James Delingpole: 'The Truth About Immigration' is anything but

The BBC can never talk honestly about the immigration problem because it's responsible for the cultural mindset that made it possible

11 January 2014

9:00 AM

11 January 2014

9:00 AM

Immigration. Were you aware that this has become a bit of a problem these past ten years? I wasn’t, obviously, because like all credulous idiots I get my news from a single trusted source, the BBC, and as a result I’ve known for some time now that immigration is great, regardless of what the facts and figures are.

I know, for example, that all those warnings by evil right-wing MPs about a potential ‘flood’ which might ‘swamp’ Britain were dangerously inflammatory ‘dog-whistle’ politics; that eastern Europeans have a work ethic that puts our native population to shame; that all the cleverest think tanks tell us that immigration represents a boon to our economy; that we are a nation of immigrants and that this is what has made us great; that anyone who thinks otherwise is ‘racist’; and so on.

This week the BBC tried a cunning new variant on this theme called The Truth about Immigration (BBC2, Tuesday). By roping in notionally right-leaning Nick Robinson to present it and by trailing it as some kind of massive volte-face the BBC sought to give the impression that it was saying something new, controversial and daring.

It wasn’t really, though. Sure, there were some sops to reality: interviews with dejected native northerners (including a second-generation Asian), upset by the Roma gangs hanging around on street corners and dumping rubbish everywhere; ex-Labour minister Jack Straw expressing ‘regret’ at the way his administration had underestimated the scale of immigration by a factor of ten; scenes of English people at the New Forest show wondering where their country had gone. Underneath all that distracting surface detail, though, here was the same old BBC feigning a critique of Britain’s disastrous immigration policy but ending up presenting an apologia for it.

Consider, for example, its predictably lazy analysis of Enoch Powell’s 1968 Rivers of Blood speech. According to the programme, this was what for years after rendered all serious discussion of the race and immigration issue politically untenable. What it didn’t attempt to grapple with, though, was why this might have been.

Was Powell’s speech disturbing, lurid, nightmarish — inflammatory even? Why yes, very likely, but that was rather the point — much as, say, Fiver’s blood-drenched visions were in Watership Down. You don’t deliver urgent warnings in such a way as to lull your audience into complacency, do you?

Now, when confronted by a speech like Powell’s (or Fiver’s), there ought, in any rational world, to be two logical responses: either you agree with it and discuss the best practical response or you disagree with it and explain why you think it’s rubbish and that no action should be taken. This is how free speech and civilisation work.

Not, however, if you think like the BBC. Rather, you choose the third way of deciding that the language you have heard is so discomfiting that the argument must be declared off-limits for two generations — even if this means that the nightmare vision you found so offensive starts to come true. The reason the BBC can never talk honestly about the immigration problem, in other words, is that it is largely responsible for shaping the cultural and dialectical mindset that made it possible.

That would explain another of the programme’s sleights of hand — the way it concluded by offering a false dichotomy, between continued economic growth on the one hand and (relative) cultural homogeneity on the other. Even Nigel Farage was co-opted into conceding this point, saying that he would prefer Britons to have lower average incomes if that was the price to be paid for less immigration. (You wonder how much else of what he said, rather less convenient to the BBC’s narrative, was left on the cutting-room floor. Acres, I’m guessing.)

But this just isn’t true. As the 2008 House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report on the Economic Impact of Immigration found, ‘immigration has very small impacts on GDP per capita’. Even the NIESR — one of the BBC’s favourite left-leaning think tanks — agreed in 2011 that the impact of eight eastern European countries joining the EU between 2004 and 2009 would have a ‘negligible’ long-term impact on UK GDP per capita.

So all this overcrowding, all this destruction of social cohesion, all this unwelcome pressure on our schools, hospitals and transport infrastracture, all this dilution of what used to be our national identity has been inflicted on us, by our remote political class, against our wishes, to no useful purpose whatsoever. What a fantastically interesting subject for a documentary that would be. Now I wonder who is going to make it.

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Show comments
  • philbest

    I wish I could remember the name of the wise man who said “multiculturalism, immigration, democracy: pick the TWO you want”.

    • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

      Democracy: though having a dictionary definition is in fact meaningless
      A chimera: ie it can be conceived of but not constructed.

