What is the progressive narrative on immigration?


by Sunny
21st May, 2010 at 9:39 am    

My head is exploding with all the rubbish rhetoric about immigration since the election finished, let alone while it was in full flow. So much to write, so little time.

There’s a few points I need to make.

First, it’s possible to show via the polls that while people cited immigration as a concern – it still did not lose Labour the election. There were other factors that influenced votes much more. Especialy Gordon Brown’s unpopularity and the state of the economy.

Secondly, it’s more obvious to point out that increased immigration does not lead to more support for the fascists: the BNP were trounced in this election thanks to a lot of local campaigning and organising and bringing people together (see Hope Not Hate). Right-wingers keep saying this, and blaming the left for the rise of the BNP. Now who will they applaud for the collapse of the BNP?

Thirdly, the eagerness with which Labour leader contenders Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and David Miliband have made immigration their top concern shows how bereft they are of ideas. According to them, New Labour did nothing wrong in power, except it wasn’t hard enough on immigrants. Tell that to the children who were locked up in detention without charge. And they say they’re standing up for ‘fairness’. New Labour got nothing wrong other than immigration huh? Too bad the polls don’t support that view.

It boggles the mind that people like Andy Burnham can blow racist dog-whistles and then claim to be left-wing or standing up ‘against unfairness’.

Fourth, it’s worth stressing that what we need to talk about isn’t immigration in itself, but it’s impact: why aren’t there enough houses, investment in public services, job protection for low-income people? Labour leaders want to talk about immigration, but not its impact. They’ll talk about immigration but won’t admit they didn’t build enough houses or let down people in low-paid jobs.

Fifth, here is the dilemma for the left. The public are not easily persuaded by facts. There’s no way of ‘educating them’. The right-wing media exists and it won’t stop printing false stories. And there are lots of traditional Labour supporters who have concerns about immigration (Labour was about 30 points behind in the polls on the issue).

And there is little evidence that those concerns translated into lost votes. Labour had lost millions of voters even before this election, mainly because of Iraq. Nevertheless, Labour was about 30 points behind. So what would a progressive narrative on immigration look like? How do you deal with people’s concerns without sounding like the English Defence League, the BNP or Andy Burnham? How does that narrative offer solutions and hope without encouraging people to be bigots or making them fearful of immigrants?

What’s the narrative? What do you say on the door-step? Thoughts?


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  1. Justin McKeating

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  2. Jonathan Taylor

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: What is the progressive narrative on immigration? http://bit.ly/d7mEcD


  3. John West

    Pickled Politics » What is the progressive narrative on immigration? – http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/8757


  4. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: What is the progressive narrative on immigration? http://bit.ly/d7mEcD


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  7. sunny hundal

    @antoniabance @Jon2aylor @martinbright We need progressive narrative on immigration http://ow.ly/1OAKS /current candidates not offering


  8. very real concerns « Alternate Seat of TYR

    [...] 23, 2010 in Home Office, ideology, immigration, socialism What Sunny said. One of the most depressing things about the Labour leadership candidates’ focus on The Very [...]


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    [...] asked a few weeks ago: What is the progressive narrative on immigration?‘. We still don’t have the answer other than people mumbling ‘let’s talk [...]




  1. Paul — on 21st May, 2010 at 10:13 am  

    Sunny

    This is an succint summary of the challenge facing us. I can’t provide all my views here – as you say, so little time, so much to write at the moment – though I will be trying to over the weekend.

    The main tasks we need to get our heads round though are:

    1) Creating a coherent, almost standard ‘narrative’ in all alternative media we can get our hands on (including right down to local leaflet level) setting out how immigrants are not a problem, but overall lack of services are (esp. housing shortage), and linking this the coalition’s slashing of same. Actually Dianne Abbotts piece in the Guardian is quite good as an example of someone high profile doing this much better than the mealy-mouthed shite from Ed Miliband.

    2) Link a new ‘immigration narrative’ as explicitly and as often as possible to a new ‘economic narrative’ around the way in which the EU operates as a promoter of inter-country inequalities and leads directly to migration patterns (within that the narrative that often people migrating would rather not, but have no choice).

    As you say, easier said than done, and i’ll try to work up the nuts and bolts of such an approach.

  2. Molly Moggs — on 21st May, 2010 at 10:30 am  

    The thing is, immigration from outside the EU was already tightly managed even before the introduction of BCI (which was not fully implemented under Labour so now we get to have part of it interpreted and applied by the Tories–great). Sure there may have been areas where there could have been tweaks, like for student visas, but combined with the punitive rises in fees for every step in the process, the UK will not be a place attractive to the world’s best and brightest any more, unless they come from within the EU.

    It seems to me that most people who aren’t islamaphobes are mostly concerned with the large influx of people who came when the block of eastern European countries joined the EU. It was a stupid move on Labour’s part to allow full free movement from the start. The UK was one of only three countries who allowed it. They should have put restrictions on migration until the new countries started seeing the other benefits of being a member state and until all or most EU countries allowed free movement. They should recognise this, admit their mistake, and promise to ensure provisional restrictions are in place when new member states join. All major parties would do this anyway. It’s patently obvious this was a huge mistake.

    Labour needs to sell the public on the benefits of EU membership and to counter anti-Europe propaganda. They also need to stop using immigration as a scapegoat for the failures of government (little g) for providing services they claim on the tin to offer. For instance housing has not been built in line with demand, and this would have been a problem with or without immigration. Either offer and do it properly or remove it as a part of the welfare state. Don’t let it become a flashpoint racial/ethnic issue.

    Right now it seems that Labour wants to benefit from scapegoating immigrants. They want to appear tough on immigration and win elections with that rhetoric. Labour has used the fee system for visas and permits to add money to the budget and has admitted that the cost of these visas and permits far exceeds the cost to the government of providing them. I don’t think that the Tories will be any different, but from a party that claims to be the party of the ignored and marginalised, I can’t see them as anything but hypocrites. Right now it seems that it is poor people manipulated into anger about other poor people.

    If Labour wants to do the right thing, they should improve the areas that cause concern, confront people who are only basing their critiques on xenophobia, and ensure that it’s truly a fair system. They need to deflate the power of the anti-immigration rhetoric, not appear to try to capitalise on it.

    I don’t know how they could tie things up in a neat narrative to sell it to the voters, but I don’t think the route the leadership candidates appear to be headed makes the most appealing argument, at least to true progressives.

  3. donpaskini — on 21st May, 2010 at 10:40 am  

    I don’t think a new “narrative” is what’s needed here.

    One key issue that you have identified is right-wing newspapers telling lies about immigrants, and hence people getting the view that problems which affect them are caused by immigrants.

    So two solutions – firstly sort out the problems that people face, and secondly get between the media and the people by doing masses of local community work, and have a different and more credible explanation about who is causing the problems and what needs to be done to sort them out.

    Where I used to live, one cause of resentment was that the area was changing from quiet family homes to lots of multiple occupation housing, with rubbish in the front gardens and nowhere to park your car because every multi-occ house had 4 cars outside. Many people, naturally, blamed immigration for this.

    Rather than trying to “educate” people about immigration, we told people that these problems were caused by greedy landlords who didn’t care about the area and just wanted to make as much money as they could by cramming people into their houses. We involved people in campaigning for tough action and regulations against rip-off landlords to try and drive the bad ones out of the area and ensure that only people who cared about the area and looked after their tenants and neighbours stuck around.

    People found this a much more interesting and compelling narrative than one about immigrants causing all the problems, because it chimed with their own experiences, and because we made sure that there were actions that they could be involved in, rather than just passively reading the newspaper. Our campaigning team was also diverse and included a wide mix of people including immigrants – nothing changes attitudes about immigrants faster than seeing them helping you sort out problems in your local area.

    By 2006, our local surveys found that “action on bad landlords” was the joint top issue of concern for local people along with crime, and immigration didn’t even get a mention.

    In other areas, there might be other problems – lack of social housing, crime or whatever, which need to be sorted out. But it is always the grassroots work, addressing the issues which people care about and think are caused by immigrants, that makes the difference.

  4. Millsy — on 21st May, 2010 at 10:49 am  

    There’s a progressive narrative on immigration? Not one you’d like to broadcast nationally in any event.

  5. Napier — on 21st May, 2010 at 11:04 am  

    It boggles the mind that people like Andy Burnham can blow racist dog-whistles and then claim to be left-wing or standing up ‘against unfairness’….

    How do you deal with people’s concerns without sounding like the English Defence League, the BNP or Andy Burnham?

    So Andy Burnham is a ‘racist’ who belongs with the BNP?

    You haven’t learned anything from the Gillian Duffy episode, have you.

