Martha’s Vineyard, lying just four miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, is famous for two things. The first is the notorious ‘Chappaquiddick incident’ in July ’69, when Mary Jo Kopechne was killed in a car driven negligently by the, then, Senator Edward Kennedy. The killing scuppered Kennedy’s chances of ever gaining Democratic selection for the US Presidency. The second came in the spring of 1974, as Hollywood arrived en masse on the island to film the blockbuster ‘Jaws’. Given the numerous technical problems the crew experienced with the mechanical sharks used in the movie, what should have been a six-week shoot turned into six months. With daily life on the island heavily disrupted by the presence of trucks, equipment and numerous personnel those on the island not selected for bit-parts in ‘Jaws’ manifested their dislike very demonstrably to a young Steven Spielberg and his entourage. By the end of the summer, local fisherman were dumping the leftovers from their catch on the lawn of the house Spielberg was renting in the island’s wealthy Edgartown.
The Vineyard is an exclusive island – perhaps even more so now than it was back then. Both the Clintons and the Obamas holidayed there throughout their respective White House tenures and beyond. Although a ‘summer island’, where a large slice of the local economy is generated during the height of the tourist season, the vast bulk of the population there guard both their solitude and their wealth fiercely. It is certainly not an island that would roll out a welcome mat to anyone with a noticeably lesser socio-economic status. As an avid ‘Jaws’ fan myself, I had the privilege (and the considerable expense) of spending three days on the island back in the spring of this year. It is definitely a location where deep pockets are needed to sample the local restaurants and boutique hotels.
Despite its considerable prosperity, Martha’s Vineyard shares the same uber-liberal politics with the rest of Massachusetts and, indeed, wider New England. All nine congressmen in the state are Democrat (with the Vineyard being represented in Washington DC by Bill Keating). Moreover, several places in Massachusetts (and many others across the blue Democrat states of northeastern USA) have designated themselves ‘sanctuary cities’ – a move those in more conservative Republican states have condemned for incentivising mass illegal migration from Central and South America across the US/Mexico border. One such individual, the Republican Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, took matters into his own hands by flying 50 Venezuelan migrants from Florida direct to Martha’s Vineyard last week. Within 48 hours of arrival on the island, they were transported to Cape Cod to be given shelter and food. The question is: Why not house the 50 in one of the Vineyard’s opulent boutique hotels? The answer can only be the collective clout of the island’s moneyed residents. Yes, they’re happy to virtue-signal their support for the Democrats and their absurd ‘open borders’ policies, but only as long as they don’t have to endure the consequences of those policies. As soon as the ripples of new migration reach beyond the traditional coterie of charitable do-gooders, they become an intrusive nuisance on the gilded lives of the Vineyard set. And we simply can’t be having that, can we?
Far closer to home, a new migrant-related controversy is raging in West Yorkshire’s Colne Valley, as the Home Office has commandered an former mill complex of luxury apartments for the arrival of 84 asylum seekers – all single men – in the Huddersfield suburb of Milnsbridge. Nothing is known about these men – their background, criminal records or even some of their identities. Yet still they will be deposited in the heart of what is a tight-knit, culturally homogenous community with only one week’s notice. One local resident, 57-year-old Philip Holmes, spoke for many when he said: “I couldn’t imagine such a large number of asylum seekers suddenly moving into a property near a Government minister’s house. These politicians are alright, aren’t they,” he said. “It’s not on their streets, is it? It is a s*** idea.”
Indeed it is. It won’t be neighbouring Labour MP Barry Sheerman who has to suffer the migrants’ presence or any of the consequences of their low-level criminality (should it occur). Sheerman can afford to tweet smug condemnation (https://mobile.twitter.com/BarrySheerman/status/1571106795795677185?cxt=HHwWgoDUudDT2M0rAAAA) of those who’ve taken a political stand in Sweden against the catastrophic changes brought to their country by the phenomenon of mass, culturally incompatible migration – legal and illegal – because he will never have to live next door to the sort of people his ideology has facilitated throughout his parliamentary career. To the best of my knowledge, Sheerman doesn’t even live permanently in the constituency he represents! Even if he did, I doubt it would come in the form of a ex-council house in down-at-heel Rawthorpe; typical of the sort of place where these sorry individuals are billeted on local communities without so much as a by-your-leave.
This brings me to one Alan Brooke, formerly of Kirklees Refugees and Friends Together. Brooke, a quintessential pearl-clutcher for all matters to do with importing anyone and everyone wanting asylum to the UK, used to organise marches around Huddersfield in the 1990s in support of the Kurdish separatists in Turkey and Iraq. From his home in leafy Honley on the edge of ‘Summer Wine country’, Brooke is scornful of what he perceives to be the prejudiced and unwelcoming attitude of the Milnsbridge locals. Then again, like the affluent liberals of Martha’s Vineyard, Brooke will be untouched in his ivory tower down there in the verdant Holme Valley by the people he wishes to see welcomed with open arms a few miles across the other side of Huddersfield.
3,200 miles separate Milnsbridge from Martha’s Vineyard, but the commonality of attitudes to migration pervade both examples. That is the scourge of rich liberals applauding the basic principle of illegal migration, but then leaving it up to folk in working class communities to pick up the pieces. Neither the Vineyard’s top brass, or the likes of Alan Brooke will give a toss about any unpleasantness that could befall those affected by illegal migrants arriving in large numbers in urban working class communities. Sadly, unless and until folk in those same working class communities produce the sort of political revolution we’ve just seen in Sweden, they’ll continue to be the fall guys for the migrant fetishes of the rich or comfortable middle classes.