported that there had been attempts to register births of children to two different ‘mothers’, the real mother and an aunt, presumably with the aim of collecting double child benefits. I suspect that there is a lot of fraud amongst many arrivals from the third world, corruption and bribery are a way of life in many of these countries.
    Surely it is time that we started to fingerprint all arrivals applying for NI numbers. With modern computerised techniques it would be easy to detect duplicates.

  23. fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Why doesn’t Cameron get it? The only way is OUT – not negotiations which can be dumped at a later stage.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “They estimate that the population of 64.6 million in 2014 will grow to 69 million by mid 2024. They think a little over half the growth will come from new migrants. They also expect the newer migrants to boost the birth rate, adding to the natural growth of the population.”

    Obviously I don’t pretend to be able to say with any precision, but I think it would not be a completely unreasonable guess that in the absence of immigration over the past quarter century the population of the UK would have barely changed.

    In 1990 the resident population of the UK was about 57 million, now it might have been about 59 million not 65 million.

    A chart of the crude birth rate back to the 1960’s is here:

    and it can be seen that it was on a downwards trend, as too was the crude death rate:

    and it is quite possible that without immigration the rate of increase of the population may have dropped down towards 0.1% a year – as in the numbers given above, 57 million rising to 59 million over the past quarter century – while instead it has risen to over 0.7% a year, and that 59 million mark was passed fifteen years ago, around 2000.

    It has to be borne in mind that people in their twenties who settled here in 1990 will in general still be around now, while mostly their children will have grown up and many will have started their own families producing grandchildren, all of whom add to the total UK population but would not have done so if their grandparents had not come here.

    We should now be in the fourth stage of the demographic transition, with birth and death rates closely matched and a stable population, but for its own reasons our government has deliberately pulled the country backwards out of that by allowing and encouraging mass immigration, directly contrary to the known wishes of the great majority of the established body of citizens.

    Some might think that this is quite outrageous, and our elected politicians had no right to do it; but the fact is that they don’t care two hoots what we think about that, or indeed anything else, what they want matters but our views count for nothing in this so-called democracy.

  25. JJE
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I do believe that a large number have come and gone and that the situation continues to be very fluid and well beyond the ability of our creaking bureaucracy to track or react to.

    That’s why the market driven services such as the supermarkets cope and the socialist planned elements of the economy cannot. Imagine the queues if we were reliant on a National Food Service.

    The roads were noticeably quieter after the 2008 crash but are now as busy as before.
    The young Eastern European immigrants often come for a few months or years and return home or go elsewhere for a while. They aren’t really committed to one place until they have a family of their own. It’s no different to them to someone from Wokingham living and working in London for a while before buying a house and raising their family in Maidenhead.

    My nephew is going to Uni in Maastricht. It’s a lot cheaper, better, and more socially grown up than most English alternatives. I’ve no idea how he appears in the statistics, if indeed he does at all.

    Look at the rise of Wizz alongside Ryan Air and Easy Jet to see the numbers travelling or go to Victoria Coach Station any day. It’s a two way traffic.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Immigration control and controls at all borders are two basic ingredients to keep the unwanted and the illegals out of the country ; Ireland is no exception ! The criticisms of Camerons’ pathetic efforts I fully endorse ; PRism is no way to lead a country particularly when faced with the challenges we have . I almost fell out of my seat when , on Thursday , he had the audacity and stupidity to emerge from his meeting to announce that a “pathway” had been found .

    Our association with the EU has continuously eroded our independence and made a mockery of our democracy ; it has cost us huge sums of money and not one gain of anything . We must get out of it and we must not fudge our reasons for doing so . Farage may not have won his seat in the HoC but he has the guts and straightforwardness that I , and most of my friends , think worthwhile ; his diplomacy does not suit all but his messages are exactly what Cameron and his cohorts need to take on board .

    As things stand now , I see nothing to keep us in the EU ; the immigration mess has become the tip of the iceberg that will dominate the arguments before the referendum . I sincerely hope that all the voices of “Brexit” , “Leave” and “Others” will come together and fight to get us “Out”.

  27. oldtimer
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Clearly the numbers do not add up. The focus of the “negotiations” on the issue of benefits is designed to distract attention away from the fundamental issues. The chances are that the carefully planned political choreography, together with the skillful deployment of smoke and mirrors, will work in persuading a majority to vote Remain.

