Immigration from Romania and Bulgaria was up 19k over last year at 74k. Net immigration for the year was 273k so that 74k accounts for 27% of total net immigration to the UK.
When Nigel Farage warned of tens of thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians moving here he was derided by the left, accused of racism and called a fantasist. Those left wing politicians, newspapers and hate groups that attacked him seem strangely reluctant to admit he was right and apologise for the vitriol that they directed at him just a few years ago.
The focus in the media is on net immigration which has fallen by 49k and the fact that more EU citizens came here than non-EU for the first time. Very little attention is given to the possibly more important statistic of gross immigration: an estimated 596k people. Gross immigration is an important statistic because it highlights the degree of displacement of the incumbent population.
Last year we received enough people to fill a city the size of Southampton and Havering combined whilst 128k British citizens (roughly the population of Exeter) left the UK. That's nine immigrants moving here for every two British citizens that left the country last year. How can we assimilate and integrate that many people? How can we embrace and adopt parts of their culture like we did after the Windrush generation arrived here when they come in such numbers that their culture replaces rather than compliments our own?
The UK undoubtedly benefited from immigration before it spiralled out of control. We treated immigrants badly by today's standards back in the day but they worked hard, earned the respect of their neighbours and a great many success stories came out of it. The West Midlands is the curry capital of the world with chefs coming from India to Birmingham to learn the craft. Who'd have predicted that 60 years ago? Some of our most successful sportsmen and women are the descendants of those original immigrants from the Caribbean. Black men and women as English as warm beer and spotted dick - an idea that Alf Garnett would have laughed at. We integrated and adopted the immigrant population as our own and they became part of our society but things are different now than they were 60 years ago and that's a real shame because it will take decades to undo the damage that uncontrolled immigration has done to community cohesion.