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Mr Wilson’s Pragmatism

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Chapter Summary

A great part of the importance of Mr Wilson's memoirs lies in the extent to which they enable us to answer this question: How had he come to be sheltered from reality so successfully? Mr Wilson represents the moral dimensions of the problem of the Kenya Asians as being simply a matter of balancing a humanitarian regard for the Kenya Asians against the political costs of a breach in his own government's immigration policy. This chapter suggests that the interest of Mr Wilson's memoirs lies in the exceptional clarity with which they reveal the contours of that ideology so misleadingly called 'pragmatism' by its adherents. Two other features characteristic of ideology reinforce this point. The first is the way in which form and style match content. A second ideological feature is Mr Wilson's inability to recognise or to portray his various opponents and critics as anything but straw men.

Keywords:immigration policy; Kenya Asians; Mr Wilson's memoirs; pragmatism; straw men



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