Conservative abandons Cameron’s pledge on immigration

1. David Cameron says people should use moderate and careful language when talking about immigration.

2. A Conservative candidate in a key marginal Westminster seat (Nigel Hastilow, Halesowen and Rowley Regis) says Enoch Powell was right to talk about “rivers of blood” (in the context of immigration).

3. A Conservative spokesman says said candidate will be told he must be careful in his useful of language.

4. Said candidate says it’s all ok, but he hasn’t said anything out of line with party policy.

As Nich Starling points out, there is a bit of a pattern here when it comes to the Conservatives and immigration.

UPDATE: Nigel Hastilow has now resigned, though not with much grace: “If I had said sorry I could have stayed on, but I am not sorry.”

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39 Comments

  • And there’s a pattern when it comes to the ‘ethnically friendly’ LibbieDems and the selection of ethnic candidates in safe LD seats. How many EM LDem MP,MSP,AM’s are there…..

  • Martin Land 4th Nov '07 - 12:42pm

    I don’t really understand Cameron’s approach on immigration. Perhaps I’ll ask a Sky journalist…

  • @1 Simon, Simon

    yes, we would all love to see a more diverse set of MPs, AMs, etc etc (a more diverse set of leadership candidates would also be very nice!), but you surely recognise that there isn’t exactly a huge pool of EM Lib Dem members in such “safe” Lib Dem areas as Orkney & Shetland, St Ives, Montgomery etc.

    And we do of course have an (excellent) EM MEP in Saj Karim, though personally I vote for his excellence rather than his ethnicity.

    And yes, I know Montgomery selected an Ulster Estonian!

  • Mr Hastilow has hastily resigned.
    See Conservativehome today.

  • No-one seriously believes Mr Hastilow is in a minority in the Conservative Party. As I write this I hear an interview with Tory Chairperson Caroline Spellman, announcing that he has done the ‘honourable thing’ and resigned as PPC.
    Clearly the Tories are trying to keep the lid on their more racist elements, in the belief that they are now more ‘moderate’ on immigration issues, and can win the next general election.
    But people like Mr Hasitlow, and we all remember Ann Winterton MP, with her infamous ‘cockle-pickers’ joke, keep spoiling things by saying what they really believe.
    Simon at No.1- All Parties are having to work hard to get ethnic minority candidates selected to Parliament, and Assemblies. Believe it or not they are not lining up to join mainstream political parties- We all have to increase our efforts on this issue.

  • passing tory 4th Nov '07 - 8:54pm

    Wasn’t it a couple of Lib Dems in Burnley who proposed a BNP Councillor for a position last Feb and then refused to apologise? Sounds as though all parties have their quota of nutters that need to be kept under control.

  • Hywel Morgan 4th Nov '07 - 10:39pm

    AIUI they were suspended from the party as a result.

  • Letters From A Tory 5th Nov '07 - 8:12am

    Don’t accuse the Conservatives of being racist. The only narrow minded people in the immigration debate are those who brand people who are concerned about immigration as ‘racist’.

    If people in Wolverhampton are worried about immigration and the effect it is having on their towns and communities, why the hell can’t the PPC voice those concerns?

  • No. 9, there’s a difference between voicing genuine concerns about immigration, and endorcing Enoch Powell views.

  • stan francis 5th Nov '07 - 11:10am

    …Nigel was pushed whilst Spellman should have asked the people of Halesowen what they wanted in a candidate and not what Cameron wants to see, which is total allegiance.

  • Andrew Duffield 5th Nov '07 - 11:53am

    @ Catherine Holme: There is no “danger of overcrowding in this country” – 98% of the UK is unoccupied. And of course Lib Dems “care about the people of this country”, as I’m sure you would claim to do too.
    The difference is that we would tax privilege and wealth appropriation, using the proceeds to provide the wealth creators (migrant or indigenous workers) and the communities to which they gravitate, with the means to support themselves and fund the infrastructure required.

    Free trade, a free market and the free movement of labour is key to wealth creation. I guess xenophobics just can’t cope with that.

  • passing tory 5th Nov '07 - 1:23pm

    So Andrew D, would you say that there is a sensible upper limit to the number of people in the UK? Remember, the UK is already a country that is far from self sufficient in terms of energy supply and food.

