Ledbury, England. 4 November. “Britain is a shining apple…with a rotten core”, the damning verdict of a cousin of a bright, decent Sri Lankan IT student murdered last week in my home town Sheffield. In the Saharan desert almost one hundred migrants died of thirst and hunger making their desperate but illegal way from Niger to Europe. To what extent can society cope with large numbers of people from very different cultures and with very different values before that host society is profoundly damaged? And, what can be done to stop human trafficking that is doing so much damage to both immigrants and target communities?
Like most Europeans the sight of bodies floating in the Mediterranean or wasting in the Sahara Desert fills me with horror. My innate humanity wants to reach out and help. Indeed, like many Europeans I face a daily battle between my humanity and my intellect over immigration. These sad people are just a tragic few of the 80,000 or so that the EU borders agency Frontex claim are trying or have tried to enter Europe illegally this year.
In Rome last week I saw the impact of illegal immigration on Italian society – crime, misery, poverty and exploitation. 80,000 over ten years becomes 800,000 very close to the 860,000 illegal immigrants the British Government admitted last week were living in the UK, a complete collapse of border controls. The Economist also suggested this week that the foreign born population of England will be 25% by 2015. Moreover, the self-same European societies that are mired in debt and youth unemployment are struggling to cope with inner-EU migration from Europe’s poor to Europe’s formerly rich. Another wave is predicated in January as Bulgarians and Romanians have the right to move west.
One of the most pervasive false mantras of the liberal left is the idea that diversity increases societal strength. It is utter nonsense. Yes, at some level societies are enriched by a controlled level of immigration and the diversity it generates. However, the sheer scale of immigration over the past decade, the importation of intolerance and traumatised peoples from the world’s most damaged societies, allied to society destroying, ghetto-building multiculturalism has left too many British and other European cities too often microcosms of the broken places that surround Europe – including my beloved Sheffield.
For many years dissent has been crushed by suggesting any criticism was racism. Slowly reasoned voices are emerging that suggests popular concern about the impact of hyper-immigration on social cohesion must now be confronted. This argument is even backed up by several reports from the Left - the main sponsors of hyper-immigration. Sadly it may all be too little, too late.
How has this happened and what must be done? Take Sheffield. When I was a kid Sheffield’s permanently-embedded Labour politicians were part of Sheffield’s common sense, working class community. That is very much my own heritage and was informed by a pragmatic sense of politics and its application. Today too many politicians come from the theoretical university-educated left and right for whom politics is simply an extension of the unworldly politics of the campus. For them society is simply a never-ending social experiment rather than real people trying to cope with the real world.
During the Blair/Brown years such ‘experimentation’ led to a series of dangerous nonsenses such as the sending of British troops to Afghanistan to keep Islamism at “strategic distance” whilst simultaneously importing Islamism into Britain in significant numbers. Just yesterday another Islamist on a terror watch-list absconded. Today, Washington regards Britain as one of the main source of Islamist threat to the US. The EU and its ivory tower demand for uncontrolled borders has only made matters worse.
Consequently, the breakdown between what are now euphemistically called ‘traditional communities’ and politicians who do not have to live with the consequences of their social and political experiments has proved disastrous across Europe. It is a gap that is widening as the space between the European elite and the European street yawns.
Hard though it may seem there is simply no way Europe can afford to lessen controls over immigration. These brave, sad, tragic people are simply the harbinger of many millions who would seek to move to Europe from its fractured and broken periphery if the door was truly opened. Therefore the most compassionate act would be for Europe to re-exert control over such migrations.
First and foremost that means reducing the false pull factors that make people believe they will have a better life in Europe. It also means rolling back the pipelines of misery that lead to such tragedies by breaking up the criminal networks that traffic people and investing in properly secure borders. Above all it means trying to alleviate the suffering around Europe’s borders that move people to make such dangerous journeys. That means applied aid and development.
Given the scale of disorder and disaster around Europe’s borders and beyond to expose already vulnerable European societies further to the population flows of misery would to be to destroy the very societies migrants seek to enter.
For a better life? Britain like much of the rest of Europe is indeed a shining apple with a rotten core as too many decent, desperate people are discovering to their cost.
For a better life?
For a better life?