Free at Last? BBC Documentary Seeks to Tear Down the BBC’s Own Wall of Poor Reporting

Jerry Kammer, Center for Immigration Studies, January 14, 2014

There has been an apparent breakthrough in the discussion of immigration in Britain. BBC political editor Nick Robinson has acknowledged that for many years the organization made “a terrible mistake” by muzzling its immigration coverage because of concern that it might stir racist unrest.

Even more important, Robinson’s new documentary, which aired last week, not only explained the causes of that journalistic form of political correctness, but also provided an example of sophisticated, even-handed, and open-minded discussion of this most complicated and controversial of public issues.

“In public life, in politics and, I accept, historically at the BBC [we] didn’t have a warts-and-all . . . debate about immigration,” Robinson told the Sunday Times. He said some of his colleagues at the BBC “thought it would unleash some terrible side of the British public.”

But the corporation is “now getting it right”, Robinson said, completing an assessment that I fervently hope will one day be earned by our own Public Broadcasting Service. Immigration coverage at PBS — especially in its ironically titled “Need to Know” program—has long been stunted and muzzled by the same self-censure and bias that Robinson laments at the BBC.

The title of hour-long documentary, “The Truth About Immigration”, is itself an acknowledgement that the BBC deliberately sat on the truth. Robinson cautions that, even as Britain faces up to the serious costs of immigration, it must not lose sight of the considerable benefits.

The timing of the report is significant, coming as citizens of Romania and Bulgaria are now free—seven years after the two nations entered the European Union—to seek employment across the UK. That has prompted concerns in Britain that migration from the two countries will surge as dramatically and unexpectedly as the migration of other Eastern Europeans in recent years. Meanwhile, asylum-seekers from around the world have greatly added to the flow.

As Robinson reports, immigration has already been running at a record pace. It totaled 2.5 million persons between 2002 and 2012, thereby becoming “the greatest movement of people in our nation’s history.”

Robinson shows that the recent immigration justifies concerns of a new massive influx. He notes that when Tony Blair was prime minister, government researchers estimated that net immigration would amount to about 13,000 people a year. But as Jack Straw, a former member of the Blair cabinet, tells him, those predictions “were completely catastrophic; they were wrong by a factor of 10.”

Michael Howard, a Conservative leader from 2003 to 2005, speaks of the enforced political correctness that Robinson identifies as stifling the discussion. A clip from a session of “Prime Minister’s Questions” shows Howard observing that most other EU countries had imposed immigration controls. He then asks, “Why haven’t the British government?” Howard tells Robinson that for those efforts, “I was told that I was scare-mongering.”

As the documentary shows, the charge of scare-mongering on immigration is rooted in an infamous 1968 speech by Enoch Powell, a conservative member of Parliament who said that the pace of immigration—running at about 50,000 annually—was putting Britain on course for racial violence.

In an allusion to Virgil’s Aeneid, Powell said, “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'” The speech became known as the “Rivers of Blood Speech”. While it was condemned as divisive and dangerous, it also drew an outpouring of support from people who shared at least his fundamental concern that the 1960s immigrant wave was bringing too many newcomers to Britain.

Robinson visits communities where local residents feel stunned by the recent wave of immigration, half of which has come from beyond the EU, including such countries as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. He speaks with a second-generation Pakistani-British man who expresses alarm at the anti-social ways of the recent wave of Roma (Gypsy) migrants into Southampton.

Robinson cites an authoritative public opinion survey in which 77 percent of the respondents said they wanted immigration to be cut and 56 percent “want immigration to be cut by a lot.” He says the new wave of public anxiety is the result of a decision made by the British government “with remarkably little public debate.”

“Yet in 50 or a 100 years’ time historians are likely to say it’s amongst the most significant taken since Second World War,” he adds. “So why did they take it? Well, it’s a remarkable story, a mixture of good intentions, of wishful thinking and an awful lot of miscalculation.”

We’ll have more tomorrow.

