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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I am an Immigrant

The current UK debate on Immigration is profoundly depressing. Since I'm watching it from Holland which is also in the throes of an anti-immigrant backlash it's particularly pertinent.

This Lib Dem policy paper (PDF, biggish download) makes a number of salient points about the economic benefits of migration. The subject is also a hobby horse for the Economist, which regularly points out that migrants are the best value citizens a nation has. Take me as an example, the Dutch government has paid nothing toward my education or upbringing, is unlikely to find itself looking after me in my old age and gets to levy taxes on me during the most productive period of my life.

Oddly enough you can make pretty much the same case for Polish labourers building walls, Fillipino nurses propping up the NHS or any other immigrant who takes a job - and most of them do.

Further, some parts of the country are actually shrinking. I've just been visiting my sister in Scotland, where the population of 5.5 million is in decline. Attracting economic migrants is something the Scots are understandably keen on.

So let's throw open the doors and invite in the world. I am an emigre, find an immigrant to take my place.

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