Derek Turner, American Renaissance, June 2005
Steve Moxon, The Great Immigration Scandal, Imprint Academic, 2004, 247 pp.
Since 1997, when New Labour ushered in a new era of immigration irresponsibility, race relations in Britain have become so bad even some on the Left have noticed that mass immigration has brought serious and possibly intractable problems. Labour’s careless attitude towards race relations has had many unfortunate consequences: The government abolished the Conservatives’ “primary purpose rule,” which prevented marriage for the sake of gaining British citizenship. It encouraged immigration by extolling its supposed cultural and economic benefits, and lavished work permits, student visas and family reunification permission on hundreds of thousands of applicants. It extended all kinds of “human rights” to illegal immigrants and “asylum seekers.” It presided over various enquiries and reports (such as the Parekh Report, which recommended, inter alia, abolishing official use of the term Britain because of its “racist connotations”). It appointed David Blunkett as Home Secretary — a man who once said he could “not see any obvious upper limit to the number of immigrants,” and who spent much of his time in office expediting visa applications for his mistress’s Filipina nannies. All of this was, of course, accompanied by a constant, shrill, chorus about “racism,” and this combination of posturing and foolishness has lead to a massive increase in immigration to Britain.
Immigration statistics are notoriously difficult to find or verify, but net legal immigration increased from 35,000 in 1993 to 183,000 in 2000. When all categories — asylum seekers, family members, work permit recipients — are taken into account, an estimated 543,000 foreigners came legally to live in Britain between 1999 and 2003. On top of this, there is an unquantifiable but substantial stream of illegal immigrants. Very few are ever deported even if they are caught, because each deportation costs the taxpayer some £38,000 in various expenses, and no politician dares to appear “racist.” Government projections say Britain’s population is likely to grow to 64.8 million by 2031 from 59.2 million today. According to the independent think tank Migration Watch, five-sixths of this increase will be due to immigration.
When to all these startling statistics is added the socio-political fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks and Tony Blair’s support for the war in Iraq, it is small wonder that the period since 2001 has seen major race riots across England, and unprecedented local success for the British National Party, the only party that has had the courage to talk about immigration seriously. Small wonder, too, that after decades of silence on the subject, four well-written books on immigration into Britain appeared in rapid succession.
First, in 2002, came Anthony Browne’s Do We Need Mass Immigration? (Civitas, London), in which the half-Indian Europe Editor of the Times analysed the economic arguments for mass immigration, and found them seriously wanting. He proposed a set of remedies that borrowed equally from Left and Right — but neither his evenhandedness nor his ethnicity prevented David Blunkett from accusing him of “bordering on fascism.” His book was closely followed by Myles Harris’s Tomorrow Is Another Country (also Civitas, 2002). This was a serious critique of the asylum “system,” and Dr. Harris was audacious enough to touch on the relative genetic relatedness of European peoples.
Ashley Mote’s Overcrowded Britain (Tanner Publishing, 2003) heavily influenced the United Kingdom Independence Party’s policy on immigration, and helped catapult it from three to 12 members in the European parliament. (Mr. Mote was one of the 12, but has since become an independent.) That Civitas, an offshoot of the respected Institute for Economic Affairs, published two of these books lent a degree of respectability to long-dormant arguments for restricting immigration. It has suddenly become much harder to be an immigration ignoramus.
Now comes the most personal of these books, Steve Moxon’s story of how he blew the whistle on Home Office immigration procedures (or lack thereof), and was first suspended and eventually sacked for “embarrassing ministers.” Mr. Moxon worked for six months during 2004 in the Managed Migration section of the Home Office’s Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) at Sheffield, where his job was to process work permit applications. He soon realised that migration was not being “managed” at all, and that the name was, as he puts it, “unintentionally comic.” In every area — work permits, student visas, dependent relatives and marriages — senior immigration staff, up to ministerial level, were complicit in flouting immigration law and procedures, and approved tens of thousands of applications on the lamest of pretexts and with minimal investigation.
