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It’s Awesome Being an Immigrant in the UK Right Now

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An academic who has lived and worked in the UK for the past 18 years, originally from an EU country (possibly Germany) published this in the Guardian yesterday. It deserves to be read.

But the signs are ominous. The referendum campaign has created an atmosphere of hostility towards immigrants, in ways I have never experienced in my 18 years in this country. We are being blamed for the state of public services such as health, housing and education, and for undercutting wages, even though the real culprits – chronic underinvestment, poor planning, ineffective governance and watered-down labour laws – are entirely homemade.

The tales of intimidation and threats against pro-Remain campaigners, immigrants and their supporters are a cause for serious concern. There is no doubt that many Leave proponents are decent, thoughtful people, but there is also no doubt that parts of the campaign have played on xenophobia and emboldened nasty, violent racists.

In large part, I agree with the author’s assessment. In living here over 12 years, I’ve never seen anything quite like this, the unreserved rhetoric, the unabashed racism, the pride in ignorance. Michael Gove has a lot to be infamous for to future generations, but if he’s remembered at all, it will be this quote: “I think people in this country have had enough of experts.”  (This piece that ran in the Telegraph in the wake of that quote a couple weeks ago, “Michael Gove’s guide to Britain’s greatest enemy . . . the experts” has flashes of hilarity.)

The author faces an uncertain future should the UK vote to leave the EU tomorrow. Ironically, it does not directly affect my status as an American. I didn’t have a right to be here, the author does. Of course, I also didn’t necessarily seek out living in Britain; I’m an academic, and we go where the job is. The university had to sponsor my visa and work permit, and when my FLR expired after five years, I had to apply for my Indefinite Leave to Remain, which if I recall cost somewhere around £850. I had to take that hilarious test, Life in the UK, which most Brits couldn’t pass (a real question I had on mine: how many members are there in the Welsh Assembly?). However, with the ILR, EU or no EU, I’m not going anywhere.  If Brexit were to win, the same can no longer be certain for citizens of EU countries.  What makes this doubly ironic is that a greater proportion of immigration to the UK is from outside the EU, which can be directly controlled (i.e. made more difficult) by the government of the day.

I have been told: “It’s not about people like you, it’s the others.” I am, apparently, a “useful” foreigner. So who are the others they are talking about? The Polish plumbers? The Lithuanian fruit pickers? The Spanish nurses? The Greek doctors? Or is it the benefit tourists, those mythical creatures that, like the Loch Ness monster, have never actually been spotted, but that surely must exist, given the amount of conversation about them?

This resonates. I have lost count of the number of conversations ‘on the doorstep’ while campaigning for the Labour Party in the past three elections where I’ve had discussions with UKIP supporters, and it’s usually straight from that script. Romanians this, Bulgarians that, and the Poles are everywhere . . . (and it gets worse, of course). When I’d point out my obvious immigrant status (my accent has barely changed from the west coast US I grew up with), it was always “oh, not you.”

It obviously helps that I’m white.

Even in the event of a vote to Remain, it will be difficult to control the forces that have been unleashed in this campaign. And it is difficult to imagine what the UK would turn into after a Brexit, possibly under the leadership of Messrs Johnson, Gove and Farage. What is certain, however, is that it will no longer be the country that embraced me – and that I fell in love with – all those years ago.

I don’t know whether I would be allowed to stay, but, like many others, I am beginning to wonder why I would want to. I would hate to leave the country that has been my home for almost 20 years and that has been so good to me – but if it comes to that, the real loser will be Britain.

I admitted this morning, if this campaign was my introduction to English (not British per se, but explicitly English) culture, I would not have come here. As it is, I’m not going anywhere (unless they decide to further clamp down on immigration by changing the rights associated with the ILR).  Which makes me wonder, of course, how much damage this poisonous rhetoric has caused, even in the event of a remain victory?