      Multiculturalism : again has meaning but has never been seen to operate successfully anywhere.

      Immigration: now we are on hard ground, identifiable and applicable so that’s the only one you can have
      You will not be asked whether you want it, see the illusion of democracy and it will produce negative outcomes when you get it see multiculturalism.

  • Patricia

    Where’s James’s previous article on the BBC ?

  • Margot

    Where have all the comments gone that were here until a few hours ago!

    • Robert Basset

      Purged. Down the memory hole.

  • Travania

    It’s not as if the Conservative party neither in its recent reign nor during the Thatcher/Major era has done much or indeed anything against mass immigration and the ensuing problems.

    If the Conservative party was willing to stop the ultimate catastrophe –the reduction of the indigenous British population to an ethnic minority and hence an effective end to British culture, values and life — it would have to implement, what late Enoch Powell proposed over 40 years ago –a total stop on any further immigration plus as much repartition of the settled immigrations as possible.

    So if the ‘Spectator’ Magazine, its editors and journalists really do wish to see a true change in the immigration policy and the general demographic trend towards an ever less-British, less-European, less-Western and ever more fractioned Britain, they should shift their allegiance to parties other than the Tories.

    • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

      White people 10 % of the world population.

      On present trends whites will be 10 % of the UK population in the not too distant future.

      That’s fair ennit ?

      • TruthBeatsLies

        What an ugly trend – and sad portent for the world – if it is…!

        • Travania

          I would go so far as to say that what is going on in your country and in my own can be legitimately called genocide.
          Because at the end at this process, indigenous Brits and Germans will find themselves in the same situation as native Americans – only that the new mayoral society will to all probability not treat them as relatively good and respectfully as the Indians are treated now by the US mainstream.

  • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

    Spot on.
    Before being broadcast this programme got Yasmin Alibhai-brown foaming at the mouth with her blinkered totally dishonest outlook.
    She couldn’t possibly have seen the programme.

    As for that nonsense about putting money in the tin if you support less immigration or repatriation ( I forget which). Typical BBC baloney.

  • John Hammock

    Good Documentary, But felt out of place here & there.

    1. UK should compulsorily give educative services for immigrants for successful immigration, Not just economical pathways but cultural & hygienic too.
    2. The country should take initiatives in each parts for welcoming & upholding traditional culture by celebrating a annual day or as such.
    3. No one should pout on others success & feel disheartened – i feel the govt. should start qualitative & transferable job-oriented training courses for a minimal fee or no fee, with a agreement from the client to pay back a sizable amount back to the government for the services that too without any immigration waiver. Along with a job portal & job assistance cell.

    4. A cap of 50k should be kept including both temporary & permanent residence to control the influx.
    5. Immigration brings economic growth & cultural competence, but it could be done within & without harming the The Great Britain Identity.

    The documentary stated some negativity, some utterly blunt & tensor points, with some truths. I think its from an irrational fear – Brit is not that.

    • Trofim

      This doesn’t sound like a native English speaker.

      • TruthBeatsLies

        No, it certainly doesn’t…!

    • Patricia

      “Immigration brings economic growth & cultural competence, but it could be done within & without harming the The Great Britain Identity.”

      Bringing us “cultural competence” ? We have our own cultural competence in spades, thank you! Damn cheek.

    • TruthBeatsLies

      You sound pretty easygoing about the whole matter. With all due respect, that’s the attitude which has enabled the BBC’s unconcerned snuffing-out of Britain’s widespread dissatisfaction with 3Rd-World inundation…!!!

  • EWorrall

    The political class don’t care about raising GDP / capita, what they desperately need is to raise total GDP, to dig themselves out of their self inflicted economic debt hell.

    Whether the increased immigration messes up the lives of people already living in Britain is very much a secondary consideration.

    • TruthBeatsLies

      How right you are…! But so depressing to conclude that by now it’s almost certainly far too late to do much about it…

  • Niels Henriksen

    About BEEEP time 😉

    But unfortunately far too little, 30-40 years too late – and not addressing the real issues and the very serious consequences for British society and its culture, values, norms and laws on the longer time scale of such a large scale immigration
    of people, who are far too often very hostile, fanatical and uintegratable in many cases – and who are even unhindered allowed to transfer these intolerant, racist and hateful views to their children etc.

