12 December, 2011
On the race / asylum / immigration threads, which do indeed seem to glide seamlessly from one into the next, so that they become episodes in a single ongoing thread, I keep an eye out for the first "anyone born here is British" and the first "nation of immigrants", with a bonus point for any post which mentions the Huguenots. Any thread on lax border controls will soon be host to a number of irritated (and totally irrelevant) posts about how difficult it is to settle here legally, usually written by people who tell us about the expensive and time-consuming hoops they had to jump through for their foreign-born spouse to join them here. What that has to do with folk overstaying tourist or study visas I don't know, but these people seem to think they are making some kind of point. On a good day, BeautifulBurnout (an immigration lawyer) will pop up and lose her temper. And if things seem to be going the way of the Unrighteous, expect timewaster KenBarlow to chip in with irrelevant literalist flippancies in an attempt to to trivialize the thread and generally divert attention.
So why do I continue to read this guff?
To be sure there is a certain destructive addiction to it all, in the same proverbially negative sense as banging your head against a brick wall: it's nice when you leave off.
But mainly because of the anecdotes. In among the predictable Yah-boo-sucks, there is the occasional anecdote from personal experience which supplies real data to further the argument and to further understanding. Long-established commenter haardvark for example, whom I remember from Guardian Unlimited Talk days, is always worth a read. I think it was he who offered us interesting insights into the employment of cheap East European labour, displacing wholesale willing local English workers in what remains of our manufacturing industry. And ilovemisty is a regular sparring partner of BB, who as a former immigration caseworker herself knows her stuff.
I keep meaning to collect valuable anecdotes, kidding myself that I will be able to find them again through the magic of the search engine. CiF, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be indexed, at least below the line, so I may have to resort to collecting them into a file as I encounter them.
But in the meantime, as a small public service, I offer an example from Harry's Place. HP, of course, has the infuriating habit of deleting its below-the-line comments after a couple of weeks, so the source for the following quote is unhelpfully bare. The OP, by the redoubtable Sarah Annes Brown, is about honour killings, but the discussion soon wanders onto adjacent topics.
Sarka (or probably more precisely Šárka) is a British woman now settled in the Czech republic. ("Czecho" as I tend to think of it: the left half of "Czechoslovakia".) She comments frequently below-the-line at CiF and also offered this interesting anecdote at HP.
5 December 2011, 9:30 pm
Hi Trespassers Will
Just a personal note on this – which may seem at odds with previous posts but God, I don’t know what to think…
A very good friend from Lancashire told me this:
His sister (whom I don’t know personally, but I know him well and he wouldn’t lie and is no BNP type) is a middle-aged English woman living by herself in semi-rural small but poshish area on the edge of a Lancashire town with large Asian immigrant area between her and the centre.
A few years ago she was woken in the middle of the night by someone (female) battering on her door and screaming for help. She went and opened it. A very young teenage white girl dashed in past her, frightened out of her wits and incoherent – looking both bruised and drugged up. In the road a quite expensive car that had been crawling stopped and two Asian guys got out meeting one that had been running down the road and they all started running for her door. She slammed it and locked it . The girl was cowering in the hall. She didn’t have time to try and ask the girl what was going on, because the men had come up to the door and were yelling threateningly, banging…one evidently now by the frontroom window and rattling it, trying to get it open.
My friend’s sister grabbed the telephone in the hall and dialled 999 – advertising this tactically by talking very loudly so the assailants could here. Having called the police, she ran to the back of the house, just in time to see the girl, who had opened the back door, scrambling over the garden fence and disappearing…My friend’s sister rushed upstairs (the attack was continuing), and saw a couple of neighbours had come out because of the noise…more lights went on in the street, and the Asian guys retreated to their car and drove off.
Talking to the neighbours the woman learned that one had looked out and seen the girl vainly banging on three or four doors before getting to hers…with the car in pursuit.
The police arrived: they were very laid back. They took notes of my friend’s sister’s account, made some remarks about how the girl was obviously one of the Asian’s “white tarts” and it was a bad business but little to be done immediately. A neighbour had taken the car number, which was duly noted.
My friend’s sister is a pushy middle-class type. She wasn’t terribly satisfied with the demeanour of the police and so a couple of days later she went to the police station and demanded to know if any progress had been made in the investigation (they had the number after all) and if the girl, whom she had described, had been identified, because she was very worried about her. Basically, though all her remarks were recorded, she had the impression of being fobbed off – this made her all the more militant, and she started to complain, and suggest strongly that she would be coming back, contacting her MP etc…
Off she went, crossly. And if the story stopped at this point you might think it subject to any number of interpretations – for after all, many people (self included) have experienced the police not exactly jumping to it in various situations…especially in situations that have been dramatic but in which no one has actually been injured or property seriously destroyed.
But the really bad thing came later. A couple of days later, The phone rang and my friend’s sister heard a male voice that did not identify itself – The caller said he was a police officer but calling off the record, and asking her for her own safety not to start making a fuss about the case…He explained that if she made a fuss the people in the racket concerned would identify her and she and her property would be at risk, and that there was nothing the police could do because in the community concerned they had no influence – everything had to be through the “elders”, and on matters like this they wouldn’t co-operate. He tried to stress that the social services had been given her description of the girl and would do the best they could, but she shouldn’t hope for too much – but mainly he was warning her off for her own good, given where she lived…
I would have had a slight scepticism problem with this story (even from an impeccable source) had I not myself, some years before, received a similar “warning off” call from a self-unidentified member of the police when I was helping a Bangladeshi friend in Brighton with a case against a very well-known local gangster (my only brush with the mean streets – I’m no hero). So alas, I believe this report, and its implications are very unpleasant.
5 December 2011, 9:34 pm
P.S. My friend’s sister didn’t take things any further. She was indeed scared. A few months later she moved out of the area right into the country and said she was relieved…
This is the real power of the internet. Not the blustering of the blowhards and the propaganda of the elite machine, but the like-minded discovering that they are not alone and sharing their experiences. That's what has made blogging worthwhile and what encourages me to keep returning to it.
We'll have the bastards yet.
There's quite a lot of that going around...
The unpalatable exotic customs of urban life will one day be impossible to escape.
But then our elected leaders can easily move out of the reach of the barbarians, so not exactly their problem.