This is from
three years ago on the subject of migration, it might allow a repeat. History
tells us of the constant movement of peoples and what happens when they do.
It is a
complicated story and means that when discussing movements in our own time you
are dealing with the past as well as the present and all the ideas, beliefs and
views involved and their inherent conflicts.
can be my invasion. My expulsion of unwanted people will be your refugees. Our
claim to land and authority is also our way of saying who will own and benefit
from it. But often we will not agree and the disputes will trigger movements of people. Down the centuries it has often been a bloody business.
In the 1940's
we knew numbers of refugees of different kinds.
These included the post war displaced persons, there being a number of
places for them in the vicinity. In the 1950's, we have forgotten the upheavals
in the East of Europe in 1953 that triggered added movement of people to The
West, especially from East Germany and again, Poland and this continued.
In 1955 the
winter going into 1956 was very bitter in Germany . The rivers froze, I recall playing football
on The Weser. It was possible to walk across The Elbe into West Germany. Many did and sometimes even the patrols of
the East who were supposed to prevent it. In 1956 there were further events and
numbers of Hungarians and others arrived notably in London, to add to the
displaced persons already with us. Not
long after the war there had been laws and regulations etc. aimed at closing
the camps. Some did, but some were still mini-towns into the 1960's.
As well as the
larger camps, some local authorities had patches that were used. There were plenty of WW2 Nissen huts
available. But many then were housed in
the cheaper rental areas and to the fury of many had priority for the envied council
houses. Those from the East of Europe
were followed by many from places in the
former Empire where political freedom had not necessarily meant peace and
tolerance of minorities.
divided views about this, not least between some people in the urban areas who
were adversely affected and which took most of them and those in other places
who could be generous to their small numbers and for whom the principles of
free and open movement had little local impact.
Fifty years on
we are in a different world. Only now,
instead of thousands the figures are in the hundreds of thousands with the
potential to be millions. Moreover, the
arrivals do not come to a land in which they will have to adjust to local laws
and lifestyles because there are few other options.
Instead of three
channels of British TV then, now they can watch their own versions from their
homeland. The internet can bring their place of origin into their own living
space. There is little they need to
change in terms of eating or the other routines of life. In short they might be
living in one place for convenience, income and housing etc. but their culture,
lifestyle, etc. are those of another country.
If the new is
more advantageous or generous than they could hope for in their homeland, it is
not surprising many will want to come. Our problem is that some will have
strict beliefs that are not just alien, or beyond our law but are in conflict
with it. Another, inevitably, is if the
proportion of loose young men and the crimes and gangs that are often the core
of their activities.
England is one
of the most intensively populated pieces of land on the planet, the result of
many migrations so just about all of us have migrant forebears to a greater or
lesser degree. Back a few generations and all those forebears of mine moved
around the Atlantic Isles, some by choice, some after having become unwelcome,
some by famine and some by clearances.
borders and free movement ideals born out of mid 20th Century and later ideals
and beliefs has been encouraged by the idea that the State has an unlimited
capacity to provide either by taxation or by creating new money at will. It is
obvious that if the population increases by millions then the circulation of
state money provided plus extra spending required will have the effect of
can be presented to suggest that this will be good. But they do not take account of the
opportunity costs and the many and substantial other real costs that come in
train. In particular they do not allow for very many new migrants not seeing
themselves as UK citizens but local communities of other jurisdictions. Which may mean that the tax does not get paid,
tax avoidance becomes common and their money goes somewhere else.
So given the
costs of increasing world population there are other issues. What might happen
with rising food costs? Or if the money tree stops growing or even sickens, or
if some local communities or even nations become ruled by gangs of violent men
and not either local or central government?
there are parts of the world with over a billion population. If events, disruptions or crises trigger greater
movement; say 5% of the population affected how many millions of migrants or
refugees is that on the move?
And if up to
10%? And what were the percentage figures
for the Irish Famine and Highland Clearances?