Speakers: Sir Andrew Green (MigrationWatch UK)
Philip Hollobone (Tory MP for Kettering)
Gerard Batten (UKIP MEP for London)
This was a meeting truly remarkable the vehemence and explicit nature of the anti-immigrant feeling which was put forward not only by members of the audience during questions but by the speakers. Some made s show of a few token gestures towards fitting their complaints within the pc envelope but most were explicit in their recognition that what matters is the qualitative societal change mass immigration brings.
Sir Andrew Green
Green performed as he usually does, sticking in the main to statistics. Nonetheless he was more forthright than he used to be in his language and statistics alone can be very telling. These quotes will give a flavour of his talk:
“I would suggest to you that the present scale of immigration represents the greatest threat to our social cohesion we have ever faced and I would further suggest that the failure of the political class to address this issue has undermined confidence in our entire political system. “
“ The public are not in the least convinced by nonsense they are told about this being a country of immigration. We are not and never have been. The number of net migrants in 2010 exceeded the number between 1066 and 1950. “
(Green’s assertion that more immigrants arrived in the UK in 2010 than came between 1066 and 1950 is very plausible, even if the figures have to be guesstimates because of the lack of adequate records before the 19th century. We can be pretty sure that there was little immigration because populations in Europe were very small by modern standards at the beginning of the period and were reduced dramatically by the Black Death in the 14th Century which is generally reckoned by historians of the period to have carried off a third to half of Europe’s inhabitants. Tellingly, there was a lack of serious riots in England against foreigners simply because they were foreigners or against what would now be called ethnic minorities between the expulsion of the Jews in 1290 by Edward I and the arrival of Protestant Huguenots, who arrived from Catholic France after the revocation of the Edict of Nante in 1684 removed the limited toleration they had been given by the French monarchy. Their numbers were not great because they cannot have been great because the population of France was still overwhelmingly Catholic and was probably only 15-20 million during the period in question. They were followed by an influx of Jews in the 18th century and bursts of Jewish immigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as they fled first the pogroms of eastern Europe and then Hitler. The numbers involved were very small compared with the vast numbers who have arrived since 1945 and particularly in the period since 1997 (tens of thousands compared with millions in the modern period).
Green made these statistical points:
– Most of the immigration to the UK comes from outside the EU. Therefore, the UK should be concentrating on reducing that while we remain within the EU.
– If net immigration continued to run at 200,000 pa, the figure which it has averaged for the past ten years, the UK population would reach 70 million by 2027.
– The Coalition has managed to make significant progress towards their target of reducing net immigration to tens of thousands by 2015. However, the right to free movement granted to Romania and Bulgaria from 1 January 2014 could easily undermine these efforts.
– The Coalition may fudge things by not including the 2014 Bulgarian/ Romanian figures in the immigration statistics before the next general election.
– Very large numbers of Bulgarians are already in Spain and Italy and may well move northwards to escape the difficult economic circumstances in those countries. Green also mentioned that there are 1.5m Roma in these countries.
– The official immigration figures massively understate the true level of EU immigration, perhaps by 2-3 times.
Green raised the question of leaving the EU but did not explore it, although he stated . He suggested instead that when the proposed renegotiation with the EU took place, access to benefits by EU migrants should be one of the prime subjects for Britain to put on the agenda.
Although Green did not wholeheartedly go for the policies which would allow Britain to really control her borders such as leaving the EU and repudiating any other treaty which restricts Britain’s ability to control her borders, both he and MigrationWatch have come a long way in the past ten years. There was a time when Green would have disregarded the EU dimension and spoken only about restricting immigration from outside the EU. Nor would you have heard him using such blunt language and sentiments as those contained in the two passages I have quoted above. The movement of Green and MigrationWatch (most of it in the past five years) is emblematic of a general movement in the rhetoric if not the action of the mainstream British Parties and the British elite in general in recent years.
For a Tory MP, indeed for any MP, Holbone was startlingly frank. He is a member of the “Better off Out” group and maintains that the demands of EU membership is “not a price the British people wish to pay”. This allowed him to embrace the idea that the UK could only regain control of its borders by leaving the EU.
While the UK remained within the EU he advocated that the Government should (1) challenge the EU by refusing to accept the lifting of the transitional rules for Bulgarians and Romanians and (2) do what other countries in the EU such as Spain and officially register foreign workers and keep tabs on them.
