"I risk looking like a total fool if it turns out that everyone knows if the population hits 70 million, the demons start emerging from the mirrors or something, but sod it, I'm confused. Why have we settled on that number as the one that must not be crossed, ever?"
I was excited by the promise of an answer in yesterday's '70 million is too many: Immigrant-fuelled population boom will damage society, say leading public figures' in the Mail. Our friend James Slack tells us:
The call to action comes in a report signed by a host of respected names, including former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, ex-Labour speaker Betty Boothroyd and former Tory Party chairman Michael Ancram.Ooh. A report with warnings of the consequences. Signed by a 'host' of respected names. Just what I've been looking for.
The document pulls no punches in its warning of the consequences for society if the population hits 70million by 2029, as Whitehall statisticians predict.
Except the 'report' is a declaration shorter than the Daily Mail article about it*, and by 'host' of names Slack meant about 20 MPs and Lords. There are 646 MPs in the House of Commons and 735 Members in the House of Lords, so getting 20 of them is really something to crow about, especially the three that used to be something important. That was irony, for those of you who came in late.
Those kind of run of the mill Slack exaggerations aside, what about these warnings of the consequences? Do I finally get my answer for why 70 million is such a scary number? Here's what it says:
We believe that immigration on such a scale will have a significant impact on our public services, our quality of life and on the nature of our society.Why just immigration and not other potential sources of population rises? Why not prepare for the potential rise by increasing the efficiency and speed of delivery of resources to improve the potential of them to cope with increased demand? More importantly, why 70 million exactly?
It also says:
We are convinced that failure to take action would be seriously damaging to the future harmony of our society.Okay, How?
Nearly a million votes by our fellow citizens for an extremist party amount to a danger sign which must not be ignored. For too long the major political parties have failed to address these issues and the intense, if largely private, concern that they generate throughout our country.If we have a population of 70 million, the BNP will get us. Except, of course the BNP got a million votes when we didn't have a population of 70 million. If we follow the logic of the declaration the BNP's vote will increase whatever the population increases by, so the scare figure isn't justified.
Plus of course, declarations like this will only fuel the fire of the BNP even further with their vague scaremongering. There's already an article up on the BNP site about the declaration and how it's a con, and what we really need to do about the 'immigration problem' the declaration vaguely frightens us with is start getting the blacks and Asians to leave so we don't end up 'resembling a cross between Pakistan and Nigeria'. (I don't link to the shovelheads, so you'll have to Google it if you want to see and you've got enough mind bleach to clean yourself after you've read it).
As Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time showed, there's no point getting in a debate with the BNP about who will be toughest on immigration. Only the BNP can win, since the whole bloody point of the party is to be nasty to immigrants. It's like arguing with Eric Harris and Daniel Klebold about how to keep the number of students in Columbine High School down.
Of course, the declaration says nothing about the other things I mentioned in my last post about this:
How would they expect this sort of thing would be policed? Who would do the policing? What powers would they have? How much would they cost? How would the officials who the tabloids go on about being hopelessly incompetent, and the system that is a 'shambles' suddenly be turned into well-oiled models of efficiency?How do we know the cost and difficulty of doing all these these things is less than trying to improve existing services to minimise impact? But then, nobody ever does answer these questions. Or even acknowledge the cost of reducing immigration. It's always free and absolutely 100% efficient.
More to the point of the post - we don't get a reason why 70 million specifically is the scary number. The declaration just uses the BNP as the bogeyman. I'm left with the conclusion I made before:
...at least show me something that explains why 70 million specifically is such a terrible, terrible number. Otherwise, I'll be forced to believe it's an arbitrary number that looks as though it will be reached far enough in the future to be impossible to disprove any time soon, but soon enough to frighten people because it will happen in their lifetime.'Nuff said.
*Contrast this with Littlejohn's pretending that producing a 77 page document listing evidence sources is 'no hard evidence'. Go on, contrast it!