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August 23, 2006

Immigration and England

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The London Times reports that "Foreign settlement is three times the rate it was when Tony Blair entered Downing Street, and the number soared by almost 30 per cent last year." The Times also reports that 3/4ths of Englanders think that their country's immigration laws ought to be more restrictive than they are.

A point and a question:

* One reason that economic arguments shouldn't determine immigration policy is that they don't take a lot into account. Large-scale immigration can create disruptions, resentments, and hostilities. Where do these factors show up on the economists' charts?

* Is there a topic on which our political elites' policies and the preferences of everyday folk differ more dramatically than they do on immigration?



posted by Michael at August 23, 2006


"One reason that economic arguments shouldn't determine immigration policy is that they don't take a lot into account. Large-scale immigration can create disruptions, resentments, and hostilities. Where do these factors show up on the economists' charts?"

I think the best argument against illegal immigration is that the social, political and cultural stability that underlies the economic successes of first world countries needs to be maintained for those successes to be extended into the future. Massive immigration could conceivably alter that stability in a negative way, so immigration must be treated carefully.

I'm not saying I necessarily agree with this view but I think it's a better argument than saying that immigration lowers wages, which appears to be true but only to a small degree.

Posted by: jult52 on August 24, 2006 9:42 AM

jult52 – Immigration by itself does not lower wages. Official government policy, such as “guest worker” programs, which allows immigrants to be paid a lower wage than citizens and legal residents, results in lower wages.

Michael – If English people’s preferences were absolutely respected throughout history, wouldn’t the country consist solely of short, brown-haired Gaelic and Welsh speaking Britons?

The irony is that England as we know it only exists because of waves of immigrants who displaced, absorbed and conquered the previous inhabitants.

At one time, England’s political elite were French speaking Normans who didn’t give a rat’s ass about the sentiments of everyday folk. And oddly enough, England’s present monarchy is more German than English (even the beloved Queen Victoria’s first language was German). Prince William, through Princess Diana, is more English than any British prince of the last 150 years. English popular and literary culture loves King Richard Lion Heart, even though he never spoke a lick of English, only French, and spent only six months of his reign in England.

Today, of course, the wealthiest Brit (and fifth richest person in the world) is Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, a London-based Indian billionaire industrialist, born in Sadulpur, in Churu district of Rajasthan, India, and residing in Kensington Palace Gardens, London. His net worth is estimated to be 14.8 billion British pounds. I’m not sure that even everyday folk would want to kick him out of the country, taking the jobs he provides with him. By the way, Roman Arkadievich Abramovich, oil industrialist and owner of the Chelsea football club is number 2, although number 3 is a more “traditional” Brit, the Duke of Westminster, although his wife Natalia, is a direct descendant of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, and so part black.

Large-scale immigration in England has always created disruptions, resentments, and hostilities. And it has always in the long run worked out.

Maybe Americans, even everyday folk, could learn something from this.

Posted by: Alec on August 24, 2006 4:39 PM

Jult52 -- I think that's a good point (though my impression is that the kind of immigration we have now, legal and illegal, is putting a lot more downward pressure on the incomes of people whose incomes are already pretty low than it is on everyon else). I'm wary, though, of making even the economic argument you make, good though I think it is. My own feeling is that the "how we want our country to be" question isn't one we should be answering on a purely, or even largely, economic basis. If we let that happen, then the power to decide goes back into the hands of the economic specialists.

Alec -- "Work out in the end" is a little ... Well, in the sense that "life went on," sure. But if you'd said to a population that got replaced or eradicated, "Hey, is it OK with you if we let things evolve in such a way that you and your people are going to be wiped out?", my bet is that their answer would have been, "Nope." Part of what interests me about the immigration issue are the larger questions it raises. To what extent should the political class be serving the larger public's interest? How much should the larger public's preferences count in the discussion? More specific to today's immigration messes: Is this an inevitable consequence of a semi-official larger policy of multiculturalism and globalism? if so, should we maybe give those two policies a re-think? Far more specifically, I'm fascinated by the way the immigration topic has been buried and repressed by the elites for decades, and by how strongly many everyday people feel about it. To me it's a little like sexual-political correctness. It was quite amazing (and still is, though it isn't nearly as dramatic these days) how tightly the PC people kept the public discussion tied up and for how many years. When the dam burst (thanks to Monica, my heroine), all this stuff came pouring out ....

