Next time someone claims that immigrants are destroying Britain, show them this

Spoken word poet Hollie McNish spells out what's wrong with most of the arguments used against immigration. She cites as her inspiration a book by economist Philippe Legrain called Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them.

Spoken word poet Hollie McNish spells out what’s wrong with most of the arguments used against immigration. She cites as her inspiration a book by economist Philippe Legrain called Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them. (Hat tip: Adam Mordecai)

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85 Responses to “Next time someone claims that immigrants are destroying Britain, show them this”

  1. gavinrider

    I just love the way you throw in “the overall impact of immigration, which has been positive” without any attempt to define how you make that judgment.

    These throwaway unquantifiable statements are the stock-in-trade of the pro-immigrationists.

    An extensive and in-depth study of the Economic Impact of Immigration by the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs in 2008 failed to identify any significant advantage to the existing UK population, so what do you base YOUR statement on?

  2. Robe D

    Gavinrider – Thank’s for your reply some interesting points :).

    First of all I have no problem with people coming here in order to enrich themselves, it is normal for anybody to want a better life and if for some people they think coming here will do that then I don’t blame them! Can I ask when/what did our British forefathers create that you feel immigrants are ruining?

    Part of the reason for the mass immigration after the war was obviously to make up for the number of people lost during the war, we encouraged that immigration so we can’t point the finger at other people in that instance, I think we needed immigrants at that point in order to get things going again.

    You’re probably right that it takes a while for a society to adapt but Britain is a very multicultural country so if anywhere can adapt it will be here, and in a world where it’s getting easier to travel between countries, it’s something people will have to adapt to, trying to stop it only delays the inevitable really.

    I’m not sure about the social dependency bit, can you link me to anything that shows that to be the case? I think that if it is it will have more to do with immigrants living in poorer areas, with social mobility being a big problem for everybody in this country, rather then to do with them being immigrants.

    I also think immigrants do contribute alot to our society, they do lower level jobs for pay that British people aren’t always willing to accept, and they do a lot of high level jobs too, there are a high amount of immigrants working in the NHS for example.

    I also don’t really believe immigrants are preventing British people from having opportunities, how rich or poor you are has a bigger influence on that, I think that is the real reason behind many of this countries problems (the gap between the rich and poor and the lack of social mobility). Immigrants are a big scapegoat which means we leave alone those who are really causing all these problems (the super rich and those in power).

    I do however believe we need to control immigration better, but simply because I don’t think this country can sustain many more people!

    Also if you did want to reduce immigration, would you then be prepared to reduce emigration?

    Looking forward to hearing back from you! 🙂

  3. Kilburnaut Mat

    You don’t address my point at all.

    Once again but more slowly so you can address my point rather than go off on some tangent of angry xenophobic typing again.


    Unless of course you are racistly arguing that those born here with different colour skin from your own aren’t British? If you are then I have no truck with anything you’re saying

  4. gavinrider

    Robe D – you ask “what did our British forefathers create that you feel immigrants are ruining?”

    There are so many things, where should I begin? How about “Peterborough” for starters.

    I know why there was mass immigration after the War – why do you think I mentioned it? It was needed for economic reasons and it started a change in British society that was accelerated to a ridiculous extent under New Labour.

    Do you imagine that we could not staff our own National Health Service with British doctors and nurses? Of course we could, but we haven’t, again for short-term and short-sighted economic reasons. What was done because it was convenient and cheap now puts us in the position where we are told that the NHS would collapse without immigrants staffing it. So, what starts out as a convenience adopted for fairly minor economic advantage ends up becoming a necessity because native workers will not work under the conditions or for the low pay that immigrants will tolerate.

    If there is a ready supply of migrants wanting to come here to enrich themselves, who will work longer and harder for less than their British counterparts, then why would an organisation refuse to employ that cheaper work force? In fact, many employers brand British workers as lazy or workshy by comparison with migrants – which basically means that employers are getting away with offering lower wages and poorer working conditions than they would otherwise get away with. No wonder employers like immigrants.

    Why on Earth would I want to reduce emigration?

  5. gavinrider

    I didn’t address your point about 70 million immigrants because I didn’t think it was worth commenting on (and still don’t).

