As the borders remain open, new waves of incomers arrive, the natives emigrate and those who remain don't have babies, so the new demography of Britain becomes harder and harder to ignore.
At present the official line is 'nothing to worry about - natives still comprise an overwhelming majority'. We're still at the stage of deriding those swivel-eyed idiots who talk about "swamping". It's this official line, plus an understandable wish not to go looking for the uncomfortable facts, which enables a famous liberal commentator to reply to the questions 'Do numbers matter in the immigration debate ? Would they matter if they meant a major change in the ethnic composition of the country ?' with the answer 'Really, the question's not worth answering. The government would never allow immigration to grow in such a way'.
This is the answer in the public domain. And it may be our famous liberal commentator really believes it. But among those who see the figures, the equality wonks who are tasked by Government with maintaining good race relations, or "community relations" as they have become (when was the change ? what drove it ?), a kind of realism seems to be creeping in.
When I talk of realism, that's not maybe realism as the man in the street might understand it. It simply means that they can't ignore the statistics - as they have to build some kind of future strategy around them. I do wonder if that's what caused Trevor Phillips to announce the death of multiculturalism a couple of years back.
His recent speech to the Royal Geographical Society contained among the usual mantras a lot of solid, if depressing, stuff.
"Cultural homogeneity is a thing of the past."
"Half of all migrants arrived in the UK in the last generation and a third in the last decade."
"Whereas we used to assume that most migrants would settle in numbers in a few large cities we now see relatively small towns being settled by substantial numbers of foreign workers"
"More Brits are leaving the UK than at any time since the first world war. Some come back, but for every two Brits who leave the UK only one returns. However for every two new migrants who enter only one leaves. The result is that though the total population numbers may not rise hugely, the composition of the population changes. There are fewer familiar faces and more new ones."
"Looking forward, it is expected that the white ethnic group will grow only a little between now and 2020 due to continuing low fertility rates and smaller numbers of women of child-bearing age, and higher deaths as the population ages. Meanwhile, the largest increase in projected population by ethnic group is Asian non-dependents, from 1.5 to 2.5 million by 2020."
(I don't know how Trev squares this with the arrival of a million Poles, but let it pass. It may be the Poles are included (after all, all whites are the same, aren't they ?), which would mean a huge drop in the projected numbers of Native Brits)
"Our Parliament is absurdly white and male"
Enough - the point is that Trev is talking to demographers.
I'd never heard of Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas until I heard her on the news this evening. Turns out she's a City bigwig and also a Labour quangocrat, adviser to Ken Livingstone, and member of the Government's shiny new Commission for Equality and Human Rights. She's childless, so it's no skin off her nose if the beautiful theories go pearshaped.
She was on tonight's PM programme (RealAudio, about 50 minutes in until 5 tomorrow - I'll post an mp3 later), talking about women in City boardrooms (or lack thereof - I'll pass on her quaint conceit that mass immigration and lots of powerful women in boardrooms are mutually compatible objectives), but it was her forecast on "diversity" that was interesting.
"if you look at the dynamics of the workforce in the future, you're going to find that women and people from what are currently minorities, are going to become majorities in the workforce, with the population growth and diversity - so if we don't want to be dinosaurs and we want our companies to be dynamic globally, we're going to have to look for different sources of people coming to the top ..."
She's seen the figures. She's telling us.
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