Right-wing hysteria about multiculturalism ‘plot’


by Sunny
27th October, 2009 at 10:11 am    

Last week the Telegraph ran a big story about how a senior Tony Blair speech-writer had admitted that immigrants were being allowed to come into the country to rub the right’s face in diversity and multiculturalism. Outrage! Shock! Hysteria! Naturally the Daily Mail and other newpapers with an axe to grind followed.

I thought: these writers can’t be this stupid surely? One guy thinks the Tony Blair administration didn’t really care that much for right-wing hysteria about multiculturalism and it is being played up as a massive plot. But no, people really are that willing to swallow such tripe. Now the guy at centre of the story has written this:

As a ministerial speechwriter in a former career, in 2000 I penned a key speech for the then immigration minister Barbara Roche, which mooted changes to make it easier for skilled workers to come to the UK.

Multiculturalism was not the primary point of the report or the speech. The main goal was to allow in more migrant workers at a point when – hard as it is to imagine now – the booming economy was running up against skills shortages.

But my sense from several discussions was there was also a subsidiary political purpose to it – boosting diversity and undermining the Right’s opposition to multiculturalism. I was not comfortable with that. But it wasn’t the main point at issue.

Somehow this has become distorted by excitable Right-wing newspaper columnists into being a “plot” to make Britain multicultural. There was no plot. … What’s more, both were robust on immigration when they needed to be: Straw had driven through a tough Immigration and Asylum Act in 1999 and Roche had braved particularly cruel flak from the Left over asylum seekers.

Perhaps the lesson of this row is just how hard it still is to have any sensible debate about immigration. The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the drop of a chapati: to judge by some of the rubbish published in the past few days, it’s frankly not hard to see why ministers were nervous.

To read something sensible by a right-winger on immigration, which is highly rare, this blog post by Alex Massie on Sunday does a good job (via Hopi Sen).

99% of commentary otherwise written by right-wingers is absolute drivel. As Anton Vowl showed this weekend – there is a lot of condemnation of the BNP on the right while simultaneously pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, they love pretending that if no one listens to them then BNP support will go through the roof, without any evidence.


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  1. pickles

    New blog post: Right-wing hysteria about multiculturalism 'plot' http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6336




  1. cjcjc — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:17 am  

    But my sense from several discussions was there was also a subsidiary political purpose to it – boosting diversity and undermining the Right’s opposition to multiculturalism. I was not comfortable with that. But it wasn’t the main point at issue.

    So there was a minor “plot”?

    Anyway, the left opposes multiculturalism now too, doesn’t it!

  2. MacGuffin — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:49 am  

    Interesting to note how the right-wing media repeat all the comments from Neather which they like, but his denial has been almost totally ignored. If he was a reliable source Friday/Saturday, why isn’t he now?

  3. The Common Humanist — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:56 am  

    It is becoming almost impossible to have sensible debate with the Right about anything at all.

    The Hard Left also suffers from this but the key point is that they are a fringe whereas silly shrill conspiritorial nonsense appears to grip almost all the mainstream Right in the UK and US. Conservatism = obstructionist imbecility it seems.

  4. Reza — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:56 am  

    So Neather is trying to back-track, no doubt in response to hectoring from his political circle.

    But let’s put the attempted backracking to one side for a moment and look again at what he said:

    “…rub the Right’s nose in diversity”…

    And wrote:

    “Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural…

    …I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”

    Seems pretty damning from here.

    To wilfully socially engineer ‘diversity’ for ideological reasons, and deliberately keeping that intention hidden from the electorate, is nothing short of criminal.

    I hope that one day the perpetrators of this face trial.

    And there are many on the left who are outraged by this too.

  5. Andy — on 27th October, 2009 at 11:07 am  

    This bloke says that Jack Straw is a ‘decent and honourable’ person.

    That suggests to me that he may not be entirely in charge of his own senses.

  6. Abdul Abbulbul Emir — on 27th October, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

    As Mrs A said

    ‘That Sunny showing up James Cleverly (is that his real name ?)on the box the other day when he called the BNP rep on the London Assembly incompetent was a shrewd move believe me Abdul.

