“A gaffe,” journalist Michael Kinsley famously wrote back in the 1980s, “is when a politician tells the truth, some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”
Of course, for a “gaffe” to count as a mistake, the speaker has to have meant not to say it, or at least not to have said it out loud. So it’s not clear that the comment made by last week by Peter Sutherland, the UN’s special representative for migration, really counts as a “gaffe,” since Sutherland seems to have no sense that what he said might have been disturbing.
Sutherland was speaking to the British House of Lords, according to a BBC report published last Thursday, and said that the European Union should “do its best to undermine” the “homogeneity” of its member states, because their “the future prosperity of many EU states depended on them becoming multicultural.”
He also, according to the Beeb, suggested “the UK government’s immigration policy had no basis in international law.” (Kind of a novel interpretation of the authority of international law over a state’s control of its borders, but that wasn’t the worst of it.)
The report goes on:
Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP, heads the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas.
He told the House of Lords committee migration was a “crucial dynamic for economic growth” in some EU nations “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states”.
Yes, I bet it is hard to explain to those citizens, especially when the UN rep looks like he’s in cahoots with the EU to multiculturalize Europe. Sutherland’s answer, of course, is that this is purely an economic problem (and where have we heard that before?)
An aging or declining native population in countries like Germany or southern EU states was the “key argument and, I hesitate to the use word because people have attacked it, for the development of multicultural states”, he added.
“It’s impossible to consider that the degree of homogeneity which is implied by the other argument can survive because states have to become more open states, in terms of the people who inhabit them. Just as the United Kingdom has demonstrated.”
Just as the UK has demonstrated? Has he been to London lately? But of course not, he’s a UN representative, and so he has kind words for how much better we’re all managing this whole immigrant thing over here in the States (and in the rest of English-speaking Oceania]:
[Sutherland] told the committee: “The United States, or Australia and New Zealand, are migrant societies and therefore they accommodate more readily those from other backgrounds than we do ourselves, who still nurse a sense of our homogeneity and difference from others.”
“And that’s precisely what the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine.”
…at which point the Lords threw in the shovel after him, I presume.
How Sutherland went down this road, after the leaders of France, Germany, and Britain have all declared European multiculturalism an abject failure, is beyond me, unless this is symptomatic of the degree to which United Nations bureaucrats have become utterly isolated from reality.
In any case, it’s one thing to celebrate what immigrants bring to a country, including new views, additions to the culture, as well as sharp minds and strong backs ready to work. It’s another entirely to graft the multi-culti agenda onto that reality, and to hope that the influx of immigrants will somehow dilute the existing culture for some smoggier, ill-defined political reason (which mostly seems to be based on the fear of being perceived as “intolerant”).
Which, come to think of it, seems to be the goal of a lot of folks over on this side of the pond too. If people are suspicious of the goals of open immigration in Europe or North America, maybe it’s because of “gaffes” like this one, where the truth about a much larger political project gets blurted out in front of a public who weren’t supposed to know about it.