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Amol Rajan: Andy Neather and the hysteria over immigration

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Monday, 26 October 2009 at 12:07 pm
My friend Andy Neather has written a spirited defence of both his column last Friday, and of a proper debate on immigration.  He has been (wrongly) accused of "revealing" a "secret plot" by Barbara Roche (for whom he used to write speeches) to conceal Labour's plans to change Britain irreversibly, by allowing an infinite number of undesirables to come to Britain.

His conclusion and pay-off in this morning's piece are very agreeable:

**

Perhaps the lesson of this row is just how hard it still is to have any sensible debate about immigration.The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the drop of a chapati: to judge by some of the rubbish published in the past few days, it's frankly not hard to see why ministers were nervous.

The Left, however, will immediately accuse anyone who raises immigration as an issue of "playing the race card" - as the Government has on several occasions over the past decade.

Both sides need to grow up. A diverse society that welcomes immigrants works.  We've got one right here in London. Why is that so hard to discuss?

***

The hysterical nonsense shrieked out by some of Fleet Street's most handsomely paid commentators is a disgrace to any conception of common sense or informed debate. 

If you haven't read Andy's piece from last week but are inclined to, just be aware that the headline in this morning's Daily Mail reads:

"The outrageous truth slips out: Labour cynically plotted to transform the entire make-up of Britain without telling us".

The causal connection is easier to decipher if you work your way backwards from that headline to Andy's piece, rather than doing what Ms Phillips did, which is go in the opposite direction, fuelled by prejudice.
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