The applicants he dealt with were mostly from European countries either about to join the European Union or scheduled to join in several years. This was politically sensitive because there had been considerable public worry that many people would immigrate from these countries as soon as they joined the EU. The government had promised there would be no mass influx, and so — Moxon believes — may have pressured the IND to approve applications from these countries before their accession on May 1, 2004, so the numbers after that date could be made to look small.
Whether there was pressure or not, IND staff in Mr. Moxon’s department were “literally rubber stamping” the applications. Managed Migration told underlings there was no need to look too closely at applications; since the vast majority of applicants were being approved, it meant there was “low risk” across all categories of applicant. As a senior caseworker explained to Mr. Moxon, “Look, we all know it’s pants [all rubbish]; so don’t ask me about it because I’ll just get annoyed.” Mr. Moxon describes the entire Immigration Service as a “super-thin porous membrane.”
Mr. Moxon was worried by what he was seeing, and began to ask questions. His superiors brushed him aside, so he tried to reach Beverley Hughes, then immigration minister. She ignored him. He then spoke to the Sunday Times, and a story duly appeared on March 7, 2004, under the headline “Lid Blown on Migrant Cover-up.” The following day, he was suspended with full pay.
The Home Office denied Mr. Moxon’s claims, but the next day Beverley Hughes admitted there had been problems, and that there would be an enquiry — although she denied knowing about the problems. On March 14, the Sunday Times published more of Mr. Moxon’s revelations about abuses in student and marriage applications, and this time the Home Office did not deny the charges. Other IND workers began to leak memos and instructions that supported Mr. Moxon. The government’s official enquiry exonerated Hughes, but it was widely regarded as untrustworthy.
Simultaneously, it emerged that the government had been ignoring recommendations of its own consular officials in the applicants’ own countries. James Cameron, manager of the visa section at the British Embassy in Bucharest, had long been recommending that many Romanian applications be rejected. He was overruled every time without explanation. Mr. Cameron contacted the Conservative Party about many such applications, including what became the notorious case of a one-legged Romanian who applied for a permit to work as a roofer in Britain. He reported that Mr. Moxon’s revelations were “just the tip of the iceberg.” Mr. Cameron was also suspended, and the government charged him with “gross misconduct” because of his revelations. In June 2004, he was removed from his post, given a “final warning” and had his pay and promotion frozen.
Miss Hughes denied all knowledge of Mr. Cameron’s warnings, only to be reminded by Labour’s deputy chief whip that he had called her attention to these warnings himself. Miss Hughes was forced to resign on April 1st (an appropriate date) — a sacrificial lamb for then-Home Secretary David Blunkett who was, we now know, scamming visa applications to please his mistress.
The government panicked, halting all applications from Romania and Bulgaria. On April 6 and 27, Prime Minister Tony Blair gave major speeches on immigration, promising to bring the situation under control. (In September, he even wrote an article for the Times admitting that concerns about immigration were “neither extremist nor racist.”) The police made much-publicized raids on a few illegal-immigrant-run massage parlors. The government began to trumpet the decline in asylum applications, and used immigration as a pretext to push its scheme for national ID cards.
At the same time, as a leaked Home Office paper on “Marketing and Media Strategy” made plain in late May, the supposedly impartial civil servants at the Home Office were to feed human interest stories about immigrants and pro-immigration arguments to broadcasters at the (also supposedly impartial) BBC. The government tried to make the case for more immigration, but its arguments were undercut by a National Audit Office report in June that said nine out of ten Romanian and Bulgarian applicants should have been refused. On July 26, in the midst of all this, Mr. Moxon was sacked under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, for “gross misconduct,” although the unofficial, internal justification was the charge of “embarrassing ministers.” The Sunday Times and Daily Mail immediately called for his reinstatement.
