The British Democrats are probably the only political party to have identified excessive population as the main threat to our environment, this is because we are familiar with the concept of Optimum Population. Those who advocate high levels of immigration into already densely populated countries like the UK, are actually cheerleaders for environmental disaster.
Wikipedia cites Optimum Population as a concept where the human population is able to balance maintaining a maximum population size with optimal standards of living for all people. Arguments advocating lower levels of population are cited as including: long term sustainability, efficient operation of democracy, the preservation of personal freedom and the preservation of biodiversity.
Population Matters is a charity previously known as the Optimum Population Trust, which addresses population size and it’s effects on environmental sustainability. Like the British Democrats;-
…it considers population growth as a major contributor to environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, resource depletion and climate change.
As at 2020 the UK population was estimated at 67 million by, amongst others, the World Bank and Office for National Statistics; however, I have heard supermarkets claim that consumption levels would indicate more. At 67 million, France’s population is similar to ours, but their landmass is 2.3 times larger. The combined populations of Sweden, Denmark and Norway are less than a third of the UK’s. Population Matters have calculated a sustainable UK population as being around 20 million, so it would seem that a shrinking population would be a good thing rather than a cause for concern.
I recall the closing of schools in the early 1990s, supposedly due to the UK’s decreasing population, indicating less children requiring school places in the future. However, it was not long before this trend started to reverse, due to both rapidly increasing third-world immigration, coupled with free movement of the newly accessed EU8 Eastern European countries (remember the 13,000 Labour predicted?) in 2004.
How often do we hear politicians praise immigrants as hard-working taxpayers, reducing everything down to economic factors, ignoring the fact that they also consume resources. You have just arrived, you have just started to pay tax (and receive Tax Credits) and somehow you have an immediate stake in our country and our welfare system – the country built over millennia by us, the English, Irish, Scots and Welsh.
Currently, our own working families have to limit their children to a number they can afford to raise themselves. At the same time many third-world immigrants, especially Muslims, do not work but have large families which they are not encouraged to limit, all being kept by the same taxpayers who are having to limit their own.
China, who according to those who see a shrinking population as a problem, are facing a demographic timebomb following their one-child policy (now a 3-child one), seem more concerned with the quality of their population, so they have initiatives which encourage highly-qualified female graduates who might choose career over marriage, to engage with other highly educated males to ensure the health of the future population. They are unfazed by the West’s view of this as tantamount to eugenics.
Given the reasons cited in favour of lower levels of population, I am always amazed that liberals do not advocate limiting population growth. Since it is acknowledged that the human population is the largest threat to the environment, the ecosystem, indeed the planet, it is shocking that liberals and greens remain so deafeningly quiet on the subject. Occasionally there may be a maverick amongst their number calling for selfish first-worlders to limit the numbers of their offspring in order to conserve valuable resources. These same eco-warriors would not dare suggest the same policy should be adopted by third-worlders, that would be tantamount to eugenics in their eyes.
During the recent Brexit debate two distinct tribes were identified – Somewheres and Anywheres. Anywheres see themselves as cosmopolitan internationalists with no particular attachment to any one place. Somewheres (i.e us), by comparison are patriotic and nationalistic, we love our country and it’s history, culture and traditions, we have a visceral bond with our homeland. Thus Anywheres see no problem with endless house and road-building to accommodate unlimited incomers, they will gladly call for concreting over our countryside, and anyone objecting is labelled NIMBY – they have no emotional ties to this soil. A sustainable population would negate the push for more and more houses, roads and cars. We would have no difficulty finding school places for our children or getting doctors appointments.
The pro-immigrationists always latch on to the developed world’s falling birth rates as necessitating non-stop immigration, they invariably point to Japan (current population 126 million) as an example of a country needing to import young foreigners, but the Japanese themselves steadfastly stick to their anti-immigration position, choosing to address their elderly population’s needs with advances in technology, like robotics. The demographic doom-mongers could have it completely wrong and populations may well naturally level off at a size compatible with a sense of well-being for the bulk of the population. Those who believe that a growing population is necessary for a country to raise the standard of living for its population also seem to have got it wrong, as we can see when we compare China and India’s populations. China’s one-child policy has contributed to the country’s extraordinary economic advance over the past 40 years. By comparison, the failure of India to implement an effective family planning programme in the same period, has been a factor in its slower advance.
National treasure David Attenborough, is a patron of the aforementioned Population Matters with their mission of a human population, co-existing in harmony with nature, to the benefit of all. They advocate reducing our impact by reducing our consumption and setting an example by choosing smaller family size. So how does that sit with the globalist/ immigrationists who base their case for continued immigration on our below-replacement population trend? We should have less children, but we need the children of immigrants to come and care for us in our old age. This is an unsustainable pyramid-scheme as the young also grow old and this system benefits the present generation at the expense of the next.
Is it not outrageous to advocate smaller families in the rich, developed world while being powerless to encourage African’s to reduce their average of 6 children. There is no incentive for African dictators to promote contraception as Foreign Aid will continue to feed their burgeoning populations while they concentrate on siphoning-off their countries wealth into their Swiss bank account.
The British Democrats are a true green party, as they are probably alone in recognising a ballooning population as a major ecological threat, which is why you will not find a separate section on Immigration in our Policy Statement, as this along with other population issues deleterious to our native habitat, are dealt with under the section headed The Environment.
The UN projects that population growth over the next century will be driven by the world’s very poorest countries.
Talk about stating the bleeding obvious!!
Where I am in agreement with the ecologists is in the need to move away from our damaging, growth-dependant economic systems – these systems which degrade us humans to the level of economic units in a constant drive to expand consumption.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimate we will need 70% more food by 2050; simultaneously MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) predict that 5 billion people will be living in water stressed regions by that time.
Feed the World – Those who advocate a redistribution of resources, without calling for a corresponding end to population growth are barking up the wrong tree. While it is clear that we in the developed world need to curb our consumption, adding more consumers will only exacerbate every problem arising from it. Technological advances in improving crop yields have limited impact when populations continue to grow, supply will always be outstripped by demand.
The British Democrats are alone in having identified population growth as a primary driver behind many environmental and societal threats – overcrowding leading to the never ending concreting over to build more and more houses and roads and the subsequent threat of flooding. People packed like sardines on commuter trains and motorways. Intensive farming methods which are detrimental to our wildlife, while still not sufficient to feed us. A dependence on a fragile web of global trade for necessities like food (we currently import over half that consumed), energy and raw materials.
We recognise that were our land solely inhabited by our own people, the population of our islands would stabilise at an environmentally sustainable level, resulting in a much improved quality of life for all. Optimum population is probably one of the most important issues facing us today.
Our overburdened planet would benefit greatly from vigorous public debates in every nation about optimum population size.