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  • GeneticsareDestiny

    Finally, cracks are appearing in the liberal edifice. Hopefully this is a sign of further realism to come. I must admit, I did not expect to see it in Britain before the rest of the Anglosphere. Good for them!

    • NeanderthalDNA

      This is very good news indeed. The Bolshevik Brainwashing Committee is beginning to have second thoughts. Very nice!

  • Spartacus

    “He says the new wave of public anxiety is the result of a decision made
    by the British government “with remarkably little public debate.”


    And then they dare call people like me “undemocratic”….

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Fascism is democratic. It is the folk’s will!
      Chop chop!

  • ncpride

    Well, it’s a remarkable story, a mixture of good intentions, of wishful thinking and an awful lot of miscalculation.”

    Oh, come now. I don’t think anyone buys that anymore. This has been done with purpose, cunning calculation, petty revenge over ideology differences, greed, selfishness, PC and with not a care of how this would affect the British people. Those responsible should be held accountable for this atrocity.

    • WR_the_realist

      Yup. Labour’s immigration policies were deliberately designed to “rub diversity in the noses” of Labour’s opponents. There were evil intention, and it worked exactly as calculated.

    • rightrightright

      Yes. The Left’s apologies are disingenuous and insincere. What they have deliberately done to England is irreversible, unless resolved by a race war.

      • ncpride

        Exactly. The only way to regain their country is massive deportation, and I doubt all those Muslim’s will go peacefully. They have put the British people in a position where blood shed is most likely the only outcome here. It’s unforgivable.

        • Andross

          It will end with either bloodshed or (white) slavery.

      • Romulus

        I only pray that they can summon the will and the manpower.!

  • bigone4u

    The BBC is up to its eyeballs in the Jimmy Savile pedophile scandal that has rocked Britain and continues to unfold. Thus, cynical me says the BBC is trying to curry public favor by showing some respect for the anti-immigration sentiments of the public. I wouldn’t make too much of this as I think the BBC is trying to draw attention away from the pedophilia it knowingly tolerated for 50 years.

    • Romulus

      If I may, for further illustration of last evenings conversation on the Iberian skeleton, Britain is a perfect example of my argument. Eastern European white/haji/arab/Roma/Turks are not English or Spanish or French. Back when they invaded in the 8 th century , they called themselves moors. The people have changed where they’ve been located throughout history, but haven’t changed their blood. Even Cameron likes to boast of his Turkish blood.

      • Bantu_Education

        Its Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who boasts about being Turkish.

        • Romulus

          Yes, thank you very much for the correction. Much to my chagrine, I rechecked the article with accompanying pic of Boris, Blair, and Cameron and found I was in error.
          Thank you!

    • RileyDeWiley

      They are trying to manage a population that is, by their own admission, 85% opposed to their former editorial position on immigration.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech was a well-crafted ploy to get Heath and the Conservative party elected in 1970. Although he was a system stooge and responsible for importing West Indian nurses into Britain, he did have a change of mind and his heart was definitely in the right place.

    As to his warnings concerning the dangers of mass immigration from the New Commonwealth, it is more than obvious that “Enoch was right.”

  • RileyDeWiley

    It was an interesting piece, but quite disingenuous. They acknowledge that Britain is overrun; that the great majority of Brits want restrictions on immigration; that the wealthy benefit by immigration, while the poor and middle class suffer; and that the political and media elites have rigged the system, and labeled the loyal opposition as racist. All well and good.

    But – they have also claimed that it was all an accident, a misadventure by well-intended people. Jack Straw went so far as to say on-air that they “stood on the side of the angels” when they opened the floodgates, which nearly made me vomit. It’s like coming home to find a man balls-deep in your wife, and being expected to believe an accident put them in that position: “Just delivering milk, and I slipped and fell … so sorry … “.

    There was much maundering about how fixing this is going to be vewy, vewy hard, and take a lot of nattering for many years …. said nattering, of course, to be done by the same fine folks who stood beside the angels to shove 5,000,000 Pakistanis up the British fundament.

