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The Ukip Fallacy

January 5, 2015

I just watched a video of some lovely Ukip supporters being, well… Ukip supporters.

I was particularly struck by the nice lady who suggested that a French person who has been living and working in the UK for years, should just be forcibly repatriated because “well, yeah, we all go home to our own places”. This (apparently, totally acceptable and not xenophobic at all) standpoint is justified with simple pragmatism: “This country cannot support any more people”.

It is a common view. It is also utterly misconceived.

A country is its people. There is no vague, mythical construct that “supports people”. People support each other. And in a service economy, numbers matter greatly*.

So, if you advocate deporting a couple of million people, it is true enough that you will have fewer people to support. But – and this is the bit of the equation on which Ukip and their supporters are always strangely silent – you will also have fewer people who do the supporting.

The result of such a move boils down to whether the people you wish to deport are overall an asset. Study after study (for instance UCL here, report here, IIEA here, OBR summary here) shows that EU migrants are net contributors. Not only in the UK, but more generally (OECD here). Migrants cost disproportionately less in terms of health, education or social security.

The fatal flaw in the typical Ukip supporter’s logic is in seeing public services as somehow fixed; they are not. They can increase as well as contract and they depend on tax take. The idea that getting rid of contributing migrants will magically free up spaces in schools and beds in hospitals is a nonsense in the medium and long term. As the population and tax take reduce, hospital beds and school spaces will diminish by the equivalent. If the population leaving are net contributors, these services will shrink disproportionately. Getting rid of migrants will make school places scarcer, reduce social housing capacity, make hospital waiting lists longer. It is as simple as that.

Moreover, it could precipitate a grudge match in which Brits living elsewhere in the EU are also ‘repatriated’ – the rise of the xenophobic right wing is sadly not limited to England. The view of migrants into the UK as useless ‘scroungers’, but Brits living abroad as valuable ‘expats’ is nothing other than a romantic post-colonial affectation. It is as real as a turn-of-the-century E.M. Forster novella. The profile of the typical Brit living abroad (Spain, for instance) is very different to the sort of migrant coming to the UK. The data paint a less economically active (and older) person. A sudden and widespread population swap of net contributors for pensioners (300,000 UK pensioners live in Spain alone) would be unmitigated catastrophe for public finances.

Now, it could be that the majority of Ukip support would still, out of cultural dysphoria, opt for a party whose policy boiled down to: we want to be more anglosaxon, even if it means being much poorer. Because, make no mistake, that is what is being proposed.

The Office for Budget Responsibility is under no illusion when it comes to migration. All things being equal, Cameron achieving his goal to bring migrant numbers down to the tens of thousands is a terrible scenario assumption for the national debt. Bringing the number down to zero is disaster, not utopia. The chart below is fairly self-explanatory.

20150105-180745.jpg

Zero migration means either unprecedented cuts in public spending or debt at 150% of GDP in fifty years.

Ukip not only dislike migrants, but they also dislike systems that financially facilitate maternity. With the current absolute reliance on growth and the population bulge of baby-boom pensioners living longer, the UK needs young people desperately to work and contribute. They can either be birthed the old-fashioned way or they can be invited over. Pick one. ‘Neither’ is not an answer. We can’t all be pensioners.

Economic activity flows from people, not from nostalgia and St George’s flags. There is no land of milk and honey waiting on the other side of xenophobia. There is only a dystopia of suspicion, hate, isolationism and abject poverty.

______________________________________________________

* There may be arguments for returning to a pre-industrial, agrarian society, where the land supports people, or a “steady state” economic model which eschews economic growth, but I very much doubt that is what Ukip has in mind.

41 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2015 7:07 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Tris permalink
    January 5, 2015 7:29 pm

    Brilliantly articulated

  3. January 5, 2015 7:54 pm

    I very much doubt that the average Kipper has any model in mind, unless it’s a page 3 topless one.

    Sadly, no amount of evidence will change the idiots’ minds.

