Overcrowding the Island
I meant to campaign on this issue in the recent General election. I didn't stand because, like millions of others, I expected to see a hung parliament. In which case there would have been a second General Election called shortly afterwards, in which I intended to stand. But mysteriously, against all the odds, all the opinion polls, and all the views of the experts, the Tories got in with an increased majority. Cheesed off? You bet I was!
You may know there has been an increase of about 4 million people in the UK over the last decade. What are the reasons for such a huge rise in our population?
There seem to be three big factors which lie behind our high population growth:
1. A rising birth rate means there has been increase of around 400,000 children under five in the last decade. That’s about equivalent to the population of Bristol.
2. Net immigration stands at just over 2 million for the decade. Some of these people have become parents of larger families adding to the increasing number of children. These are just the declared figures. The actual figures are likely to be higher.
3. People generally are living longer, so that one in six of us are over 65 and drawing a state pension. Medical science is tending to keep people alive longer, too.
The simple reason for all the strains on the NHS and all our other services, schools, housing, roads and other infrastructure is the fact that there are far too many people on this island. This is nothing to do with discrimination; there are good and bad in all of us, irrespective of colour or creed, or where people have come from. It’s pure common sense, something that is seriously lacking, especially by weak politicians, who are living for the profit to be made to today, and won't be here in the overcrowded tomorrow.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England recently issued maps showing how fast the areas of the country hitherto undisturbed by urban development, roads or other noise are disappearing. Since the 1960s, whole chunks of England have been broken up into small fragments, absorbed into a dense network of towns, cities and major roads.
The maps reinforce what you and I experience. You try to get away from it all in England, and you are tangled in traffic jams, shoe-horned into campsites, followed by the whine of motor-bikes and the roar of traffic even up on the hills. We live in a crowded island - a truth that it has become unacceptable to acknowledge because of the unpleasant politically-incorrect associations it brings with it.
But England is now the second most densely populated country in Europe, after Belgium, and at current rates of increase it could be second only to Bangladesh in the world by 2074. Most of the UK population growth in the next few decades will be attributable to immigration.
We need a more sensible and balanced migration policy, with a net zero increase for at least five years. This would enable our NHS to recover itself, allow time for schools, housing and infrastructure to start to catch up again. Considering how many British-born people are emigrating to Australia, the US, Spain and France, it would still allow us to maintain our international responsibilities to provide asylum.
If the EU cannot agree to terminate unrestricted immigration between member states, it is time we left; we cannot allow them to continue to let unrestricted numbers of people into our already overcrowded island.