Thursday, April 07, 2005

Migration pt47

I spent part of today poring over ethnicity data for London taken from the last Census, particularly maps showing the spread of various ethnic groups.

Considering how important census data is in government planning, we take a surprisingly casual view when gathering census data in this country. I’ve been in other countries twice on national census days and it’s a very serious business indeed. People are encouraged not to leave the house on census night, keep their children close and not venture out on the streets. It’s all a bit like some kind of werewolf movie.

Anyway, we don’t do that sort of thing in Britain. We get a form in the post, some of us bother to fill it in, 1% of us claim to be Jedi’s, and then a few get returned in the post. A large proportion of the returned forms are illegible and it’s unlikely that people traffickers with two dozen teenage sex slaves or illegal labourers in the attic are going to be altogether truthful when completing their returns.

So, you have to take the resulting data with a shovel-full rather than a pinch of salt.

After poring over the maps I discovered such exciting information as
  • Jewish and Irish people live almost exclusively in North and NorthWest London
  • There are a lot of Africans and Afro-Caribbeans in South London
  • There are a lot of Indians and Pakistanis in Hounslow
  • With a few exceptions North of the River, Whitey doesn’t live in the centre of town
How much did the census cost? For anyone who’s lived in London for any length of time, this information is more than a little under-whelming and reflects a pattern that’s been established for as long as I can remember; at least twenty or thirty years.

But the ethnicity of London has changed greatly, particularly over the last five to ten years. The census just doesn’t reflect it. There are a stonking number of new arrivals in town, many from groups not previously represented in large numbers before in London; East Africans, people from the ‘Stans’, SE Europeans, East Europeans, Central and South Americans, all sorts. Looking at the census data it’s as if they don’t exist. The Somalis are a good example. No one’s quite sure how many there are in London; the accepted range is somewhere between 70,000 – 250,000. I ask you, how can you lose up to 180,000 people from just one ethnic group in a city of ten million?

Immigration is a hot topic in the run-up to the general election next month. The Conservatives are playing up the undoubted mismanagement of immigration since 1997 and the Government is attempting to neutralise people’s concerns, real or imagined, with dollops of bullshit and spin.

I find this all very amusing. Our politicians are still debating whether to permit the rest of us to have a debate on the subject of mass migration when it has already happened. The mass migrants are here, now, and they’re not going anywhere. We really should help settle these guys in and make the best of it. An enormous and undeclared racial experiment is currently under way in London and it’s in everyone’s interests for it to work positively.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t debate the issue of continued mass migration. As a nation we might want to mull the subject over before our country is turned into one low-waged sweat shop; with half the population cleaning toilets and making ready-meals for £2 hour, the other half working for the government, and two blokes in kilts entertaining tourists as our only source of hard currency.

The problem with debating migration is that the big money is with the pro-migration lobby; from lawyers troughing out on legal aid budgets to companies having a ready source of cheap, easily exploited labour. 'Pay a decent wage for this sh@t job? Nah, let's employ some wetbacks instead. They work for peanuts and are scared sh@tless of being deported' .There’s no money to be made on the anti-side. Plus, in supporting mass migration, you can have your cake and eat it. Not only is it lucrative, you can also posture around claiming that you actually give a damn about the migrants being sucked in for exploitation. Profitable and virtuous – a winning combination in anyone’s book.

No, I don’t think there’s never going to be any rational debate. As soon as anyone starts to ask critical questions they are immediately labeled a racist. It doesn’t matter if the person is really being racist or not. The race card trumps all rational questions or arguments. A corking example of its power has cropped up over the last few weeks during the debate about Travelers.

The number of Travellers in this country is tiny. The fact that a minority of this minority abuse planning regulations and build on agricultural land, whilst irritating, is absolutely NOT a matter of national interest. That hasn’t stopped both political parties playing national politics with the issue.

What I find most interesting about the ‘debate’ on the issue of Travellers is that they're not called Travellers any more. Suddenly, and subtly, even though they’ve been referred to a Travellers for years now everyone’s calling them Gypsies again; Gypsy, Gypsy, Gypsy. Even though most UK Travellers are of Irish rather than Romany decent everyone’s calling them Gypsies. Why? Well if you refer to them as Gypsies rather than Travellers you can accuse people criticising them of being racist, clouding the issue nicely. And, most annoyingly, Joe Public doesn’t seem to notice how he is being subtly manipulated through the abuse of language. He never does.

Talk about 5% of the population controlling the other 95% …

Shame on all of our politicians. Shame on the Conservatives for ramping up such a trivial matter. Shame on Labour for turning it into a ‘race’ issue. F*ck them all.

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