    • January 5, 2015 7:58 pm

      I disagree. I think there are large numbers who use these straw men as cover for a more general xenophobia, but I believe – I have to believe – that there are many who have fallen for the rhetoric but are open to evidence.

  4. January 5, 2015 8:09 pm

    Reblogged this on Contains Real Martin.

  5. Richard permalink
    January 5, 2015 9:29 pm

    Spectacularly missing the point as only everyone’s favourite economically and now it would seem politically illiterate clown can do.

    There are indeed some UKIPers who genuinely believe the place would be better with fewer immigrants. Many many better people than this author have made the point made here. Number of UKIPers convinced? None and indeed all you do is drive more people in to their arms. Turns out when your political philosophy involves believing the media and metropolitan elite have conspired to open the immigration floodgates for their own benefit, being told your stupid by a member of that elite doesn’t do much to change your mind.

    It would make a lot more sense to address the actual legitimate concerns that these people might have. Those are pressure on services and competition for jobs. It’s all well and good saying in the medium term everything will be alright. That will be as persuasive as telling them in the long run everyone is dead. The fact is, the impact of immigration is not equally felt and with tax revenue flowing to the centre, neither are the benefits.

    Clearly, policies are required to alleviate these real problems. People do not have time to wait 5 years for a change in local population to be recognised and another 5 for a new GPs surgery to be build. A policy of fiscal localism would mean that tax benefit accrues locally and can be spent locally. That is just one idea – but it’s better than parroting what’s been said before. To no effect.

    • January 5, 2015 11:23 pm

      Thank you, for these kind words. I have missed you since I blocked you on twitter.

      You make a very odd point, as usual. It does not take ten years for a GP practice to respond to increased demand. Nor does it take ten years for one to close if population shifts out (which is what I was discussing). If a car manufacturer announced they were expanding their operations outside town X and would employ Y thousands more people, this would be hailed as an economic success – local services would naturally expand to cope. This is because Y thousands of people bring with them economic activity.

      As for the even stranger point that Ukip’s popularity is always based on legitimate practical concerns and therefore can only be addressed by dealing with those concerns, I wonder if you have looked at Ashcroft’s extensive polling data. It shows consistently that Ukip’s popularity is proportionally greater in places with little or no migration and minute in places where the reverse is true. British Social Attitudes surveys and work done by KCL confirm this trend. I’d love to know your thoughts on how one might go about solving the practical problems caused by non-existent migrants.

      PS. A tip. If you are going to use a fake email address to troll people, perhaps best not to use your Sky Broadband static IP.

      • Daviant permalink
        January 5, 2015 11:47 pm

        It probably would take ten years fro a GP surgery to react to increased demand without the ability to recruit doctors trained overseas into GP posts as 10 year would b roughly the minimum length of time it would take to train a GP and training places are limited. So unless national demand for primary care services 10 years down the line can be incradably accurately predicted (it can’t to that extent) then stopping imigration into the UK actually make it far more difficult for the health service to meet demand as per the hypothetical example above.

      • Richard permalink
        January 6, 2015 9:15 am

        Under-employed actor, D grade political commentator and now paranoid Colombo manqué? It’s not a fake email pal, it’s one of my email addresses. I mean, I’ve used my first name. The very idea that you collect and compare IP addresses of people who disagree with you I can only imagine your therapist describing as ‘healthy’ and ‘not weird’.

        You seem to think I was arguing that UKIP support was always based on legitimate concerns. It would be a basic courtesy to read my comment carefully before responding.

        Nice of you also to engage with some minor points I was making rather than my main argument. With regards to that, it only needs to be pointed out that most immigrants don’t work in new car plants and so shifts in population are not so obvious and publicised. My point was that changes in local population have to be sustained for some time to be recognised as permanent and then the planning and construction of new facilities takes time.

        Clearly the main thrust of my comment was that i) there is nothing original in this blog post ii) considering it has failed to convert a single UKIPer so far, what is the point?

