We need to be honest about the implications of an ever increasing population in the UK

News Letter editorial on Tuesday August 9 2022:
News Letter editorialNews Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

New data shows that more than 13,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel since the UK government announced plans to process asylum seekers in Rwanda.

This means that the great bulk of the people to have crossed the waterway between France and Great Britain this year have done so since the April announcement.

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We are only days into August and so far almost 2,000 people have been brought to the UK, more than half of the entire figure for August last year. It will be no time before critics of the Rwanda arrangement are sneering at its supposed failure.

The discourse around migration and asylum is confused, and at times hysterical.

Two fundamental points seem quickly to get entangled.

The fate of people who flee around the world seeking asylum is a tragic one, as indeed is the fate of many economic migrants, born into countries with poverty and no opportunity.

But this is where the confusion begins. The truth of the aforementioned statement does not mean it is wrong to police one’s own borders. In other words, the fate of people travelling in desperation to get a better life is a tragic one. Yet their destination countries have a right to try to repel them.

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If any prosperous nation said that everyone who wants to travel to it can, and only one person in 1,000 in the rest of the world did so, that would be an influx of 7 million people.

As soon as a country such as the UK is seen as easy to get into, the numbers trying to do so soar.

More than 50,000 people have crossed the channel since lockdown in 2020. This is on tops of millions of people who have entered the UK via various forms of migration in the last two decades. Where do such people get housing? How do we provide healthcare? We could all, for example, pay a lot more tax. Are we happy to do so? Or accept longer waiting lists?

Instead of fiercely denouncing efforts to control our borders, we need to be honest about the implications of an ever increasing population in an already densely populated UK.

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