  6. jim jepps — on 21st May, 2010 at 11:23 am  

    Don, I think we may have to accept that the right-wing press are going to say wrong, stupid and racist things. I suppose my concern is that those papers that are meant to be more left leaning do not isolate them in their witch hunting of asylum seekers or the lies they tell about Eastern Europeans – rather they essentially accept the same “narrative” just a more moderate version.

    The consistent attempts to paint immigrants as a problem despite the fact that they contribute disproportionately to this country are a real problem and we probably need to get our own house in order first.

    Having spoken to thousands of people about politics face to face on the doorstep in the last few months it’s very clear to me that there are large numbers of people who are concerned about the anti-immigrant rhetoric we’re hearing on a daily basis.

    It seems to me that this constituency feels it has no voice and I’d like to see their arguments gain more prominence.

  7. Chris — on 21st May, 2010 at 11:39 am  

    What we all learned from the Gillian Duffy episode was that playing to the bigot vote doesn’t work. Gordon Brown’s private remarks about Gillian Duffy did him no harm at all, but years of racist dogwhistling (remember “British jobs for British workers”) did untold harm to Labour. Labour should be vehemently anti-racist and not accept either the demands of the right wing press, or the disgusting and utterly venal attempts of local government (in particular) to use racism as an excuse to demand more money (which is all that all these fatuous claims that immigration uses their resources are).

  8. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 11:48 am  

    Molly – The thing is, immigration from outside the EU was already tightly managed – EXACTLY…we’re still making the mistake of lumping all forms of immigration together.

    Napier – Gillian Duffy was a woman who may have been a life long supporter of the labour party but had little grasp on what it means to be part of the EU and its impact on economic migrants. So although calling her a bigot was probably harsh, someone should have asked her to expand on what she meant about all these ‘east europeans flocking to the UK’..bullshit.

    I think we need to change the type of language that is used around the term immigration both in the press as well as when our politicians use it. Some hard facts to dispel the myths especially at local level as Don points out. The housing shortage is NOT being caused by economic immigrants/asylum seekers/overstayers or refugees. It is probably part of the longterm effect of Thatcher’s policy on everyone owning their own house and the impact that had on social housing and the desire for home ownership.

    If you also look at the changing face of society in the last 20 years, how can you not look at the increasing number of single/couple/single parent families..these all have an impact on the availability of housing…again, immigration is used as a scape goat for what is not a single reason issue.

  9. Cauldron — on 21st May, 2010 at 12:02 pm  

    ‘Progressives’ might want to take a leaf out of Blair’s and Cameron’s book. Before offering any narrative, the losing side in any debate (not just immigration) must first earn from the electorate ‘permission to be heard’. The easiest way to re-earn public trust is to fess up to where you were wrong. Naturally, this is an emotionally wrenching process, which is why both Labour and the Tories spent long periods in the wilderness in the last 20 years.

    In the case of the Left’s view on immigration, it ought not to be too hard to regain permission to be heard, since most of the hard policy reversals have actually already taken place since 7/7 and the rhetoric on the left has already started to change.

    Perhaps the narrative could go like this:

    “When in opposition in the early 1990s, we were naïve in importing the political correctness and identity politics philosophies that were being developed on American campuses. We were also naïve in thinking that the best way to gather votes from ethnic minorities was to develop policies that pandered to a group of decrepit, semi-literate “community leaders” whose concerns and experiences were increasingly divorced from those of second generation migrants.

    When we came to power, race relations in Britain were pretty good. Concern about immigration, as measured by a MORI tracker poll that goes back to 1974, was practically zero and confined to a hardcore of sad losers. Some of you might remember that Times editorial “Goodness Gracious Me” that seemed so in keeping with the optimism of the early Blair years. Sure, there were still nasty incidents, but the trend (probably driven by generational changes in attitude) was positive.

    However on coming to power we wanted to change a few things, as we’d highlighted in Labour’s manifesto. We felt that some elements of Britain’s immigration policies smacked of racial discrimination. We also felt that the British economy could handle a larger number of net migrants. When we introduced changed in 1997 and 1998 there was surprisingly little political opposition.

    Unfortunately we overplayed our hand, with counter-productive consequences. We did things which made the general public equate Labour’s immigration policies with unfairness. This in turn allowed the far right to return from the grave, promoting themselves as defenders of indigenous ‘victims’.

    With the benefit of hindsight, we on the left shouldn’t have been so wedded to identity politics. Our support of minority identity politics clouded our previous clear, liberal, message that we aspire to a colour-blind society. It was disastrous for us to flirt with the notion of reverse-discrimination: all discrimination is wrong.

    And, even though we might have been portrayed as ‘nasty’, we should have taken a tougher policy approach to dealing with illegal migrants. Yes, Britain has a humane tradition on migration but many of those in Sangette were just taking the p*ss. Britons hate queue-jumpers. Legal migrants hate them even more, because the queue-jumpers give them a bad name.

    We made other mistakes too. A-8 accession was badly handled. For the Euro elections we chose the form of PR most likely to give seats to the Far Right. And we should have made it clearer to migrants from certain countries (you know which ones I’m talking about) that migration carries responsibilities to integrate as well as rights.

    Having said that, we weren’t to blame for everything. We weren’t to blame for 9/11. We weren’t to blame for the rise of technologies that have lessened the need for unskilled working class labourers. We aren’t to blame for Paul Dacre’s hate-filled headlines. And we weren’t the ones who stopped counting people leaving the country.

    In fairness, Labour learned from its mistakes, albeit rater late in the day. After 7/7 we largely stopped the identity politics nonsense, apart from when Gordon went off-message with BJFBW. We introduced a points system, thereby accepting – and ideologically, this was a tough one – that some migrants are more desirable than others. We allowed people to debate immigration without calling them racist (old biddies in Rochdale excepted). Finally, we sank the economy and the pound, so that migrants didn’t want to come here anyway.

    Basically, after 2005 we began to reverse our earlier mistakes. It was hard to fess up at the time, but now we are out of office, we can officially say “sorry”. Luckily, the policies we put in place since 7/7 – which Dave and Nick will basically leave untouched – should sort out the mess.

    Next time we are in power we promise to focus less on race and more on helping the most disadvantaged members of our country, of any colour. Our future immigration policies will be designed in such a way that we will not harm the weakest members of our society.”

  10. Simon Pollock — on 21st May, 2010 at 12:47 pm  

    Cauldron — on 21st May, 2010 at 12:02 pm
    “..And we weren’t the ones who stopped counting people leaving the country…”

    Er yes you were. ‘Exit checks’ aka Embarkation Controls were abolished for EU destinations by the Conservatives in 1994 (as part of treaty commitment) and for everyone else by Labour in 1998. As with the A8 lack of restrictions and abolition of the primary purpose rule its not clear what Labour hoped to achieve with this policy.

    Anyway, Labour already admitted they messed up on exit checks back in 2006, pledging to reinstate the controls by 2014. Lack of exit checks has been a consistent Lib Dem theme of attack.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5212130.stm

    Otherwise I think your advice is spot on. I would just add that ‘progressives’ need to end their confusion of ethnic/cultural ‘diversity’ for ‘equality’. They are not the same. To put it crudely do ‘progressives’ want lots of brown faces or lots of wealth concentration and social disadvantage- the ‘race to the bottom’?

  11. donpaskini — on 21st May, 2010 at 1:16 pm  

    Jim – that’s true. Building up civil society groups who are willing and able to challenge the anti-immigrant press is crucially important here.

    e.g. the debate wd look very different if when the mail and murdoch went for the libs over amnesty just before the election, civil society had been able to organise a counter response. For example, every candidate getting hundreds of pro-amnesty e-mails and letters from their constituents and a pro-amnesty demo with 250,000 marching over the bank holiday weekend wd have made it much harder for the Libs to drop amnesty in the coalition negotiations. Or, if there had been a strike which highlighted the Murdoch press’ dependence on migrant workers to clean their offices, print, distribute and sell their newspapers.

    The narrative, if you will, needs to be that next time right-wing bullies try to use migrants as a punching bag, they get hit back twice as hard.

  12. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 1:36 pm  

    Cauldron -”Next time we are in power we promise to focus less on race and more on helping the most disadvantaged members of our country, of any colour. Our future immigration policies will be designed in such a way that we will not harm the weakest members of our society.”

    That would be nice in theory, but you still have to have policies in place that are coherent and longterm…what happens at the moment is anything to do with race (eg in the health arena) is given money on an adhoc basis without any influence or say from the communities that should actually be benefitting..it’s a tick box exercise. I don’t actually think race is high enough on the agenda. It’s usually paid lip service to using the same ol, same ol formula because it’s convenient (read lazy)…I can give you countless examples of poor health policy in local areas targetting minority ethnic communities.

