If you think the heap of abuse being piled on Arizona is unique to America’s ethnically fractured politics, you should take a look at England. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is running for reelection, encountered yesterday a 66 year old woman who asked him why so many immigrants from Eastern Europe were receiving government benefits when so many Brits experiencing difficulties were unable to receive any assistance at all. She also asked why there were so many foreigners attending British universities, making it difficult for children like her own grandchildren to attend.
I don’t know the extent to which EU residents can claim British benefits when unemployed, but certainly the woman’s first question was a reasonable one, without any racial overtones about immigrants, and the comment about foreigners at taxpayer supported universities would also seem to be within the realm of polite discourse. Brown apparently did not agree. Not knowing that his microphone was still on, he muttered about how the woman was a “bigot” as he returned to his car.
For me the problem is one of government accountability. No one in government has ever asked the British people whether they want large scale immigration any more than anyone in Washington has ever posed that question to Americans about our 8 to 22 million illegals. Every major political party in both countries reflects the elite consensus view that immigration and “diversity” are good. Opinion polls reveal, however, that the elite view is far from popular, with up to 80% of the indigenous population in both countries opposed to large numbers of immigrants. For the average Brit as for the average American there is, unfortunately, no recourse. If you vote for one of the candidates who is actually likely to win in an election his position on immigration will likely be identical to that of his opponent.
In the essentially two party system prevailing in Britain and America, even when you vote the bum out you are just as likely to get another bum. If you voted for a Democrat or a Republican (or Conservative or Labour) in 2002 you still got a war with Iraq in the following year just as everyone’s vote will be irrelevant if America’s elites decide to go to war with Iran and the British poodle goes along for the ride.