The third part in a series of posts written a year ago.
By Pat Geary
This post was written on June 22, 2016
The Big One: Immigration
In the 1980s when you had a union of European nations of similar modern economies and political institutions, the idea of free movement seemed like a decent idea. Economies would be on equal footing as workers with a similar set of skills and cultural ideals from Germany go to France and vice versa. The same would apply with England and France, or England and Italy.
Then the EU began to broaden its reach of these free borders. In 2004, with the introduction of free movement of Polish workers, this transfer of talent and human resources became one-sided.
I have nothing against the Poles. I love them. I have dated numerous women and some of my basic needs have been met thanks to free movement of people from Eastern Europe (or, if you prefer, Central-Eastern Europe). This does not mean I support every Pole leaving for the UK. That is bad for their country and it is bad for the UK. Polish workers and other immigrants from second world countries are much more likely to accept lower wages for jobs at McDonald’s. Good for shareholders and the elite, bad for a nation’s people.
As for London, the flood of Eastern European’s best and brightest without any human capital in return is perilous for that country’s future growth prospects. It is a brain drain on a level that country has not seen in the post-WWII era. Any educated Eastern European I have spoken to have no desire to return to their country. In fact, they speak terribly about their home country.
After the financial crisis, when the UK began to crack down on migrants, they did so in the only way they could, reducing non-EU immigration. Yet migration was impossible to slow due to EU policy.
European Union nations with the highest and lowest net migration in 2014
The UK has a limited size in terms of geography. This seems of little consequence until you factor in that there are only a few cities worth migrating to for work and there are limits to housing that can be made available to its citizens.
This means overcrowding in cities such as London.
This has helped contribute (but not the sole contributor) to a massive housing crisis in places such as London.
There’s a strong correlation here. Although there are many other factors for housing prices, such as interest rates and foreign money outside of the UK, these charts tell a story and that story is that there isn’t enough room for all of these people to continue to pour in to London and the rest of the UK. The financial crisis hit Europe hard and with it came it’s richest people and more immigration. Those who were wealthy in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy began a trend of using London housing as a bank account (it’s not just the Russians and Chinese and it’s easier for Europeans to buy a home away from home if it’s within the EU). Europe’s youth, facing unimaginable unemployment levels, fled in droves.
Now why would any Brit leave the UK to go work in any of those countries? How many Brits leave to go to Poland? Ask a Polish worker and they will say they can make £7/ hour in London, whereas in Poland they would make the equivalent of £1/hour. Who can blame them?
The free movement of people is no longer an even trade. This is set to get worse with the likes of Turkey blackmailing the EU into allowing free movement of people, and Serbia, Albania and Macedonia set to join the EU. Where does this end? Why does the EU need to keep expanding, on Slav territory no less (a direct threat to Russia). Bigger is not necessarily better.
It is clear that the likes of Poland and Spain (as well as any other nation in Europe with the exception of Germany) is not dealing with the same migration pressures as the UK. This is not what the EU had in mind when it set up its free movement policy. Or did it? Germany and the UK are essentially carrying Europe through its malaise. This is not healthy for a society. As for those immigrants leaving the UK for Spain….