Monday, 12 October 2009

Raising the temperature on immigration

Here's the last sentence of a Mail on Sunday article by Christopher Caldwell:

Discussing immigration and its consequences openly is not rude. It is necessary to lower the temperature of the debate.

And here's the headline to the very same article:

Immigration made America strong - but it threatens to ruin Europe.

Yeh, that's good. Really 'lowering the temperature' there.

And here's another reasonable, calming contribution to the immigration debate:

Europe opened the door to mass immigration in the Fifties and discovered - as the United States did before it - that it is impossible to open that door just a fraction. Immigration, though intended as a solution to a short-term labour crisis, has become, without anyone particularly wanting it to be, a permanent feature of the landscape.

Read that again:

Immigration...has become, without anyone particularly wanting it to be, a permanent feature of the landscape.

Who exactly has he asked to make the statement that no-one particularly wants immigration to be a permanent feature of European life?

It must be everyone in Europe for him to be able to make such an extraordinary claim.

He is dishonest in other ways too. When talking about the Pew report about the number of Muslims in the world, he writes:

According to the report, there are now 1.6billion Muslims, a quarter of the world's population.

And they are distributed in surprising ways - there are more Muslims in Germany than in Lebanon, for example. Recent projections by the British Government show the population rising to 71 million within 20 years, due mainly to migration.

It's a clever trick - he goes from Muslims to overall immigration within the same paragraph, as if trying to make the case that if the British population does hit 71 million, it's all down to Muslims. And that's who you need to fear.

Caldwell, who works for the right-wing Weekly Standard in America, has written that Muslims are:

conquering Europe's cities, street by street

and noted:

Of course minorities can shape countries. They can conquer countries. There were probably fewer Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917 than there are Islamists in Europe today.

So you can see he's exactly the sort of person who can 'lower the temperature' of an immigration debate.

He wheels out that old canard of 'you can't talk about immigration any more' in the middle of a lenghty article in the Sunday paper with the second biggest circulation in Britain. And then claims:

But if you can't talk openly, people will lack information. People who lack information fear the worst. People who fear the worst act irresponsibly.

And, for once, he's right. Just not in the way he thinks.

For someone to complain in the Mail newspapers about people 'lacking information' and thus 'fearing the worst' on immigration issues is just too bizarre for words.

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