I recently watched a Guardian-sponsored debate from 2015 in which Douglas Murray and two female British-Asians discuss the question, ‘Is Britain full?’ One of the women is a Labour politician and the other someone called Saratha Rajeswaran. The moderator was black and from some Commonwealth country. I like Douglas Murray but he didn’t seem to have a lot to say against the prevailing view that Britain still has plenty of green spaces left and therefore there is no good reason to stem the flow of immigrants to this country. I think the ethnic question is one Douglas is wary of addressing, though he is very good on everything else.
Quite why the panel was so heavily weighted towards the Children of Empire I can’t say. After all, immigrants generally favour more immigration so we pretty much knew where the Asian ladies stood on the issue before they even opened their mouths. The moderator too, most probably, since the Guardian wouldn’t have chosen him otherwise.
This suspicion was confirmed at 18 mins 20 secs by Tulip Siddiq, who told the story of the time a young black woman in Tulip’s constituency collared her and opined that there had been too much immigration into her area. Tulip thought this the height of hypocrisy, coming as it did from an immigrant, and tried to make the woman see the inconsistency of her position. If Tulip is right then it seems immigrants are duty-bound to be in favour of ever more immigration, no matter whether the country actually wants or needs it. Therefore by allowing immigration you are automatically producing more advocates for immigration into your country. Tulip was basically saying that if you yourself have been pulled into a lifeboat you are in no position to point out that taking on more people may cause the boat to sink.
She also warned us to be careful how we talk about mass immigration lest we make immigrants feel unwelcome, God forbid. She also advises us to differentiate between immigrants who explicitly come to work (she gives the Irish as an example of these) and immigrants who come here out of desperation, her own family being an example. I think the point she was making was that some natives are angry at immigrants taking jobs that they might otherwise have been given. Yet presumably immigrants who come to Britain out of desperation also get jobs. Either that or they live off welfare. Tulip doesn’t tell us how we should feel about either group, though I’m sure we it’s positively about both.
Nor should we blame immigrants for putting a strain on social services, according to Tulip. Presumably we should blame working people for not paying enough taxes to cover the needs of this huge influx of people. Or maybe blame politicians for not allocating all money towards Tulip’s preferred social services. I’m sure that she, being Labour, would increase tax on corporations and the well off as a way of funding public services. What could possibly go wrong with that? And why has no one ever thought of it before?
The truth is I don’t blame immigrants for jumping at the opportunity of a better life. I only blame politicians, the media, teachers and everyone else involved for being a party to the gradual destruction of my nation. To have overseen this seems to me a shameful thing and many Britons aren’t happy about it. They preferred mono-cultural, mono-racial Britain to the Star Wars bar we now live in and have said so all along but have constantly been ignored or insulted. Unsurprisingly, the constant propaganda from the government to enjoy this new multicultural Britain hasn’t changed most people’s minds. It’s seems most people prefer homogeneity to diversity.
There’s an argument for seeing immigrants as just as British as Gerald Ponsonby-Smythe and I imagine Tulip making it thus:
Me: I think that British people in general preferred things as they were.
Tulip: My children were born in Britain. Aren’t they British? If not, what are they?
Me: They are legally British, and perhaps even culturally British, depending on how you brought them up, but they aren’t ethnically British.
Tulip: But ‘British’ isn’t an unchanging monolith. For example, the culture of rich British people is very different to that of the British working class. Nor is ‘British’ a fixed ethnicity. The word refers to whoever lives permanently in these islands. First they were Celts, then Romans from Italy, then Angles and Saxons from Germany and Denmark, then Vikings from Norway, then Normans from France, then Huguenots and Jews and Poles and Indians and Jamaicans so on. Over time they melded together. What the word ‘British’ refers to is constantly changing over time and not fixed as you appear to believe.
Me: I agree, the meaning of ‘British’ isn’t fixed in amber but neither is it so fluid that it can refer to one thing one day and something completely different the next. If the Han Chinese were to invade Tibet tomorrow and ethnically cleanse all the Tibetans, would those Chinese invaders suddenly be Tibetans? Would their children? They may refer to themselves as Tibetans but the rest of us might need more time to see them as such. And the actual Tibetans certainly would! Probably the older generation would first have to die off before the younger generation, who neither knew nor cared about ‘how things used to be’ (“Boring, Granddad”), could start to call those Han Chinese living in Tibet ‘Tibetans’.
Tulip: But some of us have been here for 60 years. How long is it going to take you before you can bring yourself to call us ‘British’.
Me: If mass immigration had stopped 60 years ago then I would probably be calling you ‘British’ now. As it is, mass immigration has not only continued but increased, with another 300,000 – 500,000 immigrants arriving every year. Forgive me, but from a casual glance in the High Street it’s impossible to tell who has been here for 60 years and who arrived just yesterday.