Conservatives tried to exploit the scandal. Party leader Michael Howard and David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, met Mr. Moxon, and tried to take the credit when Miss Hughes resigned. However, Mr. Davis backpeddled after the Independent called Mr. Moxon’s book “a crude and inflammatory tract,” and the party’s new policy on immigration, announced in late January, is characteristically underwhelming: Conservatives promise to set an (unspecified) upper limit on legal immigration and a quota for asylum seekers, improve port security (while cutting the Immigration Service budget), and to tighten up on sham marriages. All this is softened, if not quite negated, by multicultural pieties and assiduous courting of minority groups.
The story Mr. Moxon tells is rewarding to read, and he has combined his anecdotes and ruminations on diverse subjects with very well-researched material, especially on why the economic arguments for immigration do not stand up. There are also well-informed discussions on such matters as Islam (for which the book was dubbed “an Islamophobic rant”) and racial nomenclature.
Most ambitiously, however, he includes an interesting analysis of why mass immigration can bring on “crowding stress.” It is well known that in times of overcrowding and food shortages, pregnant rabbits, for example will re-absorb unborn litters rather than bear them into hardship, and that laboratory animals respond to crowded conditions with infanticide, cannibalism, “unusual and unproductive sexual behaviour,” reduced reproduction, and abandonment of unweaned young. Mr. Moxon says human beings living in densely populated societies may have similar reactions, and that his may be especially likely in diverse societies: “Logically, in a pre-modern, unsafe world (the one to which we are genetically adapted), if we encounter many people who are non-kin and unfamiliar strangers, then there would be more risks in trying to raise children than in the social environment we are born to expect, that of a sub-tribal group.”
Despite this sort of boldness, Mr. Moxon is an unlikely hero for those who wish to preserve Britain’s national identity. No “rightwinger,” his only experience of politics has been as a Liberal Democrat candidate in local elections, and he had no interest in immigration until his period of enforced idleness between suspension and final dismissal from the Home Office — meaning, ironically, that the government effectively subsidised his research for this book. On his web site, one can detect the shocked feelings of the honest liberal who suddenly realises he is up against a monster: “Anyone writing about this subject [immigration] is open to unlimited abuse. The media, the BBC especially, actively suppress debate. How can politics be conducted in the absence of any standard whatsoever regarding representation of opinion?” He is clearly bitter about how he has been treated, and is preparing a case against the Home Office for firing him.
The liberal Mr. Moxon has accomplished far more than many more traditional immigration reformers. He has managed to get the subject into the public domain, and had a pivotal role in the sacking of a waste-of-space minister — and purely out of a sense of duty. He is acutely conscious of his family’s non-conformist religious traditions: “My Quaker ancestors were imprisoned for their beliefs in 1650, so battling the establishment must run deep within me. John Mokeson [a 17th century ancestor] and his kin fought against what they saw as the false God of empty worship championed by the state, while today I fight against the false God of universal Equality.”
The Great Immigration Scandal is not flawless. It is occasionally repetitive, and although it has a list of Further Reading (including New Century Foundation’s study, The Color of Crime), the references leave something to be desired. Some of the slang terms may also be lost on an American audience. But these are minor quibbles, almost not worth mentioning except that a reviewer is obliged to nitpick. If the demographic, cultural and political death of a thousand cuts that Britain is suffering is yet forestalled, much credit should go to Steve Moxon. Partly because of his principle and courage, no one — however much he might like to — can now ignore the ethnic elephant in the drawing room.
Whether Labour’s laxness on race was motivated by the desire to get more voters (85 percent of Britain’s immigrants and descendants of immigrants vote Labour), or a belief that it simply wasn’t important, or out of millenarian sentimentality, the situation has spiraled out of control and may rebound badly on them at the polls. In a review of Mr. Moxon’s book, the Sunday Times of Oct. 17, 2004 quotes a Labour MP: “Many of our supporters hold social views well to the right of the Conservative Party and offer opinions on asylum that the British National Party tries to reflect. A basic shift of allegiance could be under way, with Labour’s immigration policy the catalyst.” Those of us who wish to preserve something of the greatness and uniqueness of Britain can only hope that he is right.