The 800,000 young people failed by Britain and the real reason for mass immigration
Peter Hitchens Follow Peter on Twitter @clarkemicah
THERE is a very curious and worrying fact about immigration that we seldom look in the face. Soon after the EU referendum, I revisited Boston, the Lincolnshire town where local people had been distressed by the arrival of huge numbers of migrant workers. I suspect the vote to leave was very high there.
And I spoke (among many others) to Eastern Europeans who were still living and working in and near the town. Many of these migrants had been surprised and upset when, after the vote, locals had come up to them and asked: ‘Why are you still here?’
Those locals had thought, as I did and do, that the referendum was really a national vote on mass immigration, in which millions of Labour voters were finally free to say what they really thought about it. They had also thought, quite mistakenly, that it would lead to an instant change. But of course it has not. Because huge political and economic forces in this country continue to favour large-scale immigration.
A lot of employers, especially in such areas as the building industry, actively prefer workers from abroad to the products of British schools. They have in general been properly educated in the basics, and have got used to the sort of discipline that our schools no longer impose. In many cases they have had the sort of vocational training that has virtually disappeared in our education system, in favour of inflated GCSEs and A-levels and great mountains of socialscience degrees.
In the same way, our major political aim is the maintenance of a vast health service, free at the point of use, employing 1.5 million people. Almost one in five of these are foreign nationals. Yet this country has large numbers of young people aged between 16 and 24 and ‘not in education, employment or training’, currently estimated at nearly 800,000. Why can they not work in ‘our’ NHS? I’d guess it is because the NHS would rather recruit abroad.
Adult social care, likewise, employs many hundreds of thousands, probably slightly more than the NHS. Growing numbers of workers in this sector have also come from abroad. The grim truth is that, in recent decades, our soci ety has been almost designed to require migrant labour to keep it going. Much of this results from the stealthy social revolution that began 60 years ago. The huge and irresistible pressure on women to go out to paid work in factories and offices has deprived society of an enormous amount of unpaid labour, once devoted to the care of small children and of the old and infirm. The enormous increase in the costs maintaining a ‘normal’ standard of living (again compelling both parents to go out to work, often for long hours) has made large families hard to afford.
The tax and benefits system (unlike in some continental countries) turns a cold, unsympathetic face to full-time parents who would prefer to stay at home.
The ready availability of contraception, of abortion effectively on demand and of the ‘morning after’ pill has made it simple for couples to keep their families small.
The national fertility rate has dropped steeply since 1965, when these social changes got under way. It is distressing to wonder how many missing men and women have been contracepted or aborted out of existence in the last six decades, as we have pursued – and failed to achieve – the affluent, liberated society we were promised. So who will do the menial jobs, from lifting potatoes to caring for the old and infirm? Who will pay the taxes to support the NHS and pay the pensions? Who looks after the old and the very young?
And who will educate and train the skilled and semi-skilled workers, the nurses and doctors and all the other vital workers we are now so bad at turning out? There have always been two solutions to this.
The first would be to reverse the social revolution that (among many other evils) wrecked state education, stole fathers from children, conscripted young mothers into the world of wage slavery, turned marriage into a minority pursuit and unleashed dangerous drugs into our midst.
The other is to carry on as we have been, and to import people from elsewhere who can still do the things we cannot do or are not prepared to do. If you really want to bring mass immigration to an end, as I think many do, you will have to accept a deep and lasting counter-revolution.
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