To explain popular racism we have to stop explaining it away, and look instead at the conditions that make sense of it
“It is not prejudiced to worry about immigration,” Ed Miliband suggests. Possibly. But no one is worried about immigration. Yes, 77% of people in the UK want immigration reduced, and 56% want it “reduced a lot” – but this is not worry or concern, rather a hardening anti-immigrant consensus.
As to whether this is prejudiced, the evidence is clear: polling shows that most people have a negative opinion of immigration, despite them not having any negative experience of it. In fact, people in areas with most immigrants are least likely to express anti-immigrant sentiment.
Popular hostility toward immigrants is determined by the perceived big picture, which polling data also shows most people get badly wrong. These errors are not neutral. The fact that people greatly overestimate the proportion of immigrants who are asylum seekers, for instance, matters largely because of the culture of suspicion and disbelief about refugees.
I know the Guardian is not interested in my opinion but here goes anyway: It is part human nature to wish to live with your own close kin—that is how we evolved and it is part of human nature. Just as with the Left’s last project—Communism—it is again fighting human nature.
But that is not the whole story: I have seen for myself that certain immigrant groups can live quite happily in the West without creating riots and violence. But worldwide, Muslims are disliked. Disliked by every group they come in contact with. May I suggest they make poor immigrants, in large groups? (This does not mean that every single Muslim is undesirable—but once you get a certain number of them, they start to become demanding and, frankly, obnoxious.)
Add to that the fact the UK is a small and crowded place and the answer would seem to frigging obvious, unless you are clueless leftist.