Leading British Conservative: Immigration Makes Us ‘Give Up Our Culture and Identity’

John T. Bennett, American Thinker, February 15, 2014

America is not the only nation roiled by immigration debates. England, like many Western nations, is also in the midst of a heated one.

Douglas Murray, one of England’s leading conservative intellectuals, has just made a major contribution to the discussion in his country.

In a thought-provoking speech, Murray argued that the people of England are “giving up our culture” and “giving up our identity” due to high levels of immigration. He warned that soon, we may unfortunately say that “the peoples of Britain and Europe have lost their place in the world.”

The forum for Murray’s speech was a debate in Oxford University in January. “It’s going to require quite a lot of fairly clear, tough, frank thinking” for Britain to confront questions about immigration, Murray began. He pointed out that he is “not against immigration,” but that the speed and rate of immigration have been far too high for far too long.

Past waves of immigrants came in the thousands, while the foreign-born population in England and Wales today numbers in the millions. {snip}

The point Murray makes is overlooked by pro-amnesty conservatives here in the states. {snip}

Taking aim at what has become a dogma among Western elites, Murray went on to reject the notion that England is “a nation of immigrants.”

There is a motif that this country has always been a nation of immigrants. That is not true. It is not true. For most of this country’s history, there was a very homogenous group of people on these islands. The idea that what is happening now is what has always happened is simply a fib.

While some of the U.K.’s immigration myths are similar to our own, unlike in the U.S., the major British parties have both spoken out against mass immigration.

“There is complete political unanimity” that levels of immigration are too high, observed Murray. To prove his point, Murray quoted the two highest-ranking members of the U.K.’s opposing political parties, along with another major liberal figure.

Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour Party and potential prime minister, says, “I do want to get low skill immigration down and therefore overall immigration down.”

Current Prime Minister David Cameron last year said, “[U]nder the previous government immigration was far too high and badly out of control.” “Net migration needs to come down radically . . . from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands,” according to Britain’s PM.

Murray also quoted former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw, who called the rate of immigration during his tenure a “spectacular mistake.”

“One spectacular mistake in which I participated (not alone) was in lifting the transitional restrictions on the Eastern European states like Poland and Hungary which joined the EU in mid-2004,” Straw admits.

Politicians rightly take these positions, Murray argued, because the British public holds similar beliefs. A full 77% in a 2013 British Social Attitudes survey want immigration limited. Fifty-six percent want immigration reduced by “a lot.”

Murray concluded with thought-provoking comments on what immigration has done to England’s national identity and the very premise of “our values.”

“When you have migration at the rate this country has had it in recent years, you have to expand and water down your definition of what you are because you have people coming in so fast that what would have been your definitions of yourself stop holding,” he said.

If you asked them 50 years ago, most British people could have given a strong definition of Britain’s national identity, Murray said. The Church of England, Parliament, trial by jury and the high courts, and the monarchy would have been at the top of the list.

Murray offered the following challenge:

Why is it now that we have this big endless debate, ‘Who are we, what are we?’ It’s because we want to welcome people but it’s happened so fast we have to end up doing things like saying Britishness is about ‘fair play’ or ‘being nice to people.’

He warned that high levels of immigration undermine a sense of shared national identity, saying, “We water [national identity] down because it’s what we think we have to do . . . it has become very difficult to say what Britishness is or can be or should be for people when immigration happens at this kind of rate.”

Many Britons, “including first and second generation immigrants now say there is a problem with the speed of immigration because it changes the country.”

It makes little sense to talk about “our values,” Murray said, in a nation where people are not assimilating. In fact, Murray suggests that economic arguments in favor of immigration have become so common precisely because the broader impact of immigration has been unfavorable:

It is all very well to say that we are open to people who share our values. But if our values are watered down and the people who come here come at the rate they have, it is not surprising that we will end up arguing for immigration as an economic thing because we will be giving up our culture, we will be giving up our identity, and we will be saying what some people now do say, which is that the peoples of Britain and Europe have lost their place in the world.

“I think it is right for people to have a place they call home, an identity that they are proud of. I think it for all people around the world, and I think it for the people of this country,” Murray concluded, to rousing applause.

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  • IstvanIN

    So even the UK was infected with the “we are a nation of immigrants” lie? And funny how they pick on Eastern European immigration, the one immigrant group that, if allowed in in small numbers, has any chance of assimilating. England, Wales and Scotland are tiny countries that didn’t need any immigration whatsoever. Time to toss the foreigners out.

