Build ‘Migrant Towns’ in Scottish Highlands to ‘Revive’ Economy, Says Church Minister

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An eminent Church of Scotland minister has added his voice to the Kirk’s campaign to open Scotland’s borders to “refugees” with a proposal to build two new migrant towns in the Highlands.

Rev. Dr Rory MacLeod ministers in the Isle of Skye — which has a population of only a little over 10,000 itself — and made the proposal in a letter to Church of Scotland magazine Life and Work, reported by The Scotsman.

“Two items from the news today caught my eye: a resurgence in migrants attempting the perilous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe and the slack nature of the Scottish economy,” wrote the minister, who previously led Holy Trinity Church in St. Andrews.

“At our Bible study the other evening we were discussing how we might respond to the refugee crisis [and] someone came up with a suggestion that would address both issues: that two new towns of 100,000 residents each should be created in the northwest Highlands, which refugees from the Middle East and North Africa should be invited to occupy.”

Like politicians arguing for Wales to be turned into the world’s first “nation of sanctuary” for migrants, Rev. MacLeod believes that a massive influx of foreign nationals would be an economic boon.

He argues that his proposed migrant towns would bring “an injection of youth and talent to our denuded wilderness, while the hills would again ring with industry and culture, albeit of an exotic kind”.

It is not clear how the sparsely populated area which the minister proposes for settlement would support the migrants — or how they would be kept from moving elsewhere — but it would certainly transform the region out of all recognition.

The Highland council area, which covers the vast bulk of the northwest Highlands, only has a total population of around 235,000 at present.

It is also unclear why Rev. MacLeod believes that the recent reduction in net immigration to an estimated 246,000 — still well above the long-standing “tens of thousands” target — is necessarily bad news.

The latest HIS Markit Report on Jobs suggests that a fall in the availability of cheap foreign workers from the European Union has led a “steep increase” in permanent and temporary job hires and the best salary growth for 10 months in Scotland, as working-class labour becomes more valuable.

Overpopulated Japan’s ageing population, meanwhile, appears to be fuelling an “innovation boom” as automation and technology are used to boost individual productivity and the capacity of senior citizens to live independently.

However, mass immigration does not appear to be a viable solution to the alleged challenges of an ageing population.

The Home Office report International Migration and the United Kingdom: Patterns and Trends notes that the “impact of immigration in mitigating population ageing is widely acknowledged to be small because immigrants also age”.

The United Nations Population Division has also estimated that, in order to maintain the so-called “dependency ratio” of 4:1 between people of working age and pensioners to 2050, the UK would have to import some 59,722,000 people, increasing the total population to 136 million.

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