  13. damon — on 21st May, 2010 at 2:10 pm  

    donpaskini @ 3

    Where I used to live, one cause of resentment was that the area was changing from quiet family homes to lots of multiple occupation housing, with rubbish in the front gardens and nowhere to park your car because every multi-occ house had 4 cars outside. Many people, naturally, blamed immigration for this.

    But that’s just what happens isn’t it? There’s not much you can do to change the actual nature of the growth of bedsitland when you have the kinds of people turning up in neighbourhoods because of immigration, or the area being close to a university.

    Are you sure you’re just not spinning bad news?
    By bad news I mean, that continued immigration from poor parts of the world is unpopular. Blame the Daily Mail and Express by all means, but Sangatte and Calais are real. Many people in Britain (a majority perhaps) don’t want ever continuing immigration from places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
    If that’s racist of them, then they’re racists.

    Also, the idea that you can just build your way out of housing shortages is a spurious one I think.

    Many people (me included) do not welcome a higher population and the need to build more houses on green field sites. At the moment where my mother lives, developers have managed to force a new development on the suburban community, where they are knocking down five semi detached houses, and using all their gardens, are going to build a small estate on that land.
    So not only is there a year of noise and dust to be put up with from the large construction site, next year there will be about 30 families living where before there were just five.

    I would hate it if the council estate at the top of the road where I grew up, expanded and cut into the woods and playing fields that surround it.

    They are the places for the local kids to play and for dog walkers to take their dogs.

  14. earwicga — on 21st May, 2010 at 2:36 pm  

    Many people in Britain (a majority perhaps) don’t want ever continuing immigration from places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

    Immigration caused by our Foreign Policies. Stop attacking their countries and they won’t come here = simple message for the doorstep.

  15. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 2:41 pm  

    Ugh@damon…are you for real? so there are that many immigrants that they have to use up all the green belt land in the U.K to house them? is that what you’re trying to say? So single parent families, less people living with family and the move to urban areas for jobs has got nothing to do with it?? you never heard of rural depopulation…it’s the country bumpkins that are taking our jobs and our housing don’t you know?

  16. damon — on 21st May, 2010 at 3:24 pm  

    @ 14. Perhaps earwicga, though there are some people on this board who support the war in Afghanistan.
    And Somalia is going to be a basket case for the long term no matter what any outside country tries to do there.

    Sofia, I was responding to point four in the openinng post from Sunny.

    Fourth, it’s worth stressing that what we need to talk about isn’t immigration in itself, but it’s impact: why aren’t there enough houses, investment in public services, job protection for low-income people? Labour leaders want to talk about immigration, but not its impact. They’ll talk about immigration but won’t admit they didn’t build enough houses or let down people in low-paid jobs.

    If the population of the country is rising, then houses will have to be built on green field sites, or the density of existing neighbourhoods will have to be incereased.

    In itself there is nothing wrong with high density living, but given the nature of our capitalist economy and planning laws, if we do end up packing more people in, it will not be to the advantage of many people who live in an area that will face redevelopment.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-is-now-fastestgrowing-city-in-europe-but-can-it-cope-653703.html

    I’m not sure that ”point four” really works that well in the end, as it’s all well and good saying what ought to happen, but the reality of what actuall does happen is not to many people’s liking.

  17. Chris — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:01 pm  

    Can we have an end to fatuous arguments for exit “checks”? There is no need whatsoever for the government to know exactly whether we are, or are not, in the country and there is no need to have an official stopping everyone and deciding whether they’re allowed out or not.

    It’s an offensive, unnecessary and expensive scheme and it should be done away with. Again.

  18. Cauldron — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:08 pm  

    #12 @Sofia

    Please don’t take this as an attempted flame. But in suggesting that we need more racialisation in the allocation of public resources you are playing with fire. You may mean well but your suggestion is ethically questionable, politically naive and unworkable in practice. It’s also counterproductive and highly likely to harm those you purport to wish to help. The BNP will love your ideas though.

    ETHICS – President Obama once asked why his daughters deserve preferential treatment relative to the children of a poor white person. It’s a good question. Race-based resource allocation is a good way to drive perceptions of unfairness.

    POLITICS – Sunny asked how a new narrative would play out on the door-step. I can see the “Doctors for Africans” slogans right now. And if minorities can demand resources, why can’t whites? It wouldn’t be long before we saw survey about which ethnic groups were net contributors to or beneficiaries from the Exchequer.

    UNWORKABLE – Identity-based resource allocation schemes almost always get hijacked by a minority of the favoured group. Affirmative action in the US helps the Charlie Rangels of this world but has done nothing to lessen the welfare dependency of the average African-American. BEE in South Africa has been hijacked by a few ANC alumni. Bumiputra reservations in Malaysia has done nothing for inequality in 40 years, save create a new class of cronies. Caste reservations in India have allowed crooks like Mayawati and Telecoms Minister A. Raja to accumulate billions while the average dalit continues to live in excrement.

    By all means target resource allocation based on income levels. Or even postcodes. Nobody is objecting to anyone getting treatment for sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease on the NHS. But race, per se, is toxic. If ‘progressives’ think that the answer to the last 13 years is MORE race based politics then the Left has learned nothing.

    It’s not even clear that ethnic minorities wish to be the beneficiaries of this do-goodery. They’re the ones that have to live with the backlash, and the insinuation that they are incapable of getting ahead in life without special privileges. Middle class minorities, who will have to bear the brunt of the stigma while receiving none of the resource benefits, are likely to continue to drift away from the Left.

  19. Cauldron — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:15 pm  

    @earwicga

    The suggestion that Somalia’s problems are due to British foreign policy is simply bizarre.

  20. cjcjc — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:26 pm  

    Are we attacking Somalia?

  21. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:30 pm  

    Cauldron – racialisation? do you know how many south asians die of heart disease in this country? or have higher levels of diabetes? or african caribbeans that have strokes? I’m not racialising anything, I’m looking at where money is spent and how many people end up dead because no one gave a shit about them..it’s not naive at all..do you work in the health service? if you want naive/stupid/ignorant then I suggest you have a look there first

  22. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:35 pm  

    and i’m not talking about spending money in a majority white area on the 2 black people that might live there. I’m talking about policy..the thing that policy makers are paid to do..do you know how many fucking meetings I’ve been to where they all talk about ‘hard to reach’ groups? and when do they call us brownies in to talk about other brownies? well..when the policy is practically being printed…we’re the tick box..the part of an equality impact assessment that says they’ve spoken to service users and relevant stakeholders..so please don’t say i’m naive..i’m not fucking naive..i do this day in and day out..and I see what comes out of it..NOTHING..because whitehall is still that..WHITE.

  23. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:43 pm  

    http://operationblackvote.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/conservatives-keep-election-pledge-promise

    which is why we need schemes like this…would you call this racialising a scheme for young people? or a recognition that whitehall needs to be more representative of the racial/cultural/religous make up of this country?

  24. Cauldron — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:52 pm  

    OK Sofia. You obviously have zero interest in discussing the issues point by point. Not even any attempt to consider using poverty as a means of of targeting healthcare. And how does your perspective stack up on housing or other public goods?

    Nope. It’s all about race, race, race for you. Perhaps you should go and blog on Stormfront.

    I applaud you as a health worker and I applaud your patience in attending many meetings. But that doesn’t give you a monopoly on the truth or the right to claim to speak on behalf of entire racial groups.

    Sad to see that instead of debating the issues you seek refuge in the language of the race-baiter (Shock. Horror. Whitehall is “WHITE”!!!) and the professional rent seeker.

    Here’s a tip from a non-medic. Try not to get so angry. You’ll get a stroke – a medical condition that, I believe, afflicts all races.

  25. Cauldron — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:53 pm  

    @23. I find OBV as offensive a concept as I would find OWV

  26. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 4:59 pm  

    really…*yawn*
    yes i only care about people who are non white..maybe if you actually read (seriously people have a problem with not reading things properly), then no where did I say that all people should be helped. I only said that policies need to prioritise some issues based on race due to the inadequate resources being allocated to them in the first place.

    Race baiter – for fucks sake?? again really?
    you may as well get rid of the equality act and the race relations amendment …because race has to be looked at in all public services

  27. Sofia — on 21st May, 2010 at 5:00 pm  

    and where the heck did i say I speak for entire racial groups..I was stating health facts..you want me to give you a bibliography I’ll be happy to do so.

  28. damon — on 21st May, 2010 at 5:14 pm  

    I think if you speak to the young men from Afghanistan who have ended up in places like West Croydon you’ll find that it’s not just war that drives them overseas, but the situation of the country as a whole and their seeing that opportunities where they are from are very poor, even if their part of the country is relatively peaceful.

    Now that it is known that you can go away and seek your fortune in in the west, and even be taken in by the local authority and housed and get to go to school and college (perhaps knocking a few years off your real age if you are a bit too old to qualify) this is just something that will continue for decades.

