Friday, June 12, 2009

Britain Doomed.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the European election results has been the scaremongering that the success of Eurosceptic parties has led to. The perennially fact challenged Johann Hari writes that if we left the EU:

we would gain little, but we would suffer horrible self-inflicted wounds. Three million jobs would melt away to a Europe that would now be wrapped away behind tariff walls. The millions of Brits living elsewhere in the EU – one million in Spain alone – would be left stranded, and have to come home, or apply for immigration rights they were no longer entitled to.

This is quite impressively wrong. I won't deal with the 3 million jobs myth. You can guess how accurate it is by seeing how scrupulous he is with the other number he throws out, one million Britons living in Spain. Thankfully the OECD compile statistics, based on census data, for the residents of a country by national origin. According to their figures, at the 2001 Spanish census there were 88 415* British people resident in Spain. By my calculation this is less than a million, in fact if I claimed to be 60 feet tall I would be exaggerating by a lower ratio than Hari.

Also, Spain isn't 1970s Uganda so mass expulsions seem unlikely in any case.

* The database lists two sets of figures for Spain so I've used the higher estimate.

Update: In the comments Matthew points to there being other estimates of the British population in Spain that do approach 1 million. Whilst I'm not convinced by the methodology used, it is fair to note that whatever the case the figure wasn't invented by Hari.


Sue said...

Let's not forget how many EU citizens and "other random non EU people" are in the UK. If all those were made to leave, I'd come back to the UK gladly to help build a new future! The expulsion would no doubt be reciprocal and we would have plenty of room then!

James Higham said...

Good - keep putting this stuff, Ross until they finally shut us up.

Matthew said...

I get 107,000 on that OECD database, but surely Hari is suing these figures?

Ross said...

"I get 107,000 on that OECD database"

I may have misunderstood the data because I've only really used the database previously for the UK which doesn't separate out the data, but of the two figures 19000 & 88000, doesn't the first one refer to native Spaniards who were born in the UK?

"but surely Hari is suing these figures?"

He could be & I'll have a look at how they arrived at their number which is radically different to the Spanish census data.

TDK said...

100,000 seems rather low.

I was under the impression that quite a few Brits retired to Spain but rather less actually worked there. If so it would fit the different figures because then 88k are employed Brits, 19k are naturalised employed Brits and the (761-107)=654k are the retired.

However, the XLS shows census data, indicating total numbers. Puzzling!


I'm always amused that pro EUers use the xenophobic European argument to stop us leaving. If we leave "they" would immediately take every action to hurt the UK regardless of any consequences that would happen to them, such as loss of trade to the UK.

The same Hari would agree with me that trade barriers against African exports should be reduced. This would benefit British consumers and African sellers. This reform could occur either within the EU or in an independent UK. There is little prospect of the former but rather more of the latter. One would have thought that the failure to reform CAP might make him a little less certain.

North Northwester said...

I just LOVED this.

"Cameron must prepare to answer awkward questions about the role of the Waffen-SS in Latvia, the homophobic attitudes of leading members of Poland's Law and Justice party, and the fact that Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president – who is to the Civic Democratic party what Margaret Thatcher is to the British Conservatives – flatly denies the reality of climate change."

Yes indeedy! Those Guardian liberals are on the ball as always: fingers on the pulse; eyes on the prize; heads up their.....

Matthew said...

Yes, you're right on the 19,000 data Ross, so 88,415 it is on these figures.

Matthew said...

This is perhaps the best guide I can find - 352,000 official, and 1m an 'estimate'.

No idea why the census figures are so different, I can only assume the census is not 'everyone in the country on that day' as it is in the UK (I think).