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 24, 2006 5:35 PM


I noticed you intermingled the terms immigrant and conquerer. Would you like to explain yourself? Also, tell us in detail how, under a monarchy, the average subject would have any say at all in who would become an "englishman"? And last, please describe for us again how the english language changed and evolved from the various impositions of latin, german, french, and then give us the usual spiel about how that is really assimilation rather than impositon, and we need not worry when it comes to spanish.

I would like to point out to you that we live in a democracy. The current immigration law approved through that system, however flawed, is being massively violated. Its obvious to anyone that the illegal aliens (not immigrants) are here to lower wages. Ample evidence exists. Ask anybody who works construction, for example.

Please read the post. If you either do not care about culture, or just have none, if the only thing you can talk about is economics, and you couldn't care less about your fellow citizens being displaced and the laws broken, that's all fine. But it isn't what the topic is about. Whatever button you push when this subject comes up, please turn it off so the rest of us can have a discussion of the topic at hand. Either that or make some kind of substantive contribution. You might start by not comparing us to a monarchy whose culture, people, and language were changed several times by invasion and conquest. That truly is ridiculous.

P.S. Its probably not wise to talk about how billionaires provide people with jobs, at least to the average intelligent citizen. Its just as true that England and the talent of the english people provided your beloved money baron with his opportunities and immense fortune. You suffer from the "great man" fallacy/delusion. I suggest a more varied reading list than Nietzsche and Ayn Rand.

Posted by: s on August 24, 2006 8:54 PM

Large-scale immigration in England has always created disruptions, resentments, and hostilities. And it has always in the long run worked out.
Well, it's worked out for the invadersimmigrants, not necessarily for the previous occupants: 'Apartheid' slashed Celtic genes in early England

Likewise, America's experience with "immigration" worked out fine for the Europeans, but not so good for previous inhabitants.

Other than that, it's a great analogy.

Posted by: Ken Hirsch on August 24, 2006 9:55 PM

I picture a comedic movie scene:
Alec being driven around the L.A.'s illegal immigrant hellholes as he regales us with his tales of merry Old England several hundred years ago, seasoned with a pinch of Indian billionaire.
Of course, I'm sure he's oblivious enough not to get the point, so we pull over and let him out.
Steve A.

Posted by: steve A on August 25, 2006 5:00 AM


One of the most fascinating aspects of the immigration question is the dramatic difference in the opinion of the elites and the average citizens. I believe that a lot of it is that the elites are largely protected by money, connections, power, or a combination so that they don't have to deal with the downside of this issue as the "common folks" do. For example can you imagine the scenes described by CowTown Pattie about her neighbors occurring in Senators Kennedy and McCain's neighborhoods?

See this site for an interesting article on this issue:

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 25, 2006 9:03 AM

Immigrants impact on wages of US high school dropouts: "The number that has been getting the most attention lately was produced by George J. Borjas and Lawrence F. Katz, two Harvard economists, in a paper published last year. They estimated that the wave of illegal Mexican immigrants who arrived from 1980 to 2000 had reduced the wages of high school dropouts in the United States by 8.2 percent."

This is from a NY Times article by Eduardo Porter. Keep in mind that Borjas is on the extreme end of economists views of the impact of illegal immigartion, the pessimistic extreme. The impact is reasonably small, although I'd sure hate it if my pay was cut by 8 percent.

Michael -- I absolutely agree that economic aspects are only one aspect of the immigration debte, but I think we both can agree that it is a significant aspect.

