31 October, 2009
Neathergate: the rearguard action
But what the article is leading up to is this paragraph:
However it happened, the increase in immigration since the mid-Nineties was never properly explained to the public. Ministers did not tell people why a major increase in overseas-born residents was occurring nor, for a while, what the benefits to the economy might be.So then Neather was right even if he did rather let the cat out of the bag, letting the Unwashed Masses in on subtle policy decisions they couldn't possibly understand. Unfortunately his attempt to backtrack failed, and even Jack Straw's soothing words failed to persuade the cat to re-enter the bag.
And so Tone rewrites history for us. Of course it was a grand deliberate plan, but it was all done in your best interest. We didn't tell you because, well, we didn't want to you to worry your little heads with grown-up business. But clearly the Forces of Darkness have taken advantage and have spread malicious counterrevolutionary propaganda. They are being dealt with. Rest assured, all is well. Return to your posts.
What? Yes, of course we have always been at war with Eastasia.
At the Speccie, resident open-borders enthusiast Alex Massie takes a different tack. There was no conspiracy, he assures us with his accustomed supercilious self-certainty, it was the office boy what done it. He puts the startling policy positions reported by Neather —
— down to some apprentice policy wonk on a work-placement from school getting a bit overexcited. (Actually the document was attributable to one Jonathan Portes.)
Eventually published in January 2001, the innocuously labelled "RDS Occasional Paper no. 67", "Migration: an economic and social analysis" focused heavily on the labour market case.
But the earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.
Move along, nothing to see here.
What do I think? Certainly I don't agree with some of the more febrile Right-wing conspiracy aficionados. I definitely don't suspect the New World Order, Bilderberg, the Illuminati or Purple Lizards. On the other hand I don't go as far in the other direction as Steve The Pub Philosopher's world-weary cynicism
I don't think this is just cynical machine politics. It's much worse than that. Neather and his masters actually believe they are right. Our leaders are of my generation. They are baby-boomers whose politically formative years were in the Sixties, the late Sixties in particular. They are Socialists of one or other stripe. They are also Internationalists. They are suffused with post-colonial White liberal guilt and post-Holocaust European Gentile guilt. Added to this ideological burden, the current mob, NuLabour, have in their desperation for re-election not only aped but absorbed into their very psyches the Managerialism and Neo-Liberalism of Thatcher.
[Andrew Neather is] right about this though:
The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the drop of a chapati.
Dignifying this policy with terms like 'conspiracy' and 'plot' creates an impression that it was part of some grand plan. It wasn't; it was just another self-interested, short-term ruse from a bunch of politicians who are incapable of seeing further than the next general election.
Truly a toxic combination.
They are not out to destroy Britain as such. They just don't see the British nation and identity as particularly important. Actually they do find it a little distasteful to be honest. Those nasty Little Englanders with their unpleasant saloon-bar and working men's club attitudes.
They are genuinely very much in favour of multiculturalism and diversity. I suspect that this is mostly down to White Liberal guilt. They see all those formerly colonized peoples of the Third World as morally superior, more deserving than the nasty White men who caused all the trouble. They genuinely do see multiculturalism and the decline of national identity as a Good Thing.
Most of them are also, I very much suspect, sincere adherents of the "all the same colour under the skin" school of internationalist multiculturalism, which supports the impressive doublethink of celebrating the wonderful vibrant cultural diversity which immigrants bring to our shores while simultaneously believing that our new chums (or their UK-born kids at least) are really coconuts, fully assimilated White liberals in their habits and attitudes, abandoning their ancestral tribal, ethnic, cultural and religious loyalties, but who assume a sort of superficial mental blackface when required to "do ethnic" for the diversity tourists. You believe that if you like; I'm not so sure.
And following their wholehearted incorporation of Thatcherism into their doctrine, perhaps they genuinely do see this country as UK plc. Existing workforce too stroppy or too pricey? No problem, a spot of onshore offshoring will soon solve that.
No I don't think there's a cynical conspiracy: these people are Believers.
Minette, as so often, is right on the money, with a clarity and restrained forensic anger which I have so far been unable to achieve.
Seven months at most to Armageddon!!
'It is little wonder that sensing this abandonment, which we now know was deliberate, many white working-class Labour voters are tempted towards a party that does acknowledge their grievances. Knowingly to impose a transformative policy without truthfulness on the government’s side or informed consent on the people’s side was simple fascism — and to do so with silly propaganda about multiculturalism and unjust sneers about racism has made these injustices only more bitter.'
The Neathers and Tony Traverses of this world are indeed a 'toxic combination'- they combine the sneering superiority of the Hartley Shawcross ethos ('Whitehall really does know best')with the idealogical baggage of the sixties (white liberal guilt & internationalism).