Bernard Ingham: If thriftiness and pride in empire are sins, I confess

Is immigration to blame for Britain's woes?
Is immigration to blame for Britain's woes?
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SUCH is the way of the world that the time has come for me to confess my seven deadly sins, as the prevailing soppy mindset of the self-appointed elite will regard them.

First, I don’t think immigration is necessarily a good thing. It is welcomed as an economic necessity, an obligation in view of our imperial history, morally beneficial to integrate with other races and culture – if only they would! – and consistent with our past.

All this ignores the level of immigration since Tony Blair’s damaging premiership. It is far greater than the Jewish, West Indian and Uganda Asian influxes put together.

Far from being a racist, I seek to preserve racial harmony. That is difficult in a society as tolerant as the British
when immigrants are putting severe pressure on the NHS, schools and housing. Some writers see it as Britain, along with Europe, committing suicide. Immigration certainly needs to be controlled to secure peaceful integration and not welcomed as unthinking trendies maintain.

Second, my pride in the British Empire, warts and all. This puts me beyond the pale among those who want to “decolonise” legacies, education, culture, and in the process even tear down statues to those such as Cecil Rhodes. This attempt to erase history is all reminiscent of George Orwell’s thought police in 1984.

Name me another empire that was deliberately disbanded and converted into a Commonwealth of disparate nations. It is fashionable to decry our imperial past for its slavery – ignoring entirely the admirable lead by Hull’s very own William Wilberforce in abolishing it – and its exploitation of colonial people and resources.

But this ignores the general quality of our imperial governance and the legacy of democratic institutions. The world’s largest democracy – India – daily pays tribute to our past.

Third, my contempt for intellectual snobbery as practised by those who sneer at Tories, Margaret Thatcher, capitalism and Brexiteers. The Tories have embraced responsible capitalism and technology to the benefit of the common man and woman unmatched by even watered-down socialism with the possible exception of Clement Attlee’s tenure from 1945-51.

This makes the Marxist Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and his “virtue-signalling” merry men manifestly unfit for democratic government, given the millions their dogma has slaughtered, gulagged and been denied the capitalist West’s freedom and prosperity.

Intellectual snobbery is also at the root of Europhilia and makes those who embrace it look even treasonable. What on earth moves them to believe the EU is good for us? They need their head examining.

Fourth, I believe in living within my means and expect the nation to do so too. This is anathema to those, like Corbyn, who think all we have to do to secure world-class services is chuck money at them.

I am sick and tired of the mismanagement of the NHS, education, police and the legal process and not least local government with its overpaid executives and councillors who get £10,000 a year for just turning up.
They should stop blaming central government for their penury and look to their own efficiency and excessive rewards.

Fifth, I am completely at odds with political correctness as an offshoot of intellectual snobbery. The determination to find offence where none is intended is sickening. It causes me to worry about family upbringing and education. We have bred and in academia assiduously cultivated a “snowflake” generation entirely unprepared for the real world.

Sixth, I am no egalitarian. Man is not born equal, thank God. He comes into this world in infinite variety with different talents and aptitudes – or none. Instead, we should be tempering natural inequality by trying to equip everyone for a fuller life.

Finally, I abhor political inconsistency to the inevitable distress of some politicians I could mention. For example, they rail against bloated tycoons in industry and the City – some of whom richly deserve it – but never utter a
word about that financial scandal called soccer.

How can players be worth £500,000 a week – or whatever – to spend pretentiously on mansions , flash cars, an infinite variety of hairstyles and colours as well as stark shaven, regulation beards, especially among the bald, tattooed up to the eyeballs and masters of the dramatic art of diving and suffering the utmost agony?

On top of this common spectacle what do we find? Why, clubs neglecting the grass roots and charging ever more for seats. Years ago my postman could not afford to take his three sons to watch Crystal Palace.

By Jove, I feel better for that.