Fresh from failing to recognise Enoch Powell’s infamous “rivers of blood” speech, agreeing with its “basic principle” (which was, more or less, dishonesty, rabble rousing and racism), and then letting it be known that he had been tricked by those rotten lefty broadcasters at Sky News (“first for breaking wind”), Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has once more opened mouth and inserted boot.
The UKIP leader was today appearing before the microphones of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, where he was initially confident, admitting that his party did not have much of an immigration policy, but that a big boy did it and ran away: “To have a total policy solution after the disaster that has engulfed us since Labour came to power in 1997 is no easy matter”. Try spending less time propping up the bar, then.
But he did confirm that he wanted a five-year ban on immigration, at least for those who wanted to settle in the UK, and a five-year ban on migrants claiming benefits, both of which would, by fortunate coincidence, mean flouting the rules of the Single European Market to which all EU member states have signed up. The fortunate part is that it would give “Thirsty” an excuse to leave the EU.
This, of course, comes on the back of the supposed flood of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania, which, as The Independent discovered, meant just one worker joining the Eurolines route 441 coach in Bucharest to make the 52 hour journey to London, which involved a change in Cologne. Germany was the most popular destination, and the man en route to London had already been working there previously.
And, while Farage whines about all those speaking foreign coming to the UK, an El Pais op-ed notes “in the last decade Spain took in another 3.7 million foreigners, raising their total number to 5.7 million (almost 12 percent of the population). Of these, some 800,000 were Romanians; almost as many again were Moroccans, followed by Ecuadorians (more than 300,000) and, surprise, British (312,000)”.
Nige doesn’t have a complaint about this, though he does want to cut off his nose to spite his face: “If you said to me, would I like to see over the next ten years a further five million people come in to Britain and if that happened we’d all be slightly richer, I’d say, I’d rather we weren’t slightly richer”. As the Maily Telegraph has pointed out, it wouldn’t be “slightly”: debt would most likely rise if there were no immigration.
How much? From 75% to 175% of GDP, according to an NIESR study. Steadily impoverishing the UK by keeping out foreigners sounds like the kind of thing a totalitarian dictatorship might favour – like the current dispensation in North Korea. Nige may not want to go as far as Kim Jong-un, but walling off a country is neither practicable, nor desirable. This is just a race to the lowest common denominator.
Migration has happened for centuries. It will continue to do so, despite UKIP.