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The World According to Garry Bushell
By Garry Bushell
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2008 Garry Bushell
All rights reserved.
Immigration – The Lie of the Land
'Civilisations die from suicide, not by murder.'
Panic on the streets of London? Not really. Panic on the streets of Birmingham? Not yet. But there has been panic aplenty in the offices of the NME after Morrissey broke ranks with received opinion and apparently made a few brief but accurate comments about mass immigration.
In an interview with the right-on rag, rock star Morrissey said that Britain's identity was being lost due to an 'immigration explosion'. The former Smiths singer is reported to have said, 'The gates of England are flooded. The country has been thrown away.' He went on, 'Although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears, so the price is enormous. If you travel to Germany, it's still absolutely German. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity. But travel to England and you have no idea where you are, so the price is enormous.
'It matters because the British identity is very attractive. I grew up into it and I find it very quaint and amusing. Other countries have held on to their basic identity, yet it seems to me that England was thrown away. You can't say, "Everybody, come into my house, sit on the bed, have what you like, do what you like." It wouldn't work ... If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won't hear an English accent.'
A reasonable observation you might think, and a common-place one outside of liberal circles. The Government's own poll, published in December 2007, showed that nearly eight out of ten British people (77 per cent) want a cap on immigration. But that didn't prevent Morrissey's words from triggering an inevitable 'racism row'. The NME disassociated itself from the rock star, declaring his views 'inflammatory' and claiming his words had 'dangerous echoes' of the British National Party.
Anti-racism activists immediately waded in – Denis Fernando, of Unite Against Fascism, raged that Morrissey had 'shown a complete insensitivity to people and misunderstanding of what Britain is about'. Mr Fernando, by the way, is not just against fascism, he is also a member of the secretive far-Left Socialist Action; and who better than an obscure, revolutionary Marxist sect to lecture us on misunderstanding Britain?
The reaction was so irrational and extreme that Morrissey – himself the son of Irish immigrants, and a man comprehensively untainted by racial prejudice – was forced to take legal action against the music paper, saying his quotes had been 'butchered, redesigned, re-ordered, chopped, snipped and split'.
This is an explosive area, so take my hand and hold tight, because we are about to take a stroll through a minefield. Immigration has been a taboo subject in this country for more than a decade. The Far Left and their allies – human rights lawyers, the Refugee Council and other members of the Guardian-reading classes – have managed to stifle the immigration debate for years simply by screaming 'racist' or 'fascist' at anyone who brings it up. This is a suppression of debate, incidentally, that has played neatly into the hands of the Far Right. But were the words Morrissey is said to have used insensitive or, worse, racist? Or are they actually a brief but accurate reflection of the way things are?
I'm not too up on the intricacies of life on the street in Knightsbridge, but it's certainly true that large parts of London no longer look or sound English. Travel on a bus in Newham, close your eyes, and you'll be forgiven for thinking that Babel Enterprises were laying on guided tours of the Tower, without a guide. I recently went to a gym in Canning Town where every voice you heard was speaking in an Eastern European language. I found it disorientating and disturbing. I'm used to Woolwich where everyone speaks Punjabi.
Morrissey is wrong, though, when he says the gates of England are 'flooded' because, as far as I can see, New Labour tore down the gates entirely in 1997. When they swept to power, Labour gave up our border controls without a thought to the consequences. This resulted in the biggest wave of immigration to these islands in history. Five million immigrants have arrived in the UK since 2000 alone; that's workers and their dependents. Five million! Think about that number – that's more than the population of Wales and Northern Ireland combined, all pouring in, wanting somewhere to live, something to do, somewhere to educate their kids, somewhere to go when they're poorly ...
That's not a rational immigration policy, it's a human tsunami, which has put an unprecedented strain on the country's infrastructure of healthcare, schools and transport and our limited housing stock. The pressures of accommodating all these extra people has inevitably begun to wear down Britain's fine traditions of tolerance and understanding.
Labour's come-as-you-are immigration policy has caused the biggest social changes in British history, and yet I don't recall that particular pledge in their 1997 election manifesto. There was no section proudly proclaiming: 'Vote for us and we'll give your job to an Albanian'. In fact, they barely mentioned immigration at all. Even now, not one single mainstream political party is prepared to talk openly about the problems that have arisen from the opening up of our borders, let alone discuss how to tackle them.
So let's do it now, calmly and rationally. Let's ask who continued mass immigration benefits and who it doesn't, and see where we go from there.
