Boris' new Policy Director on race and Hackney
Boris Johnson has just appointed Anthony Browne, fresh from directing David Cameron's favourite think tank Policy Exchange, as his Director of Policy.
I'm not sure we can expect a sensitive approach to policy questions regarding race and migration from Mr Browne, given the views he has expressed about these matters (and about my home borough of Hackney) here in the Spectator.
Personally I found his little essay incredibly offensive. There are many things wrong with Hackney (though the charge sheet on the first page of Mr Browne's article was 5 years out of date even when he wrote it in 2005). One of the things that is right about my borough though, and really works, is that it functions pretty well as a model of a multifaith and multiethnic community. People live along side each other in relative peace and harmony and on the whole they appreciate and enjoy this diversity.
Amongst the gems in his piece (sub-headed "People like to live among their own kind") are:
"Many on the Left ... believe that the only way to end racism is to end races; the only way to conquer Nazism, they argue, is mass miscegenation" (I've never heard anyone on the left say this!
"The champions of diversity ultimately believe that our future is not as a species with many races, but with one race — a quarter Chinese, a quarter Indian, a quarter African and a quarter European."
"The eternal human urge for self-segregation — surrounding yourself with people like you — is likely to triumph over the more ephemeral economic and political incentives to leave what you know."
"It is not Hackney that is the future of the world, but Japan."
"Sharing the same language, culture and values as the people you come into daily contact with may not be excitingly multicultural, but it means you end up with deeper relationships, a sense of community, belonging and security."
"The white flight — or white self-segregation — which is such a feature of US cities is now endemic in the UK, with hundreds of thousands of white Briton’s (sic) fleeing the effects of the government’s open border policy on London each year."
"The slowing of mass migration is good for those who appreciate real diversity. The decline of diversity within countries preserves the diversity between them."
Do Hackney's Tory Councillors, eight out of nine of whom are from minority faith and ethnic communities, know about the views of their London Mayor's Policy Director about the model of community harmony represented by our borough?
The appointment of someone who has such a disparaging take on the benefits of immigration and multiculturalism to the position of Policy Director to the Mayor of a city that has benefited from and been characterised by mass immigration and multiculturalism is a very odd move and will add to the unease London's BME communities already feel about Boris.