Secondly, yes, I probably am a mixture of all Britain’s past ethnic groups and from where I’m standing – namely the future – I’m not bitter that the Normans invaded Anglo-Saxon Britain. After all, the Normans are probably among my ancestors. But I don’t believe that Anglo-Saxon Britons, while in the process of being invaded by the Normans, felt as indifferent to the change as me. They probably tried to fight off the invaders but failed and had to ‘suck it up’, as Americans say. We modern-day Britons are right now being invaded in slow motion by the world. It’s a relatively peaceful invasion but one that most native Brits would prefer weren’t happening. And you, Tulip, are asking us not just to suck it up but to enjoy it. And you enjoin us not to say anything that might make the invaders feel unwelcome! I have to say, you’ve got some nerve.
In my imagination Tulip runs away sobbing while crowds of indigenous Britons gather round me and slap me on the back.
Just to be clear, I’m an ethic nationalist for all people, not just my own tribe and I’m against any group of people flooding into lands already occupied by others. Brits did that in the past and that’s a shame but it wasn’t me and that was then and this is now, the world was a different place then with different rules and you can’t unmake an omelette etc. etc. At some point you have to accept what happened a long time ago, as I have reluctantly come to terms with the fact that a thousand years ago Britain was invaded by the Normans – the bastards! No, just kidding. Forgive and forget, that’s what I say.
Besides all that, justifying present-day immigration into Britain with, ‘Well, the British colonised other countries so they deserve to be colonised themselves.’ This does a couple of things. One is to suggest that you are in favour of collective guilt whereby the sins of the great-great-great-grandfather are inherited by the son. That’s fine if you want to blame all Africans for the Rwandan Genocide or all today’s Turks for the horrors of the Ottoman Empire but I’m not sure you do. (Please also bear in mind that we Brits are precisely not the ones who sailed out to colonise the world. My lot stayed at home).
Apart from that, by insisting that I somehow share in the (alleged) guilt of Captain Cook and Cecil Rhodes you are really making my point, which is that the ethnic groups are real and important. Or are they only of importance when it comes to paying reparations or evening the score.
As a bit of light relief from Britain, what do I think about Israel? I’m not sure. First the Jews were there, then they were driven out by Romans and Arabs, though many Jews stayed on. Then the wanderers, who had grown amazingly intelligent in the centuries they were away, returned to join their brethren after being driven out again, this time by Russkies and Nazis. Though they were welcomed back by Jews who had stuck it out over the centuries, the Arabs of Palestine were less enthusiastic about this sudden influx. However, the incoming Jews did at least buy the land they settled, rather than stealing or driving the Arabs away. And to their credit they made some unpromising land viable in a way that, quite frankly, the Arabs never had. Apart from this, they had nowhere else to go since America and Britain had closed its borders to any more Jewish refugees. Where else were they supposed to go? And then they were attacked by the Palestinian Arabs and the surrounding Muslims countries. All things considered, my sympathies lie mainly with the Jews, though I can see why a Palestinian Arab might be annoyed. End of light relief and back to Britain.
I dislike all mass immigration, including Brits flocking to Torremolinos. I don’t believe that Brits are somehow ‘better’ than Indians, Czechs or Tibetans, though I do believe that everyone is better than Romanian Gypsies and Irish Travellers. This is because they seem further from civilised values than any other group I know. It’s possible that I mean Enlightenment values, but because I’m unsure of what they are I’ll stick with ‘civilised’ and make a mental note to read up on ‘the Enlightenment’ some day.
I don’t necessarily even prefer the company of white British people over others, though my two best friends are English and Irish. Looking at my ‘Facebook Friends’ I see that very few of them are white British. It’s simply that, in the same way I feel a house should house a family rather than a random assortment of strangers, be they ever so nice, so I feel a nation should feel like an extended family.
Having said all that, a certain amount of immigration is fine and over time, as long as the numbers aren’t too large, everyone gets absorbed into the nation in the end, just like a long-term lodger is gradually becomes part of the family.
Just to digress for a minute, looking at old censuses I noticed that a young railway worker came to lodge with my great-grandparents when they were a young couple. I imagine they already knew him (my great-grandfather also worked on the railways) and needed someone to help pay the mortgage. They then had a couple of children but the lodger stayed for the next 20 years! I like picturing that household and imagining that the lodger not only helped out with the finances but was seen as an uncle by the children. He in turn probably gained a sense of belonging to a family that he might not have otherwise had. Are there still similar arrangements today? I find it really appealing. End of digression.
Immigration is all about the number of immigrants, where they are from and how long they need to be seen as ‘belonging’, with larger numbers and more exotic cultures needing more time to integrate than smaller numbers from cultures similar to that of the host nation. Over the last 60 years these factors: numbers, country of origin and time to fit in, have been way out of whack, with far too many immigrants from exotic cultures arriving in too short a time. Immigration should be like a vaccination with only enough antigens injected into the body at one time so that the latter produces only a mild immune response, rather than succumbing to the alleged treatment.
