Monday, May 20, 2002

No Downside?

My improvement on, Christopher Montgomery, has come up with another article, this time on immigration. His basic thesis is that immigration is good, has always been good and "has produced no downside whatsoever" (his emphasis).

The idea that a massive social change would produce "no downside whatsoever" is rather curious coming from a High Tory such as Monty. Perhaps this is the first action to defy Newtonian laws, will perpetual motion be next? Not to challenge his basic thesis that immigration is a simply wonderful thing (I may do that later, my views are far more nuanced) there are some downsides that I can think of which may conceivably be laid at the door of the immigration experiment:

1) The depression of low skilled wages in comparison to Japan or America (until the 1970s). What's wrong with low skilled workers actually earning more? Downside 1.

2) Crime. The inbalance in crime figures among ethnic groups is the sort of unofficial secret that our liberal dinner tables specialise in. And why would this be odd? After all if the sorts of people who migrate (full of initiative, ambitious and more intelligent than their brothers and sisters) are just the sort of people who start up small businesses - are they not the same profile that will get involved in, oh, organised crime? Of course crime would have gone up anyway since the 1940s, but I think it is fair to say that as (a) crime has gone up and (b) immigrants and their descendants provide criminals out of proportion to their proportion in the general population - then some of the increase in crime is down to immigration. Downside number 2.

3) Why have we been getting all these Muslim terrorists all of a sudden? Is there a mass conversion to Islam in the shires? At a lower, and thankfully less lethal, level the children and grandchildren of immigrants are less likely to identify with their new home, just look at the bumper stickers - Jamaican flags are not the sign of assimilation. Part of the answer is undoubtedly to educate the children in English history and provide a civic virtue to subscribe to. However this is still a downside of immigration.

This is not to say that immigration is wrong, just that it has negative effects. Immigration certainly has many good effects, but let's not pretend that there are no downsides.


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