UPDATE: This, by German-born historian Tanja Bueltmann, published in the Times Higher on 16 June:

Such behaviour is not characteristic of the UK I love. But the UK I love, an open and tolerant country, seems to be vanishing. I see a “Trumpification”, and look in horror at clear parallels in early 20th-century German history.

I have absolutely no idea what is happening here in the UK right now. But what I do know is that it keeps me up at night.

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  • MilitantlyAardvark

    I don’t see how the UK puts the pieces back together again after the referendum because the English have discovered the cheap thrills of bigotry, xenophobia and white power fantasies that swing from ludicrous overconfidence to abject self-pity in a heartbeat. Politicians will rush to pander even more to the dumbed down classes while neither having nor wanting actual solutions, because those take time, knowledge, forethought, work and money.

    If ever a nation deserved the kicking it’s busily giving itself, it’s the English, who failed to think constructively about their future and preferred to live in a mythical past while letting the present gurgle down the tubes accompanied by a sour stench of rage, corruption and dishonesty.

    • sibusisodan

      English have discovered the cheap thrills of bigotry, xenophobia and white power fantasies that swing from ludicrous overconfidence to abject self-pity in a heartbeat.

      I don’t think it’s really a new discovery for us. We’ve had centuries of practice.

      It’s just getting more of an airing, and people are increasingly of the opinion that it’s OK to think like this in mainstream political discourse.

      We certainly deserve a kicking, but I’m not confident it would be administered to the correct areas of the body politic.

      I’d like to think if we’d had 30 years of Europhile press and media (or even just Euro-indifferent), things would be different. Perhaps that’s overly optimistic.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        I think the difference is probably the abundance of instant, cheap thrills and rage that ye newe (anti-?)social media (including blogs and comment sections) have made possible, combined with the collapse of communities brought about by the English disease of trying to copy the more stupid parts of Reaganism even after it was clear how much it had done to hollow out the US. Yes, the English have always had a degree of jingoism and bigotry lurking under the surface, but there is something qualitatively new here.

        • sibusisodan

          Yes, the English have always had a degree of jingoism and bigotry lurking under the surface, but there is something qualitatively new here.

          Yeah, I think you’re probably on to something there.

          Perhaps: we’ve never been this openly hatey and bigoted while simultaneously having as little power on the global scene?

          It’s the felt powerlessness which is driving much of this, I think. Tentatively.

          From the inside, it rather feels like we’ve listened to Flanders and Swan, and forgotten it was satire.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            I was thinking that previously the bigots couldn’t form larger communities very easily, much less intimidate others without revealing their own identities to some extent – and now all that’s changed thanks to internet anonymity, just as some of the traditional social stabilizers have been destroyed, weakened or denigrated into relative impotence, mostly, ironically, by the “conservatives” among us.

            • sibusisodan

              Yeah, that sounds about right. Don’t have much to add really. It’s a bit depressing.

              Gove has just compared his situation to Einstein in Nazi Germany, while warning about the dangers of historical analogies.

              • MilitantlyAardvark

                This might provide a measure of grim amusement:

                http://www.independent.co.uk/news/105-days-after-brexit-and-boris-johnson-s-conservative-government-are-in-crises-a7094056.html

                So you’ve been appointed not by the people but by their elected representatives is that what you’re saying?

                That is indeed what I am saying, yes.

                Because that’s precisely how EU Commissioners are appointed in Brussels but anyway we’ll move on. The NHS, Prime Minister. Four months ago you drove to every corner of this land in a bus with a sign on the side that said £350m a week would be saved if we left the EU, and that money would go to the NHS. People took you at your word, and now we have left the EU, and as was forewarned the economy is in meltdown and cuts to the NHS are unavoidable. That’s indefensible isn’t it?

                Err, now, John, now you know as well as I do that a slogan painted down the side of a bus cannot possibly be considered a direct spending commitment.

                But that’s what it said. “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.”

                And we will, John. It will be another two years before the UK can formally leave the EU and that taxpayer money can be wrenched free from the Flanders kleptocracy and in the meantime we face severe economic challenges.

                • sibusisodan

                  Thanks, that was good.