Posted by: jult52 on August 25, 2006 9:35 AM

Michael – the hearty Englishman complaining about immigration is the end-result of Britons who were replaced or eradicated by other peoples. There are even Englishmen who blather about their Anglo-Saxon heritage and totally discount their Briton and Celtic origins. On the other hand, much of the world that you and I admire and want to preserve is the result of these earlier clashes. This hard fact seems to be as tough for some people to deal with as accepting the demotion of Pluto from its planet status. Similarly, you brought up England as a topic about immigration, so you cannot now backpedal and ignore the complexity of English history in order to defend a narrow vision of what immigration has been, or can be.

You keep trying to conflate a false view of “larger public interest” with irrational personal preference. They aren’t the same thing, as seen in posters on this subject who would gladly have more stupid, smelly immigrants from Europe as long as they were white Christians as opposed to, for example, more smart, sweet-smelling East Asians.

Also, I don’t think that any PC people kept the public discussion about immigration tied up. I’ve noted before how hot a topic it is here in Southern California. It just has been ignored by others until it now it is the elephant in the room. I’ve also pointed out how some conservatives (distinctly non-PC types) have consistently pushed for open borders, and how many of the everyday folk were willfully blind to this, and still can only get worked up over the issue if they can find a way to lay all the blame on Kennedy, McCain or some other renegade from the “pure truth and conservative” herd. By the way, this stupidity works on the other side as well. I overheard some self-identified progressive type blame the president for being anti-immigrant despite the fact that Bush has been rigidly open-border from day one. Is Bush a member of the PC elite or is he one of your everyday folk?

- s – The English language evolved not from assimilation, but from Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Gaelic-Celts, Romans and others putting the boot to the ass of indigenous Britons. Cow in the barn became beef in the kitchen because French-speaking Normans made Anglo Saxon Brits their bitches. I can easily handle this.

Illegal aliens are encouraged to come here for lower wages by anti-democratic oligarchs, most but not all of them narrowly business-focused Republicans. I’ve written before how the construction industry – including unions – benefit from illegal alien labor without passing along the cost savings to renters and home buyers.

RE: Caring about culture. This is America. We don’t have to show you no stinking culture. Our culture is NASCAR, Playstation and whining about people breaking laws while we steal cable TV, download illegal music, and gleefully employ illegal alien nannies.

RE: Not comparing us to a monarchy. Read the title of this topic: Immigration and England. It’s risky to invite comparisons if you are unwilling to look at the specifics.

Also, I don’t particularly agree with Nietzsche, but am not afraid of him (have you read “The Use and Abuse of History?” fun stuff). On the other hand, I find Ayn Rand and all her little acolytes to be tiresome.

Ken Hirsch – Good reference on the displacement of Celtic genes in England. Yep, the immigration of Europeans and others was a disaster for the indigenous people here, as perhaps the immigration of Anglo Saxons was a disaster for Celts and Gaels in Britain. I suggest that all Americans return to Europe, and that all English return to Germany, leaving that country to the Welsh and Scots. By the way, the Basque in Spain and France may be represent some of the oldest human populations in Europe, and may derive from non Indo European peoples. But history passed them by long ago. It is a sad, hard fact. Should the present people who comprise France and Spain pack up their bags and leave?

steve A – I drive around Southern California all the time, and have posted here about the problems with open-border immigration. Please post a google map of the illegal alien hellholes. I seem to have missed them. Again, I note that Michael started the post and England. I just pointed out the fun in using the example of a thoroughly mongrelized people to defend any even mildly anti-immigration position.

Jult52 – I’ve read the studies about the impact of illegal immigration on the wages of high school dropouts. This simply underscores how short-sighted and stupid people are who drop out without continuing their education. However, illegal immigration wage policy has a wider impact, as demonstrated by studies that show that illegal immigrants make up an increasing percentage of the construction and other industries. But again, the key problem is not just illegal immigration, but economic and employment practices that permit business people to pay lower wages (and no payroll or insurance taxes) to a group of people while pushing the Big Lie that these are jobs that Americans will not do.

Posted by: Alec on August 25, 2006 4:20 PM


If you think any of us is conflating individual preference with larger public interest, just look at the polls on the subject. Even in merry old England. Case closed.

