Why we on the British left made an epic mistake on immigration
In many places immigration is working as the textbooks say it should with a degree of harmony, with minorities upwardly mobile and creating interesting new hybrid identities in mixed suburbs.
But it has also resulted in too many areas in which ethnic minorities lead almost segregated lives — notably in the northern ‘mill towns’ and other declining industrial regions, which in the Sixties and Seventies attracted one of the most clannish minorities of modern times, rural Kashmiri Pakistanis.
In Leicester and Bradford, almost half of the ethnic population live in what are technically ghettos (defined as areas where minorities form more than two-thirds of the population). Meanwhile, parts of white working-class Britain have been left feeling neither valued nor useful, believing that they have been displaced by newcomers not only in the job market but also in the national story itself.
Those in the race lobby have been slow to recognise that strong collective identities are legitimate for majorities as well as minorities, for white as well as for black people.
For a democratic state to have any meaning, it must ‘belong’ to existing citizens. They must have special rights over non-citizens. Immigration must be managed with their interests in mind. But it has not been.