From: Anthony Browne
It was bubbling around inside my head making me toss and turn in the small hours, and then at 4 A.M. it exploded out in 2,500 words: a cri de coeur about what uncontrolled immigration is doing to Britain, and the almost ruthless determination of the pro-immigrationists to distort facts, smear opponents and stifle debate. Having researched the article for three months for a pamphlet, the facts just poured out of my fingertips.
It quickly became clear I am far from alone: the Times received more than 150 emails, an unusually high response, all but one—just one!—thanking us so much for having the honesty and courage to run the piece, and very few of them from mad people or obvious racists. Many came from immigrants and a few from ethnic minorities.
Reading the emails almost brought me to tears. What came across so profoundly is the deep frustration and anger that people feel about their loss of national identity and the growing social fragmentation of Britain under the weight of Third World colonization, and their utter abandonment by the political class and most of the media which makes any discussion of this all important issue
And what was almost equally moving was the almost total silence of the pro-immigrationists: hardly a squeak. It seems they really don't want to get involved in open, rational debate—only in finger-pointing and name-calling.
Britain is losing Britain by Anthony Browne, August 07, 2002
Is immigration in Britain out of control? Our correspondent, an immigrant's son, says it is — causing social tension, cultural clashes and economic strain
A well-known commentator once told me: "It is almost a case of the empire strikes back." But it's not just the former empire, it is pretty much the entire Third World and Eastern Europe.
About a quarter of a million people are coming to Britain from the Third World each year: a city the size of Cambridge every six months, an unprecedented and sustained wave of immigration to one of the world's most densely crowded islands, utterly transforming the society in which we live against the wishes of the majority of the population, damaging quality of life and social cohesion, exacerbating the housing crisis and congestion, and with questionable economic benefits.
I know knee-jerk accusations of racism and xenophobia will be fired at me by those who make careers out of suppressing legitimate debate, but I am hardly anti-immigrant or anti-immigration. I am the son of an immigrant, living with an immigrant, from such a family of émigrés that I have virtually no relatives in this country. I have had three serious relationships with British Indians, to the extent of visiting relatives in India. Most immigrants — including my mother and partner — make a great contribution to society. Immigration, allowing people to better their lives where they see the best opportunity, is a great force for good in the world.
The only political party of which I have been a member is Labour, and the danger of giving encouragement to the racist British National Party is a strong reason to stay silent. But what is happening now is so extreme and so damaging, and the determination of pro-immigrationists to suppress debate and smear critics so fearsome, that silence is no longer an option.
The unprecedented wave of immigration from the poor world to Britain is leading to huge and rapidly growing communities from almost every Third World country. There are a million Indians, almost 700,000 Pakistanis, 260,000 Bangladeshis, up to a million Nigerians, over 100,000 Iraqis. And numbers are increasing rapidly — in the past five years, while the white population grew by 1 per cent, the Bangladeshi community grew by 30 per cent, the black African population by 37 per cent and the Pakistani community by 13 per cent.
The number of people allowed to settle permanently in the UK has more than doubled in the past few years, reaching 125,000 in 2000 — almost all from the Third World and Eastern Europe. The number being given British citizenship doubled to 100,000 last year, nine out of ten of them from the Third World.
The route of entry is irrelevant. Whether it is usually-unfounded-and-never-get-deported asylum, arranged marriages, bringing over parents, grandparents, children or fiancés, holiday visas that mean never going home, temporary work visas that inevitably lead to citizenship five years down the line, or simply a clandestine ride in the back of a lorry, the effect is the same. Almost all are certain to stay. Thirteen times as many people emigrate from the Indian subcontinent to the UK than vice versa, three times as many from the Caribbean to the UK than vice versa. This net immigration, the largest yet witnessed in Britain, is quadrupling the rate of Britain's population growth, taking it to the highest levels since the 1960s.
Don't be fooled by the immigration celebrationists telling you that this is just history as normal. It isn't. Earlier waves of immigration, from the Huguenots to the Jews after the Second World War, to East African Asians in the 1970s, were one-off events that had an ending. The populations who came and did well for themselves were genuinely being forced out of whence they came. We were right to welcome them.
