Monday, October 26, 2009

Andrew Neather: privilege and principle

Andrew Neather is the subject of some fuss at the moment, since he revealed that New Labour encouraged immigration specifically to spite their political opposition and alter British social identity (Melanie Phillips is the latest prominent journalist to splutter a response).

To give the man his due, he is aware of the contradictions in his position. In the first article linked above, he argues for immigration, boasting of the mix in his children's school - but he does qualify it very briefly by a reference (my highlight) to the social exclusiveness:

"... in my children's primary school, the international influence is primarily the large numbers of (mostly middle-class) bilingual children, usually with one parent married to a Brit."

As it happens, I used to live in London - a flat in Mount Nod Road, Streatham - and I don't think Neather would want to send his children to the school opposite us, the way it was in the 1970s at least. My dad would regularly drift over to the bow window to check that his Morris Marina wasn't being vandalised. But maybe it's "middle class" now, what with the property bubble.

However, Neather doesn't live in that London, of course. He lives in a part where, according to, semi-detached houses have sold for between £400,000 and £900,000 this year. Melanie Phillips' comment seems justified: "In Neather's hermetically sealed bubble, the benefits of mass immigration were so overwhelming he couldn't understand why ministers had been so nervous about it."

I think the way that so-so socialists square the circle is to admit the contradictions cheerfully (brazenly) and ask you to concentrate on how things will be when they've finished. But what you do now, and its effects, are far more certain than a rosy, fuzzy future Golden Age. One might have hoped that a Cambridge education would have taught Neather not to think in that Johnny Head-in-air sort of way.


dearieme said...

I'm having second thoughts about making jokes about stringing up all these lefties who have done so much damage. Because I begin to wonder whether the risk of civil violence of roughly that sort is becoming non-trivial. It's not that I'd mind their being strung up, it's more that I mind very much about all the innocent people who would get caught up in it.

Sackerson said...


Sackerson said...

... and I've edited it a bit just in case sometime some BNP henchthing or fellow-traveller decides to get personal.

Paddington said...

Whenever the mob has gained power in history, the first to go are some of the leaders, and then a lot of the 'thinkers' - consider the French, Russian, Chinese, Cambodian, etc. revolutions.

Wolfie said...

Neather really just seems to be rather thick and naive. So the real question is how did such an individual get his hands on the levers of power?

Sackerson said...

He's a window dresser, not a shop owner. Did you know that his PhD was at Duke University and the subject was "Popular Republicanism, Americanism, and the Roots of Anti-Communism, 1890-1925"? I suspect he was training himself for the role of spin doctor for anti-anti-Communists.