        That every newspaper and major broadcaster has run this story multiple times and yet the polls show support for UKIP unaffected suggests there is something else going on. When something fails we should look for new tactics. I’ve seen the analysis you mention and while you are right in general, it doesn’t sanction repeating the same failed message.

        It would also be a mistake to bracket in legitimate or more legitimate concerns with the more barmy ones. It’s almost like you are saying – these people are idiots, we’re best off dismissing everything they say.

        It is an over-simplification to point thr Ashcroft data and say that that proves no UKIPer could be suffering through pressure on services. The key point is, London is a Mecca for immigration and economically and socially reaps the benefits. It is also a place where communities are broadly segregated by house prices and immigrants tend to gravitate to the existing community from their country. So two boroughs a mile apart can have vastly different experiences for public services, where taking London as a whole, immigration for both looks high. Indeed, London’s scale and success both make it attractive to immigrants and most capable of accommodating them. It does not flow that outside of London there is no immigration and that it has no impact whatsoever on public services. Indeed, it points to the idea that outside of the metropolis, much smaller levels of immigration will be perceived as problematic because the benefit doesn’t accrue to the locals and services are more thinly spread.

        My point is not that UKIPers concerns are mostly legitimate, nor even that the more legitimate concerns are even that legitimate. My point is, you achieve nothing by repeating what has already been said. Unless of course your objective is to show people who already agree with you that you think the right things and look, how dim your political opponents are. Supercilious politics is somewhat self-defeating though.

      • January 6, 2015 10:38 am

        I wonder if there is nothing worthwhile in this blog, why you would waste so much time constructing elaborate ad hominem attacks and writing long rambling essays, rather than just close the tab and fuck right off to a blog worthy of your considerable intellect.

      • Richard permalink
        January 6, 2015 1:28 pm

        You’re probably right – although why you bother having comments on when all your responses evince that you don’t want to discuss the issues but rather reiterate your view, is beyond me.

      • January 6, 2015 2:51 pm

        Look around. Plenty of discussion going on.

        Just not with someone who starts off by calling me names. Do you get much debate traction using that approach on other blogs? I know you get blocked all the time on twitter. Is everyone else unreasonable and you unfairly picked on? Or is there perhaps scope for being less abrasive, if discussion is indeed what you are after?

    • JohnRM permalink
      January 7, 2015 1:22 pm

      Replacing all the well-trained migrants may take a lot of time as well. The UK hardly has an envious record for training employees. In fact, it has a truly appalling record.

  6. January 5, 2015 11:24 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  7. Carina Westling permalink
    January 6, 2015 12:07 am

    Reblogged this on Carina Westling.

  8. January 6, 2015 3:30 am

    Economics isn’t my strong point but I have no reason to doubt the case you make in favour of migration. However I do feel that there’s a certain irony in expressing concerns about xenophobia whilst at the same time viewing migrants as a valuable resource that boosts the prosperity of our nation. As it’s such a benefit for us to have the skills, energy and tax-paying that comes from harvesting large numbers of such desirable ‘imports’, surely it then follows that the countries migrants are coming from – some of which are facing the problem of a population that’s both aging and falling – are being damaged by the very same loss that’s our gain. If we’re so focused on our own well-being that we ignore the negative implications for other nations, are we really in a position to take the moral high ground and look down on UKIP members?

    Check out this link that refers to the attempts that were being made by the Polish authorities to woo back their people due to a “lack of skilled workers”. They also expressed fears that the number of their citizens settling down here and raising families “could have a huge demographic and economic impact” within Poland. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/reversing-the-brain-drain-poland-tries-to-woo-its-young-back-home-a-507079.html

    • January 6, 2015 10:46 am

      There is wide literature regarding “brain drain” concerns. Some of it is excellent and food for thought. There is also, however, extensive literature on how migrants going to richer countries and returning after a period are a direct way of knowledge-sharing and migrants sending money home are a most effective stimulant for development, which are equally compelling.