    The door step challenge should be to persuade people that they should welcome this high level of immigration and all the asylum seekers (who often tell lies about their situation) to come here and live amongst them because it’s the humane thing to do.

    Just be honest about it is my opinion.

  29. Napier — on 21st May, 2010 at 5:29 pm  

    Angry race baiters around here…

  30. Niels Christensen — on 21st May, 2010 at 7:01 pm  

    “Fourth, it’s worth stressing that what we need to talk about isn’t immigration in itself, but it’s impact: why aren’t there enough houses, investment in public services, job protection for low-income people? Labour leaders want to talk about immigration, but not its impact. They’ll talk about immigration but won’t admit they didn’t build enough houses or let down people in low-paid jobs”

    The basic truth is that Britain the next many years has to borrow every penny for housing, better public service and job protection.
    And it’s not the government who create jobs.
    A non critical approach to immigration creates a new lumpen proletariat. And it’s not that Britain didn’t have a white one already.
    As far as I remember the number of people on benefits (unemployment, disability and so on) has increased during the labour government. As it has all over western europe. Ex. about a quarter of the danish grown up population is in some way or another financed by the society ( not the state, not the government) = the people who work and pay taxes.Thats a problem. And the migration problem is a part of this problem, because many of the rules which apply to ‘citizens’ living in Britain (and in Western Europe) also apply to immigrants.
    It’s very doubtful that Western Europe can continue to finance this development. Thats the problem, not a new narrative.

  31. Dalbir — on 21st May, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

    Having been brought to its knees economically by the two world wars with the Germans and having to retract the empire means the country doesn’t have the luxury of undertaking profitable imperialist jaunts around the globe or sucking resource rich third world nations dry (but don’t mistake this for lack of trying though – Iraq). Even the military isn’t what it used to be in relative terms.

    On top of this, the complete failure of the ruling classes to make any decent use of their working class by helping them adapt them to the globalised world coupled with the mass outsourcing of low level work to poorer countries means the UK is in the shite. Having very little that the rest of the world wants in terms of exports and an often work shy and inefficient indigenous wc means the prospects don’t look too good for the future.

    Plus some of those wwc are bringing the whole mood of the country down with their flirting with neo-nazism.

    What we need is a UK equivalent of the American dream and that attitude over there that promotes, encourages and celebrates success, (with a touch of reserve). Many people over there must have figured out along time ago that it is in their wider interests to facilitate success and growth. People had better learn that here too and quit that nastier side of ‘Englishness’ which is slyly protectionist, exclusive and generally small minded and c*nty. That mindset that is obsessed with control and advantage for itself and frequently works like a constraint or obstacle.

    I think this country is so rich in talent and potential in so many spheres it is unbelievable. What we need is the demise of that negative ideology that currently characterises this country (and is probably a hang up from colonial times). Then the citizens of the nation will make it great again.

    If we don’t have this, none of the other problems will sort themselves out and immigrants will continue to be scapegoated for all the woes.

    I think we need a more ‘west coast’ vibe of sorts here to lift things up, instead of the miserable broomstick up the arse Brit stuff or that ugly bulldog thing the wwc frequently have going on. Bandura anyone?

  32. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2010 at 8:14 pm  

    Fifth, here is the dilemma for the left. The public are not easily persuaded by facts.

    Just look at the numbers who voted for Labour…

  33. Yakoub — on 22nd May, 2010 at 6:51 am  

    I think the current media/public narratives on immigration can’t be seperated from those on Muslims, Europe, etc. What we need is a new national/European narrative, one that doesn’t define us in terms of ‘the other’. But given those othering narratives have been coalescing for about 800 years, we might have a way to go. Here’s hoping we get a new one together before they build the next set of gas chambers, insha Allah.

  34. Sarah AB — on 22nd May, 2010 at 9:13 am  

    I want to go back to Paul’s comment where he describes Ed Milliband’s speech as ‘mealy mouthed shite’.

    “But the truth is that immigration is a class issue. If you want to employ a builder it’s good to have people you can take on at lower cost, but if you are a builder it feels like a threat to your livelihood.”

    I thought EM made a reasonable point – I don’t think much about immigration, and that seems a typical ‘middle class’ position. But I have talked to a builder who *was* concerned about these issues for the reasons EM outlines. There seems to be a correlation between labour mobility and worsening work conditions.

  35. Katy Newton — on 22nd May, 2010 at 9:34 am  

    I don’t think the election disclosed that immigration is more of a deep-seated concern than it ever has been, at least not in my lifetime. Immigration was a flashpoint when Thatcher was in power, when Major was in power, when Blair was in power and when Brown was in power. For all people like to whinge about it, it doesn’t seem to be a major issue in voting because if it was parties like UKIP and the BNP would have done much better than they did. It seems to me that the only thing the election results demonstrated was that Labour had lost a lot of respect and the Tories still hadn’t got past the huge stigma attached to voting Conservative.

  36. douglas clark — on 22nd May, 2010 at 11:14 am  

    It seems to me that immigration is, in fact cover for racism.

    The politically acceptable versions – Polish plumbers, etc, are simply cover for something worse. It certainly seems to be something that gets a Pavlovian reaction from the electorate whenever it is mentioned in a political context, although the disconnect seems to be that folk do not relate it to people they actually ‘know’, nor indeed to the sorts of individual cases that sometimes appear here.

    ——————————-

    An example of near invisible immigration are the French, there are around 300,000 of them concentrated around London. No-one seems to care, one way or the other about them. Why is that?

  37. boyo — on 22nd May, 2010 at 11:42 am  

    @34 Perhaps that is what is called a “eureka moment”? Golly, do you think class has something to do with it?

    You mean immigration wasn’t introduced simply to brighten up the dull cuisine of Olde England as the Hampstead types claim? Well I never.

    Mass immigration was used as a deliberate tool post-war to undermine the bargaining power of the working class. The common lament was of course that there was not the labour to do the job – well, I’m sure if they had paid enough they might have found someone.

    Ironically the “issue” of immigration does not really concern the immigrants themselves – it’s not about race or culture, once you are here you are here. What it’s about is poverty and numbers.

    The bourgeois class, used multiculturalism as a cover to screw the working class (whom it despised and feared, having given it a hell of a shock in ’45). How can you object to immigration? You must be racist!

    The ruling class projected their own exploitative prejudices on to the workers. A flag still being furiously waved by their avatars here, obviously.

  38. Sarah AB — on 22nd May, 2010 at 11:55 am  

    Douglas – although racists are inevitably going to be hostile to immigration, I don’t think everyone who has concerns about immigration, or feels immigration has meant their working conditions have become more difficult, is racist.

    Boyo – I’ve made this parallel before here I think but your points remind me of the situation in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in which different waves of immigrants come in and are by turns exploited by turn of the century US capitalism. Extreme competition for jobs leads, of course, to dreadful exploitation.

    But in so far as there is a problem it could be tackled by means other than attacking/limiting immigration, I would have thought.

  39. damon — on 22nd May, 2010 at 12:53 pm  

    An example of near invisible immigration are the French, there are around 300,000 of them concentrated around London. No-one seems to care, one way or the other about them. Why is that?

    Good question Douglas. Perhaps it’s because they are just as you describe, invisible. And I’m guessing they are much more middle class than immigrants from poorer countries.

    One doorstep challenge I would like to see, is for people to be shown this horrible BNP youtube, and to be questioned about it. Do they think that the Wembley that is shown in it is a change for the better, and is it the kind of thing that they would like for the town where they live?

    If many people think that the BNP chap in it has a point, then you’ll know you’ve got some convincing to do.

    It is my guess that if shown that video and asked for their opinions on it, perhaps a majority of people in Britain might think that Wembley had had too much immigration. And that’s something that anti-racists have to deal with.
    So maybe the tactic of calling the BNP ”Nazis” is a good one, as it will deter people who might have otherwise agreed with some of the stuff they say. (Although it does also seem an underhand tactic at the same time).

    …..btw – on another website I got a lot of abuse from some people who thought it was wrong for me to do a link to this youtube, as it was ”helping the BNP” in some way they thought, but I’m sure PP readers are bigger than that. You have to see your enemy close up is my opinion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1b9J8D3tOg&NR=1

  40. douglas clark — on 22nd May, 2010 at 1:04 pm  

    SarahAB,

    Perhaps it isn’t a one to one relationship, but it certainly appears to be a Venn Diagram where the two circles are of about equal size and overlap much in the way the Moon overlaps the Sun in a solar eclipse.

