Washington Summit Publishers
By Robert Henderson
The time is somewhere around the present: the place is England. Thirty seven bodies wash-up on the North-East coast of England. Some have gunshot wounds. All are would-be illegal immigrants. There is one survivor from the group: Ibrahim, an Iraqi. This is the cue for the politically correct mob to go into action, with everything from the-borders- are-racist campaigners to those who pounce on the evidence of gunshot wounds to suggest that some of the illegal immigrants were murdered by the locals.
The novel has two strands. One is of the survivor Ibrahim. He has had the misfortune to spend all his life in uncertain circumstances, living under the Iraq of Saddam Hussein, both before and after the first Gulf War, then through the perpetual chaos following the defeat of Saddam. We follow him on his tortuous journey from Basra to England, during which we gradually learn more and more of his story, a history which includes working as an enforcer for a notorious Basra gangster. He moves from Basra in Iraq to Syria, across Turkey, then by boat to Greece where he is interred in a centre of asylum seekers before escaping and travelling across Europe before paying to be smuggled across the North Sea to England.
Once in England he finds being an illegal immigrant is not all milk and honey. This is partly his own fault because he fabricates a story which falsely paints him as a someone who resisted Saddam and suffered for it, a lie which is discovered and takes the gloss off him as a weapon for the politically correct to wield, but it is also the disillusionment of finding the promised land does not do what it says on the tin. The result is Ibrahim’s withdrawal into the cultural cocoon created by other Iraqis in Britain.
Surrounding Ibrahim’s tale is the English response to the bodies on an English beach. In the politically correct world that is modern England the would-be illegal immigrants are taken up as not the invaders they are, but people who at best have been murdered by the immigration policies of the government which have forced them to take this route to enter England and at worst to believe that those who died of gun wounds have been slaughtered by the unreconstructed English who inhabit non-Metropolitan England.
The peecee fox is started running by a farmer local to the area where the bodies wash up. A farmer in late middle age by the name of Dan Gowt living in the fictional village of Crisby. He is interviewed on television and expresses views which would have passed without remark when he was young, but are now considered not merely insensitive but positively racist, remarks such as. “The fact is they shouldn’t have been trying to get intro England in the first place. It’s a crime that is. It’s just common sense … “
His words make Gowt a media hate figure. He tries to remove the label of racist by talking to the media, writing a letter to a newspaper explaining his position, seeking a lawyer to sue on his behalf for the libels he has suffered. All to no avail. His explanations to reporters are twisted out of recognition, his letter is not published and his attempt to find a lawyer to act for him results in a refusal on the grounds that acting for him would taint the firm.
Gowt finds many of the people he knows shun him, his wife and daughter are treated as guilty by association and his windows are smashed by “antiracist” protestors, whom he goes outside to tackle with a shotgun but who drive away before he can come upon them. After the last event he calls the police who not only show little interest in investigating the crime, but tell him that he has brought this on himself and his family by his racist words. The police go as far as to say threateningly that he is lucky he has not to have been investigated for his racist words and hinting that he may still be. They are also pleased to suggest that his licence for his shotgun may be revoked because he has intended to threaten people with it.
Gowt being labelled a racist affects his wife Hatty and his daughter Clarrie. His wife is simply bewildered; his daughter patronisingly tolerant as she condemns what her father has said whilst blaming his ideas about immigrants on his age, what Marxists would describe as “false consciousness”
The really terrible thing about all this is the fact that Gowt has not been racist in any meaningful way. All he has done is express a perfectly natural resistance to foreigners settling his country in large numbers and effectively colonising parts of it.
Turner parades a large cast of characters before the reader. This can often lead to confusion and the under development of characters. To his credit the author keeps control of them by repeatedly providing snapshots of their intervention in the affair. We may not get to know them intimately , but we do not need to because it is their symbolic roles in the tragedy that is modern England which is important.
