(Image Credit: The Guardian)
Few people really appreciate the Migration Value in the UK, and rely of the usual bigoted remarks from the media to spur on the narratives we here. The whole EU referendum was debated and decided on the basis of a simplistic “either/or” which opened it up to ideological abuse. It meant that no-one really needed to explain anything: they just threw insult and jibes and hoped for the best.
But we didn’t get the “best” in any way. Put aside individual voting preferences and you see both sides of the referendum lost out. 48% of the nation are lumbered with something they don’t want. Even worse, they will now never get to know what the reformed alternative could have been. We’ve been left with a situation where the fight seems to be more about allowing Brexit to do as little damage to the UK as possible.
The massive spike in racial hate crimes; the feeling of unrest and uncertainty for millions of people; the u-turns on promises to EU workers in our own country; and so many other factors are making Brexit seem a negative choice. There is no sudden “greatness” to be suddenly thrust upon the UK again. No-one is going to see a major change in their lives that makes the air fresher, and the walk to work more joyous. Families will not suddenly be seen packing out public parks with sunny days and blue skys, enjoying picnics with champagne (yes, the imported, French drink).
The economy is not going to boom, and the housing, NHS, Education, and all the other issues will not go away because they are ones we created ourselves. GDP will go DOWN; welfare payments will be no different, because immigrants simply don’t bring that burden with them. It’s a media, Tory bias that aims to persuade people that they do. If you read this or go here, perhaps read this article from the financial times, these are but a few examples to clearly show that migrants have a positive impact on the UK. The “migration value”, as I have called it.
However, as a direct result of the u-turns and, frankly, backstabbing behaviour of the Tory government with regards to EU workers, our economy is already suffering. There is no doubt: the UK has a massive skills shortage. Skilled non-EU workers are been driven out by draconian minimum salary requirements. Expecting people to earn £35,000 a year is very misleading when you consider the average UK salary is only £27,200 (unless you take off the top 10% earners; then its £13k). A newly qualified teacher in the UK earns little more than £22k. (yes, that is £3000 less than a basic skills office worker or junior copy writer who often ear £25k – it shows our attitude to “profession” in the UK.)
So when it comes to EU workers, who had been working and living in the UK for many years, it is hardly surprising that many are leaving. Why should they stay? What do they owe the UK that appears to be turning its back on them? The more the UK presses this anti-migrant narrative the more damage will be done to the economy, and it could take years to recover.
The Migration Value for the UK is far greater than just the moral richness it gives to our society. There are entire industries that rely on it, including – as one example – the building industry. If we lose our builders, who is going to build the houses we need?
Theresa May can say “Strong and Stable” until she is blue in the face, but the figures speak for themselves. As yet, the conservatives have failed to deliver on every promise for bringing down net migration numbers. The balance sheets show that’s worked in our favour. Unless the government commits to a decent agreement with the EU with regards to trade and movement, the UK could face serious problems.
That is the Migration value.