Maggie Thatcher, the Tories and race relations


So what did Maggie think about race issues in the 70s and 80s. One of her key advisers, Alfred Sherman, had views on ethnic minority issues that would be regarded as slightly beyond the pale in our more inclusive times.   One such was that immigration had been from cultures that were alien to English values including “sex, honesty, public display and respect for the law”.

A recurring theme from Sherman was that waves of immigrants from ‘alien cultures’ had resulted in a loss of control of what it meant to be British.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because Margaret Thatcher similarly remarked in 1978 on TV that many Britons “fear rather being swamped by an alien culture”.

Behind Thatcher, on the Tory backbenches, views on immigration and race relations were a touch reactionary.  In one debate on immigration in the House of Commons on 5th July, 1976 –  some rum comments were made.

Winston Churchill’s grandson, who shared the same name but not the same glittering career as the war leader, thought the tolerance and generosity of the British people was being tested to the limit.

“We can not fail to recognise the deep bitterness that exists among ordinary people who one day were living in Lancashire and woke up the next day in New Delhi Calcutta or Kingston, Jamaica.”

During the 1976 debate, Churchill pointed out that a West Indian had told him at his MP’s surgery that he would remove his daughter from a school, which was 75% immigrant, because she had no chance of a ‘proper English education’.  Churchill added, “that man was as black as your coat, Mr Deputy Speaker”.

John Stokes, MP for Halesowen and Stourbridge claimed that a petition to the Home Office might be replied to in six weeks but an “immigrant leader” who wanted to see the Prime Minister would get an audience in two days.

He went on to claim that a vast gap existed between what he called the pro-immigrant camp – made up of race relations people, intellectuals, the media and do-gooders – and “the ordinary people who look to us in the House of Commons for protection”.

“They do not want a multi-racial society.  They do not believe that integration will work.”

And in case anybody thought that by immigration, the Commons debate might be referring to all those who entered the UK, George Rodgers – MP for Chorley – put them on the right track.  “The difficulties revolve around the colour of people’s skins.  We should bear that in mind and recognise the problem, not avoid it.”

And so it went on with Nicholas Winterton, MP for Macclesfield, even demanding that the then Labour government apologise to Enoch Powell for the comments they had made after his notorious 1968 anti-immigration ‘rivers of blood’ speech.

Three years later, the 1979 Conservative Manifesto would include proposals for toughening up of immigration policy directly under its promises on fighting crime.  It acknowledged that the ethnic minorities had made a valuable contribution to the life of the nation.

“But firm immigration control for the future is essential if we are to achieve good community relations”.

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One thought on “Maggie Thatcher, the Tories and race relations

  1. Yes we have Thatcher and Major to thank for all the Muslim hate preachers here in the UK. Abu Hamza given asylum in 1983, Omar Bakir given asylum in 1986, Abu Qatada given asylum in 1993, and there are many, many more.

    The swathes of immigrants from Asia, and North Africa who were given asylum in the UK by the Tory government between 1979 and 1997 is frightening. Most of those immigrants went on to have children, and they are now committing hideous crimes here in the UK. We refer to these offspring from immigrants as “Thatcher Babes”

    Typical examples include Michael Ayoade, The killers of drummer Lee Rigsby. The London tube bombers. The Oxford and Rochdale sex grooming gangs. The list is endless.

    The Thatcher government set up numerous Islamic schools and colleges around the UK to cater for the influx of Muslims she allowed into the UK. Those schools and colleges are now teaching radical Islam to up and coming Muslim children, so things will only get worse here in the UK.

    That woman has totally facked this country up good and proper, yet you still get idiots blaming Blair for the problem, when all of them were here in the UK years before Blair became PM.

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