Friday, 27 December 2013

Britain, resisting the scum of Europe. Again

Immigrants, immigrants. Who wants them? 

Keeping alert, ready to repel the hordes
and with good eye shadow too
They turn up and take space, or even jobs, that our own people would be able to enjoy if they weren’t here. I mean, this is Britain, and we’ve never pretended to be the kind of place that extends a hand to ‘your huddled masses, yearning to be free’. That sentiment sums up the warm welcome the US reserves for those who struggle to its borders, sure of being received with open arms and every possible assistance to launch new American lives.

After all, the US was built by immigrants, with scant concern for the original inhabitants, so it makes sense that the population should welcome new immigration today. It would be unbearable hypocrisy if things were otherwise.

But Britain has a different history. We know this country belongs to us, and we have absolutely no intention of being turned into ‘the dumping ground for the scum of Europe.’

So it’s all very well for people like Lech Walesa, former President of Poland and leader of the Solidarity Trade Union, to criticise us for our hostility to immigrants from his country and others in Central Europe, notably Romania and Bulgaria. We question his right to come up with the kind of statement the Guardian quoted:

‘Poles finished communism and Great Britain profited significantly from this. [Cameron] should not forget this, he should do the maths. He should realise that Poles finished with this system at the cost of 70% of their economy. He should see this and then he will understand that Europe, that countries like Great Britain, are again behaving irrationally and shortsightedly.’

Who does he think he is to admonish our Prime Minister? He’s a mere Nobel Peace Prize winner but David Cameron is the product of a noble career in PR.

And it’s all very well for the Centre for European Business Research to claim, again in the Guardian, that if Britain is set to overtake Germany in size of economy by 2030, it is principally because ‘positive demographics with continuing immigration [and] rather less exposure to the problems of the eurozone than other European economies combine with relatively low taxes by European standards to encourage faster growth than in most western economies.’

Really? They think that we need immigrants to overtake the Boche? Stuff and nonsense.

No, we’re not going to allow ourselves to be invaded. We’re going to have immigration controls to ensure ‘that the dirty, destitute, diseased, verminous and criminal foreigner who dumps himself on our soil and rates simultaneously, shall be forbidden to land.’

Actually, hang on. That last quotation, like the one about the ‘scum of Europe’, isn’t recent. In fact, both came from the British press at the time of the first legislation to control immigration, the Aliens Act of 1905. It was directed against Jews, whose population in this country shot up from under 50,000 to some 250,000 in the thirty years from 1880.

The cries of anguish I quote from the press of the time were a reaction to this immigration. As was the Aliens Act itself. Since we’re having exactly the same debate again, about Poles, Bulgarians and Romanians, we can see exactly how effective the legislation proved.

But, hey, lessons from history are so dull to learn. Let’s ratchet up the tone of propaganda against immigration. And let’s have some more legislation. It’ll make everyone feel so much better. And what possible harm can it do?

After all, the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the early twentieth century, and in particular its anti-Semitic variant, never had any especially unpleasant consequences, did it?

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