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If you think the heap of abuse being piled on Arizona is unique to America’s ethnically fractured politics, you should take a look at England. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is running for reelection, encountered yesterday a 66 year old woman who asked him why so many immigrants from Eastern Europe were receiving government benefits when so many Brits experiencing difficulties were unable to receive any assistance at all. She also asked why there were so many foreigners attending British universities, making it difficult for children like her own grandchildren to attend.

I don’t know the extent to which EU residents can claim British benefits when unemployed, but certainly the woman’s first question was a reasonable one, without any racial overtones about immigrants, and the comment about foreigners at taxpayer supported universities would also seem to be within the realm of polite discourse. Brown apparently did not agree. Not knowing that his microphone was still on, he muttered about how the woman was a “bigot” as he returned to his car.

For me the problem is one of government accountability. No one in government has ever asked the British people whether they want large scale immigration any more than anyone in Washington has ever posed that question to Americans about our 8 to 22 million illegals. Every major political party in both countries reflects the elite consensus view that immigration and “diversity” are good. Opinion polls reveal, however, that the elite view is far from popular, with up to 80% of the indigenous population in both countries opposed to large numbers of immigrants. For the average Brit as for the average American there is, unfortunately, no recourse. If you vote for one of the candidates who is actually likely to win in an election his position on immigration will likely be identical to that of his opponent.

In the essentially two party system prevailing in Britain and America, even when you vote the bum out you are just as likely to get another bum. If you voted for a Democrat or a Republican (or Conservative or Labour) in 2002 you still got a war with Iraq in the following year just as everyone’s vote will be irrelevant if America’s elites decide to go to war with Iran and the British poodle goes along for the ride.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Immigration 
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  1. […] when so many Brits experiencing difficulties were unable to receive any assistance at all. – Philip Giraldi Everybody makes mistakes. I try not to be too judgmental of others, but perhaps we should go back […]

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The legal condition of an EU citizen who migrates to another EU state is roughly similar to that of a US citizen who migrates from one US state to another (with differences, of course — e.g., the migrant’s rights to vote in local elections may differ by state), and therefore the woman’s position is just as “reasonable” as that of (say) a hypothetical Oregon resident’s whining against benefits received by immigrants from Nebraska. It may just _sound_ less crazy to you because there are more linguistic and cultural differences in the EU case, and no sense of “nationhood” (if a group of EU states wanted to secede, I doubt the others would send huge armies against them resulting in 5 years of bloody civil war, for example… just like I doubt the rest of Canada would invade Quebec were _it_ to secede), but it’s really on the same plane.

    “No one in government has ever asked the British people whether they want large scale immigration”: wrong! The UK held a referendum in 1975 on whether its citizens wanted to belong to the EU or not, and the yes vote won with a huge, decisive 67% (the accession of not a few US states to _your_ union was much less crystal-clear than this, remember?-). Belonging to the EU of course entails free movement of people no less than free movement of goods and services among member states, just like belonging to the US does.

    The case of foreign students in public UK colleges is no different from that of out-of-state students in State-run US colleges: they’re welcome because they pay much more than local residents and their tuition money in fact keeps the whole system afloat! Far from making it more difficult for local students to attend, the out-of-staters’ money _subsidizes_ such attendance (otherwise, to keep the same number of places for local students, taxes and/or in-state tuition would have to surge a LOT).

    I’m saddened to see such a poorly researched article (surely all these points are germane, so why didn’t the author mention them?!), but I can’t say I’m surprised — being, since many years ago, a EU immigrant into the US, I know first-hand the bigotry and gut reactions of the nativists. The crucial fact that immigrants like me were among the founders of over 50% of California’s startups in the last few decades, and therefore directly responsible for many jobs here and for the best-performing part of the State’s economy, is inevitably lost on nativist bigots — incredibly sad, but hardly surprising, in a nation like the US that was **entirely** built upon immigration, decade after decade over centuries.

  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Every major political party in both countries reflects the elite consensus view that immigration and “diversity” are good.”

    You folks are asleep at the wheel. When HR 2499 passes, we will become your 51st state, and Puerto Ricans will keep the Democrats in power.

  4. Chris Moore says: • Website

    Labour let in migrants ‘to engineer multicultural UK’
    By Daily Mail/ 24th October 2009

    Huge increases in immigration over the past decade were a deliberate attempt to engineer a more multicultural Britain, a former Government adviser said yesterday. Andrew Neather, a speechwriter who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a plan to ‘open up the UK to mass migration’. As well as bringing in hundreds of thousands to plug labour market gaps, there was also a ‘driving political purpose’ behind immigration policy, he claimed. Ministers hoped to change the country radically and ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’. But Mr Neather said senior Labour figures were reluctant to discuss the policy, fearing it would alienate its ‘core working-class vote’.
    What’s going on in this country is essentially the same thing as in Britain: Western-hating, Marxist-indoctrinated yet shallow, money-worshipping and materialistic “elites” who see themselves as the vanguard of internationalism looking to drive down wages by flooding the country with cheap immigrant labor, looking to gain political power by assembling the various immigrant ethnic blocks into a left-statist coalition, and looking to wipe out the vestiges of “bigoted” Western Civilization as quickly as possible.

