Saturday, December 11, 2004

Welcome to London

Now, carry yer own bleedin' luggage!

The Economist (sub required, otherwise email me) writes on English attitudes to immigration:

Hostility to those who do not come openly to work is not new. Even in 2000, before the asylum panic, just 12% believed that genuine refugees should be accepted unreservedly—the lowest number in Europe. But Britons are more blasé than other Europeans about the effect of immigration on national harmony. Of those who reckon there are too many, only a quarter worry about racial balance. “Britain has become a multicultural society; it just doesn't want any more people to come in,” says John Solomos, who follows the subject at City University in London.

The biggest reason cited is pressure on public services. Council housing seems like one obvious issue, especially here in Docklands, the brother administered one case, that later became notorious in the British press, where a family of Bangladeshi asylum-seekers got three houses joined into one for the proud paterfamilias, his two wives and eighteen children.

Health services, which are severely rationed are probably the other pressure point. A friend told me that in London now, you can, if suicidal, make an appointment to see a psychiatrist - in a year's time.

Economist YouGov survey: 45% Immigrants pressure public services, 22% Immigration upsetting racial balance, 10% Crime, 5% Jobs

The Eurobarometer survey cited is here. I'm surprised that support for economic immigration is as high as it is reported here, and that a common asylum policy is also overwhelmingly popular. Most Europeans agree that legal immigrants should have the same rights as citizens. Fortress Europe doesn't seem to be on the cards, at least originating in Brussels anyway.