Migration Watch UK – not much think, mostly tank

Migration Watch UK is a shabby pressure group masquerading as a think tank. The group’s neutral-sounding name masks its real concern with immigration. The group’s founder, Sir Andrew Green – a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, quoted at BBC News Online – isn’t trying very hard:

“You get on the Tube and you can barely move. London is stuffed with people. Under the present regime the numbers are going to keep going up and up and up.”

Migration Watch UK’s web site is clearer still. I can find no attempt to measure outward movements and no useful attempt to quantify the effects of migration – economic or social – beyond the repeated assertion that immigrants are less economically active and worse educated than natives. There’s no context at all. No data on birth rates or long range population forecasts, no links to external population authorities – only several pages of wickedly spun ‘data’ that would be unusable anywhere outside of a public bar and the much-publicised calculation that two million immigrants will arrive in the UK per decade from now on. To arrive at this number, Migration Watch UK’s crack statisticians took the home office’s annual numbers and multiplied by ten, making no subtraction for the falling birth rate in the UK or allowing for any trend in the data at all.

More depressing, in many ways, are the shallow and defensive counter arguments of the refugee and asylum seeker groups. They’re reduced to detailed arguments on speed of decisions, enforcement policy and dispersion – they’ve surrendered the principle entirely to the Daily Mail et al. It’s politically impossible to defend immigration to the UK right now. No mainstream group feels able to advance a pro-immigration line, or even a pro-asylum line, or a pro-refugee line. Only the free traders can comfortably propose opening the borders. Immigration will presumably remain a dirty word until the UK and European populations start to fall visibly, as they surely will. What we need is an enlightened combination of pragmatism and principle in support of immigration – before it’s too late.

I blogged this issue before in August, September and November.


  1. Migration Watch gives facts. You merely throw stones: you are like Mussolini who according to General Smuts just wanted to go around biting people. You will need to do better than that!

    Mind you I think you will have a hard task refuting Migration Watch: you and the pro-immigrationist fundamentalists have relied in the past on hiding facts and indulging in propaganda. You are going to have to tell the truth from now on and then we shall let the people decide.
    I know where I stand.

  2. What is the matter with us English remaining English? I am not ashamed of saying I’m ENGLISH. It almost seems something we are supposed to keep quiet about these days! I do not wish to see our Nation so watered down as to lose it’s own unique & wonderful identity!
    I do not begrudge any fellow human being a hand up in time of real need BUT not to our national detriment [real or perceived]
    Personally I have had enough of being USED by this leftist luvvies state that we are saddled with at present & I begrudge every single penny wasted on these economic leeches!
    To true asylum seeker’s I apologise, but I suspect I won’t be doing so to a very big audience!

  3. If one where to look at the census figures of 2001, you may well observe that since 1991 there are in fact less white people now than then. This is not due to the fact that immigrants are taking over the country or pushing whites out, it is simply that the indigenous population are not having enough babies. If you where to look at overtly white areas of the country such as, the North East and Scotland, and many parts of the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside. You will note that the population is in fact falling by at least 2-3% over the decade. This is roughly the same rate as the rest of the country’s population is accelearating.
    By the blighted areas of many the countries big cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesborough, Hull etc, it is quite obvious what the affects of depopulation have on communities. Coupled with the fact that this country also has a high rate of emmigration, and importantly high rates of PERMANENT emmigration, I think anyone will agree that this country does need high rates of immigration to keep it going. Admittedly significant proportions of immigrants are not economically viable and become sucked in to the enormous blackmarket ( which is by and large indigenously run by all british born ethnic minorities), but a large number still conform to an immigrant work ethic seen from afro carribean bus drivers to Asian shop keepers to the recent emergence of Somalian taxi drivers. It is simply a naturel course. Yes I do think that the immigration policy should be tightened up, but immigration can be recognised as a positive thing.

  4. Migration watch seems to be focussed on asylum to the exclusion of everything else. For example they say:

    The Myth
    “Migrants contribute a net ?2.5 billion to the exchequer”

    The Facts
    False. The relevant Home Office paper chose to define migrants as all those born abroad plus their dependant children.

    Mmm. I thought migration covers all immigration and emmigration? My mother came to this country in the 1960s to train as a nurse. She had four children. Three of them work and pay taxes. The fourth is a student. Without her coming her, none of us would paying taxes and contributing to the UK economy!

  5. I think Migration Watch’s statistics are reasonable. Their estimate of current net immigration is 240,000 per year. This adds 60,000 to the Office of National Statistics figure. Migration Watch’s statistic takes into account estimates of the number of legal visitors, work permit holders and students who illegally overstay their alloted time. It also includes their estimate of the number of failed asylum seekers and illegal immmigrants who manage to stay. I don’t think their estimates are excessive and may err on the low side.

    I think it is entirely reasonable for them to extrapolate this figure to predict a net inflow of two million immigrants over the next ten years. David Blunket has again this week expressed his view that this level of immigration needs to be maintained to ensure an adequate labour supply. This is clearly the government line.

