September 11, 2008

THE FAR RIGHT IS THE LEFT:

Let’s cap this myth of overpopulation: The Balanced Migration group moans that Britain will need seven new cities to cope with an influx of immigrants. Well, let’s start building then. (Nathalie Rothschild, 9/10/08, spiked)

Unfortunately for non-EU citizens hoping to come to Britain – and for British businesses and public sector organisations – the new Balanced Migration group is not just a bad joke. It is the latest serious call for putting a cap on immigration into the UK. The group reiterates an idea that is widely accepted on both the right and the left today: Britain is overpopulated.

From the Malthusians at the Optimum Population Trust, to the cranks of the British National Party, to various House of Lords peers, green activists and government leaders, there is a widespread belief that Britain is buckling under the weight of Too Many People. The situation is said to be unsustainable and a threat to ‘social cohesion’, to the smooth running of public services, and to the future of the planet. So more migrants must be shunned.

Balanced Migration is chaired by Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, Labour and Conservative ministers respectively, and supported by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, and by the Muslim Labour peer, Lord Ahmed. This week, it put forward the latest panicked projections of the supposedly corrosive effects of population growth. Citing official figures, Balanced Migration says Britain would need to build seven new cities the size of Birmingham to house an estimated seven million incomers between now and 2031.

The prospect of Britain building seven new urban centres is envisioned as a nightmare scenario, of course, rather than as an exciting prospect. This reveals an essential truth about the overpopulation debate: there are not too many people in Britain; just too few decent cities, too much weak infrastructure, and a lot of poorly managed public services. Once again, what is presented as a demographic problem is essentially a political and social one, a lack of political will to remake Britain so that it can take more people and become a bigger, better country.


How about for every immigrant we take in we toss a Malthusian out?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2008 6:26 AM
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