    I think that most free-marketeers (although seemingly not you) believe that some regulation of finite resources is required. Long gone are the days where land was not considered a finite resource, and this in practice means that some control over population is desirable. The least worst option here is to regulate immigration (the other options are state birth control, euthenasia or repatriation, none of which you support, I suspect). Think of it as another aspect of sustainable development – would it really be sustainable to increase the population of the UK by another 10m people?

  • Andrew Duffield 5th Nov '07 - 2:32pm

    Actually, the sustainable option is the fair and equitable distribution of wealth amongst indigenous populations in conditions of genuine global free-trade such that the need for economic migration is minimised. There would then be little need for centralised government bureaucracies to impose market restrictions of any kind.

    In the absence of an efficient and equitable tax regime to ensure the fair distribution of wealth in our country, population growth will always put pressure on social and capital infrastructure, leading to wealth-restricting attempts at population “management and a bunker mentality.

    Either we accept that the “owners” of finite resources should keep their unearned wealth tax free and continue to limit the wealth creating potential of labour via deadweight employment taxation and/or restrictions on movement, or we restructure our dysfunctional tax system to ensure a genuinely free, fair and functioning global market and set people free to respond to that market accordingly.

    I know which option I aspire to.

  • passing tory 5th Nov '07 - 3:01pm

    And I aspire to safe, virtually unlimited energy through room-temperature fusion and a cure to all diseases through complete understanding of the human system coupled with perfect rational drug design.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world we will have to struggle on without these lovely theoretical constructs for the time being.

  • Andrew Duffield 5th Nov '07 - 3:42pm

    You’d best pull up the draw-bridge and settle for a less prosperous, less fair and increasingly turbulent world then! Though, as a Tory, I guess that’s where you are already.

  • passing tory 5th Nov '07 - 4:38pm

    Ooooo! That’s right, don’t debate the issue but rely on some cheap party political point-scoring. Always makes discussion sooo constructive :)

    Lets look for a moment at a couple of your points.

    In the absence of an efficient and equitable tax regime to ensure the fair distribution of wealth in our country, population growth will always put pressure on social and capital infrastructure

    What is your evidence for this statement? You are saying that there is a link between the spread of wealth and the impact of population growth. What studies support this?

    In fact, if anything I would argue that the last ten years have shown the opposite. How are you going to redistribute wealth? Presumably by relatively high taxes (be they direct or indirect) and high handouts. This is precisely what Brown has tried. And what has happened? Well, there has been a huge increase in NEETs and economic growth has been fuelled by migrant labour. Is this an equitable outcome? Does it reduce the impact of inwards migration? Most people reckon not although you maybe contest this.

    Actually, the sustainable option is the fair and equitable distribution of wealth amongst indigenous populations in conditions of genuine global free-trade such that the need for economic migration is minimised. There would then be little need for centralised government bureaucracies to impose market restrictions of any kind

    This reminds me so strongly of Lenin’s view about his beliefs about how government would develop in post-revolutionary Russia. He reckoned that the need for central government would slowly diminish, and eventually vanish. Look what happened. Now, I don’t propose to go into the details of reasons why the USSR developed in the way that it did right now but I think you are following a similar fallacy.

    In summary; yes, we all want to see everyone reach their potential. But I don’t see the policies you advocate being an efficient way of achieving this.

  • To the Tories who are being defensive here: I don’t think the Conservative Party is racist, but surely you can see the difference between the following statements: “Britain has been changed irrevocably by immigration”, and “As Enoch Powell predicted, Britain has been changed irrevocably by immigration”. Both are true, but their political values are very different.

  • Bonkalot Jones 5th Nov '07 - 5:46pm

    Does this mean Nick Clegg will be cosying up to the Tories on the migration issue ?

  • passing tory 5th Nov '07 - 7:08pm

    tony,

    Sure. Discussion of immigration is always more difficult by its association in many people’s minds with racism and it is a difficult job to disentangle the two.

    This is made harder, IMHO, because the mental separation between “us” and “not us” is coded at a very low level in the human pysche. Thus the topic evokes base instincts and has tremendous power.

    It is a shame that debate is so stifled because it is a fascinating area of anthropology with real importance for the way we live our lives. However, the blame fact that it is almost impossible to discuss sensibly in public should be shared between those with genuinely racist agendas and those who cry “racist” the moment anyone attempts to argue a case they don’t agree with. This also has the unfortunate side effect that the field is left pretty much clear for extremists.

