Sunday 30 August 2015

They haven't thought it through

I'm seeing more of this "just open the borders" crap. I wish I could be so frivolous as to endorse this wafting empty sentiment and virtue signalling, but as usual it falls to the few to think about these things. Clearly even the best international development policy is not going to bring any immediate resolve and there is no question of closing the borders. We are going to have to take our fair share.

We can list a great many advantages to taking them but when we're talking about very large numbers, we need to manage it sensibly. We do not make the assumption that all of them will necessarily be looking to use state welfare services, but still in any case they need to be documented, otherwise they disappear into the woodwork. You cannot manage a modern first world country without capacity planning and knowing the scale of what you're dealing with.

Even those who don't rely on the state to settle them still have externalities in the short to medium term. High density is not without its inherent problems. Places like reading have narrow terraced streets, sometimes with three cars per household, with absolutely antique sewerage, reinforcing the trend of paving over front gardens for parking space which in turn adds capacity stress on drainage and sewerage so we need yet more investment, planning and an expansion of the environment agency.

Wage depression is less the concern since we have a national minimum, but that is only an effective measure if it is properly enforced, which it isn't. Moreover, we're seeing a massive rise in over-occupation of housing which has inherent risks and environmental concerns that affect people directly.

We can make the broader arguments in favour of immigration as it is beneficial in the longer term but it says absolutely nothing of the immediate practical concerns, which means you need a means of managing influx, not least for capacity planning so their basic needs can be met.

To that end, at the very least, we need to acknowledge that people will come regardless thus we need first world, safe processing centres that can liaise with local councils throughout the country to get them settled. What we can do then is turn it to our advantage by resettling people away from London. No northern city is going to do worse for having more people and the housing situation is less acute. But that has to go hand in hand with an intelligent industrial policy.

There is no excuse for the inhumane conditions migrants presently endure in Calais, not least because it's in France, but the Easter bunny notion of flinging the borders open is juvenile.

Clearly we have to provide, safe, secure accommodation, food and basic provisions. We will need to ensure the rights and conveniences and liberties of those already here are protected and we cannot have fifteen people living in a three bedroom house. Nor can we allow these people to be exploited by unscrupulous employers. At the very least it's a market distortion that does have a direct effect on the bottom decile.

The question for the idiots who embrace such a asinine position is how much extra council tax are you willing to pay - and if not, which council services are you happy to sacrifice? Elderly care? Weekly bin collections? I know the words absorptive capacity don't exist in the Marxist lexicon, but I'm interested in how they envisage this going down.

I've heard the "just build more houses" riff which is fine as far as it goes, but added people does not translate to a proportionate increase in employment, and the immediate integration problems require much more invasive and comprehensive local government in protecting against overcrowding and labour exploitation. That naturally outpaces housing development and increases the price of domestic goods. Where does this fit in the stack of priorities given the existing capacity crunch? Which magic money tree do we shake?

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