    Start making some very serious demands of your “guests” ( English language, acceptance of British culture, society, social norms and laws as well as willingness and the ability to integrate and assimilate ). And then set up very strict limits to your tolerance concerning religious fanatics and troublemakers and the barbaric ideas they bring to Britain from their often very socially, economically and mentally backward nations.

    • Patricia

      “And then set up very strict limits to your tolerance concerning religious fanatics and troublemakers and the barbaric ideas they bring to Britain from their often very socially, economically and mentally backward nations.”

      Your points are valid, but they do not cover the effect that such large numbers of immigrants make upon our schools, NHS, houses, building land etc.

      • Niels Henriksen

        I know – we have the exact same problems over here (Denmark),
        although we are probably 15-20 years behind you, but we have had this debate for the past 10-15 years and can finally say things as they really are, so we have at least managed to stand on the breaks to some degree.

        Parents are “fleeing” many council schools here because of such immigrant children with very hostile views on everything “Danish” or “Western”, calling Danish women and girls “whores” and an aggressive and violent behaviour, demanding respect of other students constantly. Gangs of young thugs from certain cultures are shooting each others, robbing or assulting people on the streets of Copenhagen and other major cities several times a week or stoning police cars, ambulance crews and firemen, when they arrive – or hurling fireworks and rockets at them.
        These are children who have barely learned to read or write after 10 years in school because their parents arrived with the wrong attitudes – not allowing them to watch Danish TV and not allowing them to have Danish friends and boy- /girlfriends etc. – and with very backward values in the first place – not as a chance to start a new life, but as a way of demanding more and more welfare, importing ever more family members via forced marriages in an endless chain and wanting all of society to adapt to their culture
        and religious rules – which they btw. often claim to have fled from, apart from the annual holiday trip back home, that is 😉

        Does this sound familiar by any chance? 😉

        • Patricia

          Yes, depressingly so.

        • TruthBeatsLies

          Indeed, Niels, it certainly does…!

        • autdrew


        • grai

          the UK has had this for 60 years

        • Travania

          Your story sounds all too familiar – and I am a German national not a Brit.

          Your description pretty much fits the dismal conditions prevailing in much of Western German cities and towns these days.

          Just replace the terms “Danish” with German and you have an accurate description of what is going on in post-German Germany.

          • global city

            It is going on across Europe. It is a deliberate plan. The more New Left your establishment the worse you will have had it.

            Just look at Sweden…. a utopian land has been turned into an absolute distopia, by their own mad political class. They had no Empire, no legacy, no ‘sins’ to atone for, but their people made the grave error of thinking that wide eyed lefties could build on their established good foundations an even better country, but like all lefties they imposed their latest fad instead…. now look at it.

          • Niels Henriksen

            Yes, I know – we are getting really worried about our dear, but rather naive and hyper-PC neighbours, who are simply being far too kind, helpful and tolerant for their own good – or rather their ignorant, indifferent and irresponsible PC “elites” are at the very costly expense of their own people and their once great culture – without ever even having had the good sense of asking their permission for or feelings about this full scale social experiment, without ever thinking about the potentially very serious consequences and without ever allowing any real democratic debate about these fateful decissions.

        • global city

          The political elites across Europe, aided and abetted by the ideologues of the EU have imposed the ideology of multiculturalism on Europe for decades, quite deliberately.

          Their intention is to change the face of national cultures and form a new pan-European citizenry that conforms to their nutty ideology.

  • grai

    the whole tone of the documentary was almost jokey – “oh immigration, people are getting in a kerfuffle – here are some facts” So that anyone seriously alarmed and offended by millions of people coming here uninvited were just uninformed and silly

    the tone had a subliminal patronising sub text

    • TruthBeatsLies

      Yes. As usual. And the BBC are not alone. Even perfectly reasonable (but evidently far too perceptive) immigration comments to the Guardian lately are now being censored too…!

  • Angus_MacLellan

    “Now I wonder who is going to make it.” – certainly, not the BBC .

  • JimHHalpert

    I agree with everything you say but would add that it was not just the BBC: the whole establishment is responsible for this silencing of debate. I think the French call it trahison des clercs. Interesting that the English don’t have such a phrase – why would that be?

