Leading article

The Conservatives should be the party of immigrants — and here’s how they can be

21 March 2015

9:00 AM

21 March 2015

9:00 AM

For a long while, the Conservatives have been puzzled about their lack of popularity among immigrants. In theory, the Conservative party should be the natural home of new voters who are ambitious, entrepreneurial, hard-working and family-orientated. The immigrant vote — to the extent it can be considered a coherent block at all — ought to be fertile Tory territory. By and large, these are families who have moved to Britain to get ahead and to avail themselves of what Michael Howard called ‘the British dream’.

Yet at the last election fewer than one in five ethnic minority voters endorsed Conservative candidates and the party is unlikely to fare much better in May. Sajid Javid, the son of a Pakistani immigrant, admits that his friends and family were amazed when he joined the Tories rather than Labour. The objection was not ideological, but because they suspected — as do many other immigrants and children of immigrants — that the Tories just don’t like them. They assume that Conservatives are the party of the establishment, and suspicious of all newcomers.

Lord Bates, a Home Office minister, exacerbated the problem this week by suggesting that immigrants were having too many children. He cited the well-known statistic that a quarter of British births are to immigrant mothers — then added, ‘That is why we need to reduce immigration.’ This is an absurd notion and exactly the wrong approach for Conservatives to take. It was right of the campaign group Migration Watch UK to point out that immigrants to Britain tend to have more children than people born here and that this must be considered when assessing the impact of immigration. But the problem is not the healthy birth rate — it’s the government’s failure to respond and to make provision for the next baby boom.


Right across Europe, countries are worrying about low fertility rates. The panic is justified: as the population ages, more workers will be needed to support those who have retired. Italy and Russia are facing demographic timebombs. Britain has no such concerns. Nor, despite what neo-Malthusians say, is this island full. There remains ample room for new housing, even in the south-east. Of course, a growing population places pressure on public services — but that’s where good government comes in. A competent administration estimates how many children there will be, and provides enough schools and other public services. Our government’s failure to do so has put pressure on school places, especially in London where half the children entering primaries this year will have foreign-born mothers.

There is an obvious solution: if bureaucrats cannot provide enough schools, let money follow pupils and allow far more free schools to meet the demand. Proper health reform should also allow GPs to open clinics where demand is the highest, and to compete for patients.

If Britain is seen as one of the best places to live and work in Europe, that’s all to the good. We would have greater cause to worry if immigrants were huddled in Dover, desperate to get to France. Conservatives should be proud of a country that is so welcoming, so tolerant, so adaptable and so ready for the modern world.

Why Bibi won

The re-election of Benjamin (‘Bibi’) Netanyahu in Israel has not gone down well in the chancelleries of Europe, let alone the White House. During his terms of office, a majority of western politicians and commentators have become opposed to Netanyahu, viewing him as an obstacle to peace. BBC reporters claimed that his win was down to ‘scare tactics’. The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said he found Bibi’s success ‘depressing’.

But the election results are a reminder that, although outside the country there is a vast industry focused on the unresolved Israel-Palestinian border dispute, inside Israel other issues dominate. Fifteen years after the failure of negotiations at Camp David, Israeli politics is (as in every other western democracy) dominated by the cost of living, house prices and income inequality. Like his left-wing opponents, Netanyahu has promised to address these concerns.

It is undeniable that a win by his opponents would have allowed Israel to catch its breath in the court of international opinion. But any cheer would not have lasted long, because even the election of the left-of-centre Zionist Union would not have altered the nature of Hamas. Nor would the election of the ‘progressive’ Isaac Herzog have created a serious negotiating partner in the West Bank. We can’t just blame Bibi for the lack of peace in the Middle East.

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Show comments
  • Roger James Michael Sutherland

    Sick, sick people, these Spectator editors.

    • Mark

      Surely Conservative means God, Church, Queen and Country meaning the preservation of our green and pleasant land and ensuring a fair share of the wealth of the nation created by the enterprise and labour of her loyal, native people.

  • John Carins

    Never forget what the Tories did to marriage. Their approach to immigration is and will continue to be the same neo-Liberal tosh.

    • tjamesjones

      what does neo-Liberal mean, John?

      • John Carins

        Whatever you want it to mean matey.

        • tjamesjones

          thought so, normally it’s “i haven’t got a clue”

  • WillyTheFish

    ” …. the natural home of new voters who are ambitious, entrepreneurial, hard-working and family-orientated.”