                  Freedom isn’t Free, John, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau said in “Team America: World Police”, and at no point did I or anyone else make any secret about the fact that if you want to eat prawn cocktail crisps you will have to suffer what will we all hope will be a relatively short recession.

                  Plus the ending is nicely crafted.

        • LeeEsq

          The Internet allows all sorts of people who really shouldn’t interact with each other to get together and reinforce their bad beliefs. Many psychologists an psychiatrists are apparently having difficult because the mentally ill get together on the Internet and support each other in ways that aren’t really that helpful.

        • LeeEsq

          The English adopted their own version of Reaganism at the same time that United States did. A good part of this was that the majority of the British people were no longer buying what the Labour Party was selling. They wanted to live in their own homes rather than in council flats. Like people in the United States, they though that that crime was out of hand and needed to be reduced. The Labour Party like the Democratic Party decided to stick to its principles because they believed in them. That was admirable. Its just that the electorate no longer wanted this.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            The Labour Party like the Democratic Party decided to stick to its principles because they believed in them.

            At what point in your narrative does Blair, A. C. L. appear?

            • Amanda in the South Bay

              About 13 years after Foot, M M. stuck to his guns and got clobbered in the election?

              • LeeEsq

                Seems about right.

  • Bootsie

    So how long until Cameron gets booted and replaced by Bam-Bam from the Flintstones Johnson? A month?

    (a real question I had on mine: how many members are there in the Welsh Assembly?)

    Average Brit: “We let the Welsh have an assembly?”

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      If Brexit wins, it might take as much as a fortnight for The Hugger of Huskies to get the boot. If Bremain triumphs, he’ll stay but with a reshuffle aimed at looking glorious, decisive, conciliatory and totally not a dead man omnishambling towards the not so long goodbye.

      I have wondered what happens if Remain wins, but Boris ultimately slithers into power – and then declares that, in answer to The People’s Plea, Foreign Minister Gove is going to take Britain/England/Dahn Sarf out of Europe to FREEDUMB!!! I think that’s not an entirely implausible outcome although heaven only knows just what would happen next.

      • Ahuitzotl

        The Hugger of Huskies Porker of Pork

    • Matt Heath

      The actual fuck? Did they at least give a multiple choice of “4, 60*, 100000, 3.0e10” ?

      *I looked it up; it’s the fucking Welsh Assembly.

      • Dave Brockington

        Yeah, it was a multiple choice exam. IIRC, we were allotted two hours. I “revised” the night before with the official study book . . . in the pub (it’s life in the UK after all). It took me 45 minutes or so to complete. But needless to say (as with the analogous American exam) most Brits would not pass it. I’m betting the odds of passing drop precipitously when we give the exam only to Brits backing Brexit.

        • Amanda in the South Bay

          I find it interesting (and it applies in more situations than yours) where outsiders who want to join a group are held to higher standards than the people born into it.

          • djw

            Pretty much true by definition, no? Granting membership by birth means your membership isn’t contingent on any standard at all, so standards for others are necessarily higher.

    • sibusisodan

      Average Brit: “We let the Welsh have an assembly?”

      Remember: it’s the EU which is unaccountable and undemocratic.

      The hilarious indifference with which we treat the deficits of our own system (House of Lords, increasing constitution issues with the UK regions) is because they are merely lovable quirks, as opposed to a Eurocratic boot stomping on John Bull’s face, forever.

  • Matt Heath

    deleted: was meant to be reply

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    John Rentoul ‏@JohnRentoul 1h1 hour ago
    Democracy: 46% of Leave voters think it “likely #EUref will be rigged”. YouGov for @LBC

    And so the stupid, whiny, self-pitying, futile game will go on, even if Bremain wins, which I think is the likeliest outcome.

  • MacK

    A big issue is that a lot of EU workers in the UK do go back and forth between their home countries and the UK. So even when the Leavers say that they will grandfather the EU nationals already in the UK, what happens if they leave for any sort of protracted period, to say look after a sick parent? What about their wives and children? What if their children want to go to University in their country-of-origin?

