The past two weeks have seen an awful lot of information related to the Home Office and immigration, the likes of which should have been on every front page of every national newspaper.
On 4 December, we learned that Theresa May’s flagship scheme to deport foreign criminals has been an abject failure, and that this government has managed to exclude just two offenders from the United Kingdom. The target at the outset was 62. That is a success rate of a pathetic 3.2 per cent.
Then it was revealed that at least 223,600 illegal immigrants had “dropped off” the Home Office’s radar, and that “unopened boxes” and “misplaced files” showed that enough people to fill a city the size of Southampton are in this country, without permission, and all because of a failure of this Home Secretary to get a grip on what she inherited from the last establishment political party.
Yesterday, the European Court of Justice declared that Britain cannot stop people from non-EU countries from entering the UK via family connections, even if they don’t have a visa. Mr Cameron of course “disagreed” with the ruling, but as we well know by now – it doesn’t mean a thing. He’s been wagging his limp finger about the EU for a while now, but even Francois Hollande has managed to rebuke him this week over his baseless “renegotiation” plan. Quelle surprise.
By now, Independent readers should know that I’m a shy kind of bloke. Far be it from me to repeatedly say, “I told you so,” but the truth of the matter is that Ukip has been warning about all these sorts of things for years. And we’ve been beaten back, called bigots, racists, fruitcakes, swivel-eyed loons and more. And yet, all that we have warned about has come to pass.
Now it would be very easy to make a judgment there: “Ukip is anti-immigration” is a lazy and fundamentally incorrect quip that we hear quite a lot. But actually, Ukip’s policy proposals on migration would simply reduce net migration to Britain to the numbers we as a country experienced in the 1990s – the tens of thousands. We wouldn’t stop it. Ukipers understand that the British labour market has jobs that can and are filled by migrant workers, and that’s natural.
10 things immigration has done for Britain
10 things immigration has done for Britain
1/10 The Mini
The 1959 classic, that is, perhaps our greatest piece of industrial design, a miracle of packaging and revolution in motoring. Its genius designer was Sir Alec Issigonis, who was an asylum seeker. His family, Greek, fled Smyrna when Turks invaded this borderland in around 1920, and he wound up studying engineering at Battersea Polytechnic. He went on to create that most English of motor cars, the Morris Minor, as well as the Austin-Morris 1100, all much loved products of his fertile imagination.
2/10 Marks and Spencer
Once upon a time there was no M&S in Britain, difficult as that may be to believe. We have one Michael Marks to thank for our most famous retailer, and he was a refugee from Belarus, arriving in England in about 1882, and soon after set off to flog stuff around Yorkshire. He eventually teamed with Thomas Spencer to create the vast business we know today.
And many other TV shows created, funded and otherwise produced by that largest of larger-than-life characters, Lew Grade (also a world class tap dancer). The man who dominated commercial television gave us memorable entertainment such as The Prisoner, the Saint and brought the Muppets to Britain (a sort of fuzzy felt wave of immigration), as well as puppet shows where you could see the strings. All this from a penniless Jew from Ukraine, born Lev Winogradsky, who escaped the pogroms in Ukraine with his family in the 1890s. His nephew Michael Grade has also done his bit for British television.
4/10 The House of Windsor
Or the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha until George V prudently rebranded the family during the First World War. Well, our royals are a pretty German bunch, as well as having various types of French and other alien blue blood coursing around their veins. ‘Twas ever thus. There was William the Conqueror, Norman French, who certainly broke the immigration rules; William of Orange, a direct import from Holland; the Hanoverian King Georges, the first barely able to speak English; Queen Victoria, who married a German, Edward VII, who couldn’t stay faithful to his wife, a Danish princess; George V wed another German princess; Edward VIII married an American (though she hardly visited England and prompted his emigration and exile); and the Queen is married to man born in Corfu. The embodiment of the British nation, to many, but one thinks of them as quite multicultural really.
5/10 I Vow To Thee My Country
Our most patriotic hymn was the product of a man named Gustav Holst (pictured), born in Cheltenham, but of varied Swedish, Latvian and German ancestry, who adapted part of his suite The Planets to put a particularly stirring and beautiful poem to music, just after the Great War. As the second verse has it, “there's another country/I've heard of long ago/Most dear to them that love her/most great to them that know”. Imagine if the Holst family had been kept out because the quota on musical European types had been reached.