    Such people are not a problem. However, the reality of mass third world immigration is child rape and benefit theft on an industrial scale. Add tax payer subsidised scab labour from the EUSSR and you have some idea of the scale and severity of the problem.

    • whs1954

      It’s nice but ultimately racist of all these white liberals to view immigrants, especially those from South Asia, through the patronising prism of ‘the man at the corner shop’. In their enclaves they think all South Asian immigrants are Mr Patel who runs the corner shop who is, as the Spec editorial-writer puts it here “ambitious, entrepreneurial, hard-working and family-orientated” (the latter, by the way, usually is a code word meaning patriarchal, misogynistic and homophobic).

      In reality, South Asian immigrants are not uniformly corner-shop-man who unfailingly gets up at 5am to sell the Sun, but have a higher rate of unemployment and benefit claimancy, and are more likely to live in a household where the man is the head, the woman does the cooking and knows her place, and they end up with 5 or 6 kids because the husband views sex as his right.

      But someone who lives in an exclusive, white enclave a la Hampstead and gets paid six figures to write editorials for a national magazine, is hardly going to have a real idea what life is like for immigrants in Whitechapel – or indeed for their neighbours.

  • Teacher

    People from outside the UK bring their own culture, values, religion, history and aspirations which are pursued at the expense of those who live here. In return, ‘native’ culture, values, religion, history and aspirations are devalued and buried, indeed, in many cases are rigorously persecuted by those seeking to mollify the incomers. There are few children now who do not know that the Notting Hill Carnival is nothing to do with truly English cuture or who could tell you who ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ is.

  • Chris Reynolds

    This nonsense is why I gave up on the Economist. With the
    words “this is an absurd notion”, it dismisses any concern of overcrowding
    and social disintegration. Rather than packing more people in though ‘the
    estimations of good government’, politicians should act on well-founded desire
    of 75% of people to reduce immigration.

    Enough of these half-baked sermons please Spectator, I was just starting to like you.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      Agree – The Economist is the voice of the corporate world so its lack of interest in such quaint ideas as cultural continuity, nationhood and patriotism is inevitable. I wonder what The Spectator’s excuse is.

      • mohdanga

        I have read several articles in The Economist espousing more immigration, ‘enrichment’, open borders, etc. Quite puzzling given the magazine is supposed to espouse less gov’t spending, debt, deficits, etc. They certainly close their eyes to the financial and social costs of mass immigration.

  • tjamesjones

    “In theory, the Conservative party should be the natural home of new voters who are ambitious, entrepreneurial, hard-working and family-orientated”

    I agree!

  • Malcolm Stevas

    “Conservatives should be proud of a country that is so welcoming, so tolerant, so adaptable and so ready for the modern world.”
    I nearly laughed out loud. It reads like a LibDem cliché uttered by some ardent internationalist, inclusivist Guardian reader.
    We are indeed tolerant, adaptable and – if unshackled from interfering government and punitiive taxation – more than ready to continue making our way in the “modern world”. But we have already welcomed – well, our political class has, without consulting us – huge numbers of immigrants. Not just those relatively few, readily assimilated, keen to fit in “ambitious, entrepreneurial, hard-working and family-orientated” types either.
    We’ve just heard about that academic study of genetic demography in these islands, confirming the remarkable continuity of our ancestry and culture built by a tight-knit group of NW European peoples. The arrival of very large numbers of folk from Africa & Asia, with utterly different cultural values, and which has transformed
    much of our urban geography, seems almost deliberately designed to undermine
    us.
    Immigration? Fine: let’s have all the doctors, IT experts, highly qualified professionals with rare skills, and so on, whom we need, preferably from Anglophone countries or Europe, so they fit in – and want to fit in. We really don’t want mass immigration any more.
    The Spectator fails completely to mention a fundamental truth: it’s really not just about work or money, or banal injunctions to build more houses on top of all that boring green countryside (so pointless, my dear, full of rustics who kill things). It’s about preserving ourselves as a people.
    Seems rather simple of those ethnic minorities to “..assume that Conservatives are the party of the establishment, and suspicious of all newcomers,” when that Party laid the foundations for Labour’s criminal opening of the floodgates earlier this century. And if The Spectator is anything to go by, the Conservatives are happy for our ethnic minorities to be major contributors to a baby boom, too. But perhaps they’ll all run away to Syria.

    • Larry in Arabia

      Great response to an inane article.

  • Hippograd

    For a long while, the Conservatives have been puzzled about their lack
    of popularity among immigrants.

