A recent editorial from the Evening Standard is interesting both on account of one key strength, and one key weakness.
First of all, the good news.
The article does warn against a one-sided immigration policy.
And I myself would certainly say that the government want to stabilize immigration, but they have to be careful. There must be clear signals that the UK is restoring national sovereignty, not becoming isolationist.
Tracking down students who break the law is one thing, but there must be a clear message that the UK is not retrenching and trying to stray too far into shutting people out. There is a real risk that the UK will overshoot the mark, and do the mere opposite of Blairite free movement / open borders.
As far as immigration is concerned, there is a middle ground somewhere in the vast gulf between anarchy and austerity. That middle ground must be found, no matter how much patience and challenging reflection this takes.
On the other hand, however, the article does represent clearly the role diversity plays as an ideological rationalization for globalist / Far Center economic policies.
The final two paragraphs of the first section of the article note that immigration has many economic benefits, but that this isn’t just the whole story:
But as those who are anti-immigration point out, migration is not just about GDP — it reflects the kind of society we are and the values we hold. They are right.
Immigration isn’t just an economic issue…
After saying this, and then talking about the “near-universal consensus of economists” on immigration as a net gain, the second section of the article provides a rather conventional and unspectacular paean to the benefits of diversity.
… Immigration also enriches our society. It fosters diversity, which throughout history has led to more creativity and innovation.
Some arguments are then provided in order to justify this idea. Most embarrassingly of all, section three cutesies out some deeply patronizing, voyeuristic and tone-deaf platitudes about the flamboyantly colorful and achingly rainbowficated Notting Hill Carnival; as though the black British and LGBT individual participating in this festival were merely there so that privileged metropolitan ‘pale, male, and doomed to fail types’ could gawk at them.
So, on the one hand, this recent editorial does provide a salutary warning to Brexit negotiators, as well as to people of the fourth and fifth estates alike (establishment media plus indymedia, alternative media, citizen journalism, social journalism, blogging). Erring on the site of immigration austerity would me most unwise.
However, on the other hand, the article is still embedded in very commonplace and conventional assumptions about the intrinsically positive character of immigration and of what is misleadingly called “diversity.”
I say “misleadingly,” because the term in question is loaded with in appropriate value judgments, and thus leads to a kind of moral relativism. I.e., the important task of deciding which differences are valid, and which are not valid, is sacrificed to the politically correct imperative of celebrating differences in general, i.e. in the abstract, without regard to context.
Such political correctness is actually an ideology that is orientated towards justifying a particular kind of economic policy consensus. Thus, as so often happens in history, the economic status quo is validated by a new system of values.
There are many example in history.
Look at early liberal economists, such as Adam Smith. Look at the Soviet Union. Look at the libertarian backlash of recent decades. The “Globalist-Humanitarian Consensus” of post World War II is struggling, because the economic system is not delivering the goods for the many; only for the few.
It is to be expected that as this economic system falters, the value system which justifies and rationalizes it will also be called into question.
And it doesn’t take a fanatic petit-bourgeois rabble rouser like Karl Marx to understand that one!
The trawler of philosophy will ever follow the seagull of wealth…
When was it ever not so?