ACCORDING to Fraser Nelson, Spectator editor and Telegraph columnist, we should celebrate Britain’s climb to the summit of the world’s melting pots. We have a Hindu Prime Minister, a Muslim Mayor of London and a Buddhist Home Secretary. Our Chancellor has a Chinese wife and Mohammed (and variants) is number one in the boys’ baby name league table, a position it has held for over a decade.
In some respects, he’s right. Britain is unquestionably a tolerant and welcoming country. It’s also nice to see Fraser Nelson challenge the myth that we’re a nation of racists and xenophobes. We have indeed greeted newcomers with warmth and cordiality. Furthermore, many arrivals have embraced our hospitality with enthusiasm and gratitude, as well as, through hard work and talent, contributing to the economic and cultural health of the nation.
However, too many have not integrated, leading to ethnic, religious and cultural divisions that blight our cities and towns. These divisions make Britain look more like a salad bowl than a melting pot, and they cannot be ignored by blind optimism.
Recently there have been violent confrontations between Hindus and Muslims in Leicester, apparently fomented by ultra-nationalist Hindus newly arrived from the Indian sub-continent. Fraser Nelson calls this violence rare. But it’s not. He’s engaging in a breathtaking display of using rose-tinted glasses. In particular, beginning with the fatwa and subsequent protests against Salman Rushdie, some of our more traditional Muslim communities have routinely issued death threats against perceived blasphemers and apostates. We still have a school teacher in hiding for showing a picture of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.
We’ve had Salman Abedi, the son of Libyan-born Salafi refugees, murder 22 (mainly women and children) at a pop concert in Manchester in 2017; we’ve had 52 Londoners killed on July 7 2005 by five Pakistani-British suicide bombers; we’ve had the shocking 2013 murder of soldier Lee Rigby; there was the despicable homophobic attack in which three members of the gay community died in June 2020; Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, was fatally stabbed on October 15 2021 by Ali Harbi Ali, an Islamic State sympathiser of Somali heritage; in the 2017 London Bridge attack eight people were murdered by three Islamic terrorists, one of whom was a failed asylum seeker. The list goes on. Let’s not forget that our daughters have also been subjected to systematic gang rapes in towns up and down the country, perpetrated by mainly Pakistani-Muslim men in the racist belief that white girls are kaffir scum. It’s shocking, and it’s still happening.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I feel insulted by Fraser Nelson’s piece. No, Fraser, we’re not some wonderful utopian melting pot. Inter-communal violence is a serious and ongoing problem that will only get worse as unprecedented numbers of migrants continue to arrive.
Mass immigration has also placed enormous pressure on our public services and infrastructure. And before some apoplectic lefties start screaming about the NHS’s reliance on foreigners, I say this: a good immigration policy invites the people we need to fill employment gaps (even though I suspect much of this work could and should be done by homegrown talent), whilst not over-burdening our already stretched GP surgeries and schools, not depressing the wages of our existing working population, not substituting investment and higher productivity with cheap labour, and not rendering our communities unrecognisable, thus alienating the existing population. Our open-borders approach is a disaster on all these fronts.
Fraser Nelson’s optimism is a fantasy. Yes, some from immigrant backgrounds such as Rishi Sunak have successfully integrated. They have indeed been and continue to be of enormous benefit to our country. Many have not. And this fact is the result of our post-1997 policy of open borders. It has led to divided communities, inter-confessional, inter-racial and inter-communal violence, over-stretched public services and an alienated indigenous population forced to keep quiet as they become foreigners in their own land. Mass migration has been a disaster.