Given that we fail to train enough doctors or nurses, provide sufficient carers, or even structure our jobs, such as in the food industry, to be generally appealing, then I think we can conclude that Britain is set up, structurally, to depend on immigration.
It is therefore crazy to try to restrict it.
But that is of course what both the tabloid press as well as most Conservatives indicate that they want to do.
Even worse, they try to encourage us all to enforce immigration regulations on each other. We are not, in spite of having a vicar’s daughter as Prime Minister, any longer our brother’s keeper but simply our brother’s controller.
This is yet another dysfunctional policy of this government (and this really is a recurring theme).
We are all supposed to enforce laws for people already in this country when we are famously ‘an island race’. So we have a coastal border, the sea, which is one of the largest in the world and yet we have just five Border force ships (I presume these were previously Customs and Excise?) to protect this coast. Compared with an EU nation of about the same GDP, Italy, this is vanishingly small. Even France has six times as many naval border craft. We are told that the UK ones are sophisticated – but it seems that they cannot be six times as sophisticated as the French because otherwise we, in the UK, wouldn’t be required to vet each other.
We have to conclude that the smaller state turns out to be not only leaner but much meaner – and also demeaning and divisive. All because some fail to understand that the Empire can indeed strike back and English as a world language has consequences.
If immigration really is that problematic, then the solution lies not at home, where enforcement is divisive and insidious to community life, but just outside it, using the UK’s natural borders.
Naturally, that needs investment.