‘Gerald Howarth, the MP for Aldershot, warned his constituency is in danger of being verwhelmed by an influx of retired soldiers, who won the right to move to Britain following a landmark ruling in 2009.
More than 7,500 former Ghurkhas from Nepal have settled in the UK in the last two years, with the Hampshire borough of Rushmoor proving one of the most popular areas for them to settle.
But Mr Howarth said local services in the area are struggling to cope and he risked the wrath of many supporters by calling for them to spread more evenly around the country.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There needs to be a policy of dispersal.”
Appealing to other local authorities across Britain he added: “Why not invite the Nepalese community to come and settle in their areas. It’s a perfectly sensible policy. Dispersal is what we do with asylum seekers.”’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8775687/Disperse-Gurkhas-like-asylum-seekers-urges-minister.html).
In February 2011 I wrote “Part of England has been invaded” which concerned an influx of around 9,000 Gurkhas into the Aldershot area in Hampshire following Joanna Lumley’s campaign for them to be allowed to settle in the UK. (https://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/part-of-england-has-been-invaded/).
The local MP Gerald Howarth contributed the following comments under “Part of England has been invaded”: “How about all the Somalis who come to UK, get all the facilities by our government to raise their seven kids? What about all the other foreigners coming to our country? What about the hundreds of thousands of Polish people coming to our country? Who knows better to mess up our system then them? They are every where…
“ Poor Gurkhas, proud for being a part of English history, what have they done to deserve the targeted attack such as this?” (Go to the article and then scroll down to the end of the comments to find Mr Howarth’s comment. He contributed under the name “Gerald” but WordPress reveals the emails of those who post, in this case firstname.lastname@example.org ).
I replied “Mr Howarth – Rest assured that I am resolutely against mass immigration generally and have been since the 1960s. It is an insidious form of conquest which politicians of all stripes have connived at since 1945. I urge you to use your position in Parliament to speak unequivocally against its continuance.
“The Ghurkhas are an imperial left-over. Brave and loyal soldiers undoubtedly but an anachronism. Their position is that of simple mercenaries now. The honourable way to discharge them is to give those still serving a decent pay-off, send them back to Nepal and set up a fund of, say, £100 million to provide assistance to the children and other dependants of Ghurkhas with things such as education and healthcare. That will ease the transition.
“I doubt whether your constituents, especially those in the areas settled by the recent Ghurkha influx, will be so sanguine as you appear to be. Apart from changing the nature of their immediate world, the pressure put on housing and other goods and services must be intense.
“As for Britain’s future military needs, I think you will find this of interest:
That was the end of the exchange. A good example of the difference between British politicians’ private and public views about race and immigration.
The native population in the area settled by Ghurkhas have been getting increasing angry about the invasion, viz: ‘More than 2,300 people have joined Facebook groups entitled “Joanna Lumley has F—– up Aldershot and Farnborough” and “Lumley’s Legacy”…
Sam Phillips, who founded the groups, insisted that he was not racist and had “great appreciation” for the sacrifices the Ghurkhasmade for Britain.
The 35-year-old HGV driver, from Aldershot said: “Joanna Lumley was happy to use her face to get publicity for her cause, now we are using her name to show the result.
Our problem is not with the Ghurkhas it is with the government. If they matched the increase in residents with an increase in money and infrastructure there would not be a problem.”’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8768670/Joanna-Lumley-targeted-in-online-campaign-against-influx-of-Gurkhas.html)
The fact that over 2,000 people have signed up to such Facebook groups speaks volumes in these very politically correct times when to deviate from the liberal line that immigration is an unalloyed good is to invite a shout of “racist”, the latterday secular equivalent of a cry of “heretic” during the Reformation.
Mr Howarth’s most recent comments are a good example of the bind that British mainstream politicians are in when race and ethnicity raise their head. It is quite clear from his public and private comments that he is both under intense pressure from his constituents and has angry private feelings about immigrants. Yet he cannot act with
honesty because he knows that to do so would certainly spell the end of his ministerial career and probably result in his de-selection as a Tory MP before the next election.
There is also either disingenuousness or great naivety in his proposal that the Ghurkhas be dispersed. To begin with it is most unlikely that the Coalition government would sanction such as an act; the Tories from either an anachronistic sentimentality about “loyal servants of Britain ”or simply from fear of being thought racist and the LibDems on their general resistance to any control of immigration. Moreover, both Parties are only too aware of the way public support was whipped up by the campaign to allow the Ghurkhas to settle in Britain. Those of the public who have not been directly affected by the Ghurkha influx will probably have much of that sentimentality left, although as the monetary cost of allowing them into Britain has become more widely known this sympathy may have substantially diminished from the high point when Joanna Lumley’s campaign was triumphant.
