|The Media Dilemma||Anthony Milne observes that journalists disagree on how to deal with facts|
The total ethnic-minority population of England is now about five million, almost 11 per cent (out of a full total of about 48 million). In other words, the numbers are now just slightly less than the entire populations of Scotland or Denmark, or the whole of the island of Ireland. The total in London alone is two million (the size of the population of Estonia), up from 1.3 million just a decade ago. Black Africans now make up more than one in 20 Londoners and outnumber the Caribbeans.
Recently released 2001 census data shows that almost every neighbourhood in England and Wales has become racially mixed. Of 8,850 electoral wards, only 72, or 0.8 percent, have no ethnic minorities at all. Leicester is about three-quarters ethnic, and Manningham in Bradford almost entirely so. The all-white areas are now mainly to be found in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the rural South West and North East of England. Dr. Deborah Phillips of the University of Leeds, has said, no doubt with approval, that ethnic minorities are moving out to areas where they didn't use to live. "You are seeing," she added, "the suburbanisation of Asian and Caribbean populations..."
It remains a mystery why the media have not tackled the subject of immigration much, much earlier. In 2002 the National Statistics Office predicted that Britain's population would peak at 64 million in 2040, and then start falling. But this is a gross underestimate because continued immigration has not, amazingly, been taken into account. When this is done, insiders say that Britain's annual growth rate will be as high as 0.4 per cent - meaning that our country could have a population of 73 million by 2050, nearly all of the increase coming through non-white immigration and reproduction.
These figures have stunned many commentators, as has the dawning realisation that no British government has ever had a population policy.
The growth of press stories on immigration and asylum is not a good sign for liberals. Unlike other issues such as GM foods, fox-hunting, traffic speed cameras etc., this subject will grow and grow. It threatens to dominate the news agenda for many years to come. All the other issues will come and go because they are mainly abstract to begin with, which means they can be put right with legislation or a change in attitudes. But 'multi-culturalism' is here to stay - unless there is some dramatic political change.
Whistle-blowers in the press
The media dam has not broken yet. Many journalists do now seem to raise important issues about who we are as a nation, and suspect that the multi-cultural agenda is somehow connected with this mystery. Further, there are now whistleblowers in the press who can see what is going wrong and are virtually fighting a civil war with the old guard who have not done enough consistently to oppose the destructive attacks on our heritage and Christian culture when they have had the opportunity to do so.
Many wonder why the over-population argument - so dominant among left-liberals some 20 years ago - has been sidelined to become a taboo subject by a later generation of liberals. That immigration is not, and never has been, driven by economic necessity, and that the costs of letting in unskilled foreigners is vastly outweighing any benefits, has shown up the falsity of an argument that for too long has been based on moral or humanitarian grounds.
People like Lord Rees-Mogg, a well-born member of the international liberal elite who once made his name as an astute economics commentator, is obliged to write that immigration is beneficial for Britain, although he is probably well aware that this is an unsubstantiated opinion which has been rejected on economic grounds by other, younger, Times journalists. This not only means that the liberal old guard are at last on the losing side but that the moral imperative of putting a good spin on immigration is actually undermining their own credibility and thus making them victims of the very thing they first encouraged (or decided to ignore).
There is still continuing old-hat media confusion about race and culture. In a long feature critical of current immigration policies by the veteran journalist Max Hastings - the first time he has ever tackled the subject - he can't stop himself saying: "It is plainly racist to object to the presence in Britain of any given individual merely because of their colour or creed." This is appalling logic, since skin colour indicates a person's immigrant status, and hints at the enormous psychological fears that older establishment journalists still have to overcome within themselves before they can tackle the problem sensibly, unlike a sizeable minority of younger and relatively guilt-free journalists.
A different Britain
And it is these latter journalists who are having to pick up the tag and report daily on a much less pleasant Britain than their old mentors did in the 1970s and 198Os, these writers being largely preoccupied with the Cold War and industrial relations issues.
The new writers are lifting up the British cultural carpet to reveal a sordid and crime-ridden world. And they don't like it when foreign journalists have to put them straight. Mohamed Sifaoui, an Algerian journalist posing as an Islamic militant, has said:
The mere reporting on effete-like legal and bureaucratic correctness, and the fiddly little concerns with health and well-being - a kind of sticking-plaster approach to Britain's ills - is being undermined by a massive tide of liberalism that is promoting a cultural breakdown in morality, decency, law and order. Britain is becoming like Malaysia or Afghanistan. Everything in future will be about tribal minorities fighting their own corner. And it is showing signs of getting worse.