    And you are rather annoyingly mixing race and nationality into a single argument. The two are very different.

    As for your comment about “xenophobic typing” – you haven’t a clue what you are talking about.

  6. Robe D

    Gavinrider – Interesting…how did they ruin Peterborough? And I’d be intrigued to hear some of these things they’ve ruined.

    I think we could have possibly run the NHS on our own before difficult to say if we actually could or not since there’s always been immigrants working there), but now there are high numbers of immigrants working there and we can’t get rid of them (nor do we need to), but we are basically in agreement that we can’t change it now.

    Of course the organisation would hire the cheaper work force, but that isn’t the immigrants fault! It’s the organisations fault for being solely concerned with profit, which has lead to more immigrants being hired but being paid too little to be able to contribute much back in tax and whatnot. Until we change the money grabbing mentality which leads to this problem and others (such as the tax avoidance) these sort of things will continue.

    What I mean is if you want reduced immigration then it’s only fair to accept reduced emigration, is that something you’d be willing to do?

  7. gavinrider

    “That isn’t the immigrants’ fault!”

    At no time have I said that anything is the immigrants’ FAULT, have I?

    There is plenty of detriment to the UK that is a consequence of the presence of large numbers of immigrants who have not assimilated themselves into our culture and society, but have I ever BLAMED the immigrants for this?

    No – I would probably tend to behave in exactly the same way if I went to live abroad under similar circumstances. When I worked in Holland for a few years, I tended to socialise with other English-speaking colleagues simply because it was easier and It is human nature, but this kind of thing is always detrimental in some ways to the host nation and its own culture.

    That is why the responsibility for avoiding the harm that excessive immigration causes lies not with the individuals themselves but with the government. It is an issue that affects our society and our culture as a collective entity, it is not something that can be dealt with on an individual level.

    On your final point, no I don’t agree that there should be reduced emigration. The two things are not at all equivalent. For example, Australia might want skilled young people to emigrate there – and if people want to go there, who are we to arbitrarily say they cannot? It is up to the receiving nation to say whether they do or they don’t want immigrants going to live there. The trouble is, we have not been given any choice in the matter.

  8. Kilburnaut Mat

    The way that discussion works is that when someone makes a point you respond to it rather ragingly back out non-sequitur far right spewings.

    When you can interact in a way that follows the generally accepted path of conversation then maybe I’ll talk with you. Either address the point or go tattybyes.

  9. Robe D

    Gavinrider – Thanks for your quick reply!

    You did say that Immigrants were ruining things that our British forefathers created, that sounds like you’re saying that’s their fault to me? Although apologies if I misunderstood you!

    I think we both agree that solving this problem is down to the government. Although what they could do I’m not sure, we are part of the EU which means we have freedom of movement between all EU states, leaving the EU isn’t really viable, and reducing the movement would be difficult. I also think that if we made it so less people could legally migrate here then that would just create more illegal immigrants, who would contribute less to society. It’s a complex issue with no easy answer, we should make look elsewhere and see what other similar countries are doing to tackle the issue.

    I see what you’re saying, I wouldn’t want us to stop them. What I really mean is that if people are saying they want less immigration, the should then be prepared to accept the possibility of reduced emigration, say if we reduced the amount of EU nationals that could migrate here, that would very likely mean less British people could emigrate to EU countries aswell, but would people accept that?

    Thanks for your replies so far by the way, been interesting chatting to you!

  10. gavinrider

    Mat – I addressed your comment by saying that j08 has a point (even if his projection is a little bit exaggerated).

    To understand why I think he is right to be concerned, take a look at the ONS population projections. By 2035 it is projected that there will be another 11 million people living in the UK; and more than two thirds of that population increase will be due to immigration.

    Immigrants do not disperse evenly throughout the population, they tend to move into certain areas where they have a disproportionate impact on those areas. So a 5% change in the national demographic can have a 50% change in the areas where immigrants prefer to settle when they arrive. Native British people are already almost in the minority in Greater London, and in some areas of London itself they already are.