    Sure, folk can say that their working conditions have been adversely effected and recalling the first wave of immigration of the modern era, it was claimed that these people were coming to do jobs that folk just wouldn’t touch, toilet attendants, bus drivers and the like. It was naive then, and it is naive now. Did anyone back then actually think that they were introducing a caste system?

    There are good arguements to say that the way we treat immigrants is a measure of the way the state would like to treat us. I’d like to see the asylum system changed so that kids – or boy soldiers – coming from war zones who are given amnesty were also given some help and encouragement to assimilate. It seems to me that moving from a war zone to the UK should include not importing the war zone with the immigrant.

    Anyway.

    Somebody, better qualified than I, should write a book about the demand side of the economy in times of boom and the consequences for labour flow in, and inevitably, in times of bust, for labour flow out. And what that actually means for the static population.

    They probably already have.

  41. Sarah AB — on 22nd May, 2010 at 1:34 pm  

    I was comparing the lack of anxiety amongst my own profession – lecturers – with the anxiety amongst, say, builders. I made this parallel because a lot of academics working in the UK are from Europe, the US and elsewhere yet there doesn’t seem to be any anxiety about this. I suppose it’s partly because every academic appointment is made with care, there is a fairly rigid payscale so the question of undercutting doesn’t arise, even if a non UK lecturer might be willing to work for less. This perhaps contrasts with the situation of, say, the workers at Lindsey.

  42. Niels Christensen — on 22nd May, 2010 at 2:14 pm  

    #41
    Sarah AB
    Well in not so poor Schweitzerland ( and hidden by the minaret debacle) was – and still is a rather lively debate, where the number of german
    professionals has been debated. The number of german lectures is rising, and complaints, that they push native academics away is strong.

  43. Sarah AB — on 22nd May, 2010 at 2:27 pm  

    That’s interesting. I used to work in Scotland – where a lot of academics seem to be English – and I’m now trying to recall whether there was any sense that that was perceived as a problem.

  44. douglas clark — on 22nd May, 2010 at 3:09 pm  

    I suspect that, if you are rich, economically or intellectually, that there are absolutely no barriers to movement nor acceptance. It would be in the general interests of that social group that includes academia to provide a socially open milieu on the grounds that it may well be reciprocated. Not so sure your average manual worker sees it in quite the same way. In the former case the reciprocity is real, in the latter largely theoretical.

  45. Rumbold — on 22nd May, 2010 at 3:32 pm  

    Douglas:

    The French form ghettos in London that exclude non-French people from their world- just try getting a pork pie and chips in South Kensington. The French over here are overwhelmingly young professionals/students, who cost little in terms of welfare (health, benefits, education, etc.) and pay lots of taxes. Therefore people don’t mind. Also, we feel guilty because we send then elderly retirees who cost the French health system a ton of money, drive up house prices in rural areas, and refuse to speak French.

  46. douglas clark — on 22nd May, 2010 at 6:11 pm  

    Rumbold,

    A bit the same as Spain then? And gazillions in Italy too? ;-)

    Anyway; there must be an awful lot of folk living in London that weren’t born within the sound of Bow Bells and even racists just walk on by. Although perhaps not our ‘new friend’ @ 46. Though I kinda hope it’s just a spoof – ‘ingenious population’ is rather wonderful.

  47. Dalbir — on 22nd May, 2010 at 8:22 pm  

    Damon

    What do you prove by your link other than white BNP types simply detest the sight of lots of nonwhites and feel threatened by it?

    We know they hate us. Do you think we need the video to confirm this?

  48. douglas clark — on 22nd May, 2010 at 11:36 pm  

    damon @ 39,

    Perhaps they are invisible. You’ve got to wonder why though, non?

    I don’t agree with you about the poor Asian immigrant shtick.

    And I’m guessing they are much more middle class than immigrants from poorer countries.

    If I remember correctly you know Glasgow pretty well.

    If so, you’ll know the posh end of Pollockshields. That is a very wealthy, by dint of living there, Asian community.

    (For those that don’t know, think the posher bits of Hampstead, but a tad run down.)

    And, they are doing the place up. The houses look cared for and there are Mercedes AMG cars in the drive…

    These people came here with not a lot – it was apparently expected that they would do the jobs that white people wouldn’t – and have made a success of themselves.

    How you arrive here, by birth or immigration shouldn’t really matter. It is what you do with the time you are here that we should all care about.

    Personally I admire their drive. Whether I am just too stuck in my ways to see the opportunities that they obviously did, well perhaps. Perhaps we do need a kick up the backside.

    But that is what some immigrants have achieved. Whether through business or academia or medicine or whatever.

    They have, frankly, turned the screw on assumptions that, just because you came up the Clyde on a banana boat, you cannot, in fact reach the highest echelons of our society. They can, and they do.

    It is quite invigorating, though the wrong candidate won in Glasgow Central! And they were both Asian.

    :-(

  49. douglas clark — on 22nd May, 2010 at 11:58 pm  

    Dalbir @ 49,

    BNP types hate everyone.

    Me too! Their legal advisor has determined that I am some sort of traitor to their cause, which is probably right, because their cause is anathema to me.

    Which gets us around to you.

    They are really stupid.

    It is not really a good idea to assume that they represent anyone but themselves.

    I have read Jai’s latest post on what a complete utter fuck up they are.

    They represent 1.9% of the electorate. I’d guess, and it is a guess, that that is somewhat less than the number of folk that are completely off their trolly.

    I tend to agree that damon plays fast and loose with what this site was set up to do. It was to allow debate and discussion between folk.

    It used to succeed in that rather bold idea. People did talk to each other, whatever their background. Rather than play the ‘under the desks – that’ll save you from a nuclear holocaust’ concept of debate. Which, frankly isn’t helpful to the basic idea that we have all got to get on.

    There are people I admire that post here, mainly because they raise the game, rather than reduce it.

    Which are you?

  50. damon — on 23rd May, 2010 at 3:33 am  

    From what I remember of that part of south Glasgow Douglas, the Asian Muslim community seemed quite settled and had been there for a long time and many spoke with Scottish accents.

    I hope it’s not playing ‘fast and loose’ to say that it might be a matter of degrees for many people.
    Which is probably the position the Sun and the Daily Mail would take. And that the level of immigration seen in Wembley is more than your average person from Glasgow or Dublin or here in Belfast would want for their neighbourhood.

    I only say that because I think that it is probably the case unfortunately.

    Brent’s Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has called for urgent action from the Government after new figures showed that over half of Brent’s children live in poverty.

    .
    http://www.brentlibdems.org.uk/news/000491/over_half_of_brents_children_living_in_poverty__teather.html

    Some immigrants do well and others struggle and quickly get locked into cycles of poverty.

    But what interests me most about all this is the way that it is debated by the people on the left.
    Do you (one) try to brush ”bad news” or unhelpful facts under the carpet?
    I think that that is done too often, to the detriment of the anti-racist cause in my opinion.

    Is by my saying stuff like that what you meant about ”reducing the game” Douglas?

    Maybe my problem is that I don’t like UAF; and even Hope not Hate don’t do that much for me .. which will always lose you some friends on the left of politics.

    But as I said on Liberal Conspiracy today on the thread on Diane Abbott, I come at this issue more from the position given in this article, and I know that it is a view that some people on the left detest.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/reviewofbooks_article/7452

  51. I AM DUFFY — on 23rd May, 2010 at 6:15 am  

    The eternal conundrum that the progressive narrative has to resolve is the following:

    In 1951 the entire settled ‘coloured’ population of the United Kingdom amounted to less than 30,000, which could have been easily accommodated in any one of the football grounds in the then Third Division, North, say that of Accrington Stanley FC.

    The 2011 census is likely to disclose that the ‘coloured’ population of the UK is now 8 million or more, which would require a hundred new Wembleys to seat them all.

    What the narrative has to explain is why this has happened, and why it is a desirable end in itself.

    Once that has been been satisfactorly dealt with your doorstep encounters should be a piece of cake.

  52. Sarah AB — on 23rd May, 2010 at 8:05 am  

    You really aren’t Duffy are you? She was concerned about Eastern Europeans. So was the builder I referred to in my earlier comment.

  53. boyo — on 23rd May, 2010 at 8:19 am  

    @48 You mean your Islamist chum lost out? Now, remind me, what makes me uncomfortable about alliances between nationalists and fascists?

  54. damon — on 23rd May, 2010 at 1:43 pm  

    Douglas, I remember (from 1994) the Pakistani muslim community in south Glasgow as being long standing and settled. Often having Scottish accents too.

    There is a different kind of community in Wembley.

    Brent’s Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has called for urgent action from the Government after new figures showed that over half of Brent’s children live in poverty.

    .
    http://www.brentlibdems.org.uk/news/000491/over_half_of_brents_children_living_in_poverty__teather.html
    Some immigrants do well and others struggle and quickly get locked into cycles of poverty.

