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The Week That Everything Changed In Britain
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December 07, 2002, 04:00 AM
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[VDARE.COM note:  Anthony Browne, the Environment Editor of the London Times, wrote  us in August about the stir caused by his August 4 article, "Britain Is Losing Britain." Last week, he tells us, things got a lot more stirred, and Browne himself received the penultimate British accolade, a denunciation in Parliament. The next step: arise Sir Anthony!  Which will be richly deserved - he may have sparked the debate that can save his country.]

I always knew it was inevitable, I just didn`t expect it from the third most powerful politician in the land.

The first law of immigration reform in all western countries is that anyone who dares say that not all forms of immigration at all levels are beneficial to everyone in every possible way, will at some point be denounced as a racist and a fascist. It was on a BBC national radio show that I was told I was `just a clever racist`, which I guess was at least half a compliment.

A presenter on another show said I must be racist because I had dared mention in passing in a think tank book out last week [Do We Need Mass Immigration? published by the Civitas Foundation] that immigration is causing record levels of TB and HIV in Britain. He didn`t contest the point, but said that since people with TB are mainly coming from Asia (where skins are generally brown) and HIV is mainly coming from Africa (where skins are generally black), I must be a racist to raise the issue.

But it was David Blunkett (the Home Secretary i.e. Britain`s interior minister) who denounced me by name in Parliament as "bordering on fascism", for a series of articles I had written in the Times newspaper trying to get a more honest and rational approach to immigration. Since Mr. Blunkett chose to denounce me in Parliament, he had a thing called Parliamentary privilege, which meant he was automatically legally protected from any claims of defamation.

I can only guess it was an attempt to silence me and make my views beyond the pale - but it had precisely the opposite affect. Three national newspapers (including a left wing one) came to my defense, denouncing Mr. Blunkett for being cowardly, and writing editorials in support of me and against the government`s "McCarthyism."  One pointed out that I couldn`t be a fascist because I am in many ways quite liberal.

Countless television and radio shows demanded interviews so I could explain "why I am not a fascist", a unique interview experience. I defended myself in the Times (December 04 ) [access free with registration], pointing out that since unskilled workers, ethnic minorities, global development and the environment are all losers from large scale immigration, immigration reform is a cause of the left as well as the right. One politician I was debating whether or not I was a fascist with on TV greeted me as "the famous Anthony Browne".

By denouncing me as a fascist, the Home Secretary had turned me into a one day cause celebre. I even got fan mail from black Britons saying immigration was disastrous for them and urging me to keep up the pressure on the government.

All of which gave me hope for immigration reform in Britain. It was the week that everything changed, and Britain woke up.

People realized that it was not necessarily fascist to want less immigration not more. TV and radio have been given the freedom to discuss the previously taboo issue, and in the name of balance any immigration debate now has to include one of the growing band of immigration reformers, rather than just the usual immigration lobby groups declaring all immigration is wonderful for everyone. Top national TV talk shows are covering this previously unmentionable issue. Local BBC radio stations, normally so timid about controversy, are phoning me up for extended interviews about the merits and demerits of mass immigration, without feeling compelled to have someone on to oppose me or denounce me. The debate has been legitimized.

More and more newspaper commentators are now questioning the received wisdom that Britain has to have mass immigration in order to survive as a nation. John Humphrys, Britain`s most respected TV and radio journalist (sort of a British version of Walter Cronkite) wrote a column a year ago that we should have open borders and let everyone in; last week he wrote "It is not racist to be worried about immigration. It is irresponsible not to be." This is just truly remarkable.

The turning tide was recognized by the left wing Observer newspaper, which last week (December 1) ran a very balanced feature on the "onward march of the lobby against immigration", without denouncing anyone as racist or fascist.

It is not just myself and a new pressure group called MigrationWatch UK (founded by Britain`s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia) that have helped make immigration debatable, but immigration itself has. There have been a series of immigration stories that are so extreme that it is difficult not to report it in any way other than with concern.

Open warfare broke out on the streets of North London between rival Kurdish and Turkish organized criminal gangs, killing one and injuring dozens. The police gave an official warning that they would no longer be able to control the ethnic conflict between rival organized criminal gangs of Kurds, Turks, Albanians, Kosovans, Pakistanis and Jamaicans as they rival for supremacy across British cities.

Immigration has overtaken gay sex as the main cause of HIV in Britain, because we have large amounts of immigration from areas devastated by HIV without any health checks at all. The government`s response is not to try and control immigration or impose health checks, but to blame British people and warn them to start wearing condoms again.

A report last week showed TB in London is now at higher levels than China, Brazil and Tajikistan, as Third World immigration brings Third World diseases with it. Even the government didn`t attempt to blame British citizens for that.

Britain already gets the highest number of asylum seekers of any country in the world - despite the fact we are at the remote end of a peaceful continent, and they all had to come through many safe countries to get here. But new figures showed the number of claimants still rose by a quarter over the last year to over 100,000.

The government, unlike European counterparts, has totally failed to control this at every attempt, and last week gave up pretending the asylum seekers weren`t economic migrants and could be kept out, and just gave British work permits to 1200 of them sitting in a refugee camp in France. The capitulation of any pretence of border control was so extreme that even opposition politicians felt free to denounce it.

Britain has many advantages over the US in this debate. We have no national credo that Britain was built up by immigration. We are already one of the most densely populated islands in the world, with most British people thinking it is overcrowded. Most immigration is focused on London, the centre for the media and government, so all journalists and politicians see its effects first hand every day. And although the government broadcaster, the BBC, feels compelled to brainwash the people about the delights of multiculturalism at every opportunity, the national newspaper media is both incredibly powerful and overwhelmingly right wing (there are few left wing papers, and they are the worst selling).

Now that the debate has opened up in Britain, we just need to make sure it moves in the right direction. All three main political parties still insist that Britain needs mass immigration to survive.

In many ways, the battle has just begun. But it has definitely begun.

[Anthony Browne is the Environment Editor of the London Times. Contribute to the debate via comment@thetimes.co.uk ]

December 07, 2002