Bill Carmichael: Better to repent now than never

THERE is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than in 99 just persons who need no repentance.

So let joy be doubled this week, because we have had not one repenting sinner, but two! David Blunkett and Jack Straw were leading figures in the last Labour government which threw open the nation’s borders to unfettered immigration.

The intention, according to a senior adviser to Mr Blunkett and Mr Straw when they served as Home Secretary, was to rub the people’s noses in diversity – although this was never admitted at the time.

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Anyone who dared suggest that such a policy would increase unemployment and depress wages among their working class constituents, and place intolerable burdens on housing, schools and hospitals, was smeared as a racist and a bigot.

In other words this was a deliberate, politically motivated campaign of social engineering designed to fundamentally alter the culture and character of Britain, whether the indigenous population liked it or not.

Well, Mr Blunkett and Mr Straw certainly got their wish, and guess what? They don’t like the results one tiny bit.

This week Mr Straw finally admitted that Labour’s decision to open our borders to immigrants from Eastern Europe was a “spectacular mistake”.

Unlike virtually every other EU country, including France and Germany, Britain under Labour refused to place restrictions on immigrants working for seven years.

Ministers estimated the impact would be relatively small – between 5,000 and 13,000 newcomers a year. In the event this proved a gross underestimate and it is believed more than a million people arrived in one of the largest waves of immigration this country has ever witnessed.

“Lots of red faces, mine included,” as Mr Straw says in his mea culpa.

Meanwhile Mr Blunkett made a grim warning that there could be rioting on the streets of his Sheffield constituency because of the influx of Slovakian Roma immigrants. He called for “tough and robust” action to persuade the Roma community in the Page Hall area of the city to change their behaviour by sending their children to school and stopping dumping rubbish on the street.

And in a display of shameless brass neck Mr Blunkett also accused the current government of “burying their heads in the sand” over the scale of Roma immigration into the UK. In other words he wants the coalition Government to clear up the mess that he helped to create.

It seems it is gradually beginning to dawn on these Labour stalwarts that their past policy was an unmitigated disaster – particularly for the working class communities they claim to represent. Still, it is better to face reality late than never, and it is nice to have you both on board, guys. But what a pity you didn’t listen to your critics – and there were plenty of them – back in the time when you were in a position to do something about it.

And don’t forget – things are about to get even worse when restrictions on 21 million Romanians and nine million Bulgarians working and claiming benefits in the UK come to an end on January 1 next year.

Gunpoint socialism

Venezuela should be one of the richest countries on the globe, blessed as it is with natural resources that make it the world’s fifth largest exporter of oil. Instead there is desperate poverty, widespread shortages of food and medical supplies and inflation is running at 50 per cent.

This week President Nicolas Maduro, who took over from left-wing hero Hugo Chavez in April, sent the army into shops to enforce Ed Miliband-style price controls. Shopkeepers forced to sell goods at below cost price at the point of a gun have now vowed to stop trading entirely – making the shortages even worse.

Isn’t socialism wonderful?