    After all many Tories and Neuliebor are just as stupid.
    Not to mention African dictator types.

    That Sunny. He will go a long long way mark my words’

    She is always right….

  7. Col Bloodnokk ex M15 — on 27th October, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

    a boy’s adventure comic like ‘Hotspur’ of blessed memory.

    Binky

    Were you at Repton ?

    Gawd I remember Hotspur and the war comics I grew up on.
    Simple stories .One identifiable enemy then – ‘The Hun’.

    Not like today when one jumps at one’s own shadow.
    And you don’t know who the hell to trust.

    How did we ever come to such a pass.
    And to think it happened on my watch

    Bloodnokk
    The Bunker
    Virginia Water

  8. damon — on 27th October, 2009 at 5:02 pm  

    Right-wing hysteria about multiculturalism ‘plot’

    There probably was. But they were a couple of very partizan blogs from Alex Massie and Hopi Sen.
    So too was the Evening Standard piece by Andrew Neather titled ”Don’t listen to the whingers – London needs immigrants”.

    I know this argument, and it’s a good one (though it smacks of being a middle class one too).

    It reminds me of Deptford in South East london, that was traditionally white working class, and has now become the home to many African migrants and East Asians. The High Street and market are hugely multi-cultural today. It’s vibrant, but the WWC looks tired and in decline.
    Living amongst all this is a white liberal middle class group of incommers, and they all sit at one cafe on a saturday morning with their broadsheet newspapers and their coffees and kid’s pushchairs. The other week I actually saw a guy with a Noam Chomsky book sitting at a table.

    I understand the view given by those people (I know Tooting pretty well too, and know one young student from India, who goes to the college above Sainsbury’s at the Broadway, and she hates it for being a bit of a Pakistani ghetto – whereas, I quite like the place).

    I suppose it depends if you find places like Tooting Market ‘funky and exotic’ – or a bit of a dump, where you wouldn’t want to buy any meat from the butchers because of some stories you’d heard.
    http://cdn.trustedplaces.com/i/uploads/placepics/ldc_1703n6v.c300x220.jpg

  9. Gussy — on 27th October, 2009 at 5:51 pm  

    How courageous of Barbara Roche to have braved such cruel flak!

  10. cjcjc — on 27th October, 2009 at 5:53 pm  

    I prefer Marylebone High Street myself

    The most dumpy I can handle nowadays is Exmouth Market or Whitecross Street…

  11. bernard — on 27th October, 2009 at 9:17 pm  

    Damon, how do you know this Chomsky reader wasn’t working class? Is it because in your mind, working-class people are all too thick to read books?

  12. marvin — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:15 pm  

    There’s more on this “hysteria”

    Blair’s think tank airbrushed link between crime and immigrants

    Labour seemed to think it detrimental to mention any negative effects of immigration. I don’t know why people are acting surprised with all the lies and spin from the Labour government!… It’s almost entirely a shift from working class Labour voters to the BNP. Well done Labour, clap clap!

    Bernard: I’d think people would assume that, generally speaking, the working class wouldn’t have their heads quite so far up their arses because they couldn’t afford to live in a liberal middle class mutual masturbation ring at the local free range fair trade gastro-cafe ranting about the murdering israeli bastards or pontificating about this fab performance art on the frustrations of Palestinian strawberry pickers, yar… :P

  13. bernard — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:23 pm  

    Yes, only leftists take part in middle-class activities. If you go to a farmers’ market you’ll never, ever, meet a Conservative voter there because they’re at home eating burgers like the working-class heroes all right-whingers really are… or not.

    Twat.

  14. Amrit — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:54 pm  

    Hang on, I’m confused. Skilled immigrants were allowed in, because they were skilled – which is the kind of thing that mental Right-wingers always crow about (I refuse to tar them all with the same brush, given that my partner leans that way…).

    So… people were essentially getting what they always ask for, and somehow this has something to do with ‘the failure of multiculturalism’ and immigrants who refuse to assimilate. Does this mean that the skilled immigrants are also teh EEEVIL MOSLEMS WHO HATE OUR BRITISH WAY OF LIFE?!!