    As more immigrants arrive and settle in the primary “settlement zones” (places like London, Bradford, Leeds, Peterborough, Cardiff, Bristol) there is internal migration of already-settled migrants away from those places and into other areas, so more towns start to develop these “settlement areas” where immigrants tend to congregate and build their own little “home from home”.

    Consider the South West, as an example. Between 2001 and 2009 the population increased by 287,800, of which 264,400 were of an ethnicity other than “White British”. The natural population change (births minus deaths) was roughly zero over that period, yet the proportion of the population that is not “White British” changed from 4.7% to 9.5% in just eight years. In the whole of England the proportion changed from 13.2% to 17.2% – in just eight years. That is an incredible rate of change.

    And as I have said, the fact that migrants tend to congregate in certain locations rather than dispersing evenly throughout the country means that some areas of the major towns in the South West have been significantly altered by this immigrant influx – in less than a decade. And, of course, those immigrants immediately start having large families, adding further to the numbers. In 2010 over a quarter of all births in England and Wales were to mothers who were not themselves born in the UK.

    Now, living as you do in Kilburn, which has already been subjected to this kind of demographic change, you do not see it as negative change because it has already happened. You are used to it, you now live with it and accept it as normal. For others who are seeing their familiar living environments being changed beyond recognition by a rapid influx of foreigners, this change is somewhat discomforting and unwelcome.

    You are being arrogant in the extreme not to respect the opinion of British people who see this influx as a threat to their traditions and their own culture. Why is it that you seem to think that everyone else’s culture is wonderful and should be freely implanted here, but have so little respect for those who want to protect our own culture and societal norms in our own native land – and condemn them as “xenophobic”?

    We have never been asked whether we want a multicultural society – we have been given no option. I am sorry if you think it is right wing extremism to react against this situation.

  11. gavinrider

    Robe D – I am fairly careful with my language because it is a sensitive subject. Something negative can be a consequence of excessive migration, but it would be wrong to blame any individual for it. That is why I say I don’t blame immigrants – even though collectively they are responsible for the negative consequences of their presence here in such numbers.

    Your point about the EU raises an important issue. The notion of free movement of people is fine as long as everyone does not want to go to just one destination. The Spanish in the south of the country dislike the fact that so many British and Germans go there to retire, because it creates disproportionate pressure on the local resources and has totally changed the character of the area. It’s not Spanish any more.

    The same thing is true with EU migration to Britain – we are getting a lot more people wanting to come here because of our (relatively) good economy than wanting to go the other way. That puts disproportionate pressure on the UK and suppresses our standard of living. If the flows each way were perfectly balanced there would be less of a problem, but while the flow is predominantly in one direction, the EU concept of free movement is problematic. I don’t see that we should simply accept that as “fait accompli” – we should seek to change the rules to make things much more equitable.

    And since we do not have nearly as many Brits emigrating to the EU as foreigners coming here from the EU, there will be no need to reduce the amount of emigration – the only thing that needs to be reduced to make the situation equitable is to reduce the amount of inward migration.

  12. bookmanwales

    So immigrants don’t get sick, don’t require the NHS, don’t have kids who go to school and more importantly never work for less than ,minimum wage ?

    Whilst it is easy to believe this pile of crap if you never pick up a newspaper, watch the news on TV or even go on the internet it is inexcusable for anyone posting on here to say “no employer has ever been prosecuted for not paying minimum wage, therefore no one works for less than minimum wage”

    There are numerous examples of immigrants being paid far less than the minimum wage published by the majority of newspapers. In fact the ONS itself recently said there were some 200,000 people on less than the minimum wage ?

    There are numerous examples of gangmasters exploiting immigrants both in hours worked and wages paid.. again they are rarely prosecuted because no one will give evidence against them.

    One school in London is so overcrowded as a result of mass immigration that they now use the buildings roofs as playgrounds and have portacabins as extra classrooms. This same school has over 20 languages spoken by the children and has to hire multi lingual teachers at extra cost.

    If immigrant workers are so hard working and reliable why are their own countries economies no better than ours ? Why do they need to do all the crap jobs if they are so skilled and educated to the extent we need to beg them to come ?

