Alex Massie

The Neather Brouhaha: A Correction

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So I was wrong. It was a mistake to suggest that the alleged Neather Plot - that is, the conspiracy to "swamp" Britain with Labour-voting imigrants - was the kind of cockamamie scheme that could only be the work of over-excited junior clever chaps at the Home Office. Not so! It turns out that it's even simpler than that: the scheme didn't exist at all.

Remember, Mr Neather originally claimed that a report from Downing Street's Performance and Innovation Unit saw immigration as a massive political opportunity for the government:

But the earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended - even if this wasn't its main purpose - to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date. That seemed to me to be a manoeuvre too far.

Evening Standard

this report

I put it to you that if the "earlier drafts" had actually "included a driving political purpose" of the sort the conpiracists insist there must be then the Standard would have, you know, mentioned these bits. Their absence seems telling.

In other word's Neather's own clarification - which obviously must be ignored - of his words and the suggestion that they'd been, to put it mildly, over-hyped is correct. The "sense" one might get from conversations about the political implications of a change in immigration policy might be one thing but that does not mean there was any such discussion in the actual report itself. There appears not to have been. Tiresomely, then, there seems to have been no plot to destroy Britain at all. Because if there was, you might think someone would mention it and let us know what's going on.

Also: Though Cowards Flinch has more on this, including, shockingly, access to academic research on immigration policy that, amazingly, suggests a rather different story to that you see in the pages of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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