is sometimes all too easy to see why the British left are so adamantine in their
assumption of moral superiority. Take for example the absence of right wing opposition
to 'Gypsy' Jack Straw's Immigration and Asylum Bill in the last parliament. This
truly terrible bill had as one of its many odious ingredients the degradation
of refugees' children. Thanks to it, the Children Act 1989 – which obliged councils
to protect children from destitution – no longer applies if such wretches have
the additional misfortune of being the children of asylum-seekers. And from this
level of creativity Jack Straw has moved on to being Foreign Secretary from his
old job as Home Secretary.
while he was still Home Secretary, Jack Straw came to the view that we needed
a common European immigration policy because the British judiciary are 'too protective
of the rights of asylum seekers'. Their worst crime was to rule that women in
fear of domestic violence in Pakistan should be given asylum – the Home Office
believes only political claimants should be considered. Right wing opposition
to this vile stance was instanced only by the fact that Labour proposed tackling
the problem [sic] through the establishment of a European asylum tribunals
other horrors of Mr Straw’s awful Asylum Act are consistent with its purpose,
to deter through unpleasantness immigration. Those claiming asylum now get food
vouchers, £1 a day in actual cash (50p extra for each child), they have no choice
where they stay, and, if unsuccessful in their asylum application, they receive
no benefits at all whilst their appeal is being heard. In short, the record
of the Labour party in office after 1997 has been a choice piece of governing
liberal immigration hypocrisy.
reached its zenith in establishment mummery over the Empire
Windrush, the fiftieth anniversary of whose docking occurred shortly after
Labour returned from eighteen years in opposition. The Empire
Windrush was a small steamer that disgorged several hundred West Indian
immigrants to post-war Britain, and is generally used as convenient shorthand
to refer to the beginning of mass, non-white immigration to the UK. It, the anniversary,
was used by government, BBC and liberal broadsheets to glorify both the event
itself , and the world it is held to have created – modern, multi-racial Britain.
A central irony being that, regardless of how fabulous or otherwise contemporary
Britain is, it would never have come into being in the first place if Jack Straw,
David Blunkett and Tony Blair (or for that matter, Iain Duncan Smith and Oliver
Letwin) had been waiting at Tilbury. The immigration regime these politicians
have all presided over would, if it had been in place in the 40s and 50s, have
kept Britain an all-white country.
has to wonder, was there an optimum number of black people whom we positively
needed to let in, and, as it happens, we've met that target? Because of course
too many black people would . . . Well, what would they? There must be
some consequence that would entail from their admission, given the cross party
consensus determined now to keep them out. A 747 filled with ‘economic migrants’
from the West Indies, with the legend Empire Windrush painted beneath the
cockpit, that landed at Heathrow today would be given the bum’s rush equally quickly
by all of Britain’s leading politicians.
Labour and Tory in office practice the same zero-immigration policies, the only
difference between them is ideological. Labour's is the hypocrisy of lauding our
multi-racial society while all the while ensuring that it doesn't get any more
multi-racial. Whereas, Tory thought and practice are regrettably more coherent.
They really don't want any more black people in Britain, and a large number of
Tories believe that there are already too many black Britons as it is. To this
end the Immigration and Asylum Bill is just desiderata – simply another face pulled
at immigrants by Whitehall in order to ward them off.
current immigration laws have the object of keeping black people out of Britain.
This is disastrous: mass immigration has been decreasing, is decreasing, and ought
to increase. Everything that flowed from previous waves of immigration has been
unambiguously good for Britain – it has made us a far more interesting country
to live in, we have provided safe haven for the oppressed to prosper in, and it
has produced no downside whatsoever. It certainly hasn't led to an increase
in crime: crime in this country does have a correlation with status, but that
status is class, not race. The sole short-coming so far of British immigration
policy has been the number of immigrants still trapped on the lowest rung of the
canards which underpin the anti-immigration consensus come under three main headings:
'the hidden millions' thesis; the 'asylum seeker' vs. 'economic migrant' debate;
and the Enoch fallacy.
those who want no further mass immigration (and are pretty quiet about how much
they wish there had been in the past) it is an article of faith that, despite
'official' government policy, Britain is teeming with millions of illegal immigrants.
Indeed it is part of 'the conspiracy' that there are no official government figures
as to the exact quantity of illegal immigrants secretly resident
in Britain at any given moment. Hence they turn to molochs like the Immigration
Services Union (ISU) for absurd guestimates. A rash move since, in the annals
of British trades unionism, those concerned with immigration are rivalled in their
inadequacy, sloth and misconduct only by the teaching and prison unions.
the evidence of anyone’s eyes that we're palpably not 'swamped' anti-immigration
rhetoric becomes quite barking about the third world. It is a given that in remote
villages in Guinea Bissau there is complete familiarity with both the official
rubric of British immigration law, and, with the 'inefficient reality'.
