Saturday, 28 October 2017

The immigration issue will keep coming back to haunt us

I HATE writing about immigration. There is no way to write about it without somebody making out you're a goose-stepping footsoldier of the Third Reich. In this I have learned to be a lot less guarded about what I say simply because however cautious you are the left will always seek to misframe it, so what the hell is there to lose?

In my earlier post I pointed out that the immigration that bothers people is not from the EU. I am told this is potentially contentious. I really don't think it is. I think it is self-evidently true and it's stupid to deny it.

I do not think leave voters are nativists as some assert and many will be just as concerned about the rights of EU citizens as remainers. In fact, I know when I go up to Bradford at Christmas I will end up in some grubby town centre pub and at least two of the people at my table will be Polish. Over the years Poles have very successfully integrated.

The reason for that is because they will go to the same raves and rock nights as everybody else. It is, however, still a surprise to see an Asian face in a metal club or techno night in Bradford. You'll see the occasional Sikh but I struggle to recall ever seeing a Muslim. With a truck load of caveats I would still say that the UK is not successfully integrating Muslims.

Typically when I bring this up on Twitter I get shouted down by Waitrose liberals and the ultra-PC, who are typically Londoners who won't recognise what I describe from my experience in West Yorkshire. Similarly medical and legal professionals will know Muslim professionals and will, perhaps disingenuously, use that to say that there isn't a problem.

The experience for working class people, however, is somewhat different. I was hounded out of my first flat by a local Muslim gang who threatened to kill me. It's not safe for girls to walk through certain parts of town in a miniskirt on the way back from a nightclub. You'll be spat at for walking your dog.

And I just know leftists will leap on that and say that is true of white neighbourhoods or some other disingenuous and predictable lie, but what we are dealing with here is a very specific that is related to the Rotherham scandal. It's about primitive attitudes (to women especially) that are really not welcome in this country. I have even heard it said that the young girls in Rotherham were "leading on" Muslim men. Such is the depravity of the modern left we can no longer make these distinctions without being the subject of a witch hunt. They have turned closing down debate into an art form.

But the point here is that if we end freedom of movement as a consequence of Brexit then the same people who were pissed off about immigration before the referendum are still going to be pissed off. You only need to take a peek inside the Ukip twittersphere and it's mainly about Muslims.

As it happens we have to be quite clear that it is less an issue of Muslims as it is people from primitive tribal regions with a totally different set of values - which is why we see intermarrying and a thirty percent higher probability of birth defects in children form that strata.

Similarly I think people are entirely justified in asking precisely why we are admitting people who will wear the burka. There is quite obviously no chance of integration here and no attempt either. Moreover it is likely to get worse. The Pakistan government is accused of 'mainstreaming' misogyny after legally endorsing honour killing advocates. Pakistan is regressing. How is it that we are currently undergoing a moral panic about sexual harassment and this issue isn't even on the table?

But then I am only looking at one aspect of the problem informed by my own experiences and wider reading. In fact, the real problem is that there isn't single problem - but a series of micro problems. In Southall, in West London, the Sikhs are said to be the problem, in North London and Brixton, the Jamaicans are the problem, in East London it's the Bangladeshis, and in Bradford, it isn't actually Muslims but tribal Kashmiris who are the problem (who just happen to be Muslims).

There is, however, one common issue - that where ethnic groups accumulate and are allowed to reach a critical mass, the rate of integration slows down and even goes into reverse. But that isn't a numbers problem. It is a concentration issue.

It remains to be seen whether you could manage the "ghetto phenomenon", but arguably if you addressed that, there would be less objection overall to immigration. It's only when immigrants are visible that you tend to see opposition, and where they accumulate in their own ghettos, they are highly visible.

Now call this xenophobia if you will, but actually caution of that which is alien is a normal reaction. It is part of the natural human defence mechanism. This is overcome over time as trust is established. But how can those bridges be built when there are barriers to integration which are unlikely be resolved?

