Monday, April 25, 2011

On immigration

No, this is just something I have to get off of my chest.  It was started by St Georges Day, but it's been brewing for a while.

St George's Day celebrates the life/death/patronage of St George.  It's a day to fly the English flag, to be proud of who I am and where I come from.  As Al Murray said "British by birth, English by the grace of God."

I love being English.  I love England.  I love the food, the weather, the landscaping, the way it all changes.  I love the neatness of such a small place where anything over 3 hours away is A Long Way.  I love having one chart show, the Queen, leafy suburbs and rolling countryside (I don't massively love the oilseed rape that is all over the countryside, however!)  I love free healthcare, free education, the Welfare State and the right to vote.  I love the class system, unofficial though it is, and the idea of Old Money and New Money and there always being the ability to change ones class by working hard, but always retaining ones roots.  I love owning my own house, and that being as a given, and houses being made of bricks and mortar, not caravans that don't travel being called houses.  I love the organisation of queuing, the manners of taking turns, and the fastidiousness of the true English gentleman or gentlewoman, who sits at the table to eat, never eats in the street, uses a knife and fork, and always has a clean hankerchief.  I love the religion, and the fact that our differences are seen as eccentricities by both sides, but acceptable in the eyes of God.  I love that the Queen is the Defender of the Faith, that the Royal Air Force, the Army, the Royal Navy, all swear to defend our shores but actually, those hard working lads and lasses will defend anyone, anytime, anywhere, because the English don't like bullies.  I love the inherent Englishness of England and I could go on forever about it.

Does this make me separatist and a racist though? 
Does this make me hate everyone else who isn't English? 
Does this mean that it's ok to be racist towards me because I love my country?

I'd say no.

I know some people who are sepratists, and racists, and hate everyone who isn't like them, and who love their country.  They aren't English.  They are Lativian, Lithuanian, Indian, American, Russian, and a myriad of other people and languages and cultures and religions who are over here because here is jobs, here is free healthcare, council housing, free schooling, acceptance of who they are, what they believe and so on.  Here, we are so accepting, that a massive Mosque can be built and given planning permission where a church was refused.  Here, we give homes to immigrants, and our Armed Forces personel leave the force with nowhere to live.  Here, we provide education and healthcare to immigrants, and the English slip further and further down the queue.  Here, we provide translators for non-English speakers, and our Special Needs children do without.  And yet here, we are called racists, accused of doing something because the other person has a different colour of skin, and yet race goes so much deeper than that.

The She-Ex, for example, is white American, and one of the most racist people I know when it comes to the English.  That's the English for whom her "husband" fought.  The English who are paying her "widow's" pension every month.  The English who offered her somewhere to live so that she could stay here and her half English daughter could get a decent education and see her father.  She is unbelievably racist against the English.

Or a couple of the children I have previously taught, their parents are, to my mind, racist and separatist. After 5 years here, we still had to provide a translator, because they didn't speak English.  Classes, FREE classes, are provided but no.  After 5 years here, the children still told me that their parents hated England, that people picked on them because they were Latvian.  When I investigated, it wasn't the English children, it was the Lithuainian children who were shouting abuse.  When I put it to the head as a racist incident, it wasn't called that, it was called cultural differences.  I put it to you, Dear Reader, that had the aggressor been English, or the victim non-white in skin colour, that would have been called what it was. A racists attack.

So where does that leave us with immigration?  We are losing our inherent cultural identity.  Being English, we are, as a nation, fine with that, apparently.  We aren't rioting in the street like the Arab Nations, or banning clothing like the French, or closing our borders like some of the European countries are considering.  We aren't bombing people like the Irish do (and are trying to start up again, God Bless the minority of Americans for supporting them out of some bizarre genetic nostalgia!)  We aren't devolving like the Scots and Welsh (who the English still support financially)  We are just carrying on, regardless.

We have a few minority groups, such as the British National Party, who the rest of the country disapproves of in a very English way, but we allow them to stand for parliament, and local council and for the country to express it's views through and organised and traditional manner.

And me?

I don't see why I should have to support anyone who won't work, who won't learn the language, who just wants to be here because it's all given to them.  Not those who can't work, (the Englishwoman in me supports the underdog!) but those who won't, whether born here or not.  I don't see why I should have to give resources to those who don't need it, just because they are culturally different, when the indigenous population goes without.

I don't see why I can't say "I'm English, I'm proud, if you don't like the country and the way we live, there's ferries at Dover and aeroplanes all over the country. But if you do decide to stay, speak the language, get a job, contribute to the English community you have chosen to be in.  Be here, but speak English, defend her shores, and don't expect to be given everything just because you have decided to live here."

And if anyone calls me a racist, then that's wrong, because this applies to anyone who won't make the effort, not just to immigrants from a long way abroad.  I like the Australian model of doing things myself!


Caroline said...

Sarah, I couldn't agree more with every single point your make. Brilliant post. x

Anonymous said...

This was a very interesting post. We have many of the same issues in Canada, not only with immigrants but with our First Nations. Personally, I question why our schools get extra dollars for each native child, and yet they are cutting back on programs for LD children, like my dyslexic son.