hms iron duke

hms iron duke

Monday, 18 November 2013

Sheffield Disunited

Alphen, Netherlands. 16 November.  Historians will look back on this past decade as perhaps the most irresponsible in British politics since the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s.  Former Home Secretary Jack Straw now talks of a "spectacular mistake" for which he takes partial responsibility.  The decision the Blair/Brown Government took back in 2004 to allow uncontrolled immigration from Eastern Europe has only been compounded by the obsession with the ghettoising multiculturalism which has all but ended Britain's once famed social cohesion.  As ever Britain's out-of-touch political elite do not have to live with the consequences of their irresponsibility as tensions are played out daily in Britain's tinderbox inner cities.  Nowhere is this dangerous situation more apparent than in parts of my own home town Sheffield. 
In the Page Hall district real tensions are developing between groups of recently-arrived Roma and local residents.  The Roma are said to be trying to impose their culture through intimidation on the local population. Even Euro-fanatic Nick Clegg has called for the Roma to make more effort to integrate, but then again he has a Sheffield constituency to defend.   
It is of course vital not to simply blanket all immigration as bad - which is the mantra of the Right.  One only has to see the legions of bright, young people from Eastern Europe and beyond who bring so much energy and dynamism to London.  However, the way EU immigration is meant to work is that so-called free movement is part of the single European labour market.  All well and good.  Many fellow Europeans do indeed come to Britain to work and do indeed add real value. 

However, what the British Government masks from its people is that in addition to the talented and hard-working there are large numbers of uneducated and unemployable people arriving in Britain.   The tension starts when having arrived lawyers representing these communities ensure that human rights legislation prevents their removal and gives them full access to a Welfare State that was never designed for such an influx of poor immigrants.
Sadly, such is the loss of faith in the British state of ordinary Britons that fellow Sheffielders of all ethnic backgrounds are now forming vigilante groups to "protect themselves".  And yet London does nothing about it other than to suppress information that points to the social disaster that is unfolding as a result of Westminster's political irresponsibility.  Indeed, I am aware of at least two Home Office (Interior Ministry) reports that cite the damage done to British (mainly English) society by uncontrolled immigration from Eastern Europe and which if government has its way will never enter the public domain.  One report points to the particular damage that has been caused to social cohesion and other to the impact of Eastern European organised crime gangs on British society.   

The people of Sheffield and many other cities have been subjected to a failed political and social experiment.  My once proud city shows all too clearly what happens when a poor, foreign, traumatised community with markedly different values is suddenly and wilfully injected into the heart of a community already struggling with poverty and other tensions.  In the past decade Sheffield's foreign-born population has gone from 10% of the city to 20%.  Sheffield and many other British cities simply cannot cope with any more.     
The government says it is addressing these so-called 'pull factors'  in the forthcoming Immigration Act.  It is as usual smoke and mirrors as London cannot and will not change the most fundamental of 'pull factors'; European legislation which London has signed up to and human rights legislation which then gold plates European law.  It is an appalling mess and all Britain's out-of-touch mainstream politicians are doing is hunkering down, hoping the coming wave of immigration is not too big and that somehow they can ride out the political storm it will inevitably create. They also pass laws that suppress dissent under the banner of equality and preventing race hate. What a price to pay.     
The Economist last week made the silly suggestion that Britain's only problem communities were poor and British.  Not only is that factually wrong the newspaper failed to point out that the despair felt by such communities is driven by the belief that they have been abandoned by the British Government.  It is not entirely true but neither is it wrong.  What people witness daily is the kind of immigration that turns a once rich country into a poor society.  It is for me depressing and utterly frustrating to watch the more so given it is my home town that is being broken by the irresponsibility of Britain's leaders.
It will take many years to overcome this disaster. Only if British politicians re-establish a proper grip on borders and immigration, abandon multiculturalism and start the long road to assimilation and integration through education will British society begin to rediscover social cohesion.  It is by no means impossible.  Indeed, I have just been listening on the radio to a leader of the Roma Gypsy community in Britain who is a fellow Sheffield United FC fan - good lad. He is a classic example of successful integration in which people can have multiple identities and still be loyal to the state and contributing members of society.

As a Sheffielder I do not care if people are black, white, yellow or whatever as long as they are part of a society that functions as a society. The British Government must do more to ensure newcomers integrate and in Sheffield the Roma really must do more to be part of my great city.  Fail and far from uniting Europe the belief will grow that all the EU is for is to transfer Eastern Europe's legion problems to Britain (and elsewhere).  
Sheffield's sorry tale also raises that most fundamental of questions - when are British politicians going to put the interests of the British people before those of everybody else?  Until politicians answer that question with real action all they are doing is creating the breeding ground for the far Left and far Right to exploit.  Indeed, the most pressing security challenge facing Britain is the social disintegration of its inner cities. 
Why does this matter?  The story of my home town is being repeated across Western Europe, although nothing like as acutely as in Sheffield.  Come 1 January a new wave of poor immigrants will arrive from Bulgaria and Romania.

As for the apology Jack - it is a bit late and a bit rich.  For me this is personal - I was born less than a mile (1km) from Page Hall.  I really am a local Sheffield lad.

Julian Lindley-French

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