Labour’s shameful links with the anti-immigration right

Anyone opposed to this shameful collusion with the hardline anti-immigration right should write to the Labour Party figures in question, or to their constituency parties, and make their feelings clear.

The right-wing pundit Douglas Murray recently wrote:

“To study the results of the latest census is to stare at one unalterable conclusion: mass immigration has altered our country completely. It has become a radically different place, and London has become a foreign country. In 23 of London’s 33 boroughs ‘white Britons’ are now in a minority…

“We long ago reached the point where the only thing white Britons can do is to remain silent about the change in their country. Ignored for a generation, they are expected to get on, silently but happily, with abolishing themselves, accepting the knocks and respecting the loss of their country. ‘Get over it. It’s nothing new. You’re terrible. You’re nothing’.

For what it is worth, it seems to me that the vindictiveness with which the concerns of white British people, and the white working and middle class in particular, have been met by politicians and pundits alike is a phenomenon in need of serious and swift attention.”

Such words, one might expect, should place their author beyond the pale of respectable political opinion, in the sole company of UKIP and the rest of the fringe anti-immigration right.

Instead, he is at the heart of a political outfit that is itself at the heart of Westminster politics. Murray is associate director of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a ‘think-tank’ that, despite being extremely right-wing and predominantly Tory in its loyalties, nevertheless enjoys a following among all three principal British parliamentary parties.

The HJS’s ‘Advisory Council‘ includes not only 28 Tory MPs, but also two Liberal Democrat and eleven Labour MPs. The Labour MPS are:

Margaret Beckett MP, former secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs
Hazel Blears MP, former secretary of state for communities and local government
Ben Bradshaw MP, former secretary of state for culture, media and sport
Chris Bryant MP, former parliamentary under secretary of state, foreign and commonwealth office
Dai Havard MP
Khalid Mahmood MP
Meg Munn MP, former parliamentary under secretary of state, foreign and commonwealth office
Jim Murphy MP, shadow secretary of state for defence
John Spellar MP, shadow minister for foreign and commonwealth office
Gisela Stuart MP
Derek Twigg MP, former parliamentary under secretary of state for the ministry of defence

Indeed, Labour’s shadow secretary for defence, Jim Murphy, in February of this year, gave a major speech on policy at an event organised by the HJS.

Murray did not write his article in a purely personal capacity; it appeared in the magazine Standpoint with an attached biography giving his HJS affiliation.

Murray’s views are scarcely uncharacteristic of the organisation’s. His boss, HJS executive director, Alan Mendoza, expressed similar views at a speech given around the same time (March 2013) at the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Mendoza attacked the EU for what he considered to be its hostility to Israel, in the following terms (as reported by the Washington Jewish Week‘s Suzanne Pollak):

“Immigration is also a reason for rising anti-Israel feelings [in Europe]. In 1998, 3.2 percent of Spain was foreign-born. In 2007, that percent had jumped to 13.4 percent, Mendoza said. In cities such as London, Paris and Copenhagen, 10 percent of residents are Muslim.”

“The European Muslim population has doubled in the past 30 years and is predicted to double again by 2040.

“For all the benefits that immigration has brought, it has been difficult for European countries to absorb immigrants into their society given their failure to integrate newcomers. Regardless of their political views, Muslims in Europe will likely speak out against Israel whenever any Middle Eastern news breaks, just as they will against India in the Kashmir dispute. Their voices are heard well above the average Europeans, who tend not to speak out Mendoza said, adding that the Muslim immigrants do this with full knowledge that they would not be allowed to speak out like that in many Middle Eastern countries.’

In other words, the HJS’s leaders claim that London has become a “foreign country” because “white Britons” are in a minority in 23 of its 33 boroughs; that “white Britons” have “lost their country” and are in the process of “abolishing themselves” because of the increase in the size of the non-white and immigrant population; that the increasing European Muslim population is to blame for Europe’s “anti-Israel feelings”; and that the voices of Muslims “are heard well above the average Europeans”.

Yet instead of the HJS being ostracised by respectable political opinion, senior members of the shadow cabinet and Labour parliamentary party are endorsing and participating in it.

Anyone opposed to this shameful collusion with the hardline anti-immigration right should write to the Labour Party figures in question, or to their constituency parties, and make their feelings clear.

Marko Attila Hoare is a former senior member of the Henry Jackson Society (Greater Europe co-director, then European neighbourhood section director, 2005-2012)

74 Responses to “Labour’s shameful links with the anti-immigration right”

  1. Wyrdtimes

    What a load of nonsense Douglas Murray talks – it’s the white ENGLISH that are becoming a minority in ENGLISH cities.

  2. Ed Torsney

    Public opinion turns against Israel mainly because they’re seen as aggressors in the region – randomly bombing and killing Palestinians and stealing land and property in Gaza, their outward hatred and persecution of Palestinians and their aggressive settlement and ethnic cleansing of the region is strikingly similar to Hitlers persecution of the Jews. That they are supported in this terrorism by Britain and USA doesn’t justify it in the eyes of any half intelligent westerner. You don’t have to be a muslim living in London or Copenhagen to know that it’s wrong.

  3. Harry Williams

    Britian schafft sich ab? Think I’ve heard that before somewhere.

  4. Ben H

    MAH has always been very liberal on questions of identity and immigration. in some ways I think it is quite laudable as it is representative of a view that promotes liberal individualism. It is nicely anti-authoritarian, but such views can get a little overwrought and excitable, it seems. I am not an enormous fan of Douglas Murray per se, and I don’t agree with the emotional tone of his comments, but there is nothing overtly racist in them. If you think about it from a psychological perspective, many different individuals feel persecuted because of their group identity, including a ethnic or religious identity, whether there is an objective truth to it or not. This is merely that. I don’t think it would be right to call, say, a Muslim a racist because they felt that Western society was against them, was intrinsically racist or Islamophobic. Despite the fact that this view has little to recommend it empirically.

    There is a subterranean point beneath this that I think it is important to make (perhaps this is code for my own nasty racism), which is that it is clearly an empirical phenomenon that many British people feel that immigration policy has not been run in the interests of people who currently live in the British Isles, but instead in the interests of those seeking to come here. Maybe this is true, maybe it is not. But if people like MAH keep throwing accusations of racism at anyone who raises this concern, whether in an emotional manner that feels persecuted (and who has not felt persecuted at some point, whether justifiably or otherwise?) or not, then, paradoxically, it makes Douglas Murray more of an accurate tribute of the downtrodden masses than he otherwise would be because, well, they *are* being smeared, attacked and denigrated by a member of the liberal metropolitan class… (And one could certainly make a good case for parts of the liberal left having deeply snobbish anti-working class instincts imho, particularly on the question of immigration. So you see, anyone can make a nasty case about another person’s motives for saying something – that’s psychology.) Something for those of us on the moderate left who can see where both MAH and Murray are coming from to think about, I suggest.

  5. Visionary Outlier

    There is something almost entertainingly, but not admirably, retro, and 20th century, about the use of “right-wing” not so much as an analytical category, but as a term of abuse or disapproval. This piece demonstrates this, sadly, along with the hackneyed old conflation that anyone with concerns about immigration is necessarily racist, and the use of the nonce-word “islamophobia”, the use of which principally serves to suggest that, at best, something is awry in the judgement of the person using it, or, more commonly, they are unknowingly serving as the useful idiots of the mullahs and the Saudis.

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