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May 14, 2018


Handy Mike

I do indeed make exactly the same criticism of you. And not for your support of Labour, but for your Marxism - by far the graver associational stain.

I'm not at all convinced that the proportion of nutters, creeps and thugs who line up with you on the sort of Labour policies and politicians you favour is smaller than the proportion of baddies in the Brexit/Anti-immigration demographic.

But when it comes to Marxism you really are in some awful company. The information value of which is... high.


So because all immigration controls will be to some extent abused, we should have no immigration controls at all. But then surely you would be responsible by association for any negative consequences of unlimited immigration?

Luis Enrique

I don't think it's just that the ideas that they supported were largely supported by bad people that led to predictably bad outcomes for a policy that might otherwise have been benign. There were arguments that Brexit would result in us giving up our say in things we nonetheless have to abide by, that had nothing to do with the nature of the supporters of Brexit and everything to do with the menu of choices the EU would offer us.

(I don't even know what a hostile environment policy implemented by nice people means)

Dave Timoney

Anti-austerity is not essential to big-staters, nor is support for co-ops essential to anti-semites. Where an idea is tainted by association with bad people, this is because the idea is definitional for those people, not because they incidentally support it for personal or quixotic reasons.

For example, the idea that the police or secret services should able to ignore the law in support of a higher authority (a state of exception) is definitional to Fascism, which is why politicians who bemoan democracy and due process can justifiably be accused of Fascist tendencies. On the other hand, Gosplan, the gulags and the Cultural Revolution are not definitional to socialism (let alone Marxism), whatever Handy Mike might think. Socialists en masse are therefore not guilty by association with Lenin, Stalin and Mao.

The issue with David Goodhart is his insistence that we should be hostile to illegal immigration (i.e. tough on crime). In fact, good law is dispassionate. When anger becomes policy, mistakes will be made, as various miscarriages of justice proved well before the Windrush scandal. His hyprocrisy arises from his insistence that we can debate immigration coolly (see his recent criticism of David Lammy on this point) while he provides an intellectual justification for a visceral distaste of foreigners. He wants the luxury of indulging rhetorical violence without getting blood on his hands.

Daniel Hannan is, as many have pointed out, a fantasist, who was never happier than when he could berate the EU without any prospect of his jeremiads having any effect. He has been hoist by his own idiot petard.

Ralph Musgrave

I’m grateful for being informed by Chris that “the fact that a policy is supported by racists…..alerts us to the type of policy we’ll get.” The Labour Party is clearly racist: a million Muslims killed in Iraq for no good reason, anti-semitism, etc. I conclude that all Labour policies are liable to be thoroughly wicked and evil. Hope I got that right.


Chris - I suspect critics of your support for Labour's economic policies would have a hard time proving they were antisemitic. But it won't stop them trying...


I doubt David Goodhart is anti-immigrant. But what he said before the referendum showed surprising foresight: that mass movement of foreign workers entering Britain from eastern expansion were likely to put pressure on its EU membership. He said this when nobody seriously thought that Brexit would happen, in fact there was barely any talk about the referendum. The consequence of this action is not only Brexit, but severe controls on non-EU immigration (because immigration with the sudden dramatic increase made it a political issue of which the parties felt compelled to respond). The dysfunctional Home Office had to meet targets it could not possibly meet. The Windrush scandal is an example of the predictable fallout. The biggest tragedy is that the immigration targets have meant we have had to cut right back on refugee intake - that is where, like Merkel, we should be much more open and compassionate (and actually I think you could win public support for immigration if you gave compassionate reasons - as Merkel did.)

The hyper-globalisation establishment of Portes and Blaire et al were far too blase - and we have had exactly the falllout Goodhart warned of.


Just to add to the above: Goodhart is a staunch supporter of the EU. Three years ago in a debate with Portes over eastern European labour flows - he said he "wanted to save the European Union". Brexit is a huge blow to him.

If only people listened.



My criticism of Hannan (echoed by Elledge) is that he actively campaigned and helped persuade people to vote Leave, then says he has no responsibility for the resulting mess. "We broke it but we don't own it." This is different than saying he shouldn't have supported Leave because of the other characters involved.


The logic of this post is that there is a world where we can avoid any bad consequences of policy; but there isn't.

Take the wave of black-on-black gang related murders of young men in London and increasingly elsewhere. Many people close to this say the absence of fathers is a critical part of the problem in that young men are born violent and need to be taught by their fathers how to negotiate society peacefully. But suggest that single parent families are a bad policy idea and the response is that women shouldn't have to put up with abusive partners, unfaithful husbands etc etc. But there isn't a nice easy solution to thsi as the wave of murders demonstrates. At some point, political choices tend to be between different flavours of bad choices. Pretending there are worlds with no such problems isn't doing anyone any favours.

The left are particularly bad at taking responsibility; at some point, all left-wing politics ends up being about blaming others for bad outcomes.


Dipper - that's not my readibg of the logic of this post.... I think it's the oppositre actually.

He's criticising people that support hostile environment type policies and then blame poor implementation when these policies hurt people they shouldn't - eg windrush. His point being that people should know that poor implementation and hurting other people is likely to happen and take this into consideration when supporting policies or not.

In another post he set out the choice between -

A. hostile immmigration policy that will hust more people it shouldn't

B. less hostile policy that will let in more people it shouldn't.

DEscribing it as "which mistake do we want to make" or something like that anyway

Dave Timoney


David Goodhart's claim that he isn't anti-immigrant depends on two things:

First, a strawman that equates anti-immigration with racism. "I am not a racist", says Goodhart, "ergo I cannot be anti-immigrant". This leads him to react with outrage when others point to the ethnic dimension of the policy in practice, for example, accusing David Lammy of "racialising" the Windrush issue and Akala (on BBC QT) of a "racial grievance outburst". He refuses to distinguish between intentions and consequences.

Second, he is not an advocate of zero immigration but of an instrumental policy that picks and chooses immigrants to suit perceived national need. This includes prioritising the highly-skilled and channeling the low-skilled towards "antisocial hours visas". But though this sounds like a purely economistic approach, it has an obvious class dimension, assuming that "professionals" are easier to integrate and that the native middle class are more tolerant.

Goodhart's basic premise is that low-skilled (i.e. working class) immigration is economically and culturally destabilising and therefore people (the native working class, in particular) have legitimate grounds for opposing it. This is hardly an original claim. The spin he gave it in the early 00s was that the welfare state depends on solidarity, which in turn arises from cultural affinity. As many critics at the time pointed out, the solidarity in question actually arises from common class interests, not culture, but class was a dirty word under New Labour.

I don't believe Goodhart is a racist, or that he is anti-immigrant in the simple sense of xenophobic, but I do believe he is anti-immigrant in a particular sense. He is a middle class bigot who fetishes an antiquated ideal of the "white working class" and finds the non-white working class uncongenial. In this he is little different to the Victorians who deplored Irish immigrants to the UK as socially destabilising and culturally incompatible.


Is being against large-scale immigration from Eastern Europe racist? It may be xenophobic, but not "racist" in the usual meaning of the term. The distinction may explain why some of those opposed to recent immigration indignantly deny that they are racists.

derrida derider

"The fact that their causes are associated with led by bad people was a strong clue that they were indeed bad ideas."

Fixed. Hitler was a vegetarian, but he was not the instigator of vegetarianism. If he had been we might, given the other things we know about Hitler, be inclined to believe vegetarianism is indeed a bad idea.


"Socialists en masse are therefore not guilty by association with Lenin, Stalin and Mao."

Hmmmm....with Castro, Guevara, Chavez, Mugabe, Nyerere, Kirchner then...?

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