Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Five and a half million cannot be wrong.

This may look like a prison, but it is actually a detention centre for illegal immigrants.

Conveniently situated near to Heathrow airport.

My fair minded yeomen, there are some topics that are just guaranteed to get the blood pressure rising. Prepare yourself, this is going to be one of those posts.

To say that immigration is a touchy topic is one of those wonderful understatements. It’s like saying that World War II was a minor disagreement or that Pele could kick a ball. (Note 1)

I suppose us Brits like understatement. It allows us to make a grudging nod towards reality while allowing us to live within our chosen realities undisturbed.

And, as if by magic, I start to stereotype and define ‘Britishness’. I’m not alone, it seems to have become an obsession of our politicians. It seems that wherever you turn, someone is trying to define what makes us British. Tony Blair believes "When it comes to our essential values - belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage - then that is where we come together, it is what we hold in common.".

Noble words?

Maybe, but when you look to the general public, the majority seem to believe that we will be better served by curtailing or even stopping immigration into Britain. David Cameron, the Tory leader espouses immigration controls. href="#Note2h" class="">(Note 2)

There appears to be this belief that it is us Brits that are being so very reasonable about the whole debate and that it is others that refuse to understand our position and to engage in our view of a Multicultural Britain.

Perhaps I am in a very, very small minority who saw a fly fall into the very expensive ointment yesterday.

The troublesome insect came in the form of a survey that suggested that five and a half million people born in Britain now live abroad.

There seems to be a paradox here. While it seems that as a nation we are against immigration into the UK, yet we seem to believe that it is OK for us to up sticks and move abroad. I’m not sure, but am I the only one who finds this a rather hypocritical view?

All of this is just an excuse for a synaptic tangent.

My sturdy yeomen, I’m Banishing the synaptic tangent to a footnote. href="#Note3h" class="">(Note 3) I would much rather highlight an article I heard on the radio when they were discussing this survey.

A reporter found himself in a town in the South of Spain that had become a haven for British expats. After various discussions over the benefits enjoyed by the Brits who had made their home in the town, the reporter sought out some Spaniards to get there view on this ‘friendly invasion’. He couldn’t find any in the town.

He eventually found some in a neighbouring town. They complained that the expats didn’t learn Spanish, didn’t integrate into society and didn’t embrace the Spanish culture and way of life.

Well what do you know? Exactly the same complaints being levelled at immigrants at home! Do you reckon that it could be that us Brits might be required to change our attitudes just as much as those immigrants that politicians love to berate?

If we are not worried enough about global warming, a report out today highlights the fact that the ice in the Arctic Ocean is rapidly melting. This is one of the climatic events that is seen as a tipping point in the changes to our planet’s weather patterns and likely to have a huge impact on our future.

In my garden we have blossom in December. This bush doesn’t normally bloom until March.
We also have these flowers still in bloom in December. Normally these would have been killed off by frost ages ago.

The really depressing part of this story is that it is probably now far too late to be able to reverse the trend and to save the ice and the Arctic environment.

From 14th June, the industry standard Crozzy Standard has been applied to footnotes.

NOTE 1: Of course this is just a lame excuse to roll out the urban legend of the famed Hollywood Producer who in response to an audition tape said “He can’t sing, can’t act, can dance a little.” So it was that RKO Pictures decided to turn down Fred Astaire. That’s the trouble when you are asked to voice an opinion, if it turns to be different from the vast majority – you become a figure of ridicule. Still, I’ll take my chances. Click to return

NOTE 2: He is not alone. The Labour Party have been applying immigration controls ever since they came to power. Picking out a speech by ‘Dave’ isn’t my attempt to highlight the fact that he just loves to make speeches that play well to the cheap seats (although that does seem to be his favoured method of campaigning), but just an example I plucked from the numerous available that shows the mindset within the country. Click to return

NOTE 3: While Marmite is a sought after delicacy amongst British ex-pats, the inclusion of this photograph is just a flimsy excuse to link to Rii’s discussion on an unusual art form. Click to return

The cute little bird is still here. Make the most of him. His island will probably be reclaimed by the rising sea levels before too long.

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