6/10 Curry and Cobra
Chicken Tikka Masala is, so they say, a dish which not only the most popular in Britain but specifically designed to cater for European tastes. For that we probably have to thank an Indian migrant, Sake Dean Mahomed, who came from Bengal to open the first recognisable Indian restaurant, the magnificently named “Hindoostanee Coffee House”. History does not record if a plate of poppadoms and accompanying selection of pickles and yoghurts were routinely placed on the table for new diners, but we do know that we had to wait until 1989 to taste the ideal lager for a curry - Cobra. That brew was brought to us by Karan (now Lord) Bilimoria, a Cambridge law graduate who hailed from Hyderabad.
7/10 That big red swirly sculpture at the Olympic Park
Or Orbit, to give it its proper name, the work of Anish Kapoor, who arrived in 1973 from India and had the artistic imagination to fill a power station.
8/10 The Sun
Love it or hate it, and many do both, this has been a symbol of much that is successful and a lot that is awful in British journalism since its inception in 1969. In its turn it spawned the Page 3 Girl and some nastily xenophobic headlines. All the stranger when you consider its creator was, of course, Rupert Murdoch, born 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, Australia.
OK, Karl Marx’s philosophy was not much of a gift to the world, but for a while it seemed like a good idea. Though we might not dare admit it, Marxism still has a few insights to offer to anyone wanting to understand the workings of capitalism, though too few to excuse everything that was done in its name. Born in Germany spent much time in the British museum and the British pub, buried Highgate Cemetery. Oddly, his ideas never really caught on in his adopted homeland.
10/10 The NHS
They came from many, many backgrounds, including Ireland, the Philippines, east Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa, as they still do, but the contribution of the black nurses who came to the UK from the Caribbean to heal and care for is a debt of honour that must be recognised. It so sometimes forgotten that it was Enoch Powell, then Minister of Health (1960-62), who campaigned to recruit their skilled nurses to come and work over here. One abiding legacy we can thank Enoch for.
What we cannot comprehend is how people like Ed Miliband can talk about the NHS, infrastructure, the cost of living crisis, etc, and still back EU membership and the mass migration that comes with it. All of these things are impacted on in no small way by the tremendous population growth in this country from the past 10 years. It’s not a “They’re cominh over here taking our jobs” argument – which is how we and our supporters are often caricatured.
Instead, it’s that there are more people in the country. That means there are more people needing to use hospitals and roads - more houses that are needed, and more people competing for jobs, which as any economist will tell you, drives down prices, which are in this case, wages.
Britain can benefit from immigration, but only when it is controlled. Currently, we have no such thing. That’s why I’m constantly referring to the Australian-style, points-based system which would cater to Britain’s needs. It’s also why I’m delighted that Ukip has a costed proposal to scrap tuition fees for students studying Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medical degrees so as to serve our labour force better.
But for now we have to be very clear about something. Somewhere in the ideological game that the Tories and Labour have played with the British electoral system, they have both managed to drop the ball.
When I met Steph and Dom....
You might have seen me on the television earlier this week. In fact I’m pretty sure you’re surprised if you don’t see me on the television nowadays! But I’m talking specifically about Gogglebox, here.
Yes, I met Steph and Dom – “the posh couple” - earlier this year, and the entertaining (so I’m told!) footage was aired earlier this week. I must say I feel like the feedback has been rather good.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to give up my day job to start appearing on reality TV shows. In fact, we’ve managed to achieve quite the opposite!
Andrew Michael, from one of the show’s families, has stepped down from his involvement in Gogglebox to aim for a different kind of day job, on the Ukip ticket. Mr Michael is known for his straight-talking approach, and I’m delighted he’s joined the People’s Army in order to fight for the British public at the next General Election.
I just wonder what Mr Michael will say when he’s sitting near George Galloway MP in the House of Commons: “A cat’s a sexy animal? Where did you get that from? I’ve never heard that expression and it sounds a bit odd”.Reuse content