Lionel Shriver: what she said about immigration in Spectator column, who is she - and the response on Twitter

The American author is best known for her novel We Need to Talk About Kevin

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Author and journalist Lionel Shriver has recently become a topic of discussion following the publication of a controversial article she wrote for The Spectator, in which she criticised the growing number of immigrants settling in the UK.

This is what you need to know.

Who is Lionel Shriver?

Shriver is an American author and journalist who currently lives in London with her husband Jeff Williams.

She is best known for her novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, which was published in 2003, and later adapted for the big screen for the 2011 film starring Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller and John C Reilly.

Shriver grew up in North Carolina and attended Barnard College and Columbia University where she gained her BA and MFA.

Over the course of her career, Shriver has written for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and The New York Times. In 2005, she started writing a column for The Guardian.

Shriver currently writes for The Spectator, with previous articles like “Why vaccine passports are pointless”, “Am I alone in not wanting to download the Covid app?” and “Immigration is Joe Biden’s Achilles heel”.

Her other books alongside We Need to Talk About Kevin include The Mandibles, Should We Stay or Should We Go, The Motion of the Body Through Space and A Perfectly Good Family.

What did she say in her Spectator article?

Most recently, Shriver wrote an article for The Spectator titled: “Would you want London to be overrun with Americans like me?”

In the article, Shriver bemoans the increasing population of “foriegn-born residents” in the UK, which some have pointed out is ironic considering Shriver is American.

“The white British proportion of the population has fallen from 89 per cent to 79 per cent, while ethnic minorities have grown from 10 per cent to 21 per cent,” Shriver writes before going on to liken immigrants arriving in the UK to colonialism.

She wrote: “Try reversing the paradigm. If white westerners were immigrating by the tens of millions to developing nations - if Liverpudlians were pouring into Lagos - the left would decry the mass migration as neocolonialism.

“Such white flight would be denounced as invasion - as it would be. Yet for today’s left, non-white cultures must be protected, preserved and promoted, while evil European cultures deserve to be subsumed.”

She ends the article by writing that “white Britons needn’t submissively accept the drastic ethnic and religious transformation of their country as an inevitable fate they’re morally required to embrace without a peep of protest”.

What has the response been like?

Ash Sarkar, contributing editor at Novara Media, released an eight tweet thread responding to the article from Shriver, calling it “the most intellectually dishonest pieces I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading”. Sakar’s thread has amassed over 10,000 likes.

Sakar wrote: “The sleight-of-hand from talking about nationality to race, proposing that the nation is a container for racial homogeneity, is the logic of Nazism.”

Scientist and author Dr Adam Rutherford also tweeted: “Thanks to everyone flagging up Lionel Shriver’s piece in the Spectator. I have read it, and it is very unsophisticated Replacement Theory, and lands straightforward far-right conspiracy theory talking points which haven’t changed in more than a century.”

Author of Fake History Otto English tweeted: “So many appalling things in that Lionel Shriver piece. The Spectator’s editorial team should be utterly ashamed of themselves. And Shriver herself has lost all right to be taken seriously. She’s just Tommy Robinson with a thesaurus now.”

When the Spectator Twitter account tweeted the article, many users replied with their thoughts.

One person wrote: “Examples of people with a “foreign-born” parent include The Prince of Wales, the Home Secretary, the Chancellor, the Foreign Secretary, all of the Prime Minister’s children, and Sir Winston Churchill. Is that who you had in mind, Lionel?”

Another replied: “Do you mean [Boris] Johnson? He’s a foreign-born parent - and appears to have a disproportionate impact on birth statistics.”

“Did you know that the Home Secretary’s parents were foreign born? Did you know that the Prime Minister was foreign born, in the USA? Are you simply stirring up racism? UK has always been mixed race. Always. That’s what has made us,” wrote another.

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