Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Theresa may have a point,

From the BBC:

[Theresa May] also said high migration made a "cohesive society" impossible.

Fair enough, you might think. That is just simply a statement of fact. We could argue about the word 'impossible' or point out that 'cohesiveness' is not an either-or thing i.e. high immigration merely reduces cohesiveness by a few per cent on some arbitrary scale, but hey.

(And as a Home Secretary, she is probably just as useless as most of the Home Secretaries we've had before, but that is irrelevant here.)

There was the inevitable outpouring of wailing about this. But why? You might not like it, you might wish it were not so, you might say that this is only because British people are racist (they're not). I am not aware that Theresa May said she liked this state of affairs. But that doesn't stop it being true.

Taking a longer passage from the article, you can see that she even threw in a bit of the usual PC crap:

Mrs May also said refugees should not be "conflated" with economic migrants.

Why not? A refugee is somebody fleeing a war or disaster zone to the nearest safe country, not somebody who has made the decision to travel half way across the world to somewhere that's considerably wealthier than the nearest safe country.
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Disclaimer: I like foreigners. I'm half German and my wife is from a distant Commonwealth country. Many of our friends are mixed-race or mixed-nationality couples/families. But I like individual foreigners, those who try and fit in, you can have all sorts of interesting conversations with them, but I do not particularly like large groups of foreigners walking round like they owned the place and trying to impose their rules on us.

16 comments:

The Stigler said...

The tone of incredulity in 2 BBC reporters were really telling about "impossible". It was quite clear that they didn't even think it was very difficult, but more absolutely perfectly fine and that Theresa May was some sort of lunatic.

As you say, I'm not sure I'd go with "impossible", but it's somewhere between that and "really difficult".

And the biggest problem isn't skin colour. It's culture. The Ugandan Asians fitted in just fine because they'd been raised under the British Empire, so when they came to England, many of the ideas were similar.

Lola said...

Rather wonderfully we Brits have always had a civic view of nationality, not a racial or theological one. It doesn't matter to us what God you worship or what colour your skin is or where you come from, just as long as when you settle here you join in our game with our set of rules and our bat and ball. For example the Common Law is paramount, whatever original traditions you bring with you. We even not obstruct the use of other Courts, as long as at the end the Common Law remains supreme, e.g. the Jewish Courts.

This cohesiveness is not welcomed by the Fabian Gradualists and others who would aspire to remould society. It's complacent Englishness offends them. Hence the imposition of 'multiculturalism'. That one policy has done more to destroy the cohesiveness of British society than anything else, apart from perhaps Harman's egregious Equalities Act.

We Brits have been great at accepting - maybe welcoming - all sorts of diasporas - for example Jews fleeing the Russian and Soviet Pogroms, The Huguenots, lots of Poles post WW2, West Indians, East African Asian's fleeing Amin etc. etc. Overall the integration of these people has been relatively seamless and a lesson to the whole world. Probably because we did have absolute control of our borders and were able to exclude undesirables. And yet we have always given shelter to people who could conceivably threaten our free and open society, Marx for example.

But, there have been resentments and these have been exploited by a few appalling demagogues for their own ends and on the their own prejudices. And to our general credit mostly unsuccessfully.

The problem now is, and the one that May dare not articulate is the in the EU we have zero control over our borders and therefore are totally incapable of any sane management of our borders and immigration. And given the ludicrous distortions in our benefits system and having English as our language and still being an open society and hence offering opportunity we have become a magnet for all sorts of people, including undesirables.

May is constrained by the EU and she knows it. So the only solution is to exit the EU.

DBC Reed said...

If you believe in free markets and globalisation , free movement of labour is what you are going to get.If its ok to do what one business in Northampton did, move its factory to Poland because the wages were lower there, its equally alright for Poles to move here where the wages are higher than in Poland. Kinda obvious.
The trick is I suppose to have a large free trade zone ,call it Fortress Europe , which is entirely self sufficient internally but the right wing fuckwits who enforce free markets and globalisation don't like that either.

A K Haart said...

Yes she has a point but Lola articulates it better than she ever could.

mombers said...

