The census figures are out and you know what this means! Yes, the newspapers will be stuffed with articles complaining that this other Eden is now too teeming with foreigners for its survival to be considered a sure thing. The census reports that some 56.1 million souls are living in England and Wales. Add five million Scots plus some Ulstermen and the United Kingdom’s population is at a record high.
The population increase since 2001 is counted at 3.6 million people and some 55 per cent of that increase is attributed to net migration. The rest of it, roughly 1.6m people, is put down to an increase in the birth rate. All this will please — that is to say, it will appall — the Malthusians among us for whom population increase and thus the rapid approach of the the end times approach is a matter of delicious horror.
We are assured, moreover, that this increase in the population of England and Wales this past decade has ‘transformed’ the country though frankly this seems unduly alarmist and, in any case, fails to consider the advantages of a growing population. No-one disputes that an increasing population puts some pressure on the provision of state-funded services; lost amidst the doom-mongering is any consideration of the opposite problem: a falling population is the sign of a failing country. The consequences of an ageing, declining population are rather graver than the difficulties imposed by a rising population.
For reasons no-one has quite explained, the population hawks have determined that 70 million is the magic, upper-limit to the number of people who can fit comfortably onto these islands. Doubtless that number will be reached in due course and lord knows what terrors will be unleashed then.
The truth is, however, that Britain’s cities are not unusually crowded places. Indeed, managed sensibly, there is ample room for them to grow without them necessarily sprawling further into the countryside. That requires a different approach to zoning and planning, of course, but this ought not be beyond the wit of man.
Furthermore, even if immigration were reduced to a negligible trickle (Fortress Britain!) we might reach that 70 million number soon enough. And what then? I don’t deny the Malthusians their right to their opinion, I merely wonder how they would go about reducing the population to whatever level they consider ‘sensible’ or ‘sustainable’. So very shouty on the bigger picture they tend to be disappointingly quiet when it comes to recommending actual policies.
Who knows what these might be? Surely, however, compulsory deportation, rampant euthanasia and, perhaps, in time, a one-child policy must be part of the cocktail mix of policies required to bring matters ‘back under control’? Of course, I may be mistaken. Nevertheless, the onus is on those who fear Britain is approaching some kind of demographic catastrophe to say, quite explicitly actually, what they think should be done about it.
For we are too many? Well, no, we are not and will not be for many years to come.Tags: Britain, Cities, Health, Immigration, Population, public services