  • How come there is no thread or blogger on Lib Dem sites talking about Lib Dem peer Lord Carlile of Berriew recommending extending the number of days for detention?

    I heard him say it on R4 today. So why the silence?

    Shame?

  • passing tory 5th Nov '07 - 7:41pm

    Because there is a tendency for Lib Dem blogs to assert their liberalness by only talking about topics that allow them to attack others. Probably in their campaign manual somewhere :)

    Although, to be fair, Lib Dems tend to be a LOT better than Labour. Almost every post I have tried to put on Tom Watson’s blog has not got on (and my posting style is hardly gratuitously rude) and I think that you have to register to leave comments on LabourHome, don’t you? You certainly did when I looked last and it put me off looking again.

  • 23 Yes but when Hastilow stepped beyond the bounds of acceptable Conservative views he was forced out. Carlile goes beyond acceptable liberal views and the Lib Dem community ignores it.

    A peer in such an influential position has more impact on all our liberties than some ill conceived words from a PPC.

    Shame on the Lib Dems for letting their peer (they gave him the peerage), threaten all our liberties.

  • Geoffrey Payne 5th Nov '07 - 9:47pm

    I consider myself to be a liberal, and I object to immigration rules that are motivated by racism.
    I think the Tories and New Labour are hypocritical in noticing the limits of what the UK can take when it comes to immigration, but not when they try to lecture young people to have more children. Then all of a sudden the argument changes, and we are told we must have more children to pay for the pensions.
    However the arguments advanced here by some in the name of “liberalism” are also flawed. Free markets do not provide perfect outcomes and free markets do not create perfect societies. Global warming is contributing to extreme weather events that are happening more frequently and this does effect the number of people that can be sustained in the UK. And for that matter in the rest of the world. It is not in the interests of mankind that the population grows, and yet it is doing so. This applies to the UK, regardless as to how the population grows, it is better that it does not.
    Free makets are not the natural state for how we live. It required state intervention, to confer legal personification and limited liability that has make modern capitalism possible (see the book The Corporation). Free markets have a tendency to boom and bust, to overshoot and then be thrown into reverse. The price mechanism is not sufficient to prevent shortages. Fish stocks are being depleted and are not protected by market forces, it is governments that have to intervene, and even they find it hard within a democracy where fisherman cannot cope with the short term set backs needed for stocks to recover.
    Stern identified global warming as the biggest market failure, and of course it threatens to destroy us all, so we should stop being niave about free markets.

  • Andrew Duffield 5th Nov '07 - 11:11pm

    Geoff – it’s not the free market argument that’s flawed, it’s the market itself, which is neither free nor fair as I’m sure you’d agree.

    Boom-bust is symptomatic of speculative greed in this dysfunctional market which totally fails to recover the value of “the commons” for society – leading to economic dislocation and mass migration.

    To take your example, fish stocks could and should be sustainably managed via regular EU permit auctions rather the give-away and effective privatisation of the seas we have seen. As Liberals, we have adopted exactly the same attitude (albeit belatedly) towards the atmosphere and its capacity to absorb CO2.

    Government subsidy and intervention lies at the heart of the global economic failure to ascribe true value to our planet’s finite resources and ensure equitable distribution of the same.

    The current free market imposter, which proctects inherited privilege, private monopoly and global resource exploitation, is rightly despised by both of us – and all true Liberals. But let’s not confuse it with the genuinely empowering and redistributive free market we could have.

  • passing tory 6th Nov '07 - 7:44am

    Geoffry,

    I consider myself to be a liberal, and I object to immigration rules that are motivated by racism.

    This is the sort of argument that tends to undermine the debate. At face value there is nothing wrong with this point. In practice, however, how do you know whether a policy is motivated by racism or not? The danger here is that it is very easy to be drawn into an egocentric position where you think that your motivation is right and everyone else’s is wrong. This very much stifles discussion for the reasons discussed above, and to my mind is a particularly good example of the logical inconsistency displayed many of those who would like to think of themselves as liberal; they are actually adopting a position which results in extreme intolerance of anything outside their own orthodoxy.