    And what about the transparent hostility that the Leave camp have played on. Would you want one of these pr!cks working with you? Would you employ them say in a hotel – when they obviously detest foreigners? How will a Leave politician deal with the Polish or say Turkish government in the future?

    But the biggest question – what if the UK votes leave? The people in that crowd are front and centre, look to be class of workers that will be most likely to lost their jobs in the event of leave. If they are steelworkers the market for British steel will sink and a Britain outside the EU will not have the geopolitical and economic power to impose dumping or countervailing duties on Chinese steel – it was already so spineless it blocked the EU from doing so (the rest of the EU wanted to.) They work in semi-skilled jobs in commodity industries, the very manufacturing jobs that the Leave campaign’s own so called economic expert, Professor Patrick Minter says will not survive Brexit.

    And if these guys wanted to go to another EU country – would they be welcome after this enthusiastic outpouring of xenophobia. Next time English soccer fans go abroad will the police be as gentle….

    What will happen to the Leave pols in the event of a Brexit – if it is remotely as bad as the experts predict. Seriously, would Michael Gove, or Farage or Boris dare to appear in front of this crowd in say 18 months? They might be lynched, hell they should be lynched. I might be too, because I will say “told you so…”

    • sibusisodan

      How will a Leave politician deal with the Polish or say Turkish government in the future?

      Badly. A Turkish spokesman on Newsnight last night:

      Why should we be flooding Britain? There’s no reason. Whatever exists in Britain also exists in Turkey.

      We are not going to go over there just because you produce Cadbury chocolates and Maltesers, for God’s sake.

      Seriously, would Michael Gove, or Farage or Boris dare to appear in front of this crowd in say 18 months?

      Well, Boris did promise yesterday that he would apologise if there was a recession post-Brexit. And he is an honourable man…

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Whatever exists in Britain also exists in Turkey.

        The Yorkshire version of Constantinople (*cough*) is really quite something!

      • I’ve been to both places and the food was a lot better in Turkey.

      • MacK

        His wives (2) and mistresses (3), children who’ve had to get him to admit paternity, numerous other dalliances and the employers who explicitly sacked him for lying (at least 2) can attest to his sense of honour.

    • Would you employ them say in a hotel – when they obviously detest foreigners?

      I believe there was an extended series of documentaries on that very subject televised some years back.

      • sibusisodan

        I would like to order Waldorf salad with this comment.

        • infovore

          But don’t mention the war.

  • sonamib

    About the economic impact of Brexit : apparently Belgium will be one of the EU countries that’s most seriously affected if Britain leaves. I guess it makes sense because we’re right across the channel, there must be a lot of trade going on (and some tourism). Economists are predicting a 0.5% hit to GDP, and 12,000 lost jobs.

    Brexit is just pointless pain inflicted all around.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      Hercule Poirot will finally pay the price for stealing all those jobs from hardworking imaginary British detectives!

      • Merkwürdigliebe

        Bravo, monsieur.

      • Ahuitzotl

        time to buy Miss Marple futures

  • kayden

    Will be interesting to see if the BAME (black, asian, minority ethnic) vote and if that will make any difference in the outcome.
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/01/british-asians-views-eu-referendum-figures-brexit

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      I read somewhere that Britain is on track to be a minority-majority country in the not too distant future. I haven’t verified this claim, but it seems intuitively within the realm of possibility.

      • LeeEsq

        The United Kingdom is still around 85% white and the non-majority British people are heavily concentrated in a few areas from what I’ve read. Their birth rates are going down to. I’d say this is an unlikely situation.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/white-britons-will-be-minority-before-2070-says-professor-8600262.html

          The Observatory’s Professor David Coleman said if current trends continue, the so-called majority-ethnic group in the UK – white British – will become a minority before 2070.

          Britain will become one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries in less than 40 years, the report says.

          Prof Coleman said this assumption does not factor in the impact of current or future government attempts to reduce net migration.

