We’re well on top of this Brexit business. There’s still 20 months until we leave the European Union, and already the Government has commissioned a report to see what we ought to do about immigration and our borders and who’s going to live here, and work here, and do anything when it happens.
Some people have suggested this has left it a tad late, but there’s no point in rushing. Amber Rudd says it will be finished by a year in September, leaving six whole months to sort out who can come, and who can stay, and who has to leave, and how many people will work anywhere, and absolutely everything.
This is roughly the same length of time you allow if you apply to the council for use of a skip, which is much more complicated than organising how Britain works so we should be fine.
The Government says we can’t know the impact of “taking control of our borders” until the report comes out, which must be why no one in the Conservative Party has said anything much about immigration over the last few years.
As they weren’t informed, none of them suggested foreigners are taking British jobs or we need to leave the EU because immigration is out of control, and anti-EU newspapers accepted they didn’t yet know the facts so they stuck to measured headlines such as “Foreign scum will pour into Britain literally like a Niagara Falls of Bulgarians landing on us like Biblical frogs taking every single one of our jobs so we’re forced to wrestle each other naked in frog spawn for their entertainment”.
Some Conservatives may have hinted they would bring down immigration, but they were always careful to be vague by saying, “We absolutely guarantee to bring immigration down to tens of thousands by 2015 at the LATEST, on the souls of our children and the organs of our pets, so strike me down, dear Lord, if I’m out by twenty minutes.”
So that’s left them free to explain now that what they meant was they had no idea who was coming, or going, or staying, or how many people we needed to keep the NHS going or pick strawberries. In any case the safest thing is always to tell people the facts several years before you know what they are, then commission a report to have all the fun of finding out how far out you were.
At least now the Government has a clear idea of what they’ll find out. The immigration minister Brandon Lewis said we’ll take control of our borders as soon as we leave the EU, while Michael Gove said there would be a “transitionary” period of three to four years, but they weren’t contradicting each other because Gove was talking in cat years so they’re completely united.
Then Brandon Lewis said he “won’t set an arbitrary year” by which the reduction he’s promised will take place. This is in line with their promise to wipe out the deficit by 2015, which has also been amended slightly to 2025, and it would be unfair to expect a government to meet daft arbitrary targets such as the ones they set themselves.
If you tell someone you’ll meet them at 7.30pm, it’s extremely annoying when they ring you at 10.50pm to find out why you’re not there, and you have to tell them you can’t be expected to meet a silly arbitrary target.
It’s possible the reason for the confusion about whether they can “reduce” immigration, is most of business doesn’t want to. So yelling about immigrants may have appeared to work in the referendum debate, but most industries depend on it.
Many branches of the economy now appear to be in a panic about leaving the EU. One British negotiator complained about the chaos that will “jeopardise the nuclear industry” as nothing has been prepared to replace the Euratom Treaty.
But on the other hand, the anti-EU argument is “Never mind that, we’ll make our OWN atoms and British atoms are the BEST ATOMS IN THE WORLD”.
A similar conflict informs the debate about immigration. The basis of the demand to reduce immigration is that if there are more people in an area, there’s less to go round. So the fewer people we have here, the richer we’ll be.
This is a fair point, and means when the population of Britain was a few hundred thousand in the Stone Age, we must have been swimming in wealth. Everyone could afford to hire Banksy to do their cave paintings and eat the finest berries gathered by Marco Pierre-White.
The most booming economies must be those closed off with no immigration, such as North Korea where the fabulous lifestyles of the peasants are never off the centre pages of Hello magazine.
The fastest growing economy in recent years has been in China, so there must be hardly anyone there. There are a couple of people in Tiananmen Square and one in Hong Kong and that’s about it, but they all have two holidays a year and a curry whenever they fancy.
It’s why the richest people in the world are hermits. Tom Hanks in Castaway lived like a King, and the last thing he wanted was to be rescued so he’d have to share his riches with a bunch of other b*******s.
Hopefully this will all come out in the report, which will come out at some point, though we shouldn’t tie it down to any arbitrary century.
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