16 June, 2010


One rule for them...

Apparently it's Refugee Week. Whatever that means. CiF is awash with articles about how we should be nicer to asylum seekers, give them all big hugs and Marks & Spencers vouchers and have them round for dinner. (I'll have mine medium to well done, thanks.) As usual the comment threads rapidly degenerate into a generic asylum/immigration/race punch-up. It fact it's always precisely the same punch-up, with the same arguments and counter-arguments being endlessly rehearsed with minor variations in the phrasing, typos and misspellings.

In the comment thread to a typical article we find this

MichaelRosen 15 Jun 2010, 12:11AM

To the people here who are 'worried about immigration' - can I ask which bit are you worried about? All of it? If so, then you're looking to radically alter EU rules on the rights of Brits to work in the EU.

Or some of it? If it's some of it? Which bit? As there is free movement of people in the EU, is that a problem? It is also still very easy for people with British grandparents to be immigrants, so that makes it easy for white Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans. Is that a problem? If not, why not?

I believe this is in fact "the" Michael Rosen who has been known to comment in simiilarly exasperated terms from time to time at Lenin's Tomb, so I'm going to give in to temptation and make a snarky ad hom. remark that will probably get me into trouble, but is it not rather ironic that Mr Rosen, as a Jew, does not understand the concept of diaspora?

The Government of India has no problem understanding it and feels no shame about implementing the legal concepts of Non-Resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin. If Sunny Hundal for example, UK-born of Punjabi immigrant parents, wished to work and live and possibly settle in India, it would be immensely easier for him to do so than it would for me, having no known ancestral connection with India.

The Indians, at home and abroad, seem happy with this arrangement. As am I. So why then is Mr Rosen apparently unhappy that we might choose to afford similar privileges to the British ethnic diaspora? Is it 'cos we is White?

This ploy is a regular feature in the ongoing asylum/immigration/race argument. Rosen's highlighting of the patrial privileges of the diaspora is a new variant on me, though. The "What about the Australians?" move usually comes up in discussions about illegal immigration.
Anti-immigrationist: What about all these illegally present Nigerians?

Righteous Lefty: What about all these overstaying Australians and New Zealanders?
People regularly claim, to the incredulity of the Righteous Left, that "we are not allowed to debate immigration". And of course the Left are right to reply that we seem to do little else. But that is to miss the point of the complaint. The Righteous control the acceptable language of debate, as they have done for at least the past 40 years in my experience. What the Anti-immigrationist in the above exchange should go on to say is
Forget the Ozzies and Kiwis. They are my tribe, just homecoming Brits, and they'll fit in nicely. Let's get back to the bloody Nigerians.
but this of course would be racist within the rules of the game, punishable by an immediate red card. So he must instead pretend to regard all immigrants absolutely equally as if discussing not the UK but some unclaimed terra nullius open to all comers.
Oh yes, we must exclude them too. I agree we must deal with them first
thus nicely diverting the argument away from the real issues.

This is what Rosen is trying for with his rhetorical question. Well, sod off Michael and try that on in Bombay, or Chandigarh for that matter, and see how far you get.

Pro immigrationists like Rosen have never accepted that immigration has quantitative and qualitative elements.'Undiverse' immigrants, even if admitted in large numbers, don't impact on the social capital of the host population in the same way as 'diverse' immigrants (as indicated in recent research by Robert Putnam).

All non western nations (India, China, Japan to name but three) 'get' this fact. Western nations however don't (the Australians being the last to sign up to 'non racist' immigration rules, as late as 1973).

BTW India, before the changes in 2006, was tardy about granting citizenship to anyone not born and living India, regardless of their ethnicity. In this regard they used to be the odd man out amongst the large Asian countries- but not any more. Their unwillingness to grant citizenship to their diaspora was also undoubtedly one of the factors which nudged the UK government into granting specific settlement guarantees to E African Asians, when their host countries were granted independence in the 1960s.

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