John Derbyshire On The ECONOMIST Magazine's Gloating Over Electing A New London
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I really should stop taking The Economist. It’s expensive ($138 for a one-year subscription); the weaknesses noted by Andrew Sullivan in his hit piece on the magazine 13 years ago (“has shown a remarkable capacity over the past couple of years to be demonstrably wrong,” etc., etc.) [Not so groovy The Guardian, June 14, 1999, TNR version here] are still very much in evidence; the job ads run about ten to one government and globalist do-gooders versus private firms; and the artwork is bizarre and cryptic.

And then there’s the Open-Borders cheerleading, of which Economist readers are getting a megadose in the current (June 30th) issue.

The center of this issue is given over to one of the magazine’s Special Reports, [PDF] in this case a 16-pager on London, entitled On a high, timed to appear between Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in early June and the opening of the Summer Olympics in late July. (The Economist rarely admits that it is written by humans, no doubt to preserve its aura of Olympian omniscience, but there’s a discreet reference to this Report’s author: Emma Duncan [Email her].)

The Special Report has a 2½-page introduction, then comes the first topical heading: “Immigrants . . . Growth has brought foreigners, and foreigners have brought growth.”

There follows a parade of Open-Borders clichés longer than the Lord Mayor’s Procession. “London was invented by foreigners,” The Economist tells us, referring to the Romans. Regrettably, Queen Boudicca, “an early opponent of immigration,” burned down the Roman’s first settlement. [Immigrants in London: Hello, World]

What the good queen was actually opposing was invasion and occupation. I wish I could be sure The Economist knows this and is just being whimsical.

And on, and on.

All this [i.e. recent mass immigration] has changed London utterly. It has created a new elite: foreigners, or recently naturalized Britons, dominate the best neighborhoods and the best schools . . . It has altered the sound of the streets: English is not the first language of 22 percent of Londoners and 42 percent [?] of London children.
How marvelous! What could anyone of English ancestry possibly find to object to there?

(On the “best schools,” there’s even a special section gloatingly titled Move Over, Brits. Isn’t that what it’s all about?)

After all:

Various surveys of employers come to the predictable conclusion that migrants are better employees: they are more highly skilled, work harder and are prepared to do jobs that locals disdain.
Those worthless locals! And of course, as everyone knows, with mass immigration you just get that one first striving generation. Immigrants don’t have kids.

Oh, no, hold on:

East London’s population is also growing faster than that of the rest of the city, because it has lots of recent immigrants, and they tend to have larger families. The area’s economy should benefit from that too —if the infrastructure can cope.
Next section subheading: Growth is straining London’s infrastructure. You don’t say.

And what about those terrible riots last summer? Were not the rioters disproportionately of some ancestry other than native British? [Rioters were poorer, younger and less educated than average, Telegraph, October 24, 2011] Making mass immigration a prime cause of the riots?

Not a bit of it, says The Economist. They actually devote a 600-word sidebar to the riots and possible causes. [Riotous behaviour| It’s a London thing] Social conditions, of course: welfare dependence, unemployment, troubled families.


A second explanation focuses on policing. “The police were just standing there,” says Bushra Ahmed, who watched the Croydon launderette her father bought 24 years ago burn down.
Hard to blame London’s police for “just standing there.” After the anti-racist purges of Britain's police forces this past 20 years, it’s a wonder they’re willing to get out of their patrol cars at all when racial minorities are running wild.

What else does The Economist have by way of explaining those riots?

Technology! “Blackberry Messenger . . . was used by rioters to summon their friends to join looting sprees.”

And then: “The physical environment . . . the depressing post-war housing estates which councils are now pulling down.” (The worst were pulled down years ago. Those that remain are being landmarked.)

Finally, rioting is just a London thing.

“Rioting is something that London does,” says Tony Travers, [Email him] director of LSE London, a research center at the London School of Economics. “There were riots in 1809, 1816, 1830, 1866, 1886, and so on.”
And so on to . . . where? Of the 16 riots between 1958 and 2011 listed by Wikipedia, nine had some direct connection to mass immigration: either rioting by immigrants themselves or their descendants (1958, 1981, 1985, 1985 again, 1995, 2011), or leftists rioting in counter-protest to the immigration-restrictionist National Front or BNP parties (1974, 1977, 1993).

Tony Travers then gives the game away:

“Given that the population has increased by one-and-a-half million in the past 25 years, and two-and-a-half million people in this city were born in other countries, some of which are at war with each other, it is a miracle the place is as peaceful as it is.”
Presumably it will be a further miracle if London stays this peaceful.

Nowhere does The Economist acknowledge the racial aspect of the recent riots, though they began as a protest against police shooting of a black man and continued to be dominated by blacks and South Asians, a fact Britain’s Main Stream Media—Sky News, most comically —went to immense pains to suppress.

Ain’t nobody going to out-Open-Borders The Economist, though. It puzzles over the fact that the people of Britain are not entirely on board with the project: “Britons are now more hostile to immigration than people in any other wealthy country (see chart 5).”

And Chart 5 indeed shows support for immigration reduction at 73 percent among British-born whites —very nearly three-quarters. What on earth are they thinking?

The Economist finds the bright side, though. For British-born whites in London, the corresponding figure on chart 5 is a mere 52 percent!

Yes: If we just let our metropolitan elites lead the way, we shall reach the promised land of globalized multicultural harmony in no time. Who doubts it?

(That chart 5 is headed “Insular Britain, liberal London.” [Page 14 of the PDF] Insular? The place is an island, for crying out loud. Why would Britain not be insular?)

On immigration, The Economist can’t even keep its story straight. Page 8 of the Special Report:

Migrants make an economy flexible. When demand for labor falls, some of them leave: the Polish plumber, who became a fixture of the London building trade after his country’s accession to the EU, disappeared after the 2007-08 financial crisis.
But then, on page 56 of the main magazine, following some statistics on Latin Americans leaving Spain because of the current recession:
Not all migrants have behaved in the same way. Relatively few Poles have left Britain.
If not the Poles, who is leaving Britain?

The white British, that’s who: Emigration soars as Britons desert the UK, By Philip Johnston, The Telegraph, November 15, 2007.

The Economist Special Report on London omitted to say anything about that.

But it’s hard to doubt they believe it’s a jolly good thing.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amounton all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His writings are archived at

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