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Brexit: It's the Foreigners, Stupid

OK. So you are increasingly fed up with the changing nature of your local high street, the allegedly overcrowded schools and hospitals, funny accents in the queue for the post office counter, tales of millions of pounds of benefits sent far across the Channel, jumps to the top of the list for public housing, undercut wages, forced up rents and thwarted job opportunities.

As for the wholly misleading prospect of over 70m Turks wading ashore over the next few years. Why take a chance?

Arguments that the 0.5% annual increase in the labour force via EU inflows is a net gain for the UK in terms of faster growth, lower inflation and net payments into the Exchequer are either wrong or irrelevant. It’s what my colleagues at University College London politely call “compositional amenities” that matter. And you can’t put a price on them.

But a vote for #Brexit won’t see that annoying Polski Sklep reverting to a tea room or bingo hall anytime soon. It’s hard to imagine those EU migrants already here being denied the right to remain, while more would probably head for Dover during the (up to) two-year period in which the UK negotiates the terms of its departure. In addition, those that would otherwise have returned “home” may choose to stay longer, or even permanently, if there was no guaranteed right to return.

Anyway, keep your eyes on the long-term gain. Once unshackled, Prime Minister Johnson/Gove/Farage can pull up the drawbridge to Pietr and Katsia, which will, by the laws of Year 2 arithmetic, frees up opportunities for Paul and Katie. But be careful of the possibility that the work habits and wage demands of the latter may result in employers moving the jobs abroad, or eliminating them altogether.

The new PM will also be able to cherry pick the best and the brightest from across the globe. The talent pool amongst our Commonwealth friends is a good place to start - although despite an acute sense of our sweeping imperial history his regional parameters seem to begin and end with Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders.

According to the Brexit narrative, it's a winner all the way. The population swings towards a more desirable mix with a higher level of skill which will boost our productivity, global competitiveness, and national welfare. Such developments will outweigh any poisonous trade obstacles that our chums on the continent might erect in response. In any case, they wouldn't dare. After all. They need us more than we need them.

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