    And, of course, they were very delicate about race. Much talk about Poles, little about Pakistanis. Islamization was not touched.

    It is significant, I think, that the semi-official voice of Whitehall has conceded that public opinion has been against them for decades, and that there can be such a thing as principled opposition to immigration. But it is quite clear that they are just moving the trench-lines a few yards, where they will dig in again. The next strategy will be to bait patriots into the political system and tie them down in bureaucratic minutiae forever, while the brown tide rolls onward over Britain.

    • Bantu_Education

      You nailed it, an excellent post, very well-written.

    • Sangraal

      I was going to post a comment as a response to our trans-Atlantic comrades on here who do not know the true perfidy of the BBC, who see this as ‘cracks’ in the cultural marxist hegemony, rather than the shadow puppetry it was. But between yourself and ‘British Activism’ below, the nail has been hit square on the head.

  • RileyDeWiley

    “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”― Confucius

    They are yielding, so they will not break. Clever of them, really. Waiting to see if the rulers in the US will follow suit.

  • rightrightright

    This explanation is the mild one and a lie. The true and savage explanation is that the Left want Europe destroyed via third world immigration. Look at Cameron’s regime! He is as far to the Left as his buddies, Blair and Brown. There is no Right any more.

    • Bantu_Education

      Thats the destiny of “democracy” (as unfortunately practiced) – there may be occasional swings back to the right but inevitably the political spectrum is forced to swing ever more leftwards in order to satisfy the re-distributionist demands of the proletariat.

  • Gustav

    The Brits delivered Rhodesia and South Africa into the cauldron of multiculturalism. As we say in Afrikaans, “Kry vir julle!”

  • “So why did they take it? Well, it’s a remarkable story, a mixture of good intentions, of wishful thinking and an awful lot of miscalculation.”

    Good intentions? I disagree and am guessing plenty of outraged Britons do too. The backpedaling is too little, too late. Clearly the self-described “elites” are terrified of the backlash that’s coming their way. Which is smart, because they should be.

    • Martel

      I have no need for this confession, this crime cannot be paid for with excuses.

      • Indeed. Your username is fitting.

  • Emblematical

    “miscalculation” They’re STILL lying. It was and always has been deliberate.

  • This so called “truth about immigration” programme was nothing other than the usual kinds of liberal propaganda. There were numerous ‘tricks’ at work within the programme to skew what is taking place and hardly any mention at all about many of the real “truths” about immigration.

    The truly awful Jonathan Portes (another Eskimo, would you believe) was utterly arrogant and lecturing that immigration is a good thing and that, essentially, the British people have to bloody well put up with it. (I can only hope his arrogance and sheer brass neck made the viewers angry).

    We had very subtle misdirections and propaganda from the start, such as an ‘observation’ by the presenter that we did not have a “statue to liberty to welcome the huddled masses” (peddling the same old lie that the statue of liberty was erected as a welcome sign for immigration!) and that, of course, we are a nation “built on immigration” and a ‘nation of immigrants’ from previous “great waves” which were just not as “great” in numbers as in recent years.

    It seemed to completely ignore many pressing issues and spent a lot of time focussing on Eastern European immigration and interviewing those people who have a vested interest in immigration – such as farmers needing manual labourers.

    At one point, Nick Robinson is at a “old British” country fair, a far cry from the “multicultural cities and towns” he had been visiting. There, he challenged the visitors to dissect a large set of pies into what proportion of the country they thought were ‘immigrant’.

    Naturally, people were slicing up 1/3rd of the country, 1/4 of the country, etc and lo and behold the person who won had the lowest slice of pie at some thing like 1/8th.

    Now then, that would give the viewers the impression that there is nothing much to fear, they are still a tiny proportion of the population. The trouble is, they are going from the text-book version of immigrant. Technically they may be correct, but the problem is the second, third, fourth generation of immigrant descent populations here, plus all those they do not know about.

