The trouble with immigration - Politics | PoFo

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The trouble with. . .


It is not with any great pleasure that the political distinctions of Left and Right are utilised by those who recognise the inflexibility of ideology as well as the dissolution which emaciates the big ideas of Politicians by the time they reach the pavement. The comment that Politics and its most fervent practitioners are out of touch with the people who walk those places is confusing in that it is delivered as a criticism, as though the opposite intention was the real desire of those in power; to ask anyone who never quite aspired in the right way or who never really took an interest why those who’re supposed to represent them fail so consistently, the answer provided would be that they thought that was how it was supposed to have been, and that it would always be this way. It is an acceptance of two different Worlds with an occasional crossing of language and sharing of space, a simple dichotomy of an us and them; except, the us isn’t what it once was. The us in fact doesn’t even know what it is anymore, or what it’s meant to be. For them the simple split remains, the benefit of living in the rarefied stratosphere where things are done much as they once were and the action on the ground is quantified rather than experienced. The us however, has had its attention diverted; the two Worlds of before have shattered, but only on the one side, and what has emerged is an incalculable number of us’, all with their backs to the wall and all unsure of what’s going to happen next.

So, the distinction of Left and Right; however inadequate such designations are (and those who adhere to them are of a greater inadequacy still) they are superficially useful for defining the inherent duality of any particular debate for ease of public consumption. When opposed with the problem of Immigration, it is obvious what each side will posit as a solution (and from this, through the strictures of loyalty and the demand of consistency that comes with the promise to only ever see something which is dynamic and chaotic through one eye, follows the opinions of those who understand the first distinction and relish the identity their choice provides). It is equally obvious, indeed almost axiomatic, which side is right from the viewpoint of logic. A person confronted with even the most rudimentary of Atlases will see that the concepts of State and Nationhood are of that arbitrary nature that comes closer to farce; the accumulated efforts of luck, aggression of certain Rulers with power to wield and more often than not the ability of a cartographer in wielding a ruler. The idea that a human being, born into a particular place, must then accept that their destiny is to unfold inextricably within that same places borders, and that the opportunity to seek their own betterment wherever they believe the best chance for them to do so exists is denied, is inimical to the most fundamental of freedoms promised by those Nations that position themselves as being at the forefront of civilisation. It is also a reality that anyone with even a modicum of empathy or understanding of justice would find repellent. But then empathy, and justice, are just frames of mind; what happens when you alter the picture?
A person who doesn’t have any food in the fridge is undoubtedly occupied by one pressing concern. Someone else who’s electricity is run on the meter, who finds they have nothing left to withdraw and not enough pounds left on the display to match the days, has the pressing concern of when they would like to be warm and when not. These problems will seem like clichés, an established method for anyone intending to elucidate the starkness of modern existence, and indeed they are, because they are true. Grand considerations on the rights and wrongs of a society are the privilege of those devoid of such troubles. Hyper – Morality (that is, a morality that extends beyond the usual limits to encompass those things apart from one’s own immediate existence) is also reserved for those with the required affluence of peace and time to develop it. What would be the reaction if those cleaners, builders, bus drivers, nurses and the rest that make up the immigrant workforce suddenly discovered an affinity for property surveying? Or running HR departments? It’s often argued that occupations like the four mentioned above find no takers among White English people, which is true, but only because they realise what they should actually be worth. Our jobs market has become so engorged with seekers at the lower levels that employers can offer zero hour contracts and low wages with impunity; the working masses, bombarded with high taxes and rising living costs are then set against the unemployed with such ferocity that they whoop and cheer when the Government implements a system of enforced, non-paid labour. What would be the state of our jobs market, of our indigenous working class, if the large scale immigrations of the last sixty years were undone? This is without doubt incendiary territory; an equally valid question is, when are people considered indigenous? Does really the flow of time, as an aggregate along with history and the experiences of lives lived within this country, add a legitimacy that positions a person above others? How long is the time limit before a person can be considered English? These are important considerations, but it can not be disputed that the generational argument has a definite legitimacy, derived from effort provided through work, and money parted with, in the same taxes as mentioned before; over the years many of us have paid for a show, only to discover our seat has now been triple booked.