    They pay more tax than they receive ? Even HMRC has published figures that tax credits are paid for 50,000 children living abroad. On minimum wage you would not even pay back the tax credits never mind contribute to the tax pot of the country.

    If you are on minimum wage you are eligible for housing benefit, council tax benefit and tax credits so the argument that they are net tax contributors whilst doing all the minimum wage jobs doesn’t stand up.

    Immigrants don’t get sick either ? Again there is plenty of research that shows diseases like TB have increased due to mass immigration.

    The reason “Racist” became synonymous with those against immigration was purely those in favour of immigration never had a valid argument…. and still don’t.

  13. Ace feintheart

    you can save the country right now if you get them all out somebody just fucking do it already kick em all out!

  14. Shamrock Girl

    Hardly anyone brings up 2 points when discussing this going round in circles arguement, apart from the cost, taxes etc., that everyone usually bring up. The first big one in my view is housing, room to move, this country is far too overcrowded&most people live in the towns and cities and that is mostly where immigrants will go. There’s no point going about green space/brownfield sites, I’m talking of now and for last 2 decades or so,almost everywhere you go, shop etc., way too many people. There isn’t&hasn’t been anywhere near enough affordabel housing for people born here or have been here for a long time, so where are all the others going to live? The second point is and it seems no one even allowed to ask this, so I will, if many of the people from abroad are fleeing persecution/war/etc., why don’t they go to their nearest country of safety? They will travel thousands of miles and go through numerous countries to specifically get to UK and now Ireland(good benefits etc), so there is a reason they are prepared to risk anything and often paying(not sure how?)or borrowing money to do so, it must be worth their while to do this? And I don’t believe it’s all becuase they know someone here, if that’s true, it will undoubtable mean, they’ve been told it’ll be worth their while to come here, as opposed to the many other countries they will have had to pass first. I’m aware they also go to certain other European countries, like Sweden&Holland, where they often get European passports, opens the door easier to UK then, I know this as I used to work for DWP.

  15. gavinrider

    So, Mat, was my response a little bit too coherent and fact-based for your liking this time?

    No smart-ass dismissive put-down to throw out just so you don’t have to try and justify your pompous left-wing arrogance?

  16. jsgt

    Abu qatada is your government creature; funny when people invoke “abu qatada” or “hook man”, yet little they know these are just ammo for smears and to be used for their phony “war on terror”.

    If Abu whatever were indeed dangerous terrorists, why the government keep them around free to roam and used as an excellent material for PR? Against the Muslim communities?

    No one EVER heard of these intelligence assets/ creatures in their native countries.

  17. OldLb

    You’ve ducked the question.

    Is or as is now the case, was, since he’s gone, Abu Qatada an economic benefit to the UK? ie. Paying more tax than he costs in services, dependents included.

    Clearly not. On benefits, huge legal bills, no tax.

    He’s an extreme example of a migrant that’s unacceptable both economically and for the trouble he has caused.

    At the other end, Abrambovitch spends lots of money in the UK. Adds huge amounts to GDP. So presumable a benefit to the UK (Unless you are an Arsenal fan).

    Somewhere in between there is a line. Good or bad for the UK.

    Not all migrants are good for the UK, and since lots won’t pay the tax to cover the cost of them being here, its a large number.

  18. Rhyannon

    The problem is there are too many immigrants. Too much of a good thing often has consequences and consequences with a dire effect. We cannot cater for every person coming into the country, nor can we support them with resources we do not have. The fact of the matter is that many people who have British roots going back generations cannot get a job or a home in the city their family has helped build.

    I have walked into a foreign recruitment agency in my hometown and asked to apply for a flower picking position. I was refused on the basis that it was a recruitment agency for immigrants only. As jobs are scarce i thought it discriminating that I was not allowed to apply.

    I have applied for at least 5 jobs a day since January 2013. I have had interviews but no job offers other than voluntary work. I have a solid CV with experience in the roles i apply for. Honest hard working British people are being forced to live as ‘lazy benefit taking people’ as there is no choice in some cities in this country! There are no options and no way out for people like me as the job market is too crowded. Citizens with the right to work in the UK are being pushed to the back of the list and ignored. This is especially so with the housing allocation list. It is a very real and prevalent problem that will ultimately lead to the demise of a country I was once proud to call home.