    It was an awful piece of television and, quite frankly, thoroughly depressing in terms of the utter craphole that Britain is becoming, how out of control it is out there, and how the “real discussions” are still not being had, especially by the BBC.

    This, to me, is just another case of “saying we are talking about it openly” whilst actually sticking rigidly to the allowed parameters and allowed lines of thought. Much like how politicians think that by ‘raising awareness of an issue’ is the same thing as them actually dealing with it.

    The end line of the article above is perfect for the kinds of misdirection being put forward….”Yet in 50 or a 100 years’ time historians are likely to say it’s amongst the most significant taken since Second World War,” he adds. “So why did they take it? Well, it’s a remarkable story, a mixture of good intentions, of wishful thinking and an awful lot of miscalculation.”

    Apart from the part about future historians being amazed at what has happened (which they will be, should there be anyone British left around to care in another 100 years!) they are completely wrong.

    It was organised, it was planned, they purposefully did not control the borders, they knew what they were doing and went ahead with it despite overwhelming opposition at the time.

    The “intentions” are subjective, like whether the intentions of a mass murderer were good and well, whoops a daisy, things did not work out very well.

    Tearing down the wall of the BBC line? Hardly. It was just more of a glossy makeover.

    • Sangraal

      Spot on. It was pure controlled opposition, pure safety-valve to lure people back into faith in the system, away from the necessary conclusions and courses of action.
      In the pie stunt, there was an unmistakeable tone of, ‘see, it’s not so bad, stop whining about you bigots’. If people exaggerate the number of immigrants, who can blame them? Walking through English cities, it slaps you in the face and wrenches at your soul. The qualitative impact is disproportionate to the quantitative.
      Seeing the ever-reprehensible Jack Straw’s disingenuous claims called to mind his appearance on Question Time with Nick Griffin in 2010. He was eager to champion his party’s actions re. immigration then, when it meant pat on the back applause from the right-on audience. Never was there a better illustration of the fickle and spineless character of ‘the little men of the old parties, blown hither and thither by every gust of opinion…jostling for place, but not so forward in service…such a character is the hallmark of financial-democratic politics’ (Mosley).

      • Absolutely.

        Jack Straw is – to my knowledge – the one who pushed and passed legislation within the first month of Labour getting into office, which meant that restrictions on “chain migration” were lifted. In essence, it allowed more “family” to move over here, get married over there and move here and so on.

        Jack’s constituency is Blackburn, which is reportedly over 1/3rd Pakistani and/or Bangladeshi. Not only was he purposefully doing it, but I suspect it was a nice little “thank-you” to the Asians who continuously helped to vote him in.

        Labour and folks like him love to engineer “win-win-win” situations by the looks of it. Wins for them and their agenda that is. It is often not only one thing that drives them, but a combination of things that work to their advantage, which makes them unable to ‘not’ take advantage.

        Blunkett, also featured in the video, was the one who claimed there was “no upper limit”…… You really could not make it up. As for the “apologies” and ‘solemn’ tones of “mistakes were made” by Yvette Cooper and other such people, not to mention Ed Miliband’s alleged “apology” the other year over Labours immigration record, are completely hollow and you can tell they really couldn’t care less – except for the fact it lost them some traditional voters.

        As for Ed Miliband’s apology, people should seriously read it, witness the platitudes and only then form an opinion on whether there was an apology or not. The media suggested he did, the speech itself suggests he is far from sorry about what has been done.

  • Truth Teller

    Strange, the concern about immigration only appears when Bulgarians, Romanians and other Eastern Europeans are concerned. A possible explanation might be that the labor unions are concerned about Eastern Europeans who will actually work instead of going on life long benefit as the “Asians” , West Indians and Africans do. The BBC is the propaganda section of the labour party. Probably the unions are putting pressure on the party which has ordered the BBC to concentrate on White Eastern European immigration.

  • JohnEngelman

    By not reporting realities most white Americans knew to be true from their own lives the mainstream media created a market for FOX News and right wing talk radio.