          Make of it what you will, but it seems to be more than a random assertion.

          • LeeEsq

            It’s assuming that the current trends will continue indefinitely though.

          • Richard Gadsden

            Yeah, but that presumes that the great-grandchildren of white Europeans won’t identify as white British.

            It’s like saying in 1916 that the USA won’t be majority-WASP in 1970.

  • Peterr

    Early on in reading this post, I kept thinking Trump, Trump, Trump . . . and then smiled (sadly) when you got there at the end in the Update, which reminded me of this from Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald a couple of days ago:

    Almost by definition, Hitler and Holocaust comparisons trivialize that era and reveal the ignorant insensitivity of those who make them. But the key word there is, almost.

    Because for the record, I’m not the only one who sees the shadow of Germany in the 1930s over America in the 2010s. Once again, a clownish demagogue bestrides the political landscape, demonizing vulnerable peoples, bullying opponents, encouraging violence, offering simplistic, strongman solutions to difficult and complex problems, and men and women who bear more moral authority on this subject than I ever could see something chilling and familiar in him.

    “I don’t want to make any comparison to Hitler, but believe it or not his delivery and the way he conducts himself is very similar to Hitler’s way of doing things.

    He discredits everybody who disagrees with him. He’s insulting. He discriminates against everybody.” So says Martin Weiss. He’s a survivor of Auschwitz.

    “It is repeating itself and it is again the inattention that people pay to real cues that one should understand. … I think one has to speak up. And that’s the one lesson from the Holocaust. Do not be a bystander.” So says Margit Meissner, who fled occupied France on foot through the Pyrenees. Like Weiss, she spoke in January to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.

    Then there is Eva Schloss, who in January said of Trump, “I think he is acting like another Hitler …” Schloss, who spoke to Newsweek, was the stepsister of Anne Frank.

    Like Tanja, I am not sleeping all that well at night either.

  • LeeEsq

    Advocates of increasing globalization and a low border control world have not really done a good job of convincing many people of the benefits. The more left-leaning advocates usually prefer to attack the skeptics as xenophobic at least, there is a lot of evidence for this being a good faith accusation, and more market-oriented globalists for being dumb people who can’t understand the glories of free trade and open borders. Many times the skeptics are getting attacked for both. Political realities do require you to sell your policies though and explain to the people whose votes you need why these policies should be implemented. You need more than these are righteous and your a bad, no good person if you don’t support them.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      It’s hard to convince people of anything when so much of the media and the Leave campaign is grotesquely dishonest and irresponsible when it comes to the brown triad of immigrants, jobs and sovereignty. For example, I would bet you that 99% of the Leavers could not give you a clear, coherent, fact-based case for how leaving the EU will enhance British sovereignty in any meaningful way, much less one beneficial to them, their friends and relatives. All they do is repeat the word sovereignty (with an occasional freedom thrown in) as if just by saying it they get three wishes and no consequences. Try pointing out the facts to them – and they will scream that you are a traitor, that you don’t believe in Britain, that you want England knocked out of Euro 2016, that you murdered their cat that disappeared 10 years ago etc etc etc. How do you explain anything to minds operating at that sort of level of enraged paranoia?

    • The more left-leaning advocates usually prefer to attack the skeptics as xenophobic at least, there is a lot of evidence for this being a good faith accusation,

      Well, “prefer to attack” is more typically “Whoa, this is a really xenophobic person or group!” I mean, Farage?! C’mon.

      Plenty of folks talk about economic benefits (esp. in an ageing society), moral reasons, the benefits of diversity, etc. “Immigrants staff our NHS” is a very common line.

      In the referendum campaign, Leave has been both hugely xenophobic and massive liars esp. about the economics. (From simple things like the bogus £350million/week to brussels stuff.) Remain has hit back on all fronts, sometimes poorly (some of the anti-xenophobia stuff is silly to bad, but plenty is good and much of it positive, e.g., “I’m an immigrant and…” posters).