    The opposing view to that of Mr Blunket is that large numbers of additional people will not add to the aggregate well being of the host country but will detract from it. Housing them will involve building on more attractive countryside, they will add to the congestion on Britain’s roads and generally more people equals more hassle.

    The only developed country that has experienced this level of immigration over a longish period is America. The US population has incresed by 50 million over the last 20 years and net immigration is now around one million per year. As in Britain this population influx is supported by private industry. It helps keep wage costs low and the unskilled labour force more compliant.

    This level of immigration has had profound social and economic consequences. The low paid have been the greatest losers. The US minimum wage is $5.15( ?3.20) per hour. A large , constant supply of new immigrant labour has enabled employers to keep the minimum wage at this derisory level. Around 20 million working poor now regularly use soup kitchens and other charity food handouts as they cannot always afford food. Michael Moore’s film ” Bowling for Columbine ” illustrates the harshness of the Welfare for Work Scheme. The mother of the offending boy, whose two jobs involved several hours travelling, could neither provide the home nor the attention that her young son so desperatley needed.

    Labour shortages are good news for the low paid. Employers have to compete to attract and retain workers, this leads to better wages and improved benefits for employees. Appallingly low wages increase social inequalities and foster grievances. The US prison population now exceeds two million. Their incarceration per head of population is five times that in the UK – we have the highest incarceration rate in the EU. Mental health in the US is also deteriorating. A 25 year old American today is about six times as likely to suffer from a major depression as a similar age person in 1950.

    Immigration is set to increase here . New Labour has said that it intends to issue more work permits in coming years. It would be surprising if there is not a significant influx of people from the countries joining the EU next year. My view is that when these extra numbers are added to the existing immigration level life in some parts of Britain will not be enriched but stressed to potentially dangerous levels.

    John Wilson

    Newcastle upon Tyne

  6. If we believe the government they are using immigration as a means of supplementing falling population.

    But the population needs to fall! If we accept the logic that we must provide more young people to support the aging population we will have the same problem writ large when this generation grows old.

    The government must look for more imaginative ways to deal with these demographics. Otherwise quality of life in Britain will fall dramatically as house prices rise, roads get more congested and green space disappears. I don’t want to live in a country characterized by urban sprawl, traffic jams and pollution.

    If we want to help the poor and oppressed then let us do this by allowing the third world permanent respite from unfair trade arrangements and crippling debt.

  7. MigrationWatch is a right-wing organisation. Funny how the BNP give its site as a link from theirs, isn’t it?

    A lot of their figures, which they purport to be facts, are actually ESTIMATES!!

    And yet these are given credence by some instead of our government’s own figures.

  8. I wonder what the economic effect of our immigration policies are – I would like to see further research carried out. We were talking to a removals company recently who told us that 25% of their business is now to France & Spain. The people being moved out all seem to be in their early 40s – 50s taking a fair amount of capital / investment funds with them. Presumably if this is a national trend then we will have serious problems to face in a number of years from now.

  9. I wonder whether ~Bowblog~ is another little, miserable left-wing group which typically resorts to abuse and innuendo to try to undermine the arguments it knows it can`t refute from the excellent `Migration Watch UK`?

  10. I’m sure not everything about Migration Watch is wonderful. However, the people sounding off about it from the left [to which I belong – at least I used to think I did] ought to get real, and recognise that there is a problem, that people’s concerns are legitimate, and that if the immigration issue is not dealt with effectively by giving support to civilised people like Sir Andrew Green – who has done more for the rights of people in the 3rd World than most or all of his detractors – then you will eventually see a mass political migration towards the less pleasant end of the far right, as is happening in former bastions of liberal democracy such as Denmark and Holland. It’s your choice guys.

  11. I don’t mind MigrationWatch UK making their opinions known, however wrong I might consider them to be, it is their democratic right to do so. However, that they claim to be a “non-political” organisation is hilarious. They are anything but that, it is obvious that they are in disagreement with the government, so they are therefore taking a political stance.

  12. Why not just listen to what he said.

    “You get on the Tube and you can barely move.”

    Why are you arguing about figures, just OPEN your eyes.

    You can’t disagree with that!!!. Or maybe you enjoy being the only English person in the overcrowded carriage. I do not, its depressing.

  13. One issue I seldom see addressed is the effect of losing non-Western students and skilled migrants on their native lands.

    We allow students to come and study in the UK, attain qualifications that would greatly assist in bolstering the infrastructure of their own nations, and then retain them to meet skill shortages in our own country. We siphon off nurses and doctors from nations whose health care facilities are nothing short of woeful, and whose resources for educating such professionals are already scant. We point to our aging population and lament for own our future, and at the same time try distract from our pillaging of human resources with claims of altruism: “But, we’re also providing opportunities to the oppressed and the disenfranchised!” I’m sure the condition of the “oppressed and disenfranchised” who have no means to get to the UK is not improved by the loss of their engineers and physicians.

    Migration Watch UK is one of the few groups to acknowledge the presence of foreign students and issues concerning skilled migrants, and for that it gets my vote.

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