  28. Atlas
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I think the big problem for Cameron’s detractors is to find a way of simply explaining to those who don’t follow the minutiae of politics how the EU is forcing us to do crazy things to suit its real masters, Germany and France.

  29. bluedog
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Why is Britain the only country that plays by the rules? If the French want to shut their borders they do so; some minor EU functionary then twists the words of some arcane EU diktat to validate the French initiative. Cameron should simply tell the EU what the UK will be doing and get on with it. The EU has no capacity to apply sanctions to the UK, it’s a toothless tiger, all bluff. If the EU protests, cut the EU membership fee progressively until the EU backs off.

  30. DaveM
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink


    Mr R, how much longer can the govt ignore Calais?

    Quite aside from the physical danger posed to our hauliers – people who are just trying to do a job and earn a wage:

    You are a man who clearly has a career based on a deep interest in the economy and who believes that thriving private businesses are the cornerstone of the UK economy. This current crisis is costing people, businesses, and the economy millions.

    One of the remits of the UK armed forces is to protect UK business and trading throughout the globe. The Police can’t cope, and we have thousands of servicemen not on operations.

    The govt needs to do something. We need a leader who leads rather than a member of the “Leaders who Lunch” club.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    There are no ‘true’ figures for immigration.

    Welfare does need to be cut back to very very basic care but we will go bankrupt before this is allowed.

    So mass immigration and national bankruptcy it is. Cultural fragmentation, social decline, overcrowding and poverty to come.

    The debate about immigration has already been toxified and cannot be talked about in grown up fashion.

  32. Ken Moore
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s been a good week for democracy…
    First Jacob Rees-Mogg on BBC Question time thinly veiled attack on his fellow Conservative Mp’s for their ‘dutiful’ and ‘loyal’ assessment of Mr Cameron’s re-negotiation.

    Now John Redwood goes seriously ‘off message’ with an article about a subject the government is trying to cover up – the huge discrepancy between NI numbers issued and official migration statistics.

    The governments response (from a freedom of information request) for information has been :-

    ‘Following the General Election, there is an active negotiation process at an international level in which UK Ministers and officials are engaged to secure support from the European Commission and other Member States for changes in EU law governing EU migrants’ access to benefits in the UK, in line with the Government’s manifesto commitments. The information is being used to inform the development of policy options as part of the negotiation process and therefore relates to the formulation of Government policy. HMRC continues to believe that releasing information in the form requested would, at this stage, be unhelpful to the negotiation process.


  33. Peter Davies
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why so much oxygen is wasted on the narrow issue of migration and benefits. These have all come about from powers which have been signed away at some point so the negotiating position should be that the UK law making powers should take precedence over all domestic laws and the eu should be a trading entity onlytas far as UK concerned.

  34. Maureen Turner
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    How many people are in the UK? Any long established democracy shouldn’t have to ask this question but to answer it – too many. Population growth for the UK is running well above optimum for its landmass. This was taken from a survey on worldwide population growth. The overall population for the planet was also considerably above the recommended level.

    The reason the NI numbers and those in the workforce don’t equate is due to poor bookeeping and a lack of cross referencing (IT style) as to emloyment status. Many arrive illegally and therefore those don’t show up on any record. They are usually young single males who go straight into blackmarket employment and some if they can will claim benefits at the same time but this is difficult without an NI number.

    Of course many new arrivees are genuine refugees plus those from other EU countries but until the relevant department gets a handle on the number of illegals we will never get to even the roughest of figures. In the 1950’s the UK’s population was around 55 million which was then considered the optimum but in ten years time is expected to reach 69 million. How any government can plan to build the required housing, hospitals, schools etc., without the necessary data is crystal ball time.

    As the population increases the demand for growth increases, especially in the developing countries, but on a planet with finite resources this has its limitations which needs very
    serious forward thinking. Only a few weeks ago China raised the number of children a
    couple could have from one to two to ensure its necessary growth level. The two are inextricably linked so what chance of controlling population growth or inward migration any time soon? None.

    Many arriving on our shores go straight into the economic black market and are the ones that can be termed illegals and are mostly single young men.