  9. Gary permalink
    January 6, 2015 7:49 am

    So you would be in favour of reducing migrants that are not net contributes?

    It seems sensible to keep the net contributers and cut those that are not.

    BTW the UCL CREAM paper finds that overall migrants have not been net contributer, but it would be stupid to assume that means all migrants are not net contributers. It appears that recent migrants have been over a short period but that does not they will be over their lifetime.

    Dustmann and Fratini’s paper also makes many assumptions that misallocate taxes and spending. For instance, they assume retired people do not pay direct or indirect taxes in their baseline assumptions but in 2011 alone they paid about £32billion according to the ONS. That misallocation for 1 assumption for 1 year is larger than the net contribution they estimate for recent EU migrants over a decade.

    • January 6, 2015 10:42 am

      No, I am saying that the reciprocal arrangement with other EU members – which is the main target of attack by Europhobic parties – works very well, in the round, as it is. It is not a complicated point.

  10. coppenheim permalink
    January 6, 2015 9:17 am

    I agree with the general sentiments expressed. However, what this article does not address is the fact that an increasing population puts pressure on the environment, e.g., increasing traffic pollution, reducing land for growing things, more global warming. I don’t care what the original home was of who lives in the UK, but I do mind the fact that an increasing population is bad for the country – and the world – as a whole.

    • January 6, 2015 10:36 am

      I agree. As I suggested in the little footnote, there may be strong arguments for eschewing growth and constant population increases and returning to ideas of self-sufficiency, but it is not the argument being made by isolationist parties.

  11. Paul Crittenden permalink
    January 6, 2015 9:26 am

    The weakness in this post is the assumption that public services expand and contract in a responsive manner according to the demand for them. This is patently not true. Ask my niece who is waiting two months for a dental appointment, or someone who is ill today, and is asked to make an appointment to see a GP next week. Ask me if you like, why I don’t know who my doctor is – because in six years I’ve never seen the same doctor, only locums. Ignoring the genuine and legitimate pressure on public services with blind confidence that ‘it will all work economically in the medium to long term’ is simply a stupid and insulting assessment of social services’ ability to respond to need.

    I do think it is important to address the legitimate concerns of those who will be drawn towards UKIP, because not to is arrogant. It says ‘ because you are less aware and politically interested than I am, your pragmatic concerns are not as important as highbrow political rationale’.

    I agree that evidence points to immigrants being net contributors, and I do believe that the vast majority demonstrate the spunk, single mindedness and determination that so many of our population lack – but lets get our heads out of our assessments and think about how it FEELS – true leadership deals honestly with the emotional argument, not just the logic.

    • January 6, 2015 10:33 am

      Paul, services do (provably) expand and contract relative to demand, but they also depend on the level of funding. To look at a period during which money is being slashed from public services and conclude it must be because of migrants, is naive. The point is those migrants make a sufficient contribution for the services they need to expand. But obviously they have no control over whether the government prioritises debt repayment or nuclear programmes over health.

      I am unsure as to your point re your niece and dental appointments. Since dentistry is, largely, a paid service, this has little to do with migrants and more to do with barriers to entry (which both the Competition Commission and the old OFT have investigated, I seem to remember). Also, high student fees play a huge part when considering a training which takes many years. Again, however, if you think that getting rid of migrants would improve your niece’s chances of a dental appointment, considering the number of migrant dentists, I can only say you are wrong.

      As to your solution – you may be right. We will just have to agree to disagree. I think it is better to fight emotional concerns with logic. You think it should be with emotion. In my book that is called demagogy and shouldn’t be something we actually seek from our politicians. It is not me who treats voters as stupid by trying to present them with facts; I just think they are ill-informed. It is you, effectively suggesting “don’t bother trying to address them with logic”, who underestimates them.

  12. January 6, 2015 10:42 am

    This is the first time I have ventured here – prompted by your tweet.

