Dele Ogun came to Britain from Nigeria aged 7. He is now a lawyer, practising in London and a keen campaigner against the top/down federalism imposed on Nigeria by British civil servants and against the top/down federalism imposed on Britain through the EU by British civil servants and politicians. He has given his permission for this letter to be circulated.
"The Nigeria experience shows that it is hard enough to integrate cultures within a shared race, it is harder still to integrate races. A permanent under-class with a colour badge is always a dangerous thing to leave lying around. This was my mother's take on the matter when I spoke with her earlier today (although her words were not so high-brow).
These troubles have come as no surprise to me. The seeds were sown in the short-sighted post-colonial policies that sponsored and propped-up crooks and bad leaders in the former colonies just so that the gravy would continue to flow. The Foreign-Office failed to see that the children of the lands thus blighted would be left with no alternative but to find their way to the Mother country and that unless opportunities here were opened up quickly (i.e through affirmative action) to absorb the new arrivals, resentment would simmer. If there were opportunities in the West Indies and Nigeria etc most of those on the streets would not be here.
These riots happened on a smaller scale in Tottenham 25 years ago. There is every certainty that they will happen again and again with increasing incidence and intensity if all that is done is to offer more grants to fund youth-centres and mentoring schemes. The solution needs to be much more far-sighted. The solution lies where the problem was created, in the Foreign Office. It requires a truly ethical foreign-policy that recognises a shared interest in a peaceful Britain and in viable former colonies. It requires recognising that the tide of immigration is best arrested, and then reversed, by advice and support that will leave these former colonies viable so as to attract their people back home (which is where they really want to be). This is not to be done by DFID giving Nigeria, for example, with all our wasted oil-billions, "financial aid" but by sharing political experience such as the Devolution Bill to manage our own internal contradictions that were created by the colonial encounter."
I would suggest that our political elite would do well to let their minds dwell once again, on the words: " A permanent under-class with a colour badge is always a dangerous thing to leave lying around".
Cristina Odone, who - in this article - writes in the manner of the Telegraph's 'token leftie' Mary Riddell, seems to be confused in her reasoning. She writes that the burgeoning immigrant community has been caricatured as anti-gay, anti-women, and dangerously intolerant; that traditionalists suspect that the Muslim influx, in particular, threatens to destroy the already fragile hold of our Judeo-christian traditions; that in the tight-knit enclaves peopled by Kurds, Sikhs, Poles and others, a strong sense of community does survive; and finally, that amongst these immigrants marriage is the model they live by and aspire to, continuing that divorce is almost nil, single motherhood ditto.
Just where has this woman been? Not all immigrants have been caricatured as anti-gay, anti-women and dangerously intolerant - just sections of the Muslim immigrant community, likewise it is that same group that have threatened to destroy our society. Does Odone's admission that there are 'tight-knit' enclaves of immigrants not confirm that what I term 'ghettoisation' exists? Is it not a fact that within certain sections of our immigrant community arranged marriages are the 'norm' and in which is virtually impossible for a woman to obtain a divorce? Is it not true that arranged marriages are a fact and because of that, single motherhood is rare? It is understandable that Odone either felt it necessary to write in favour of immigrants - and yes, some did 'show up' the indigenous population - or she was requested to write such an article; but is it too much to ask someone - who professes to be a journalist - that they write a balanced piece?