    This was interesting, from Marvin’s article:

    Moreover, in the draft it was asserted that Britain’s record towards Jews fleeing Hitler’s Nazi regime was “positively shameful in some respects”. It also said racism towards black migrants in past years had come “not just from extremists or working class communities, but from politicians and policy-makers at the highest level”.

    Hmmm… Which paper was it that supported the Nazis… Oh, that’s right, the 2-million-selling Daily Mail! Verily, this country does SEETHE with enlightened defenders of liberal democracy. Reza is a perfect example. His post was the comedy highlight of the thread so far. Sunny, you should give some of our BNP and BNP-flavoured posters their own section.

  15. damon — on 27th October, 2009 at 10:57 pm  

    Bernard, I’m just making assumptions on (sadly) how things seem to be. WWC of the Deptford kind don’t seem to read Chomsky. Or the Guardian or Independent.
    When you do see one of your fellow bin men or warehouse staff reading such things in the canteen or the cafe, you do tend to notice it.
    It does happen sometimes, but rarely.
    It’s not really the done thing. I remember getting mocked by my mates for taking out The Guardian at half time on a football terrace at a match in the early 80′s.

  16. marvin — on 27th October, 2009 at 11:16 pm  

    “Yes, only leftists take part in middle-class activities.”

    I’m talking specifically about a kind of moralising liberal-middle class, the delusional Guardian preachers of socialist utopias and the thundering posturing over the evils of Western capitalist imperialist societies… I.e. Chomskyites.

    I don’t mind the fair range trade free liberals so much as long as they’ve still got their feet to the ground and ears open to the rest of us. But Chomsky fans…. Anyone who is thinks Chomsky is on the money has their head in cuckoo land, to be polite. A favourite read by Osama Bin Laden too boot.

    It’s generally liberal middle class types who read such things, as you well know, I’m sure. Not the bin men and the labourers, as damon points out…

  17. bernard — on 27th October, 2009 at 11:39 pm  

    What do these beloved bin men and labourers of yours think about your pals in the City of London?
    What do they think about this 50% tax rate that your kind whinge about?
    What do they think about your heroine Thatcher?

    Yes, looks like you only talk about the working class when it’s convenient to you, without mentioning the fact that they are anti-conservative in several obvious ways.

  18. marvin — on 28th October, 2009 at 12:07 am  

    Yet still, Labour, the party of the unions and the working man has the worst poll ratings in history. Go figure! That coupled with a rise in support for the far-right.

    You might need to think outside the box and stop fighting the same old dreary battles in your heads from the ’80s.

    Perhaps the working class aren’t as subservient to your socialist agendas as you’d hoped :)

    Conservatives are getting consistently the highest ratings across the sociological spectrum. Plenty of working class Tories out there. If you don’t know any then you’re living in a dream world too mate. Working class, like any other such grouping have a diverse group of views, despite what the left will tell you.

    …The City Boys, like Goldman Sachs, whom presently still reside in the UK, are set to give around £2.5bn in tax to the UK treasury. How much will the 50p tax rate generate in additional revenue? What about when companies such as Sachs decide to relocate to other economies such as Ireland?

  19. bernard — on 28th October, 2009 at 12:13 am  

    Labour are cunts. They have little working-class support because they haven’t rejected Thatcherism firmly enough. These Tories, whom I’m sure do exist, would be swept away by Labour if all the working-class apathetics had something to attract them to the ballot box.

    I voted NO2EU. If Cameron forms a government, expect forces like this to rise if Labour can’t stop their pathetic subservience to the right-wing agenda, even now.

  20. persephone — on 28th October, 2009 at 2:20 am  

    Are Abdul Abbulbul Emir and Col Bloodnokk ex MI5 the same person?

  21. Gussy — on 28th October, 2009 at 3:13 am  

    Someone – I forget who now – wrore about “The Faithful Roche” as the name for a public house.

    Or was it “The Intrepid Galloway” perhaps?

    Public houses called “The Intrepid Fox” were supposedly named in honour of Charled James Fox, a descendent of one of Charles II’s bastards.

  22. bananabrain — on 28th October, 2009 at 12:47 pm  

    should we not quote neathers in his entirety, rather than just the bit where he was rude about the right?