To put myself in a migrant's shoes, would I flee to Turkey and end up in a refugee camp, or, since I am fleeing anyway, go to the best opportunity that was available? My wife's grandparents fled Lithuania to South Africa, avoiding the fate of their siblings in concentration camps. They could have fled to Britain (if they were allowed, I understand it was quite tricky!).
Also what needs to be taken into account is concentrating large numbers of refugees in a few countries, like the millions in Turkey, produces its own problems. Surely this situation is more likely to lead to radicalisation, health problems, etc. than if they are dispersed over a larger number of countries? My great grandmother was put into a concentration camp in the Anglo Boer war, she luckily managed to get released to stay with urban relatives, many who were not so lucky perished from disease.
Sure migration causes many problems for us but in an interconnected world, I'm not sure if we can avoid the negative consequences of the awful stuff going on in the Middle East by washing our hands of refugees

James Higham said...

Just watching all the fallout from the Tories, anyone would think someone else was being groomed for the leadership.

Radical Rodent said...

Why are the refugees fleeing north, to where they must know by now that they are not welcome? Surely, they should be fleeing south, where their brethren will surely welcome them with open arms? Not just the same customs and ethos, but the same religion and language, too – surely a win-win for them?!

Lola said...

DBCR Indeed. I on principle reject 'free trade agreements' because they aren't that at all. They are about specifically excluding free trade with other places.

However free movement of people is slightly different, in an era of nation states (or even if that wasn't the case). Trading freely with someone is fundamentally different from accepting them as immigrants.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Chaps, that's all probably true and interesting, but does not detract from the basic onservation that "high level of immigration [subtext: of those who don't want to fit in and play by our rules] reduces social cohesion [as vaguely defined]"

The facts that
a) some immigrants don't want to fit in and
b) most 'British' people - including immigrants and their descendants - are to a greater or lesser degree 'a bit racist'
are by the by, they are the cause as much as the end result. We might or might not wish that neither of these were true, but they are and that is the end of that.

It's like you saying "Automation causes job losses in the short term" and being decried as somebody who wants to replace everybody with robots and doesn't care about workers' rights.

Bayard said...

"Why not? A refugee is somebody fleeing a war or disaster...."

I can't see your point here. Teresa is saying that the two groups should not be conflated (i.e. mixed together) and so are you, except for the opening "Why not".

"I do not particularly like large groups of foreigners walking round like they owned the place and trying to impose their rules on us."

What, like the British do when they settle abroad?

Lola, Mark I don't think first-generation immigrants have ever "fitted in". I expect that, if you went to Spitalfields in the early C18th, you'd hear a lot of French being spoken. It's the second and subsequent generations that "fit in".

"b) most 'British' people - including immigrants and their descendants - are to a greater or lesser degree 'a bit racist'"

I don't think that they are "a bit racist" as that implies they look down on other races as inferior. I think it is more that they are a bit xenophobic, i.e. they don't like people from other countries, or even other parts of the same country.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, yes, the British have an appalling historic record abroad - this proves May's point. I'm pretty sure we caused a collapse in social cohesion wherever we went.

Lots of first generation immigrants fit in, learn English, stand up for old ladies on the bus, get a job, don't rape or murder people, that's is the majority of them, sorted.

"that implies they look down on other races as inferior"

That is exactly what I mean and what I say. The Chinese, the Indians, the Muslims, Jewish people are at least as racist as white people. And longer established British blacks Caribbeans and Africans have a mutual loathing.

We are not xenophopbic. Canadians, ANZs, white South Africans and Irish are accepted as being pretty similar to us and hence no biggie. Then there's a sliding scale, isn't there?

But while your comments are interesting, none of this shows in anyway that Mrs T May was not stating a simple observable fact.

Ben Jamin' said...

So, what if we a) had a Citizens Income b) Education Tokens (citizens only) c) Health Insurance Tokens (citizens only)

Would that make you all happier?

As to long term solutions to the symptom of mass migration, that comes from making the World a more equitable place.

Lead by example. Vote YPP.

Lola said...

B. Agreed. First gen immigrants tend to be 'racist'. But my point is that having our civic view of society integration is easier and more certain.

MW. Agreed as the latent racism of Brits and empire. Cecil Rhodes is a good example. But the past is a foreign country, and the legacy of Empire - arbitrary boundaries mostly - are in large part responsible for things like the current Syrian crisis. In re the racism of other ethnic groups - undoubtedly, and often more so that 'us' whiteys. I worked in an office where I had to keep apart at opposite ends of the room north and south Tamils. And at my school the Blacks and Indian sub-continent people fairly got at each other. And don't start me on the Pakistani/Indian frictions.

