Ed Stourton, the chairman, endeavoured to keep the discussion connected to the real world, but it was hard to do this when one contributor, a political science lecturer, maintained that large immigration flows were the result of systematic exploitation of poor countries by rich ones, through fixing the terms of trade in some way not disclosed. Her “solution” was that rich countries like Britain should “share” their riches with poor countries, particularly by opening their borders to all who wanted to come. David Goodhart, director of the think-tank Demos and author of a widely reviewed book on post-war immigration to Britain, attempted to back oars against this deluge of impractical nonsense by commenting that the people of rich countries aren’t just economic units, but they are nations made up of a huge range of relationships bound up with identity – their sense of place and kinship, informal rules of conduct between them, as well as respect for the law of the land – none of which large numbers of strangers can be expected to share.
Apart from this contribution, the whole discussion was redolent of the left-liberal consensus on immigration, essentially that mass immigration was something Britain and other Western countries had to accept. This is what the new euphemism “diversity” means. There was no mention of the democratic wishes of the British people, who though kindly disposed towards others in trouble, are opposed to having parts of their country swamped by strangers remote from them in distance, language and history, a viewpoint that has been regularly established by British Social Attitudes, among many other surveys.
Apart from Goodhart’s contribution, the discussion gave no consideration to the people most affected by mass immigration, that is the people of England, the ancestral owners of their land, now the most densely populated country in the Western world, under continuing population pressure from immigration, with transport congestion and housing need felt in every corner. …[more»]