It's very decent of Fabian Society Labour Party supporters and think-tankers to acknowledge the reality of mass immigration and even the concerns of a very large number of voters. Andrew Harrop (the General Secretary of the Fabian Society), for example, comes clean and says that once upon a time (though not now?) “people sensed that talk about migration was 'off-limits'”. He even even has the decency to say that Labour MPs are now allowed to give voters “'permission' to raise their concerns about migration”.
Andrew Harrop also states the blindingly obvious when he says that “issues of crime and migration trigger the greatest insecurities and the greatest political distrust”. He then goes on to warn Labour MPs against “vagueness and good intentions”. The problem is that just about everything he had said before that warning was full of vagueness and good intentions.
Rowenna Davis (a Labour councillor and writer for The Guardian) also admits that Labour MPs had a problem with even talking about immigration to voters - let alone telling the truth about it. Why was that? Because of something she calls “conservatism”; which tends to “prick our anxieties about immigration”. She says that Fabians feared that such openness and honesty would simply result in their “selling out to [the] voters' basest instincts”.
Well, for a start, is it only “conservatives” who have a problem with mass immigration? I don't think so! (And it it's a convenient cop-out that Fabians pretend to believe this.) Secondly, why is there this mindless Leftist assumption that there is some automatic and necessary link between having fears about mass immigration and what Rowenna Davis calls our “basest instincts”?
Immigration: All About Economics?
Nick Pecorelli (the Associate Director of The Campaign Company - whatever that is) seems to come clean on the previous Labour Party's attitude towards mass immigration. However, clearly that's because it's a previous Labour Government - not a present or future one - he's talking about. In any case, he writes:
“Labour treat immigration as an economic issue. In government we gave the distinct appearance of seeing migrant labour as a tool to aid economic growth, nothing more, nothing less. We subverted the social to the economic.”
Of course, on the the whole, the Labour Party didn't in fact “treat immigration as an economic issue”. It simply pretended that immigration was all about economics. The Labour Party (of 1997 to 2010) knew full well that it wasn't. The economic argument for mass immigration was mainly a ruse.
We now know, and many people knew even then, that the massive rise of immigration between 2000 and 2010 was a social experiment on the British people. Even many Labour MPs have now have come clean about this.
That's not to say that economics played no part at all in all this. Of course it did. Labour MPs - as well as Guardian journalists and Fabian think-tankers - benefited tremendously form cheap nannies, cleaners, gardeners, coo.... And Britain as a whole benefits - to a small extent - from qualified and educated migrants. Nonetheless, the percentage of the up to five million migrants – from 2000 to 2010 - who fitted that latter category was extremely small! Even today, for every qualified and experienced migrant, there are – and have been – tens or even hundreds who aren't either experienced or qualified. And even for every nanny who cleans the toilets of the London progressive elite (the “soft, metropolitan liberals” and “opinion-former classes”, as the Fabian, Andrew Harrop, calls them), there will be hundreds of other first- and second-generation immigrants on the dole. In fact there are probably almost as many militant Muslim and Islamist migrants than there are qualified and experienced ones. (Sometimes qualified and educated Muslim migrants are also Islamists or Islamic militants.)
So I can't even agree with Nick Pecorelli when he says the Labour Party of 1997 to 2010 “subverted the social to the economic”. It would be more correct to say that the Labour Party subverted the “social” to the ideological and the political; not just to the economic.
As I've just said about Nick Pecorelli, Andrew Harrop also appears, prima facie , to recognise the problems of mass immigration; as well as the concerns of the voters. Nonetheless, after doing so he offers no real solutions and no real alternatives. For example, Harrop says that “if immigration is not working for the bottom and middle then it is beside the point whether it is good for GDP”. Nonetheless, Harrop's solution is of course not to limit immigration in any shape or form. After arguing - as Pecorelli also did - that it shouldn't all be about economics, Harrop then goes right ahead and says it's all about economics. That is, Harrop thinks that mass immigration can indeed be sustained but only with “radical economic reform”. According to Harrop, “the problem is not migration per se but fairness at the bottom of the labour market”. Yes, that's right. Harrop is talking (at least here) about “decent pay” for migrants!
Socially Conservative Voters
Back to Nick Pecorelli. This Fabian does deign to recognise what mass immigration means to many Brits. Despite that, for some reason or other he keeps on talking about “socially conservative voters”. He says:
“One way to really understand the socially conservative voter is to unpick two issues that are core to their psyche: immigration and crime. In fact, for socially conservative voters, at root they are one.”
Oh really? As if experiencing your neighbourhood change from being, yes, fairly multicultural to being exclusively Muslim (or loosing your job to a Polish man because he's cheaper than you) has anything particularly to do with being “socially conservative”.
