Bruges Group meeting 23rd April 2013 – Immigration: Can we control it?

Robert Henderson

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.

Philip Hollobone

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.

 Gerard Batten   

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”  (–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.”?  (

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.

This entry was posted in Culture, Economics, Immigration, Nationhood, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Bruges Group meeting 23rd April 2013 – Immigration: Can we control it?

  1. William Gruff says:

    Preventing further mass immigration and ending the decades long policy of multiculturalism is simply the first stage. We will need a decades long policy of mass deportations and expulsions in order to sort out the mess. That is true for Western Europe and not just the ‘United’ Kingdom. To do that we will need to repeal all the immigration and anti-discrimination legislation, and all of the incitement and hate speech laws. We must also look at revoking some of the grants of citizenship that have been so freely made to people with whom we have absolutely nothing in common.

    • Sarah says:

      Posts like this make me glad that they will never happen. This reads like a fun experiment designed by a 3-year old to see how quickly you can make the British economy even worse than it is now. You do realise if you start deporting everybody who wasn’t born here (or whose parents weren’t born here, or whose skin colour indicates their great-grandparents weren’t born here, or who uses a different brand of toothpaste from you) the businesses that keep the economy moving will last roughly 20 seconds before moving to a different country.

      Economic travesties asides, I like the idea of revoking all hate speech laws. That sword cuts two ways, and I think you’ll find you will be on the pointy end of it – at least based on the opinion of the majority of people. Because if most people really did think like you, why hasn’t this happened yet? I know! Because they don’t think like you, and a government will never get elected that has these policies.

      If you don’t like the way the majority of British people think, and don’t like the government the majority of British voters elected, I am afraid the problem is with you, not with mass immigration.

      • Lurker says:

        “a fun experiment designed by a 3-year old to see how quickly you can make the British economy even worse than it is now”

        Explain exactly which problems we have would improved by more immigration? Lets bring in another billion people right now, we’ll have the strongest economy in the world!

        “Economic travesties”


        “If you don’t like the way the majority of British people think, and don’t like the government the majority of British voters elected, I am afraid the problem is with you, not with mass immigration.”

        Do point us to the manifesto or government policy that drives immigration, you know, where we got to actually vote on it. Funnily enough I dont recall any such thing. In fact lets have a referendum on mass immigration ‘yes or no’. Following your logic the party that promises the most immigration will win wont it.

      • Michael says:

        Why do you think Labour got booted out in 2010 ? Well, there are numerous reasons not least their disasterous immigration policy:

        ” The silent issue that no Labour politician would publically touch upon is Immigration. The fact is that Labour’s immigration policy was a complete disaster, where instead of the official statistics that stated that there were 50,000 per year of arrivals from the new E.U. accession states, there were in fact as many as 500,000 a year with only Britains Great Depression of 2008 to 2009 reducing the flow of arrivals. Equally on top of this the
        country saw a million illegal immigrants arrive during the Labour years, against official statistics of as low as 200,000, and the incompetent Home Office remains incapable of handling the huge backlog of asylum cases “

    • Ted says:

      you seem to have missed off “and fire the ovens”

  2. Peter Cole says:

    Returning to Stephen Lawrence again.
    Please let us know if you ever get a reply from the A.G. I wrote the Lord Chief Justice as well as the A.G. on the traversty of a trial suffered by Dobson and Norris. Months later I got a note from a deputy secretary stating that the L.C.J. did not wish to comment, but never got even the courtesy of a reply from the A.G. Am now trying to interest the Sunday Times.

  3. David Brown says:

    the AG has to approve all race motivated public order charges . As in the case of Emma West. The AG , who as revealed in the Guardian has major business links with Mugabe , is also Conservative MP for Beconsfield . A white upper middle class town maybe there are a few web sites say local cricket club that people could post comments on make them aware of where this Quisling stands.

  4. David Brown says:

    Re the reference to Net Immigration this is often used by Cameron to deceive people. On Company accounts are gross profits that is all the money a company has collected in. Then taken off that is all the money it has had to pay out to leave a net profit. More people come into the country than leave it. Cameron’s net immigration is the figure for those coming in after those leaving has been deducted. What we have is both population increase and population replacement.
    PS Cameron now seems to admit what he intended all along that if he was still in office in 2017 he would claim he wanted to hold referendum on our EU membership but was unable to do so.

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