First, though, for the benefit of Mr Fernando and his comrades, let me set out my stall on the big issue. When it comes to people, I'm colour-blind. I haven't got a racist bone in my body, and never have had. I've had black girlfriends and, according to Channel 4, I may even be one-sixteenth African myself. The London I grew up in had a substantial West Indian population who contributed plenty to our popular culture, not least to Mod and Skinhead subculture. Black music invigorated our charts, Chrissie Powell should be knighted and I dearly wish Lenny Henry was still funny. If Pluto Shervington's 'Dat' isn't played at my funeral, I'll want to know why. This discussion is not about race, it's about numbers, identity, culture and social cohesion. It's also about lies, liberal wish fulfilment and the evil good men do.
Lie One is that Britain needs an open-door immigration policy because there aren't enough workers in Britain to do the work that needs doing. But, of course, there are plenty of domestic workers around – they just aren't working. We've got 1.7 million on the dole and another 2.7 million claiming long-term incapacity benefit. And why have we got so many unemployed? Because a labour force from Eastern Europe is happy to come here and under-cut wages throughout the building industry and beyond. Our old friend Capitalism needs immigration to keep labour costs down.
Lie Two is that we need the immigrants to top up our depleted pension pots. Home birth rates are falling, the argument goes, and without Johnny Foreigner riding to the rescue the country will be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Except, hold on a mo, won't the immigrants get old, too? Won't they need pensions themselves?
Immigration doesn't solve our pension crisis, it just postpones it. And if the only solution we can think of is to invite in another 10 million, then maybe even the NME might notice that the country is changing a bit.
Lie Three is that all of us benefit from this influx of eager beavers grateful to work for a pittance. Not so. It's great if you're a well-off, professional couple in Hampstead. You can get your gardeners, home-helps, window-cleaners and au pairs much cheaper. But how does it help you if your previous job was doing Mr and Mrs Hampstead's ironing or catering or walking their dog for a few bob an hour more? Suddenly, you're out of a job, or working for less, waiting longer for social housing and watching the neighbourhood change beyond recognition. Researchers at Harvard University have shown that, in the long run, immigration just transfers wealth from the poor to the rich.
Lie Four is the Home Office claim that immigrants contribute £6 billion a year to the economy. This was reported as fact by the BBC, the Guardian and other well-meaning people who dearly wish that it was true. The Government report says immigration boosts economic growth by 0.5 per cent a year (which is where they get the £6 billion figure from). But it also admits that immigration is increasing the population by 0.5 per cent a year. In other words, the Gross Domestic Product is unaffected by immigration. The Home Office could find no evidence that immigration makes the country richer.
Lie Five is that all immigrants are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and dead keen to work. Certainly, the 750,000 industrious Poles working here have been a boon to Britain's service industries. But what about the half-a-million Somalis? More Somalis live here than in any other country in the world, except Somalia; eight out of ten of them are out of work. The Poles pull the weight, while the Somalis pull strokes. It might make sense for the UK to import skilled labour (although it'd make more sense to train up our own sparks, plumbers and plasterers rather than bus them in from Gdansk); but why import unemployed layabouts? We've got enough home-grown ones, ta very much.
The only people who benefit from mass immigration are the wealthy, and the immigrants themselves. It's a triumph of market forces over all other considerations, including those of common sense. So why did a Labour Government encourage it?
Partly from well-intentioned naïveté – the old-fashioned, liberal belief that the country would be a better place if it was a great big melting pot (big enough to take the world and all it's got). Partly from self-interest – they assumed, probably rightly, that first-generation immigrants would naturally vote Labour. And partly – perhaps even largely – from an inbuilt hatred of the south of England. More than half of England's population is now crammed into the south-east, making us the most densely peopled country in the world. Labour despises the south-east for its green belt, its countryside, its village life, and its robust Conservative majority.
As late as the 2005 General Election campaign, Home Secretary Charles Clarke was insisting, 'We want more immigration.' And more immigration they got. The party only woke up to the problems it caused in 2006 when working-class voters in their safe seats, feeling alienated and disenfranchised, began defecting to the BNP. And, even then, Labour persisted with the lie that without mass immigration this country would fall apart.
So can anything be done? Absolutely. A strong British Government would clamp down on immigration immediately, reclaim our borders, admit no more migrants for at least five years and round up and deport those here illegally. A strong Government would control future immigration strictly, as it is done in Australia and New Zealand, and insist that no one can enter who can't speak the language or provide for their dependents. A strong government would put a rocket up the arse of the wilfully unemployed, and encourage our citizens to breed for Britain.
