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A tale of 500,000 illegal immigrants

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

During the election campaign, Mr Blair said

You cannot determine specifically how many people are here illegally

He even said it was impossible to estimate the number. I know, because I sat and watched the interview when he made these claims.

Also during the election campaign, John Salt came up with a figure of 500,000 illegal immigrants, which ministers called

grossly inaccurate

Of course, how they knew it was inaccurate when they were unable to make the calculations themselves is a mystery.

Now it’s quite understandable that the Labour party would be a little coy about admitting that 500,000 people are in the country illegally when an election is being fought in which immigration and asylum are central themes.

Yesterday, though, the Home Office declared that there are approximately 570,000 illegal immigrants in the country. Which is, no doubt, a help when we’re debating an ID cards bill, which is (nonsensically) supposed to tackle illegal immigration.

Clearly confused, some bright spark asked the Prime Minister’s Offical Spokesperson if it had come as a surprise to the Prime Minister that Home Office were able to produce statistics on illegal immigration given that he had said that such figures were impossible to calculate. The PMOS’s reply? That Tony Blair could not possibly have known the figure during the interview because it hadn’t yet been calculated. So why he said it was impossible to calculate, nobody really knows.

Putting to him that this was convenient that this figure had not been available during the General Election but was now being used to justify ID Cards didn’t get anybody much further. The PMOS simply replied that the figures were not being used to justify ID cards, and…

In all of this we should not lose sight that asylum applications are down 73% from the peak of October 2002.

See what he did there? He jumped from immigration to asylum, despite condemning the Tory party during the election for confusing the two in people’s minds. In answer to a question quite clearly about immigration, he tells us that asylum applications are down!

But we really shouldn’t be surprised at all this. Tony Blair’s public image no longer matters as he’s not seeking re-election, and thus is not accountable to the wider electorate any more. He can do what he likes, and get the dirty work done without having to worry about looking bad in public. And what did Alan Milburn say during the campaign?

I’d do anything to win the election.

Guess what? He has.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Engelbert Goldstein


    21.27, 01/07/2005

Time and time again Tory Bliar lives up to his name.

No increase in student fees.
Weapons of mass destruction activated in 45 minutes.
No referendum on the EU constitution.
A referendum on the EURO.
The EU rebate is non-negotiable.

When are people going to realize that when this man says something, he is going to contradict himself a few weeks later?


Comment from Lyn


    14.01, 25/07/2007

UK is ruined no one is happy we have far too many illegal immigrants the Uk is destroyed completely now and its what all our ancesters fought for worked hard for for others countries to take away.We are too placid nice calm peaceful people no other countries would do the same for us.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


    02.58, 26/07/2007

I’m happy, I don’t think we have too many illegal immigrants, and I think the values our ancestors fought to protect are still firmly in place. Every generation thinks the UK is ruined, and it’s still here today.


Comment from Chris


    20.24, 01/08/2007

You really do live up to your strap line as an “ill-informed medical student”. I think our American cousins coined the phrase ‘fat, dumb & happy’ for you. You may well be happy – quite a few of your better informed medical colleagues quite clearly aren’t.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


    15.11, 04/08/2007

Many of my better informed medical colleagues are economic immigrants themselves. What exactly is your point?




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