    Many Brits are at the end of their tether. The country has offered all it has to give.

    Stricter rules need to be enforced in order to save the country and its people. Immigrants who work and pay their way should stay. Immigrants should be deported if they have a child when they do not have a job to support that child. (I am British and cannot have a child as it is impossible to get a job to support a child let alone accommodation in which to raise it) Immigrants should be given a time scale to get a job before deportation.

    Rules like the above would mean that deprived British people would have a job market, employment, accommodation and hope for their country.

    I am not a racist and so have named ethnic communities as people. I have working immigrants as friends and enjoy their company. I write my views not to separate people by race or colour. People are people. However, there should be two types of people in a situation like this. The people who should have the right to do certain things in a country they are seeking help from (based on their situation and certain factors in their life) and people who have no right to do certain things at all. For the greater good.

  19. Gavin Rider

    Here are a few more statistics from the latest Labour Market Statistics (ONS, July 2013).

    “between January to March 2012 and January to March 2013:

    • the number of people in employment in the UK increased by 423,000 to reach 29.60 million,

    • the number of UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 192,000 to reach 25.33 million, and

    • the number of non-UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 225,000 to reach 4.26 million.”

    So, the number of foreign born workers getting jobs in the UK continues to outpace the take-up of new jobs by UK-born workers, which seems odd if there really is equality of opportunity.

    In percentage terms, employment of UK-born workers increased by 0.76% over the past year, whereas employment of non-UK-born workers increased by 5.58%.

    I find this rather startling, and not in a good way.

  20. Gavin Rider

    Yes, they are significantly less likely to claim benefits because they get the job and the British worker doesn’t, so the British worker has to go on benefits instead. Also, statistics relate to the whole working age population and clearly migrant workers don’t include the old, infirm and disabled who are included in the indigenous population figures.

    The situation is not as Mr Portes says in London, though, which is where the largest proportion of immigrants are found – there the proportion of benefits claimants is higher among the migrant community (37% against 34% for the UK-born community).

  21. JSM09

    plaintruthforidiots, you are quite clearly a racist how can you continously say WHITE countries, the WHITE people’s countries I’m guessing you class the US as a WHITE country, yet the Native Americans were there first. Also, by saying this you are claiming that all immigrants are non whites, what about the Polish and other Europeans? Its people like you who are destroying society this country can never move forward with bigots like yourself living amongst us you have a lot of research to do.

  22. Gary Amiss

    Fair point. Immigration in it’s current form serves no purpose to the UK whatsoever. It’s ridiculous and there’s no argument for it.
    It’s hilarious when people try and tell us that immigrants are hard working. Absolute joke. Some are but most aren’t.
    Anyway, it’s irrelevant, if they are hard working, let them work hard and benefit their native lands.
    You’re right, the UK is finished and there’s no going back.

  23. Gary Amiss

    Which country is that then?

  24. Gary Amiss

    There’s a shortage of school places, shortage of housing, one million young people unemployed etc. Aren’t there enough people in this tiny country of ours right now?

    What benefit will there be to the UK in allowing another 500,000 to settle here next year and the year after and so on? It’s mad.

  25. Blueberry123566678

    The rich ones are welcome ,NOT the ones who came to get free benefits !!!!

  26. Gogogirlgirl

    SHE’S NOT BRITISH !!! She is probably polish or Bulgarian !!! Worthless to comment …

  27. robert

    The real thing that annoys me is this, people are brought in on the pretence that we have a shortage of qualified experienced skills. Why is this? simple deprive our youth of real skills and allow a yob culture to develop. Lets be honest most business are making a fortune out of this scam by offering low wages which are rejected by our people and then taking by immigrants. Once in they are here to stay and soon you will be working for them as they take all jobs politicians included, like millband etc and straw before and other dodgy names like leon britian.This country is screwed thanks to greedy business.

  28. vermilion J

    What a load of fucking bollocks.

