Once upon a time, so it is alleged, the Sun’s resident Miserable Git (tm) Rod Liddle was a member of the Labour Party. He may still be, but in name only: today, Liddle has crossed the floor in no style at all to exhume the body politic according to one of the most infamous of past politicians, one John Enoch Powell, whose dismissal from the shadow cabinet in 1968 was one of the soundest decisions Sailor Heath ever made.
I've only had one, honestly
Following the Murdoch goons’ recent move from coded bigotry to forthright racist stereotyping, Liddle’s rant today is modestly headlined “Why should whites live in ‘ethnic’ area? Can’t they be among their own kind too?” Ah, describing people who are not “White British” as “Ethnics”. The bracing whiff of race hate. The sharp taste of intolerance. And the craven submission to the warped worldview of Don Rupioni.
But it is the text of Liddle’s article where he digs up Powell, telling “Britain is becoming a more, not less, segregated country … White people are getting the hell out of areas with high ethnic minority populations”. That rather sounds like Powell spinning his “Eight years ago in a respectable street in Wolverhampton a house was sold to a Negro. Now only one white (a woman old-age pensioner) lives there” story (which was probably invented).
He went on to tell “the immigrants moved in. With growing fear, she saw one house after another taken over. The quiet street became a place of noise and confusion. Regretfully, her white tenants moved out”. Back to Liddle, who goes on “areas with lots of ethnic minorities are becoming ghettoes, where there is scarcely a white face to be seen”.
After a teensy exaggeration, where Liddle moans “In some places there are virtually no white British people left - Newham in East London, Handsworth in Birmingham, and Slough, Berks” (“virtually no white British people” in Slough equals 34.5% of the population), he gets on to integration. “First, the greater the influx of immigrants, the less integrated the country becomes. Moderate numbers are easily dealt with and it’s more likely the incomers will assimilate”. Now back to Enoch Powell.
“Now … integration is difficult though, over a period, not impossible. There are among the Commonwealth immigrants who have come to live here in the last fifteen years or so, many thousands whose wish and purpose is to be integrated and whose every thought and endeavour is bent in that direction … But to imagine that such a thing enters the heads of a great and growing majority of immigrants and their descendants is a ludicrous misconception, and a dangerous one”. He said what Liddle is saying now.
And both were wrong. While Powell, the great classicist, told “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’”, Liddle the tap-room loudmouth can manage nothing better on what he perceives to be forced integration than “Really? How are you going to do that? Bung them a few thousand quid for the pleasure of living in Tower Hamlets? Lecture them about how nice ethnic minority people really are? Cook them a biryani and tell them what a peaceable religion Islam really is?” Tower Hamlets is an area where everyone tends to get along fine.
Thus Liddle shows the ignorance of the Metropolitan pundit establishment, as Enoch Powell showed the ignorance born of incomprehension, intolerance and belief that his superior intellect would prevail. Both were wrong. And bang out of order.