But I still hold that the UK is pretty good at 'intergration'.

Bayard said...

"B, yes, the British have an appalling historic record abroad"

Not so historic, we're still like that.

"Lots of first generation immigrants fit in, learn English, stand up for old ladies on the bus, get a job, don't rape or murder people, that's is the majority of them, sorted."

That's more "abiding by the rules" than "fitting in". As lola pointed out, immigrants tend to bring their culture with them. Of course they do, it would be amazing if they didn't, that's how they were brought up. Yes the vast majority of them abide by the rules, but it takes the next generation to adopt the culture of the host nation.

"Canadians, ANZs, white South Africans and Irish are accepted as being pretty similar to us and hence no biggie."

The first three are British who have spent a few generations abroad, but the Irish? don't make me laugh. What about the famous notice "No hawkers, no circulars, no dogs, no Irish"? But yes, there are plenty of racists about amongst the British, but I don't think that makes us basically racist.

"none of this shows in anyway that Mrs T May was not stating a simple observable fact."

Indeed, but what is so great about cohesiveness? Do you think London be a better place if the Chinese had not congregated in Soho and the Indians in Southall and if so, why? We are not a cohesive nation. Our identities are more with an area of Britain than with Britian or even England, should we be English. A Welshman from Swansea would identify himself as being from Swansea first, Wales second and Britain a very poor third, ditto an Englishman from Newcastle upon Tyne (Geordie, English, British).

The Stigler said...

Bayard,

"Indeed, but what is so great about cohesiveness? Do you think London be a better place if the Chinese had not congregated in Soho and the Indians in Southall and if so, why? We are not a cohesive nation."

We are, but it just depends at what level you're talking about. If you get down to things like free speech, system of government, attitudes towards the use of violence, women's rights, justice and racism, we are. My mate might be a Sikh guy whose father came from India, and he might eat more spicy food and have more Bollywood movies than me, and get married in different looking clothes, but beyond that, you couldn't tell him apart from anyone else in Britain.

It's not about cohesiveness to the level of listening to Lethal Bizzle or Cornish folk songs. It's fitting together at a more basic level. The statistic that 20% of Muslims in the UK support Sharia law should worry everyone. We've allowed people to come here, or be raised here, and not the odd rare person, but a large percentage of a group, that don't support democracy. This is not a good thing.

Bayard said...

TS, the problem is that neither you, I or Mark know what Teresa May meant when she talked of a "cohesive" society. It's an odd word to use. It's not "coherent" and it's not "homogenous". It means "sticking together", so while we all might agree about "free speech, system of government, attitudes towards the use of violence, women's rights, justice and racism," that's not cohesiveness, that sharing common assumptions. We don't stick together in one uniform lump, we split ourselves into groups. Whether it's the football team you support, the part of Britain you come from, the type of school you were educated at, your social class, people define themselves as of a type and those not like them as other.

Teresa obviously thinks that a "cohesive society", whatever that is, is a good thing and perhaps she's being deliberately vague, so that people can read what they like into her words, but to me, it smacks of a government yearning for uniformity.

"20% of Muslims in the UK support Sharia law"

The trouble with statistics like this is that you don't really what they mean. Does that mean that:
i) 20% of Muslims think they should abide by Sharia law as well as the law of the land, with the law of the land being paramount, or
ii) 20% of Muslims feel that every Muslim should abide by Sharia law as well as the law of the land, with the law of the land being paramount, or
iii) 20% of Muslims feel that everybody should abide by Sharia law as well as the law of the land, with the law of the land being paramount, or
iv) 20% of Muslims think they should abide by Sharia law as well as the law of the land, with Sharia law being paramount, or
v) 20% of Muslims feel that every Muslim should abide by Sharia law as well as the law of the land, with Sharia law being paramount, or vi) 20% of Muslims feel that everybody should abide by Sharia law as well as the law of the land, with the Sharia law being paramount?

i) and ii) don't worry me in the slightest, iii) is just crackpot, iv) to vi) are in increasing order of worriness, but also in decreasing order of likelihood. Sure there are a few nutters amongst the Muslims who think that everyone should live their life by Sharia law, but there are also some Christian nutters around, who think everyone should live their life according to the bible and, out of the two, I'm more worried by the Chrisitan fundamentalists: they've got far more influence and, if smoking and alcohol are ever banned it will be them who are behind it.