December 19, 2014

Nearly 100 migrant stowaways are being caught a day

The number of times migrants have been caught trying to enter Britain illegally has almost quadrupled over the past three years and reached nearly 3,000 a month.

The Home Office says 11,920 entry attempts were detected at Calais and British ports in the first four months of this year alone – equivalent to almost 100 a day.

Migration experts said that Britain is one of the most "attractive" destinations for migrants in the World and suggested that many more illegal immigrants are likely to have successfully made it into Britain.

Of course

Lord Green of Deddington, the chairman of Migrationwatch, said:
The sharp rise in the number of clandestines might reflect more effective detection but an increase on this scale is more likely to be due to increased pressure on our borders. Part of that may be due to deteriorating conditions in the Middle East and Africa but there is little doubt that the freedom of our society, the existence of a black market in labour and the presence of relatives and friends add up to making the UK a very attractive destination. The government are seeking to make it more difficult to live in Britain illegally but it will take some time for recent measures to take effect.
In 2011/12 migrants were caught trying to enter Britain a total of 9,632 times, a figure which by last year had almost doubled reaching 19,003. This year the number has risen sharply, and at current rates could exceed more than 35,000 by the end of the year.

Experts said that migrants were attracted by Britain's unregulated labour market, the ability to get free health care on the NHS and relatively generous welfare system.

Once immigrants from African countries have made their way into Europe, they can travel across borders without needing to show passports or identity cards to France. In Calais more than 2,500 migrants, mainly from African countries such as Eritrea, are camped around the town. Many are prepared to risk their lives in an attempt to enter Britain.

The Home Office say they prevented more than 18,000 attempts to cross the Channel illegally in the year to April 2014 – a rise of more than 60% on the previous year.

But if the pressure of illegal migration is so strong, there's something wrong with the incentives. The UK is specially attractive. The only way to stem the flow is to make the UK less attractive to immigration.

December 18, 2014

Immigration out of control - surprised?

Fewer than one per cent of immigrants who illegally overstayed in Britain have left the country. 884 immigrants from a pool of 120,545 departed Britain voluntarily after being confronted by a private contractor - or 0.73 per cent of the total - which is hardly surprising.

The report, by John Vine, gives examples of Capita's incompetence. More importantly:
Mr Vine's report disclosed that the original number of foreigners refused permission to extend their stay in Britain - known as the Migration Refusal Pool - was far higher than previously thought.

On top of the original 150,000, a further 223,600 case files were discovered which had not previously been counted in the total.

It is understood the files were discovered in basements and meeting rooms in a government building in Sheffield which had been occupied by the now-defunct UK Border Agency (UKBA).

A Home Office spokesman said the 223,600 files had now been reviewed and whittled down to 89,000, after duplicates and errors were removed.

It means the Migration Refusal Pool is actually about 240,000.
The Home Office is headed by Theresa May, who is supposedly doing such a good job that this charisma free woman is considered a future Tory leader.

Mr Vine said in his final annual report that "I still find too much evidence that the Home Office does not get the basics right".

He also expressed concern about how Theresa May had delayed publication of his reports, sometimes for months at a time.

Theresa May is doing her best to hide the fact that she is presiding over an immigration shambles. This is not a failure of just one political party, it is a failure of the government machine.

December 17, 2014

More ammunition against current immigration policies

Balanced Migration notes (h/t Sue):
Figures [from] the Department for Communities and Local Government show that 11% of tenants new to social housing are foreign nationals. This is a nationwide figure. and an increase on the previous year.

Commenting on the statistics, Frank Field MP and Sir Nicholas Soames MP, Co-Chairmen of the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration, said:

“The proportion of social housing going to non-British nationals continues to increase. This nationwide figure of one in ten disguises local variations where the impact has been much higher. A stronger priority for social housing should be given to long-standing local residents."
The case against the current immigration policy has always been the high numbers.

It is not a question of taxes paid by immigrants versus welfare benefits paid out. High immigration puts strains on our infrastructure - for instance GPs' surgeries, schools, and - as we see here - social housing.

And while we have borders open to the rest of the EU, forward planning of this infrastructure is impossible. Governments have got their immigration forecasts wildly wrong before. They doubtless will again.