    • mikewaller

      We do have a word, it’s short-termism. As with the enormous debt problem, politicians work on the principle that if it isn’t going to blow up in my ace in the short-term, why should I stick my neck out now?

    • TruthBeatsLies

      Because, by and large, the British are generally less rebellious, more cowed and deferential to their establishment figures than the French.

  • DaHitman

    The Left-Wing bias at the BBC is so blatant they don’t even bother to hide it. If you watched Question Time this week they talked about Immigration, as usual they had one right-wing panellist (token) and all the others were left-wing including a large left-wing audience

    • grai

      Question Time definitely vets the audience members and favours the left wing

      as for the panel if they are anti-immigration they only get on when they are out-numbered by por-immigration panelists

      to see a London audience clapping vigorously at the suggestion we need more immigration was incredibly disturbing

      I live in London and have talked with many people – often total strangers on buses etc. and I have yet to meet anyone who is not mourning the loss of the city we loved so goodness only knows where they got this studio audience from but they were not typical Londoners

      • DaHitman

        Surly it wasn’t a shock though, London has already fallen, the English are a minority in their own capita City

        • grai

          why do Question Time audiences behave so oddly? Maybe with cameras on them they feel obliged to clap? I can’t understand it

    • Travania

      That’s balanced for German standards.
      In political talk shows in German public television they often have only cultural Leftist of various types.
      Having even one right-winger on the panel is a rare exception.

      • DaHitman

        Well the Germans do like the Left, remember the National Socialists of the 1930s

  • TruthBeatsLies

    A brilliant analysis! And long, long overdue…!!!

    Are you reading this, BBC…???

  • mikewaller

    Typical JP parson’s-eggish piece: good in parts. As he says, on “Today” both Robinson and Humphrys were their usual condescending selves and the former either intentionally or otherwise serious seriously misrepresented Farage (who I most certainly do not support). He had asked Farage a hypothetical question along the lines “Even if it could be shown that ending immigration would damage the economy, would you still favour doing so?” He then used Farage’s positive reply to claim that Farage accepted that it definitely would damage the economy, a view Farage had made perfectly clear he did not hold. It would have shamed a double-glazing salesperson.

    But the argument that the BBC has somehow shaped the national debate on the subject is so much nonsense. It has had, and does have, its own agenda which might be summarised by modifying Noel Coward’s line to read “Let’s not be beastly to the immigrants”i.e. it has stood for human decency, however much that decency may have been abused by some of its beneficiaries. But suggesting that it it has moved public opinion in directions it did not want to go is just so much rubbish. As someone much smarter than JD pointed out in respect of the widespread belief in the 1960s that committed communists like Jack Dash were leading the dockers astray; “Dockers follow Jack Dash in respect of employment and Enoch Powell in respect of immigration” i.e. people believe what they want to believe. All the BBC has achieved in this area is to make the millions of folk antagonistic to its inclusive philosophy switch off whenever it is made too manifest.

    As I have suggested elsewhere, the real reason why “new commonwealth” immigration was allowed to continue for so long was that capital welcomed a more biddable work-force and the Labour party saw millions of new supporters. The BBC came nowhere. Again as I have suggested elsewhere, the real question is why in-comers find it so easy to beat natives in competition for new jobs. Here a pinch of Theodore Dalrymple (p.18) is worth half a ton of JP.

    • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

      You recognise but fail to condemn the fact that the BBC does have an agenda..
      Most know it.
      Those responsible for the BBC deny it.
      Having an agenda is contrary to the charter of the BBC.

      The reason Commonwealth immigration was not discouraged.was the patrician attitude of the political class at the time.
      It is not beastly to control the cultural/racial identity of your own country.

      When immigrant numbers started to spiral alarm bells rang., two at least bills were passed (didn’t seem to achieve much) so things continued to the present day mess.

      Re whether the BBC has any influence I would guess you were not alive at the time of Powell’s speech.
      I was and I remember clearly the anti working class anti Powell attitude broadcast in current affairs show
      You may be able to see on utoob the dismissive attitude directed at dockers who had mass demonstrations supporting Powell’s POV
      This did tend to marginalise those worried about immigration not least ‘cos the BBC wouldn’t allow them a voice.

      It is only the last few years that any debate has taken place at all. Far too late
      And when the BBC does consider the issue they produce travesties like the one under discussion.