Hollobone also railed against the pressure immigrants brought on infrastructure and the crime they committed, declared that the NHS was “ the National Health Service not the World Health Service” and stated that UK citizenship was granted far too easily and should require 15 or 20 years of well behaved residence in the country before someone was considered for citizenship.
All well and good, but sadly and pathetically Hollobone tried to excuse himself and other politicians from not speaking out until recently because it was only the advent of white immigration from the EU which had “given permission” to the British to complain about immigration. He needed to be “given permission” before speaking out? That is the problem with mainstream British politicians in a nutshell: they have not got an ounce of courage. When it comes to emotive and serious subjects, what counts is speaking when it is dangerous not when it is safe.
Batten was even franker than Hollobone. As a UKIP member, he is of course in favour of leaving the UK, (which he stressed was the only way to regain control over the UK’s borders), but he also favours withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights, repealing the Human Rights Act, making over-staying a visa a criminal offence and only allowing visitors into Britain if they either have health insurance or the UK has reciprocal medical arrangements with the visitor’s country. Batten also suggested that immigrants whose status could be illegal should be forced to register with the government if they wanted their cases investigated. Failure to register should, he said, result in expulsion from the UK without any chance of appeal.
Batten slated the great increase in immigration from the Blair government onwards , an increase which he attributed to a deliberate Labour policy designed to change the ethnic make-up of the UK. (The grounds for this belief is the Evening Standard article by Andrew Neather in 2009 in which he claimed that “mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural” (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/dont-listen-to-the-whingers–london-needs-immigrants-6786170.html).
Batten derided the British MEPs other than those from UKIP who had recently voted in the EU Parliament for the adoption of a report advocating the entry into the EU of Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo, countries with a combined population of 80 million.
The importance of breaking the liberal censorship
The vehemence of many of the audience was considerable. Not only were very strong opinions against the politically correct status quo expressed, the tones of voice and the body language were both extremely animated.
Although there was no effing and blinding or crude racist language, the ideas being put forward by both the speakers and the audience were far more inflammatory in their implications than many of those who have been charged in recent times with being “racist” because of what they have said or written in public. Take Green’s “the greatest threat to our social cohesion we have ever faced” or Batten’s belief that Blair had used immigration as an instrument of policy to fracture the ethnic solidarity of the UK. Is that really different in sentiment from the white working class Englishwoman Emma West who is charged with a racially aggravated public order offence for saying in a public place things like “‘You ain’t English. No, you ain’t English either. You ain’t English. None of you’s ****ing English. Get back to your own ****ing… do you know what sort out your own countries, don’t come and do mine.”? (https://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/emma-west-immigration-and-the-liberal-totalitarian-state/).
The audience questions were heartening because they were based mainly on the social rather than the economic impact of immigration. The competition for jobs, housing, medical treatment, education and welfare is of course important, but the primary objection to mass immigration is the general change it brings to society. Mass immigration which results in numbers of particular nationalities, races and ethnicities arriving which are sufficient to permit the development of settlements with separate ways of living from the host population is a covert form of conquest. Mass immigration of the unassimilatable is an act of the most profound treason by those with political power who permit it, and, in the case of the Labour governments of Blair and Brown, made doubly so by those who positively encourage it as a matter of policy. It is treason because the effect of such immigration is to effectively allow the unassimilatable to colonise territory by settlement.
I attempted without success to be called to put a question. Had I been called my question would have been “Before there can be proper public debate about immigration and its consequences the restrictions on free expression which result in people being charged with criminal offences, losing their jobs or being the subject of a media hate campaign when they speak honestly on the subject must be removed. What will the speakers be doing to remove those restrictions?” Unfortunately no one else asked the question so it went by default.
There is undoubtedly a changed and changing public rhetoric on race and immigration, but it is still being controlled by those with power and influence. To get the change on immigration policy which is required – an end to mass immigration and the policy of multiculturalism – the general public must be able to express their views as they choose without fear of prosecution or other penalties such as the loss of employment.
This question also has serious implications for those who wish to leave the EU. Immigration is the prime driver of anti-EU sentiment in the UK. If the present straitjacket of fear about expressing non-pc views on immigration remains, the politically correct can stifle and manipulate debate on not only immigration but also EU membership by representing those who wish to leave the EU as xenophobes at best and racists at worst.