    Whilst I agree with most of your post regarding immigration’s net benefit to Britain, I find your stereotypical generalizations regarding the views of those who may be contemplating voting for UKIP is quite astounding.

    I live near Aberdeen, Scotland (although I am not Scottish), thus my reasoning may well be somewhat different from your general readership. Aberdeen is a bustling affluent city, due to oil, and has been very welcominng to immiration in order to fill positions in the oil industry itself, but also in other commercial areas such as shops, buses, offices and scientific research; which all benefit from the affluence of the oil industry here. When I first arrived here, I spent some time working for the bus company who faced immense difficulty in finding employees. Special trips were undertaken to carry out major recruitment drives in Malta and Poland. The new drivers were keen to get on with the job and integrated well into the company and into Aberdeen society. Generally Eastern European Immigrants fitted in very well in this city and I am not aware of any difficulties – in fact they generally have a reputation for being polite and hard working.

    I must say that on a visit to West Wales, the views of the population of Carmarthenshire was not quite so positive though – perhaps due to the closure of Coal Mining and the Steel Works causing a steep rise in unemployment in the eighties, from which it has never recovered. Perhaps therefore one could draw greater conclusions regarding the relative affluence of the geographical area rather than the voting intentions of the populace.

    During the Victorian period, most of the cities that we know today grew massively, Immigration went hand in glove with the growth of the infrastructure of these cities. Navvies from all over Europe built much of Cardiff (for example), and similarly were valued a Coal Miners during the Hayday of Welsh Steam Coal.

    Last Spring, I voted for UKIP in the European Election, not because of race, immigration or even being Anti-Europe. My motivations were mostly based on he party’s Libertarian values, clearly stated in their party literature. Having grown up in South Wales and seen employment removed from a workforce who were then, and to a large extent, remain reduced to much poorer employment opportunities – I am unlikely to vote for the Conservative Party. Socialism has some good points but a massive state does not agree with my moral compass, The Lib Dems are in fact the party to which I have previously been most closely aligned, but following their crumbling from a party with strong Liberal values, to the mediocre party it is today, I find it difficult to maintain my support for this party. Of course, here in Scotland we also have the SNP – a party decended from the Scottish League of Fascists, who are still keen on promoting the primacy of the state over the individual with anti freedom of speech legislation and the Named Person act putting a Government Expert into every family to “supervise” the parenting of the children.

    My vote for UKIP helped elect David Coburn, who seems to do more for this area than the MEPs from the other parties. He is an OUT GAY man, which many UKIP-bashers seem to find a difficult concept to grasp. And he stopped the SNP from gaining a third MEP.

    As far as next May goes, I shall have to wait and see who the prospective candidates are before I make my decision. Nevertheless, the UKIP supporters that I have met in this area vote that way for very different reasons that those espoused by British National Media interests. UKIP or the Liberal Democrats are my most likely choices. Which ever way I do vote I am the same person – thus try not to stereotype me.

    • January 6, 2015 10:54 am

      Good for you. I would suggest that you venture behind the party’s literature and look at its behaviour. I find it belies its libertarian aspirations. Also, it may be worthwhile looking at what this “OUT GAY” MEP of theirs has said on equality issues. You may be surprised.

      As to whether I tried to stereotype you, that is a ridiculous and quite self-centred charge. To paraphrase the song: “I bet you think this blog is about you, don’t you, don’t you?” Levity aside, there is a stereotypical Ukip voter. My dealings with many of them over the last couple of years suggest to me unequivocally that there is. And he is on the whole quite unsavoury. You may feel uncomfortable about sitting alongside him in the electoral college of your choosing, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.

      • January 6, 2015 11:13 am

        If one digs behind the scenes, one can find dirt on all the parties. Unfortunately the only other choice is to go for an independant which may not actually be any better.

