Saturday, 15 December 2012

Sir Andrew Geen on integration: a spurious argument

Commenting on yesterday's speech by Labour leader Ed Milliband on immigration, Sir Andrew Green from Migration Watch told Today:

"We do have to integrate the people we now have, that is an absolutely key task. And it's really not going to be easy because in some of our cities there's really not much left of the British community to integrate with."

Sir Andrew Green from Migration Watch
Sir Andrew is probably commenting on parts of England like Walthamstow, where I live, and Newham, where I work. So I have a few observations to make.

It seems, from what he says, that black and Asian people who may have lived for several decades in areas like East London cannot be considered a "British community", hence there is no "British community" for Asian, Polish and other newcomers to integrate into. So I assume that what he really means by a "British community" is actually "White British people".

And what of all the children and young people in East London who are working hard and doing well at school - in parts of Newham and Tower Hamlets, better than the average child in England? It seems like studying hard, learning English and getting English qualifications is going to count for nothing, because they aren't living in a community where there is a majority of white British people to "integrate into".

It is an argument which is both feeble and offensive.

Just a few months ago, practically everyone in Britain was proud to see Newham at the centre of world attention for the 2012 Olympics, and to cheer on all our atheletes. I don't remember hearing much from Sir Andrew and others like him then. They didn't seem to be expressing any concerns about whether Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and others were British or not. If Sir Andrew doesn't think that Stratford can be considered as a British community because most of its residents were born outside the UK, then where was his voice during the Olympics? 

Or, as Lewis Atkinson tweeted - Where is Sir Andrew Green of when you need some Mo Farah Olympic victory reaction?