The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Let 'Em In

Another thought regarding the Optimum Population Trust. Immigration. Does the idea of wanting to control – and reduce – a nation’s population mean you are against immigration? Does it mean you are xenophobic, or even worse, racist?

Quite the opposite.

Think of it this way. Someone from the UK – if you’re single, you can imagine that it’s you, if not, one of your single friends – goes on holiday, meets a chap or a lady from another country and falls in love. They want to live together in the UK, with the chap or the lady from another country taking UK nationality.

Now, is this going to be easier in

a) a country with a population of 30 million and spare capacity


b) a country with a population of 90 million and massive housing and job shortages.

I think the answer’s a). Just as in any system, if you want freedom to move about, you need to have room to move about in. A world with ever-growing population is going to be one in which immigration is ever more difficult.

Obviously this is a problem that can only be solved internationally rather than nationally, and the idea of a country unilaterally reducing its population by blocking immigration is unconscionable and wouldn’t help with the problem of world overpopulation one iota (indeed, it would merely exacerbate existing nationalistic pressures and prejudices). In the short term, on a national basis, the most sensible thing to do is the opposite; to maintain as much freedom of movement and employment as possible, to remove any mandatory linkage between employment and long-term residence, and to equalize working conditions and rewards so that the only imperatives for settling in a different country are social rather than economic. That’s definitely ‘do-able’ in terms of the EU at least;


  1. One thing that we have the influx of Eastern Europeans to thank for (and I'm sure there are others) is that it is now possible to have a proper debate about mass immigration without the discussion immediately being derailed by racism / anti-racism.

    "Ah so you don't like the all the Poles, eh? What are you? A Pole-ist, hmm? Anti-Slav? Anti-Catholic? Anti-Names-With-Ws-And-Zs-In? Er..."

    Well, maybe I'm just anti- exactly what I purport to be anti-; namely, Anti-Not-Being-Able-To-Get-A-Seat-On-The-Bus.

  2. IMHO the whole questoin of 'immigration' is a distraction from the real issue, which is 'population' - is there really any practical difference between a dozen people immigrating into the UK and a couple on state benefits deciding to have a dozen children?

  3. Practical difference? In the short term, yes - the immigrants don't take 16 years to start competing with indigenes for jobs, services and resources.

    But yes, too many people in too small a space is the real issue; not who they are, or how they got here.