In the Νεφελοκοκκυγία (cloud cuckoo land) which the Liberal ‘Democrats’ inhabit, magic wands may be waved and problems will disappear.


Nick Clegg, who we now know for sure aspires to be Leader of the Liberal ‘Democrats’ when Ming Campbell drops, whether through old age and senility or by having a knife or many knives plunged vigourously into his back by his chums, off his perch, and therefore to be Prime Minister (so this might just be a good moment to form a judgement of young Mr. Clegg to see whether he is fit for any of the posts he fancies), has just such a wand.


This he proposes should be waved at the problem of the 600,000 (or perhaps 750,000 or 1,000,000 or 1,500,000: who knows, for neither Mr. Clegg nor the Home Office has any real clue how many people are actually involved) illegal immigrants who have managed to sneak into the UK without going through the usual processes of filling in a lot of forms and actually asking permission to be here so that, without terribly much further ado, they may be turned into British Citizens: Hey Presto! Abracadabra! Alakazam! Problem? What problem?


There are, however, a number of flaws in this scheme, not the least of which is that it will go down like a lead balloon with most fair-minded British people who may well accept the need for managed immigration (properly managed, that is, something of which those same fair-minded people believe Government is incapable) who do not believe that it is right and fair to reward people for their illegality.


Another teensy-weensy little problem is that hapless Mr. Clegg does not seem, even on the back of an envelope, to have done any sums in relation to this particularly bad idea. He blithely tells us that doing this will provide £1 billion in extra revenue, with the wave of his wand, to the Exchequer in taxes that have hitherto gone unpaid. Is that so? Why would X, an illegal who has managed to make a life earning more than enough to keep body and soul together, suddenly want to hand between 10% and 20% of the moolah he receives to the Government? Will the employer who has been employing him illegally for ten or more years let him sign up, bearing in mind the chance that someone from The Revenue or the Social might just come asking some rather awkward questions about unfortunate and rather inconvenient subjects such as unpaid National Insurance and the like?


That £1 billion in extra revenue looks wonderful until one stops to think for a moment (something that Mr. Clegg plainly did not do) that by becoming ‘legal’ the 600,000 or the 750,000 or whatever suddenly become eligible to attach themselves to the hind teat of the Welfare State. to wit, all those lovely handouts that this Government has devised to keep the feckless and work-shy so happy. It has been calculated that this might well be as much as £1.8 billion in benefits of one sort and another. Net loss, £0.8 billion.


By the by, Mr. Clegg has also not worked out yet how such people might prove, to the satisfaction of the authorities, how long they had been here (ten years is the suggested point). Most will have no papers of any kind as it is usual for them to destroy anything which might tend to show what nationality they have as this is a serious inhibition to deportation (in that the authorities do not know, even when, in very rare instances, they actually bottle themselves up to deport someone, where to send them and are terrified of flying a family off to live in the departure lounge of Kinshasa Airport with all the attendant Tabloid publicity that would cause). And just think of the enormous bureaucracy this would create with hordes of people employed to ‘investigate’ their claims and interpreters to translate their stories to the ‘investigators’ and then a whole hierarchy of people to decide who can and who cannot qualify for the next step (instant citizenship) and all the support staff to help them come to that decision, and so on and so forth. There won’t be much change left from the £1 billion in extra revenue Nick Clegg thinks will be magicked out of the air by this singularly daffy idea.


But the daftest bit of this wacko idea is that it would, in effect, be tantamount to simply opening the gates and anchoring them open. Why look anywhere else? Anyone contemplating where to go as an economic migrant would really fancy their chances under such a system: ten years to get your feet under the table, keep your nose clean and Bob’s Your Uncle!, a UK Passport.


Or perhaps that should be ‘Nick’s Your Uncle!’.


Anyhow, come election time, many people overseas will be delighted to demonstrate their ‘devotion to Britain’ (a quality the Uncle Nick expects to find by the bucketful in aspirant British Citizens) and their everlasting thanks to the great party of Palmerston and Thorpe by hanging up Liberal ‘Democrat’ posters in downtown Ougadougou or the leafy suburbs of Conakry.


Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

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