Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Unraveling the myths

"We’re full!" No, were not. 9.5 per cent of the UK is classed as 'urban', i.e. it has a population of more than 10,000 people, and this land also includes parks, gardens, playing fields, allotments etc. Around 40 per cent is then farmland, and the rest is made up of different categorisations of ecosystems (woodland, moorland etc). The UK covers 60 million acres, and a third of this is owned by a group of 36,000 people – or 0.6 per cent of the population. Moreover, 50 per cent of rural land is privately owned by the same people – most notably the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury, whose four estates cover 240,000 acres, making him the largest private landowner in Europe. If you think this green and pleasant land is "ours" – you are sorely mistaken. Even after the 'right to roam' act came into force in 2005, we, the public, still legally only have access to 55% of them.

House building has hit its lowest level since 1923 and there is estimated 870,000 empty homes in the UK.

"We can’t afford immigration!" No, you and I can’t – but the ruling class people certainly can. 2013 figures revealed that the net worth of the country increased to £7.6 trillion; this was mostly because the banks, hedge funds, pension companies etc. - or the 'financial services industry' - had increased its wealth by 373% in a year.

“They come here scrounging benefits!" Work-shy, immigrants are not. The latest migration statistics show that 75 per cent of people arriving in this country are here for work or study. What’s more, while around 15 per cent of UK-born nationals claim some form of employment benefits, this figure is only six per cent for non-UK born people.

“They’re taking our jobs!" Wrong. In March, the government quietly published a report which stated that by 2022, the size of the UK population aged 16-50 would be down 700,000 on 2014 figures. The thrust of the report was talking about how the government can get us all working longer, as we (as a country) will need to make up the shortfall in younger workers. Couple this with the state pension age rising to 66 by 2020 along with talk from the government's former pension adviser-in-chief of it being 70 by 2040, and the term 'work ‘til you drop' takes on a whole new meaning. Oh, and if you think it’s us, the workers, who benefit from a higher age of retirement – think again. It’s the companies. On average, it costs £30,000 to hire a new employee – while the average funeral of a spent worker is a mere £3,600.

“They don’t integrate with British culture and society!" I’m sure the Spanish absolutely love all the fat, tattooed, perma-tanned British 'ex-pats' invading their southern coastline, opening pubs, laundering money, and flogging timeshares in non-existent property. (See how the stereotyping thing works, yet?) The basis for the argument against immigration that is being peddled by the establishment is a very simple one – greed.

It is in the interests of the rich and powerful in this country to limit the in-flow of people, as ultimately it makes them wealthier. While the original zeal for immigration was an intentional mechanism to drive down wages and temper the power of trade unions, this is now the end game. Less people, producing the same output in a country is a win-win for those in power. They get to sit on more of their land indefinitely; they get to reduce the amount of public spending on services; they get to increase their profits, and they, ultimately, keep on getting richer.

Of course, the reality of the terrible situation in Calais, and the ensuing exploitation of it by the establishment is that there are other people, suffering. But years of 'race-to-the-bottom', faux-aspirational conditioning of the population means many of us seem more concerned with the fate of a lion, than that of fellow human beings.

According to EU figures, there were 672,000 EU political asylum applications in 1992 (when there were only 15 members of the EU), compared to 626,000 last year (when the EU had grown to 28 members with a total population of 500 million). It is true, however, that numbers had dropped substantially in the interim.

How many actually apply for asylum in the UK?

According to the latest government statistics: “There were 25,020 asylum applications in the year ending March 2015, an increase of 5% compared with the previous year (23,803). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).”

The 2002 figure works out at something like 0.13% of the UK’s population (or 66 refugees per town of 50,000 people).

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