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February 17, 2008


The Tory Troll

Another excellent post. Racism is usually strongest in areas with low immigration (compare Southampton to London). Also Britain was on its knees after the war and before mass immigration here. My father-in-law came over in the seventies to a country with regular blackouts, long dole-queues, and a situation where the only place you could get olive oil was at a pharmacy. 30 years later we are one of the wealthiest and diverse nations in the world, my next door neighbours are an extremely friendly family from Latvia, and my father-in-law has won 'doctor of the year.'


"just look how hostility to Ugandan Asians has faded since the 1970s."

You suggested Ugandan Asians as an example. But the same would be true for West Indians, say, or Pakistanis, depending on what years and location you picked.

Shame that the MSM's most prominent Ugandan Asian correspondent is unable to take a more reconciliatory view of British society, with the passage of time.

Or perhaps society's unease, fear or bitterness eases in part when individuals who won't change their views age and, eventually, lose influence? And there is little or no reverence for the oldest-aged, and their views, in Western society.


1) Who is Danny? How does introducing a new idea bring about social cohesion?
2) Why do we need Indians or Chinese, why can't we just enforce the laws we have about noise?
3) The Pub is a British institution. So your point is worthless. If anything people who don't go to the pub are AGAINST social cohesion. You imply that going to pub is bad and is anti-social. it is not. Drunkeness, inebrity, urininating in alleys, and violence is anti-social. But the local pub is not to blame.
4) So now Religion is a good thing?

Onto your second argument. I would say being British is purely where you're born / or consider home for your loyalty. But its also about fairness, rule of law etc. The fact is there's little ethnic integration in the UK. Where there is it is mostly black-white and a little Asian-white.

Bob B

Ah so. And what did happen with those mixed communities in places with legacy fault lines from history, places like Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia, Czecho-Slovakia, Afghanistan and Belgium? Are these places of social harmony as the theory would have us believe?


"However, there are two forces which can offset this tendency for immigration to increase the uncertainty of others' behaviour.
First, immigration can help in creating new social norms..."

If different groups of people in society have different social norms, which must be true when on such norm is spreading, surely this will increase the uncertainty of others behaviour. You will not know which social norms they are following.

“30 years later we are one of the wealthiest and diverse nations in the world.”

But we have not become more socially cohesive, Tory. And this is not a surprise: the more diverse a country, the greater the number of dividing lines within it. And more dividing lines will tend to mean more division, and less cohesion.


Indeed. Why else would one move from London to Oakham? You just want to live among the Poles.


What if you have a spanish (like myself) neighbour and you go to drink with a russian ? That would be really exciting.


With respect, these examples are all all very selective... There are counter observations for each. E.G. Why mention the positives of say Chinese neighbourhoods without mentioning the negatives of other groups which I am too much of a coward to mention bt leave to your common sense?


CD's argument seems to be that immigration is good when the immigrants have desirable behaviours. Especially - CD argues - immigration is good when the immigrants have better behaviours (on the whole, or in the most relevant respects) than the indigenous population.

This seems pretty obviously true.

I guess, though, that this argument would lead to controlling the quality of immigrants in order to get more superior immigrants and vice versa. Which is probably not be an argument in favour of immmigration per se, but an argument for improving the quality (skills, dispositions etc.) of people living in a particular country - ie. an argument for eugenics, as well as for encouraging high quality immigration.

It sounds rational, but maybe this is not what CD meant?

Mr Eugenides

There's a counter-argument; the more diverse our society, the less likely we are to support a system of heavy taxation and welfare.

Simply put, people are generally more predisposed to helping others the more alike they are. A native of Glasgow may be prepared to pay more taxes in return for a better state pension because he knows that the old folks in his part of town really need that money. He sees them struggling for money and wants to help.

He's less likely to sign up to that extra tenner a week off his wage slip if he thinks it's going to Poles or Somalis. He doesn't mix with very many people from ethnic minorities and believes tabloid stories about their criminality and fecklessness.

That's not to say that the tabloid stories are either true or false; merely that he doesn't have any first-hand evidence on which to construct an informed opinion.

I have no idea what the polling data shows, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a correlation between greater ethnic diversity in a society, and negative attitudes towards higher tax and spending.

Laban Tall

"Could it be then that the lack of social cohesion as a result of immigration is (just?) a temporary disequilibrium?"

Probably not.

That would apply to, say, a country with high immigration but a strong and self-confident host culture. The USA up to about 1970 would be an example - tensions while immigrants settle in and adjust to the new culture of the land they chose to live in.

But look at the UK. Looking at the waves of post-war immigration, your idea would have it that the longer-established the incoming group the greater the degree of 'social cohesion', however defined. Does that apply to the Afro-Caribbean (arrived 50s/60s) or Pakistani (60s/70s) communities ? Not only are a sizeable chunk of said community alienated from the natives, they're alienated from each other - as we saw in Aston a couple of years ago.

I think culture has to be involved somewhere. The Somalis and Kosovans haven't been here long, and, in line with your idea, there tends to be friction where they live.

Yet the Poles and Koreans, equally new here, aren't forming street gangs. Why ?


Immigrants can establish rules against excessive use of alcohol. If people are Muslim or American colleagues or friends, are less likely to socialize with them, spend a night in the pub.

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