Yes, immigration can bring huge benefits. But on this scale and at this speed, it's too much to cope with
09:30 GMT, 12 December 2012
There you have it. The newly released results of the last census have made it official.
Our country has been changed completely. Over the past decade alone, the number of immigrants to Britain has increased by three million.
Despite the reassurances and platitudes of our politicians over the years — that this was nothing to worry about — the consequences are set down in stark statistics for all to see.
The 2011 census shows that white British
people are now a minority in the capital city, London, the first time
this has happened in any major region in Britain.
Ethnicity: The 2011 census shows that while our population is ever-increasing, as a result of immigration, less than 90 per cent of the country is white – the first time this has happened in any major British region
For the first time, too, less than 90 per cent of the country is white, while the population is increasing in size at an unprecedented rate as a result of immigration.
Of course, it is vital to point out, as those of us critical of the immigration policies of successive governments always have done, that immigration is not in itself a bad thing. On the contrary, if conducted in a controlled manner, immigration brings huge benefits to the life of a country.
As so many people who have come to this country from around the world prove, immigration can provide an extraordinary fresh pool of ideas and talents.
It produces high-fliers with the skills to flourish at the highest levels of the labour market, not least in our financial and industrial sectors.
It has furnished Britain with entrepreneurs and businessmen whose ingenuity and dedication are needed more than ever in these times of adversity and economic contraction.
The arrival in 1972 of Ugandan Asians fleeing the regime of Idi Amin, for example, created huge prosperity in the parts of Britain where they settled, and they went on to rise to the top in all walks of life.
The arrival in 1972 of Ugandan Asians fleeing the regime of Idi Amin (pictured) created huge prosperity in the parts of Britain they were settled
Immigration has also provided a wealth of people eager to do those jobs at the lower end of the spectrum which many people already in the country are too lazy, ill-disciplined or ill-trained to do themselves.
But the mass immigration that has been taking place in Britain over the past decade has dramatically changed the cultural make-up of this country. If immigration occurs gradually — as it did in Britain on and off for centuries — then immigrant communities feel the need to integrate. Over time they become essential, indeed defining, parts of the life of the country.
But immigration on the scale revealed in the new census is a recipe not for integration, but fracture. It spells the end of our unified national way of life.
With immigration continuing at this rate, the British way of life becomes simply one option in a set of lifestyle choices — something you might adopt if you care to, but only in the way you might take up yoga or swimming.
For countries to cohere and for people to feel any common bond or purpose, it is vital to have common points of cultural and historical reference.
The new census proves that the possibility of such cohesion in Britain is fast receding. The differences in the figures since the last census, in 2001, speak for themselves.
The number of people living in England and Wales who were born overseas has risen by nearly three million to 7.5m. In the capital, only 44.9 per cent of residents are now white and British.
The new religious make-up of the country — as reflected in the census — reiterates this. Nearly every religion other than our historic national religion is on the increase in Britain. Only Christianity sees itself in free-fall.
For this, the muddle-headed leaders of the Church of England must take their share of the blame.
Foreign-born: The number of people living in England and Wales who were born overseas has risen by nearly three million to 7.5m. In the capital, only 44.9 per cent of residents are now white and British
And it could hardly be more ironic — or, indeed tragic — that the publication of the new census comes just hours after the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, dismissed talk of the decline of Christianity in Britain as a ‘cliche’.
Since the 2001 census the number of people in Britain identifying themselves as Christian has dropped 13 percentage points, from 72 to 59 per cent. The number of Christians in Wales and England dropped by more than four million, with the number of Christians overall falling from 37 million to 33 million
But while Christianity has suffered this collapse, nearly all other religions, and Islam in particular, have experienced a vast growth-spurt, largely as a result of mass immigration.
Over the decade since the last census, the number of Muslims has nearly doubled, going from 1.5 million in 2001 to 2.7 million.
And though, of course, the majority of those Muslims will — like other immigrants — seek to integrate and become part of British society, with immigration happening at such an historic rate, the need to do so becomes optional.
Since the 2001 census, the number of people in Britain identifying themselves as Christian has dropped nearly 13 percentage points, with the number of Christians in Wales and England dropping by more than four million
Changes: The total population of England and Wales, according to the census, was 56.1 million, a 7 per cent increase on 2001 – and of that increase, 55 per cent is due to immigration
For example, the new census confirms that nearly three million people in England and Wales live in households where not one adult speaks English as their main language.
Over recent decades politicians of all parties have tried to silence and stop debate on immigration by either implying or stating openly that it is racist to discuss what was happening to our country.
But surely a cultural change of this magnitude should have been examined and debated at every level
Only ten years ago, in 2002, Labour’s Home Secretary David Blunkett stood in the Commons and denounced scholarly discussion of immigration trends as ‘bordering on the fascist’.
The sheer cynicism of Labour’s determination to open the floodgates to mass immigration was laid bare in 2009 by Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Blunkett.
He suggested that the huge increases in the number of migrants was a politically-motivated attempt to radically change the country and ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’.
In 2002, Labour's Home Secretary David Blunkett stood in the Commons and denounced scholarly discussion of immigration trends as 'bordering on the fascist'
He added that Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to ‘open up the UK to mass immigration’ — although ministers were reluctant to discuss the plan for fear it would alienate their core working-class vote.
Well, now we can all see the fruits of their plan in the census.
For those of us who have tried to draw attention to the negative impact of mass immigration, this new census should be a moment of vindication. But it does not feel like that. There is no pleasure whatsoever to be gained from being proved right when you are so wishing that you will be proved wrong.
However, all those on the liberal Left who spent recent decades pooh-poohing concern about immigration or accused those of us who did mention it as unhinged obsessives can finally sit back and relax. They have done their job.
They have successfully lied to the people and treated our opinions and feelings with a contempt that explains to a large degree why faith in politicians is at such an all-time low.
Some years ago, in a debate with the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, I remember him telling me how proud he was about the proportion of Londoners who had been born outside of the UK. Then, as now, the same question went through my head. What is your optimum number
Do you want everybody in London to have been born outside Britain If so, where are those who are born-and-bred British meant to go
The answer is nowhere.
The total population of England and Wales, according to the census, was 56.1 million, a 7 per cent increase on 2001 — and of that increase, 55 per cent is due to immigration.
Nick Boles, the housing minister, who insists we have to cover an area the size of Cornwall in new houses, admits that nearly half of them are needed to cater for immigrants.
The projections are that, by 2030, we will have more than 70 million people in this country, so that probably accounts for Devon as well.
The truth is that immigration has happened at such a rate that, far from augmenting and enhancing our national life as it did in days gone by, it has completely changed it.
You may — like so many of our politicians — feel joy that this change has been brought about. Or you may — as some of us do — feel sadness about it. Sadness that we were never asked about this change. Sadness that our concerns were never listened to.
And sadness at the realisation that it is now probably too late to do anything to prevent Britain from becoming so very different a country.
Douglas Murray is former head of The Centre For Social Cohesion.
Interactive graphic from the ONS