Anthony Browne has written a piece for the Independent arguing that illegal immigrants residing in the UK should be granted amnesty. I’m certainly not going to argue with that, but I would be interested to know why – considering his long and consistent writings against immigration – he has changed his mind.

In 2003 he was declaring that “Britain is already overcrowded“, and bemoaning that, ironically enough, “we can’t find space for new airports“. One could argue that his support for lots of people moving around Britain indirectly refutes his previous views, but why does he feel that Britain has become any less overcrowded since 2003?

Beyond such practical concerns, Browne has been very worried by “the collapse of social order“. In an article for the far-right website V-Dare, Browne warned of the threat of ‘Islamist radicals’ settling in Britain, but – oopsy daisy! – could only hawk the since discredited “ricin plot” allegations as fact:

“The stabbing to death of the policeman was the first death on British soil in the “war on terror,” which has revealed that probably hundreds of suspected Islamic terrorists had entered the country claiming asylum, some hatching chemical warfare in London flats while living off welfare benefits. People were not abusing the asylum system not to live off the British, but to kill them.”

This didn’t stop him berating “useful idiots“, of course.

But it wasn’t just “suspected Islamic terrorists” that troubled Browne, it was radical(?) Islam itself. In the Spectator he bemoaned opposition to “those who warn about Islamification“, and argued that “just as communism could only be upheld by totalitarianism, so multiculturalism is being upheld by curbs on free speech and democracy.”

Ethnic diversity, as well as multiculturalism, was held to be dangerous:

“In London as a whole, white Britons account for just 60 per cent of the population, and for fewer than half the population in six London boroughs.”

This was accompanied by the observation that“the more ethnically diverse a population, the less sense of community there is”.

These writings makes it all the more curious that Boris has recently insisted that Browne is “utterly committed to a glorious multi racial, multi ethnic, multi faith London in which we emphasise the achievements of all communities and he will be going out of his way to prove that point.”

Now there’s no problem with people radically changing their politics – I certainly have done and if you make claims to some kind ideological purity then you’re a bleedin’ liar – but if Browne indeed has then as such a vitriolic, and public, critic of multiculturalism shouldn’t he address his previous views instead of having them dismissed as “slightly careless polemical things“?

And if he hasn’t changed his views then, well, what’s the point of employing a Policy Director if you’re forced to dictate policy to them?

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