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Integration is the best policy for 2014’s Romanian and Bulgarian migrants

Jonathan Lindsell, 18 November 2013

On 1 January 2014, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens will gain all the same rights as French, German and Dutch ex-pats in the UK.  Some will come to Britain, although nobody is sure how many. The government are cagey about their estimates after spectacularly underestimating the number of ‘A8’ citizens wanting to come in 2004. MigrationWatchUK estimate about 250,000 in 5 years, Migration Matters only 20,000, and a BBC poll implies c.119,000 total.  Our borders services don’t collect enough data for accurate estimates.

Although it’s unlikely that they’ll all descend on one seaside town on New Year’s Day demanding JSA, social housing and dental treatment, estimates do suggest numbers so substantial that our already-straining services will be under severe pressure.  Cameron has vowed to keep his belt permanently tight, but in this instance, he should show a little post-Christmas cheer, both for his own benefit and that of the country. Likely ‘pinch-points’ need a funding boost.

At the moment, government is doing very little to prepare for the Romanian-Bulgarian influx other than to moan that it will happen. That’s a complete fait accompli.  It cannot be helped.

What can be helped is newcomer integration. Nick Clegg, David Blunkett and Peter Oborne all warn that another migrant influx will cause such competition for services, jobs and public spaces that severe social tension could result. Even Roger Daltrey is worried. This has eerie echoes of Enoch Powell’s ‘River Tiber’ speech – but unlike the Wilson government Powell savaged, Cameron cannot stop the migrants. Instead, he must look to the other side of the equation.

Oxford development economist Paul Collier has written a study of global migration, Exodus, which describes the ghettoization and alienation of migrant diasporas allowed into new countries, but not integrated.  He lucidly argues that migration-driven tensions are reduced by assimilating newcomers into domestic culture, at least in language ability, respect for law, and employment behaviour. Collier uses himself as an example – a third generation descendant of rural German migrants, few would label him an unwelcome foreigner.

This is not as difficult as it sounds: trends show future migrants are likely to cluster in areas that already house significant ex-pat communities. Areas of London and the south with Bulgarian/Romanian populations should receive extra funding to prepare for the extra workload. At the moment, despite the efforts of Lord Roberts of Llandudno and Sunder Katwala to highlight this pinch-point approach, the only action has been the secondment of eight Romanian police to London.

If Cameron sticks his head in the ground, he risks being outmanoeuvred by UKIP, who are sure to trumpet every instance of Romanians/Bulgarians stealing jobs, not having jobs, committing crimes, visiting hospitals and speaking foreign languages. Farage’s General Election chances will blossom.

But if Cameron can make January 2014 a smooth success, seamlessly welcoming new migrants that contribute to our economic recovery, he’ll paint himself as in control and will be better able to renegotiate our EU membership with commanding authority and a nation’s support.

3 comments on “Integration is the best policy for 2014’s Romanian and Bulgarian migrants”

  1. “Democracy has never, in any meaningful way, been about deciding who may or may not be your neighbour” . Sez who? Where direct democracy is possible, it is the people who make the decision. Moreover, even where direct democracy is impossible, the logic of democracy is against you because democracy involves the selection of representatives who are elected on their pre-election promises.

    Imagine a situation where there is a completely homogeneous population. An executive and legislature is elected. The homogeneous population elect those who, guess what, say they will keep the population homogeneous and ban immigration. Are you saying that would not be a democratic decision?

    As democracy is dependent upon the election of those who stand on policy platforms, by definition there can be no ban on those putting forward any policy which does not by its nature destroy democracy, for example, laws banning particular views. Hence, in any society, control of who may or may not be part of the society and abide within its territory, is a legitimate democratic end.

    Let me ask you a question, if immigration to the UK had been decided by referenda since 1945. how much immigration do you think the British would have voted for?


  2. With respect, Mr Lindsell is right. Democracy has never, in any meaningful way, been about deciding who may or may not be your neighbour. It is about deciding who gets to govern those that are here through reasonable routes – be that by birth, work, family or something else.

    Rather than both the hyper-liberal multicultural evangelists and the ultra-national conservatives preaching the same unchanging dogmas from their pulpits, it really is time we worked with the situation we are in, which is not about to change.

    We are a country that is still part of the EU, and will not have left by Christmas, no matter how much the Conservative back bench rumbles. We will therefore receive an influx of uncertain numbers of new migrants from January onwards.

    We are also a country of conservative temprament with its own set of cultural traditions. This mindset, and the traditions it reveres, are not about to be swept away in a flood of liberal good-feeling with an amnesty on all immigrant children and a national holiday for Diwali as well as Christmas.

    If only everyone would get off their hobby-horses and deal in pragmatism, as Mr Lindsell suggests, this country would be a better place for everyone to live.

  3. Mr Lindsell is wrong. Cameron could stop the Bulgarians and Romanians coming simply by taking Britain out of the EU. It is also very dubious if the EU would force the issue if Britain announced unilaterally (without leaving the EU) that they were repudiating the free movement rule within the EU. Not only does Britain run a massive trade deficit with the EU, any attempt to force Britain to accept free movement again would be practically impossible while Britain remained a full member of the EU. This is because all the EU can do as things stand is fine members who breach the rules. However, the EU has no means of forcing the fine to be paid so it is a dead letter. There is also the many numbered examples whereby France and Italy have breeched the rules, had fines imposed which were never paid. .

    Even without doing anything with regard to the EU, immigration to the UK could be massively reduced by preventing any further mass immigration from outside the European Economic Area. The truth is that all our major parties do not wish to stop mass immigration.

    Mass immigration has to be seen for what it is: a form of insidious conquest. Its permitting is the most fundamental form of treason. It is akin to those with power inviting a foreign invader to invade.

    The most important thing about mass immigration is not the competition for goods, services, jobs, education and so on which mass immigration brings. Those things are important but they are secondary to the cultural; change which it brings.

    If democracy means anything it must first and foremost must mean that the native population decides who is to be allowed to settle in a country. That democratic choice has been thwarted by all major British parties since 1945. Had the British been asked what immigration should be permitted in post-war Britain no mass immigration would have occurred.

    Patriotism is sneered at by the British elite and their auxiliaries in the media. In fact, patriotism is a necessary glue to hold any society together – see

    Here is article’s contents list:

    Patriotism is not an optional extra

    Robert Henderson


    1. What is patriotism?

    2. The roots of patriotism

    3. Nations are tribes writ large

    4. The importance of a national territory

    5. The democratic value of nations

    6. What the individual owes to the nation

    7. The liberal internationalist

    8. How to move from multiculturalism to patriotism

    9 No patriotism, no enduring society


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