But even if a policy of dispersal was adopted, there would be little chance of it happening. It is one thing to disperse individual asylum seekers to different parts of the country, quite another to move 9,000 people with a strong group identity. It is also difficult to see how people who are here as legal residents rather than people awaiting a decision on a claim for asylum could be forced to either move or, if they were dispersed, to remain in the place to which they were moved. It would require new laws, but even if such laws were passed it is almost certain they would clash with the Human Rights Act.
There is also the EU dimension because, being legally resident within Britain that means they are legally entitled to travel and settle anywhere within the EU. Finally, there would be the question of what would happen when they have been in Britain long enough to apply for British citizenship and the complications of any children born here (who would be British) or intermarriage between the Ghurkhas and British citizens. To legally engage in a policy of dispersal Britain would probably, as a minimum, have to leave the EU, repudiate the European Convention on Human Rights and repeal the Human Rights Act.
But even if they could be dispersed and made to stay where they were sent (highly improbable), the problem would not be solved. If they were not to be too onerous a burden on local services or change the nature of an area they would have to be sent in groups of dozens rather than hundreds or a thousand. That would lead to complaints, which would be vociferously taken up by the many politicians, mediafolk and pressure groups who are only too ready to ride the “anti-racism” hobbyhorse. It is dubious whether
any conceivable British Government would be willing to go against such pressure.
If the Ghurkhas were by some miracle dispersed in small groups that would bring its own
problems. According to media reports, many of the dependants are old and do not speak
English. In small, isolated groups, the call for interpreters both in their general life and in specialist areas such as healthcare would be problematic in the extreme.
In such circumstances what should the aggrieved part of the population of the Aldershot area do? The call for additional money from the money is badly mistaken. It suggests that the only objection to the Ghurkhas is the cost and the pressure on housing and local services. That will be part of the resentment, but the core of the complaint is the simple human emotion of wanting to defend territory against invaders. If the protestors use only the material resources argument the danger is that the Government will throw some money at the problem and the Ghurkhas will remain in situ.
Those who object to the Ghurkhas should base their argument against the invasion primarily on the way it has changed the nature of the area. In these politically correct time that is not easy. However, it can be done in a way to make accusations of racism difficult to sustain. The trick is, firstly, to contrast the way the area was before the influx with the way it is now and, secondly, to contrast the way the likes of Lumley live with the way residents affected by the Ghurkha influx live now. Do this by using photographs. It is
difficult for the authorities to act if all you are doing is showing reality.
The other lines of attack should be to diminish sympathy for the Ghurkhas amongst the general public. This can be done in various ways: by publicising the cost of the Ghurkhas, raising awkward questions such as how 9,000 could have been so readily housed in an expensive county such as Hampshire and emphasising that the loss of Empire reduced them to the status of simple mercenaries, something which is inappropriate for a modern democratic state such as Britain.
It is also necessary to remove the halo from “Saint” Joanna. That should not be too difficult because the behaviour of Lumley will seem to many to be deeply hypocritical. She was largely responsible for creating this situation, but once things started to go wrong and the local population began to object to the invasion, she shrank into public silence.
Generally, the trick is to engage as many of the supporters of the Ghurkhas in public debate. In such circumstances just keep hammering away at their personal circumstances, where they live, what is the ethnic make-up of the areas in which they live, and so on. They will invariably have arranged their lives in very white, and in England, very English worlds, either by living in an area untouched by immigration or creating white enclaves in the cities such as Hampstead and Islington in London. Once you have established that is their condition, put the question to them which Abe Lincoln asked
of the pro-slavers who argued slavery benefited the slaves: “What is this good thing no man wants for himself?” the good thing in this case being the joy of diversity. Shame those with power into doing something. It is your only hope.
You will need to make a suggestion as to what should be done about the Ghurkhas. Suggest what I put forward in my reply to Gerald Howarth: send them back to Nepal with a decent wad of money.
Keep your language, spoken and written, formally polite, avoid crude abuse, stick to the narrow parameters I have laid out above and you will give the opposition no easy means of distracting from the core issue – the invasion f the territory. If the authorities try to threaten you stand firm and they will leave you alone. They only ever prosecute
people for racial incitement, and that rarely, when they know the victim is going to lie down and either plead guilty or shape their defence within limits which will avoid any testing of the effects arising from mass immigration.