If I were Syrian, I would almost certainly be trying to get to Europe by any means at my disposal. I would want my family safe, and to provide for them.
If Britain imploded, I would almost certainly be trying to get to another safe haven.
This is the motivation for many who try to enter Europe now, there can be no doubt.
Some say let them all come, others say keep them all out. Others sit somewhere in between.
Do I have the right answer? No I do not. But I do want to mention some things that I feel are important in regard to this matter.
Successive governments have built an apparatus that is not only incapable of adapting to rapid changes in demand, but, as it is constructed and implemented, has significant potential to cause shortages and resentment amongst those who feel they have a prior claim. This has already been the case, let alone if larger numbers of migrants arrive. This resentment could be leveraged by those who seek to divide, cause violence and reduce the freedoms and liberties of the population.
Defined benefit welfarism, housing, education and healthcare exist in the State dimension. Taxation, wage distortions and planning regulations are notable issues from a legal/regulatory one. These form an overall apparatus, now the nation functions, for good or ill.
It is my view that the current defined benefit welfare and associated apparatus and regulatory frameworks are incompatible with the free movement of people. If you asked me to choose between the two, I would choose the latter, not the former.
I do wonder if the time is getting close where people may wake up to the problems of a defined-benefit welfare system and the associated apparatus. It is rapidly becoming obsolete in a dynamic, fluid world. If we are honest, only with limited or no migration can it work harmoniously. We don’t, so it doesn’t. The honest and hard working arrivals, even after generations, are tarred with the same brush as moochers, which is an appalling situation.Worse that some moochers are as indigenous as they come.
Can we fix (or should I say un-screw-up) the system to allow for a changing world, to remove the seeds of resentment and to make it clear all those who arrive are doing so to truly escape chaos, not to get a free ride?
Will the removal or dismantling of the defined benefit concept mean people will not be as hostile to new arrivals?
I do think so.
A defined contribution system would, to me, be the logical evolution from where we are now to a place closer to where we might want to be. It would have more of a chance if pluralistic, to foster a market that will expand health and education, as well as housing, to meet demand.
Phasing in defined contribution could be just for new arrivals initially. This could be taken as being discriminatory, but one could logically extend “new arrivals” to be any newborns or those soon to join the workforce. The segue for the remaining population would need to be done by sector – housing, health, education, unemployment benefits, though not necessarily in that order. Items like healthcare can be evolved using a form of provision used elsewhere in Europe, such as Switzerland, though insurance for inability to pay might need further thought.Education needs plurality and funding to open up and gain efficiencies, via vouchers first, then direct funding. Pensions will almost certainly need a longer term plan.
There is also the option of voluntary contributions to support new arrivals. Such organisations could provide transitional services, but without the compulsion of a statutory “duty of care”, which can be exploited, claimed against, legally enforced and voted up by those who “care”, yet do not fund. Voluntary funding would remove much of the stigma and resentment, and can chose not to support those who are disruptive. The state is the obstacle in this case – blocking, monopolizing and distorting.
In all of this, the need to uphold property rights, the rule of law and prevent vocal totalitarian or bigoted groups from hijacking the situation is essential.
Apart from improving the mechanisms in the country at large, I am somewhat biased towards the formation of entrepreneurial city states, like Hong Kong or Singapore. A form of this is called a Charter City.
The key would be to have a plurality of costal areas, up to 1000sqkm, accessible to trade routes without hindrance, and free from the legal system of the erstewhile ruler of the land. Each area would set up their own system. This gives competition. No one system would want to be too rapacious or restrictive, as the other areas could poach the more valuable parts of a mobile workforce. It would need nation states to relinquish control of land, and for wealthy individuals or groups to build. I do not think a government could build it, as they would find it hard to resist interfering or leaking authoritarian laws into the domain.Letting go and not grabbing back would be a monumental challenge, too.
While one such Charter City on 1000sqkm of land could house the entire population of Syria, I would much prefer a plurality of Charter Cities, each open to all, so there is no concept of a dumping ground.
As to the Elephant in the room, war and ISIS, that is even trickier. Intervention is not an easy answer, or should I say an easy solution.
If all powers ganged up to take ISIS on, i.e.US and others fell in alongside the Russians and Iranians, then it could be done. The problem of who runs the place afterwards will then occur. Assad has rather torn up his own legitimacy to rule a people. There is no reason to doubt that similar groups will not arise elsewhere, or that the conflict then moves on to the issue of Kurdistan, in which sides are not so clear cut, and multiple existing nation states would see loss of chattel, I mean territory. An answer, as I said, but not a solution.
So, I have no single answer, no silver bullet, but I believe the UK is not in a position to be able to respond appropriately to migration, let alone mass migration, while it still has systemic dysfunction in its welfare and legal frameworks, a systemic dysfunction that needs fixing regardless of the migrant crisis.
Better to not have anyone want to leave their home in the first place. Unfortunately, we are beyond that already, but it does not mean we cannot get to that situaiton, if only by building new oasis of freedom.