Only UKIP has a robust stance on immigration. OK, it may not be coherent or thought through (what UKIP policy is?), but its general thrust is clear.

In the end this is not a narrow economic policy issue. It is a decision for the people of this country.

Time to proclaim a UKIP energy policy

Since his by-election, Douglas Carswell has been talking like a man liberated, whether it's debating with Lord Heseltine on Daily Politics or setting out the recent history of energy prices.

Carswell is studiously ignoring the recent UKIP shenanigans (of which there's been plenty). UKIP are lucky to have him.

Douglas's essential point on energy prices is that prices of oil and gas haven't been going up (as the Green Blob predicted). On the contrary. Yet the sclerotic brains in our ministries are ignoring this fatal flaw in the logic of their policy to load us with subsidies for renewable energy.

And it's not just the cost of oil and gas that isn't going up. The other big problem with the establishment's policy on energy prices is that global temperatures aren't going up either. There's been no statistically significant rise for more than 18 years.

Expensive energy in the UK would do nothing to affect global temperatures. It would be ineffective. But at present there is no worldwide rise in temperatures anyway.

The established political parties are loading on us extra costs which are wholly unjustifiable. "Green jobs", cries David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions today. But at what cost?

UKIP is the only party which wants to scrap this wholly mistaken policy. But it's not making much of it.

By going into battle on this, UKIP could change the political weather. The party has recently been flatlining in polls. Clearly articulating a simple, sensible energy policy could restart the party's advance.

Scrapping green levies is a policy that would be simpler to advocate - and to defend - than leaving the EU or curbing immigration. All English consumers would feel the benefit in their pockets. We could let the subsidised nations in the UK go their own way on this.

Defy EU energy targets. Germany does. Why not us?

Let's have more prosperity for England.

Time to proclaim a UKIP energy policy.

November 30, 2014

Immigration is enough reason to leave the EU

The Mail today has a batch of stories focusing on immigration - a significant political event in itself.

There's a suggestion that Lynton Crosby intended Cameron's recent speech to be their final word on immigration before the election, so that the Tories could focus on the (incompetently managed) economy.

That's not going to happen. As far as movement of labour is concerned the EU has open borders. Inevitably, people will move to the area where they can make the most money, whether it's in the form of wages or wages plus benefits. It's the take-home pay that matters.

Some area in the EU are much poorer than others. People in the poorer areas will inevitably move to the richer areas. Over a long period the richer areas will inevitably see a 'levelling down', to reduce their attraction to the people in the poorer areas.

One problem for the richer countries is that they are forbidden to discriminate against immigrants as compared with their native population. So the locals will tend to suffer from the levelling down.

If nobody wanted to move across the EU this wouldn't matter too much. But it's forecast that the UK will add a city almost the size of Birmingham to our population every two-and-a-half years for the next 75 years. Teaching children from immigrant families to speak English is costing the taxpayer more than £244m a year in the education budget. Inevitably this holds back education for other children. And it's claimed that around 500,000 immigrants are signing up with GP surgeries every year, which will inevitably lead to longer waits for GP appointments.

Immigration has always been a numbers issue. If you don't want immigration to continue at this rate (and this blog doesn't), the three main political parties can't help you, because membership of the EU means surrendering control of your borders. (Whether our governments are capable of controlling our borders effectively is another question.)

UKIP have had years to develop policies explaining how we should go about leaving the EU, and what should happen after that. But in one speech Owen Paterson has gone far beyond any thinking we have heard from UKIP.

As leader of the Conservative Party he could take them to great things.

Sadly, though, we are far from that.

November 21, 2014

Thornberry is more significant than Mark Reckless

So Rochester's dull Tory MP has won a slim by-election victory for UKIP which may well vanish at the general election. Despite the excitement in the media, when it came to it the turnout was only some 51% - and Emily Thornberry's local white van man, Dan Ware, claimed he wasn't aware there was a by-election at all.

Sky's Sophie Ridge says that
if Nigel Farage wants a well-established party with a grip on Westminster in the long term, a coherent message across the country is imperative.

