Land of Hope and Technology February 2016 - Page 8

ISSUE 1 Immigration and multiculturalism. Don’t close the borders! Setting aside the contribution of immigrants to university generated research, consider this stat alone: no less than 40 per cent of Fortune 500 companies were setup by immigrants. In the UK, one in seven new companies is set up by an immigrant. Take as an example, Steve Jobs, his father migrated to the United States from Syria. Immigrants are by their very nature entrepreneurial If you find these stats surprising, then frankly your surprise is a surprise. Immigrants are by their very nature entrepreneurial – or at least many of them are. They are more inclined to take risks, more inclined to accept potential failure as an inevitable hazard of creating something new. Maybe it is because immigrants have less to lose, or maybe it is because the very nature of people who are willing to uproot and move, sometimes halfway across the world, makes it more likely they are entrepreneurially minded. What many critics of immigration overlook is that without them, Winston Churchill would have been motherless, Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have been fatherless, the current Queen and Queen Victoria would have both been husbandless, and for that matter British classical music may never have had a father. The man who did more than anyone to define British classical music, Handel, may never have moved to these shores. Throughout its history, the UK has been defined by immigration, from Romans to Anglo Saxons, Norman to Vikings, to refugees fleeing from the French revolution. If you like eating in Indian restaurants, just be grateful to Idi Amin, because without his cruel policy of forcing Uganda’s Asian population to leave, the eating establishments that the British have come to love may never have become so popular. Associated with immigration is the rise of multiculturalism, creating dynamic hubs, the melding of ideas and re-fashioning of them, cross fertilisation on a scale unique in history.