Britain s betrayed tribe: the white working class The Government is beginning to worry about the white working class. Telegraph View Last Updated: 10:01AM GMTMessage 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2009View Source
Britain's betrayed tribe: the white working class
The Government is beginning to worry about the white working class.
Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, said yesterday that lower-income white people felt that their "acute fears" about immigration were being ignored. Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, now talks openly about the need to find jobs for the "indigenous population". A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for the Conservatives, let alone Labour, to say these things. Why have ministers started acknowledging the fears of people whom, until recently, they regarded as potential racists in need of multicultural re-education?
The obvious answer is that Labour is frightened of losing tribal voters whom it could afford to take for granted in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Ms Blears was reacting to a government report that identifies "a real and perceived sense of unfairness" felt on estates around the country. Many of those estates are in constituencies, ranging from Bristol to the Pennines, where the Labour vote is on the point of collapse.
It would be cynical, however, to assume that the Government is motivated only by electoral considerations. The more outspoken ministers, such as Ms Blears and Mr Woolas, know perfectly well that "health tourism" is stretching resources in NHS hospitals and encouraging anti-immigrant sentiment; they recognise that immigration must be limited (though they are not sure how); and they admit that the automatic translation of all official documents into myriad foreign languages "ghettoises people", as Mr Woolas bluntly puts it.
Yet, even now, they refuse to take full responsibility for this state of affairs. For years, David Blunkett was supposed to be the unofficial voice of the white working class in the Labour Party; but it was Mr Blunkett who, as home secretary in 2003, declared that there was "no obvious limit" to the number of immigrants to our "crowded, vigorous island".
The effects of the open-door policy of those years are still being felt. Since Mr Blunkett's statement, more than half a million East European workers have arrived in this country, and statistics from the Labour Force Survey show clearly that they have displaced British-born workers at the bottom of the pay scale. The number of illegal immigrants, meanwhile, is impossible to assess accurately; but what no one disputes is that many of them bring families who have to be housed, directly or indirectly, by the state.
And yet still Ms Blears feels the need to dismiss stories of immigrants receiving preferential housing treatment as "myths", while the government report implies that the white working class do not understand the concept of "integration". In other words, Labour wants to acknowledge even exploit the justified anxieties of white British voters while still hinting that these "perceptions" are rooted in working-class ignorance. We suspect that this confused message will not play well at election time.
But that is Labour's problem, not Britain's. The real priority is that the disastrous policies that have punished both British-born and immigrant residents of poor housing estates should be reversed. Fear of violent crime is directly related to the swamping of police forces by politically correct experiments in social engineering. According to the latest report, white residents of estates rarely meet black and Asian people. Why? Because the Government and local authorities are, even now, allowing minorities to settle into ethnic and religious ghettos.
The white working class did not choose to become alienated: it has been pushed to the margins by the politicians for whom it has voted for generations. The consequences of that betrayal affect us all. Labour's multiculturalism was divisive and wasteful at the best of times; its legacy in a period of economic crisis poses a dangerous threat to social cohesion.