      • mikewaller

        I am almost 70 so lived through it all. I grew up near Southall which was one of the first towns to experience immigration in large numbers. I think it was all started by a guy who had been in the Indian Army and took over the family rubber business. He was less than happy with the work force he inherited and the general shortage of labour. He therefore contacted guys who had served under him in India and the rest is history. I did social survey work in Southall in the mid-sixties and used to annoy my left wing university friends by pointing out what a disaster immigration had been to older Southall residents who suddenly found themselves with new neighbours with the wives often not even speaking English. Worse, they had no experience of wartime Britain, discussing which was a major source of social bonding.

        On the other hand, I worked in what was called personnel in the 1970s in Skelmersdale New Town and watched as the Merseyside-redeployed labour destroy their one best chance of a new life. I was Personnel Manager of a big Courtauld’s weaving mill. Having been run ragged by the Merseysiders,we got permission to bring in skilled workers from Yorkshire, many of who were first generation from India and Pakistan. I shall never forget one of them, having been with us for few weeks, saying with withering contempt of his white colleagues: “These are not men, they are children”. Ditto the dockers in London and Liverpool. They had a terrible reputation for seemingly always being on strike, so who was going to take their views very seriously?

        As for the BBC, the Notting Hill race riots had already told folks how things could go, so who could blame them for trying to keep things as calm as possible rather than reporting hour by hours who had mounted a racial attack on who? Certainly the relatively recent partition of India had been awful, then we had the Mau Mau in Kenya, so the dangers were all too apparent. Against this back ground, the last thing we need was dear old Enoch banging on about rivers of blood!

        But, I repeat, when it’s all said and done, we are where we are and getting angry about the past just ain’t going to help.

        • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

          i agree to a some extent the attitude of the BBC types to immigration was/is based on good intentions.
          They are cheap and pave the road to hell

          The consequences of the partition of India. (thousands killed) should have warned the BBC/government types of what was probable. Ditto Palestine.

          A cursory study of history is a clear indicator of the human condition.
          But no , they knew best and successfully bottled up the problem, the pressure built and is rising quite nicely.

          Where we are is bad enough ; where we will be in say 100 years time will be terrible.
          At the very least religious conflict is certain.and racial conflict of some sort not necessarily white/black is inevitable
          Only economic recovery can help reduce such problems.
          This is impossible so debt to sustain the standard of living will have to continue.

          Whether spiralling debt will cause total economic collapse I do not know.
          Don’t forget the powers that be are not trying to reduce total debt they are trying to reduce the increase in debt.

          • mikewaller

            I think that’s an excellent analysis. The only defence I would make of the BBC is that that it was not responsible for the waves of incomers. It – with some success- was simply trying to stop the pot boiling. One only has to look to Rwanda to see what a mere radio station in malevolent hands can do incite racial violence on a massive scale. Indeed the social media is now recognised as being a key factor in encouraging widespread rioting in 2011.

            As to the future, I suspect that the great divide will be between the haves and the have-nots with what used to be called people of colour both sides of the divide. As to dealing with it, the government makes all the right noises. Education is clearly crucial because those whose potential is recognised and developed have a reasonable chance of becoming “haves”. The problem lies with those of all ethnicities who simply cannot or won’t make it. With them I despair. Before the 1997 election, the late Simon Hoggart had a brilliant programme called “The Hollow State” in which one commentator said: “In a globalised economy if you are Mr Beckman you can write your own cheque; but if you are a coolie, you’re going to get coolie wages”. For those without an over-arching religious faith available for co-option, this is highly likely to lead to anger, criminality and violent racism. To those with a suitable religious faith, all of the above apply plus a seeming justification for turning to extreme violence.

  • autdrew

    This article could be describing the US. One is never permitted to rationally discuss the bad effects of unchecked illegal immigration. One is immediately denounced as a bigot, racist, xenophobic, evil, uncaring, a Nazi, fascist, and so on. Our legal immigration needs to be overhauled badly. However, we seem to be the only country on earth not permitted to protect our borders. Our government even gives preferential treatment to illegal immigrants that citizens do not receive. There are separate rules and regulations depending on your category. The illegal immigrant rules are more lenient than those for citizens. It is truly a bizarre situation.