All the while over that last two decades we have seen back street mosques popping up many of which have to be monitored by MI5. Why do we want this? Why should it be tolerated? Why invite more of it? A society that doesn't get a handle on this is a society with a deathwish.

So one then might suggest that EEA freedom of movement would be tolerable if there were a very serious gesture from the government to indicate that this kind of immigration and the loopholes that enable it will be resolved. As yet no Pole as gone on a knife rampage or blown themselves up at a children's pop concert.

Would this mean we then had a discriminatory immigration system? Yes. And I don't honestly think the majority would give a solitary toss. Part of the reason Labour fails to connect with its base is that it would rather be seen to be politically correct to avoid upsetting its metropolitan middle class liberal vote than actually representing the dispossessed. It can never bridge the two constituencies.

What I do not understand, is how the supposedly non-racist metropolitan middle class liberal vote can back Corbyn, who is only leader because of a capture of Labour by Momentum; an antisemitic cult on the far left which is actually in bed with antisemitic and deeply corrupt Muslim activists. It's not actually difficult to see why working class Northerners are not rushing to back Labour.

Tangentially, yesterday I noted that councillors in Lancashire County Council voted to ban unstunned halal meat from being served in schools. I happen to disagree with it but that is surely a signal. This tells you that the beef (scuse the pun) is not to do with Polish farm labourers. Citizens are wondering why the halal meat section in their big brand local supermarket is bigger than the rest.

As much as the issue of the EU has been the thorn in the side of the Tories for the last two decades or more, the issue of Muslim immigration is also a perennial issue and a continued source of anger among deprived Northern communities.    

Time and again we hear the same platitudes, the favourite one being "we need to have an honest debate" but actually we don't get anywhere close to an honest debate without people being branded far right - to the point where people dare not put their heads above the parapet. There is an establishment collusion to stop that debate from happening. It's thorny and nobody in mainstream politics wants to touch it with a barge pole. It's pure political cowardice.

With so many then silenced and with no palatable options at the ballot box, you can hardly be surprised when there is a referendum that you get a surge of protest votes. The referendum was as much a referendum on the status quo as anything else and the public voted for change.

Though the mandate was to leave the EU there was also a substantial part of the vote that was undeniably linked to the issue of immigration. So the question is whether we continue to ignore it or whether we takes steps to address it. Since there had been no meaningful action on it previously, a Brexit vote was returned. I won't say that it was primarily about immigration but I would be dishonest to downplay it.

So now, we are either faced with the grim prospect of a hard Brexit, controlling the wrong kind of immigration - or we can stay in the EEA if the real message is honoured. We have previously discussed the application of Article 112 of the EEA agreement as a means to modify freedom of movement. Supposing this can be done, I still do not think it will be enough. It will smell a lot like a fudge and let's be honest, it is.

So a new deal needs to be made. If we do not want to lose the substantial trade we enjoy by way of being in the single market, there need some credible and serious proposals on curbing non-EEA immigration. Politics will only become more toxic if there isn't meaningful action.

The challenge of post-Brexit politics is one of how to reunite the country; closing the culture gap between the ruling class and the public. If we continue to kick the can down the road then I can very easily see that another large terrorist atrocity will be the final straw. That "islamophobic backlash" that liberals wring their hands about is more likely if there aren't visible changes to the social landscape after we leave the EU.

How you go about this fairly and humanely is entirely a different debate and there are tools at our disposal that need not be draconian. But if I have learned anything about politics in recent years it's that it only takes a million people to vote this way or that for the results to be profoundly different. The pivotal constituency in this instance could take us down a very ugly path. It is therefore a question of heading it off at the pass rather than sitting on our hands. Kicking the can down the road is what brought us to Brexit. I dare not think what would happen if we kick the can down the road once more.

To solve the immigration problems we are going to have to look far beyond sterile, tired ideas such as repatriation. We need to look at the root causes of failure to integrate - community-by-community - and take whatever action is needed (general, targeted or both) to address the actual, real problems, rather than what they imagine to be the problems. One thing is clear; we must act now.

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