Archive for the ‘immigration’ Category

The reverberations over Nigel Hastilow’s article last week, and its links to Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of blood speech’, (see earlier post), continue.

I have been struck by the similarity between the words in Hastilow’s article, and the words used by Margaret Hodge MP and Minister of State for Culture Media and Sport.

Contrast Hastilow’s words

“Today, far too many immigrants – they tell me – wheedle their way into Britain in order to benefit from the generosity of our welfare state. Asian Britons resent this as much as anyone. And no wonder. Does anybody in the country really want to see our population grow by almost half a million every 12 months so that in 24 years’ time it will have increased by almost 11 million?
Do we really want to see the country devastated by another three million houses or more over the next 12 years? Up to two thirds of these houses are only needed to cater for immigrants.”

with Margaret Hodge’s words in May 2007

“We should look at policies where the legitimate sense of entitlement felt by the indigenous family overrides the legitimate need demonstrated by the new migrants.”

Talking about her constituency she said:

“a recently arrived family with four or five children living in a damp and overcrowded privately rented flat, with the children suffering from asthma, will usually get priority over a family with less housing need who have lived in the area for three generations and are stuck at home with the grandparents.”

Commenting on her own article, Hodge said

“I set out to ask some difficult questions on the tension between ‘entitlement’ and ‘need’ in the allocation of social housing….I, of course, accept the need for more social housing and did so in the article. However there will always have to be rules to ration what will always be a finite resource.”

I see little difference between the view taken by Margaret Hodge about the housing aspects of immigration, and the views taken by constituents of Nigel Hastilow, which he reported in his article that caused all the trouble. The words used by both are remarkably similar, hardly surprising perhaps when they both start from the same basic premise of perceived unfairness.

The only difference of course is that Margaret Hodge was allowed to continue in office as a Minister, and Nigel Hastilow was asked to stand down as a candidate for Parliament. One has to wonder and marvel at the hypocrisy of some politicians and sections of the media, in their highly partial reporting.

Could it be that the statements Hodge made, came about from her own cynical calculation about the possibility of her losing her job as an MP? Did she see the election of 11 BNP councillors in her constituency, as evidence of a swing to the right, and that her electorate was getting upset about aspects of perceived housing unfairness. Was that why she spoke the words she did?

You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment


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Nigel Hastilow was, until he stepped aside this weekend, the prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Halesowen and Rowley Regis constituency in the UK’s West Midlands. He stepped aside after being summoned to a discussion with the Conservative Party chairman Caroline Spelman.

The reason he has stepped aside is because he refused to retract the comments he made in a recent article published in the Wolverhampton Express and Star newspaper, and it seems, reading between the lines, that Spelman indicated that he would be de-selected if he didn’t.

So what were the comments he made? I’m posting the complete article below for readers to form their own view. In essence it was the fact that he mentioned the 20th April 1968 speech about immigration and anti-discrimination legislation, made by Enoch Powell the then Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West.

The speech, commonly described by the media as the “Rivers of Blood” speech, although Powell never used that phrase, using the words, “Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood”, referring to lines in Virgil’s Aenid predicting wars and conflicts, ( see Wikipedia entry. ) led to Powell being sacked as shadow Defence Secretary by the then Conservative leader, (later to be Prime Minister), Edward Heath.

I well remember the furore that followed the speech that weekend in 1968, and it is a measure of the sensitivity of the whole immigration subject in the UK, that it still reverberates and echoes nearly 40 years later. The usual suspects in the left liberal tendency that control much of our media these days, are, with their usual knee jerk reaction, once more baying for blood this weekend. I wonder however if this time they have shot their fox and this might mark a turning point in the whole debate. Time will no doubt tell.

I say this because unlike 40 years ago, and particularly in the last few weeks, the level of immigration in the UK is hotly debated in the country. It is by no means limited to mere anecdotal comments that could be argued were the essence of the stories 40 years ago. It is indeed ironic that this very week, the government has been forced to correct upwards the statistics on the numbers of immigrants that have entered the country in the last few years. Immediately before the Hastilow article, the subject was already at the top of the political agenda, and I don’t see this changing until the subject is addressed by politicians to the satisfaction of the electorate.

As an aside it is interesting 40 years on, to see how close to reality are some of the statistics Powell projected. Had he known we were only five years away from joining the EU’s fore-runner the European Economic Community, and the loss of immigration control over EU citizens, he might well have projected numbers even closer to reality.

My immediate question though is to ask what is so remarkable and unwarranted about the words in the article that required Mr Hastilow to step aside? A careful reading of it clearly shows that the focus of his comments were those native Britons who claim unemployment and disability benefit to which they are not entitled.

