It didn’t take long for the open-borders brigade to try and politicise the magnificent feat of British teenager Emma Raducanu in winning the US Open women’s singles.
Rather than just revelling in the general outbreak of joy in the country, or praising the astonishing maturity of Emma’s performance, the usual blue-tick suspects piled onto Twitter within minutes of her victory to argue, or imply, that the fact Emma was born in another country (she moved here from Canada aged two) proved that immigration in all its guises is always a good thing.
Times columnist Sathnam Sanghera stated the case plainly: ‘Half Romanian, half Chinese. Born in Canada, brought up in the UK. Immigration enriches us, and always has done.’
For Actor Adil Ray the teen prodigy’s win was a victory against mysterious and unspecified ‘haters’. He tweeted: ‘Emma Raducanu the immigrant from a Romanian, Chinese, Canadian family grand slams the haters. This is the Britain we love.’
Then there was David Schneider, taking a moment’s respite from his Brexit rants to note: ‘Bloody immigrants! Coming over here, making it from qualifying to win the US Open without dropping a set.’
Our old friend Alastair Campbell took things even further, suggesting that Emma’s win ought to lead to the Government abandoning attempts to bolster border controls and using it to attack Home Secretary Priti Patel – herself a daughter of immigrants who has made a career in high-level UK public service.
Campbell tweeted: ‘Isn’t it great to be from a country where a child born in Canada to Romanian and Chinese parents can come to Britain aged two and become a GB national heroine within 16 years? Let’s try and keep the country that way shall we @pritipatel ?’
This degree of oversimplification would be laughable coming from self-righteous sixth-formers. To see it emanating from the mouths of a supposed intellectual elite is frankly bizarre, though not surprising seeing as the very same thing happened when Somalia-born Sir Mo Farah was winning Olympic gold medals for Britain. Even to gently point out that Sir Mo’s achievement trajectory was hardly typical of the cohort of Somalian migrants as a whole was to invite opprobrium.
It should not need stating that immigrants are just people. Some go on to do great things for their adopted countries, some do terrible damage. Most, like most of the rest of us, just get by and generally do their best. As a phenomenon mass migration needs managing and controlling, impacting as it does on a wide range of public policy issues from social and cultural cohesion to pressure on public services and labour market conditions.
No doubt Ms Patel does want to keep the talent stream Campbell referred to open. But she also has to worry about a country where a child born in Libya can come to Britain aged 17, get permission to stay having claimed asylum, be convicted six times for 15 crimes as a young man and then go on to commit mass murder in a park in Reading aged 25.
As Home Secretary she must give due weight to findings such as those of the House of Commons Library in July last year about the number of foreign nationals doing time in prisons in England and Wales.
As of March 2020, there were more than 9,000 foreign nationals accounting for 11 per cent of the entire prison population, including almost 1,000 Albanians, 835 Poles and 806 Romanians. None of these guys had been put away for making a positive contribution to Britain, but instead for victimising law-abiding citizens. Yet whenever Ms Patel attempts to deport foreign national prisoners, left-wing campaigners and liberal human rights lawyers do their utmost to thwart her.
So no, Ms Raducanu’s amazing triumph does not make a case for the Government attempting to stop illegal entry into the UK via the south coast dinghies or even to restore the free movement that led to wage compression in working class jobs after EU enlargement 15 years ago.
It certainly does, however, make a case for the merits of our multi-racial society where anyone from any ethnic background can make the most of their talents on national or international stages. Almost all of us support that ideal.
Isn’t it curious that under the Left’s definition of who counts as a foreigner, encompassing British citizens who arrived in the UK as toddlers, there is another amazing success story to be celebrated? But I predict that Hell will freeze over before Mr Campbell ever tweets: ‘Isn’t it great to be from a country where a child with Turkish heritage born in America to liberal intellectuals can come to Britain, aged three months, and become a Brexit hero and UK prime minister half a century later?”