    Just like the Republicans in the US.

    In theory, the Conservative party should
    be the natural home of new voters who are ambitious, entrepreneurial,
    hard-working and family-orientated.

    Again, just like the Republican party in the US.

    The immigrant vote — to the extent
    it can be considered a coherent block at all — ought to be fertile Tory
    territory.

    And again — just like etc etc.

    By and large, these are families who have moved to Britain to
    get ahead and to avail themselves of what Michael Howard called ‘the
    British dream’.

    A.k.a. known as the “American dream”. Heavens, it is puzzling how these “natural conservatives” on both sides of the Atlantic persist in voting for the left. It’s almost as tho’ the left will pander to them more.

    Still, the solution is obvious: pander to them so hard that the left can’t keep up. The Tories can win the votes of all those hard-working entrepreneurs in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale etc if they just try a bit harder for a bit longer. After all, look at how well they’ve self-started their child-prostitution rings and disdained to rely on the state. Natural conservatives!

  • James

    Immigration is fine for those who want cheap nannies and garden extensions but, does not help our housing crisis, welfare crisis, NHS crisis, jobs market for nationals. We’ve only imported 27,000 skilled workers.

    • mohdanga

      People on these boards often talk about Canada’s vaunted points system….there was a little reported article last year that the gov’t includes spouses and children as part of the ‘skilled’ category if the one spouse applying for residency is applying as a ‘skilled worker’. So if Mohammed Abdul gets in because he is supposedly a say, welder, his wife and 5 children are all counted as ‘skilled’ as well, allowing the gov’t to trumpet that ‘most of our immigrants are skilled’. In fact only about 10% of Canada’s intake of 250,000 is skilled….we are headed for disaster.

      • James

        We need to get out of the EU.

  • scampy

    Taking uneducated third world immigrants who will never work and spend their lives sucking on welfare is a recipe for disaster?
    Singapore takes immigrants who qualify for work permits and certainly not robbers and rapist drug dealers like UK?

  • jim

    You really do hate white people,don’t you?What did we ever do to you?

  • Richard

    I am certain you will find that most Eastern European migrants will vote Tory. It is the voters from the Third World who will vote Labour. We already know they overwhelmingly do so. Labour promises them sweeties, which they desperately need, not being able, by and large, to compete on the job-front. This is not a complicated picture to understand.

    Does the Spectator really think that it is Britain’s best interest to have enormous numbers of immigrants from Islamic countries, for instance? If it does, perhaps it could explain why.

  • MikeH

    “But the problem is not the healthy birth rate — it’s the government’s
    failure to respond and to make provision for the next baby boom.”

    If they come we will build it logic? Red Ed’s 3,000 extra midwives may well be needed as Third-World breeders replicate their Third-World breeding practices seemingly unabated and even encouraged, right here in good old Blighty.

  • Call me TC

    Immigrants are not here to help us; they’re here to replace us. And the Spectator thinks we should be on the sidelines cheering them on.

  • edlancey

    Exactly the sort of article that exposes the Spectator as a dripping wet waste of space.

  • Nanko Costers

    In theory, the Conservative party should be the natural home of new voters who are ambitious, entrepreneurial, hard-working and family-orientated

    Entrepreneurial like Grant Shapps, hard-working like Andrew Lansley, and family-oriented like Alan Duncan 😀

  • Nexialist

    Yes, the tory party should stand up for ambitious immigrants, anxious to better
    themselves in a land of tolerance and enterprise, but only if they qualify for the strictly applied ‘managed migration schedules’ which must be introduced and enforced to control our borders. A 10-year moratorium on non-EU immigration would be also be a useful corrective and might stabilize the situation, while we re-write the employment laws and start to take care of our own people, not everybody else’s. Fact is we do not need any more low grade, low skill, non-English speaking, drones and drudges from the tiers monde, most of whom end up on benefits. It makes no sense to offer an open door to 4-5 million Muslims from Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other islamic slop holes to replace our white working class with a parasitic underclass, as Labour did, and thereby hasten our own extinction. We must do as Bibi has done, confront the issue head on, say no to open borders, no to a two state solution, no to Obama and his cadres of Muslim Brotherhood/Cair advisers, and no to the mullahs and the Iranian nuclear bomb. Also, it is worth reflecting, as has Daniel Pipes, that ” no Arabic-speaking Muslims identified themselves as “Palestinian” until 1920, when, in rapid order this appellation and identity was adopted by the Muslim Arabs living in the British mandate of Palestine”. (See http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2011/12/newt-gingrich-and-the-invented-palestinian-people#Huckabee).