There's more to culture than money, even american culture. The list you provided is ridiculous. If you think that the stuff you named really is american culture, your parents should go to the schools you attended and ask for their money back.

Nobody wants to be conquered. Except incessant ankle grabbers. You might be one. That makes you abnormal. Please don't conflate your personal preferences with the larger public interest.

Illegal aliens are crooks and they lower wages for everybody, including union workers, many of whom are displaced by that labor. I've talked to those guys. The scheme you mention above about the unions liking illegals is BS. I couldn't care less where you read it. Its a hot load of stinking BS. It fails the Reality Test.

BTW, England has been a country in its own right for many hundreds of years, which is long enough for people there to have formed their own culture without having to have it imposed upon them. They aren't mongrels anymore. And that's pretty much true of most european and north american countries as well, at least before the waves of third world dregs arrived. They are as appropriate an example of a distinct culture being lost to immigration as now exists, with the possible exceptions of Belgium and the Netherlands. I'll say it again, if you don't know what English culture or American culture is, and how it differs from others, or if its all a laugh to you, and your only reference pont is money, that ain't what we're talking about.

I wish I had more time to do a longer post on this, but I can't right now.

Also, I've read Nietzsche (most of this books) many years ago. Ayn Rand I can't even read a paragraph, its such junk! Big on individualism. Tough on the "herd". Preferred the "great man". I tell you what, I would take living in a democracy anyday over any country led by a "great man". Even (dare I say it?), one with LOTS OF MONEY!

Posted by: s on August 25, 2006 9:18 PM

s – Interesting that your version of democracy depends on demeaning some people as “Third World Dregs.” Nietzsche would approve.

Also interesting that you focus on illegal alien “crooks” rather than the people who hire them, since it’s not like illegals magically fall from the sky and tumble onto work sites. How do you explain all the illegals at construction sites working side by side with union labor?

You can walk down the streets of Southern California, past any major construction project, and watch illegal immigrants pile out of vehicles to do work. And when you look at the signs noting the banks underwriting these projects, and the construction companies involved, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that a lot of people are very comfortable with this arrangement.

Then there’s this recent LA Times story:

“The nation's largest union federation, targeting a segment of the country's growing immigrant workforce, announced Wednesday that it had agreed to work with a large day laborer organization to improve wages and working conditions.

The agreement between the AFL-CIO and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network has particular significance in the Los Angeles area, whose estimated 25,000 such workers make it the nation's day laborer capital.”

Story also here.">">here.

And this.">,2777,DRMN_23916_4946326,00.html">this.

“Jim Gleason, of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners in Colorado, estimated 60 percent of people in carpentry, drywall and concrete framing are immigrants, and a large percentage of them - possibly half - are in the state illegally.”

In fact you can do a simple google search on “illegal immigration construction” to see nationwide how illegal immigrants have moved into the construction industry, and how agri-business in some states is now having problems getting sufficient numbers of “guest workers.” I guess there are some jobs that illegal aliens won’t do, let alone Americans.

You say that the Brits have some general sense that they don’t want illegal immigrants, but there is this interesting piece that is one of the links from Michael’s original post:

- There is no more conservative individual than the Irish small farmer, and I mean that in a nice way. But my friend’s 78-year-old father, who has a cattle farm, has employed, successively, two Polish farmhands. “He’s a treasure,” marvelled my friend, of the present one. “Works a 12-hour day, six days a week. If he’s not busy he’s looking for something else to do. When they go in to dinner he does the washing up, and sweeps the floor afterwards.”


Oh, well. By the way, you might read up some time about how Queen Victoria’s German husband Prince Albert imposed the wholly German tradition of the Christmas tree upon England – and how upper class Americans, eager to mimic the British, soon followed suit. And this was just in 1848, not “many hundreds of years ago.” Heck, the British Royal family didn’t even give up their German family name until 1917, when it was no longer a good thing to be associated with Germany.

