Are we all racist now?

“…As Frank Field, that admirably plain-speaking Labour MP, told Wednesday’s Today programme on Radio 4, it was different when you had a European Union comprised of countries with very similar standards of living. The minute you gave drastically poor countries free entry to the UK, the inevitable happened. Since 1997, four million people have come to Britain – the equivalent of a city the size of Birmingham – yet there has been no concomitant expansion of roads, schools or hospitals. It explains why it is now easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to buy a coffee in England from a native English speaker.

It also explains why regions such as my own East Anglia voted Ukip so overwhelmingly last week. If places such as Peterborough turned purple with apoplexy, it is not because its residents are necessarily racist or because they saw in Nigel Farage the finest statesman since Winston Churchill. It is more likely to be because women in labour are often turned away by one of the region’s major maternity units, which has several times actually locked its doors, so difficult does it find a soaring, immigrant-driven birth rate. A midwife friend who was seconded there described conditions as “third-world”.

Until recently, it would have been “racist” to point this out. Four years ago in Rochdale, when Gillian Duffy challenged Gordon Brown on immigration, the affronted prime minister shied away and muttered darkly about that “bigoted woman”. It is quite clear now who was the bigot. Brown was typical of a political class that became shamefully biased against its own people. In thrall to a post-war European ideal, they had scant interest in the difficulties and discomfort it caused ordinary people on the ground. If anyone complained, simply shut them up by hissing “bigot” or “racist”.

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