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On racism, immigration and Louise Mensch

May 26th, 2013

I’ve been busy these last few years, and this blog has been something of an extended hiatus, and I suppose I’ve been waiting for a topic to show itself that would spur me into restarting it; racism has done the job.

I started following Louise Mensch on Twitter after seeing her on Have I Got News From You, during which appearance she gave every indication of being an articulate and intelligent woman. I’m still happy with the “articulate” assessment, but increasingly she’s making me doubt the “intelligent.” I won’t dwell too long on her irritating low-level sexism; rather, it’s her UKIP-tastic racism that’s finally given me the drive to start opinionating online again.

“Wow! Another massive win for Theresa May. Immigration at its lowest for TEN YEARS.… Endlessly impressive Home Sec.” tweeted Ms Mensch yesterday, revealing a very clear, and surprisingly simplistic and un-nuanced — and very, very disappointing — take on immigration. Immigration, it would appear, is in and of itself a bad thing; lower immigration figures are an inherent good, it seems.

Speaking as a serial immigrant — a serial legal immigrant, before the obvious objection is raised — I find this a highly obnoxious attitude. Immigration is bad, according to Ms Mensch. So let’s keep Johnny Foreigner out, eh, Louise? Is that where we’re going with this?

Neither Ms Mensch’s tweet, nor the article to which it links, even manages to discriminate, in any meaningful way, between legal and illegal immigration — the article did appear, after all, in The Sun, and that level of sophistication would likely be beyond the reach of most of its readership. There is, I’ll admit, a passing hint in The Sun’s article suggesting that “encouraging the brightest and the best migrants who contribute to economic growth” might possibly not be entirely a bad thing, but we still have the stated goal of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, making a goal of reducing immigration to “the tens of thousands.” Even if six tens of thousands (that’s sixty thousand, if you’re a Sun reader; that’s a very big number, if you’re a UKIP member) arrive in the UK, that’s less than a tenth of one percent of the population.

So let’s face it — Louise Mensch has shown herself, most disappointingly, to be a Britain-for-the-British racist in no uncertain terms. I’ll still follow her on Twitter, just to see what other egregious nonsense she comes out with; in the meantime, I did try calling her out on her racism on Twitter, and I’ll be generous enough to assume that she’s simply been too busy to reply just yet.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this little bit of Little Britain-ness has been bothering me as it has. I think it’s because I have, myself, been an immigrant three times over — to Japan, then to the United States, and most recently, probably lastly, to New Zealand. I’ve made the move because there was a very good reason, each time, for me to do so. I was very grateful that each country would take me in, and I have disappointed, each time (although, to be fair, less so in New Zealand), when I have encountered the kind of blinkered, narrow-minded “we don’t want your type here” nationalism that Theresa May has made national policy and which Louise Mensch, who really ought to know better, is now championing and applauding.

In the meantime, let’s just consider where Louise Mensch lives. Ms Mensch was, until late last year, the Member of Parliament for Corby — the Conservative Member, not entirely shockingly. And why did she retire? Oh, that’s right — it’s so that she could move to New York. Where she is now an immigrant.

So there you have it. Immigration, according to Louise Mensch, is A Bad Thing. That’s Louise Mensch, immigrant.

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