To a large extent I agreed they were good things. and still do, and I certainly benefited from them. In a past life I even blogged mocking those who were worried about mass immigration from central Europe when they joined the EU and got access to the single market. (I deleted that old blog and its content otherwise I'd link),
However, I started to get uneasy about the effects mass immigration around the time I stopped blogging. There wasn't anything specific, it was the way in which those who questioned it were being dismissed as right wing, racists and bigots. Most of them just seemed like ordinary people to me.
Changing your mind is a difficult thing to do and rarely happens over night and the hardest part is recognising and admitting that you have changed your mind.
What drove that change in mind was seeing and reading about the areas that had been most affected. It is easy to dismiss the locals as being lazy and not wanting to do the jobs immigrants were doing, but that didn't account the strains and stresses that it put on other resources such as health and education. It wasn't easy to dismiss those effects as being the fault of the lazy. It was obvious that just like where they hadn't planned for the peace after the Iraq war, they hadn't planned for mass immigration and just dismissed anyone who raised the issue as racist.
The final leap in admitting to myself I'd changed my mind was a comment from blogger Raedwald about immigration policy not being the fault of immigrants, he was right and it didn't make you a racist questioning that policy. But what really sealed it was Gordon Brown's infamous "bigoted woman" incident:
That incident spoke volumes about why both the Labour and Conservative parties were haemorrhaging voters to UKIP, but still the consensus wasn't broken by the liberal elite and they're friends in the MSM that they were all just racists bigots. Nobody bothered looking at the data that was available even then.
As an aside here's a Canadian economics PhD candidate who blogs as the Economics Detective. I should say he was very uneasy during this interview, as I was, discussing all the known problems with ethnic diversity in 2016. I will probably return to this podcast in the future because there's a lot to learn, but as referenced papers show, difficulties with immigration and ethnic diversity weren't unknown:
If you're at the bottom of the socio-economic pile all that immigration just looks like competition and platitudes about we're all benefiting from those at the top are just patronising.
So fast forwards to last week when the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published their report and lo and behold we have this, without any irony, in this week's Economist:
Yet ($) the MAC also identifies problems. Although migration has little overall impact on wages, it pushes down the pay of the poorest somewhat, while raising that of the better off. Estimates in the report imply that EU migration since 2004 has left the wages of the poorest tenth about 3% lower than otherwise would have been the case, and those of the richest tenth 3% higher. As for the public finances, the MAC is unconvinced that the surplus that migrants produce is always directed to the right places; it also notes that migrants’ contribution could be greater if they were accepted on a more selective basis.Maybe if they'd listened and acted we wouldn't have seen the rise in UKIP and Brexit that was a consequence of the attitude of Brown et al.
Other that that brief mention in the Economist, the rest of the MSM has been silent on the issue, probably too embarrassed or hubristic to go through that mental struggle of changing your mind and admitting you were wrong.