    Do you think I bring the level of the debate down Douglas? I was told so before on another website.

    I think the BNP have to be kept marginalised, but half the population have had reservations about mass immigration from day one and my saying the things I do is because I think you cant really get around that fact. If you insist that it’s not so, I feel that it’s spinning.
    I’m in Belfast, and I’m pretty sure the level of immigration that places like London and Birmingham had … and from the places the people came from too, would not be welcomed here.
    Sorry, but I just don’t think it would.

  55. Alex — on 23rd May, 2010 at 3:18 pm  

    Embarkation checks were abolished because they did nothing but fill a warehouse near Heathrow with completed embark forms. The system didn’t actually do anything useful with them – it did cost a measurable amount of public money, however, to collect and store the growing paper mountain.

  56. MaidMarian — on 23rd May, 2010 at 5:13 pm  

    Sunny – I think that the narrative is a bit more nuanced than the article says. I think that what we have is something like the welfare debates of old where we had the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving.’

    Put another way – the court of public opinion knows a good ‘un when they see it, but they could not necessarily describe it.

    I know of no one who thinks that my wife (who is a non-EU Eastern European) should not be in the UK. She speaks perfect English, has cared for the elderly, has a full-time job, is as integrated as it is possible to be and so on.

    I know of very few who would deport, say highly skilled migrants who are using thier skills in the NHS, industry and so on. Similarly, I doubt that many would want to close universities to foreign students.

    However for all that, there are the horror stories, those immigrants who simply have nothing to do with UK civil society, its language, labour market and so on.

    This, of course was one thing that the BNP never quite got around. If the BNP argument was that immigration costs, then what about those very economically active immigrants?

    I think that the narrative on immigration may have to accept this ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ dichotomy and then work from there, but it will be a tough sell, no doubt about that.

  57. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2010 at 7:47 pm  

    damon @ 53,

    Do you think I bring the level of the debate down Douglas?

    No, I don’t. I think you bring a different perspective to the debate. My point was merely that one community, Glasgow’s Pakistani one, appears to have all the trappings of a reasonably successful integration into society as a whole. And, I’m willing to be corrected but they appear to have done it from a standing start.

  58. soru — on 23rd May, 2010 at 10:53 pm  

    Earwiga: ‘Stop attacking their countries and they won’t come here = simple message for the doorstep.’

    Simple but pretty much entirely wrong. Statistics here:
    http://www.icar.org.uk/download.php?id=515

    In 2002, Iraq produced 14,570 asylum applicants, Iran 2,630. In 2007, the figures were 1,825 and 2,210 respectively.

    In the longer term, it’s true a lot of places around the world can be described as being screwed up partly because of some failure of UK policy at some time over the last 200 years. But, if anything, that’s a reason for getting the policy right with an eye on the long term, not doing whatever the media thinks this week.

  59. Dalbir — on 23rd May, 2010 at 10:59 pm  

    Doug@49

    They represent 1.9% of the electorate. I’d guess, and it is a guess, that that is somewhat less than the number of folk that are completely off their trolly.

    I never thought they represented anyone but themselves. But I do think we disagree on the prevalence of the type of people who share views associated with them for various reasons. Personally I believe that the 1.9% figure isn’t really indicative of the amount people who are racist in the UK. This only represents those that are highly active to my mind. I do believe the figure is much higher and the vast majority exercise their beliefs in a more discreet and covert way.

    I tend to agree that damon plays fast and loose with what this site was set up to do. It was to allow debate and discussion between folk.

    Often I agree with much of what Damon says. His understanding of the common white man in Britain is frequently spot on. I suspect because underneath all the words they are views he may hold himself.

    It used to succeed in that rather bold idea. People did talk to each other, whatever their background. Rather than play the ‘under the desks – that’ll save you from a nuclear holocaust’ concept of debate. Which, frankly isn’t helpful to the basic idea that we have all got to get on.

    That is so much easier to say than do. I issue at hand is how we deal with views that may not be in alignment with our own. I have a simple criteria I generally try and follow in this respect. If it doesn’t or hasn’t really got the ability to cause me or my loved ones grief or create a toxic environment around me, then I try and let it slide. I know from previous threads we’ve been at loggerheads about this. But I’m still not too keen on actively trying to right wrongs in other nations, cultures, no matter how well meaning. And it isn’t selfishness, it’s just an understanding that over-ambition in this area can be as detrimental as what we are trying to fix, no matter how well intentioned one may be.

    There are people I admire that post here, mainly because they raise the game, rather than reduce it.

    Which are you?

    Don’t know. All I ever do is share my opinion. I’ve experienced life enough to know that people will object to things I may believe or express on one pretext or another. But for all of my flaws (of which there are many) I do believe that there is a lot more the world should be concerned about out there than guys like me.

  60. hellblazer — on 24th May, 2010 at 12:05 am  

    It’s said here (as far as I can understand) that the difficulty of getting a pork pie and chips in South Ken is indicative of something about French enclaves. I would have thought poshness, rather than Frenchness, is the main factor here. How do you fare on the King’s Road, Rumbold?

    (Off the top of my head, your best bet would have been a canteen in Imperial College, at least a few years ago; or you could walk all of five minutes to the nearest pub for the chips, if not the pie…)

  61. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 12:29 am  

    Dalbir,

    My point, which you may disagree with, is that I haven’t got a difficulty with asians. Your Sunny Hundal is someone I would vote for.

    You say stuff that assumes I am some sort of evil person.

    I do not think I am what you think I am.

    It is up to you to decide whether I am a racist bastard, or whether just because somebody says I am, I am.

    I’d like to toss that to the community?

    I have written here for a long, long time.

    Am I the evil person as Dalbir says I am?

    Well?

    You decide, dear readers..

  62. damon — on 24th May, 2010 at 12:33 am  

    Dalbir, it’s probably more that I’m a bit of an Indophile …

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=indophile

    .. but try to get the wwc too.

    Right now I’m a month in to trying to understand the two different communities here in Belfast.

    Which comes down to spending time every day in the estranged communities and trying to figure out what’s going on.

    It’s not rocket science, but it has it’s nuances.

  63. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 12:51 am  

    It seems to me obvious that most folk aren’t playing your game, Dalbir.

    It seems to me that you, quite literaly assume that we – the hated whitey bastards – well, hate you brown people.

    Would that be what you are saying here?

    Don’t know. All I ever do is share my opinion. I’ve experienced life enough to know that people will object to things I may believe or express on one pretext or another. But for all of my flaws (of which there are many) I do believe that there is a lot more the world should be concerned about out there than guys like me.

    You are not alone in that. Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses.

    I am quite fond of you. It would be interesting to know whether an atheist, such as me, could find common ground?

    Well?

  64. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 4:09 am  

    boyo,

    @48 You mean your Islamist chum lost out? Now, remind me, what makes me uncomfortable about alliances between nationalists and fascists?

    Firstly, he is is not an Islamacist. Do you take me for are a complete idiot? You are a buy in to the idiocy that says a nationalist is a fascist. Well, we aren’t. It is you that tries to conflate ideas, it is you that is an idiot….

    Harry’s Place are a shower of idiots, with an idiotic agenda.

    Your conflation of reasonable views about freeing ourselves from idiots such as you, says more about Scottish Asians than it does about you. And in a good way.

    I welcome Asians for a better Scotland. Which would be one without your carping racism.

  65. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 4:32 am  

    Just so’s you know.

    I think ‘boyo’ is a brain dead fascist.

    Least that is how he appears to me.

    I mean that in the sense of appealing to the worst of us, and assuming that we’d pay heed.

    Boyo is a tit.

  66. boyo — on 24th May, 2010 at 7:50 am  

    Osama Saeed was spokesman for the MAB, the British arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, a straight-down-the-line fascist organisation.

    It’s one of those delicious ironies that the first recourse of fascist-supporters is to label those who challenge them “fascists”.

    And why not throw in the “racist” brush too (this, coming from a nationalist – what a joy it must be to be English in Scotland).

    Yet whereas the scales would presumably fall from their eyes if the SNP championed a BNP spokesman like Simon Darby (at least I hope so), simply because the person concerned is Asian, then that’s all right, because they’re different, aren’t they.

    And you call me racist.

  67. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:11 am  

    boyo @ 53,

    I have also said here and elsewhere that, if Sunny stood for Parliament, then he could count on my support. As would Sonia, or Rumbold or Don for that matter. Indeed there are very few folk that comment here regularily that I don’t think are better than your usual political robot.

    (Rumbold in particular has his heart in the right place, and I would vote for that, whereas his head is in a very strange place. Which PPC is any different? I’d assume Rumbold would vote as his conscience required, and I could live with that.. After all, I agree with almost every substantive point he makes, and none of his philosophy.)

