Thursday, 25 February 2010

Migrationwatch watch

Have you heard of Migrationwatch? Most of you will have heard of the name, but for a lot of people it the recognition will cause a vague ringing in the back of the mind. Like when you pass someone on the street who's face looks a little familiar, and you don't want to talk to them because you can't remember their name, and then it's too late because they have already started a conversation that you can never quite get into because you just don't know where you know them from.

Well does this jog your memory? "Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch pressure group said: 'This report confirms that ministers deliberately rode roughshod over public opinion in adopting a policy of mass immigration."(source - but I wouldn't click if I were you)

How about? "But Migrationwatch UK warns that initiative planned or in place by the two main parties will fail to meet that target." (from here)

Yes, Migrationwatch are the highbrow think-tank that essentially just say the same thing lots and lots to right-wing papers so that said papers can claim to have a source for their research. Intrigued, I went about perusing their website* to find out exactly what it was they are so up in arms about.

My main port of call in visiting were the 'What is the problem?' and 'FAQ' pages, particularly the former, as I thought that I would have to look no further to find out exactly what the problem was. Either I'm completely failing to understand, or there isn't really one or at least not one well argued enough to get me backing them. The 'What is the problem?' page seems to carry all of the standard right-wing cliches, that I was relishing getting my teeth into, but what's this?

"Asylum is back in the news with hundreds of mainly young men seeking to cross the channel from Calais but the number of asylum claims is small compared to immigration as a whole. They are now running at about 30,000 a year (2008) - only 12% of net foreign immigration."
Well it has all the Daily Express whinges in there, but, there is an inferrence that while there is a problem that needs looking into, it's a problem being over-stated in the press! Well I wasn't expecting this, so I read on intrigued.

There followed some statistics about immigration, the point about population growth and then the fact that they want to see balanced migration. I paused, scrolled back up the page and read again. On a second read I noticed there was one small point about a load of children having english as a second language, which might be considered an issue to some people, but apart from that no detail on actual problems** except for the population growth. 'What we have here' I thought, 'Is a nice collation of relevant statistics, followed by moaning about illegal immigrants'

But that isn't it, they DO think immmigration is a problem, so much so that they want to see no net immigration at all in the long run. So it must be the population thing. The population issue is so pressing that if a few more squeeze onto our island, someone else is going to pop out the other side and fall straight into the Irish Sea.

But they won't, and here is the thing that bugs me most about Migrationwatch, they seem to have performed lots of studies on the rates at which people arrive and on those means of getting here illegally (all well linked from the 'problem' page), but none on the issues potentially caused by having 70million people living here. There is no discussion of the issues, just a wave at some large numbers and the assumption that everyone would panic and see their point (by the by, does anyone get the feeling that most of their target audience would still be up in arms if they said the population was going to rise to 50million?). I don't see their point, and I haven't met anyone that would presented the issues caused by a 12% rise in population in the next quarter century, if we get some investment into the infrastructure to support them.

As an addendum, should anyone want to help me find out what the problem is, there is a vacancy at migration watch right now. look 0.0 If you go for the job and end up getting it, please let me know when you work out exactly what the problem is.


*Not immensely proud of myself for potentially boosting their traffic by one or two hits, but I like to reference where I can.

**Some may point to the 7 key facts on the front page. I'd claim you had been subconsciously (or otherwise) swayed by the negative image that immigration contiuously garners. They may be trying to be negative, but are simply presenting statistics with a bit of spin. It's up to you how you take them.

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