As I’ve said before more than once, many immigrants coming here (and this is in my own personal everyday experience) are setting up home, as young families; and apparently with every intention to put down roots here. Their standards and their outlooks and sense of due regard are at least the equal of ours.
Their older children, where there are older children, pour out of junior school daily as I am on a walk around the locality.
There are at least as many ‘undesirables’ born and brought up here in my home city as there are among those who have emigrated here from abroad – and probably proportionately more.
We have nothing to boast about concerning our home-grown standards and native ways of life at the expense of immigrants come here to live.
The persons making the most noise, making the immigration issue a big deal, are those who never see a migrant set foot in their necks of the woods; the top flight politicians; and the well-heeled readers of the upper-middle class gutter press; the equivalent in its venom to Fox News in the USA. These noisemakers are for the most part ‘olde-Englanders’; who live in the shires and who imagine England into ways in which it has never been in fact.
Thatched cottages; and milk in bottles delivered on doorsteps; and everyone in the village singing in the church choir and not a note out of place. A place where the worst crime, is the old tramp who comes through now and then and steals a few ripe fruit from the orchards. The crime being the person of the old tramp himself over and above any apples and pears.
These persons oppose immigration and immigrants because the immigrants can never be part of this painted picture postcard England. Their prime motivation has been however to use the issue of immigrants and immigration to help on the way yet another illusion they foster: that England (Britain in their eyes is England) claim back its sovereignty and self-determination. Many, most, of these people have very little more say in what is proposed and appointed in the UK by its government than does an immigrant; but yet for them, in their bleared eyes, it is very much an issue of self-determination; of England being able to say what England does and wants.
They are of the class of person from whom the Houses of Parliament which govern the UK come from; they are privately educated top rank university graduate professional persons, and their friends and relations: part of that much valued (by themselves) ‘old boys club’ which has been at the top of society here for some centuries now. They wear their politics in a current dress and present themselves in current terms and colours; but still they hold tightly to their privileges as their right.
What this class of person and their accomplices have succeeded in by means of having persuaded too many gullible and frankly stupid people to vote with them concerning Brexit; they have toppled a government which was bad but at least experienced in the ways of running things; and have allowed in its place a government to rise which is comprised of nobodies, people of nil experience in the environment of high politics; people who have not a clue what to do next having Brexit on their hands like the poison in the chalice.
Not only do they not know what to do; (no-one knows what to do, the whole thing is so much an utter mess) they could not do anything well even were they to have a viable agenda to perform as a government. Our Prime Minister echoes herself every so often saying there shall be ‘no running commentary’ on Brexit during the time Brexit is being implemented. She reiterates this mantra pontifically because she has nothing else to say on Brexit. There is no plan, no strategy, nothing upon which a ‘running commentary’ might rest and be based. She and her cohorts have not the shade of an idea what to do next. And nor does any other Briton.
The problem of immigration was a propaganda exercise made so as to whip up popular prejudices in the less educated public; ‘taking our school places; taking our homes; taking our health services’ and so forth; when it was the government policy a few years back to close schools. The predicted fall in births did not happen. Likewise the pressures on the Health Service might be loaded off onto immigrants; the inability to save enough to place a deposit on a house might also be loaded off onto immigrants; thus in one stone killing two birds. The government claims its ‘hands have been tied’ by the EU on immigration and that unless we exit the EU then the Health Service and the Housing sector will continue to be pressurised by the immigrants coming here.
The fact is immigration has slowed since Brexit and yet the Health Service and Housing remain every bit if not worse in crisis; in perpetual crisis; and they have to remain so; and in part this is because it is government policy that they should be so. We are being led to believe now that the junior doctors are the new spanners in the Health Service’s works; just as the government’s fears for mortgage holders and for a great crash resulting in the British economy, act to tie the government into a Bank Rate at a record low level for a record length of time.
The problem is us. Our attitudes are the problem; to the immigrants whom we have slighted and have been ghastly inhospitable to; and our understandings of what we deserve, of whom we are and our situation in the world, are all bankruptcy ethically and as measured assessments of the case. As a people the British in all our social classes are carrying a preponderance of moral lassitude; so much so that our government and many of our commercial, administrative and social sectors and their functions have lost their way entirely.
We have a Home Secretary calling for counting the numbers of immigrants employed by any British Company to be held on a register (and in the first place she was going to have published this register as a ‘name and shame’ exercise). I ask: whom does it shame? I answer: that government which ordered that such a policy be made and action should be done. Again I say: we have lost the plot; morally and in terms of ideas ability and competence: in government in the first place; and in the second place in our general ethical bearings, judgements and integrities.
