Saturday 14 February 2004

Dangerous thoughts

Each week in the Spectator Ross Clark writes his Globophobia column in which he surveys “world restrictions on freedom and free trade”. I won’t link directly to this week’s article, as I fear that registration is now required to read the Spectator online.

Mr Clark examines the forthcoming entry into the EUSSR of the ten new member states and discusses the impact of immigration from those countries into the UK.

He writes:

There is a quite obvious third way which has been given no consideration at all: let willing Lithuanians come to work here but don’t pay them a bean in benefits.
So what’s the problem with that? The difficulty is that all those “Lithuanians” without entitlement to benefits would, of necessity, have to work, and work hard. A disproportionate number of them would therefore become successful as employees and, in particular, as entrepreneurs. That in turn may well cause some of us to ask why so many British people don’t want to work and are perfectly happy to spend a lifetime on welfare. More sophisticated folk might even think that the true purpose of the welfare state is to provide voting fodder for politicians who themselves serve no useful economic purpose. That would never do. Surely it's far better to bar the new immigrants completely or put all 70 million on the dole as soon as they arrive at Dover.