Neather, in brief

About the whole Andrew Neather thing…

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”. As a result, the public argument for immigration concentrated instead on the economic benefits and need for more migrants.

Critics said the revelations showed a “conspiracy” within Government to impose mass immigration for “cynical” political reasons. Mr Neather was a speech writer who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, in the early 2000s.

Writing in the Evening Standard, he revealed the “major shift” in immigration policy came after the publication of a policy paper from the Performance and Innovation Unit, a Downing Street think tank based in the Cabinet Office, in 2001. He wrote a major speech for Barbara Roche, the then immigration minister, in 2000, which was largely based on drafts of the report. He said the final published version of the report promoted the labour market case for immigration but unpublished versions contained additional reasons, he said.

He wrote: “Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural. “I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”

The “deliberate policy”, from late 2000 until “at least February last year”, when the new points based system was introduced, was to open up the UK to mass migration, he said. Some 2.3 million migrants have been added to the population since then, according to Whitehall estimates quietly slipped out last month.

On Question Time on Thursday, Mr Straw was repeatedly quizzed about whether Labour’s immigration policies had left the door open for the BNP. In his column, Mr Neather said that as well as bringing in hundreds of thousands more migrants to plug labour market gaps, there was also a “driving political purpose” behind immigration policy. He defended the policy, saying mass immigration has “enriched” Britain, and made London a more attractive and cosmopolitan place.
But he acknowledged that “nervous” ministers made no mention of the policy at the time for fear of alienating Labour voters.

“Part by accident, part by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom. “But ministers wouldn’t talk about it. In part they probably realised the conservatism of their core voters: while ministers might have been passionately in favour of a more diverse society, it wasn’t necessarily a debate they wanted to have in working men’s clubs in Sheffield or Sunderland.”

The chairmen of the cross-party Group for Balanced Migration, MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, said: “We welcome this statement by an ex-adviser, which the whole country knows to be true. “It is the first beam of truth that has officially been shone on the immigration issue in Britain.”

The UK would have been a multicultural place with or without the policies of New Labour over the last 12 years. Despite the rebuttals and the counter claims and the stinging accusations, Britain was always going to be a multicultural place, and the better for it. Demographics are destiny.

That is all.*

*Well not all, I’m working on a post, no blogger got anywhere with “that is all,” but you know what I mean.


Selected Reading 03/11/09

You might guess by now that I’m not happy. Actually, fucking incandescent is closer to the truth.

  • More Nutt from Liberal Conspiracy, and a quite extensive discussion in the comments.
  • Jon Snow and his ties ask us to reconsider how we deal with drugs.
  • Some dreadful news from Uganda.
  • A fun graph from Mr Eugenides. I’m not sure he has a point other than we’re all fucked. I can see very little correlation from a policy perspective, but it sure is scary. Maybe the message is “keep your financial services sector small and stunted.”
  • Tim Worstall manages to fuck up twice in one post which is mostly quote. He claims India is a neoliberal success story (more liberal doesn’t equal neoliberal) and he calls me Jack Straw’s son. Oh dear Tim.
  • Giles Wilkes’ new paper Slash and Grow is here. I recommend it, its easy to digest but thorough enough that it should give Dave and George pause for serious thought. But if you don’t want to read the whole thing here’s a summary on his blog.
  • Of course, I can only really end with this From Phil BC – a South Korean has defected to the North. Guess he dismissed this awful rightist propaganda from the BBC… (H/T Charles Crawford)

Another great graph, better than Mr Eugenides’, courtesy of Mr Krugman.

World industrial production in the Great Depression and now:

two crises