Friday, 29 January 2010

Thoughts on 'immigration'

UKIP's dog-whistle politics include centrally an ongoing attack on immigration into this country, and pressure on immigrants to assimilate. What I find hilarious about UKIP, however, is that quite a lot of their voters in fact have holiday homes in - or even live permanently in - France or Spain, and do not integrate or assimilate AT ALL, there. It is such a farce to hear such people calling for English to be the required national language of the UK, when these people themselves live for months of the year or even permanently abroad, and can barely even say 'Merci'...
 
Now, it is of course absolutely clear that there are absolute ecological limits to growth (of the economy, of population) on our finite planet, and (by extension) on each country within that planet, and each locality. It is tragic and deeply revealing to see how many people assume that economic growth can be permanent, while shouting loudly that population growth cannot be. (Do such people secretly love consumer-goods more than they love their fellow people? One suspects so...)  One can't have it both ways. The truth that population growth must come to an end is not compatible with fantasies of endless economic growth (unless economic growth can be entirely 'angelized', which it cannot be - see e.g. the work of Herman Daly, and also of Georgescu-Roegen and of Aubrey Mayer). ...So, yes: over-population is a real issue. Though (1) It is a less important issue in terms of ecological impact than ecological footprint is (i.e. one child in the UK absorbs as much resources as about 70 kids in Burkina Faso), and (2) It would be of course quite wrong to use it as an excuse for xenophobia, etc etc. In fact, it ought to lead us to recognise how we are all in the same boat.
 
We need for instance to give VASTLY more aid to the '3rd world', to compensate for and to adapt to manmade climate change. The only way to stop our fellow human beings wanting to have lots of children and to flee here is to tackle the reasons why they flee here - often terrible economic insecurity, ongoing environmental collapse, oil-fuelled-wars, etc. Tackle the 'supplyside' factors behind immigration, asylum, etc., and only then will you actually be addressing the cause, rather than the symptoms.
 
--    Rupert Read  Green Party Councillor, Norwich.  http://rupertread.net   [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on rupertread+mob@gmail.com] 

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

UKIP's stance on the issue is obviously shared by vastly more people than your Green view, as the Norwich North by-election result proved.

Greens are niche, UKIP have mainstream ideals and values. That's why they have 13 MEPs and the greens have 2, I would suggest.

29 January 2010 at 16:27  

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29.
UKIP's dog-whistle politics include centrally an ongoing attack on immigration into this country, and pressure on immigrants to assimilate. What I find hilarious about UKIP, however, is that quite a lot of their voters in fact have holiday homes in - or even live permanently in - France or Spain, and do not integrate or assimilate AT ALL, there. It is such a farce to hear such people calling for English to be the required national language of the UK, when these people themselves live for months of the year or even permanently abroad, and can barely even say 'Merci'...
 
Now, it is of course absolutely clear that there are absolute ecological limits to growth (of the economy, of population) on our finite planet, and (by extension) on each country within that planet, and each locality. It is tragic and deeply revealing to see how many people assume that economic growth can be permanent, while shouting loudly that population growth cannot be. (Do such people secretly love consumer-goods more than they love their fellow people? One suspects so...)  One can't have it both ways. The truth that population growth must come to an end is not compatible with fantasies of endless economic growth (unless economic growth can be entirely 'angelized', which it cannot be - see e.g. the work of Herman Daly, and also of Georgescu-Roegen and of Aubrey Mayer). ...So, yes: over-population is a real issue. Though (1) It is a less important issue in terms of ecological impact than ecological footprint is (i.e. one child in the UK absorbs as much resources as about 70 kids in Burkina Faso), and (2) It would be of course quite wrong to use it as an excuse for xenophobia, etc etc. In fact, it ought to lead us to recognise how we are all in the same boat.
 
We need for instance to give VASTLY more aid to the '3rd world', to compensate for and to adapt to manmade climate change. The only way to stop our fellow human beings wanting to have lots of children and to flee here is to tackle the reasons why they flee here - often terrible economic insecurity, ongoing environmental collapse, oil-fuelled-wars, etc. Tackle the 'supplyside' factors behind immigration, asylum, etc., and only then will you actually be addressing the cause, rather than the symptoms.
 
--    Rupert Read  Green Party Councillor, Norwich.  http://rupertread.net   [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on rupertread+mob@gmail.com] 
30. 31. 32.