But what is happening now is the result of sustained migration pressure the likes of which the world has never seen before. For the first time, the world has huge disparities of wealth, widespread knowledge in the poor world of how the rich world lives and how to get there through TV and global telecommunications, and cheap, quick worldwide transport. It is easier for them to get here, and far more difficult to make them leave: the revolution in "human rights" means that as soon as anyone gets past passport control they are pretty much guaranteed to stay. More than 47,000 illegal immigrants were detected in 2000, but just 6,000 were sent home.
Economics is clearly the ultimate motivation, because it is from the poor world that all the record net immigration to the UK is coming. With the rest of the developed world, Britain has pretty much zero net immigration — almost as many people move from the rest of the developed world to Britain as vice versa each year. We should not delude ourselves: it is sustained, one-way, large-scale, economically-driven mass immigration, with no end in sight.
There is nothing wrong in itself with economic migration, exercising the right to find a better life — after all, the Europeans have been world champions, colonizing North America, Australasia and parts of South America and southern Africa. But the European emigration of earlier centuries was largely morally unacceptable because it was not, to put it mildly, achieved with the consent of the host populations.
Nor are the British people giving their consent: survey after survey shows that the large majority of British people — including around half of ethnic minorities — think there is too much immigration to Britain; but fear of accusations of racism and the power of the immigration lobby mean that no mainstream political party dare reflect public opinion.
The fact is that life for most people in the Third World is hard, and life in the West a fantastic dream that families are prepared to blow a lifetime's savings to make real in whatever way we allow them.
The Afghan couple raided in a mosque and now being deported are claiming asylum from a regime that no longer exists, having traveled through and decided that they didn't want to stay in three other countries en route to Britain. Life under the Taleban was unimaginably awful, but now they would rather just live in Britain than help to rebuild their home country.
A neighbor of mine emigrated from Bangladesh 30 years ago, bringing over his non-English-speaking wife. His older son has now just brought over his second non-English- speaking wife from Bangladesh, having divorced the first. He picked them up while spending six months of the year on the family farm in Bangladesh, where they have staff working for them. They will no doubt in time also bring over husbands for his two teenage sisters, and then they will have rights to bring over the spouse's parents and grandparents. These are all individual private acts that in themselves are perfectly reasonable, but taken by so many individuals they have huge public consequences. Such powerful chain migration effects ensure that immigration will continue relentlessly, bringing whole communities from the Third World to Britain. Whole villages in Bangladesh have been transplanted to whole streets in some northern English towns: little Third World colonies in Britain.
The Labour Government has relentlessly encouraged this by making it easier for recent immigrants to bring new immigrants over, and rapidly increasing many forms of supposedly temporary immigration, while introducing laws that ensure that virtually no one has to leave if they don't want to.
Its abolition of the primary purpose rule, meaning that it is now OK to have an arranged marriage for the primary purpose of emigrating to Britain, made it possible to bring in boyfriends and girlfriends and scrapped passport exit controls. It actively encouraged universities to recruit tens of thousands of students from the Third World and dramatically increased temporary work visas in the full knowledge that many will stay.
Most notoriously among doctors, the Government has introduced the Human Rights Act, giving anyone who gets into Britain, whether legally or illegally, the right to free NHS treatment for the rest of their lives if they have a life-threatening condition for which they can't get treatment at home. It is no coincidence that African immigration has overtaken gay sex as the biggest cause of HIV in Britain. Any of the 28 million HIV-positive Africans, facing inevitable death at home, can obtain free treatment for the rest of their lives if they can just get into Britain, and then appeal under the Human Rights Act. The booming industry of legal aid funded immigration lawyers who will do their paperwork for them.
The boom in immigration has been matched only by the determination of immigration celebrationists to brainwash the British public into thinking that it is all for their own good. But almost every reason given to support this immigration is bogus.
Britain doesn't have a declining population — there are more births than deaths each year; it doesn't have a declining workforce, largely because women's retirement age is rising to 65 by 2020; as recognized by every authority from the Immigration Advisory Service to the United Nations and the European Commission, immigration is no "fix" for an ageing society, because immigrants grow old too; there are no generalized labor shortages, rather unemployment of 1.5 million; importing communities who are far more likely to claim all forms of benefit apart from pensions and disability allowances, and who can have startlingly high unemployment rates, does not make Britain a richer country. It is, in fact, importing poverty.