  35. Original Richard
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    The government does not know how many people there are in the UK and according to the retail stores there are far more people than the official statistics show.
    England is already the most densely populated major country in the EU and increasing rapidly as hundreds of thousands pour in each year.
    The Conservative Party leadership know that restricting EU migrants’ benefits will have little or no impact upon immigration, particularly from the poorer EU2 countries of Bulgaria and Romania. And especially from a country such as Turkey (75m) whom the EU (Germany) and the UK (Conservative Party) are working hard to admit into the EU.
    This possible restriction is simply a ploy to give the voters the impression that the immigration issue is solved and they can safely vote to remain in the EU.
    Migrants from these countries will want to move to the UK in increasing numbers whether or not there are “in-work” benefits to be able to take advantage of our higher wages, our schools and our “free” NHS.
    Housing will not prove to be an issue as multiple house occupancy will become the norm and the use of sheds and garages will come into common use. The recent government proposals to use the green belt for housing is already inadequate to house the inflow.
    This inward net migration will not stop until the standard of living in the UK drops to match those of the poorer EU countries and our generous welfare benefits and “free” NHS have disappeared.
    At the same time our government seems to have no wish either to drastically reduce non-EU migration. And we can expect in time to receive many of the non-EU migrants Germany is unilaterally inviting into the EU.
    Unless the UK votes for independence in the forthcoming EU referendum we will certainly become a very different country to the one we see today

  36. agricola
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Bloomberg delivered by David Cameron on 23rd January 2013 set out our aspirations for the future progress of the EU very effectively.
    Problem is, it may have been listened to graciously at the time, but there has been no sign that it’s tenets have been taken on board. Quite the contrary in fact as possible routes forward were systematically cut off in a collective desire, it seems to me. for a one size fits all Europe.

    This has made David Cameron look increasingly foolish as his options have been rebuffed and denied. This has resulted in him being left with a rag bag of meaningless options that the EU may or may not agree to. Options that have no political credibility.

    Worse , from David Cameron’s point of view, it has destroyed his credibility with a large portion of the UK electorate. He enjoys Christmas and the New Year with egg on his face. He would be wise to cease trying to sell buckets full of holes and face up to the reality of Brexit. I would submit that Brexit is the only way in which the other states of the EU might achieve what was set out in Bloomberg. In a way the market of public disquiet in Europe will dictate. He might then gain some respect from the UK electorate for having tried his damnedest to sell Bloomberg, but accepted the intransigence of the EU in the end.

    Even I who has been so critical would respect him for such a decision, after all politics is the art of the possible.

  37. A different Simon
    Posted December 20, 2015 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Given the Conservative Party’s track record , is it not hypocritical to vote Conservative and then complain about mass immigration or loss of sovereignty to the EU ?

  38. The Active Citizen
    Posted December 20, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Imagine a large Company which kept no accurate records of when new employees started. Further imagine that they kept no records of when these staff left, or were on sick leave, or no holiday, etc etc. Such a Company would be breaking many laws and regulations and in any event it couldn’t function properly and would very quickly go out of business.

    It is simply absurd that the UK has no real idea who has come in and who has left, and where these individuals came from. I’m talking overall numbers here and I won’t accept any arguments that “we’re working on a new IT system” or the like.

    We should have access to reasonably accurate and up-to-date information in order to make decisions. If we were governed by people with normal common sense, all of this would have been insisted upon and implemented a long time ago.

    Instead, we’re relying on sample polling taken at points of entry, from what I understand. For us to have no real knowledge of what’s going on in the country in respect of these matters is shameful, to say nothing of the latest and totally unacceptable cover-up by HMRC over the NI numbers fiasco.

    Talking of common sense, I’m very disappointed JR that you choose to focus your argument about postal voting on a demand for Nigel Farage to provide evidence of fraud at Oldham.

    For heaven’s sake, any person with an ounce of common sense would say that a 25% postal voting rate is absurb. I have no axe to grind about UKIP or even the actual effect of postal voting on the end result at Oldham. The principle is the important thing and it has always been my understanding that you’re a champion of our democratic values. If it looks like a rat, and smells like a rat, it’s almost certainly a rat.

    Can’t you please persuade the Government that Blair’s changes to postal voting should be repealed with immediate effect, before this could distort the result of the EU referendum? In any event this change is needed for all future elections and is vital to our democracy.

    O/T: I also agree with many of your correspondents that citizens of all other EU countries should not be able to vote in our referendum and that includes the Irish. It’s obvious that only UK citizens should be allowed to vote on this matter.

    Reply As someone who sometimes postL votes I resent the idea that postL votes are all,rigged.There is. Complex double envelope system to try to ensure only genuine voters use them. There is also a good system for complaint and prosecution for abuse which should be used where every there is evidence of crime.

