Saturday 1 July 2023

We too must embrace the benefits of migration


As France descends into anarchy with rioting, looting and arson because of a policeman shooting a 17-year-old in Nanterre on the outskirts of Paris, it is easy to look on French difficulties and reflect fortunately such things don’t happen here.

But of course, such things have happened here. There were riots in London in 2011 when the police shot someone and further back there were riots and disorder in 1981, 1991 and 2001. Oddly riots seem to happen ever 10 years. No doubt we were fortunate in 2021 to still have the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the main reason for the riots in France is a topic about which it is as difficult to write as it would be if and when such riots occur in the UK.

A French person was killed by the French police and other French people have been rioting in sympathy and outrage and to stop French people being killed by the police again.

This is the level of description, which is allowed us, because it is racist to make any distinction in identity or nationality between French people. We are all equally French.

But this will not do as it does not explain anything. Why is the UK Government trying to prevent people arriving in small boats from Europe when as soon as they arrive in Britain they become immediately as British or if they wish English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish as the rest of us?

It is reported that the British Government allowed around half a million legal migrants last year and will allow one million this year. Every single one of these new arrivals is as British as everyone else. It is racist to suggest that there is any distinction whatsoever between someone whose family has lived in Britain for a thousand years and someone whose family has lived here for a week. It is a wonder that people who come here on holiday are not as British as the rest of us at least until they get on their flight home.

But then why does the British Government want to send British people to Rwanda? If it is welcoming one million migrants with visas and Britishness every year, why can’t it welcome a few more who happen to arrive in dinghies? Indeed, why make them come here in dinghies? Why not send flights to places where people express a wish to migrate to Britain and bring them here for free. It could be viewed as a sort of repatriation. After all, if someone indeed anyone becomes British on arrival it’s simply a matter of predating his Britishness by a few hours or days.

I can understand us not wishing to draw a distinction between types of French people or types of British people on the grounds of harmony between those who live here. We don’t want different classes of citizen based on where your parents were born. But it has a logical consequence that I think is behind the Government’s legal difficulties over Rwanda.

What is the distinction between someone who arrives legally with a visa and becomes immediately British and someone who comes illegally by means of a dinghy? If both are allowed to remain, there is no distinction whatsoever between them nor between them and anyone else who was here already.

The person who arrives by means of a dinghy rather than a visa is more likely to have suffered persecution or at least hardship simply because he is willing to pay people traffickers a large amount of money and risk his life in a small boat. But this makes him logically a more deserving case than the person who arrives having obtained a visa, who chose this route of migration precisely because he did not have a well-founded fear of persecution.

Why are we discriminating against people who risk their lives to come to Britain versus those who are fortunate enough to have the skills and means to obtain a visa? Why especially when each if allowed to remain in the UK is as British as everyone else?

It turns out that it must be racist to prevent people arriving here in dinghies and equally racist to prevent people arriving here by means of a visa. After all, after their arrival it is racist for anyone to make any distinction whatsoever between the Britishness of the person with the visa, the person who arrived in the dinghy and the person whose family has been here for a thousand years.

The logical conclusion from this is that it is racist for either Britain or France to have any immigration controls whatsoever. Anyone anywhere who wishes to live in Britain or France not only ought to be allowed to do so but should be brought here at the expense of the British and French taxpayer on the grounds that he will immediately become British or French on arrival.

The rioting in France will no doubt end soon. But the cause of the rioting will continue. One French boy is killed by the police and there is rioting, but this is not really the cause. After all, when toddlers were attacked by a knife wielding maniac there was no rioting.

The cause of the rioting is that some French people of whom we are not allowed to make a distinction are unhappy living in France even though they or their parents chose to migrate there and some other French people of whom we are not allowed to make a distinction are unhappy that Paris and other parts of France are being transformed to the extent that if you watch a French film from the early 1960s, for example, À bout de souffle, Paris is unrecognisable. The buildings are the same, but a city is not its buildings. The French people who were breathless in 1960 are so out of breath that they have expired.

It was racist for them to object to the transformation of the French population. After all it was beneficial to everyone and there was anyway no transformation. Everyone living in Paris is still French, equally French and just the same as when Jean-Luc Goddard was shooting Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo with jump cuts.

Britain isn’t rioting. That is the French way. We last had a revolution in 1689 and that wasn’t really a revolution. But if you watch, for example Brief Encounter (1945) and compare it with Britain today you see a transformation that would to the people living in 1945 be unimaginable and I think quite horrific.

Of course, we mustn’t grumble as we put the sugar in our spoon. We cannot even point out the distinction between the Britain then and the Britain now. After all everyone in Brief Encounter is as British as everyone living here today. There is no distinction. This is why if we remake Brief Encounter it will include people who historically were not there.

It is racist even to notice that things were once different. Let us instead celebrate how we are being transformed by means of a commemorative fifty pence piece.

But one day I think the French who are indistinguishable from each other and all as French as each other, might choose to riot back whether it is racist of them to do so or not. They might choose to disregard the concept of everyone being equally French on the grounds of what it has done to them since 1960.

The British on the other hand will do nothing, because no doubt nothing can be done, and we have to make the best of things. That is our way.

It is too late anyway or soon will be.