Only we haven't got a strong Government. Privately, MPs acknowledge that there's sod all Gordon Brown can do to limit immigration because everyone in the European Union has the automatic right to move here should they so desire. Under EU law, there is little we can do to restrict the right of residence of anyone from the other 26 member states. And article 62 of the new EU treaty will abolish all remaining controls. In other words, once some chancer has slipped into the EU from anywhere else in the world, there will be nothing to stop them coming here. We can't restrict the number of asylum-seekers we admit either, because that, too, is controlled by the EU. The obvious answer – for us to leave the EU and reclaim control of our borders – doesn't seem to have occurred to them.
* * *
IT IS often said by the pro-immigration lobby that Britain is a country of immigrants. This is deliberately misleading or, in plain English, another lie. The peoples they talk about – the Angles, Saxons, Celts, Vikings, Jutes, Franks, Frisians, Normans (who were also of Viking blood) and the rest were not so much immigrants as invaders. They didn't come to work. They came to raid, plunder, pillage and conquer. They were met by armed resistance, and they often destroyed the home culture, replacing it with their own. They were largely Germanic tribes, however, from pretty much the same northern European stock; assimilation was easy. Even the Norman conquerors were relatively few in number – no more than 10,000, and perhaps as few as 5,000.
Immigration as we know it began after 1066, with the arrival of Jewish money-lenders (who were later expelled by Edward I), Italian merchants, Hansa traders, Flemish weavers, gypsies and German Palatines. From the 16th century, small numbers of Africans ('blackamoors') arrived and, from the 19th century on, a smattering of Indians and Chinese. In 1871, the total Chinese population in Britain was 207. Until the 19th century, the Huguenots – French Protestants – constituted the largest immigrant wave, and only 50,000 of them stayed in the British Isles.
After 1882, Jewish refugees fleeing the Russian Empire began to arrive; the Census of 1911 puts their number at 120,000. A further 55,000 Jews arrived between 1933–39. After the Second World War, their numbers peaked at around 400,000, tailing off through emigration or assimilation to an estimated 285,000 by the mid-1990s.
Full-on immigration began in earnest from 1945, as successive Governments encouraged newcomers to settle from the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia. This was immigration on a scale never previously experienced.
In 1939, the Indian population of Birmingham was 100; in 1955, the total number of Indians and Pakistanis in Britain was 10,700. By 1991, the census put their number at 1,316,810, with a further 162,835 Bangladeshis. In 2007, the numbers are estimated at 2 million Indians, 1.6 million Pakistanis, 400,000 Bangladeshis and 350,000 other south Asians. Our Black African-Caribbean population is estimated at 566,000.
Britain's transformation into a multi-racial society was never put to a vote and it wasn't painless, but it was surprisingly peaceful given the extent of the changes. To counter bigotry, successive Governments built up a thriving race-relations industry. This – rightly, in my view – made discrimination on the grounds of skin colour illegal. The big mistake was the creed of multi-culturalism – a form of cultural self-loathing – which all the major parties bought in to. Rather than bring up the children of these new immigrants with a shared British culture, the multi-culturalists insisted on 'diversity'. 'All cultures are equal,' they said. To try and instil the values of the old British monoculture on the young was a form of cultural imperialism.
The first victim of the new creed was Ray Honeyford, the headmaster of a Bradford school who argued that, because the new immigrants were here to stay, they needed to be integrated into British society; English, therefore, should be their first language, and they should be well versed in Britain's history and culture. For sticking to this eminently reasonable point of view, Honeyford was branded a racist – the placards said 'Ray-cist'; be still my aching sides – and he was drummed out of his job. For the multi-culturalists, it seems, all cultures might be equal, but no opinions can be tolerated other than their own.
The result was that Britain became a society of religious and ethnic apartheid; our inner cities have been Balkanised, fragmented, full of no-go areas, hostility and street signs few native English people can begin to fathom out. At one time, this only happened after a people were invaded and subjugated; now we surrender our identity in a one-way-street of 'understanding'.
When I worked in East London a few years ago, there was a normal state primary school over the road from our plant where every sign was written in Urdu. Not Urdu and English, just Urdu. I pointed out to a colleague that this was crazy. 'Oh,' she said, 'you can't say that, it's racist.'
It isn't, of course. To suggest that the English-born children of Asian immigrants would be better off learning English than being confined to an inward-looking educational ghetto is the opposite of racism.
Multi-culturalism was well-intentioned; it was meant to make newcomers feel at home. 'Your culture is as important as ours,' it said but, in practice, multi-culturalism exacerbates the sense of otherness, it increases alienation, offends common sense and creates a society built on vastly conflicting loyalties.
Excerpted from The World According to Garry Bushell by Garry Bushell. Copyright © 2008 Garry Bushell. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
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