Today the Podcast from Jakethewriter, retired travel writer, freelance journalist, author and commentator voices a few thoughts on migrants but keeps it nice by not mentioning Muslims.
Into the melting pot!
Take a piece of white man; wrap him up in black skin. Add a touch of blue blood and a little bitty bit of Red Indian boy . . . . . . . so the song goes. Only last year a BBC DJ on Three Counties Radio had to apologise for playing Blue Mink’s 1969 hit because the lyrics went on even further . . . . Curly Latin kinkies, mixed with yellow Chinkees…’
Oh dear Political Correctness at the BBC, don’t start me off again. I must tell you of a story from back in those non-PC days. I lived in Bedford and had a great relationship with my neighbour Max, a Jamaican immigrant who was a carpenter. He lived with his wife Dorothy and five children in a house opposite to mine. One Sunday afternoon, I had been working and arrived home in my car. Max was busy in his garden trimming his lawn edge with a large cane knife. Before I swung into my driveway I pulled up alongside him and said “Hiya Max, are you OK?”, he replied in a heavy West Indian accent “No Dorotee has me working like a Nigger”. There I’ve used the N word. All I can say is that he knew what he meant, I knew what he meant and there was not an ounce of racism in either of us.
I digress . . . . . . . Did you know there are now more people in this country who were born in Poland than in Pakistan? That’s a finding from a recent census, and it’s a surprise, because although we’re all familiar with the stereotype of the Polish builder, this isn’t a community that interests us very much. Yet it should, because it represents a fascinating and very 21st-century style of migration.
A lot of them know very little English, this isn’t laziness: lots of young Poles don’t need language skills because they’re networkers, forever finding jobs from or for their fellow countrymen. Have you ever noticed how, overnight, the staff of a coffee bar will turn Polish? Also, mobile phones and Skype keep them in touch with family and friends back home – whom they see pretty often anyway. It’s not unknown for Poles to freelance more or less simultaneously in London and Warsaw.
Although they may not be able to converse fluently in our language, young Poles fit comfortably into English working-class society, the men especially. Football, pubs, and cars – what’s not to like? Not for nothing did “Swiat wedlug Clarksona” reach number one in the Polish bestseller lists – yup, The World According to Jeremy Clarkson.
As a former travel writer I have had the pleasure of visiting Poland on a couple of occasions, I loved it especially the area around Krakow and the Tetra mountains. I always make a good effort to learn some of the language of the country I am visiting but Polish? Give me a break! I came home still unable to say any more than “Dzien dobry” (good morning) “Czesc” (hello!) and “Okrzyki” (cheers!). However, I got by, had a lovely time and met such a lot of very charming people.
Add to that the large number of Polish airman and displaced persons that I met over here during the war and who fitted in very well, I am now very biased when I meet Polish immigrants and I try to make them feel as welcome as I was in their country. This is helped by the fact that they look very Anglo Saxon and aren’t easily spotted. Mind you they aren’t exactly WASPS (White Anglo Saxon Protestants) because ninety percent of the one’s I’ve met are Roman Catholics and the other ten percent are Jewish descendants of those whom escaped the Holocaust.
Having said that there is quite a deal of muttering to be heard when I go to our local Boot sales about hardly hearing English spoken and “bloody poles taking our jobs” etc. I have spoken to a number of these ‘bloody poles’ and discovered that a lot of them are from Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Lithuania. It’s also true that nearly all of them are working unlike a lot of their detractors. Could it be that they want to work? This hasn’t endeared Poles to self-anointed champions of minority rights. Amusingly, one Lefty critic was cross because they fail to bellyache about the minimum wage.
The BBC appears to be on a bit of a mission to portray Poles as racists: Jonathan Ornstein, executive director of the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow, told the Economist last year that a Panorama documentary on racism in Polish football “manipulated the serious subject of anti-Semitism for its own sensationalist agenda; in doing so, the BBC has insulted all Polish people…”
I can’t imagine the ‘Beeb’ fussing about non-white racism. The truth is that white immigrants who effectively commute from their homeland don’t match the Left-liberal template. There have been attempts to turn Poles into grievance-mongers who can be marched into a Radio 4 studio for a three-minute moan, but with little success, and so the Polly Toynbee’s of this world tend to forget about them. Except, of course, when their boiler conks out in January, in which case there’s this simply marvellous chap called Tomasz who’ll come out at a moment’s notice…
I found it amusing when one of my close friends, who is of Indian descent muttered about a bunch of Eastern Europeans, saying “These bloody poles have no manners they just push you out of the way!” This from a guy who gets quite apoplectic if someone calls him a Paki; “I’m not a bloody Paki I’m from Africa”. My lovely friend was born in Kenya and has lived here for over 50 years. He supports the English Cricket team, sent his three daughters to Public School and is more English than I am. Perhaps I should say probably less of mongrel than most of us who were born here. Mind you he is certainly more of a racist than I am.
What we need is a great big melting pot; big enough, big enough, and big enough to take the world and all it’s got; keep it stirring for a hundred years or more! Mind you if immigration and their birth rate keep on rising we will soon run out of room. Stop the world I want to get off! Now I know of a lovely little town up in the Tatra Mountains near Krakow . . . . . . . . . . . .
I’ve just reread my blog and must stress that if this makes me sound as though I’m all for open borders please don’t go away with that mistaken idea. I think that we should have a tougher border controls than anywhere else in the world. No-one should be allowed in unless they have a job waiting for them. No immigrant should be eligible for any benefits until he has paid into our system for at least five years. As I promised that I would not bring Islam into the argument I will not rant about Sharia Law but this is a Christian Country and anyone who doesn’t want to conform to our laws should return to a country that welcomes that way of life.
Enough, already, thanks for listening, I’ll see you next week.