Posted by: Alec on August 26, 2006 8:40 AM


Is that all you can come up with, a Christmas tree? And you conveniently ignore Shakespeare, Dunne, the Chrurch of England, the Parlimentary system, the Magna Carta, etc., etc., etc., and focus on the Christmans tree? That's pretty weak.

Oh, and now you spring the news on us that people are actually hiring illegal alien crooks to do work? Hell, nobody knew! We all just thought they showed up somewhere and money fell out of the sky. BTW, you might want to read the original post where the subject was how the new immigrants and illegal crooks would likely change the culture, hence the focus on the immigrants and illegal alien crooks, as opposed to the citizens. The post also said something about how native citizens felt about it, didn't like it, and were against it. For the third time, can you somehow post on this topic, and desist from insulting and denigrating the cultures of America and England so that you don't have to answer the question?

Union workers working alongside of illegals? Sure, but they don't like it. I've worked with people I don't like too. Although they may not have been felons and tax cheats. AFL-CiO is trying to unionize the window washers, toilet scrubbers, and whatnot. But that's because manufacturing continues to be shipped out of our country. They don't have much left--maybe Wal-Mart workers and Starbucks. Unionized day labor is ridiculous! The guys who hire day laborers will just hire new illegals who aren't in the union! Hahahahahaha! You won't get any argument from me that illegal alien crooks are stealing jobs from citizens--I'm glad people admit it! I am and engineer and I know it all too well. I don't need a lecture or an article. But being a crook is still being a crook, 78 years old or not, business owner or not. Still, these people are by far the minoirty. Far more indians than chiefs, my friend. And the indians are getting restless.

BTW, I don't need to read up. If you think that british culture is all borrowed from other people and that one of the most significant cultural happenings there was the importation of the Christmas tree, I believe its you who needs to hit the books. That's enough for now. As they say upon leaving in merry old England, ta-ta!

Posted by: s on August 26, 2006 5:53 PM

I consider any neighborhood in the California that i have a real good chance of being, robbed, beaten or killed if I (a white person) am there at night to be a hellhole. Admitedly, there are 100 percent good old American hellholes, but that doesn't mean I want to add to them.
A Google Map request is a nice defensive move, by you, on paper, but only on paper. Just tell me whether these neighborhoods exist or not? The Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept. can provide you with a few statistics on their whereabouts. Heather McDonald can provide you with the numbers coming from immigrants. But somehow, I doubt even the 18th Street gang beating you over the head with a fact would get you to change your mind.
Steve A.

Posted by: steve A on August 27, 2006 3:17 AM

I have never decorated a Christmas tree in my adult life, but I can say this: I'd rather have a Christmas tree than train bombings, terrorism, honor killings, and female genital mutilation, all more recent cultural imports.

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 28, 2006 7:20 AM

I'm from England. nobody says "ta-ta".

here, our problem is immigrants from eastern europe, and (ironically enough) from Afghanistan and Iraq. turning them away at the border would be the worst sort of hipocrisy imaginable. our friend Tony is now being officially asked to step down by his own cabinet. he has the war problems, and because of that, he has the immigration issues. this doesnt help our national health service, nor our schools, as many children in certain areas can't actually speak english... what does this mean for our future? it seems to be the reverse of the colonisation that England once partook in. ironic our fortunes.

4% of the population believe the government have immmigration under control. eight out of ten feel the immigrants are stealing jobs from brits. not very comfortable figures i reckon. according to surveys, we are not happy.

in England, we have a very stable economy at the moment, and therefore this is not our worry. our worry is the social outcomes. the general public have no issues with the government's budget if these immigrants meen very little to it. we care only about our own consequences.

read the British newspapers. they will tell you all you need to know. i've read the new york times etc. and the opinions aren't the same. And when did this question ask you about LA? go to london and manchester, see for yourselves and stop chatting BS. i assume you haven't heard of "the curry mile" in manchester. a fine example of the issue. soon enough it will be milesm and a fish and chip shop will be hard to come by. the mentality is generally: what's the point in opening a chippy when the supply of workers is five times higher in the foreign food industries?

tally ho!

Posted by: Nick h on September 10, 2006 1:57 PM

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