    • The Active Citizen
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      I expressed myself clumsily. I don’t believe all postal votes are rigged, although I’m sure some are and we should eliminate the possibility of fraud as far as possible. Proving fraud amongst some communities would be extremely difficult so I would fall back on ‘prevention being better than cure’.

      I believe that exercising one’s franchise should be an active decision and act. It should involve the voter presenting himself in person – not much effort to ask in support of his democratic rights. Naturally those who are genuinely ill or abroad in the service of the nation should have the right of a postal vote.

      Blair changed the rules for quite cynical political reasons, in my opinion. I would argue strongly that the law needs to be changed back.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 20, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Exercising one’s franchise should also be a private matter. There were good reasons for introducing the secret ballot and that secrecy can no longer be guaranteed once ballot papers are allowed out of polling stations. It should be “Here’s your ballot paper, there’s the booth where you can vote secretly, then fold the paper so that nobody can see how you’ve voted and put it into this sealed ballot box.” Not “We’ll send you a ballot paper so the head of your family can fill it out for you, or stand over you and check that you are voting how he wants.” I’m just amazed that today’s feminists don’t seem to have realised that this is not what the suffragettes fought for.

        • Daisy
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          Some people believe that local politicians can discover how individuals voted by checking the numbered ballot papers against the register used at the polling station. I have tried explaining that in practice this would be impossible, but to little avail. If there is a perception that voting in person is no more secret than voting by post, it seems unlikely that the outcome would differ substantially whatever method were used.

    • agricola
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      There is much that is wrong with the postal voting system. Some of this has been pointed out above, but there is more. There are many hundreds of thousands of British citizens entitled to vote but living outside the UK. You might think the postal vote would suit them well, it does not because it cannot.

      The time between the declaration of candidates and that by which a postal vote is returned is insufficient for that vote to be counted as valid. Declaration of candidate cut off should be extended to one month before election date. Now that we have fixed Parliaments there is no excuse for this not to be so. At present the only way for an expat to vote is by proxy. It works for me but must disenfranchise many.

      Postal voting for those within the UK should be restricted to those who cannot physically get to a polling station. We need to put an end to the corruption that emanates from dubious south Asian and middle eastern practises that reflect an alien subservience to family hierarchy and show a contempt for democracy. Voting in the UK should be an indication to immigrants of our unique respect for true democracy. Part of their assimilation within a new society.

      • Jerry
        Posted December 21, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Sorry, missed off the closing tag from the “strike” mark-up! 🙁

        • Jerry
          Posted December 21, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

          @Jerry; That was reference to a now deleted reply to @agricola, pointing out the problems with his suggested rules on postal votes and why a “Fixed term” parliament or administration period doesn’t actually mean there couldn’t be a need to cast a ballot before the due election date.

  39. Billy Marlene
    Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I am an ONS interviewer; my territory is an area of relatively high Eastern European immigrant density.

    I have never interviewed an immigrant claiming in-work benefits.

    Last week I interviewed a home grown UK household claiming benefits which amounted to a gross annual income of £54k. Neither of the two adults had worked for the past twenty years.

    Make of that what you will.

  40. Bazman
    Posted December 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    The problem is how to stop migrants coming here to find work paying up to 350% more than their own countries such as in the case of Bulgaria. Even when stopping their in work benefits, they will be much better of than in their countries of origin.
    The unions have on the whole been crushed and employers now have to be forced by law to increase wages across the board as the British will not work for poverty wages. The Tories have got what they wanted and now have to live with the results.
    The next step is to reduce benefits for the low paid even though it will not stop migration. However it is a convenient excuse to do this, but it is politically difficult to tar all recipients as feckless scroungers who should find a higher paid job when often the circumstances of this low pay are due to government polices now and of the past. They should just accept it you may well say, but why should they. The amount of bleating about how hard done by the wealthy are on this site is laughable, but little is said of tax rises via tax credit cuts, cuts to disability benefits via private companies employed at great expense to find legal ways of doing this. Duncan Smith for example saying that £102 a week is a disincentive for the disabled to find work, but should they do are automatically seen as not disabled. Leading to cuts of up to £600 a month when included with tax credit threshold reductions.
    How about the employers employing these migrants? Where do these fit in? Stopping them from employing the most suitable for the job at the lowest rate. How does this all fit into your dingbat right wing thinking? You are all kicking the ball both ways and thinking that the average British person cannot see this. It reactionary nonsense as per usual and we are reaping the consequences of this do nothing ideology causing things having to be done.
    Do you all seriously think that leaving Europe will solve to above problems. Many will still come and work illegally as they already do for unscrupulous employers that by definition for many of you cannot possibly exist as they all pay the rate and do not need any government interference. Except when they do as in the case of paying a ‘liveable’ wage’ to stop poverty. Watching SKY and smoking fags does not nmean you are rich. Quite the opposite. They are to be in rags reading the bible by candlelight to qualify as being ‘poor’?
    Here a thought for the Tories. Now think hard on this. The poor do not have any money. They do not have any money as they are poor. Got that? No amount of encouragement will help them to be richer and buy a house say. They need money for this and to get money they need jobs paying decent wages or else the state has to pay them to live in a country where the odds are stacked against them due to parentage and date of birth.

