Friday, March 08, 2013
Let's talk about the exodus of 600,000 whites from London
It is not wrong to discuss the cultural changes that large-scale immigration can cause, such as 'white flight' from certain areas in London
Imagine if Glasgow disappeared. Not overnight and not physically, but imagine if everyone who lived there decided to leave, in the space of 10 years. Argyle Street, in the city centre – empty. Byres Road, next to the university – derelict. The Crow Road – abandoned (except, perhaps – if this were an exciting new BBC drama – for an old Iain Banks novel, rain-damaged pages flapping in a gutter, symbol of the great evacuation). All those tenements, riverside apartments, suburban villas, all lying vacant. You’d sort of notice, wouldn’t you? You’d expect people to talk about it, at least.
If your geographic history differs from mine, and you’ve no mental image of Glasgow to play with, consider, instead, Sheffield, or Nottingham, or Belfast. All cities of about 600,000 people. Imagine if everyone who lived there upped and left.
Not the opening scenes of a dystopic science fiction screenplay, but the unfictional, real London, whose white British population has declined by roughly the population of those cities in the 10 years between the last two census surveys. “White British” (as opposed to Eastern European) citizens now make up less than half of London’s population. This is a change of profound significance, by any historical benchmark.
We have an ugly phrase to describe the phenomenon – I used it a fortnight ago, in a piece about the Tories’ attempts to woo votes from ethnic minorities (a term whose meaning has changed: in London, at least, we’re all “minorities” now). The departure of people from London’s hitherto majority grouping is called “white flight”.
It’s tempting to be caustic about the current, undoubtedly brief, spasm of media interest in the phenomenon. No one seemed to mind as inner London became more and more multicultural: that was what made it so “vibrant”, after all. Only as the profile of the suburbs changes (Enfield’s white population has dropped by nearly 25 percentage points in 10 years, for example) is it worth any serious attention: the BBC website carried a piece just this week.
To read the BBC article, by the home editor Mark Easton, there is nothing to worry about. Indeed, the historic shift of London, from a city of white Britons to a mixture of minorities, is a cause for celebration, and not just because of that oft‑lauded “vibrancy”.
That the proportion of white people in the borough of Barking and Dagenham has dropped from four fifths to less than a half in a decade is nothing more than the natural desire of increasingly prosperous people to retire to the seaside. I’m paraphrasing Mr Easton a little, but that was more or less the suggestion in his commentary. It’s a rising tide of prosperity that first of all flushed the Eastenders from Bethnal Green to Dagenham, and it’s the inexorable rise in property values that leads their descendants to move from metropolitan Essex to that beautiful county’s coastline.
“Leigh[-on-Sea],” said Mr Easton, “is a particular favourite.” After all: “Many residents from Barking and Dagenham will have taken the train along the Thames Estuary towards Southend on a work excursion – the old beano to the seaside.” And so everything is dandy?
Fundamentally, none of this is strictly about “race”, but rather the cultural constructs we layer on to genetics. There are good and bad neighbours of every hue, of course. But the scale of white flight demands more than issuing congratulations to the second and third generation children of immigrants, who’ve done well in life and moved from Zone 2 to Zone 5 of the Central or Northern Underground lines. It’s also absurd to assume that the grandchildren of cockneys are moving still further out, just because their houses have increased in value.
Take Bethnal Green. The people leaving Dagenham now are themselves displaced Eastenders. The borough they first left behind would be unrecognisable to their grandparents, with a mayor whose election was supported by an Islamist group with unpleasant (to put matters mildly) views.
Hate crimes disfigure its streets: in an ironic reversal of one reason for the East End’s fame – that it was where indigenous, working-class Londoners faced down home-grown fascists – the streets of Bethnal Green and Whitechapel are now scenes of increasingly violent attacks on gay people.
The BBC doesn’t talk about this, oddly, or wonder why the Eastenders’ movement is always away from their original homes: there are plenty of expensive properties in E2. (In 2001, I moved to Bow, from Harlow: my neighbours in Essex thought I was mad, for reasons unconnected with relative property prices.)
Discernment is required: nobody decent is arguing for a return to the homogeneity of Call the Midwife’s Poplar. Finally, politicians have admitted that to notice the scale of the immigration engineered by the last Labour government doesn’t make one racist.
But neither is it wrong to discuss the cultural changes that large-scale immigration can cause. Six hundred thousand Londoners have left. They didn’t all sell ex-council houses in Barking, in order to purchase five-bedroom cliff-top villas in sunny Leigh-on-Sea.
Social workers arrived at hospital to take woman's baby while she was in LABOUR over concerns for its welfare
Bureaucratic evil abounds in Britain
A mother has told how social workers turned up while she was giving birth in hospital to say they would be taking her baby into care.
