For all the difficulties with integration in some second and third generation immigrant communities in the UK, most people would say that immigration has made the nation much richer.
London is the most obvious manifestation of this – a vibrant, multi-cultural capital that is one of the most extraordinary mega cities in human history.
A tiny proportion of young British citizens have become violent Jihadis, and this is clearly a huge problem that raises serious questions about the failure to insist on a degree of cultural assimilation among newly settled populations that have arrived in the UK over the last 65 years.
However, such extremists are overwhelmingly outnumbered by people who have landed in Britain in pursuit of their dream of a new life in one of the world’s most dynamic nations. Yet even so, there are a number of major problems with the scale of immigration into the UK over the last 25 years. Yesterday it was revealed that estimated net migration was 336,000 in the year to June – by far the highest ever level.
This will bring vast problems in terms of infrastructure and services, particularly in southeast England.
It is the most crowded part of the most densely populated country in Europe (the UK as a whole is much less densely populated than England because the overall figure is diluted by the relatively sparsely populated other three countries: Scotland, Wales and here in Northern Ireland). House prices in London are at disastrous levels for ordinary workers. We know in NI how painful soaring prices are for young people.
There are powerful economic arguments for immigration, but there are also powerful economic and cultural arguments for tight controls. The influx, even if it is a good thing, is happening at an unprecedented pace with untold consequences.
And this is aside from the millions of refugees who would dearly love to settle in the UK. The country could not take them all without social and financial collapse. Britain is already struggling with the existing number of arrivals.