"One of the liberal elite’s myths is that we are a ‘mongrel nation’ that has always experienced high inflows of outsiders. But this isn’t true. From 1066 until 1950, immigration was almost non-existent (excluding Ireland) — a quarter of a million at the most, mainly Huguenots and Jews.
Post-World War II immigration has been on a completely different scale from anything that went before. These days, more people arrive on our shores as immigrants in a single year than did so in the entire period from 1066 to 1950, excluding wartime.
Much of this happened by accident. When the 1948 Nationality Act was passed — giving all citizens of the Empire and Commonwealth the right to live and work in Britain — it was not expected that the ordinary people of poor former colonies would arrive in their hundreds of thousands.
Nor was it expected after 1997 that a combination of quite small decisions would lead to 1.5 million East Europeans arriving, about half to settle. But come they did, and a net immigration of around four million foreign-born citizens since 1997 has produced easily the most dramatic demographic revolution in British history.
Yet there was no general discussion in the New Labour Cabinet of the day about who Britain wanted to let in and in what numbers; no discussion about how the country could absorb them without pressure on public services."