Is Britain considering limiting immigration?

Political correctness is enforced in Britain to a degree we can scarcely imagine in the U.S., unless perhaps you are at a university.  Opposing immigration or talking about Islam as a problem are seen as signs of fascism, ignorance and general evil. So it is with some surprise that I read this guest column in the UK Times headlined Migration threatens the DNA of our nation. Furthermore, it’s by a former Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Church of England), George Carey. The Church of England’s top officials are part of the politically-correct elite. The article begins:

Too often in recent years the call for a rational debate on mass migration has degenerated into name-calling and charges of racism. Even the campaign for Balanced Migration, which I have supported, representing cross-party politicians, has barely been heeded by party leaders who have run scared of the issue.

This is why we have launched a declaration calling on the leading political parties to make manifesto commitments to prevent the UK population reaching 70 million, which is projected in official figures by 2029.

The fact is that a rise in the UK population by ten million in two decades will put our nation’s resources under considerable strain, stretching almost to breaking point the enormous reserves of tolerance and generosity of the British people.

The declaration by no means spells out a halt to immigration. In fact we welcome the contribution of both economic migrants and asylum seekers to our lively cosmopolitan culture. But we urge a return to the levels of the early 1990s, about 40,000, compared with 163,000 in 2008. Failure to take that action could be seriously damaging to the future harmony of our society.

It looks like the concern is prompted by the success of the British National Party in recent elections. The BNP was founded as a fascist party. It is attracting people who are desperate at the major parties’ lack of attention to the threats to English culture and identify by the huge influx of immigrants, especially Muslims, and the clampdown on criticism of Islam and many other things deemed sacrosanct by the elites. Carey’s concern is the danger of bolstering the “far right” if these concerns are ignored. He goes on:

Democratic institutions such as the monarchy, Parliament, the judiciary, the Church of England, our free press and the BBC also support the liberal democratic values of the nation. Some groups of migrants, however, are ambivalent about or even hostile to such institutions.

The monarchy is a democratic institution? Funny. I guess since it has a defined role, what we would call a constitutional role here, does make it democratic. Carey is not evading the problem of Islam, for he goes on:

Furthermore, the idea that Britain can continue to welcome with open arms immigrants who immediately establish their own tribunals to apply Sharia, rather than make use of British civil law, is deeply socially divisive. The last thing any of us want is ghettos. And while we don’t expect groups to assimilate, there must be a willingness on their part to integrate with the rest of British society.

And he connects his point to Christianity. I shouldn’t be surprised at this, but somehow I am.

Yet, is there anything distinctly Christian about such a call? Some will say “no”. Our values lie rather with the Enlightenment than with the Church. I believe that history is against them. It is my firm view that our society owes more to our Christian heritage than it realises and to overlook this inheritance of faith will lead to the watering down of the very values of tolerance, openness, inclusion and democracy that we claim are central to all we stand for.

This is not to say that I am calling for Christians as a group to be given priority in any migration points system. The tragedy is that any intervention into such sensitive matters is open to such widespread misinterpretation.

But what I am saying is that those who seek to live in this country recognise that they are coming to a country with a Christian heritage and an established Church. Just as we should expect immigrants to subscribe to democratic principles, abide by our laws, speak English, support freedom of speech and a free press, so they should also respect the Christian nature and history of our nation with its broad, hospitable Establishment.

John Derbyshire has a typically acerbic comment at The Corner.  He rightly says,

Like another well-known clerical performance, it is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all.

There is another party besides the BNP that calls for limits on immigration, the United Kingdom Independence Party. According to Wikipedia,  it “holds thirteen seats in the European Parliament and two in the House of Lords (the latter due to the defection of Conservative peers). It also has around 100 local councillors on principal authorities, town and parish councils.” Its platform calls for a five-year freeze on immigration, and after that,

No one should be admitted unless they are fluent in English, have the required educational qualifications, demonstrate loyalty to the UK, its laws and values, and can support themselves financially, with no recourse to public funds – and this to apply equally to their dependents.

Carey didn’t mention the UKIP in his column. There are things about them he probably dislikes, such as their main platform position of withdrawing from the European Union, but they are too respectable to frighten people into considering a change in immigration policy. However, their existence shows that the desire to assert British or English culture and to do something about the tidal wave of hostile immigrants is not limited to those who can be tarred as fascist.

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