        I have read David Coburn regarding Gay Marriage and I do not support his view, although there is more to his point of view than the headlines suggested at the time, and I can understand his reasoning. I actually attended one of the first Gay marriages in England in Brighton during the first week after legalization. On a related point it is also interesting that apparently heterosexuals are denied a Civil Partnership – where’s the equality there then?

        But regarding the behaviour of other parties’ members, you may wish to have a look at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jonathan-arnott/racism-homophobia-ukip_b_6402196.html which although written by a UKIP MEP does make for interesting reading.

      • January 6, 2015 11:38 am

        If you think that any “digging” is required to uncover Ukip supporters’, funders’ and candidates’ abhorrent views, then you are in deep denial indeed. If you think that Ukip is just like any other party in attracting only a small percentage of bigots, you are similarly deluded. They co-chaired an EP funding group for five years with the notorious head of the Lega Nord, who thinks Breivik “had a point”. They are now collaborating with a notorious holocaust denier and ex Front National. You only need to look at the comments coming from Farage on various minorities to know that the stink permeates from the top and there is a reason they attract the voters that they do. You may not be one of them, but you are among them.

  13. January 6, 2015 12:56 pm

    The fact that you say that I am in “deep denial” and then move on to discus a Holocaust Denier, I hope was an unfortunate juxtaposition.

    I welcome citation on Farage’s comments, as this may indeed innform me and allow me to reach my ultimate conclusion on where to place my cross come polling day. I may yet still go for Lib Dem – or indeed have to vote tactically so as not to suffer the injustices promised by the SNP.

    Universal suffrage allows every free person over 18 to place their cross where they see fit. Over the years I have voted for Labour, Consevative, Plaid Cymru and Liberal, each time waying up the party stance and the relative merit of the representative who I am actually voting for. I don’t think this is a bad method to take in approaching such an imporant decision. Thus cited information is always valuable.

    • January 6, 2015 1:14 pm

      As much as I enjoy acting as your unpaid life coach, I have things to do. I’m sure google can provide vital clues.

      • January 7, 2015 8:58 am

        Well after reading the main article, and then your responses to comments – you seem to make some interesting points but you come across as quite pompous and unreasonable responding to even the slightest hint of disagreement. I’m from the U.S. with little knowledge of any of the groups under discussion but on the whole I’d have to say that I would tend to lean in support of anything you oppose, for those that are so rude and closed to simple discussion cannot have the best interest of anyone but themselves in mind. I can see where the UKIP must be gaining quite a lot of support, if people like yourself are rallying against them.

  14. Alan Mitchell permalink
    January 6, 2015 7:13 pm

    Just read all this phew what an fuss net immigration only happens when a country has economic success i.e. people come here to increase there living standards. UKIP will pull us out of the EU the economy will shrink net migration will start no one will want to come here job done

  15. Fentiger permalink
    January 6, 2015 10:26 pm

    The basis of this article is that EU migrants are net contributors. I have no reason to disagree. However, the majority of immigrants are still non-EU, which the same study found to have a negative contribution. I dont have the numbers, but the study quoted may well have concluded that migration as a whole gives a negative contribution. The article is misleading.

    Also, as alluded to in the article, UKIP and their supporters are not anti immigration for economic reasons alone. I believe this to be of secondary importance. Slower GDP growth would be an acceptable trade-off for preserving a perceived identity and culture.

    Third, UKIP are not totally against immigration. This is the real fallacy (they have called for the UK to accept more asylum seekers). They are against uncontrolled immigration as it inhibits sound planning and want high quality (net contributors) immigrants in smaller numbers that can assimilate.

    Overall, a tabloid style article of little substance.

    • January 6, 2015 11:31 pm

      Your first argument is that only EU migrants are net contributors and your third argument that Ukip are not against all immigration, just “uncontrolled immigration”. The only “uncontrolled immigration” and the focus of every Ukip campaign is EU free movement. You are then against immigration which you fully accept is beneficial. You accept that when Farage warns about our borders being open to four hundred million people, he is scaremongering. It is nonsense. It strengthens his unique selling point which is Europhobia, but has no basis in fact. The migration arrangement with the EU is one of the aspects of it that really works very well.