Immigrants are no shame. In Germany, Angela Merkel should be honoured and praised, but like it is here the Germans are the problem. Where is that rush of sympathy that we British were said to have had come upon us when the picture of the little Syrian boy’s body washed up dead on the shores of the Mediterranean appeared splashed across our press front pages and TV news headlines? Are we, were we, those on whom the seed fell as on stony ground; and we having too much concern for the cares of the world for that seed to be able to grow up and thrive in us, instead we let it sprout, and as suddenly as it sprouted we let it die? Are we? Are we?
Did we just make a fuss so as to as it were ‘pat ourselves on the back’ as being a caring nation; and then satisfied with ourselves we just let it slide and forgot that compassion which we thought we had had?
We are the problem and not the immigrants. The Brexit campaigners were accused openly by persons of no persuasion or colour, of peddling ideas and policies in regards to migration which they had absolutely no confidence in, and did not support not even in their heads as intellectual positions let alone within their stubborn and carious hearts. They duped the people. They planned to do so and they carried out that plan.
Now they have their victory; they are back in charge of Britain; and they have absolutely no idea what to do next. No after-plan whatsoever. We the British now receive our Nemesis for what we did in and to Iraq. We had no after-plan for Iraq; and by being so remiss we allowed a powerful insurgency to arise and wreak havoc and spread an utter daily carnage for a period of years 50 or 200 lives a day blown away. No one alive in Britain who was adult at the time is able to deny this happened.
Are we to get our economic insurgency here in Britain now that no exit plan Britain, no running commentary Britain; no brain government Britain; a pack of fools on a sinking ship sinks whilst the rest of the world looks on half- shocked half-tickled at so comic and unnecessary a spectacle. A blend of Attic comedy and Attic tragedy; a Polonius-like tragi-comic-historico-pastoral romance.
I feared I was just getting old and that the world was no worse nor no better than when I was younger and less experienced. But no, the world is a mad and bad and dreadful place indeed; and at some periods better and some periods worse than what might ever be normal. But yet today seems to be the piece de resistance, the crème de la crème, the doyen, the mother and the father, and the apotheosis of shambles, of shame and of shabbiness. Which is greater, our incompetence or our evil dealings I find hard to determine. The two go together, like peaches and cream; or rather like cloak and dagger.
I knew a man called Reg; a woodworker, carpenter and joiner (as was Our Lord) who was ageing but who had two strong adult young sons with him in his trade to do the heavier works. They were self-employed in a small family firm and were engaged at providing maintenance and other works at an office building in Holborn London in which I was working.
Reg gave the technical guidance; thus training up his boys in the trade so as to leave them a legacy when the time came. He was a compendium of valuable experience and best practice; not only in carpentry and allied trades; but Reg had also thought long and deeply about the world. He was at that time in his mid sixties, and so Reg is now long gone; this was back in the mid 1980s. Reg smoked like a chimney and was overweight.
He said – quite remarkably I thought at the time – I had yet to become a Christian – that he was ‘glad that he would soon be out of this dreadful world’. He said it not in depression or in anger or in pain but in a sedate and calm manner as if it were a mere matter of fact. It struck me and has stayed with me; both the words and the manner.
For myself I see where Reg was going when he thought and spoke those words. St Paul in his Letter to the Romans asks The Lord to allow him to go and be where He is; Paul says he would much rather ‘go and be with Christ’ but that he had been commissioned to do The Lord’s business and to go out with The Word to the Gentiles and so he did not feel he was at liberty to indulge such a wish.
There is no question here of self-harm; only of a wish to be in a better place; a place wherein joy is unmixed and no daily horrors and atrocities meet you upon waking and again upon lying down to sleep. A world wherein people treat one another as people, as they themselves would be done by; as their neighbours.
In Britain we are selling ourselves daily evermore to bad deals bad habits bad judgements; and at the same time appear to be casting away our most precious heritage; not the heritage of those 21 Grade A listed buildings in danger from a new Heathrow runway; nor of those Ancient Buddha’s exploded by The Taliban; nor of that Helicon of an England that never was; but of knowledge and dear, dear, contact with and love for that Person who once walked the earth and has represented to us, and who yet represents to us all, The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Were this knowledge and love gone from the earth; I would not want to live on it anymore. Bring on Sennacherib and his Assyrians thereafter for a reprise.
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