Country 'coming apart'
It is not uncommon now for journalists to comment that Britain is "coming apart at the seams," and that our society "is so sick that it cannot be governed." The massive euphoric sense of patriotism that surrounded the English rugby team's World Cup victory has taken many journalists by surprise and brought about much hand-wringing. How come we can only show our true patriotic feelings in a minority sport but not on the battlefield, or in science, literature or other aspects of our civilisation?
Mick Hume of The Times has written that all our symbols of patriotic pride and national identity - the church, the monarchy, the parliamentary system, and the police force are under attack, and that every major institution of Britishness is now experiencing an identity crisis. National identity is reduced to something like membership of a golf club, signing on the dotted line of forms or paying £77 for a future ID card.
Minette Marrin, in The Sunday Times, quoted the words of a Chinese man who saw little point in applying for British citizenship because he fails to appreciate "what British culture is." She admitted that the educational elites "all teach this directly or implicitly. The public services only follow suit." She cited the extraordinary deference to ethnic minorities in Britain. She highlighted the considerable success of those who have promoted the world view that one should be ashamed of Britishness, a shame she has never understood.
Media people are also shocked to learn of the liberal Stalinism of the BBC, with its covert spying on the police force for 'racist' attitudes that inhibit them from fighting crime properly. They report on the fraud and the tax-dodging by the employers of illegal immigrants, the invasion of those immigrants themselves, the people-smuggling and the self-righteousness of the pig-headed judges who refuse to deport illegal immigrants out of a false sense of legal Puritanism.
They know that not only is Home Secretary David Blunkett having to resort to law-breaking himself in order desperately to get the asylum figures down. They have expressed disapproval of his recent granting of an amnesty to at least 50,000 asylum-seekers. They know that all this will encourage corrupt dealing and will bring chaos to the immigration and social services. They say it will take the immigration officials months to work out who these 50,000 people are, while the rest of the 'illegals' will simply melt into the landscape.
Editorial civil war
Unfortunately many newspaper editors, while viewing what is happening to Britain with growing alarm, seem to be fighting a civil war with their own editorial staff. The entire media and press bias is too far loaded towards liberalism, and the value system of journalists cannot be shaken off so easily. So-called 'right-wing' papers like, The Sun and the Daily Mail, which have been campaigning stridently against further immigration for the last three years, will still publish glowing stories about ethnic families, thus sending all the wrong messages to would-be immigrants abroad. The Mail regaled its readership recently with massive front-page headlines supporting the rights of 'British' (i.e. black or Asian) suspects held on terrorism charges in Guantanamo Bay. Recently the Mail asked us in bold two-inch headlines to celebrate "Britain's Unsung Black Heroes."
Many editors do not seem to have sufficient control over their picture-editors, who will always over-use pictures of ethnic minorities. For example, an article about a postal strike was illustrated with a black postman. The Times, in a picture feature about lawyers' robes and wigs, showed only women and ethnic minorities in this traditional British costume. The Sun publishes obscenely crude cartoon strips hinting at multi-racial sex between white girls and black men.
Many newspapers, with an unconscious irony, employ ethnic minorities to write stories about the inanities of media PC. "'TV has too many ethnic minorities,' says Sir Ludovic Kennedy," reported Shirin Agular. Everyone, of course, has known this for a long time, but it is inevitable that a minority will quote another minority to slag Kennedy off. Miss Agular quotes 'Yasmin Alibhai-Brown' to say that his comments were "totally unacceptable... To me, it is nothing other than racism. We are moving forward, unlike old fogies like him." In other words, "We are getting into your society in a big way whether you like it or not!" The only way Trevor Phillips, a prominent Black, could fault Kennedy's remarks was by saying: "When did you last see a Chinese person on any programme?"
All this implies that the ethnic minorities and their patrons still have much too much power and can monitor and largely control the multi-cultural debate. On the other hand, other less vocal minorities realise that all this PC madness is becoming counter-productive and liable to produce a backlash; they know that the ethnic thing is getting out of control. One response to Sir Ludovic's remarks came from Raj Chandran, a former member of the CRE, who said: "He may be right. The profile of Asians and Blacks is enough to make us wonder if we are living in England. It gives the impression that we are overpowering ourselves with black and ethnic minority people."
One Asian professor has written that "integration is not on the horizon." He said that minorities seem to be choosing a 'federal' approach of communities within a community. This clearly is multi-culturalism by another name, and is the inevitable self-segregation that happens in any mixed society. But what of the 'We-are-all-British' Blacks? How do they fit into this scheme?
The media have a long and gruelling task ahead of them trying to sort that one out.