    • Long Live Dixie

      And funny how they pick on Eastern European immigration, the one immigrant group that, if allowed in in small numbers, has any chance of assimilating.

      But they are not there in small numbers. There are far more than a million already there. Restrictions were further relaxed at the beginning of the year to allow even more in. The internationalists will not be happy until everything British has been erased.

      • IstvanIN

        Even a nation as large as the US needed “Time Outs” to digest newcomers. Besides, English, Welsh and Scottish are ethnicities that should not be subsumed by anyone.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      The whole “we are a nation of immigrants” mythology is utter nonsense. It’s really about giving carte blanche to western cosmopolitan elites so they can carry out their programs of ethnic cleansing and race replacement. If whites want to save themselves, they must stop seeing themselves as “immigrants”. They must come to realize that they have deep roots within their countries of origin and that only they have any rights to the land.

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        It’s important to remember that there WAS no “America” before White people created, founded and built it for “themselves and their posterity.”

        We have EVERY RIGHT to stay in control and dominate in our own homelands in the same way Mexicans protect Mexico and Jews protect Israel.

    • Nathanwartooth

      It is very scary that the talking points are pretty much the same no matter which white country it is.

      It is almost like it is a coordinated attack on all white countries at once to swamp them in third world immigration…

    • Ron Cheaters

      that “nation of immigrants” line really pushes my buttons.
      It disgraces my people who came to this land (Canada) with the intentions of creating a civilization or a colony. Once established, they defended their land against some of the strongest odds like the extreme weather of the prairies.

      Now that the gates are wide open, I wouldn’t for a minute consider fighting for this traitorous country. This country no longer has any unity. It is a laughing stock to those who seek to invade and tear it apart… one only needs to look at veterans affairs in this country to know the gov’t is grateful they are almost all dead.

      I could go on.. but we all know this is happening.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        I honestly don’t know how long Canada can survive this massive wave of low-quality Asian immigration and the occasional importation of black African savages. Canada’s immigration policy is a total disaster. Unfortunately for us, the average Canadian is a dimwit. They think they’re doing multiculturalism right and look down on white Americans for their history of slavery and discrimination. They’re too stupid to realize that the only thing they’re “doing right” is bringing about their own ethnic and national destruction in the country their ancestors founded. The future of Canada is Brazil.

  • MekongDelta69

    Douglas Murray: ‘I think it is right for people to have a place they call home.’

    I agree.

    Leftist don’t. For them, that only applies to non-white countries.

  • Talltrees

    Happy Birthday President Washington.

    “The policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people. ”

    — George Washington (letter to John Adams, 15 November 1794)

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      I’ll second that!! How quickly we forget WHY today is a holiday…the Cultural Marxists have turned Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthdays into the generic “President’s Day” — yet subversives and do-nothings like MLK and Cesar Chavez EACH has his OWN, named holiday.

      It’s part of the Cultural Marxists plans to destroy White heritage, traditions, holidays and culture.

      Cultural Marxism: (degenerate culture) seeks to destroy everything good about a society, what holds it together, what helps it to advance, what promotes intelligence and beauty. It seeks to degenerate society and take it to a lower form where people are less intelligent and more animal. It’s based on the Marixst lie that everything good about society is all a form of oppression. Every time anyone promotes cultural marxism, they use the same line claiming it is about freeing people from oppression.


  • Extropico

    “The point Murray makes is overlooked by pro-amnesty conservatives here in the states.”

    There is no such thing as a pro-amnesty conservative.

  • Spartacus

    “There is a motif that this country has always been a nation of
    immigrants. That is not true. It is not true. For most of this country’s
    history, there was a very homogenous group of people on these islands.
    The idea that what is happening now is what has always happened is
    simply a fib. ”


    When did common sense become so controversial ?

    • Brian

      Guy made a good statement, but could have been improved by substituting ‘traitorous, damnable lie from the pit of perdition’ for ‘fib’.

  • Romulus

    The man STILL appears to be soft peddling the issue.
    With apologies to DAVID ASHTON and other englishmen, “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE” was probably not the answer.
    To be fair, as an american, England’s overall decline is direcyly attributable to the loss of itsost prosperous colonies and the massive fratricide in europe last century. The Anglo/Saxons originate from NW Germany after all. How tragic it is that even their CLOSEST genetic kin, the celts have been divided from them for millenia.
    I fear that europe will never be truly unified by culture or blood. For reasons as apparent as the fact that there is so much foreign dna and cultures.

