By the year 2060, according to a survey published yesterday, the population of Britain will have risen by 25%, to 77 million. Britain’s area is 93,000 square miles, according to the Downing Street website, which yields 837 people per square mile – and bear in mind that much of Britain is unsuitable for building upon, not to mention the fact that a great deal of it is also productive farmland. And around 85% of the population live in England.
Compare that with France which, by the same year, will have a population of 72 million, but with 210,000 square miles at their disposal (though the same caveat applies), they will have a mere 343 people per square mile. I know where I’d sooner live (though by then I’ll be long gone).
Why is no-one apparently concerned about this massive UK population increase – where the hell are all these people going to live for a start? While this increase is happening, the birth rate is projected to fall (though the UK currently has the 4th highest birth rate in the EU), so the bulk of this increase will be fuelled by immigration. The question is, can this country support such a huge influx? I’m not convinced it can.
Housing stock is already under pressure, and as we saw last summer, a great deal of existing housing is built in entirely unsuitable areas, like flood plains, and other areas prone to inundation – and guess what, we’re planning to build even more housing on flood plains and, even more unforgivable to my mind, on valuable farm land. The long-term future for flood-plain housing looks pretty bleak, not to mention moist. It is surely unsustainable. Rivers can be controlled by canalisation, but who wants to see that? Hell, we may as well concrete over the entire country which, I have little doubt, will one day happen. If you doubt that, track down a map of Britain from the 50s – try second-hand book shops – and compare that to a current map – see how much of our countryside we’ve already lost under concrete. It’s not going to get any better.
The transport infrastructure is already failing. Road travel is a dismal, nerve-shredding, and slow, experience, and travel by train is positively purgatorial (don’t even think of taking luggage – modern trains have enough luggage space for perhaps 12 people per carriage!). That won’t get any better either. When I was growing up, you could travel with ease almost anywhere, by bus and train, and in my teens the thought of a car never crossed my mind – there was no need for one. Then some genius thought we could get by without most of our trains (Dr. Beeching), and more recently bus and train transport was deregulated, and the result was, and still is, a shambles in many areas, and some areas have no public transport at all.
Then there’s employment for all these additional people. Unemployment currently stands at around 1.67 million, according to the most recently available figures (June). The forecast population increase amounts to about 14 million – what are they going to do to earn a living? Unemployment will inevitably rise, probably substantially, and every one of these new people who is disabled, and thus claiming disability benefits, will fuel the ire of the witless numpties at the Daily Mail – wait ’til you see the journalistic mendacity that’s rolled out in 40-50 year’s time; their current war of lies and disinformation against disability benefit claimants will look like a church picnic.
On the dark side, how many will be potential, or actual, terrorists, or just “ordinary” criminals, of which we seem to have far too many already, especially from the former Eastern Bloc? And just how much will this play into the hands of the BNP? Which, seriously, isn’t what we need.
I don’t suppose, either, that illegal immigration has been factored into the figures, so maybe we could add another few million – after all, no-one seems to have much idea how severe a problem this is at present, and it’s sure as hell not going to improve.
The result of all this may well be a degree of unrest especially if, as happens now, we have incomers mouthing off about what a terrible place this country is – oddly, though, they never seem to be in a rush to depart these shores they so despise, though they do occasionally get the urge to blow up buses and trains, along with innocent members of the public.
I think, unless this country introduces a far more stringent immigration policy, and effective measures against illegal immigration, and thus reduces the forecast population increase, the future of this country does not look promising. We are a small island with finite space and resources, so why not let the immigrants go to other countries more able to absorb them. France, for example (more room), or Germany (a falling population, and more room). We simply cannot continue to absorb immigrants and refugees at the rate we currently are – we have neither the room nor the resources. Nor, I believe, do we have an unlimited obligation to do so. It really is that simple.
Note: All figures quoted here are from UK government websites.
Interestingly – and almost inevitably – Andrew Anthony says much the same thing in The Observer, 24 hours later, the difference being the Malthusian references and the he gets paid and has researchers to do the grunt work. His figure for the population increase is 16 million – I believe mine is more accurate. Either way, it’s a hell of a lot of people to accommodate. This, I’ve just realised, might look as if I’m sulking. I’m not, I’m actually pleased that I beat a pro to the punch.
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