A question I would have liked to ask all three panelists is why any British person would want more immigration. After all, though Britain is not as densely populated as some countries, neither is it underpopulated, like the Australian Bush. Tulip helpfully pointed out that Britain is actually fairly low in the ranking of a country’s population density and she thereby suggested that we could easily take in more people. What she didn’t mention is that most of the countries above us in the rankings are Third World hell holes. Nor did she address the question of why it’s better for Britain to have more people rather than fewer. What is gained by having more people?
I suspect Tulip would give two answers, one that some people are fleeing intolerable conditions in their own countries and thus deserve to be taken in. I have a lot of sympathy with this argument and am happy that Britain took in large numbers of Kenyan and Ugandan Asians in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Those Asians were only in Africa in the first place at the invitation of the British who needed help constructing railways and generally administering their African colonies. The Africans themselves proved either unwilling to work or just plain useless. After working for the British in Africa for many decades it would have been wrong to leave these Asians in the lurch and at the mercy of Idi Amin. Apart from that, these Hindus and Sikhs have proven to be good immigrants: they are generally clever, don’t take drugs or drink to excess and are generally less rowdy and than other ethnic groups or the native Brits.
On the other hand I would prefer it if any Somalis and Muslims fleeing to Britain went home again once their own countries were safe. They could, for instance, help to rebuild those countries rather than relying solely on western foreign aid to do so. But the fact is that they are never going home, which is like asking to crash on someone’s sofa and then staying forever.
There is also the danger that people fleeing awful countries bring some of that awfulness with them: the beheadings, the drug running, the schoolgirl grooming gangs, rape culture, low IQ, in-breeding, honour killings, anti-semitism and eye-popping crime rates, to name just a few pathologies, though I’m sure there are more. Why on earth would British people want such immigrants in their country? We already have enough criminals and anti-social morons of our own.
The second point Tulip might make is that since native Brits either can’t or won’t do certain jobs, then it makes sense to let willing immigrants do them. This certainly seems to have been the British government’s policy over the past 60 years. Bringing in labour from outside is so much easier than training your own population, or trying to coax feckless natives into getting up off their arses to do job they feel are beneath them. But as Douglas Murray has pointed out, immigrants also get old and when they retire you will need to get some more. In this way, as well as the higher fertility rate of some ethnic groups, the local population gradually shrinks in relation to that of immigrants.
Mass immigration has now become a permanent feature of Britain’s economic policy rather than a stop-gap used to plug a temporary shortage in the labour market. No doubt if the economy required another 10 million foreign workers the British government would rush them over from who-cares-where and hastily bulldoze the Lake District in order to house the new arrivals. Meanwhile indigenous Britons fall into minority status in an increasing number of cities. It seems the government is only bothered about growing GDP; other things people tend to worry about are of no interest to the government.
I sometimes wonder what Britain would have looked like if we hadn’t gone down the road of mass immigration. Would we now have the same GDP per capita as Bangladesh or the Congo? I doubt it, though I’m willing to believe that mass immigration may have put an extra £5 in our monthly wage packets. What I’m not convinced about is that this fiver compensates for the decimation of our old way of life and the transformation of a nation into a mere place.
My Irish friend occasionally accuses me of having an unrealistically rosy picture of Old Britain. He could be right. I have read about the unreliability of memory and how older people always glorify the past, even when it was rubbish. What speaks against this is that I have spent 6 months of each of the last 16 years in Japan and I think it’s a wonderful place. This is not a trick of memory because I’m here now. One of the reasons I like it so much is the ethnic homogeneity. Of course Japan has its bad points (natto is bloody horrible and kabuki incomprehensible) but the feeling of being a unified nation is one that I like, even if I can’t belong to it.
It’s odd. I worry about this stuff while others are completely sanguine about it and it really might be me who is peculiar rather than them. Perhaps they, like the government, feel that as long as the demands of the economy are being met then it hardly matters who lives here. Or maybe they really don’t mind becoming a minority in their country and never give ethnicity a second thought. From my perspective they resemble unnaturally docile dogs, trained by their owners neither to bark nor even raise an eyebrow if a strange dog wanders into his garden. And after all, what does it matter if some new dogs move into the neighbourhood? There’s room for everyone is this as yet still fairly green and pleasant garden.
My own knee-jerk response to mass immigration may, for all I know, be more suitable to barky, territorial dogs than to modern, cosmopolitan, sophisticated humans. Maybe I think too much with my gut than with my head. So let me ask my head a question: Why on earth would indigenous British people prefer to live in a crowded country full of strangers rather than in a spacious country among their own kind? What is my gut missing here?