If Nick Clegg’s recent performance on his weekly LBC phone-in show is anything to go by then we can expect, as some have already warned, a tidal wave of Romanians and Bulgarians to hit our shores from early next year.
According to Clegg the government has “estimates”. Yet as to the magnitude of these estimates Clegg seemed less than enthusiastic when called upon to elaborate. He said: “I don’t think it helps public confidence in the immigration system.” To which he added: “I don’t think we as a government should start bandying around estimates, estimates which at the moment aren’t very precise.”
So what can we deduce from that?
Clearly, if the estimates were both reasonably accurate and modest then Clegg would, presumably, not be at all reluctant to reveal them. The only plausible deduction that can be made is that the figures are truly horrific and will have a significant and detrimental impact on employment, the NHS, policing and the benefits system here in Britain.
Although both Romania and Bulgaria have been members of the EU for some years now, restrictions were put in place to prevent mass immigration from these countries to grossly overpopulated Britain, these restrictions are to be lifted next year.
In actual fact people from these two eastern European countries have been free to live in Britain and anywhere else in the EU since 2007, but as far as Britain is concerned have either had to apply for one of the limited work permits available, been self-employed or worked in a specific list of jobs – such as seasonal agricultural ones and domestic servants.
All this will change in January as “relations are normalised” in line with EU requirements.
Meanwhile, is a statement that stinks of pure hypocrisy, a Labour spokesman commented that the government were “in a hopeless mess” over the issue; the pot calling the kettle black comes forcefully to mind.
Yet the prize for pure unadulterated hypocrisy must sure go to Labour’s shadow immigration minister who reportedly stated: “They should trust the public’s common sense and publish the impact assessment immediately so that we can all decide for ourselves whether the plans in place are adequate.
“People are sick of governments making promises and politicians spouting warm words about immigration but doing nothing.”
However what few people know is that, according to the ONS, there were 94,000 people who were born in Romania and 47,000 people who were born in Bulgaria resident in Britain last year. If the Polish experience is anything to go by then these figures could swell by a factor of 5 in as many years – a deeply disturbing fact that may explain Clegg’s reluctance to reveal the official estimates.
Or perhaps the hapless Lib Dem “leader” fears the events of 2004 when the then Labour government predicted that only around 13,000 Poles would arrive in Britain – when, in fact, the actual number was counted in the hundreds of thousands – much to their embarrassment.
Recently Migration Watch predicted that 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians will come to Britain every year when the restrictions are lifted. Assuming they are correct (and they usually are) then we can expect to play host to the biggest community of Romanians and Bulgarians outside of their home countries within a very few short years.
Their arrival clearly has the government rattled. Only last November the Tory Home Secretary, Theresa May, said that temporary curbs could not continue under EU law and the government was looking instead at limiting access to benefits and the NHS to reduce the “pull factors” that encouraged migrants to come here.
Isn’t it high time that our tax-eating politicians did the job they were elected to do and started putting the interests of the British people first?