Despite the sneers of the MSM pundits, a real tsunami of migrants and “benefit tourists” from Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia – not just Romania and Bulgaria – threatens Britain, thanks to ongoing Labor and Tory policies on social benefits and EU membership.
The Progressive choir among the chattering classes in Europe and the United States has been chortling triumphantly about the failure of a massive flood of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria to materialize at airports in the United Kingdom on January 1. The BBC, The Guardian, The Mirror, The Economist, the New York Times, and the other usual members of the establishment media cartel were filled with stories, editorials, and commentaries claiming that the absence of an immense invasion of migrants on the first day of 2014 proved that widely expressed fears of huge waves of aliens were hysterical fantasies inspired by xenophobia and racism.
However, the critics of the expanded European Union immigration policies have not claimed that the January 1 date itself would necessarily produce immediate huge numbers of new immigrants pouring into the country; rather they have pointed out that large numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians have already entered and that many more of the nearly 30 million inhabitants of these two EU members – among Europe’s poorest – are certain to follow, unless action is taken to restrict entry.
When Bulgaria and Romania were admitted to the European Union in 2007, their citizens gained the right to visa-free travel throughout the EU. However, the U.K. was one of nine EU member countries that placed a seven-year restriction barring citizens from the two countries from coming to work or applying for benefits. They have been allowed to work in the U.K. only if they are self-employed or are filling a position for which no British worker is available. At least, that’s how it was supposed to work. But a considerable multitude of Romanians and Bulgarians found ways around those restrictions. Although concerns about the social and economic impacts of the migrants have sparked heated debate in the other eight countries as well (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, and Spain), the fiercest political battling has been in Britain, which has experienced the heaviest influxes from Bulgaria and Romania, as well as from other poor EU countries, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, thanks to the U.K.’s generous welfare payments, housing assistance, income support, healthcare, and other state benefits.
New Lies for Old
The sneers and jeers from the Labour Party and the Progressive media choir are not likely to play well with average Brits; neither are the assurances from the same sources likely to be believed that the potential migrant flood is nothing to worry about. British voters remember well the same arguments and promises that the Labour government of Tony Blair made with the European enlargement of 2004, when eight former communist countries (Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) were admitted to the EU. The Blair government predicted that only 13,000 migrants per year would come to Britain from the new accession states. In 2007, the government was forced to admit that it had wildly underestimated and that actually 683,000 migrants had come since 2004.
Moreover, it also had to admit that it had grossly misrepresented the facts about foreign nationals taking British jobs. It had “miscounted” in an earlier report that stated only 800,000 foreign workers had gained jobs in England since 1997; the real total was considerably higher: 1.1 million. Somehow, the bureaucrats at the Office of National Statistics had failed to add in a column of 300,000! This meant that foreigners had taken 40 percent of the 2.7 million jobs created during the decade from 1997-2007. Whether due to incompetency or mendacity, the repeated “miscounts” and wildly wrong miscalculations, estimates, and promises regarding EU migration have destroyed British trust in the politicians. With Britain still mired in an economic recession and with high unemployment levels, especially among young people, most British voters do not look favorably on another influx of low-skilled, low-paid, EU migrants.
EU migration, and British dissatisfaction with the EU in general, played a major part in the rejection of continued Labour Party rule in 2010 and the election of the Conservative Party’s David Cameron as prime minister. Over the past couple of years, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has repeatedly offered public mea culpas for having “gotten it wrong” on immigration, and has again and again promised that Labour can now be trusted to get it right. Voters are not likely to buy it.