Mixed messages have served the Lib Dems well for years in different parts of the country. But then they went into government and could only have one set of policies. If Rochester is any guide - the Lib Dems polled 349 votes, far behind the Greens' 1,692 - a uniform message may be the last thing a protest party needs.

And UKIP's policy positions are - ahem - in flux. No one knows what their super-salesman leader will say from one week to the next. That's an argument in favour of trying out different policies across the electorate. Ken Clarke suggested on last night's Question Time that Douglas Carswell's calibre may in time bring some depth and coherence to UKIP's policy offering - and then, with his usual affable geniality, proceeded to torpedo him by saying he had more ability than Nigel. You're a marked man now, Douglas, just as Ken intended.

The most important performance yesterday didn't come from Mark Reckless, but from motormouth Emily Thornberry, with her tweet of Dan Ware's house and van. No doubt the rich Islington dweller was genuinely amazed by what she saw, but that makes it far worse, as several Labour MPs quickly spotted. As Mr Ware pointed out, she hadn't even had the courtesy to ask his permission before tweeting the picture of his house and his van (complete with vehicle registration number).

(Nor did the people who then gleefully tweeted a picture of Ms Thornberry's large house in Islington, but she's in public life. She doesn't seem to think that little people deserve personal courtesies from her.)

Ms Thornberry's reckless tweet quickly went viral. Would the mass media pick it up? Indeed they did, making comparisons with Gordon Brown's notorious Gillian Duffy blunder.

This reinforces Labour's growing image as a remote, metropolitan élite.

We already know Labour's leaders are imposing their dynasties on their captive lower order voters. What now?

How about more pictures of Labour leaders' big houses? The Tories can't campaign on this, as their MPs own some substantial properties themselves. But this campaigning could pay dividends for UKIP.

So let's see UKIP get out there and take pictures of Labour bigwigs' expensive houses. Let's see where the people's leaders live. Let's see how authentic they are.

September 25, 2014

"Carbon" is not the enemy

Labour's policy making seems not to have got beyond student level. It doesn't address the deficit (in the case of their now scoffed at leader, literally so). The party's senior shadows can't answer basic questions about the main policies, as Andrew Neil repeatedly showed in a series of excellent Daily Politics interviews, and Miliband and Balls have never explained how they would eliminate the deficit.

So Miliband has failed. And who are spoken of as possible successors? Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper. Mrs Balls was a hopeless minister and Andy Burnham was the minister who refused request after request for a public enquiry into the Mid-Staffs hospital which killed hundreds of patients. He now weeps crocodile tears for the NHS.

Allister Heath tears into contradictions in a policy area which didn't surface in reports on the Labour conference, energy:
The pledge to make electricity carbon-free by 2030 is at best ridiculous and at worst fanciful. It would cost a fortune to implement. It would necessitate attracting large global energy investors, railroading planning applications and a combination of massive subsidies (paid for by taxpayers) and even higher prices (paid for by consumers).

Given that all of this is meant to go hand in hand with a price freeze on energy companies, and a generalised war on their profits, the chances of the target being met are zero.

Miliband remains stuck in the mindset he used to have while serving as Secretary of State for Energy in the previous government, when he promoted the disastrous dash for green energy that ended up fuelling the cost of living crisis and imperilling our energy security. It beggars belief that a party committed to lower energy prices would dream up a policy guaranteed to increase them.
Sadly it doesn't beggar belief one bit. But if this is the best the main Opposition party can do months before a general election, heaven help us.

The world hasn't warmed since the late 1990's. Estimates of "climate sensitivity" are falling, suggesting a possible temperature rise by the end of this century might be 1-2C (if temperatures rise at all). So cutting "carbon" (actually carbon dioxide) is simply not a policy priority now. If temperatures do start rising seriously (and who knows), and if carbon dioxide does turn out to be a major cause (again, who knows), the world can tackle the issue with the benefit of the technology leaps we will doubtless have seen by then.

It's not only Labour who want to "cut carbon". The oddly named Liberal Democrats have plans for a Zero Carbon Britain Bill.

As Bishop Hill reminds us, the problem for energy policy is keeping the lights on. A problem caused wholly by politicians convinced they know best how to regulate society.

