About these thoughts
I have been mulling over what I want to say and how to do so for some time.
In the interim, the Manchester stadium attack happened.
My fearful brain won’t let me imagine the tragedy some families have been hurled into, by a single act of nihilism.
My thoughts are with the affected, for what it is worth.
Time waits for no man
But a snap election has been called, by definition we are being rushed towards another hasty decision, and these points will cease to have meaning in under a week.
My own mother is an immigrant, and does still have a terribly distinctive accent, despite decades of ruthless ribbing from her children. This used to be nothing more that a point of interest and the opportunity for the family to share a joke.
After 50 years living in this country, does she now run the risk of offending someone’s sensibilities when she talks, in the current climate?
What are we talking about?
Again I see one of the few televised debates and again I see a familiar pattern developing.
The audience are generally respectful and make the views known cogently, in the main, though there are always some outlying individuals, like the grandmother who felt she was justified in ignoring her granddaughters’ views while purporting to vote in their interest.
In contrast, the professional politicians do not come across terribly well, and it seems the more rehearsed their arguments, the more worn out their train of thought, as they cannot react to the dynamics of the room’s shift and come up with genuinely relevant contributions.
Instead we have dreary repetition of chanting ad hominem attacks, people wrapping themselves in the flag and invoking imaginary bogeymen and the “Brexit special”: imagining the land of milk and honey.
These the kinds of device that I’m not going to engage with, and my one-line explanation of their dismissal
- ad hominem attacks — I like to think a civilised debate would “play the ball, not the man”
- when everyone is wrapped in the flag, how will we be able to differentiate between the people asking for our support?
- imagining the land of milk and honey — by this I mean the resort to semi-religious / fallacious reasoning, with the assertion that these propositions are incontrovertible — examples: “the free market will find resolutions to climate change” (No, It Will Not) “a country has to balance it’s books, like any household would (No, It Absolutely Does Not)
Ok, it may seem the “milk and honey” arguments clearly get my goat, but here and now I want to dive into the real concern: the imaginary bogeymen.
Various “invested individuals”, i.e. rich people with excessively strong opinions in a lot of areas have been beating the drums on a raft of problems in decade-long endeavours to create problems in the public’s mind, in order to make them easier to manipulate.
Debunking these whenever they are raised, or re-branded or resurrected in a different form (Turkey joining the EU, anyone?) requires constant work. Even worse, the game is asymmetric: the outlets only need to release this nonsense, and everyone is exposed to it, and to cleanse people’s minds of this rubbish requires everyone to receive an inoculation.
This is a topic of active interest;
'Psychological vaccine' could help immunise public against 'fake news' on climate change - study
New research finds that misinformation on climate change can psychologically cancel out the influence of accurate…
But until the happy day that a fix is found, we need to get to work.
That work starts now, and here’s a juicy one.
Non — Problem #1 “Immigration”
This has subjected to a concerted campaign for so long to brand it an unalloyed negative.
Recently though, we have had some real highlights, as people have out-done themselves.
Media painted bleak picture of immigration before Brexit vote, study finds
Media coverage of the EU referendum campaign was dominated by “overwhelmingly negative” reports about the consequences…
There has been a obsession with this since the year of my birth.
Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech
At all events, the discussion of future grave but, with effort now, avoidable evils is the most unpopular and at the…
With modern eyes and the benefit of hindsight, isn’t it absolutely extraordinary?
And certain groups just cannot leave this alone.
Immigration: Tories to keep ‘tens of thousands’ target — BBC News
Theresa May has indicated that the Conservatives will again promise to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands” in…
Why else would someone spend 6 years of their life failing to tackle something, and plan to spend, many, many more years of their life and our time and money in the future on the same obviously doomed endeavour?
As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly - Wikipedia
" As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly" is an aphorism which appears in the Book of Proverbs in…
Immigration: the bottom line shows just how much a folly this is
Live births — Office for National Statistics
Presents statistics on birth registrations in England and Wales by birth characteristics. This package contains summary…
Deaths — Office for National Statistics
This summary report presents trends in age-standardised mortality rates in the UK and constituent countries over the…
There were 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2015, an increase of 5.6% compared with 2014.
There were 697,852 live births
That’s 150 thousand new mouths to feed there.
Let’s add in the “toxic component”
One of the headline years for a large growth of the population was experienced only recently.
