Socialist Worker

A tradition of lies about immigrants

Issue No. 2380

The idea that migrants coming to Britain disrupt “our way of life” isn’t new. It was put across most famously by Tory MP Enoch Powell in 1968.

Powell claimed he had received hundreds of letters from white residents in his Wolverhampton constituency who suffered because of immigration. 

He never produced the letters or evidence that their claims were true. Yet some of the complaints sound familiar. 

He said one told of a woman whose quiet street “became a place of noise and confusion” after “the immigrants moved in”.

“She is becoming afraid to go out,” the letter went on. “Windows are broken. She finds excreta pushed through her letter box.”

Powell was happy—like Blunkett—to predict that immigration would lead to violence. 

He said, “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding, like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.”

His academic references to Ancient Rome fail to cover his crude racism. His predictions of people from different backgrounds turning on each other were groundless. 

But politicians of all stripes continue to spew out similar lazy stereotypes about immigrants to this day. They are responsible for whipping up hate and violence—not migrants.

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