Those in denial of this are undoubtedly untroubled by questions of fridges and radiators; but they are not working from principles, for an untested principle is a contradiction in terms; principles are wrought in unforgiveable experience. Anything untested is only a belief, that is, an inclination toward one option or another made with a scarcity of fact. Perhaps it follows from this that a good principle is not to believe in anything. The fundamental idea of pan-global freedom, that a person born in the shit should be allowed to tumble into the Ocean so that they can then emerge clean on the other side, able to make as much of themselves as anyone who had arrived before they did, is a beautiful one. As with most ideas, it conjures images along with it, of families, of hope and the bravery of adventure. Images however are usually just projections of an idealistic possible existence that it is hoped will become reality, which they often don’t, and even if they do, even if there is a moment when the alignment of what was wished and what is actually happening occurs, it is only a moment; apart from the lamentation a person will naturally suffer as the dream is engulfed by the panorama of real life, there will also no doubt be that tinge of embarrassment one feels when the naivety of before is remembered, prior to the grind of life at street level. When far enough away from central, the rows of two up two downs take over, crunched in everywhere between the main outflows from the City with their scattering of shops at every two hundred yards or so. It is disturbing what one of these former family homes can become; suddenly one front door leads on to another three, and beyond these lay rooms built like pipes where there’s not enough room for people to stand side by side, the bodies are packed in two to a bunk, the one window in the kitchen only coaxing the fresh air in far enough so that every corner of the place acquires that thick grunge of sweat to then shove up the nostrils. These are refuges of the recently arrived, some to make a life, others unlikely to stay long; their accents mark them out whenever they use whatever pieces of the language they’ve managed to fuse together to get by. The homes are only used for sleeping, otherwise they’re at work putting the rent together, or out with people from the same place as them. Accumulatively, these groups are packaged as being of benefit to those who belonged before, an opportunity for the broadening of our collective and individual minds, an appendage to our culture; but what has this entailed? Has it been nothing more than an extension of our diet, the casual picking of that which is useful and attractive with a disregard for what and who lies behind? If people do not provide a certain type of utility, does that invalidate their right to exist here?

Provided above are rudimentary examples of the different us’ mentioned within the introduction, one such being the original us of the white working class. The most compelling argument in relation to this group was the generational argument, a debt owed to these people by those in power for the effort and capital they provided in helping to establish this country as what it is; however, there is another side to the generational argument. There is another debt. And this one takes us up into the World of the them. The argument is still based on the aggregated events of the past, though now specifically on that time when we would prefer to abandon specifics – it is the explanation of the approach of over fifty years’ worth of Governments and their Ministers to the question of immigration. It is hard to estimate when England became ashamed of its imperialistic adventure; perhaps it was in the Second World War, when we looked across and saw keen students in whom today we like to portray as rampaging mad men. Students educated on the obligation to dominate and subjugate those deemed inferior by our own Empire. Alongside the formal requirements of our modern education system to provide knowledge of what has gone before, the chronicling of the past also has more lucrative avenues available to it, from books to a legion of television channels. Through either of these mediums, a stretch forty or so years in either direction as a method of providing context or examining repercussions is matter of simplicity; what is to be understood then, from the placing of the Second World War as year zero in relation to our modern history? The stories that come before lack nothing of colour, or character, perhaps it is simply that their collective heart is a little too dark for us to countenance, at least directly so. Instead there has been an effort at compensation, a promise to the many affected that whatever we may have taken from them, they would be allowed to chase it down to these shores. Of course it would not be returned, but they would be provided with a measure of that equality mentioned before so as to exist amongst the original workers, in the hope of improving their lot and in turn that of the place our actions had forced them to abandon. Then, hopefully, they would set out again back to that place of origin; except, they stayed. When they weren’t supposed to. They stayed amongst people who’d never had any desire for their arrival, and then subsequently had even less to live alongside them, or to accept them as full equals. In the present, talking of this equality is offensive; it is assumed to have come into existence, when really all that’s happened is that the more consistent and obnoxious forms of intolerance have snuck away. A withdrawal of oppression does not necessarily pull justice along with it into the space left unoccupied. Instead now we have a vacuum, where the aspirations of a fair share have been abandoned as a hopeless dream by the second and third generations, so that England and English are still words for the Whites, but dirty ones, whilst an ascription of loyalty to countries of a long lost origin only seen through the eyes of a holidaymaker are the norm for those children of the unwanted.