UK population grew by more than half a million last year
Britain’s population grew by half a million last year to 65.1 million, as rising immigration more than compensated for…
Net migration of European Union (EU) citizens showed an increase of 42,000 to 180,000, with the number from countries outside the bloc also up 36,000 to 201,000
Net migration to UK hits record 336,000, statistics show — BBC News
Estimated net migration to the UK reached a record 336,000 in the year to June, Office for National Statistics (ONS…
Let’s do something radical — by which I mean something obvious that is rarely done — and place these numbers into context:
And then let’s go further and see those contributions in the context of the total population, which we’ll need to see the significance of the total trend.
Now please go back to review the image (comically exaggerated for effect) at the top of this article.
That zoomed in section shows a span roughly equivalent to a population of 3 million — much larger than the population that of the UK’s second largest city — Birmingham.
And don’t forget the demographics of this country are changing, which we can be sure it’s practically going to be a far more significant trend in the medium term and likely even the near term — more on that later.
I assert we need those extra people.
- tiny new mouths, to be a new generation of tax payers in due course
- healthy young skilled immigrants to keep the retired in the style to which they are being invited to grow accustomed to, without the requisite discussion of who is going to pay for this, and who is going to do the work…
So, when is this “impending disaster” due?
I’m glad you asked.
Here’s the thing
I am no going to deny there are clearly long-running crises in health and housing. Indeed I was recently waiting in A&E as the “4 hour waiting period” sign was put up. But I think it’s clear the evidence is there that it is not the “inevitable consequence” of a human wave of new non-Brits (and don’t forget the “brand new Brits” aaaw cute) that we need to cater for.
If we look at those crises they have been evolving very quickly recently if we believe the papers and even if we do not, these crises are evolving a lot quicker than the raw total numbers which to my eye show that there is “due to be a problem around 2117”.
As a public service, I have knocked up some very simple graphs showing what the trend is for the aforementioned Greatest Year of Population Growth if every year after were like that for a century [disclaimer: the world does not work that way]. To consider other values, you might find the “Rule of about 70” useful. Note that I have strong views about cheating, so I have chosen a non-zero origin, but as we’re plotting a ratio starting from the value 1, there is nothing misleading in the choice of the details of the axes. We are merely following the graph where it will go.
I’ve arbitrarily picked a change of 10% as being a figure “of interest” — that’s a good benchmark for human perception can even start to see the changes arising from a trend.
And I’ve shown the “full fat” version, looking at when the population might have doubled.
To me, these just do not look too bad. Obviously the waves of growth will not fall uniformly on the land like a blanket of snow.
But you know, I’m sorry that’s life.
And perhaps it’s high time someone said it is *not* acceptable to complain about perfectly normal outcomes of numbers and instead we should learn to understand and deal with it.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The only conclusion remaining once the other have been eliminated is that the problems are of our own making.
Let’s look at a hot button topics:
NHS — this was recently accidentally re-organised oddly in the middle of attempting to recover from a man-made financial calamity
Government's reorganisation of the NHS was its biggest 'mistake',
The Government's reorganisation of the NHS was its biggest "mistake", senior Conservatives have reportedly admitted…
We’ve created this problem ourselves, haven’t we?
Perhaps not as an explicit choice of the entire population, certainly not with full consultation and explanations. Nevertheless, decisions have been made and not re-examined or rescinded that lead to these conditions on what is a very rapid timescale.
There are similar stories with the pensions time bomb, the demographic time bomb and the evolution of British industrial strategy (HA!).
Instead, what do people resort to?
Undermining the education sector
Most Britons reject Government's drive to slash number of international students
The vast majority of Britons want to maintain or increase the numbers of foreign students coming to the UK because of…
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
So, in summary: “don’t worry, be happy”
Why would I say this?
Because I believe the real news is actually good — it’s the spin that is the real evil here
Our problems are elsewhere.
Look away from the “problem of migration” and look at climate change — look away from the “pressure migrants cause on the NHS” (1968 or 2017 remix) and look at the ageing population and our inability to train medical staff locally. Britain was prosperous and influential in Europe, and Europe is a massive success. The list goes on.
When we do this and we
- tear our eyes away from the freakshow of the bogeymen
- stop rewarding people who are deliberately and calculatedly making bad decisions because they are founded on flawed premises.
- cease to be distracted from things that matter (good life, good neighbours, good health)
Then we will see the news is good.