Dan Hannan: How Immigration Makes Us All Irrational

By Hannan, Dan | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, January 7, 2019 | Go to article overview

Dan Hannan: How Immigration Makes Us All Irrational


Hannan, Dan, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Why would you risk your life to get out of France? I can think a few reasons not to want to live there. Paris truly has the rainy weather that London is wrongly reputed to have. The cuisine has been coasting on its reputation for decades. Wine-lists are unbelievably parochial, which is fine if you happen to be in Burgundy, but rather a bore in Provence. Still, fleeing across the English Channel in a clandestine dinghy seems an extreme reaction.

“I would rather die at sea than go back” said one of the men attempting the crossing this week. Seriously? Rather die than go back to France? But we keep being told that Brexit Britain is intolerant, while goody-goody France is led by globalist poster-boy Emmanuel Macron. Can it really be that Britain is the more welcoming nation?

“We have a duty to reach out the hand of humanity, support and friendship to people who are in danger,” says the Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn. So, despite everything he has been saying until now, the Leftist agitator now thinks that Austerity Britain is safer than social-democratic France. Hmmm.

Some 300 men — they are almost all men, and seem to be mainly from Iran — have tried to reach Britain in small boats since November. That number is not large when we consider that around 7,500 people claimed asylum in the UK during the same period. Still, dinghies make good photographs, and news is slow at this time of year, so British tabloids were quick to proclaim a “crisis.” The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, preposterously criticized for being on vacation in South Africa, flew home early to deal with it.

Immigration makes all sides irrational. To redeploy Royal Navy vessels to the Channel, as Britain is now doing at a cost of $25,000 a day, is an absurd over-reaction. If the UK truly wanted to reduce illegal immigration, it would spend an equivalent sum of money on ensuring that deportation orders were properly enforced. But human beings have Paleolithic brains. The idea of another tribe moving into our territory triggers responses that have little to do with numbers or statistics.

Every bit as irrational is the reaction of the virtue-signaling Left. Most of us agree that a measure of controlled and legal immigration can benefit a country. Left-wingers are perfectly within their rights to argue that immigration policy should be guided by compassion rather than GDP growth — that we should, in other words, count poverty and desperation as qualifications rather than just economic utility. …

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