How much is too much immigration? With Brexit giving Britain full control over its borders, who and how many foreigners should we allow to live here?


Immigration is the number one reason why people voted for Brexit. In France, Marine Le Pen talks of her country being “submerged” by immigrants. In the US, President Trump wants to ban Muslim migrants. So, how much is too much immigration?

Hi. I’m Leon Hawthorne. We’re talking about immigration into Britain. What are the numbers, who are the people, and if and how it should be controlled.

My parents were immigrants from Jamaica. They came to Britain as part of the first wave of loyal subjects from the empire, invited here to rebuild the country after the Second World War. I was born in Britain, and as it happens have never been to Jamaica. I think I would pass Norman Tebbit’s cricket test.

So, when I talk about immigration, I have more than just an academic interest in the subject. If governments screw up, it’s people that look like me who suffer.

Let’s look at the facts.

Here’s the picture of non-British immigration into the UK since 1991. The numbers began to rise after Labour was elected in 97, rising to more than 500,000 last year.

This is the picture of non-Brits leaving the country over the same period.

Overall, annual net migration was very low before 1997, rising to 300,000 in recent years.

This is a total of around 4 million net immigrants since 1997.

To put this into perspective. During my parents’ generation of Commonwealth immigration in the 1950s and early 60s, approximately 1 million people came to Britain.

That period resulted in race riots, discrimination and the rise of the National Front. Why did anyone think allowing an even greater number of immigrants would NOT lead to similar consequences?

Human nature doesn’t change that quickly. Neo Nazi groups are on the rise in Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany… everywhere there has been rapid uncontrolled migration.

If you add millions of foreigners who speak a different language, look different, act different… and you do it that quickly, you’d have to be an idiot not to foresee the consequences.

Blair, Brown and Cameron were the three wise monkeys, who simply closed their eyes and hoped nobody would notice. There was no planning for the impact on local councils, on housing, on social services, education, crime, anything.

Let me look at education, for a moment.

There’s been a baby boom since 2000. Partly driven by the fact that most immigrants are aged in their 20s and 30s.

A quarter of all babies born here – that’s 200,000 a year – are to women born outside the UK. Poland accounts for the most, 3.3% of all births. Then Pakistan, India, Romania, Bangladesh etc.

Now, many of these children enter primary school without basic English language skills. Schools have to spend money hiring extra tutors. Naturally, this might lead to resentment among British parents, whose children’s development might be impacted

Across England, three quarters of high school children are of “white British” ethnicity. But in Inner London, that number is only 17%. Let me put that another way – “white British” kids are just one out of every six kids in Inner London.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see why many think London is literally a different country than the rest of the UK. And why the indigenous population will feel immigration is out of control.

Here’s the last graph I’m going to show you. It’s the distribution of age across the country.

It shows 22% of the population is aged 18 and under.
17% are aged over 65.
And 61% are in between.

This is not a good picture. There are not enough economically active people to support those that are either too young and too old to work.

We need more young adults in their 20s and 30s.

There are only two ways of doing this. Either we lie back, think of England and start knocking out more babies; or we continue with a policy of mass immigration.

Politicians need to lay out this argument to the public, listing the pros and cons. Let us make a decision about our future and properly plan for it. Not just local services, but also how to thinly distribute and better integrate immigrants into our society.

What politicians cannot do is force rapid, uncontrolled immigration on the population by stealth.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

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Journalist, broadcaster, media executive, academic, author.