The answer, given the recent history of the debate on the subject, is nothing. So why has the reaction been what it is? The answer to that is undoubtedly complex and no doubt contains strands of political dogma, social and cultural engineering, the self loathing of Britishness that apologists for the days of the Empire revile so much, and more worryingly a desire to stifle debate.

Irrespective of the reasons, the first question we have to ask is why should honest and fair debate about the subject be stifled? That it is is probably the biggest problem this society faces today, for all sorts of demographic, geographical and logistical reasons, is surely unremarkable.

We once prided ourselves on our freedoms, particularly of speech, and it is dangerous when this is suppressed, and when the term ‘racist’ is mindlessly thrown at anyone who wants to debate the subject.

The Hastilow article in full is below – make up your own mind.

Britain ‘seen as a soft touch.

“The woman on the doorstep speaks in sorrow, not anger.
Her daughter has split up from her husband and is now a single parent with two young children.
They all live with granny because the daughter and her kids have been refused a council house. And, according to granny, that’s because all the available accommodation has gone to immigrants. The house is full. Granny looks a bit worn down by her new lodgers. The novelty of having the little ones to stay is clearly wearing off. The family seems resigned to the fact that nobody will do anything to help. They have more or less given up complaining about the way we roll out the red carpet for foreigners while leaving the locals to fend for themselves. When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most people say immigration. Many insist: “Enoch Powell was right”.

Enoch, once MP for Wolverhampton South West, was sacked from the Conservative front bench and marginalised politically for his 1968 “rivers of blood” speech warning that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably.

He was right. It has changed dramatically. But his speech was political suicide. Enoch’s successors in Parliament are desperate to avoid ever mentioning the issue. It’s too controversial and far too dangerous. Nobody wants to be labelled a racist. Immigration is the issue that dare not speak its name in public.

Yet everywhere you go, you hear the same story. There are simply too many people competing for the space, houses, benefits, public services and jobs this country has to offer. It’s claimed we couldn’t survive without immigrants to work in our hotels, pubs and restaurants, to pick our fruit and clean our hospitals. But that’s because we make life too easy for the five million or more people who could be working but enjoy life too much living off the state.

Why are 1.65 million people unemployed when it seems as if there’s a job for more or less anyone who wants one? Why are 2.4 million people claiming incapacity benefit when society is getting healthier? In the past they would have been accused of “swinging the lead”, “skiving”, “scrounging” or “cheating”. Now we’re told they need “up-skilling” and then they would be only too happy to work (but for their bad backs).

We only need so many Polish waitresses because so many people who were born and bred in Britain can’t be bothered to work. This week we have seen a slight but important shift. Immigration has come out of the closet. Even David Cameron, the most liberal Conservative leader for decades, has decided it’s safe to discuss immigration openly. This is not about race; it’s about numbers. I have been lectured on this, on separate occasions, by several Asian Britons. They argue that their families came to this country to work hard, get on, pay their taxes, earn a living.

Today, far too many immigrants – they tell me – wheedle their way into Britain in order to benefit from the generosity of our welfare state. Asian Britons resent this as much as anyone. And no wonder. Does anybody in the country really want to see our population grow by almost half a million every 12 months so that in 24 years’ time it will have increased by almost 11 million?
Do we really want to see the country devastated by another three million houses or more over the next 12 years? Up to two thirds of these houses are only needed to cater for immigrants.

How on earth can we afford to meet other costs – council housing, roads, hospitals and schools – linked to this staggering increase in the population? Do we really want increased taxes to meet the increased costs of an increasing population?
We must police our borders. Deport without debate bogus asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants. Abandon the “human rights” merry-go-round. Tell the EU we won’t take anyone from Bulgaria or Romania or any other country which wants to “join Europe”. And get rid of the 11,000 foreigners in our jails.

Alas, the Government hasn’t got a clue how many people it has let in already.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, the MP for Redditch, humiliatingly apologised this week after claiming 800,000 migrant workers had come to Britain since 1997. Turns out the real figure is 1.1 million.
First we’re told immigrants took 30 per cent of the 2.7 million jobs created in the past decade. Then the official figure was increased to 40 per cent. Now it’s 52 per cent – making Gordon Brown’s promise of “British jobs for British workers” look pretty silly.

It’s all guesswork, and the Government has even less of a clue how many illegal immigrants there are.
Of course it’s right that we share the international burden of caring for genuine refugees fleeing persecution and death. But we’re being exploited. Britain is seen around the world as a soft touch. We must remember that, as the grandmother I was talking to the other day pointed out, charity begins at home.:”

Nigel Hastilow – Wolverhampton Express and Star, Friday 2nd November 2007

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