March has arrived, after what seems like an astonishingly fast February! We are still having to witness frenetic visits from London to Brussels by Brexit “split” politicians, in a tail chasing exercise which has left the public, politicians and the world at large mesmerised at the theatrics and bewildered by the lack of progress two and a half years on from the “leave” vote.
To many in the heat of the Brexit fight, all that has been proven is how desperately important it is to leave the clutches of the EU, a clearly unreasonable, bullying, undemocratic organisation that has made a massive power grab for Europe – without the European peoples having been clearly appraised of the EU’s stated intention to create A United States of Europe. Even hardened UK EU remainers are beginning to realise leaving is now the only way forward. The EU are also now having to admit that tax regularisation across the EU has been largely approved and will be implemented in the coming months – irrespective of those nations (or should we say EU “regions”) that objected to such a change, but are unlucky enough to be still trapped in the EU nightmare – their objections were silenced by “majority voting”.
We will find out on March the 12th if the tatty Brexit deal Theresa May has “negotiated” with the EU has a legally acceptable Northern Ireland “backstop” end date – which will be sufficient for the British Parliament and their MPs to vote the deal through, if not, this charade could continue ad nauseum. What a parlous state international diplomacy has now reached!
Immigration is still a very hot topic with the world population forcasted to peak at 8.1 Billion by 2025. The number one concern both the USA and the UK share, is that of very large numbers of incomers and how policy can be adapted (and humanely enforced) to ensure over population is avoided and ghettos of mono cultures are not inadvertently created , because history shows us if they are, the growth of parallel communities and the fragmentation of society along ethnic and religious lines becomes more likely and social cohesion will suffer, which will have a knock on effect across all communities.
In the UK recent statistics from Government suggest British immigration comes largely from Romania; China; India; France and Poland (in order of numbers). In the USA the immigrant groups come largely from Mexico, China, India, Philippines and El Salvador. For the USA Asians are forecasted to become the largest immigrant group, outnumbering Hispanics to become 38% of the immigrant population by 2055 says the latest Pew Research findings. The prime States to which migrants move to are California at 24% of immigrants with Texas holding 11% of Migrants and New York 10%.
In the UK the Brexit debate has had an influence on reducing EU immigration, with EU migration reaching a ten year low in the first quarter of 2019 falling to 57,000 coming into the UK, however, this belies the fact that Non EU Migration soared with 283,000 non EU migrants being admitted. The figures are not completely clear, as there could be students included in this number, but either way the trend is undeniable, EU migration is down and immigration from the rest of the world is rising as the University College of London’s figures confirm.
A big driver for the UK wanting to leave the EU was the belief that home grown talent and job opportunities were suffering because of large amounts of trained cheap labour was allowed to come into the country from Europe. this was making it harder for indigenous peoples to get a well paid job, equally, the influx pushed up house prices and stagnated incomes as the supply of labour exceeded demand. As a result UK pay has largely been flat for 2-3 decades, despite house prices having quadrupled. It is these types of pressures both the USA and the UK are grappling with, having large amounts of cheap unskilled labour coming into a country causes serious social imbalances that politicians are clearly not addressing and do not seem to be addressing.
Another potential problem, rarely discussed in the UK, is that UK jobs (including civil servant and sensitive governmental jobs) have to be offered without national bias to all EU peoples, so we have found that foreign EU nationals have gained well paid and influential jobs right in the heart of the British Civil Service and in critical roles in UK infrastructure and now with the UK wishing to leave the EU, we are having to a fight another pressure to remain, from key foreign nationals influencing policy making from the heart of Government and major industries – as their loyalties are arguably more European than British and positions of influence in the UK are being assumed by non UK nationals which is a worrying development which could have massive consequences for democracy.
Finally, in recent years a more mature debate about immigration is being allowed to air, on both sides of the Atlantic, where real issues relating to “integration”, “national loyalty” and “sustainability” can be discussed – but for some the turning of the tide could well be too little too late, the damage has now been done.
Asian immigration into the USA is the next emerging social policy area – the challenge for any western society is how to integrate such differing cultures while retaining social cohesion. The unknown quantity facing both the USA and the UK is admitting large numbers of Chinese migrants, a dynamic and hardworking people, but issues of national loyalty and the process of integration still need to be addressed as the large numbers now coming from this country is a relatively new phenomenon for the west and this group present unique challenges to an open society, coming from a country which is far from open and transparent.
Christine Constable is a Political Journalist and Associate Member of the Susquehanna Valley Center for Public Policy
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Susquehanna Valley Center.
Nothing contained here should be considered as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation.