Sunday, 4 November 2007

Said is said (2)

The much maligned Nigel Hastilow (who has an unashamedly fine taste in music) wrote the following:

"When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most say immigration. Many insist: 'Enoch [who warned that that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably] Powell was right'. He was right. It has changed dramatically."

Now, it may be that Hastilow is lying in that nobody has ever said to him that 'Enoch* was right' (which seems unlikely**), but apart from that, this all seems fair enough to me.

I can't help thinking, if the Conservative and Labour governments of the 1960s and 1970s had been fast forwarded to Bradford and Tower Hamlets in the 21st century and back again, maybe they would have been a bit more cautious.

* My problem with Enoch Powell is that he was Health Minister in the early 1960s, and was responsible for recruiting nurses from the West Indies, which may have seemed like a good idea at the time ...

** I have heard plenty of people say this sort of thing. Fact.


Jock Coats said...

Yeah - I would reckon to hear it about once every canvassing session (say 100 houses). But to be honest, when you try to engage the people who do say it, it turns out that most, if not all, of them turn out to be pure racist.

Not so much "we haven't got enough homes for immigrants" as much as "look at them, they're all arrogant, smell and go round in gangs, dressed in funny clothes" sort of thing.

I have no doubt that there are genuine problems thrown up by immigrant communities that do affect people who have lived in an area forever. But if the "rhetoric" (read bile for the most part) of those who canvass as anti-immigration on the doorstep is anything to go by it's no wonder it is put down as curmudgeonly buggers looking for a target for all the ills of their worldview.

And I rather suspect that someone who is after all a PPC does not recognize that then maybe he or she has not done enough doorstepping in hir life to pick up on the sort of people who make such comments in the main.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Jock, you seem to be saying that anybody who mentions 'immigration' is automatically 'racist', and by extension that anybody who is a 'racist' is a bad evil person.

Ergo, nobody is allowed to mention that maybe 'immigration' has downsides, and by extension, 'immigration' can only have upsides.

Ergo, any party that wants to run this country must be totally in favour of 'immigration'.

I don't think that life is that simple. Maybe you do, but I don't.

Jock Coats said...

Not really, no. Just that if one is relying on however he put it "hearing all the time" from people that "Enoch was right" it seems to me from my experience that on the doorstep such people are thinly veiled racist usually older angry people who when it comes down to it do not have political concerns about immigration so much as racist concerns about them "living near me". I don't think it's possible to debate such attitudes, and I am content to walk away with the parting words "I'll thank you for not voting for me" sort of thing.

It's just that, even if polling evidence says that a lot of people are "concerned" about immigration (and what does that mean I wonder?), it doesn't tell us what they are concerned about. When it comes down to it, the evidence on the "street" so to speak is that this concern is voiced by a few racist comments rather than real policy concerns about migration.

As a Libertarian personally I hold an open borders policy but would prefer to see a more equitable world in which people didn't feel the need to migrate vast distances to make "opportunities" for themselves.

An interesting thought though - how do immigrants figure in a "Citizen's" Income system - someone genuinely asked me this and I couldn't answer. One thing strikes me - that if CI is funded by LVT and immigration leads to higher land values and CI is not payable to non-citizens then immigration would result in higher CI payments to real citizens! In such a system, assuming people had to pay for health and education and so on, then immigrants would only come to do those jobs that would enable them to pay for such things and still remit money home - either way I reckon it would have a neutralizing effect on immigration patterns.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Jock, as to the whole LVT/CI trade off, I would suggest, no immigrant is entitled to a CI until a minimum residence period of ten years.

I can see good arguments for and against 'as soon as you get off the aeroplane' or 'not unless all your grandparents were born here', that is not up to you or to me to say, is it?

Let The People decide!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see I'm not alone in thinking this guy got a rum deal. My association is drafting a letter of support. Jock is right though in that when I meet people and they say things like "I'm not racist but...", a fair percentage then follow it with a racist remark. Enoch was rather unfairly maligned in my view and hardly any of his critics (or supporters for that matter) have bothered to actually read his infamous speech. It isn't nearly so bad as it is portrayed.

Jock Coats said...

I certainly agree that Enoch Powell initiated a debate that should have been had long before now but which the whole political class seems to have conspired to silence through his demonization.

As I say - I'm an open borders person - but I can see that since we have not got our own poorer communities economically secured there is lots of room for strife and division. And if we don't do that soon - with big economic changes so that everyone gets to inherit their economic birthright, it will get worse and we could go sleepwalking into much nastier times.