Thursday, August 24, 2006

Multiculturalism, immigration and EU accession

It appears that Ruth Kelly is set today to finally admit what many on the Right have known for some time. Multiculturalism, for all its supposed benefits, actually creates and extenuates difference between groups. Following on from John Reid's U-turn that accepted the Tory 2005 election campaign slogan that talking about immigration is not racist; Kelly is set to say that it "is not racist to discuss immigration and asylum" and that there should be a debate about multiculturalism and "whether it is encouraging separateness".

Why the sudden about face you may wonder? Well it clearly has nothing to do with the headlines of the last few days that showed that the Government's estimates on the number of immigrants from accession countries were horrendously wrong. Back then the Government rubbished Migration Watch UK and effectively accused it of tacit racism, oh how things change?

Having said this of course, I don't particularly have a problem with Eastern Europeans coming to work in the UK. Frankly, there are far to many lazy arrogant British people who refuse to take the jobs that many of these economic migrants are taking. The real question we should be addressing is why so many young British-born people won't take the jobs?

Now I'm the first to admit this maybe a wild leap, but we now have an education system in this country that is apparently producing more and more young geniuses. A quick conversation with many of them tells you that's probably not really the case, however an unintended consequence of ever-higher exam grades may have actually been the increase in an attitude of "this work is beneath me" amongst many young people. I have zero evidence to back that argument up, but there must be reasons why British-born people don’t take up the non-skilled jobs many Eastern Europeans do?

There is of course one vital problem with the so-called "debate" on immigration in respect of EU accession countries though. Whether we introduce "rules" to restrict Bulgarians and Romanians immigration to the UK or not, it won’t do anything to stop them coming here as tourists and then working illegally. Once they're members of the EU club, the EU becomes their black employment market playground.

Funnily enough I pointed this out to my Polish and Lithuanian colleagues this morning and I asked them how it feels to be talked about in such broad terms in the newspapers. Their response was enlightening. They said the papers were right and that Bulgarians and Romanians should not be allowed to come and steal their jobs. They also said that Bulgarians and Romanians were lazy and mostly gypsies. This made me wonder; if immigrants talk about immigration is it racist?


Praguetory said...

I know about 50 new EU migrants well. Within less than a year most of them have attained a better standard of fluency in English than your average Birmingham cab driver has in decades. None of them have sensitivies about debating their position in society/immigration to the UK in an open and good-natured fashion. They are used to being direct and honest. They report their surprise that in the UK they are told that they can't use the word "black" to describe someone - frankly resent it and don't understand why we (the UK population) bend over backwards for "ethnic" communities. Many go back to their countries to vote for nationalist parties who will prevent a similar disintegration in society there.

David Webster said...

"This made me wonder, if immigrants talk about immigration is it racist?"

Michael Howard was the son of an immigrant, and his line (if I recall) was that if an immigrant is saying that immigration is bad, then it must be doubly bad.

As for Ruth Kelly, we know the answer to her problems already, but she's tasked with looking to do things without actually doing anything.

I like the way that higher exam grades are to blame for everything, but I can totally subscribe to that view.

dizzy said...

I should say that when I wrote the above I had actually forgotten it was GCSE results day today. I would like to see some research done on why it is only immigrants tend to take the "lesser" jobs.

dizzy said...

Fair point about Michael Howard incidnetally. I was being flippant really given the comments of my colleagues.

ThunderDragon said...

I certainly agree that many young people consider that "this work is beneath me" when referring to menial jobs. I am a student, and work in a supermarket, stacking shelves. I certainly do not intend to do this for longer than I need to, but whilst I have no better job, I will continue to. Whilst most of my friends are willing to work, doing whatever it may be, to get money, I also know of many who won't accept a job they consider "beneath them". I just don't understand this attitude. If you don't want to do a menial job for long, fine, few do. It is also unlikel;y that you will enjoy it. I certainly don't my shelf-stacking job. But I will continue to do it because I can as yet get nothing better.

Any job is better than no job. And one job can lead into another. These people who refuse to get a low paid job forget that if they are good enough - and work hard enough - they can move up the ranks!