Labour want to control. It seems any target will do. Even the essential carbon dioxide, pilloried by science which is now outdated.

"Carbon" is not the enemy. The enemy is the know-all, controlling politicians stuck in the past.

September 24, 2014

When did Labour stop being a democratic party?

Labour is not longer a democratic party. When did it give up democracy?

Was it when the next Speaker had to be a Tory, and they foisted John Bercow on the Tories because the Tories hated him?

Was it when Tony Blair as Prime Minister repeatedly ducked answering the West Lothian Question, claiming the time was never right? (It was never right for Labour.)

Was it when senior Labour leaders began parachuting their advisers - and spouses - and children into safe Labour seats, treating the workers' welfare party as their own? They regard the party as their fiefdom, and the seats as theirs to allocate. With the permission of the unions, of course.

Was it when Labour blocked the redrawing of constituency boundaries to make them more equal, because it would disadvantage the Labour party? Let democracy go hang if it doesn't suit the Labour establishment.

Or was it when Labour said we couldn't have a referendum on EU membership?

With this track record, it's no surprise that Labour opposes English Votes for English Laws (EVEL). Not because it's undemocratic, but because it would disadvantage Labour. Scottish votes for Scottish laws seems to be easy. But somehow EVEL turns out to raise all sorts of practical problems.

Iain Martin suggests how EVEL could work. But his solution assumes democratic good faith on the part of a Labour government. In practice no contentious measure would be drawn up so as to be purely English. Clauses would be tacked on affecting one or more of the other nations, to make the bill hybrid and thus opening the way for all Labour MPs to vote on it.

Labour is no longer a democratic party. It is a self-perpetuating oligarchy determined to force policies on us, however poorly thought through.

June 26, 2014

Dominic Cummings nails "Cameron's empty Euroscepticism"

Writing in The Times (£) Dominic Cummings reports on focus groups of voters in marginals who voted for Cameron in 2010 but are unlikely to do so next time.

People "now spontaneously connect immigration and the EU".
People also repeatedly mention ... Abu Hamza, who combines immigration, benefits, Europe and human rights in one striking story.
What concerns the third of voters who are undecided is that businesses will close and jobs will be lost if we leave the EU.
The focus of any future referendum choice will therefore be: do you fear economic disaster? If the answer is yes, then voters will reluctantly vote to stay. If not, then the prize of controlling immigration and "saving all the cash" means they will vote to leave.
Cameron is - rightly - distrusted on the referendum. He won't threaten to leave the EU, which confirms suspicions that he is "not serious".

Cummings magisterially concludes that it is unlikely we will remove the supremacy of EU law and negotiate a new treaty until we have a prime minister who can articulate inspiring goals "in a completely different way to the petulant and hollow Euroscepticism of David Cameron": someone who is supported by an unprecedented grassroots movement mobilising small businesses and can exploit "beneficial crises".

We cannot conjure leaders from thin air, he concludes, but we can build the movement as we await the crises.

Cummings is utterly right in his scorn for Cameron, who is merely tactical and managerial, and not much good at either of them. But what do his focus groups tell us? That the EU-immigration linkage is made. That the pro-EU faction is in political terms right to keep hammering at the risks to the economy of leaving.

There's no sign of a leader who can put forward a modern, inspiring vision of life after the EU, together with a robust route map of how to get there.

Probably it will take a political maverick with huge personal ambition to step up and beat this drum over and over again. (No, David Davis, not you, you blew it.)

May 19, 2014

Ed Miliband's "intellectual self-confidence"

A provocative tweet from Janan Ganesh introduces his article about Ed Miliband (£) with the thrust that
There is more to "intellectual self-confidence" than believing in things a lot.
But Janan's argument (supple as usual) is too kind to the Labour leader.

It is easier for Mr Miliband to believe in his intellect because he lacks imagination. He cannot conceive that people affected by his policies might take avoiding action. It is the Gosplan view of human beings as cogs in a machine. Now where did he get *that* from, I wonder!

(We can also see his lack of imagination in PMQs, where all too often he can't think on his feet.)

Secondly, like his brother and oddly for a politician, he flinches from making decisions.

An indecisive PM is surely like a pacific medieval monarch - begging to be swept aside.