Tory anti-immigrant rhetoric is nothing new | Beastrabban\’s weblog

I was finally able to track down a history textbook containing a Tory anti-immigration cartoon aimed at the working class for the 1906 election. It’s reproduced in Martin Pugh, The Making of Modern British Politics 1867-1939 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell 1982) p. 84. Here it is:


Apart from being generally anti-immigrant, there are also distinct anti-Semitic overtones. The term ‘alien’ on its own just means ‘foreigner’, but it was also used extensively in this period to mean specifically Jews. The exploitative employer is clearly meant to be one of the Ashkenazi Jews, speaking either Yiddish or German, who began to arrive in Britain en masse from the 1880s onwards fleeing persecution in the Russian Empire.

Unfortunately, the Tories have been trying to stir up the same fears since they weren’t elected in 2010. Remember how they tried to compete with UKIP for the anti-immigrant vote by promising to strengthen anti-immigration legislation, and put up posters everywhere asking people to inform on illegal immigrants? And let’s not forget the posters they also pasted up, offering to repatriate illegal immigrants for free, if they wanted to hand themselves in.

Certainly, there is a lot of fear out there about mass immigration from Europe. So I’m left wondering how long it will be before the Tories feel secure enough to go back to using images and tactics like the above cartoon again.

Source: Tory anti-immigrant cartoon from 1906.

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3 thoughts on “Tory anti-immigrant rhetoric is nothing new | Beastrabban\’s weblog

  1. Terry Davies

    Im surprised that people dont see frankie’s comedy is intended to shock people into thinking about important issues.
    his opinions are those I generally share. Labour under Blair was right wing thinking and totally viewed to be in a competition for the most right wing , CBI friendly party.
    Tories gained power because of the voting system be unfit for purpose. Anyone with a brain can see why there is a two- party system which invariably produces an elected dictatorship. people in the UK wanted a hung Parliament and voted accordingly.
    clegg wanted money as a deputy PM and they became more right wing to support a further right wing party TORY policies. Not a hung parliament but a weak liberal but right wing party who took the scapegoat role for tory policies.
    voters were confused and opted not to vote thus we have a heartless, lying, and crazy minority greedy, government with little restriction on policies which the majority dont find acceptable. Opposition is weak as they dont use the only weapon they have ie block vote against all tory policies. This could culminate in a vote of no confidence in the government.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Frankie who? There’s no Frankie mentioned in the article or its source.
      No, people in the UK didn’t want a hung Parliament.
      I don’t think voters were confused – they just didn’t think Labour supported their left-wing beliefs and didn’t see another party that did – so they didn’t vote. Some will have been infected by the Tory supporters who spread the “Don’t vote – it won’t change anything” nonsense.

  2. mohandeer

    Thankfully the Tories have moved on – or have they…..
    Cameron has also written to the Imams Twice!. Would a Jewish rabbi have received such letters advising the rabbis to keep their Jews in line?

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