    • David Ashton

      Apologies always accepted, even if I can’t see the reason for them.
      Murray is a (Gentile) neo-con and I think also a homosexual, therefore especially anti-Islamic, but he gets closer than most to the real issue: a national homeland.
      The English need not to abandon but to “extend their patriotism” to their racial neighbours, which is all I propose to say at present. And certainly love is not all we need.

      • IstvanIN

        He has to parse his words carefully, remember the UK does not have free-speech and he could be charged with “inciting racial hatred” if he isn’t careful. People have gone to jail for saying a lot less than poor Emma West did.

        • David Ashton

          “We want to see hate crime reporting increase, and we have made this a priority….Many police and crime commissioners and chief constables feel the same way…We [have supported] the development of third-party reporting centres…as well as an on-line hate crime reporting website….including disability and transgender reference groups…seek enhanced sentencing…of any type of hate crime, including that which is racially or religiously motivated….&c” – Letter from the West Midlands Chief Constable and Crime Commissioner, “The Independent”, January 16, 2014, p.34.

          However, prosecutions of ethnic or religious “minority” haters can be avoided if the CPS decides that these are not in the “public” interest, or would aggravate “community” tension.

  • BonV.Vant

    The British people have witnessed the ruling elites of their country opening the borders and letting other nationalities in to swamp the locals,. This is a very demoralizing thing. The first reaction of the population has been shock and paralysis. The ruling elites have wrongly thought that that meant they won. It is a fatal mistake. The shock and paralysis will wear off. The people will recover from their disbelief and confusion, and it will be replaced by a laser like focus on those who did this to them, and those who are flooding their country.

    • Romulus

      I will agree with your analysis only to a point.
      To effect a complete reversal of the horrific damage to Europe over the last 114 yrs, they are lacking one indispensable freedom that Americans still have and that I actively pursue we keep.

      • BonV.Vant

        Arms were illegal in the eastern block countries but when the people got fed up and revolutions came, they started making their own guns and smuggling them in too.

        • Romulus

          It is my hope that they have retained those skills and degenerate into the same p*ssified, emasculated, sissy nanny state that so much of America and Europe has.

  • slash345

    i hope the brits come to their senses and deport all the non-brits out of their country

    europe is leagues ahead of the US on issues like this.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    In a thought-provoking speech, Murray argued that the people of England are ‘giving up our culture’ and ‘giving up our identity’ due to high levels of immigration.

    How are the English supposed to fight it when they don’t have a First Amendment and speaking out against unfettered Third World immigration can get one arrested and thrown in jail?

    May 2013:

    “Four men in England have been either arrested or warned after making anti-Muslim comments on Facebook and Twitter in response to the killing of a British soldier.”

    “British police are arresting people in the middle of the night if they have made anti-Muslim comments on Twitter following the murder of a soldier by two Muslims in Woolwich, London…Three men have so far been taken into custody for using Twitter and Facebook to criticize Muslims.”

    Jan 2013:

    “Kevin Carroll, co-chairman of the patriotic British organization The English Defence League (EDL) was arrested by British police for a ‘hate speech’ crime, as reported by the Independent.”

  • Long Live Dixie

    It shows you that the elephant in the room is still the fear of racism. So they point to the Poles instead, even though everybody full well knows that Asian and African immigration is what undermines GB.

    So does Polish immigration. There are somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 Poles on that sinking island and well over a million eastern Europeans in total. Polish is the second most commonly spoken language in the UK. Note that there are native languages such as Welsh and Scottish Gaelic that are less commonly spoken than Polish. Combined, eastern Europeans in the UK are about half as numerous as the entire population of Wales.

    The internationalists support Polish and other eastern European immigration to the UK and they support Third World immigration to the UK because both dispossess the native people and dismantle their identity. Both are acts of genocide against the native people of the British Isles.
    There is nothing anti-“racist” about opposing the Poles and other eastern Europeans. Quite the contrary – no good racialist would welcome his people being replaced or pushed aside or his land being colonised by a foreign group just on account of that foreign group being white.

  • wildfirexx

    With the outcry against immigration due to the EU influx of migrants from eastern Europe will allow the government to seriously reduce immigration from the third world without feeling white guilt, …and being accused of racism. Hmmm…there may be a silver lining in this action.

  • Harry Schneider

    Third world immigration brings third world quality of life.