2 March 2015

Ignorance Is Bliss When It Comes To Immigration

Since the financial crisis and the recession, the British public have held negative views about immigrants. This is often the case after a bust as immigrants are the easiest target and always have been. Just look at the Great Depression of the earlier 1930s just after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Immigrants of all countries were blamed and demonised for no apparent reason. People just need a scapegoat during hard times and immigrants are always there to play the part. However, our negativity isn't just incorrectly aimed but our ignorance towards the number of immigrants is actually shocking.

There are 64 million people in the UK. Out of that, only 7.5 million are immigrants. That means, the British population still amounts up to 54 million people. Not only is the number of immigrants not that shocking but the nationality of immigrants is also misconceived. Here are the top 10 countries that people migrate from. The numbers are published by the 2012 ONS.

  1. India (729,000)
  2. Poland (646,000)
  3. Pakistan (465,000)
  4. Ireland (403,000)
  5. Germany (304,000)
  6. Bangladesh (234,000)
  7. USA (217,000)
  8. South Africa (209,000)
  9. Nigeria (180,000)
  10. Jamaica (145,000)

These statistics suggest three things: Firstly, the numbers aren't actually that high. You can see clearly that they are often exaggerated massively in the press and by right wing parties. Secondly, out of the top ten, only three of the countries are European. Add to that, Poland is the only nation on the list of the former Eastern Block. This surprises many that countries such as Lithuania, Romania and Latvia aren't featured in the top ten. In fact, these former communist countries don't appear until 15th, 20th and 29th. Another clear exaggeration from right wing newspapers and UKIP. Meaning, that if we were to leave the EU, this would only effect three of the above countries. We’d still have an influx of people from the commonwealth and beyond. Finally, this list shows that we are a prejudice nation. You can’t suggest that the Irish and American receive the same amount of abuse for being an immigrant in the UK. Yes, they may speak English but it’s quite clear that because they're white, they can ‘pass’ as a Brit in any ordinary high street. 

One could comment on the fact that four of the nations in the top ten are either Islamic or have a great number of Muslims. But I’m not. Why? Because the only reason one would do that is to find some sort of parallel between Islamic immigration and Islamic terrorism in the UK. However, the Islamic countries above notably Pakistan and Bangladesh (India isn’t technically Islamic as it has four major religions) aren't the stereotypical birth places of extreme Muslims. Yes, Nigeria has a vast Islamic population and a number of Islamic terrorists are Nigerian but one cannot make judgements on an entire nationality due to a small number of extreme people. 

We have become an ignorant nation when it comes to immigration. People have become deluded that immigrants are taking over the country. That we are becoming an Islamic nation. That millions of Eastern-European people are taking our jobs. This is quite clearly not the case. As I stated in my previous article, it really doesn't matter where you were born because borders are an imaginary construct and we are purely over-evolved animals. Nothing more, nothing less. The sooner people wise up to this concept, the more peaceful life will become.

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