      This leaves us with your second argument, which is a more polite way of rephrasing one of my points. You don’t mind being much poorer, as long as you are “purer” as a culture. What you are proposing is to undo a multilateral arrangement which is beneficial both in direct migration terms, as you accept, and in terms of opening up wealthy European markets. And all this to “preserve your perceived identity”.

      Hence all the smoke and mirrors. “We plan to make you all much poorer, because we don’t like mixing with foreigners” is much more honest, but wouldn’t sell too well on the doorstep. It reveals you for the xenophobic, irrational, Little Englanders that you are. Which was pretty much your line before Farage decided to spin it in order to make it less honest but more palatable. But in the process of this deception you destroy lives and fill this country with bile. Well done.

  16. Lorraine permalink
    January 6, 2015 11:11 pm

    Good immigration is good. Mass unskilled immigration is not. They do not pay tax, infact they take in benefits and use all of our services for FREE! Brits who live abroad buy houses, pay taxes and spend spend spend NOT take! Get your facts right. We will save 55million per day when we leave the EU. And control our borders once again. Calais will be France’s responsibility. Bring back our fishing rights. Vote UKIP. Time for honest speaking politics.

    • January 6, 2015 11:39 pm

      My facts are presented and sources are cited. Your assertions are just generalisations about foreigners versus Brits, with no basis in fact. Which is pretty much the definition of racism. The sort of thing we are constantly told is the preserve of only a few bad apples among your ranks. And yet, everywhere one cares to look, bad apples. Bad, racist apples.

  17. GrkStav permalink
    January 7, 2015 10:11 am

    Despite the fact that I agree with the substance of your blog post, I find myself troubled by your (unfortunately widely shared) belief that public services (education, health care, etc) are ‘paid for’ via taxes imposed on people independently of how extensively or intensively they make use of, or directly benefit from, those services and based on their income. At some level, you overcome the deleterious epistemic consequences of this false belief (false in the case of countries, such as the U.K., which have full monetary (and fiscal) sovereignty, i.e. in which the entity that ultimately provides the monetary wherewithal for public services is also the sole ultimate issuer of the nonconvertible, floating exchange rate, fiat currency/money of account) by focusing on the REAL, actual services contributed and ‘enjoyed’/consumed. When you do so, you also strengthen your case against the bland, general, facile xenophobia and “Anglo-Saxon” chauvinism of the “Kippers” by recognizing that WHICH immigrants come in and stay, and which locals emigrate and stay elsewhere, matters. If, at present, there is a REAL shortage of skilled pre-natal nurses or physically-capable and sturdy construction workers or kind-hearted and patient end-of-life hospice workers relative to existing real needs, an influx of skilled neurosurgeons or bubbly retail sales associates or cunning financial advisors, e.g., will not, ceteris paribus, result in any REAL improvement, no matter how much additional tax-revenue such newcomers may represent relative to their use of public services. True enough, in the not-too-far-removed ‘run’, the ‘ceteris paribus’ condition does NOT hold and adjustments are made. On the other hand, locally and in the short-run, dislocations can occur and are ‘felt’, even in the absence of nonrational xenophobic or parochial attitudes.

    Having said all that, your main substantive points still stand. Unfortunately, it’s no use debating with stupid people; once they lure you down to their level, they’ll beat you with experience and sheer perseverance.🙂

  18. Martin permalink
    January 8, 2015 3:55 pm

    I can appreciate the value in allowing the thrust and parry of ‘political debate’ to follow your posting. It manifestly highlights the concerns that many of us have regarding UKIP’s alarming rise in ‘popularity.’ As ever, a well made argument that challenges the thinly-disguised racism that drives UKIP. I suspect that much of the resultant anger has been brought about through a concern that you have argued your points far more convincingly than has and does UKIP.

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