  • Agrippina

    Robinson should have asked more questions, the farmer who told us that the e-euros, came to work and that the Brits won’t! He should have been asked why it is that as soon as they enjoy full employment rights these hardworking folks, just like the Brits, don’t appear to want the work.

    The farmer then wanted the next wave of workers from (ukraine etc) they have to have special ‘work permits’ to work here. There must be a reason that no-one appears to remain at this type of job. Perhaps because it is impossible to support your family, & yourself and have any sort of family life working 12hrs per day. So instead of denigrating Brits why not say that no-one really wants the work, only
    those desperate to get out from the dumps they live in, accept these conditions.
    Ergo Brits are not lazy (Poles, Liths, Lats etc, don’t do these jobs anymore either are they lazy too).

    Farmers do well, EU subsidies and we make up the staff salaries with tax credits, child benefits, etc.

    Please stop voting for the 3 party troughers and have someone interested in improving the lives & living standards of Brits in Parliament.

    • grai

      this farmer is simply greedy and amoral – farmers like him are simply taking advantage of desperate people and justifying it by slagging off his own countrymen – I hope the removal of this agricultural scheme means he loses his disgusting exploitative business

      keep your lousy strawberries we are paying for them with our culture

  • KO

    Seems we have been censored. Some 200 plus comments have disappeared and
    James Delingpole’s important article hidden here under ‘Arts’. I’ll try again…

    All we need to know about the mindset that brought us to this sorry state was summed up by Blunkett’s wonderful line: ‘No, I’m not apologetic for what we did, we were on the side of the angels’. What overweening, self-satisfied arrogance! So it seems they had a hot-line to Gabriel back in the glory days of New Labour. So that’s why they handed over large tracts of our cities to peoples inherently at odds with our own values, and called it ‘multiculturalism’. So that’s why they waved goodbye to social cohesion, on the quiet in case the great-unwashed, who voted them into office, might not understand the depth and sincerity of their angelic generosity. It was possible their constituents might not ‘get’ their cities being handed over to peoples less fortunate than themselves. Peoples, moreover, who probably didn’t like them very much. Which is why the population were to be brainwashed through the medium of our great national broadcasters and newspapers. Commentators and comedians laughed at their bewilderment, sneered at their fears, snarled at their objections and called them all ‘racist!’ And the wonderful thing is that once this duplicitous trick had been pulled off it could never be undone. The egg can never be unscrambled. But not to worry, it made our metropolitan liberal/left elite feel very good about themselves, and that’s the important thing, after all they are on the side of the angels.

  • ilpugliese

    I don’t know what you want the BBC to say James. They said it was a problem, caused by decades of sleep-walking and refusal to discuss the matter openly. What more do you want? They don’t know the solution (the civilised one) any more than you do. If it leads to more discussion, then great. Or do you just take pops at the BBC because it’s your mission to entertain and not to inform or educate?

    • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

      Only the trailer to the programme said that ie a historic refusal to discuss the problem

      The programme tried to put a jokey gloss on the current situation and indicated that at root all is well.

      • ilpugliese

        I didn’t get that impression and I’ve watched it twice. Also the howls and shrieks from the nicey-niceys and anti-white-racists on Twitter convinced me that it was hitting a mark.

  • global city

    who will make such a programme? I’d say the same people who would look at the political scam of ‘global warming’, especially the corruption at the heart of the UN and the three core research institutes… the reality of the EU project and how MPs lie about what it has always been, with a follow up focusing on exactly how our own elite colluded to create the spin of business whilst busy leeching off our democracy…. it will be them!

  • Krishna Padmanabhan

    Notice something? Captains of industry want skilled immigrants to come in. Skilled immigrants from India, for example, in general, have a progressive work ethic – to work hard and well, as do most britishers. It is the lazy and the incompetent (irrespective of nationality) that complain against skilled immigrants – European or otherwise. The best engineers I have met in my life have come from the UK, Europe, Asia, the US and the rest of the world. My point is that talent is not restricted by political boundaries. This country needs skills to build the infrastructure, (and the foreign student’s fees to fund its universities). A fitter performs a very crucial task in engineering, but is not trained to do do complex engineering design. So, even if we have a million fitters, we may still need to ‘import’ design engineers when we are short of such skill. No point in mourning about it.