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"Overpopulation? Who are you to say? On what is this based?"

Wednesday 11 May 2022

"Overpopulation? Who are you to say? On what is this based?"

Wednesday 11 May 2022


An august local newspaper once published a letter from a lady who was annoyed about traffic queues and delays on her way to work each day. She claimed that her inconvenience was caused by far too many cars on the road and maintained that something should be done about it. Evidently, she never considered that her car was part of the problem... which was lots of other people doing exactly the same as she was.

The 'problem' of immigration is like that.

There is a general consensus that there are too many people in the Island, and something should be done about it. Many complainants are immigrants themselves. They are entitled to their view, nevertheless, but on what is it based? 

How many is too many? It is claimed that immigration drives up property prices, causes traffic jams, covers the island in concrete and is the cause of the horrendous chaos of the “school run” - so it must be a bad thing. 

Let’s deal with those anecdotal claims.

Immigration certainly increases housing demand, but excessive prices are the result of insufficient supply. Governments are to blame for this, not immigrants.  

Successive governments have failed to pursue policies designed to ensure that the Island’s population is adequately housed. If you include the non-qualified workforce in population numbers, the shortfall in housing supply is a travesty.  By and large, immigrants come to fill job vacancies and settle into the local population. That will continue.

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Pictured: "Governments are to blame for this, not immigrants."

Repeated claims over many years, by those who rule us, of a 'population policy' enabled governments to wash their hands of a looming crisis.

Their 'population policies' are a failure and will continue to be so. Measures in place and proposed may have a marginal effect but ultimately will make no difference at all. Blaming immigration for the housing crisis is like blaming the tide for drowning. The tide happens, so deal with it.

People sitting in traffic jams take little convincing that the island is over-populated. I am unrepentant to disillusion those of that persuasion. Everyone sitting in cars, alongside, in front and behind you, is a useful member of the Island’s workforce, with the same right as you to live here, to raise a family, to use the Island’s facilities and to pay their taxes. Without them your Island would be impoverished, with few employment opportunities, a decaying infrastructure, expensive transport connections, an expensive retail and hospitality experience and only basic medical provision.

Finally, try commuting in any provincial city in England to discover what 'over-population' looks like.

The countryside of Jersey is totally protected by the Island Plan and planning policies generally. It took marathon debates in the States’ Chamber to put through a few isolated relaxations for some limited housing development in the countryside. That is not going to happen very often, if ever again.

Get real - this lovely Island is not going to be covered in concrete.

traffic_jam.jpg

Pictured: "Everyone sitting in cars, alongside, in front and behind you, is a useful member of the island's workforce, with the same right as you to live here, to raise a family, to use the island's facilities and to pay their taxes."

I must not forget the 'school run'.

Successful population polices resulting in fewer pupils, resulting in fewer schools, would result in less choice for parents. Tertiary education opportunity would be limited.  Since most parents generally choose the solution of chauffeuring their children to and from school,  traffic build up around fewer schools would be exactly the same as we now see around the existing schools serving all the children of this 'over-populated' island.

So how do you measure 'over-population'?

The term is, in fact, a highly objectionable concept. It means, in truth, that others should be denied the life, the housing, the living space and the air they breath, all of which you are perfectly entitled to enjoy.

Even accepting that there may be an argument for measuring this discriminatory, reactionary and high-blown notion, any such measurement is sure to be totally subjective and based on unreliable anecdotal experiences that are personal and untypical.

Just as local people can relocate to any part of the British Isles, people in the British Isles can locate to Jersey. Local people can marry anyone they choose, of any nationality and have the right to bring their spouse to live here. People will have children and are living longer. No population policy can prevent any of this, none of which is undesirable in any event.

marriage wedding civil partnership.jpg

Pictured: "Local people can marry anyone they choose, of any nationality and have the right to bring their spouse to live here. People will have children and are living longer. No population policy can prevent any of this."

People have rights and make choices. The island needs immigrants to fill thousands of job vacancies. Population numbers will respond.

Overpopulation? Who are you to say? On what is this based?  

Sorry if you had to queue at the checkout this morning.  

Get over it.  

You share the planet and should be grateful for it.

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