Posted on February 28, 2024

Mass Migration Has Shattered Britain’s Identity

Tim Stanley, The Telegraph, February 26, 2024

Last week, my good friend Suella Braverman – I have to say “good friend” because I’m about to contradict her – wrote in these pages that Islamists now run Britain. Lee Anderson narrowed it down to Islamists run Sadiq Khan and Keir Starmer. The media, which is going deaf in its old age, only heard the former. Thus Anderson was accused of a racist attack on the Mayor of London and lost the whip, confirming to many that Suella was right.

But I’m not so sure. An “Islamist” is someone who wants to build an Islamic state here in the UK, and for that purpose Sadiq is a very bad agent. He’s just named Overground lines after a women’s football team and an AIDS hospital. Starmer, meanwhile, is in trouble with the Left precisely because they think he’s a Zionist.

And as for the pro-ceasefire protestors, the one march I attended – purely out of curiosity – was about 50 per cent non-Muslim. The faces of idiots shouting outside Tobias Ellwood’s house were pretty white, too. I note also that the Palestinian cause is backed by the University and College Union and the RMT, neither of which favours a caliphate. Hamas might make them do some work.

Some Conservatives have it in their head that sympathy for Gaza is driven entirely by religious fanaticism, yet public support for a ceasefire stands at around 66 per cent – and many wonder why Parliament is debating the subject at all. One voter told Lord Ashcroft in a focus group, “I couldn’t find Gaza on a map.” That Britain holds the key to peace in the Middle East is a delusion found largely among MPs.

So is the belief that we’ve never had a foreign policy debate as nasty as this one, as if Iraq was uncontroversial. Or that sectarianism is un-British, as if the Troubles didn’t happen. The threats made against office holders and the rise of anti-Semitism are disturbing, of course, but pinning our national discord on Islamist sedition is silly.

Put simply, we are discussing a war that stokes emotions. I have Jewish friends who feel Israel has a moral duty to defend itself after October 7. I have a friend who was so appalled by the bombing of Gaza that he went on his first march (“I hear this makes me an Islamist,” he joked. “Should I tell my boyfriend?”)

The more complex take is that society is changing, and by calling out Islamists, the Tories are clumsily trying to put their finger on something they don’t understand – or pretend they don’t to minimise offence. In fact, I suspect that when some of them criticise “Islamism”, the word they really want to use is “Islam”.

Over in America, Liz Truss told an audience that Britain was in danger of electing a “radical Islamic party” in the Rochdale by-election, to which her interviewer helpfully explained that this is where the “grooming situation” took place.

It was a bizarre conflation of issues. Is George Galloway an Islamist? I’d call him a populist who courts Muslims; in Rochdale he’s campaigning both to liberate Palestine and to bring a Primark to the shopping centre.

He won the 2012 Bolton West by-election by attacking the hierarchical, clan-based ethnic voting tradition that always handed the seat to Labour, building astonishing support. Galloway is the Reform party of the Left, picking up the pieces of Labour’s shattered coalition.

As for grooming, this definitely has nothing to do with Islamism – or Islam – but rather criminal behaviour imported from a foreign culture (two of the convicted were from the same village in Pakistan) that went on for so long because it was shielded by the fear of being labelled a racist.

British people commit vile acts, too; no one denies it. Voters are simply concerned that we might be adding to the sum of our homegrown misery by permitting immigration without insisting upon integration – a view that the Tories are embracing far too late.

Why have they welcomed such enormous numbers of migrants upon whom they apparently look with such suspicion? There would be no need for a “hostile environment” policy if the borders had been well-policed in the first place, and it’s galling to hear Tories drawing our attention to problems they’ve overseen while pinning the blame on a Labour Party that’s been out of office for 14 years.

In that time, the immigration consensus has shifted. Previously our elite said that Britain is defined by its constitution, that so long as you have the right paperwork and obey the law, you’re a legitimate citizen.

This passive approach is now unravelling, culminating in the Government’s attempt to reassign Shamima Begum, born in Britain, as Bangladeshi, because she joined Isis – implying that citizenship can hinge on fealty to certain values.

But what values? The Tories and Labour would probably list secularism and sexual freedom among them. I, as a conservative Christian, would not, and I doubt the Muslim parents protesting against sex education in schools would do so either.

British identity has fractured. Rochdale is where working-class solidarity went to die. How telling that its three main candidates are all former Labour members: Galloway, booted out over Iraq; Azhar Ali, over Israel; Simon Danczuk over a sex scandal. No one truly speaks for Rochdale, or for Britain.

Given this chaos, the conspiracy theory that we are being run by Islamists, or by anyone, sounds like wishful thinking