  • AverageGuyInTheStreet

    Trouble is the bastards have been playing How Many Millions Of Immigrants Can We Flood Britain With Before Everything’s Broken, and we’re pretty well at the finish line of that little race to the bottom.

  • Mark

    Oh dear, we have seen the Telegraph gradually morphing into the Guardian and haemorrhaging paying readers, I hope we will not be seeing the Spectator sliding towards the New Statesman with a similar effect.

    The more unpopular the mix of open borders capitalism and “progressive” politics becomes the more entrenched its propaganda.

    But now the readers can find news elsewhere…..

    • AgZarp

      Do you think the Spectator unusually ‘touchy feely’ when it comes to Islam and immigration recently? I’m not a regular reader, but that’s the impression I have.

    • Call me TC

      ‘All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.’

      • Mark

        Not so sure about that. The Labour Party used to be left wing, now it supports PFI and recently supported “light touch regulation” of the City and the rights of people to “become filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes”.

        What I think we are seeing is a concensus shared by all 3 parties (formerly known as main) built around EU membership, secular social democratic values combined with extremist leftist views on immigration, feminism and homosexuality, combined with acquiescence to the demands of big business and the rights of the extremely wealthy to be left alone.
        Of course this is unsustainable as the lefts totalitarian instincts and desire for control become more pronounced, and as the mass importation of observant muslims creates tensions over the “social” programme set out above.

  • Dan O’Connor

    The System has an on/ of switch for the existence of race , which doesn’t exist until it does .

    Example ;

    Discussing immigrant crime rates ; = Race does not exist
    Affirmative action for non-Whites ; = Race exists
    Whites have rights also , = Race does not exist
    ” The BBC is hideously White ” . = Race exists
    ” The British have always been a mixed multi racial mongrel race of featherless bipeds and third world immigrants from Afrca and Asia, with no sense of a unique and particular historical , ancestral, mythological identity , and that’s why it’s just a clod of dirt with no more significance than any other and belongs to anyone who can breed enough to occupy it = Race doesn’t exist .

    Ever get the feeling that we have been had ?

  • Marvin

    We need ultra mass immigration because the birth rate is down, then one day you leave the house to do some shopping or buy a paper and cannot see anyone that looks like you. But you don’t realise that the whole country is the same. There is only one way this will end. “Rivers of blood”

  • Marvin

    Maybe Cameron and his cohorts are trying the labour tactics from their thirteen years of mass immigration, in letting in as many migrants as possible including the one’s pouring in from Calais in the hope that they would vote for the Tories. These privileged extremely rich morons will never be affected in their gated fortresses, so who cares when the population reaches 150million?

  • david

    Well Custard Shameron certainly does not represent the English people

  • Larry in Arabia

    Oxford University researchers estimated in a 2013 report that 47% of jobs will likely be replaced by smart machines. We are importing millions of immigrants for future jobs that won’t exist.

  • mike_in_brum

    The way I see it, if you are pro-immigrants, you are against the native Britons. I surely don’t accept this. More immigration = annihilation and genocide of the natives. We’ll end up like the American Indians, in reserves managed by the foreign elite.

  • Mitzi

    People are already fearful for the UK and the overflow of immigrants that have brought nothing to enhance the country but are a drain on the resources we have. A country can be enriched with immigration if it’s the right sort not the hordes we see on every street corner waiting for what? Let those who think we can accommodate one and all take a trip to the places these people are milling about in, then they can comment fairly.

  • ilPugliese

    “There remains ample room for new housing, even in the south-east.” Well that was easy to say.

  • scepticeu

    Bet there are not many migrants living were the Tory people live.

  • Emilia

    I mislaid my copy so have only just read this article, and I am so shocked (by the first part) that I have seriously considered cancelling my long-standing subscription. I never thought to read such rubbish from a publication which I thought to be respectable, sensible and – well- ‘British’. I hope this is an aberration and I will not have to read such stuff again. It doesn’t seem to have gone down well with other readers either, judging by the comments below. I wonder if the editor reads them. PLEASE explain how this leader came to be written.

  • Charles

    I couldn’t disagree more.This crap sounds like something you would read in the Guardian.Was considering a sub to Spectator–will NOT subscribe to pc, multicult nonsense.Fraser Nelson is a bad boy.

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