  • Geoffrey Payne 6th Nov '07 - 8:30am

    OK passing Tory, how do you explain how it is that for many years the Tories have been imploring young people to have more children in order to pay for our pensions. And now we have an influx of immigrants who appear to solve this problem, and all of a sudden the Tories suddenly discover reasons why we should not have population growth after all?
    And it is only in the Tory party that you would get Tory MPs and PPCs who would hark back to Enoch Powell, and he clearly was racist, as Cameron would appear to accept.

  • Geoffrey Payne 6th Nov '07 - 8:43am

    Andrew @ 27
    I am confused by your comments. You are right that markets are not fair and government intervention is need to counter the harmful effects of market forces.
    Then you appear to argue the opposite. It is true that government intervention can be ineffective, counter-productive, or in the case of China, devestating. However the US is the most polluting nation on earth today, with Texas the worst state.
    I do not understand why a pure free market will be ecologically benign. The advertising industry will still manipulate us to buy things we do not need, and the production of which will damage the environment.
    The Liberal Democrats, now copied by the Conservatives do believe in government intervention in the form of green taxes. A Liberal government should encourage market forces where they benefit society and the environment, and carefully consider how the government should usefully intervene where they do not.

  • MatGB etc Here is what Carlile said yesterday

    “Lib Dem peer Lord Carlile, the government’s terror legislation watchdog, said that it was likely that in a small number of cases more than 28 days would be needed in the future.

    “There is a real risk that an extremely serious terrorism event could take place involving a large number of terrorists in which it would be difficult, if not beyond possible, to carry out all the necessary inquiries within a period of 28 days,” he told Today.

    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,2205636,00.html

  • passing (well, virtually live-in) tory 6th Nov '07 - 9:16am

    Geoffry,

    I think there is a difference between trying to stop slow declines in population (as had been the case in much of Europe and was causing considerable concern) and trying to prevent extremely rapid growth.

    Where I live the government has an active “breeding” program along with “fertility camps” for youngsters. It is not a policy I agree with.

    Personally I am against government intervention in people’s private lives but I think a sensible government should certainly be trying to ensure that there is a sustainable population. Regulating immigration is the least bad approach for this.

    And only the Tories harking back to Powell? Well, other parties are unlikely to envoke Enoch although I notice a certain Mr Brown nicked one of the classic calling cards of the BNP – “British Jobs for British workers” with hardly a whimper from the commetariat (to his credit I notice the John Rentoul broke cover a few days ago). But of course, you advocate handing out criticism on the basis of perceived motive, don’t you, so as long as you agree that he was trying to do the right thing then that’s OK …

  • Geoffrey Payne 6th Nov '07 - 9:56am

    Passing Tory, no use ascribing New Labour hypocracy to the Liberal Democrats. They pander to the racism of the tabloid press as much as the Tories.

  • passing (well, virtually live-in) tory 6th Nov '07 - 10:22am

    Geoffry,

    I was merely reacting to your point: “And it is only in the Tory party that you would get Tory MPs and PPCs who would hark back to Enoch Powell”. Now you seem to have changed your tune a bit and say that Labour are just as bad. Make your mind up, will you.

  • Andrew Duffield 6th Nov '07 - 10:24am

    Geoff – you say “I do not understand why a pure free market will be ecologically benign”.

    Simply because, within a fair and equitable fiscal framework, the market will value the planet’s resources appropriately.

    Such a framework requires government to establish and maintain it but, other than a few additional “sin taxes” to discourage us from over indulgence and self-harm, that should be enough.

    Getting the framework right in the face of the vested interests who will defend to the death (usually other people’s) their “right” to a free lunch at posterity’s expense is the tricky bit of course!

  • passing (well, virtually live-in) tory 6th Nov '07 - 10:48am

    Andrew,

    Are you really a Lib Dem PPC? with views like that?

  • dave porter 6th Nov '07 - 6:00pm

    enoch was right, and nigel hastilow should be supported 100%.

  • The reason I am posting on here is an appeal to all Lib Dems to start a campaign against Lord Carlile’s views. If you can force him to back away from endorsing any increase in 28 days then there is a better chance of killing the proposal. Carlile can probably influence 50+ Labour MPs to vote against it.

    It is up to Lib Dems to lean on Lord Carlile and lean on him hard.

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