So the 2011 census results for England and Wales are out. And sure enough it turns out that the last decade has seen the largest population increase in any decade since records began. Twice that of the previous decade. Woe betide anybody who does not welcome this with a punch in the air and a few ‘Woohoos’.
Despite having no democratic mandate for this societal transformation — indeed acting against public opinion on the matter — the last Labour government oversaw an immigration system which either by accident or design went demonstrably out of control.
Naturally, some people will welcome this. They will say that another city the size of Manchester springing up every year is exactly what this country needs. In which case I hope they live there. In my experience the hyper-enthusiasts for mass immigration consider it something which is primarily good for other people.
They will claim numerous advantages in having so many new people coming to Britain. They will not examine any possible disadvantages, such as how our public infrastructure is meant to cope with a situation in which half a million people more than anybody even knew about is considered ‘loose change’.
Anybody who complained about this over recent decades was — at best — told not to be so square and to get with the beat. Holding up the crumbling façade a little longer I am sure that anybody who regards the latest announcement of seismic societal change with anything other than excitement will be treated in the same way.
Frank Field MP is one of the most decent and sensible people in parliament and not a man given to overstatement. So I hope that people will consider his response (from the Telegraph):
‘Frank Field, the former Labour minister, said the surging population should now be treated as a “state of emergency” with tough measures to rein in student visas and people bringing family members from abroad. “This is not so much a wake up call, it is almost time for the firing squad for politicians who have allowed this to happen.”’
Further than I would go, admittedly. But worth mulling.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.