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Immigration and Labour’s unforgivable betrayal of the British people
08:49 GMT, 13 December 2012
The 2011 census figures for England and Wales broadly confirm what we already knew. Since the previous census in 2001 there was an unprecedented surge in the number of immigrants coming to this country.
Nearly four million arrived in a very short space of time. There are now 7.5 million people living in England and Wales who were born abroad. In London, the transformation has been so rapid that less than half the population now describe themselves as white British.
It is possible that the official figures understate the case since illegal immigrants, of whom there are an unknown number, are hardly likely to want to fill in an official census form. In any event, something momentous, historic and irreversible has happened.
Since the previous census in 2001 there has been an unprecedented surge in the number of immigrants coming to this country. There are now 7.5 million people living in England and Wales who were born abroad
What are my personal feelings about this When I think of the generally helpful and hard-working immigrants whom I encounter, and of my very nice immigrant friends, in some ways I feel good about it. But it hardly matters what I think, or even you.
Poll after poll over the past ten years has shown that most people (immigrants included) are worried about the speed and size of the influx. And yet no one in government — which in this context means the Labour Government, which allowed mass immigration — took a blind bit of notice.
This is the way I see it. We supposedly live in a democracy. That means we should have a say in the way our country develops. Of course, we are not all going to agree. But, in fact, immigration is one area in which most people do see eye to eye. They are in favour of it, but want it to be controlled.
Obviously Labour did not control it, and the question is why Was mass immigration a result of incompetence Or was it planned The 1997 Labour manifesto stated that ‘every country must have firm control over immigration and Britain is no exception’. Why didn’t Tony Blair and Gordon Brown do as they had promised
There is patchy, though compelling evidence that Labour spoke with a forked tongue, and had a secret agenda. Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Mr Blair, Mr Brown and Jack Straw, has written that Labour threw open Britain’s borders to mass immigration to help socially engineer a ‘truly multicultural country’.
Its chief motive may have been electoral. Migrants, and to a slightly lesser extent their descendants, are much more likely to vote Labour than for any other party. So, according to this theory, the Labour Party was furtively trying to increase its powerbase.
Promises: The 1997 Labour manifesto stated that 'every country must have firm control over immigration and Britain is no exception'. Why didn't Tony Blair and Gordon Brown do as they had promised
It is an amazing suggestion if you think about it. A political party puts its own interests before the preferences of a majority of the population. Can this really be true As far as I know, no Labour figure other than Mr Neather has ever dared suggest that it happened.
Other fragments of evidence include an official document from 2000 (released in 2010 under a Freedom of Information request) that makes clear immigration policy was partly driven by economic needs, but also by the Government’s ‘social objectives’ — a phrase that is repeatedly used.
Then there are the diaries of Chris Mullin, a former Labour minister, who in 2004 lamented the failure of the Government to tackle immigration abuses such as ‘the rackets that surround arranged marriages’ before noting that ‘at least 20 Labour seats depend on Asian votes’.
Existing proof of a conspiracy may be slender, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. This will be a job for future historians, who will doubtless have documents we haven’t seen. My strong suspicion is that electoral calculation partly explains Labour’s ‘open-door’ policy towards immigrants, though it is not possible to say to what degree.
Otherwise there was a general feeling that impeding immigration appeared mean-spirited and even racist. Besides, in those now distant boom years there was an almost unlimited demand for cheap labour. How much easier to let in energetic eastern Europeans than to cajole welfare-dependent members of the indigenous underclass into low-paid work.
Vocal: Back in 2004 former Labour minister Chris Mullin (pictured) lamented the failure of the Government to tackle immigration abuses
And never underplay the role of incompetence. It is not easy to restrict immigration, as this Government has discovered, though it is finally making some progress. From time to time Labour may have wished to stem the flow, but muddle-headedly or ineptly pulled the wrong levers.
Whatever the explanation, it is certain that Labour acted in a way that was contrary to the wishes of most of the population, whose concerns grew year by year as unchecked immigration, particularly in London and the South-East, put ever greater pressure on housing, land, schools, hospital care and other services.
This was a kind of betrayal — a betrayal of ordinary people by the ruling class. And also by the media class. For with one or two honourable exceptions such as the Mail, newspapers did not question government policy. As for the BBC, it treated moderate critics of mass immigration almost as though they were racist.
When during the 2005 general election the then Tory leader, Michael Howard, expressed misgivings about the high level of immigration — while emphasising that he was in no way a racist — he was habitually treated by the BBC as an extremist. I recall one interview by a sneering Jeremy Paxman, who attempted to paint him in the darkest colours.
Don’t take only my word for it. In July 2011 Mark Thompson, the then Director-General of the BBC, wrote in a magazine article that ‘there have been occasions when the BBC, like the rest of the UK media, was very reticent about talking about immigration’.
Isn’t this a shaming admission Shouldn’t the BBC reflect the anxieties of decent, ordinary people Mr Thompson declared in his piece that the Corporation has changed, but I doubt it really has.
For example, on Tuesday evening, BBC2’s Newsnight brought together four people to discuss the census figures. Only one expressed any reservations about the pace and magnitude of immigration, which he did in the most measured and civilised way.
Motives: Migrants, and to a slightly lesser extent their descendants, are much more likely to vote Labour than for any other party. So, according to this theory, the Labour Party was furtively trying to increase its powerbase
In London, only 45 per cent of the population now define themselves as white British. Two years ago, the distinguished Oxford demographer Professor David Coleman suggested that, if immigration continues on a similar scale, the white British population throughout the country will become the minority after about 2066.
Some will say this is not a bad thing. Indeed, when I despair at the lack of ambition of some indigenous British, I think so myself. Perhaps a new culture and a new national identity will be forged out of the many races that have flocked to our shores and, despite some curbs, will almost certainly continue to do so.
But be in no doubt that a historic change took place in the first decade of this century that will transform Britain for ever. Without the people being consulted, without any debate, without even the Labour government admitting what was going on, there was a quiet, yet seismic revolution. There can be no going back.
I believe Labour had a choice. I believe it could have controlled immigration, as it once said it wanted to do. I believe that is what most British people of every origin wanted.
Labour politicians behaved with monumental arrogance and presumptuousness, and with no regard for democracy. It was as though Britain was their country, not the country of the people who happen to live here.