    I would want, hell mend me, someone elected that resonated with me.

    Do you actually read what folk have to say? There is a lot of genuine intelligence on display. I may not agree with everything that Earwiga, Sarah AB or soru has to say but they are a damn sight more ‘interesting’ than your average politician.

    You, on the other hand, come across as a right wing freak.

    Just saying.

  68. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:32 am  

    Oops,

    brain dead boyo @ 66.

    The very interesting ‘boyo’ has an opinion on Osama Saeed.

    Here is what Osama Saeed has to say about Iraq, something I agree with completely, and something the Euston Manifesto freaks don’t wish us to understand:

    Anyone expecting a Frost-Nixon moment when Tony Blair appeared in front of the Iraq Inquiry was sorely disappointed, and an unfeasible optimist. It’s not just because the inquiry’s panel have all the forensic questioning ability of Frost in his latter days at the BBC.

    It seems Nixon had a heart that at least eventually confessed, in a way that Blair’s is entirely black.

    If Iraq was about WMD, there is precedent for this kind of action. During Blair’s own reign, he was involved in a previous bombing of Iraq, Operation Desert Fox, which was ostensibly about weakening Saddam’s WMD capability. Bill Clinton when attacking Sudan also that year said he was targeting weapons, though that turned out to be a pharmaceutical factory.

    So what this establishes is that WMD were a concern previously and action was taken on it. What changed after 2000 was the neoconservative ideology of occupation.The problem of course is that there were no WMD. If the evidence was actually “extensive, detailed and authoritative” those sites could easily have been hit directly.

    I don’t think despite Blair and Campbell’s strenuous protestations that anyone seriously thinks this was the reason for war anyway. Blair’s chief of staff Jonathan Powell told the Iraq Inquiry that more time for weapons inspectors wouldn’t have made any difference as there were no WMD. What makes Blair’s situation even more egregious, is not just the way Iraq has appeared like a classic war of exploitation for big business, but that Blair himself has become so personally enriched on the back of it.

    His bank directorships and six-figure lecture deals in America are payback for his shoulder-to-shoulder wars with the draft dodger Bush. He’d not be raking in anywhere near the sums over there had it not been for the spotlight he generated for himself over there through Iraq. So no, he’s not going to be sorry.

    I’d have no difficulty voting for him. Except he is in the constituency next door to mine.

    You are, as always, dear boyo, devoid of any sense whatsoever.

  69. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:54 am  

    Boyo,

    There are folk that are English that have come around to the SNP idea. Y’know, people that live here and think the SNP is a good idea?

    It is not an exclusive club, indeed I would leave it if it were.

    You accuse me of fascism. You accuse Osama Saeed of being a patsy for the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Both allegations are the utmost shite.

    We are an an inclusive, not exclusive, group.

    Indeed, if the SNP stood candidates nationally, and if folk voted on the basis of their conscience. we’d probably get a huge share of the vote!

    I am completely comfortable with SNP policy -,except perhaps their views on nuclear power – however, I doubt you have a scooby about what it is, or where it maps. I’d just say this: it is well left of Labour. But sensible on civil liberties, especially asylum seekers.

  70. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:16 am  

    boyo @ 66,

    Yes, I do call you out as a racist.

    You say:

    Yet whereas the scales would presumably fall from their eyes if the SNP championed a BNP spokesman like Simon Darby (at least I hope so), simply because the person concerned is Asian, then that’s all right, because they’re different, aren’t they.

    We are a fairly serious political party. We are not about to adopt morons. Why would you assume we would?

    Scottish Asians are our Asians, and we stand them as candidates, and no-one cares about their ethnic origins. Least, not the majority of the electorate.

    See the difference?

    No, I suspect you don’t.

    There is clarity in what we stand for, and it is none of your invented racism.

    Let this be clear, you are Scottish if you say you are, which seems to me to be a reasonable definition. And it definitely applies to asylum seekers in Scottish jails.

  71. Niels Christensen — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:33 am  

    Earwiga: ‘Stop attacking their countries and they won’t come here = simple message for the doorstep.’

    Well what about the millions of Iraqi’s who deserted Saddam Iraq ?
    Earwiga should travel to Södertalje in Sweden and visit the thousands of Syrians living there (*), or what about the hundred of thousands kurds both of turkish and iraq descent who live in Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

    (*) And don’t try to locate Iraq muslims there, never !

  72. boyo — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:35 am  

    Well that’s clear then ;-)

  73. boyo — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:37 am  

    By the way Douglas, can you provide any evidence that I’m “racist” other than the fact that I disagree with you?

  74. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:42 am  

    boyo @ 72,

    Perhaps.

    That is what I think.

    What have you got to say to the contrary?

  75. Sarah AB — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:48 am  

    I don’t think it’s racist to have concerns about the views of Saeed – though his views seem rather difficult to pin down. Obviously if you are racist/Islamophobic you are particularly likely to be hostile to Saeed. But that doesn’t mean reasonable people can’t also have reservations about him.

  76. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:49 am  

    boyo @ 73,

    The point is here:

    Yet whereas the scales would presumably fall from their eyes if the SNP championed a BNP spokesman like Simon Darby (at least I hope so), simply because the person concerned is Asian, then that’s all right, because they’re different, aren’t they.

    I have already told you why an inclusive party such as the SNP would have no truck with a racist. We are not that party…

  77. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 10:02 am  

    Sarah AB,

    What have you read about Osama Saeed? I suspect that it is easy peasy to criticise. Which is what the morons on Harry’s Place do, all the time.

    It is their raison d’étre, it is what they do. I consider them a group of morons. It is a usual circumstance for these fools to attack people that disagree with them.

    They are about as reliable as the brain dead.

  78. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 10:16 am  

    So, Sarah AB, what is your point about Osama Saeed?

    He doesn’t seem to me to be the creature your pals portray. It seems to me that a shower of, apparently, left wing lunatics see him as a threat. They would, kind of obviously, be the idiots that subscribed to the Iraq invasion? They were mugs then, and they are mugs now.

    Anyway, go on.

    I would really like to know what you think and why you think it….

  79. boyo — on 24th May, 2010 at 10:35 am  

    You’re really hysterical Douglas. You made the allegation, now present your evidence.

    But proof isn’t your cup of tea really, is it. Easier the insidious remark or shrill abuse.

    Let’s face it, you have the analytical powers of a haggis and the habits of a hooligan. No wonder you’re a nationalist boot boy ;-)

  80. Sarah AB — on 24th May, 2010 at 11:37 am  

    Hi Douglas – just quickly to say that I have read your question, and I’m not ignoring it, but will have to wait till later to answer it – after work! I wasn’t necessarily saying I had a problem with Saeed – just that one might have problems without being racist!

  81. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 12:42 pm  

    boyo,

    You insult me:

    You’re really hysterical Douglas. You made the allegation, now present your evidence.

    But proof isn’t your cup of tea really, is it. Easier the insidious remark or shrill abuse.

    Let’s face it, you have the analytical powers of a haggis and the habits of a hooligan. No wonder you’re a nationalist boot boy ;-)

    It is up to you to provide proof that either I or Osama Saeed are who you say we are.

    I am quite willing to be proven wrong. Though, it seems to me, that you have the analytical powers of a Cumberland sausage. All bent,and a bit disgusting…

    What exactly is your agenda?

    As far as I am concerned you are currently, a complete plonker.

    Try to argue your case. That would be good, rather than just tossing insults around. Which just makes you look like a fool.

    Recall that it is not just you and I discussing stuff here. There are lots of people that read and don’t comment….

  82. Dalbir — on 24th May, 2010 at 1:44 pm  

    Doug@61

    You sound very needy in that post. I’ve never suggested for one second you were one of the closet racists I speak of.

    Damon@62

    The wwc are not aliens. They are pretty straight forward to understand, even with all their diversity and nuances. The painful truth is that sometimes we just might not like aspects of what some of them are about.

  83. MaidMarian — on 24th May, 2010 at 1:54 pm  

    Dalbir – That very much depends, are you confusing, ‘white working class,’ with, ‘underclass.’

  84. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 2:04 pm  

    Dalbir @ 82,

    You paint with too broad a brush. It is what you do around here. It is intensely, and genuinely annoying.

    Perhaps you ought not to assume everyone is your enemy? Cause we’re not. Though if you go on pretending to be the voice of minority reason, then frankly you are going to loose support. Is that where you want to do?

    Just asking, ’cause that is what your ideas look like to me.

    Polarise, and take it from there.

    Am I right about your strategy? Which, it seems to me is based on division and group loyalty rather than any sort of common sense.

    You tell me.

  85. Dalbir — on 24th May, 2010 at 2:07 pm  

    I’d be interested in hearing your concise definition of the two MM. Though I think I might be able to guess what you are getting at.

