“We are full, and I think parents who are coming into the city now need to appreciate that they can’t sort of pick and choose anymore. The schools in the city are full to bursting.”
So remarked Anne Steele-Arnett, a British primary school head teacher who spoke to Nick Robinson during the recent BBC documentary entitled The Truth About Immigration.
Despite her assertion, and the evidence to hand, the BBC’s conclusions following its one-hour documentary were clear. Immigration is good, Britons are bigoted, and conservatives are nasty people.
Who would have expected anything different from an institution that has effectively been bounced by public opinion into making a program about an issue that the liberal-left thought was long since settled?
Immigration, for many years, was a staple issue for the left–and, indeed, for many libertarians. If you opposed open immigration, you were either a racist or a reactionary. To this day, I’m unsure which is worse by their logic.
BBC executives cannot have been pleased to make this program, which, intelligently, publicly billed itself as the corporation looking inward and realising that it had not had an “honest debate about immigration” for many years. Despite this effective spin of its own shortcomings, the program swiftly moved to implicate conservatives like Enoch Powell and Margaret Thatcher.
Powell, with his often intentionally mistitled “Rivers of Blood” speech, is charged with making immigration a taboo topic. The Labour Party’s Trevor Phillips, who is also the former head of the spuriously named “Equality and Human Rights Commission,” tells us that Powell’s couching of the immigration debate “purely in racial terms” made it “very difficult to get a proper discussion about immigration for nearly half a century.”
So there you have it. One speech, given at a local party meeting by one conservative Member of Parliament 46 years ago, is held up as the rationale for the entire establishment’s cowardice for half a century.
However, not even the selective quotes from both him and from former Prime Minister Thatcher could back up the BBC’s biased conclusions. So it confronted the British public, who overwhelmingly guessed in one of the least entertaining and least scientific polls taken (using slices of pie at a country fair) that immigration was far greater than it actually was. Is this the “serious debate” that we were promised?
“Surely we’re all a nation of bigots, and we need to do some serious soul-searching?” is the question we are no doubt supposed to be asking ourselves. However, if the BBC had bothered to scratch a little deeper, it would have gotten to the bottom of why people feel that immigration is higher than it is, rather than conflating the issue with “scaremongerers” such as former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard and current UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.
The reason, of course, is that Britons are simply reflecting what institutions like the BBC are foisting upon us. Multiculturalism has featured so heavily across the broadcaster’s scheduling over the past few decades, and the idea that “everything (or nothing) is British” has been rammed down our throats by government and its appendages for so long that it is no wonder that Britons’ minds exaggerate the problem.
No, immigrants do not make up one third or even one quarter of the population of Britain. They do, however, make up one eighth, and for the BBC to present this as both a vindication of mass immigration and a number not to be concerned about is thoroughly disingenuous – almost as much as their proposition that this documentary was a result of self reflection.
For years, greater thinkers than you will ever find within the BBC have been warning about an immigration crisis. It has scarcely been about “people coming over and stealing our jobs” – a simple strawman argument perpetuated by the left. Rather, it has often been about the stresses upon the national infrastructure and indeed upon a national identity.
A recent report by Ed West and the New Culture Forum exposed the BBC’s bias on the matter. It even went so far as to reveal that it is “common practice” for the BBC to give a platform to many pro-immigration spokesmen with no dissenting voices. It was noted that the corporation suffers from left-wing “groupthink,” preventing its journalists from challenging institutional bias.
So did this half-hearted, pseudo-apology, “debate” documentary resolve any of the issues to which the BBC is supposedly now attuned?
We are left with an overwhelming feeling that, somehow, right-wing politicians created tensions by forewarning about the problems of mass immigration – problems that have indeed come to pass, but which few will point out because of the very real fear of being labeled a racist, bigot, or otherwise.
I, as someone born to immigrants from Tanzania whose parents came from India, still find myself at the receiving end of such insults. Gillian Duffy, a life-long Labour party supporter, was famously called a “bigoted woman” by the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, for daring to remark, “You can’t say anything about immigrants.” She was swiftly proved correct.
However, the BBC could not mask the very real admission of guilt by the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who revealed that he deeply “regretted” the Labour government’s moves to open Britain’s borders to masses of Eastern European economic migrants – despite almost every other major European country’s placing restrictions upon them.
Straw, throughout the documentary, made the point that his government got it all horrifically wrong:
The Home Office researchers concluded that there was likely to be net migration of around 13,000 people a year, looking forward over the following ten years. The predictions were completely catastrophic. I mean they were wrong by a factor of ten.
He stopped short of issuing a formal apology, stating, “Personally I am skeptical about apologies, other than personal apologies… It is right to say we got it wrong, and we deeply regret it.”
And yet, all things considered, the viewer was undoubtedly supposed to switch off his television set after watching this tripe and realize, “Oh, my taxes could rise if immigration levels drop.” The last ten minutes were dedicated to insisting that Britain desperately needs more economic migrants.
The blow to the BBC and to those seeking to end the documentary with this stark warning is that not only is this assumption spurious at best, but the people it presented this information to, including Asian immigrants, and indeed Nigel Farage, said, “So be it…”
“There are some things in a society, in a community,” said Farage, “that actually matter more than just money. Quality of life, overcrowded Britain, lack of social housing, youth unemployment. These are very real issues.”
For the BBC and the leftist intelligentsia, these are wounding words.
No longer can social democrats and Europhiles stake an unchallenged claim to the welfare of the poorest and the cohesion of civil society. The liberal left’s staple issue has been torn away from it. I suppose I can hazard a guess at their response before it even arrives.
We’re all racists and bigots now.