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Why the elite prefers Poles to proles
"Why do sections of the chattering classes love immigrants so much? It
isn't only because Polish au pairs raise their children, Romanian
builders lay eco-friendly solar-panels on their roofs, and cute
Chinese girls serve them skinny macchiatos with sugar-free hazelnut
drizzle on a Monday morning. It's also because praising the work
ethic and general decency of foreign workers has become one
acceptable way to express disgust with Britain's own white working
Unlike spiked, which is 100 per cent pro-migration and which
campaigns for freedom of movement for all, the British political and
media elite was not traditionally known for its respect for migrants.
Newspapers were at the forefront of depicting immigrants as socially
disruptive, scrounging swan-eaters with a penchant for spitting in
the street (Romanians) and fondling their crotches in public (Turks,
Italians). Government officials continue to implement strict
immigration controls that only allow in capped numbers of highly-
skilled workers but not so many of those low-skilled, ill-mannered,
gruff sons of toil from Bulgaria, thank you very much.
Yet recently, officials and commentators have taken to singing the
praises of immigrants – and contrasting them favourably to Britain's
own feckless masses. One newspaper columnist praises `hard-working
bloody foreigners' who get jobs in Britain because `our own people
are either too lazy or expensive to compete'. Apparently, `tax-paying
immigrants past and present keep indolent British scroungers on their
couches drinking beer and watching daytime TV'; immigrants
are `despised', the columnist says, only because they `seize
opportunities which these slobs don't want' (1).
The idea that working-class native Brits are `slobs' in contrast to
busy foreign arrivals is widespread amongst the Op-Ed Classes. Mark
Steel, the left-wing writer and comedian (well, I say comedian),
argues that immigrants are preferable to a certain class of uncouth
Briton because they're not so obese, work-shy and vulgar.
Steel wrote about an encounter with `eight British blokes from Kent
who had travelled to France for the day to get paralytic'.
They `yelled and puked their way across the Channel', he says. He
concluded: `These blokes must agree the country is full up. So why
don't we suggest they sod off back to France to be banged up in
Sangatte, and in their place we take eight asylum-seekers, who will
be more pleasant all round and sure to ease the overcrowding as
they'll be a lot skinnier than these fat twats?' (2)
In short? Let's welcome migration, not in the name of liberty and
equality, but as a means of phasing out the backward antics of
our 'orrible proles.
Marcus Brigstocke, a BBC Radio 4 `comedian', writer and failed
arrester of former US ambassador John Bolton at the Hay Literary
Festival last month (Hay: the books-and-lattes get-together where
evil dictators fear to tread!), likewise prefers Poles to proles. He
admits to being middle class – which means `the only exposure I get
to Eastern European migrants is when they come and build something
lovely for me' – and says he finds British workers too lazy and,
well, disgusting, to deal with.
He prefers migrant workers because they do jobs `on time, for the
price they quoted, with a smile on their face, without needing eight
gallons of tea every five minutes, and without leaving a turd in your
loo so big that the only way you can flush it down is by breaking it
up with a fucking stick' (3).
This is a common commentariat prejudice about British workers…
Actually, scrap that – it's a common commentariat prejudice about
manual workers: that they're lazy, dishonest and generally pretty
fecal. Where earlier snobs like Virginia Woolf were obsessed by the
rough hands and gruff manner of manual labourers, today's snobs sneer
at the Sun-reading, toilet-staining antics of the lower orders. Maybe
it's because two of my brothers are builders – and good ones – that
Brigstocke's rant makes me want to whack him with a spirit level. Fat
In the policymaking arena, too, it's frequently argued that migrants
are Beneficial while the British masses are Problematic. Last week, a
report published by the British think-tank the Work Foundation called
on the New Labour government to help change British
natives' `negative attitudes' towards immigrants (4).
In government circles, and in quangos such as the Equality and Human
Rights Commission, the greatest fear in relation to immigration is
that the white masses will become agitated by it, and possibly even
turn violent. Race experts warn the authorities to avoid using `the
language of confrontation' and `giving life to the racists', and
instead to talk up the `economic, social and cultural benefits of
migration' (5). In other words, try not to stir up the restless
natives, good chaps – instead, why not re-educate them about the
cultural and social wonders of controlled migration? It's all a bit
bloody rich coming from curmudgeonly, security-wired officials who
obsessively restrict migration into the UK, especially from darkest
Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe.
Of course it is true – as spiked's `Open The Borders' campaign has
argued many times – that the vast majority of immigrants are hard-
working and upbeat. Anyone who has left his family home, travelled
thousands of miles (often illegally), learned a new language and set
up shop in a strange foreign country must be pretty gritty and
driven. Yet the new praising of migrants and dissing of natives is
not motivated by a pro-migration love of liberty, but by the elite's
dislocation from – and deep distrust of – the mass of the British
Politically, the issue of immigration is now as much about policing
the behaviour and thought patterns of British natives as it is about
policing the borders. Elite celebrations of migrants' attitudes and
values has become a coded way of assaulting Britain's own working
and `under' classes. Praising Poles or cheering Kurds is a way for
politicos to demonstrate their open-minded, cosmopolitan,
supposedly `tolerant' values over the negative, localist, foul-
mouthed attitudes of the `little people' – those who, in Brigstocke's
words, are `so fucking stupid about immigration'.
This is a faux-cosmopolitanism, driven less by the elite's desire to
engage with foreigners than by their desperation to escape engaging
with their own populace. Migrants are turned into mascot dolls for
politicians and commentators to wave around in order to show how
elevated and enlightened they are. To the extent that there are
tensions between migrants and sections of the native population in
Britain today, they are likely to be exacerbated by the cynical
transformation of `good migrants' into a stick with which to
beat `bad natives'.
And isn't it a little stomach-turning for those of who live, work and
socialise with migrants to be lectured about our attitudes by people
whose only experience of Poles is as paid labourers who pop around
to `build something lovely'? My builder brother works cheek-by-jowl
with Romanians. Every year he buys food and gifts for his Romanian
colleagues' families, and packs them into a van that is driven across
Europe to the East. Later this year he's attending the wedding of a
workmate in Bacãu, eastern Romania. This is how most Brits relate to
migrants: as real people, rather than as cute and convenient symbols
of one's own moral superiority. "
Any views on this rather controversial piece?
The article has managed to overcomplicate the issue. Fundamentally it is not about immigration. Social attitudes are generally quite simple. Plainly stated; responsibility and contribution are praiseworthy, irresponsible parasitic behavior is distained regardless of where you are from.
Yeah I agree, it’s making an issue of a non-issue, really.
Those who work hard and succeed will easily blend in and win praise while those who are lazy and look for handouts will be condemned, regardless of where they come from.
Brits have a reputation for “thinking they were born with a better pot to piss in”, as we say in the US (even if they don’t have a pot to piss in ). This superiority complex usually comes out when their newly arrived neighbors become more economically successful than they are. After all, “we are still better” attitude is a nice comfort zone when they get outperformed.
Whereas most Americans have fresh off-the-boat immigrant blood in their immediate bloodlines, most Brits have not been as open to immigration throughout history.
"Social attitudes are generally quite simple. Plainly stated; responsibility and contribution are praiseworthy, irresponsible parasitic behavior is distained regardless of where you are from."
The article is anti-British in general.
Most of the points might be said about the population of any developed, prosperous, nation.
Britain is an island and it sort of has an effect on the mentality.