A typically unpleasant and context free tweet from Cllr Tailor last night. Rather than discussing the budget last night a number of Labour councillors, and even Cllr Steed from the LibDems (who has a reputation for being more left-wing than most of the Labour group), objected to the leader of the Tory group on the council making a reference to immigration during his budget speech. I thought that we had got to the point where we could discuss the influences on our society in a dispassionate way without the left screaming â€œraceâ€ every time someone tried to discuss immigration.
The context in which Cllr Millican was speaking was the schools capital budget. If you read the budget documents you will see that fully two-thirds of all of the councilâ€™s general fund capital spending, some Â£291 million out of Â£427 million over the five years from April 2011 to March 2016 (Table 15, page 28), is being devoted to schools capital. This money is not being spent for fun. In the main it is being used to build new school places. Although young families not moving out of the borough is a secondary driver for this change the biggest influence is new arrivals and the children of new arrivals â€“ immigration.
Cllr Millican pointed to an answer to a Parliamentary question answered by ONS for MP Nicholas Soames, see here. This spells out that 77.2% of the 4,526 babies born in Ealing in 2010 had one or both foreign-born parents.
Labour councillors last night objected that this statistic was not relevant to the debate. They donâ€™t want to discuss the major driver for almost Â£300 million of capital spending. If one is being generous one might assume that they feel that there is nothing that the council can do about this immigration so we should simply get on with it. The question arises though how much longer can we go on dealing with this kind of disruption to our town. Are we not even allowed to discuss this fundamental transformation?
There are lots of things we could spend capital on. Improved parks. Better roads. Arts venues. You name it. But, the council has a legal duty to provide school places first and Labourâ€™s uncontrolled immigration means that there is no money left for much beyond schools. What little room for manoeuvre that the local Labour party has is being spent on new council offices and a car park in Southall.
If we cannot use official ONS statistics to illuminate a debate on the budget in Ealing then the lunatics really have taken over the asylum.