Wednesday 5 September 2018

Romanian women write about immigrants in England

Jaywick Sands is a very poor coastal town in Essex, inhabited mostly by people who once lived in the East End of London. The majority were Leave voters and are part of Clacton, a constituency I know very well, which had a UKIP MP.

A Romanian woman, Alexandra Bulat, who is a PhD Candidate at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), in University College London, writing a dissertation on the attitudes of British people to EU migration, went to visit and speak to people there. Her report is here.

A much more revealing and interesting discussion about multiracial Britain, by a young Romanian woman living and blogging in East London, is here. Google Translate will translate it if your Romanian is rusty.

The Clacton by-election in 2014, that Douglas Carswell precipitated after leaving the Conservatives and won for UKIP,  led Conservative journalist Matthew Parris to make a day trip and write about it for the Times. 

What he wrote tells you everything you need to know about why Leave won the referendum two years later. He spoke for the Conservative 'Modernisers' like David Cameron and George Osborne when he said this.
I met nothing but helpfulness there. Clacton-on-Sea is a friendly resort trying not to die, inhabited by friendly people trying not to die. 
.....[Ukip] make a good fit for Clacton. Somebody has to represent the static caravans and holiday villages, and the people and places that for no fault of their own are not getting where a 21st-century Britain needs to be going.
Nor do I deny that we Conservatives, if we tried hard enough, could get some of these voters back. There are many in a place like this who might be attracted again to the Tories by a noisy display of hostility towards immigration-and-Europe, political correctness and health-and-safety: hostility to a Britain that has forgotten the joys of Ken Dodd, meat pies, smoking in pubs and the Bee Gees.
No, my aim is to ask this: is that where the Conservative party wants to be? Is it where the Tories need to be if they’re to gather momentum in this century, rather than slowly lose it? Or do we need to be with the Britain that has its career prospects ahead and not behind, that can admire immigrants and want them with us, that doesn’t want to spend its days buying scratchcards and its evenings smoking in pubs, that’s amazed at all the fuss about whether gays should marry, that travels in Europe and would hesitate to let those links go? I am not arguing that we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places such as Clacton. But I am arguing — if I am honest — that we should be careless of their opinions.
I recommend you read a wonderful book called The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux, who travelled around the British coast full of loathing for it and its inhabitants at the start of Margaret Thatcher's period as Prime Minister. He particularly hated Jaywick and ended in a crescendo of disgust in my home town Southend-on-Sea.

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