One hates to waste intellectual energy on the turgid click-bait counterfactual of Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked, which certainly should have been. But his claim yesterday that the Labour Party has some kind of history of racism goes behind the pale. Not only is it jaw-droppingly selective in its presentation, it is also suggesting that the less palatable behaviour of parties like UKIP is just what Labour used to do.
Yes Bren, you've been rumbled again
O’Neill kicks off by asserting “For the past 50 years Labour has been anti-immigration to its core. And very often racist, too”. Would Sir care to advance some evidence for this claim? “The Labour government’s 1965 White Paper Immigration from the Commonwealth spoke of the need to ‘control the entry of immigrants to our small and overcrowded country’”. What Bren does not tell his readers is that there was no resultant legislation.
Never mind, have another go: “Labour’s Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968 was designed specifically to keep out of Britain the black and brown inhabitants of Commonwealth countries”. The problem with this angle is that “Commonwealth” also included Australia and New Zealand. And what he isn’t telling readers is that the 1968 Act was merely amending the Tories’ 1962 one.
Then we are told “the Labour government of 1974 to 1979 not only failed to repeal the Tories’ stringent Immigration Act of 1971, as it had hinted it would do, but actually proposed more immigration controls. It also published a Green Paper in 1977”. Very good Bren, a Green Paper is a discussion document only. And there are some of those inconvenient facts missing from the argument.
First, large-scale immigration from the Commonwealth began under a Labour Government, that of 1945 to 1951. Second, and something O’Neill ignores totally, a succession of Race Relations Acts, to tackle and prevent racial discrimination, were enacted by Labour, in 1965, 1968 and 1976, often in the teeth of Tory opposition. So don’t try pulling the “Labour=racist” rubbish.
But O’Neill’s Pièce de Résistance comes when he even tries to smear the Blair Government as racist. I kid you not: he tells “It kept out vast numbers of non-European migrants, of course, and even within the EU it discriminated: in 2006 it imposed a moratorium on the movement of low-skilled Romanians and Bulgarians to Britain, instantly turning vast swathes of poor Eastern Europe into second-class citizens of Europe who did not enjoy the same rights of movement as the rest of us”.
That’s a straight-A F*** right off in one: what O’Neill is alluding to is that Romania and Bulgaria acceded to the EU at the start of 2007, but that a number of existing member states imposed what are known as “transitional controls”. Those controls could not be made more restrictive than previous immigration rules for the countries concerned.
Small wonder Brendan O’Neill didn’t like being on Twitter - his bullshit would have been exposed even more rapidly, and his credibility would have melted away even quicker. Get a life and stop trying to argue the toss for the hell of it, Bren. It isn’t working.
I wish the right would get their story together - Labour usually lets everyone in. Now they've been doing the opposite. Which is it?
Two words for you my friend. Virginity testing. A racist, sexist and abusive Labour policy. How do you defend that one?
Ended on the order of a Labour minister. If you have any information to back your assertion up, please provide it.
In fairness, given the "anti-terrorism" legislation, the whole tone of the 42 days "debate" in particular, the utter scorn for civil liberties, and having a goveernment in which the likes of Phil Woolas "served", I should have said even if they weren't personally racists, they filed no complaints about having racist supporters.
I am reminded anew off why I didn't like Blair or Brown. And at this time I also formed a lifelong hatred of Brendan O'Neill, so I'm not so much praising him as to say Labour are indeed having to answer questions.
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