Douglas Murray’s ‘send illegal migrants to Islington’ column mocked

‘Right-wing weaponising immigration AGAIN’

Murray column

Douglas Murray, the political commentator who is well-known for cantankerous columns in the right-wing press, didn’t hold back in his column in the Telegraph this week.  

Send illegal migrants to Islington – see how liberal opinion likes it then,’ was his headline. The article is accompanied by an image of Jeremy Corbyn, MP of Islington North. Interestingly, a new poll out the same week as Murray’s column, found that 43 percent of Londoners think Jeremy Corbyn should run for mayor of London next year, compared to 34 percent who think he shouldn’t.

Murray’s column is focused on small boats and the so-called ‘migrant crisis.’ He starts by mocking the government for supposedly relying on the weather to bring down illegal migration numbers across the Channel. “Just when you think things cannot get any worse…” was the columnist’s opening statement, in reference to the 800 ‘illegal migrants’ who successfully made the crossing on September 1.

So, what’s Murray’s solution to a ‘crisis’ he claims that the current government lacks the courage to do anything about, that the only party likely to replace the Conservatives as the party of government ‘would actually be worse…,’ and that the US Democrats under Joe Biden have failed to control?

Send migrants to Islington.

“Let me make a suggestion that may be unpopular, but is necessary. Let the Conservative government stop trying to “hide” the unprecedented numbers of arrivals into our country.

“Stop sending them to corners of Liverpool where any local objection can be snorted at as “racist” by right-on Londoners and others. Work out the parts of the country that are most in favour of illegal migration – Islington springs to mind – and send the illegal migrants there.

“When their streets are full of the consequences they might realise the most basic fact of all: you cannot put this off till tomorrow. Because the problem is already here; the future arrived faster than expected. Rub that in the noses of the people who wanted this to happen. It would comprise some justice at least,” Murray writes.

The article was heavily mocked by readers.

“What a ludicrous article. Islington is already one of the most multicultural boroughs in the whole of London,” someone wrote in response to the column on Facebook.

“Right wing weaponising immigration AGAIN,” was another comment.

“Send illegal migrants to Islington – see how liberal opinion likes it then’, coming from a man who has probably never walked down Holloway Road in his life, clearly,’ was a separate reply.

“Islington is of course famous for having zero immigration,” was another.

Carpenter John Maguire was born and raised in North London. In response to Murray’s column, he told Left Foot Forward that he strongly disagrees with the author’s ‘perceived opinion of our reception of immigrants.’

“My parents are both natives of Southern Ireland, who arrived in North London at the age of 18 in the 1970s. They both worked hard and built a family and life here, for which my siblings and myself are grateful for. Knowing this, how could I reject other people the same opportunity that my parents were granted, the opportunity that subsequently made me a proud native of London. And like most Londoners, I relish the diverse and interesting cultures that the city has adopted and made it great.”

In 2021, the Mayor of Islington, Troy Gallagher, wrote about the multicultualism of the borough in the Islington Tribune. As well as celebrating ‘our Irish community as much as possible’…. the Mayor said he is “equally keen to celebrate the other migrant communities which have settled in Islington.”

Islington council’s ‘State of Equalities in Islington’ 2021 report confirms the cultural diversity of the borough. It explicitly states: “Islington is a proudly diverse borough where people from all faiths, nationalities and backgrounds have made their homes – our diversity is one of our most important strengths.”

Indeed, if Murray had dug a little deeper, he may have been more cautious about using the culturally diverse North London borough as nonsensical bait to stir up hostility towards migrants. 

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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