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Immigrants, Bigots, Politicians - Songs of innocence and of experience [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Douglas Spencer

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Immigrants, Bigots, Politicians [Apr. 30th, 2010|01:09 am]
Douglas Spencer
I've been thinking about this for a day and half. I said a couple of things on Twitter. And then someone posted something here on LJ, and I commented, and it was long enough for a post of its own, so here it is.

Disclaimer: I have middle-class white British [mostly-]heterosexual educated privilege.

You know what my position is? I want a good doctor, and a good dentist, and a good plumber and electrician and grocer and handyman and library assistant and call-centre-person, and I don't much care whether they're from Formby or Formosa. And I expect to be good at my job if I hope to keep it and I expect to be replaced by someone better if I'm not.

For years I've had a GP from India, and he's brilliant. And a dentist from Buckinghamshire, and she's brilliant too. And I'm delighted to have each of them.

And there was a time five years ago when I really wished immigration was easier in Washington DC, USA... and I recognise how hypocritical I'd be if I wanted it to be harder here.

I just kind of wish that if Gordon was prepared to say "she's a bigot" in the car, he'd have been prepared to say "you're a bigot" to her face, and engage with her and find out what she thinks is wrong, and help her to find out what he thinks is wrong. I think that's one of his failings on this occasion.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: starbrow
2010-04-30 07:14 am (UTC)
I can understand why he didn't, to be honest. Of course he couldn't have called her a bigot to her face - the tempest in the media would have been far worse, as well as the outrage among the populace who already don't like him too much. The fact that he did say what he did in what he thought was in private may be the only thing that saves this from being an actual disaster for the campaign - people, bar the media, are too cognisant of times they've said things about people in private that they would never want aired.

I'm glad, however, that he recognises bigotry when he sees it. That's pretty much what I've taken away from this.
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[User Picture]From: vicarage
2010-04-30 07:41 am (UTC)
The problem is there are lots of 'good' people elsewhere who are prepared to do the job cheaper. And the EU has the laudable aim of getting everyone to the same standard of living, normalising pay rates. And of course it would be fair for the same to be true for the whole world. But we can't afford that environmentally.

At least well regulated jobs based in Britain have a level playing field for living costs, but immigration controls can't prevent outsourcing.

There is no defensible moral stance for preserving our privileged position, but none of us want to lose it.
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2010-04-30 08:00 am (UTC)
Frankly how many of us have left a meeting with our boss, colleagues or a client and have said *in confidence* after "What a prat"? He just unfortunately had a live mike on.
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[User Picture]From: helenex
2010-04-30 08:54 am (UTC)
I shouldn't have been surprised that whilst the media were all over Brown's comments, what was actually said in the conversation went relatively unreported.

When I went looking for them, actually I pretty much agreed with him saying that she was "sort of a bigoted woman". She wasn't a raving loony, but the language she used to express herself regarding immigration gave the impression that she saw Eastern Europeans as almost less than human (talking about them "flocking" and "swarming").

Mostly, immigrants (even those from Eastern Europe) don't claim benefits or "take our council houses". And yet, there are areas of the country where there is real pressure on public services due to unexpected changes in the shape of the population in the last few years - I remember a few years ago someone from Glasgow City Council told me they had applications for 2000 extra children to enter the school system one September. What goes for schools might also go for doctors, dentists but also the housing rental market, for example.

Politicians can't brush off these concerns, and they are right to respond in public to the issues raised even if the language used is inappropriate.
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From: jamesb
2010-04-30 09:56 am (UTC)
As a foreignor in this land, I have to admit that people do have biggoted feelings about my likes taking jobs that should be for English people. I am lucky in that I havonly been racially abused a few times in the work place. My skin colour and accent deflect. Much vitiol that is usually saved for my Asian and black colleagues who are actually British.

The free movement of people within the EU is not a bad thing at all, but this is confused with illegal immigrants and immigration from other non EU countries.

I am with Clegg on the legalising and TAXING people who are here 10 years illegally. I want thier NI and and Imcome tax in the Revenue coffers.

Brown made a stupid mistake. He was caught.

Meanwhile - I have major issues with the U-CUNF's.
I notice Haig never mentioned his fellow parties issues over gay people, their attempts to reinstitute discrimination and the lack of rights for women who want an abortion in Northern Ireland. Let alone how it was the only party that wanted to block progress in devolution and want to disband the parades commission. Go conservitive unionists.
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[User Picture]From: sarah_mum
2010-04-30 08:23 pm (UTC)
Your last paragraph has expressed something that bothered me but I didn't know why, thank you.
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