    Perhaps the lesson of this row is just how hard it still is to have any sensible debate about immigration.

    The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the drop of a chapati: to judge by some of the rubbish published in the past few days, it’s frankly not hard to see why ministers were nervous.

    The Left, however, will immediately accuse anyone who raises immigration as an issue as “playing the race card” – as the Government has on several occasions over the past decade.

    Both sides need to grow up.

    i couldn’t agree more – however, he adds:

    A diverse society that welcomes immigrants works.

    but the trouble is that it doesn’t actually seem to be working everywhere and we’re not able to discuss why without all the vested interests jumping in with their soapboxes.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  23. Reza — on 28th October, 2009 at 1:17 pm  

    Bananabrain

    The quotes you give are from a subsequent article where Neathers backtracks on his original comments, presumably in response to the embarrassing publicity that resulted for him and his friends.

    What he said originally was:

    “…rub the Right’s nose in diversity…”

    And he wrote:

    “Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural…

    …I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”

    You wrote:

    “…but the trouble is that [immigration] doesn’t actually seem to be working everywhere…”

    That’s true.

    “…and we’re not able to discuss why without all the vested interests jumping in with their soapboxes…”

    The primary obstacle to having a sensible discussion on immigration is the propensity of the left and sites like this to accuse anyone who criticises immigration of being a ‘racist’.

  24. Little Richardjohn — on 29th October, 2009 at 11:35 am  

    The classic reactionary psychosis on display this week was to blame immigrants for the BNP. Then threaten to vote BNP because the BBC had revealed how obscene and trouserless Griffin is, making him stand out like a fascist in a room full of civilised people. All in spite of claiming to be ‘repulsed by racism’ and other mealy-mouthed assertions.
    The real depths of British moral decline has been revealed with every closet fascist emerging since last thursday. But all it truly reveals is the economic truth that in theory, fascism is only ever one more financial crisis away. The veneer of civilisation is very thin, and reactionaries from Cameron down will chip away at it night and day.

  25. Little Richardjohn — on 29th October, 2009 at 11:37 am  

    “Working class, like any other such grouping have a diverse group of views, despite what the left will tell you.”

    You need educating about the capitalism you worship.
    You don’t even know the political alphabet or how many political beans make five.

  26. Susan Jones — on 29th October, 2009 at 11:57 am  
  27. Little Richardjohn — on 29th October, 2009 at 12:42 pm  

    Phillips’ main intention is probably to make everyone as miserable as she is.

  28. Paul — on 29th October, 2009 at 7:51 pm  

    Neather’s intepretation of the motivation behind changed immigration policy in the early 2000s is wrong. It was not a ‘multicultural plot.’, but was based on ‘expert’ views on the economic benefit of moving towards a ‘managed migration’ approach, especially in the context of the A8 accession countries.

    That, at least, is the considered view of Dr Alex Balch of the University of Sheffield (though currently in the States), who based his PhD on this very subject. He finds Neather’s latterday commentary mystifying, to say the least. Alex Balch has no political axe to grind.

    For further details see http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2009/10/27/immigration-policy-when-evidence-actually-counted-for-something/ and including the comments from Alex Balch himself.

  29. Auntie Vera — on 30th October, 2009 at 7:30 am  

    Shoot back to the job and click on the link at the bottom of the second paragraph.

    Then read the letters penned in response – some written in incoherent fury but clear enough in meaning.

    Neather’s reference to gardeners and cleaners and au pairs – useful migrants without whose vital labours London would grind to a halt – says everything about the sort of person he is and the sort of people with whom he associates.

    As does his reference to such terribly important jobs being very unlikely to be grabbed by “unemployed BNP voters in Barking and Burley,” adding “fascist au pair, anyone?”

    Enough said?

  30. Andy — on 3rd November, 2009 at 1:38 am  

    People move out because their people failed in their country. They in turn up say, here because its run by Britons who laboured to make this place what it is.

    To complete the sham; All you need to do is let an idiot to remove the safety catch from the door and send the army packing to some pointless dust bowl to die.

    To paraphrase Thatcher. “Sooner or later the left run out of other peoples money to spend”. I will add its not just money. Its *everything* you people have … or had.

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