Immigration increases the size of the economy — how could it not? — but there is no evidence that it increases the one measure that matters, gross domestic product per capita. There are some shortages of skills, but only a tiny proportion of immigrants is plugging those gaps.
Sure, immigrants contribute more in taxes than they consume in benefits, but that is only because there are so many highly paid immigrants such as American bankers and European executives paying more than their share. Immigrants from the Third World — who are responsible for the entire net immigration of a quarter of a million a year — suffer higher unemployment and lower earnings than average and almost certainly do not pay their way.
The only reason for this net current immigration is not that Britain needs immigrants, but that immigrants want Britain. It is not even particularly good for the countries they come from. Stealing the most energetic, entrepreneurial or educated from the Third World is a very inefficient development policy.
The one thing it does do is change the face of Britain, rapidly. One child in eight is now from an ethnic minority, rising to one in three in London. So-called "ethnic minorities" together form a majority in boroughs such as Brent and Newham, and in whole neighborhoods of cities in the North you can wander around for hours without seeing a white face, one monoculture having replaced another. Cities such as Coventry, Leicester and London are vying to see which can become the first white-minority city.
The London magazine Time Out recently interviewed a Turkish immigrant who said that the English were now the foreigners in Stoke Newington. This, of course, was reported as a cause of celebration: we must celebrate diversity. We have to celebrate it, even though for white British people celebrating diversity basically means saying sorry. We have to celebrate diversity, because otherwise it might rise up and kill us: Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia, Israel, Rwanda, Gujarat, northern Nigeria have all recently suffered mass deaths as a result of diversity.
The British paper Muslim News compared Bradford with Belfast, with deeply entrenched divisions ripping a community apart and creating wounds that may be becoming impossible to heal. In Bradford, as in Belfast, the communities live apart, work apart, socialize apart and occasionally riot. Muslim peers advise that disillusioned British Muslim youths are in danger of being recruited to extremist organizations, and the secret services think that around 3,000 may have trained with al-Qaeda.
There are roughly two million Muslims in Britain, most of them fine people, but mass immigration is increasing the numbers rapidly before we have learnt how to ensure that their children feel part of wider society and reach their full potential. Similarly, we have record levels of immigration from Africa, even though there is a widespread problem of young black men becoming increasingly alienated and criminalized. It is an uncomfortable fact that we have to face up to: mass immigration without integration leads to social fragmentation.
Of course, it is all culturally enriching — those restaurants! — but surveys tell us that most Britons do not want to be culturally enriched. It is something they have in common with most peoples. I dare the immigration celebrationists to order the Nigerians to accept millions of Arabs, whites, Indians and Chinese to enrich their culture, or the Indians to accept millions of Chinese, Africans, Arabs and whites to enrich theirs.
It is certainly changing Britain. A Middle Eastern immigrant, who is now passionately British, told me: "This is not the country I came to in 1958. Britain is losing Britain in a fit of absent-mindedness. It is utter madness what is going on, and even many immigrants feel this." A Lebanese family friend who lives in Nigeria says she cannot believe that Britain is just letting itself go. A hard-Left friend says in frustration: "If we went to their country and did what they are doing here, it would be totally unacceptable."
But we are too polite to say anything about it, too worried about being called racist, just too embarrassed about being British or English or whatever it is, just wallowing too much in post-colonial white guilt.
If there are more people wanting to live in Britain than we can feasibly accept, then Britain has to tell people they cannot move here. We have to accept that people just do not have the right to live where they want in the world, and that the people of Britain have a right to decide who can move here. Wanting open borders is a noble aim, but not while there are such global imbalances in wealth that it causes destabilizing population flows.
Obviously we should do more to help Third World countries to become places where people want to live rather than leave; it is unacceptable that we sit by and watch the entirely preventable Aids holocaust consume almost an entire continent. But the solution is to treat people where they live, rather than the limited number who find their way to Britain. The solution is to help Third World economies to become more vibrant rather than to steal their most energetic and entrepreneurial people.
And the irony is that this wave of immigration pressure, which will forever change the face of Britain, will itself come to an end. As the Third World becomes richer — as is happening in India and China — the incentive to move here will erode. Puerto Ricans used to move to America, until a slight rise in wealth in Puerto Rico stemmed the flow. But by the time that the Third World no longer wants to move to Britain, Britain will be a foreign land.
August 13, 2002