Saturday, 16 May 2015

Ethnic minorities contribution to Britain

Liberals often like to stress the 'immense' contribution that ethnic minorities have made to British society, usually in a tone and manner which signals that anyone taking a different view must either be self-evidently eccentric, or harbouring offensive opinions. So it is worth examining whether these high-minded assumptions are well founded. One argument often put forward is that essential services such as the NHS, or public transport, would collapse without ethnic workers. This is clearly correct since a disproportionately large number of ethnic people are employed in these organisations and, if they all suddenly left at once, such public services would no longer be able to function. However, the proportion of ethnic people employed in the essential services varies considerably from area to area, with relatively few in far-flung rural communities but large numbers in some inner city districts.

What is missing from the liberal’s argument is evidence that ethnic workers are better per se at doing these jobs than indigenous white people. It is, of course, far better that ethnic people resident in this country, should be gainfully employed. But there is no evidence that they provide any 'added value', since their work could be done equally well by the indigenous population. It should also be remembered that in the case of the NHS ethnic people are likely to place demands on the system in proportion (and sometimes much greater proportion) to their numbers, so there are no net gains. For example, a disproportionate number of immigrants suffer from HIV/Aids and TB, thus draining the hard-pressed resources of the NHS.

Immigrants also require housing and this has led to the need for a large house building programme, particularly in the already overcrowded South East. One inescapable fact is that if you increase the supply of labour you lower individual wage rates, which is why employers are often keen to recruit cheap immigrant labour since it enables them to keep their costs down. However, they rarely have to face the wider social implications of such a policy. Liberals, for their own ends, often like to quote free market arguments (which many usually oppose), that in a global economy we should be facilitating the free movement of goods, services and people. However, whilst this argument may be valid for the first two, it certainly does not apply to the last, since this mindset treats people as commodities, reminiscent of the one time capitalist description of employees as 'hands'. Again, it also ignores the social consequences of such a policy.

One of the most dangerous fallacies put about by liberals is that we need large-scale immigration because our population is aging and failing to reproduce itself. This ridiculous viewpoint ignores the fact that immigrants also become old and by the same logic would in time themselves require more new immigrants, a process that would need to continue indefinitely and which is clearly unsustainable. The problem, if there is one, could be remedied by raising the retirement age. The position in Britain should be contrasted with that of Japan which has virtually zero immigration of visibly different racial minorities, yet somehow manages to fulfil all its labour needs.

In some fields ethnic people have become very successful, for example athletics and football are disproportionately dominated by Afro-Caribbeans at the highest level of these sports. Unlike, for example, TV presenters or newsreaders, this has clearly been achieved by genuine measurable ability. However, their success appears to be linked to a specific physical attribute of Afro-Caribbeans which, in athletics, gives the most talented of them an extra edge over the most talented white athletes. So it could be argued that a country with a relatively large Afro-Caribbean population, such as Britain, would have an unfair advantage over a country such as Poland, which has far fewer. As a result, European athletic competitions are now increasingly dominated by Afro-Caribbeans representing European national teams competing against one another. With regard to football, fans support the team, so the absence of non-whites would not be missed, indeed their removal would allow a greater number of indigenous white footballers to play in the Premiership League, thus increasing the pool of potential recruits to the national team playing at the highest level.

Although Asians are near invisible in professional sport, they have been spectacularly successful in acquiring small retail outlets, with over 70% of these coming within their control. In normal circumstances this dominance would attract a CRE investigation, or accusations of 'institutional racism'. However, such rules apply only to whites; when ethnic minorities dominate an activity they are congratulated for their contribution to British society. It is something of a mystery why so many general-purpose stores have fallen into Asian hands, and the question needs to be asked whether this benefits British society. If Asians had not acquired these stores most would presumably have continued to trade under white ownership. However, there must be some doubt whether whites would have been as willing to work the longer hours that Asians put in, and they might have less family support to allow them to do so. In such circumstances the general public benefits from having the stores open for longer hours to suit their convenience.

A more clear-cut benefit provided by the presence of ethnic minorities is the wider cuisine now available in restaurants. Most people would consider that being served by Europeans in an Indian or Chinese restaurant would constitute an inauthentic experience. There is no doubt that Chinese and Indian food is enormously popular with the indigenous population, although to describe Chicken Tikka Masala as our new national dish might be an exaggeration, however delicious it tastes.

Another field in which ethnic minorities have made their mark is in the contribution that Afro-Caribbeans have made to popular music. However, most of the best acts are American, but one exception is Dame Shirley Bassey, who has remained at the top of her profession for over half a century. She was born into the dock area of Tiger Bay, Cardiff with its mixed community that predated the arrival of mass immigration. Shirley Bassey fully assimilated into British society and has been accepted by British people as one of themselves to the extent that one hardly notices her skin colour. She has never claimed any special privileges, nor drawn attention to her minority status, or claimed victimhood in any way, or sought the patronage or backing of the race relations industry. Had more people in her situation felt able to do likewise the issue of race would be far less of a problem in our society.

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