There are the politicians varying from fearful pc driven sheep to true believers in the One Worldism creed, the journalists who use their newspapers and broadcasters to carry forward the pc received wisdom and last but not least the multifarious interest groups and individuals who represent immigrant interests: the Black Muslim Mecca Morrow , Wayne Smith of the Christian Democrat Reachout , Atrocities against Civilians Scum, the Rural Racism Task Force ,Ben Klein founder of National Anti-Fascist Foundation NAFF, Dylan Ekinutu-Jones of the Forum for Racial and Ethnic Equality (F.R.E.E) , Carole Hassan from the Muslim Alliance and the Guatamalean Action Group. Readers will be able to readily spot their counterparts in real life.
The political parties are also thinly disguised version of those that exist: the Christian Democrats, the Workers Party and the Fair Play Alliance. All are shown not merely as dishonest but either fanatical or cowardly. There is also a party, the National Union, which plays the indispensable role for the politically correct, a Far Right bogeyman. The Party has a single MP who is ostentatiously ostracised by all the other MPs who eventually vote to expel him from the Commons because of his non-pc views.
There are more substantial characters such as Albert Norman of the Sentinel . Norman is a licensed jester , a man of 70 allowed to be non-pc in a pc world largely because he is a relic of an earlier less tightly controlled era. He also serves a useful purpose for the liberal left establishment because they can point to him and say there, all voices are being heard. Norman’s tragedy is that he is right but ultimately irrelevant because the people who listen to him and agree are the powerless, the ordinary people of England.
Norman is the one character who sniffs out the truth about Ibrahim, as well as resolutely refusing to climb on the English-locals-must-have-killed-immigrants bandwagon . His columns are wildly popular but the his youngish editor Doug is getting twitchy about their political incorrectness . He asks Norman to tone down his columns because he wishes to move the Sentinel to a new part of the press marketplace. Norman resists but eventually gives in and re-writes a piece about Ibrahim. Norman’s readers feel cheated by his new blandness and Norman soon realises that his day is done and retires.
Opposed to Norman on the media front is John Leyden of The Examiner, a columnist who takes a religiously pc on everything whilst being , as so often with card carrying liberals, monstrously selfish and bigoted in the way they live their lives. Leyden thinks no further than the next self-promoting headline, regardless of the harm he inflicts on others. Just think of the more obnoxious type of Guardian journalist and you will get the picture.
Overall Turner paints a picture of an England which has been defeated, at least for the moment. The pc propaganda has not been completely successful, so that part of the population of England has remained in the eyes of the politically correct regrettably backward. But even that part of which has not been fully conditioned understands the danger of being identified as a racist and either keeps mum, clumsily try to fit their true feelings within the envelope of political correctness, or engage in grovelling apologies when the racist hounds start to run after they are judged to have committed the pc sin of not being thoroughly brainwashed into the multicultural way of thinking. The claustrophobia created by what political correctness has become, namely, a totalitarian ideology in both form and practice is nicely caught .
There is a degree of exaggeration for the sake of narrative sharpness in the depiction of the limp calamity of the people of England in thrall to a vicious and recklessly ideological elite, but sadly the book is an all too plausible representation of what England is now. This is a country in which people are imprisoned for expressing their anger at mass immigration, where a single non-PC remark can result in the loss of a job, where the mainstream media go into witchfinder-general mode at the slightest opportunity offered by someone who does not religiously observe the pc rubric of equality.
Those who have read Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints will notice some generally similarities of structure as well as intent in Sea Changes. There is no harm in that. Indeed I found Sea Changes a rather better vehicle for warning about the dangers of mass immigration, because it is far less hysterical and blessedly bereft of the intellectual and cultural pretensions of Raspail’s book.
Sea Changes might almost be treated as a documentary of what has gone sadly wrong with English society. Yes, that is what it is, a record of what English society has become now,, or at least of that aspect which touches on mass immigration and its consequences . Whatever the future brings it will stand as a primer on a particular and decidedly peculiar period of English life. Worth reading on its own virtue as a novel and doubly worth reading for its important message.