Without consulting her, social services chiefs had decided Kelly McWilliams was unfit to look after her baby because she had suffered from depression five years earlier after her ten-year-old son was found hanged.
The officials arrived without warning to say the baby would go straight into foster care as they were concerned about Mrs McWilliams’s mental health.
But the baby, a girl named Victoria, had serious breathing problems and was transferred to intensive care.
Mrs McWilliams, 36, said she was only allowed to spend two hours a day with her daughter, supervised by a social worker.
She was forced to call a lawyer from hospital and ended up in court two days after the birth to plead her case.
Victoria’s father, who lived apart from Mrs McWilliams, was given temporary custody of the baby when Victoria was discharged from hospital ten days after her birth, and for four months Mrs McWilliams was only allowed two hours of supervised time each day with her child.
Last night, the mother of five from Doncaster said: ‘I feel very, very angry and very, very let down because I had overcome my mental health problems and was in a very good place and I was feeling proud and ready to be a mother.
‘Then this came along and crushed me. I lost precious time with my daughter. I missed her first smile, I missed so much.’
The social workers were able to take Victoria into care after obtaining an emergency protection order from Doncaster Magistrates’ Court.
Mrs McWilliams said: ‘They literally just walked in very coldly and said as soon as I had delivered my baby she was going to get placed into foster care.
‘I was in labour when they came in. To be honest I didn’t actually believe them, at first I thought it was some kind of joke.’
When she asked why Victoria had to be fostered, she said they replied: ‘Because you are not well.’
According to Mrs McWilliams’s lawyer, Doncaster social services had gone too far when Victoria was born in August 2011, having failed to carry out a pre-birth assessment or case conference to discuss any possible intervention.
Solicitor Sarah Young said that if proper procedures had been followed, social services may not have needed to take action. Miss Young added: ‘I think it’s a shocking example of a massive over-reaction by social services in Doncaster.’
Victoria is now 18 months old and happily living with her mother. But Mrs McWilliams is demanding an apology from Doncaster social services, which she fears has not learned from its mistakes.
Her case follows a series of major failings by care bosses. In November, an Ofsted inspection found that children’s care in Doncaster was still ‘inadequate’.
The service had already been criticised over the deaths of seven children and failures that led to the torture of two boys by two brothers who were in foster care.
Mrs McWilliams said: ‘People need to know what Doncaster social services are like, because they make mistake after mistake but they are not paying for it. ‘To me, they have got more power than the police, they can do what they want when they want.
‘Nobody can make up for what they have taken away from me. They need to change the way they work. It can’t happen to anyone else. I was an experienced mum and yet I had to be supervised all the time I was caring for Victoria.
‘I am constantly terrified that there will be a knock on the door and that someone will come to take Victoria away from me.’
Chris Pratt, director of Doncaster’s Children and Young People’s Services, said: ‘It’s inappropriate for us to comment on cases involving individual children. However, when any matter of concern is raised with me I do ask for this to be examined and I have done that in this case.’
One threat to free speech recedes
Leftists get nervous about free speech restrictions too
Often, when I make the points I made in my recent post, "Why Am I So Cheerful?", people hand me their distress. That is, they argue back about why I shouldn't be cheerful or why they shouldn't be cheerful, all based on why the world is much worse than I think and is getting even worse.
I actually haven't had that kind of pushback this time but the point I want to make is that it's important to look at one's past predictions about how awful the world would get and measure them against what actually happened. Last week, I came across an October 2008 piece by Michael Barone. It was titled "The Coming Obama Thugocracy." In it, he made the case that candidate Barack Obama and many of his most ardent supporters are foes of free speech. His evidence ranged from weak to strong.
Barone's weak evidence?
"Obama fans jammed WGN's phone lines and sent in hundreds of protest emails. The message was clear to anyone who would follow Rosenberg's example. We will make trouble for you if you let anyone make the case against The One."
It's true that that was the message, but it wasn't an attack on free speech. Indeed, it was the exercise of free speech.
Barone's strong evidence?
"In September, St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce warned citizens that they would bring criminal libel prosecutions against anyone who made statements against Obama that were "false." I had been under the impression that the Alien and Sedition Acts had gone out of existence in 1801-02. Not so, apparently, in metropolitan St. Louis. Similarly, the Obama campaign called for a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project when it ran ads highlighting Obama's ties to Ayers."
Based on his reasoning, Barone made a prediction, writing:
"To their credit, some liberal old-timers -- like House Appropriations Chairman David Obey -- voted against the "fairness doctrine," in line with their longstanding support of free speech. But you can expect the "fairness doctrine" to get another vote if Barack Obama wins and Democrats increase their congressional majorities."