  29. fearburnus

    I am a Skilled professional , and increasing over the years my job market has become ever more volatile, and unsure, nearly 90% of the employees in places iv worked have been EU immigrants,most barley able to speak English, I’ve been bullied and intimidated a couple of occasions by these no Brits,I imagine because i’m highly skilled, and fluent in English, and they have seen me as a direct threat, further from this, budgets cuts to the nhs have directly effected my employ, as i worked in good job related the the NHS, which folded due to budget cuts, its a pretty desperate time for indigenous Brits as i know i’m not the only one in the same situation, i hope and pray i can secure full time employment so i can look after my family , but the situation looks pretty grim , best i could hope for is temporary employ in a job i’m not suited, thanks to the inability of agencies which have taken over the jobs market to suitability place me in a role, when i could apply direct to employers ive never had a problem securing employment, but now its just impossible, 200 applications later , nothing, the way the current tory party has made of a scapegoat of the working class also smacks of a similar situation in Germany called the rise of fascism, truth is allowing eu migrants into uk has destroyed indigenous Brits future, and only further strengthened the governments ability to make choices patently not in the interest of Britain, but corporations (fracking anyone), I don’t like farage i think he’s a idiot, but at the moment for indigenous brits his policies make sense, and for someone brought up in a free liberal society, himself married to a ex migrant, is a sad comment on the times. get real smell the coffee come to the bottom of the pile and see , its bleak here.

  30. vermilion J

    Immigration has cost this country at least £120 billion since 1997, you thick, ball-less, gormless twat.

  31. Danalese

    Obviously Hollie McNish needs to stay with her poetry – she appears to have no knowledge whatever about economies!
    Name one, just one – benefit that immigrants provide to the UK! They provide additional taxes? Only by taking a job that the British are looking for and in which case that British person would be paying those taxes! They take the jobs that the British do not want? Only because those vacancies are advertised in other EU countries at wages less than a British person could live on in the UK? They replace an aging society? What when we have more than a million school leavers every year entering into the employment market! They are filling specialised positions – only because the British employers are looking for cheap labour and do not want the expense of training our far more highly educated workers. So, what is the benefit of having immigrants here? Cheap labour, you say. Yes, true – but how does that benefit the UK?

  32. dashiky

    the reason immigrants have a higher rate of employment is because they are forced to work and find jobs to be able to stay in the country, IE the they try to only let the employable in.

    Pro-Mass immigration = “i’m rich and I want more people to work for less money for me”

    Multiculturalism can be great, I have lived and travelled to many countries around the world.
    I have seen how immigrants amalgamate into a communities creating a diverse well rounded culture(a melting pot). On the other hand you see where groups from certain countries all move into the same area,and do not amalgamate. Creating their own “mini country” within a country. (on that same subject read about taqiyya)

  33. Claire Redwood

    You know, you should get your facts right. Between 2002 and 2012 immigants have contributed with more than £25 billion to the UK economy.

    And in 2014 net migration was 298,000. There are around 70m people in the UK and that net migration figure adds less than 0.4% to the population – hardly a flood.
    To illustrate the point further, it’s the same as if you put 235 people in a hall and just one extra person walked in, that would represent the level of net migration into the UK.

    Maybe, it’s just parties like UKIP who have gotten in your stupid heads..

  34. NHSGP

    No they didn’t.

    Assuming that migrants have the same cost as UK nationals, and that they pay a fair share of common goods,

    The expenditure was 670,681 bn

    The revenue was 555,584.

    See table 4b. Make sure you account for the public goods at marginal cost bit. ie. Natives pay, migrants don’t. Also not the assumption the foot note that migrants are only charged 80%, Brits make up the difference.

    They also omit pensions, dependents etc from their costs.

    What evidence do you have for 70 million people?–england-and-wales–scotland-and-northern-ireland/mid-2014/mid-year-population-estimates-for-the-uk-2014.html

    64,596,800 is the population of the UK.

    So what does that mean? 5 million illegals?

    On net migration. I don’t actually care about net migration.

    I care purely and simply. Does each and every migrant make a net contribution to the UK?

    if they don’t then some else gets to pay for them to be here. Either in being made poorer by taxes, or by not getting the services they need.

    So with 2 major factual errors in your post, its rather funny don’t you think that you’re complaining about facts.

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