Notes From the Margins…

The Nasty Country

  • November 27, 2013
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This week Romania’s Foreign Minister, Titus Corlatean told Channel 5 News that David Cameron should reject ‘in clear terms if it’s possible the xenophobic and populistic and once again sometimes racist attitudes which are promoted by some other British politicians’.

Yesterday Lord Snooty gave his answer, in an op ed in the Financial Times (subscription only) which declared that ‘free movement within Europe should be less free.’   His Lordship suggested that in future people from countries that don’t have a certain GDP level should not be allowed to migrate.     These pronouncements were accompanied by another tranche of measures designed to protect our beleaguered nation from ‘benefit tourism’.

These measures will include restrictions on housing benefit for newly-arrived migrants, a three-month limit before migrants can claim out-of-work benefits, and a tightening up of the ‘habitual residency test’ to determine eligibility for benefits.

In addition any homeless EU migrant will be automatically deported.   Stirring stuff from our prime minister don’t you think?   Doesn’t it make you walk a little taller as you go about your daily business?

Well it should.   After all, as Cameron rightly points out, something had to be done to stop the ‘vast migrations’ of Bulgarians and Romanians that menace our septic isle, since it is a well-known fact that a) the entire population of Bulgarian and Romania are already packing their bags to come here and b) that all Bulgarians and Romanians are poor, lazy, and parasitical and want nothing more than a lifetime on benefits in OUR country AT THE TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE!

Ok maybe these aren’t facts exactly.   Maybe they are poisonous bigoted lies and xenophobic fantasies spread by the tabloids, MigrationWatch and Ukip, which say a great deal more about us than they tell us about Bulgaria and Romania.

Just to be clear: 1) there isn’t a single reliable study that can predict how many Bulgarians and Romanians want to come to the UK.     2)Nearly all those who   are here already are in work 3) it is already extremely difficult for any EU migrants to get jobseekers allowance with passing the ‘habitual residence test’, which according to the Citizens Advice Bureau is already tough as it is. 4) there is no evidence that ‘benefit tourism’ actually exists.

But who cares?   When you’re living in a fact-free zone it’s ‘concerns’ that matter, especially if your government might profit from them electorally.   This week the Romanian ambassador Dr Ion Jinga told the Huffington Post UK ‘ Populist rhetoric may win votes today, but the price is paid with the lives and reputation of thousands of hard working Romanians.’

To which Lord Snooty and His Pals might have replied ‘ and your point is?’ Because, as Cameron pointed out yesterday, people are ‘deeply concerned’ about migration from Bulgaria and Romania, and if they are concerned then his government must respond, right?

His Lordship neglected to mention that these anxieties are almost entirely due to the efforts of his government and his own party, aided by a tabloid press that doesn’t observe even the most elementary standards of journalistic accuracy, objectivity and integrity, or human decency.

Today more than half the British public apparently believe that immigration is bad for the country and 47 percent would like to prevent all Bulgarians and Romanians from living in this country, and 27 percent approve of Ukip’s immigration policy.

European Commissioner Laszlo Andor has warned that the UK risks being seen as a ‘nasty country.’ Only one thing wrong with that statement; it isn’t a question of ‘being seen’ as a nasty country.

We really are very nasty indeed.

We are becoming a nation of arrogant selfish bigots.   We simply assume that everyone who comes to this country below a certain income level and with a foreign accent is a parasite and a scrounger that wants to abuse our ‘generosity’.

We increasingly don’t even question the lies and assumptions parroted by the media and by politicians that have informed our ‘concerns’, and seethe with self-righteous indignation, irrational prejudice and resentment about how our innate goodness and kindness is being abused by ‘economic migrants’ and ‘bogus asylum seekers’.

We rustle the pages of the Daily Mail with grim satisfaction as our politicians adopt ever more stringent crowd-pleasing restrictions supposedly intended to protect ‘our own people’ – the same politicians who are telling us that ‘austerity’ will now be permanent.

We   cling onto ‘our’ national privileges that are gradually being taken away from us by the same people who pretend to protect them from the usurping foreigners.

We sing Rule Britannia and believe that Britons never, never, never shall be slaves, without realising that our loathing of ‘immigration’ and the migrant Other is turning us into a nation of moral pigmies and paving the way for our own servitude.


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1 Comment

  1. Richard Carter

    28th Nov 2013 - 7:54 am

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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