Monday, November 05, 2007

Midlands Business Insider columnist in furore

Nigel Hastilow, a columnist for our magazine in the Midlands, has got himself into bother by writing a column for the Wolverhampton Express and Star in which he said people tell him that Enoch Powell was right. He is now no longer the Tory candidate for Halesowen.

His blog, here, with THAT article in full, has some abuse, messages of support and an offer from the BNP for him to stand for them instead. Oh dear.

I don't know Nigel very well, but I think he knew what he was doing. Richard Littlejohn churns this stuff out every week in the Daily Mail, but the new shiny Tories need someone a bit more subtle. Nigel's column didn't pass the test required of public servants.

The most telling piece of his article was this:

It’s too controversial and far too dangerous [to discuss immigration]. Nobody wants to be labelled a racist. Immigration is the issue that dare not speak its name in public.

Yet everywhere you go, you hear the same story. There are simply too many people competing for the space, houses, benefits, public services and jobs this country has to offer.

He's right. It is very difficult to discuss immigration, and the tragedy is because of the fear of a well of poison that is perceived to lurk beneath. I think Enoch Powell was wrong. There have not been rivers of blood, Britain remains one of the most tolerant countries on earth. What's wrong with saying that we're being taken advantage of. It's true.


Michael Taylor said...

A reader from Brum emailed to say:

I think Hastilow's major problem isn't that he's deeply racist but that's he's extremely arrogant. He thinks he's cleverer than everyone else and therefore can say what he wants. The Tory party is full of people like that on the backbenches anyway so he's no great loss to them. Maverick, Little Englanders are ten a penny. He'd probably be in UKIP now if it was still going. He even looks a bit like Kilroy-Silk.

Unfortunately, remarks like his play into the hands of the BNP and make it much harder for immigration to be discussed in a reasoned, intelligent way, as you rightly say it needs to be.

The BNP have done well in the Black Country and there's a suggestion that Hastilow knew what he was up to and was making a play for the, not insignificant, Far Right vote in a key marginal. I think he thought he might get away with it and that his comments might not be picked up by the nationals. If so, it was a stupid assumption from a seasoned journalist and from someone who was caught out in this way once before (comments about Hague).

Erikka, Deputy Editor, Scottish Insider said...

I always thought the title of his column, Eurocreep, referred to him.


Michael Taylor said...

I take your point, but his column wasn't Eurocreep that was Geoff Tyler.