Let’s get one thing straight. The UK is a fantastic country.
Yes the weather is lousy, some of the food is questionable and there are many towns that are downright miserable, but being born British is an advantage over countless nations. We have democracy; we have free speech; we have freedom to practice whatever religion you want; you can marry who you want & we have one of the best living standards in the world. We also have passports that open doors to the world without restriction. Yes, Switzerland probably has a better political system than ours & Norway has a way better bank balance, but being born British gives you a head start on so many places. You only need to look at places like Pakistan and Syria to prove this. Even Spain and France where getting a job as a young person is hard.
But it’s that tolerance and free speech that makes me so proud. There is the moral compass and the standing up to bullies, sure, but it’s the fact that we’ve always welcomed difference and places like Speaker’s Corner exist. Love it or loathe it, London really is a world city because it has so much diversity. Brick Lane is right next to the City of London; Camden next to leafy Hampstead.
So I’m just some lefty multiculturalist who will apologise for things like Rotheram abuses? Hell no: coming & living here means you need to accept other’s differences. Don’t tell me I cannot drink alcohol or sleep with who I want. I don’t care what your religion tells you, but my moral compass ells me to respect others individual rights. Do I deny that in some areas an influx of one group has caused an impact to others? No, too much of one group can cause imbalance. London tends to work as it has so many groups and people have to get along. And they generally do. Do I think we should allow murderers & rapists in? Hell no, there are some scary people out there who wish to curtail our way of life by force.
When I talk about immigration with certain politically minded people I get the same response: immigration hurts the economy. Well that’s bollocks, I prove it with articles from the FT / Economist and then they talk about stretch on housing & servicing. Well that I agree with. We have a very generous benefit system and opening up benefits to everybody is not compatible with immigration: UK plc cannot simply pay for millions of extra people not to work. But blaming our countries ills on newcomers is frankly lazy, wrong and self defeating. I remember coming home from school and blaming some other kid because I had got a bad exam result. My mother quickly nipped that one in the bud I tell you. The NHS has a massive financial black hole and is trying to do too much and support an ageing population: that needs to be fixed, it’s not Petr from Romania’s fault. Our government wastes billions and subsidies so called capitalist corporations: we need to stop this waste and corruption, Rajesh from Bangalore didn’t set that up did he? Blaming others is a cop out and I was taught as a child that was wrong. I think we all were, but somehow it’s been forgotten. We were also taught as children to share, but that has someone been forgotten (our jobs, our land, our services – really? Just because you were lucky enough to be born here?).
So if you’re British born and as you drink your tea this morning, read your free press, take a call on your iPhone or pay for a coffee on your contactless Visa, remember how bloody lucky you are to be born here. Remember that our free speech is what makes us great, that we offer protection to the persecuted, we allow people to realise their potential and we can kick out politicians if we don’t like them. Don’t deny it to people who’ve grown up in poverty then come here to work & contribute. The UK is not perfect but what is wrong we as a nation need to address. Whether you think capitalism or socialism is the solution is up for debate, but blaming a newcomer who had no part in creating our massive deficit or voted to bail out the banks / invade Iraq is just plain silly. The UKIP agenda seems to be about blaming immigrants for the UK ills and the main parties are being dragged along with the agenda. MP’s need to be braver than this: they need to sell the positives of immigration economically and address the concerns that come with it. Some ethnically British people are being left behind by the challenge of low wages: that is a global economic issue. So the big state should do something useful for once and help them increase their skills and acknowledge the challenge, otherwise they will go and vote UKIP. Farage won’t help them get jobs, but he’s got onto the fact that people FEEL poorer. Give them skills and give them a tax cut in the form of higher tax thresholds is a solution: not blaming Jonny Foreigner.
Let’s all grow up a bit and remember some of the things we were taught as children: respect others, fix your own problems not blame others for them and share what you’re lucky to have.