“Brexigration” – or how to conflate two undeliverable ideas, UK style

I watched the Prime Minister, yesterday, commenting in the House on a ‘leaked’ government draft paper on future (post Brexit) immigration policy;

As I understand the PM, in the context of Brexit, the “British People” accept immigration is broadly beneficial but “just want to have control over it”.  Actually I think many people do not accept immigration is beneficial and want it stopped, period.  To be clear, I do not share this view.

Be that as it may, I cannot see how the proposals, whatever they turn out to be in detail, can deliver control without an effective means of detecting, detaining, and removing those immigrants who do not comply with the requirements of their registration / residency / work entitlement.

The focus seems to be, in the first instance anyway, on immigrants from EU countries by putting in place controls for them which are, broadly, like those already in place for non-EU citizens.  However, the controls in place for non-EU citizens demonstrably fail:  it appears the Border Agency (and whoever else) cannot keep track of,  and remove when necessary, those already here.  Ignoring the unknown number of illegal immigrants (from wherever), whether settled or itinerant, working in the black economy or trafficked, our immigration detention centres already seem to be full, with a mixed bag of illegal immigrants, failed asylum seekers, criminals awaiting deportation and visa ‘overstayers’.  One consequence of this seems to be those identified as ‘illegal’ are bailed to report, or reappear in court, and immediately disappear back into the populace at large.  What a surprise.

Whenever there is a TV news story about police resources, they often use a bit of film of two police officers walking along.  It makes me smile, all that is missing is the theme music from “The Bill”.  When did anyone outside London last see two police officers on foot?  Or even in a car?  We live on an island but I don’t see how, without massively increased resources in coastal and land border patrols, in police numbers, in courts, in detention and removal facilities, this is going to work.  And, given the continuing vice-like squeeze on budgets generally, who in government is going to argue for that?  In my opinion this is just one more bit of “oh shit, we’ve promised this so we’d better do something” policy making.