She was asked which issues voters mentioned most often on the doorstep. Ms. Phillips did not miss a beat.
‘Immigration comes up…’ she said thoughtfully. And then, as if remembering herself, she started talking about bin collections instead.
A few years ago, I was at a lunch in London, sitting next to the former editor of a national newspaper and the editor of one of Britain’s best-known magazines, both of them highly educated and liberal-minded people. The subject turned to immigration.
‘It’s gone much too far,’ one said. ‘You’re quite right,’ said the other, ‘but of course you can’t say so.’
The journalist Douglas Murray has no such qualms. Best known for his acerbic columns in the Spectator magazine and his prize-winning book on the Bloody Sunday inquiry, he has just hurled a literary hand grenade into the debate about immigration and identity in today’s Europe.
Indeed, the opening lines of his new book, The Strange Death Of Europe, could hardly be more incendiary.
‘Europe is committing suicide,’ Murray writes. ‘Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide… As a result, by the end of the lifespans of most people currently alive, Europe will not be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place in the world we had to call home.’
The causes, he thinks, are twofold. First, our political leaders have knowingly colluded in the ‘mass movement of peoples into Europe’, filling ‘cold and rainy northern towns’ with ‘people dressed for the foothills of Pakistan or the sandstorms of Arabia’.