  • sibusisodan

    Thoughts about the British print media:

    – they seem, to me, to have a large influence on the terms of political debate. A world in which Britain hasn’t been dwelling on Daily Mail stories about feckless Europeans and meddlesome Eurocrats for decades is one which is better placed to have a useful debate.

    – the flipside of that is that our papers don’t stray too far from the kind of things their readership goes for. So if it wasn’t the EU playing the bogeyman, presumably it would be a different bad guy.

    – our press barons, historically, have always had a lot of political power, and weren’t shy about using it. So perhaps this current batch aren’t unusual. But it doesn’t look great when Viscount Rothermere (Daily Mail, lives in France), the Barclay Brothers (Telegraph, live on their own Channel Island), Rupert Murdoch (The Sun, lives in NY) are happy for their papers to advocate for something which won’t affect them materially.

    – fundamentally: if we had a ‘better’ print media, would we have a better politics? I’m worried that I only think that way because it provides me with a convenient source of trouble to deal with and thus solve the problem…

    • michael8robinson

      It is tempting to exaggerate the influence of the British print media on the political debate, but as a share of population circulation numbers have fallen off a cliff, particularly in the last decade:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_in_the_United_Kingdom_by_circulation

      Obviously, the rise of the Internet is in large part responsible for this decline in influence. As a platform for recirculating and amplifying bigotry, hatred, and prejudice, the Internet has proven a much more effective tool than the technology it replaced.

    • CP

      our press barons, historically, have always had a lot of political power, and weren’t shy about using it.

      Where does Rupert Murdoch fit into this?

      I remember reading years ago that NewsCorp in the U.K. was a different animal from NewsCorp in the U.S. Here, it’s a completely partisan actor, either an arm of the Republican Party or its puppetmaster, depending on who you asked – but in the U.K, according to that article, it had actually made significant inroads into both Labour and Conservative parties.

      (I assume it’s behind Brexit?)

    • Donalbain

      I would be wary of putting the cart before the horse there. Newspaper editors are very much aware of what their particular audience already wants and will support that cause.

  • AMK

    What makes this doubly ironic is that a greater proportion of immigration to the UK is from outside the EU, which can be directly controlled

    So basically, the status quo would allow a BNP government to ban anyone from a nonwhite country from setting foot in Britain while having any and all additional labor force needs automatically met by a pipeline to the 27 other whitest countries in the world. That is ironic.

  • Ronan

    Let’s not get too carried away. The UK, or more specifically England, is going through an odd phase at the moment, but anyone who doesn’t think the country has changed considerably for the better on racism, xenophobia, or bigotry over the past number of decades needs to look a little closer at the historical record. The national front and extremist groups have diminished in size and support, a number of ethnic minority groups outperform whites academically and economically, the English identity has found a place for non whites to an extent that hasn’t occured in parts of continental Europe. Modern England is an, in a lot of ways, admirable place. People need to keep in sight the good parts.

    “It obviously helps that I’m white.”

    If you were a non white American I think you would have received the same speel. The two factors, imo, most important, more important than “whiteness”. (1) class, and the competition for low wage jobs from the east (hence the polish, Romanian, Lithuanian rhetoric) (2) culture, part of a broader, growing European hostility to Islam, and also the great European disease of anti Romaism. But culture, religion and ethnicity have greater explanatory power than race here.

    Now for a Tom friedmanesque anecdote. I also received the anti immigrant “though not you” rhetoric before. It was from a lovely old gentleman in east London worrying about the futures that existed for his grandchildren, who with one side of his mouth complained about the influx of eastern Europeans, but then with the other claimed east London would be nothing without the Bangladeshis, reminisced fondly about the brick lane Jews, and told me of his own background coming from emigrant irish gypsies.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      By anti Romasm you mean discrimination against Roma people? I’m curious, since they hardly seem mentioned in accounts of immigration in western Eurooe lately.

