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In a partly misguided essay protesting that race is not a problem (of course it’s a problem), the British journalist Peter Hitchens had these words of belated wisdom. We have silently combined some paragraphs. From Mail On Sunday, 31 March 2013. [*]
When I was a Revolutionary Marxist, we were all in favour of as much immigration as possible. It wasn’t because we liked immigrants, but because we didn’t like Britain. We saw immigrants – from anywhere – as allies against the staid, settled, conservative society that our country still was at the end of the Sixties.
Also, we liked to feel oh, so superior to the bewildered people – usually in the poorest parts of Britain – who found their neighbourhoods suddenly transformed into supposedly ‘vibrant communities’. If they dared to express the mildest objections, we called them bigots.
Revolutionary students didn’t come from such ‘vibrant’ areas (we came, as far as I could tell, mostly from Surrey and the nicer parts of London). We might live in ‘vibrant’ places for a few (usually squalid) years, amid unmown lawns and overflowing dustbins. But we did so as irresponsible, childless transients – not as homeowners, or as parents of school-age children, or as old people hoping for a bit of serenity at the ends of their lives.
When we graduated and began to earn serious money, we generally headed for expensive London enclaves and became extremely choosy about where our children went to school, a choice we happily denied the urban poor, the ones we sneered at as ‘racists’.
What did we know, or care, of the great silent revolution which even then was beginning to transform the lives of the British poor? To us, it meant patriotism and tradition could always be derided as ‘racist’.
It wasn’t our wages that were depressed, or our work that was priced out of the market. Immigrants didn’t do the sort of jobs we did. They were no threat to us. The only threat might have come from the aggrieved British people, but we could always stifle their protests by suggesting that they were modern-day fascists.
I have learned since what a spiteful, self-righteous, snobbish and arrogant person I was (and most of my revolutionary comrades were, too).
I have seen places that I knew and felt at home in, changed completely in a few short years. I have imagined what it might be like to have grown old while stranded in shabby, narrow streets where my neighbours spoke a different language and I gradually found myself becoming a lonely, shaky voiced stranger in a world I once knew, but which no longer knew me.
... I did and said nothing in defence of those whose lives were turned upside down, without their ever being asked, and who were warned very clearly that, if they complained, they would be despised outcasts.