    Reply Which is why we have followed policies to generate a lot more jobs and are now seeking better paid jobs.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 22, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Another example of how the left like to rewrite history.
      Three terms of Labour under Blair and Brown from 1997 opened our borders and actually encouraged uncontrolled immigration, yet this post by Bazman blames only “tories”.
      The Conservative Party has only had a majority and power from 2015.

      • Jerry
        Posted December 22, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2; “Another example of how the left like to rewrite history.”

        Most of the revisionary history within our hosts forums comes from the likes of from you Edward…

        “The Conservative Party has only had a majority and power from 2015.”

        Cough! But it was the four terms of Tory government between 1979 and ’97 that over saw massive changes in how the old EEC worked, much of it actively cheered on by UK government, it was Thatcher who signed and enacted the Single European Act and all that has flowed since, it was Major who signed the Treaty of Maastricht, not a Labour government. By the time of Lisbon Treaty it was already far to late, basically codifying the many changes that had already been enacted or agreed to. Had the UK had a Labour government before the very late 1980s, before Jacques Delors made his promise to the political left regarding workers and union rights etc, it is very likely that a UK Labour government of that period would have done UKIP’s current bidding – negotiating and agreeing a Brexit. Just think, we could by now have been out of the EU for a good 30 years…

        Reply The majority of the vetoes were given away in Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 23, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          @JR reply; But there would have been no vetoes to give away post ’97 had those treaties never been agreed/signed by the previous Tory governments. Sorry but Thatcher and her government (that you were a part of John [1]) helped create the bureaucratic entity that has turned into the autocratic monster we know as the current EU.

          I don’t hold it against any of the people involved, unlike some, we all learn from our good intentions that go sour. I was just correcting Edward and his “facts”.

          [1] I know you personally advised against a lot of it, but all the same there is that collective responsibility

        • Edward2
          Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          I am not rewriting history as you rudely claim Jerry when I correctly point out to Bazman that many of his complaints can be laid at the door of Blair and Brown’s disasterous policy decisions like their open door immigration policy.
          His post mainly complained about low wages and he blamed just the tories.
          Bazman never criticised the EU, in fact he never mentioned the EU at all in his post yet strangely this is all you have replied about.
          Even the Bank of England has now agreed in a recent report that mass immigration has been a negative factor on standards of living and wage levels for the lower end of the labour market.
          Or are they rewriting history too Jerry?

          • Edward2
            Posted December 23, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

            And your other claim Jerry, that previous Labour Governments were not enthusiastic about the European project and would have acted like a modern day UKIP had they been in power instead of Thacher is as good an example of the rewriting of history which you complain about, as I have ever seen.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 22, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      @Bazman; “Do you all seriously think that leaving Europe will solve to above problems.”

      Of course not, and no one has suggested it would be a magic-bullet solution, what people are arguing is that the UK would be free create solutions for such problems [1], at the moment EU member states have to almost fit a problem to a predetermined solution – or the EU has to start bending its own rules, as we saw with Greece. In or outside of the EU there is no easy solution to illegal migration, by definition. As for illegal employment, what is under the radar would likely stay under the radar, but with less red-tape and costs to employers there might well be less attraction for them to risk employing people illegally.

      Of course those who wish for the UK to stay within the EU have no coherent argument [2] against the above, other than trying to suggest that the UK would loose the majority of its export market, forgetting that we import far more from the other EU member countries, thus there will be no trade war what so ever.

      [1] which, Bazman, might mean more Union involvement, being able to give government subsidies to industries affected by ‘dumping’ etc. a Brexit doesn’t equate to a shift to the political right, which is why there is support for a Brexit from both some unions and the political left (within the Labour Party).

      [2] their less coherent arguments involve questioning the sanity of those who want a Brexit 🙁

  • 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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