The Spectator

A better way

For a country to tolerate Britain’s level of immigration with no far-right backlash is nothing short of extraordinary

To say that the Paris attacks could have happened in Britain is not enough. Such attacks are being attempted here with terrifying regularity —seven have been thwarted so far this year alone. MI5’s official assessment is that a terrorist attack on British soil is ‘highly likely’. Our security services have so far been very good at keeping us safe. But as the IRA famously put it, spies have to be lucky all of the time, terrorists have to be lucky only once.

So it is impossible for Britain to view events on the continent with any sense of complacency. Still, the Prime Minister was justified in pointing out last week that the more we learn about what happened in Paris, the more it justifies the policies that Britain has pursued. He could have gone further and said that the tragic direction of continental Europe over the last few years has vindicated several more decisions taken by Britain.

Sofia Helin, lead actress in the television series The Bridge, this week contrasted the generous immigration policy of her native Sweden with what she sees as Britain’s flinty-hearted approach. Sweden is taking almost 200,000 this year alone; adjusting for population, that’s like Britain finding space for a refugee city the size of Birmingham. The results? In Malmö, locals now escort Jews home from synagogue to protect them from attack by Muslim immigrants. The backlash is so strong that refugee centres are being set ablaze on a regular basis. The Sweden Democrats, a party routinely described as ‘neo-fascist’ by the press, tops the polls.

Yes, Britain has many problems, but not on this scale. Germany may be next, after Angela Merkel’s disastrous response to the pictures of a dead Syrian boy on a Turkish beach. Her declaration that Germany would welcome all Syrians served only to encourage more desperate people to make the potentially lethal journey across the Mediterranean.

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