    Anyway, aren’t the white underclass essentially failed wwc?

    I would imagine of the neo-nazi types amongst them, the straight wwc are motivated by a mixture of feelings including contempt, superiority and fear of immigrants. Whilst the underclass are simply dismayed in a more jealous sort of way?

  86. MaidMarian — on 24th May, 2010 at 2:23 pm  

    Dalbir – ‘Anyway, aren’t the white underclass essentially failed wwc?’

    My grandparents are probably spinning in their graves now. They were WWC – Council house all thier lives, no car, one TV, left school early, one was a Lancashire coal miner an trade unionist, the other worked in a cotton mill. They never went further than the Lake District. They worked very hard to make certain that their children would be very close to middle class and my grandmother fought off lung cancer for six months to see me be the first in the family to go to university. It was a matter of pride that their grand children had a realistic chance of not being working class.

    My grandfather fought for rights. Today’s working class heroes would probably only go into battle for a parking space.

    Anyone who owns a house(s), car(s), takes lots of foreign holidays etc is not working class in any meaningful way. This seems to cover much of today’s self-styled working class. Certainly the idea that the disorder, drunkenness and chav lifestyle has anything to do with real working class-ness is wrong.

  87. Dalbir — on 24th May, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

    Doug@84

    Widen your mind a bit more. Entertain the thought that it could be an attempt to highlight things that are difficult to shine light on. I feel really sorry that you actually get annoyed at my mentioning things that actually effect me (and others I would imagine).

    Another thing, I don’t try to be ‘the voice’ of anything but myself usually. But that being said, if people’s version of discussion/debate along racial identities involves listening to BMEs who largely echo what they believe themselves, we may as well ‘nee bother’ (as I think they say round your way).

    Maybe it seriously is time to ‘nee bother’? This is just frustrating. The case may be that we are essentially on our own when it comes to dealing with the covert, surreptitious discrimination. Even whites supposedly on the left seem largely blind to it under their noses. But this goes back to that blindless I’ve discovered lately, where one frequently doesn’t see discrimination unless on the receiving end. Be this across colour, races, gender or whatnot. I probably do it too unwittingly, in my own way.

  88. boyo — on 24th May, 2010 at 2:46 pm  

    My argument was made @37 Douglas and you have perfectly illustrated it.

    When I feel a certain sympathy for the days of the Soviet Union I must remind myself of idiots like you, along with opportunists like Sunny, who would respond to any question about the orthodoxy with unpleasant allegations.

    The pair of you would have been perfectly at home in Stalin’s Moscow!

    Everybody knows your beloved Osama was a spokesman for the MAB – it’s here in his otherwise flattering wiki.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osama_Saeed

    Your comments are evidence enough you silly man.

  89. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 3:55 pm  

    Boyo,

    Or you could see here:

    http://www.snptacticalvoting.com/2010/02/with-all-news-stories-recently.html

    I am not of your naive opinion that folk are not able to change. That, frankly, is the danger of the internet.

    Less of the ‘silly man’ comments, boyo. I’ve been relatively polite to you up until now. You are, however, a plonker…

    By which I mean a Harry’s Place believer.

    Shower of fools, all of them.

  90. cjcjc — on 24th May, 2010 at 4:42 pm  

    “I’ve been relatively polite to you up until now.”

    No you haven’t!

    And that Saeed “explanation” to which you link brings to mind the well-known saying that the man who defends himself has a fool for a client.

  91. Sarah AB — on 24th May, 2010 at 7:05 pm  

    Douglas – sorry this is rather random. I originally said

    ‘I don’t think it’s racist to have concerns about the views of Saeed – though his views seem rather difficult to pin down. Obviously if you are racist/Islamophobic you are particularly likely to be hostile to Saeed. But that doesn’t mean reasonable people can’t also have reservations about him.’

    So I’m not so strongly or decidedly critical of him as Boyo.

    Here’s a quote from this piece

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20080706/ai_n27919835/?tag=content;col1

    “Saeed calls his group “a new body with no links to anyone outside of Scotland”. This is disingenuous. Saeed has served for several years as a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, universally recognised as the British wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    In addition, in the past few months alone, his Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF) has invited leading Brotherhood figures to Scotland to lecture young Muslim Scots, including Kemal Helbawy, the Brotherhood’s leading figure in Europe, and Alamin Belhaj, the leader of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Here’s a quote from Helbawy:

    “Do not take Jews and Christians as allies. For they are allies to each other. Oh Brothers, the Palestinian cause is not of conflict of borders and land only. It is not even a conflict of human ideology and not over peace. Rather, it is an absolute clash of civilizations, between truth and falsehood. Between two conducts – one satanic, headed by Jews and their co-conspirators – and the other is religious, carried by Hamas, and the Islamic movement in particular, and the Islamic people in general who are behind it.”

    This article was also interesting – it implies he thinks all Muslim women should wear hijab amongst all sorts of other things.

    http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/index.php/component/content/article/494

    And there’s this, describing how he linked approvingly to a website called ‘eye on gay muslims’.

    http://hurryupharry.org/2009/08/06/scottish-bigots/

  92. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:32 pm  

    Sarah AB @ 91,

    I do not recognise the caricature of Osama Saeed that seems to be prevalent down in London town. Still, that doesn’t really matter, does it? The Westminster village, and particularly the idiots that constitute the Euston Manifesto tendency have made their minds up and that is that.

    However, I am a bit confused. Read this article and then tell me that Osama Saeed is in favour of the niquab (Yes, I know it’s not the same thing) :

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4186363.ece

    He is personally opposed to the niqab, the veil that covers most of the face

    Osama Saeed has also written in favour of a caliphate in rather more stringent terms than our friends allow.

    He had this to say, way back in 2005:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/nov/01/religion.world

    Hardly world domination, is it?

    My general view of him is favourable, although his ideas about ‘Muslim Schools’ is completely contrary to my own beliefs that there should be no religion whatsoever in education. I’d like the opportunity to discuss that with him sometime.

  93. boyo — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:41 pm  

    Poor Douglas can’t help confusing fact and opinion, and has plainly never understood the time-worn tactics common to fascists down the ages. Who was it who said they had no further territorial demands?

    Useful idiot, I think the phrase is, and rarely has the cap so snugly fit.

  94. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:42 pm  

    I’d also like to refer you to the list of ‘most popular’ articles that appears on the right here. The whole issue about the niqab was discussed at length, and despite my initial misgivings I was persuaded that, on balance, it would be yet another example of civil liberties being usurped.

    Which is it to be?

  95. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:50 pm  

    boyo,

    ‘Tis you that assumes your opinions are facts. As you have determined that I am a fascist, on no grounds whatsoever, I find it pretty hard to take your critique seriously.

    You mean your Islamist chum lost out? Now, remind me, what makes me uncomfortable about alliances between nationalists and fascists?

    Quite apart from your astonishing ability to get three buzz words into two short sentences. I suppose the lack of nuance in your posts is a consequence of their brevity.

  96. Sarah AB — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:14 pm  

    Douglas – I don’t feel you’ve fully engaged with the points I made – but I don’t have any special beef against him – his views on some issues seem fine – I was just responding to your query about why I thought it seemed fair enough to have some reservations about him.

    Being against the niqab is perfectly compatible with thinking Muslim women are obliged to wear the hijab. But OS seems to have blocked access to the archive of his blog where he discusses the hijab. It’s also now impossible to see how/where he links to the anti-gay website. Obviously people do change their minds – but he does seem particularly keen to reinvent himself.

    The caliphate article is indeed very bland!

    I’m not sure if you were asking me or Boyo what we thought of the idea of banning the niqab – I’m opposed to such bans. But I’m also against people being forced/coerced into wearing religious dress.

  97. douglas clark — on 26th May, 2010 at 1:05 pm  

    Sarah AB @ 96,

    We seem to be in general agreement then.

    It is not in the slightest unusual for people to change their opinions on everything during their twenties.

    However, this game of entrapment by Google seems to have become very popular.

    I couldn’t care less if Osama Saeed goes ‘tut, tut’, when he sees a Muslim woman not wearing the niqab. And, realistically, he wouldn’t get legislation passed, even if he wanted to.

    Why doesn’t someone ask him what his opinion is?

    Anyway, his opinion on the subject matters no more than mine on whether it is going to rain today. For the record, the sun has come out. Expect a post by boyo saying ‘clark consistently wrong on everything’!

  98. martin woodhead — on 6th June, 2010 at 12:51 pm  

    fine you let loads of immigrants in with no fucking plan where they were going to live who was going to teach them and rest of the Admin problems that comes with mass immigration
    sorry still can’t see any advantage to have loads of people who want my job will work cheaper and don’t give a monkeys about UK law or customs

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