Pecorelli also tells us that
“for the socially conservative voter, rapid social change challenges social mores, and threatened the moral codes by which we live.”
Again, it's like saying that someone is sinfully “socially conservative” simply because he hasn't embraced the new fad of (collective) suicide. The thing is, most Fabians will be just as conservative as anyone else – it's just that most of them will probably live in the posh parts of our metropolitan cities (at least according to fellow Fabian, Andrew Harrop). However, the personal and political conservative habits of Fabians won't of course be the ones Pecorelli is aiming his analysis at.
Despite all these peripheral comments about “social mores” and whatnot, there's hardly any words about why, exactly, mass immigration is an important issue to so many Brits. What concerns Pecorelli is not really why it is a concern; but that it is a concern. And the reason why he focuses on that is that his concern is almost entirely about Labour Party electability. The underlying assumption, of course, is that bigotry, narrowmindedness and false consciousness is at the heart of these concerns about immigration; not fact, argument and principle.
In fact when Nick Pecorelli talks about “socially conservative voters” he sounds like he's doing a psychiatric report on sociopaths; not a report on literally millions – perhaps tens of millions - of British citizens. He also sounds like he's dissecting some strange specimen in the laboratory – the scary socially conservative voter. But, then again, Pecorelli is a Fabian and, traditionally, Fabians liked to experiment on the working class; whether, in the 1910s and 1920s, through eugenics; or, as today, through mass immigration and the enforcing of politically-correct attitudes in our schools, universities and councils. (I don't think all examples of political correctness have “gone mad”; just most of them.)
Nonetheless, Nick Pecorelli sometimes sounds like he may be saying something that even a non-Fabian could agree with. For example, he says that “history teaches us that it is when we fail to or address palpable anxieties about social change that this brand of [non-Leftist/Fabian] politics thrives”. Sure; but then he continues by saying:
“We do not have to close our borders, just open our minds to the very real anxieties that mass immigration provokes.”
In other words, Pecorelli is asking Labour MPs to listen to the voters... and then to do nothing! But it's not much use listening, “opening minds” and even being patronisingly sympathetic, if you are utterly convinced that all these “real anxieties” are based on prejudice, bigotry or false consciousness. Fabians can open their minds until the cows come home; but it won't make an iota of different if they don't accept what the British people are telling them. It won't matter a damn if they don't act upon what they hear. So who then gives a shit about the open minds of a tiny elite of “soft, metropolitan liberal” Fabians? In other words, it all sounds pretty patronising to me.
Nick Pecorelli does get around to discussing a party which offers alternatives to his own Fabianism – Ukip. The problem is he only spends one sentence on this party. He succinctly says that Ukip is “a party whose appeal is based almost exclusively on culture and identity”. Yes; that's it.
Firstly, there's a clear assumption here that culture and identity are more or less forbidden subjects at Fabian dinner parties. (Thus a focus on such things is automatically politically incorrect.) Secondly, as as small and young party (which hasn't yet had power), it's pretty obvious that Ukip's concerns will be relatively narrow at this precise moment in time. Parties with small numbers simply haven't got the manpower to focus on all the political issues under the sun. Such parties therefore concentrate on the subjects which really matter to the British people: mass immigration, the EU and the political destruction of English “culture and identity”. As Ukip grows in age and numbers, it will attract its tax specialists and its connoisseurs of foreign policy. And of course the Labour Party and Conservative Party were themselves at this growing stage at one point in their respective histories.
Elsewhere Andrew Harrop also talks about Ukip and immigration. But only, again, to dismiss the party and therefore ultimately to dismiss the concerns of the British people. For example, all he can manage is to say that “UKIP or Migration Watch UK will try to stoke up anxieties [that word again]”. And even when not talking about Ukip, Harrop's prime concern is not the facts on the ground, but how best to “avoid stoking up the issues” when it comes to immigration and crime.
You can see how extreme the Fabian - and therefore Labour Party - position on immigration is when Andrew Harrop warns the Labour Party not to “out-tough the Tories”. That's funny; I didn't know the Tories were tough on either immigration or crime. So this must mean that the Fabian position is even softer that the Tory position. And that means that things can only get worse in the future; despite the Fabians' patronising words about listening to the people's concerns and “anxieties”... and then doing nothing.
So it's clear that the Fabian position on immigration is all about changing our perceptions and not about, well, immigration. Fabians clearly believe that immigration – even mass immigration – must continue. Or, in Andrew Harrop's own words, Fabians believe that
“[t]he challenge for the Left is... to create the conditions... [in which] people do not translate wide social and economic concerns into a narrow obsession with immigration numbers.”