      • Ronan

        Yeah. Admittedly hostilility towards then hasn’t (afaict) been front and centre in this campaign , but they get a hugely disproportionate amount of grief for the size of their population . I was back In the town I grew up in over the past few years, and there’s a tiny (maybe three/four families so perhaps 30-50 individuals )Roma population who have been getting a good bit of grief (including vigilantes “protesting ” their flat complex, though thank fully that didn’t catch on). Admittedly they aren’t always angels, but then who amongst us is ?

    • michael8robinson

      Britain for the Britons!

      Romans
      Danes
      Saxons
      Normans
      Dutch
      Germans
      Bangladeshis
      Romanians go Home!

      • Ronan

        At this stage I’m just waiting to see who will be the last group crossed off that list.

        • michael8robinson

          According to DNA studies, apparently the only people in a position to complain about immigrants are found in the remoter parts of Wales.

      • Lurker

        Oh yes, they should allow only the Cymri-speaking Welshmen to decide the Brexit question. They are the only real Britons. Everyone else is a new-comer.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          There are no Cymri-speaking Welshmen (or women). There are some speakers of Cymraeg however.

      • NickFlynn

        There’s never going to be a better place to link to this classic Stewart Lee routine about the insanity of the anti-immigration folks:

        https://youtu.be/Ft338yltVLE

        • nixnutz

          Anyone in the US who hasn’t seen it should check out Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle on Netflix. They only have series 3 right now, and when they first added it they were calling it season 1 which makes me doubtful they’ll add the first two but maybe they’ll still get the relatively new fourth.

        • Ronan

          I love that clip. Stewart lee at his best must be the best comedian working at the minute (at least none better come to mind)

      • Dave Brockington

        You forgot the Irish on that list.

    • CP

      Let’s not get too carried away. The UK, or more specifically England, is going through an odd phase at the moment, but anyone who doesn’t think the country has changed considerably for the better on racism, xenophobia, or bigotry over the past number of decades needs to look a little closer at the historical record. The national front and extremist groups have diminished in size and support, a number of ethnic minority groups outperform whites academically and economically, the English identity has found a place for non whites to an extent that hasn’t occured in parts of continental Europe. Modern England is an, in a lot of ways, admirable place. People need to keep in sight the good parts.

      My mother (French, raised and living in Switzerland) just returned from visiting London. One of her first comments was that the nonwhite population of the city appeared to be much better integrated, at least by contrast with France.

      Granted, this is a two week visit from an outsider, to be taken with the appropriate grains of salt. I did think it made an interesting observation given that all we’re hearing about the U.K. right now is about the xenophobia surrounding Brexit.

      • sibusisodan

        Part of that might be London, though. It’s becoming a bit of a different beast from the rest of the country.

        My understanding is that areas with more immigration are less hostile to it. So it’s likely that the larger cities will vote remain, London included.

    • LeeEsq

      Isn’t the great European disease Jew-hatred. It some how gets written out of the current narratives a lot.

      • Amanda in the South Bay

        Probably because of Israel.

      • CP

        Jews and Roma share the title as the Historically Hated Minority of Europe. But I’d argue that since the Holocaust, there’s been a lot more recognition of how problematic the prejudices towards the former are. The Roma endured basically all the same things, including said Holocaust, but that tends to get overlooked a lot more.

      • Ronan

        What current narrative is ignoring the Jews ? People aren’t protesting the Jews taking jobs in newcastle , or begging in Rotherham , what narrative are we ignoring ? There’s certainly growing hostility towards Jews in Europe, particularly in Muslim communities, but what has that to do with this case specifically ? And who exactly doesn’t recognise the historic position of Jews in Europe? Do you really think this is something that goes unacknowledged?

      • Origami Isopod

        1. Let’s not forget the Roma.

        2. I see antisemitism discussed a lot more than I see antitziganism.

  • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

    Romanians this, Bulgarians that, and the Poles are everywhere . . . (and it gets worse, of course). When I’d point out my obvious immigrant status (my accent has barely changed from the west coast US I grew up with), it was always “oh, not you.”

    It obviously helps that I’m white.

    Well, it didn’t seem to help the Romanians, the Bulgarians, or the Poles.

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