Frequently in this scenario are posited shady Mr. Bigs, who ruthlessly exploit
these supposed loopholes, and make fortunes transporting the inhabitants of Guinea
Bissau to, of all places, Dover or Heathrow.
the idea of 'hidden millions' is too easily perceived as lunacy, justification
for highly restrictive immigration laws revolves round the 'genuine asylum-seekers'
vs. 'economic migrants' debate.
in favour of the former, but we hate and fear that latter: the important thing,
we say, is to distinguish between the worthy and the unworthy. This is a dubious
distinction. If our immigration laws are intended to exclude the menacing poor,
why do they exclude all foreigners? Why not simply have a wealth threshold for
entry to, and continued residence in, the UK? The fact that we don't is proof
our system is racist – we're disingenuous because we know the truth is shameful.
To justify to ourselves barring poor (and coincidentally black) immigrants, we
have a regime which makes it difficult in theory for anyone to enter. In other
words, immigration controls are supposedly based on the need to combat economic
migration, yet apply to everyone regardless of wealth. It is to hide our guilt
that it's not just all about money that we, on paper, exclude the foreign rich
migrant' isn't even particularly meaningful – certainly not if one is trying to
describe a threat of some sort. The United States attracts far more of these migrants
than anywhere else, and for 100 years now they have been a crucial part of the
US economy's success. In other words, foreigners who want to leave their country
because it is poor are precisely the sort of people successful economies are based
brings us to the question, what does an immigrant cost? What, for example, could
be considered 'wrong' or objectionable about our 'economic migrants' if it could
reasonably be shown that they weren't costing the aboriginal population, through
the mechanism of state taxation, anything? e.g. by them having jobs, paying taxes,
creating wealth, etc.? As immigrants have been known to do, in every
society that has accepted them.
if one did concede that (some) immigrants are 'expensive', so too, in exactly
the same sense, are the aboriginal underclass, and it hasn't been received opinion
to do away with them for several decades.
the pious claims that 'tough but fair' merchants make for still harsher regulations,
is their basic contention that 'ordinary migrants' are unacceptable. Why are 'genuine
refugees' held to be so congenial (in as much as they are, as our highly selective,
grudging and limited acceptance of them more truly shows) when, by our normal
criteria, cost, likely disruption to 'currently good race relations' etc, they
(refugees) are more or less exactly the foreigners who will cause disruption?
What with them being so poor and degraded and inured to violence. People who have
come here just to get a job generally don't join armed gangs. People who have
fled an armed culture often tend to continue to feel a cultural affinity with
final aspect of the numbers game for the zero-immigration lobby is that, 'to let
in any more would undermine our currently good race relations'. Which means, 'we
can't let in any more black people because the white working classes won't like
it, and will behave horribly'. Nowhere else (other than Ulster) does the fear
that a section of the public could behave in an immoral fashion serve as sufficient
justification for policy. It is moreover a bogus fear: there is very little racism
in mass society compared to thirty years ago, and when it does happen we have
very strong anti-racism laws to deal with it.
the consensus on immigration, and the last element in this unfortunate trinity,
is Enoch Powell. Or more accurately, high political understanding of the tiger
he rode when popular anti-immigration sentiment was given its tribune. Most British
politicians share the unspoken assumption that, 'Enoch was right' i.e. that the
only reason his prophecies (or rather, those of his constituents) did not come
to pass was because tight restrictions were introduced. However the point of the
last thirty years experience surely is, his visions of race war and 'the black
man having the whip hand' weren't just forestalled – they were always impossibly
wrong. His nightmare was worse than immoral, it was patently unrealistic.
that we should stand policy on its head, and not merely welcome another good dose
of mass immigration, but also acknowledge that the reason we forswore it was our
dislike of non-white immigration, comes close I admit to childish dissent. Yet
what else should one do in the face of the unthinking assumption on the right
in Britain (though not in the US) that 'mass (for which read all non-white,
regardless of volume) immigration is unquestionably a bad thing'? As to mass-immigrations-of-a-different-colour
always being bad for the host society, I'd love to meet the right-winger who sincerely
thinks thus about the impact of 'the white man' on say Australia or America. This
stance is further refined by – and does anyone disbelieve this? – middle class,
Conservative fear and loathing for young, working class black males. We don't
after all know many, do we?
that there's nothing wrong with more black people from abroad coming to Britain
is in truth an extension of the argument, not yet won on the right, that there's
nothing wrong with the black people already here. In placing this debate in the
context of immigration I am open to the charge that I have practised an elision
between mass-black immigration and 'asylum-seekers'. My point simply is that our
frenzied attitude to the latter is entirely in consequence of our continued determination
to prevent anymore of the former.
Thank you to everyone who has looked at ERO
and made various helpful, and even unhelpful comments prior to our 5 June launch.
And as a sort of dubious bonus for making it all the way to the end of the column,
some stuff over there on the dreadful Chris Patten.