The Labour Party during this period had no objection, in principle, to large-scale immigration from the third world since it knows that most of the new arrivals are likely to vote Labour. Former Home Secretary David Blunkett declared that he could see 'no obvious limit to the number of legal immigrants who could settle in Britain'. The former Home Office minister responsible for immigration, Barbara Roche, considered that immigration was a 'good thing' and introduced the concept of 'managed migration'. In a speech on the subject she made the interesting observation that 'countries are entitled to control their borders but that should be based on legislation which is non-racist, unlike UK immigration law of the 1960s'.
In other words it became official government policy that race is no longer a factor to be considered when deciding whether a person should be allowed to settle in Britain, a major step away from the political consensus, albeit never openly stated, of the previous thirty years that the primary purpose of immigration control was to limit the entry of third world (i.e. non-white) migrants. In a parliamentary debate the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke confirmed that there was no longer any limit on the number of economic migrants who could enter Britain each year, suggesting to those who might disagree that 'a similar argument could be made for limiting by state diktat the number of people born every year'.
Rioting broke out in 2001 in the northern towns of Burnley, Oldham and Bradford. These coincided with a rise in electoral support for the British National Party, which during the middle of the decade won nearly fifty local council seats and, in the 2004 European elections, received over 800,000 votes. The BNP is demonised by the liberal establishment and most of the media, as 'Fascist' or 'Nazi', supposedly packed with swivel-eyed, boneheaded, foaming at the mouth fanatical preachers of race hatred. The party has been almost completely ostracised from participation in the mainstream political process, it is blacklisted by the media, both liberal and conservative, its bank accounts have been closed in mysterious circumstances and its leaders subjected to police raids to remove and analyse the contents of their computers. Conservative leader Michael Howard, in a speech of nauseating hypocrisy at Burnley (where the BNP won several council seats), denounced the BNP as a 'bunch of thugs dressed up as a party'. This was the same Michael Howard who was to later make his half baked policies on immigration and asylum the centrepiece of his 2005 general election campaign.
In reality the BNP, like the NF before it, was mainly composed of working class white males who hold views on race and immigration not dissimilar to millions of ordinary white working class people outside the party, a fact well known to the liberal elite, which is why they fear the BNP so much. Unlike the NF, the party believes in the voluntary, rather than the compulsory, repatriation of people of ethnic origin. To most people the BNP is a one-issue party, which is perhaps unfair as it has credible policies on some other issues.
Although the language used by the BNP has sometimes been questionable, it is no worse than some elements of the tabloid press. However, the BNP scored one notable achievement as, for a time, it succeeded in putting the frighteners on the politically correct establishment, as demonstrated by the lengths the latter was prepared to go to smear the party. A case in point was a BBC 'investigation' into the party, which portrayed supposed members, in all probability anti-racist plants, 'confessing' to criminal or anti social activities targeted at ethnic people. Clandestine video footage from this programme was used in a couple of political show trials against BNP leader Nick Griffin, who was eventually acquitted of all charges.
Liberals like to claim that we are a nation of immigrants, that Britain has succeeded in absorbing successive inflows of immigrants since Anglo-Saxon times, and that the present wave of third world migrants is no different to previous ones which have left the country culturally richer and economically stronger. This is naïve on two counts, firstly the numbers involved in the current wave are huge and show no signs of ending and, secondly, previous waves were of the same race and culture as the indigenous population, and thus would be likely to assimilate into British society far more easily. The 2005 Labour Manifesto declared that 'immigration has been good for Britain. We want to keep it that way'. The number of immigrants tripled from 50,000 per year average under the Tories to 150,000 under the Blair government. The Liberal Democrats were committed to an even more open door policy on immigration and launched a 'manifesto for ethnic minorities' with a promise to make the party the natural home of the black vote.
The Conservatives like to face both ways on immigration, they appear to 'talk tough' to bolster their core vote, but at the same time read from the approved liberal script on the benefits claimed from large scale immigration. For example, former leader Michael Howard considered that 'Britain has benefited from immigration - both economically and culturally. We are a stronger, more successful country because of the immigrant communities that have settled here'. The Conservatives policy during this period was to 'introduce an annual limit to immigration set by Parliament', but no indication was given as to what the numbers were likely to be. Under the early part of David Cameron's leadership, the issue of immigration was largely suppressed as part of his charm offensive to appeal to the 'moderate centre-ground' and his attempt to 'detoxify' the Tory brand.