    Of course, all this is being helped along by globalizationist Corporatism.

    “Bigots” is just one of those fashionable terms employed by self-righteous, overly materialistic elitists living in gated communities to justify their nihilistic vanity and greed.

  5. […] also sides with York: Unless there is another undesirable provision that critics of the law have failed to […]

  6. Ferruccio, I am disinclined to getting into a peeing contest over a blog post but your somewhat nasty and truculent tone requires a response. I do concede that Britain voted for joining an open labor market when it passed a referendum to join the EC in the 1975 but I would also note that the country had already joined the EC, in 1972, without benefit of referendum. I lived in Britain at the time and an area of particular concern was the ability of workers from low wage and benefit countries to move to Britain to take advantage of the UK’s much more generous social benefits system.

    You are quite wrong that Europe currently has a free labor market. A number of older EU countries do not allow workers from Eastern Europe free entry. The UK has in place restrictions on workers from Bulgaria and Romania. Up to 20,000 are allowed to take low-skilled jobs in agriculture or food processing, high-skilled workers are able to apply for work permits to perform a skilled job, and students are able to work part-time. UK benefits can only be received after a year of full time employment.

    Re access to the universities, the woman cited in my blog was complaining that giving a space to a foreigner denies that same space to one of her grandchildren – the issue has nothing to do with who pays more. I studied at a British university in the 1970s and paid the same fees as a local student, but I know that the fee structure has changed dramatically since then.

    Finally, I would observe that one of the points of my blog was that a woman was called a bigot for asking a politician quite reasonable questions about policies towards immigrants.

    I am very glad to hear that you have been so successful in California but I detect a bit of a chip on your shoulder re what you describe as “bigotry and gut reactions of the nativists.” I find it difficult to imagine that you as an Italian (I presume) were very much on the receiving end of serious bias. Perhaps your hostile attitude towards “nativists” or people actually born in this country brought on a commensurate response?

  7. Barry says:

    Daniel, note section G of the bill ( That’s a red-carpet invitation to sue any police force which doesn’t take this bill as a mandate to check as many bornw-skinned people as they can. It’s otherwise a very, very odd thing for a bunch of anti-trial lawyer people to put into a bill.

    I’d also note that a number of GOP politician with strong latino community connections (Jeb Bush, one senator from Florida) are certainly acting as if this will have the effect on GOP-latino relations that prop 187 did for California GOP-latino relations.

  8. Barry says:

    Sorry, for some reason I thought that I was replying to a post by Daniel Larison; I should have known better.

  9. Randal says:


    “a nation like the US that was **entirely** built upon immigration, decade after decade over centuries”

    And given the consequences for them, I think it’s reasonable to assume that the indigenous inhabitants would, if given the chance to speak from beyond the grave, bitterly wish that they could have imposed restrictions upon the unrestricted mass immigration that led to their displacement and genocide.

  10. @ Chris Moore, you do realize that both conservatives and liberals employ the cheap, immigrant labor to which you refer in your comment. Conservatives just prefer to demonize them instead of their employers, hence their flocking to the Left. Immigration is no more an anti-West, Marxist plot (you make me laugh) than is off shore oil drilling.

  11. Matt says:

    Deliberate demographic transformation is certainly a plot, and it wasn’t thought up by conservatives, even if the globalists that make up the ‘conservative’ elite are in on it.

  12. Chris Moore says: • Website

    @ Fran Rossi,

    Yes, I know Corporatist conservatives and Statist liberals both seek to exploit immigrants for their own ambition, vanity and greed. Did you not read my post?

    And if you don’t believe there is a political goal behind mass immigration, you must not have read the blurb I posted and linked to on how Labour “Ministers hoped to change the country radically and ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’” via mass immigration, and to “plug labor market gaps” (Read: drive down the price of labor.)

    Don’t you find it ironic that a party that advertises itself as advocating on behalf of “Labour” seeks to drive DOWN the price of labor via mass immigration?

    These globalization-pimping “elites” are all hustlers, swindlers and cads.

  13. There are multiple reasons why immigration law in the US has not been enforced. That it has not is abundantly clear from the numbers. Certain states, such as Arizona, have been disproportionately affected by the manifest delinquency and abject incompetency of the Federal Government to do its job. It is hard to see how either the community of persons in the US illegally have been done any favor by the US Government or the interests that have been profiting from their presence: they constitute a serf class. It is hard to see how Arizona hasn’t the right to its cri de coeur. Both entities deserve an apology they won’t be getting for being landed by Uncle Sam in the fix they find themselves. Uncle Sam just needs a boot in the ass and a brain transplant, neither of which it will be getting. The gas bag elites should just shut the hell up on the issue and get their high with another latte.

  14. Karl says:

    Eastern Europeans receiving government benefits? I don’t know what she is talking about. If she said why are they taking all our jobs that would have been something. But East Europeans on welfare? That will be the day!

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