The title of today's missive is pretty broad ranging, so pardon its obscurity !
Listening to my very old father-in-law earlier he commented upon a tv programme he'd been watching but hadn't fully comprehended quite what it was all about. It was called something along the lines of 'Is Britain Full ?' 'What does that mean ?', he enquired, 'Full of what ?'
I hadn't seen the said programme but speculated that it referred to Britain's burgeoning population predictions of 70 or so million by 2029 and 75 million by 2035. In economics there is a famous law of diminishing returns and as the influx of relatively cheap labour enters the job market, wages are driven down and productivity likewise gets spread over ever larger numbers of employees. The result is weaker growth, stagnation of earnings and a progressively diminishing GDP. This takes no account of appropriate food and energy production which add to the downward pressures upon individual prosperity and national affluence. The government would argue that on the plus side, we have full employment (on the basis that business prefers to employ cheap labour rather than invest capital) but is that not a curious conundrum insofar as the reason we have so much cheap labour is because our population is being allowed to swell almost uncontrolled ?
So, in this context you might argue that Britain is already full, never mind what might occur up to 2029. This is not a dig at immigration - elements of that are unquestionably beneficial to the country - but it could be construed as a dig at policies that have consistently failed to manage immigration (and indeed domestic population growth) far better than has been the case. Perhaps the ultimate question is: 'Do we actually need more people in the labour market (which, by extrapolation means something of a two to three-fold increase in numbers by virtue of extended family ingress to the population numbers) or do we need to increase our national wealth ?' And by national wealth I mean GDP, our national per capita affluence and our per capita propensity to spend income and create demand.
National wealth derives from business confidence and investment in the latest technologies and techniques. A socialist would say, 'Ah ! But more mechanisation would increase unemployment !' Yes it would - if population growth carries on at this rate and the market becomes flooded with cheap labour - so part of the answer is in distinguishing which immigrants qualify to come into the country. The blunt answer to that is 'Only the useful ones...' Callous, maybe, but a serious fact of life in this country. If our population grows at this extraordinary rate up to and beyond 2029 we will have so many people looking for jobs that employers will fail to keep pace with the technological times (because government will be forced to introduce legislation that promotes the use of cheap, plentiful labour at the expense of investment in the future) and we will be left behind in the world as our GDP becomes diluted across so many pairs of hands. Education will not guarantee anyone a job and street sweepers will need to be degree qualified. Surely that is not what we want as our legacy to future generations ?
Let our governors wake up to the fact that we cannot sensibly absorb that level of population expansion and that they introduce much broader, more discerning criteria for entry into this country speedily. This is not racism or anti-immigrationism, it is the reality of the future....the very near future if we fail to act.