That was a legitimate fear. I remember fearing it at the time myself and talking to a friend who makes his living in libertarian/conservative talk radio and who was also concerned.
And the Democrats did increase their congressional majorities.
So what happened? It didn't get another vote. [The following two passages are from Wikipedia. Why? Maybe this had something to do with it:
"In February 2009, a White House spokesperson said that President Obama continues to oppose the revival of the [Fairness] Doctrine."
Moreover, Obama moved in the other direction:
"In June 2011, the Chairman and a subcommittee chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, both Republicans, said that the FCC, in response to their requests, had set a target date of August 2011 for removing the Fairness Doctrine and other "outdated" regulations from the FCC's rulebook.
On August 22, 2011, the FCC formally voted to repeal the language that implemented the Fairness Doctrine, along with removal of more than eighty other rules and regulations, from the Federal Register following a White House executive order directing a "government-wide review of regulations already on the books", to eliminate unnecessary regulations."
Americans speak every language, but only English unites us
GABRIEL GOMEZ, one of three Republicans vying for the US Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, speaks Spanish like a native and seems intent on making sure every voter knows it.
Gabriel Gomez introduces himself first en español, and only afterward acknowledges "those of you who don't speak Spanish."
The Cohasset businessman, a former Navy SEAL commander, announced his candidacy last month in an online video that opened in Spanish: "Me llamo Gabriel Gomez, y yo estoy anunciando que voy a correr para ser senador de los Estados Unidos." Then he switched to English: "For those of you who don't speak Spanish, today I'm announcing my run for US Senate." He did the same thing as he hit the campaign trail for the first time last week. At an American Legion post in Quincy, he began by introducing himself en español, only afterward acknowledging "those of you who don't speak Spanish."
Bilingual fluency is a great asset, and Gomez acquired his effortlessly: He was born in Los Angeles to parents who had recently emigrated from Colombia, and as a child was speaking Spanish before he learned English. In a Republican Party anxious to appeal to Hispanics – especially after an election in which the Hispanic vote broke heavily for Democratic candidates – Gomez clearly believes his Latino roots and flawless Spanish give him a political edge. In Massachusetts last November, more than 4 of every 5 Hispanic voters backed Elizabeth Warren in her challenge to Senator Scott Brown. So it's hardly surprising to hear Gomez calling himself a "new kind of Republican" as he goes out of his way to address voters in Spanish.
He's not alone. In February, Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave the official Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union speech, the first time a leading member of the opposition party did so in two languages. Rubio's address was delivered live in English on the major TV networks, while a version he had prerecorded in Spanish aired simultaneously on the Spanish-language networks.
Outreach to ethnic minorities is a timeless political practice in this country, as American as a sampling bratwurst during Oktoberfest or marching in a Columbus Day parade. To hear some strategists tell it, the eagerness with which candidates like Gomez or Rubio are seeking ways to campaign in Spanish is part of that same melting-pot tradition – as innocuous as George W. Bush welcoming guests to the White House Cinco de Mayo party with mariachi music and a jovial "mi Casa Blanca es su Casa Blanca!" As Republican media adviser Alex Castellanos recently told National Journal, "When you speak to people in their native language, you are telling them we're part of the same community."
But if that's the case, why didn't Republicans arrange for a full-blown response to the State of the Union address in Chinese or French or Vietnamese? Why hasn't Gomez made a point of introducing himself in Portugese or Italian or Russian? Spanish may be the second-most common language spoken in the United States, but there are dozens of other languages used daily by millions of American voters. Don't those voters also need to be reassured that we're all "part of the same community"?
English has always been integral to the American identity. Without a common language, the miracle of E Pluribus Unum would never have been possible. Americans come from every corner of the globe; they represent a vast array of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic traditions. Yet they have been able, by and large, to form a single nation – to mold an American mainstream, despite such a hodgepodge of incompatible origins. They couldn't have done it without a commitment to English as the national tongue.
Rubio and Gomez could learn a lesson from the city councilors of Doral, Fla., a Miami suburb whose mayor recently proposed making Spanish the official second language. Few places in America are more Spanish-friendly than Doral: Nearly 80 percent of the population speaks Spanish at home. It is where Univision, the leading Spanish TV network, is headquartered. Every member of the city council is Latino. Yet every one voted against the mayor's resolution.
"We came here," Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez explained, "knowing we had to adapt to the language of this country." Generations of immigrants have known the same thing, and their embrace of English has been essential to the great American success story.
Spanish is a rich and beautiful language. But privileging Spanish in public life is a reckless strategy for partisan success. Latinos don't come to America to be patronized or pandered to, but to share in the blessings of American unity. One nation, indivisible. One language, indispensable
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.