Some would say that a debt can not last forever, especially when those who racked it up have been dead for more than half a century; again there is a confrontation with time, and the idea that inherent within its passing is a weight, or a strength, that can then be attributed to one ideal or another in the hunt for legitimacy. It is safe to say that whatever the limit placed on potential compensation due to the savagery of Empire however, council flats and a free health service don’t quite cover it. The same of course applies to the White working class. That they’ve deserved and still deserve better from those elected to represent them is incontrovertible, with unfortunately one of the greatest crimes perpetrated against them being the morally unquestionable practice of encouraging immigration. Within this work there was a brief exposure of the fallacy of Nation and Statehood and the parochial nature of borders. As irrational as these ideas may seem however, they have got a credibility, and it has been provided by the very people enclosed within those same borders. Whilst there may be nothing more unseemly than rampant jingoism, that people have taken to the ideas of Nation and belonging, have invested effort and indeed the physical rewards that follow from it, means that life and obligation have been imbued in something that at first seems a hollow illusion. Instant Global communication has catapulted the pursuit of profit into the stratosphere, perhaps those in charge feel that people should be allowed to flow as quickly as the money does now, but does a smaller World and the incremental enlightenment of civilisation make it acceptable to abandon those who made you what you are? Nationality is now something almost to be ashamed of, and certainly nothing to be celebrated too enthusiastically; we’ve all moved on apparently, and whatever was promised you before, well that’s the old way, when we were racist and xenophobic, so just get used to sluicing inside the bloated guts of the lower reaches of this country. Be prepared that if it ever does take a shit, you’re just as likely to be slapped out into the bowl as anyone else, no matter what you or your ancestors might have given, and if you’re that upset, send yourself to Uni for a few years and ten grand, and come out with a degree that’d probably be of better use to the analogy above.

In the opening paragraph (and therefore haunting in the periphery of the ones that have followed) is a misconception. More accurately, it is a misrepresentation. It was when it was said that the them of politics and politicians hadn’t change, when they have, because they’ve gotten worse; though again more accurately perhaps, the World, or certain aspects of it, have gotten better. Mainly, it is in the realm of technology, and specifically the aforementioned instantaneous communication we enjoy today; the media industry, entertainment of course and our own personal relationships have been availed of opportunities that have only just begun to be realised. For politics, at least in regards to the classical model, this advancement has been a disaster. There was a time (which seems unsettling now) when information, and the very practices of Politics, were confined mostly to a miles width around Westminster. It was dominated by men who were sure that they knew best, and were equally certain of what they wanted to achieve; better yet, they had the mandate to do it. In contrast the modern politician is a slave; to polls, to trends, and strange as it may seem to highlight in a democracy, to public opinion. They can’t have big ideas in the fear that they get labelled as such; the following descent of that idea from party policy to catastrophe orchestrated through and chronicled by the press is inevitable. All they can do is watch on aghast and realise the futility of grand ambitions when there are so many people yearning to make a name from your failure. Instead they’ve been reduced to timid skirmishers, flailing around a toothpick at opponents that need the sword, before being dragged (without too exhaustive an effort) in front of the cameras. It has become a world for the shallow and fame seeking, where they’re either too bumbling or too slick, and where the great aspiration for authenticity is denied by the very remits of the position, which is now too exposed to function effectively. The fans of the old system insist on the need for new personality, that a prophesised golden age of Americanesque charm will return the lost voters and the belief that politics can do great things; it can, but not in its current incarnation, regardless of how broad those smiles can get. This is not the part of the blog entry for the recommendation of some mawkish, egalitarian future politics, where everyone gets three votes a day via Facebook to use on the big issues; there is no enthusiasm here for a ten strong leadership contest, with live debates every week on ITV after which the viewer gets to vote for whoever has had the cause for most redemption as a result of their previous lives, the bottom two thrown into deadlock and given three minutes each to weep and scream their way through a manifesto that “always really meant something” to them when they were in their thirties. What is needed is more tepid, but is nevertheless crucial to the question of immigration.

Local politics, in contrast to the circus elucidated above, is a mostly anonymous affair. That is no doubt a result of the centralising of power that has characterised Governments of the last thirty years; that power now needs to come back. It is useless to posit remedies to the issues of employment and living standards if the delivery system is an archaic shambles unfit to administer the medicine; it is also useless to await change from above. Social progress is not a lightning strike at the top, where the leaves whirl down aflame with promises to those below; it is from the root that progress comes, bursting out, regardless of what effect that may have on what rests above. Local communities, if they are to exist again, must be predicated on the idea that they have the biggest say in that locality. The chasm that exists between the myriad groups at the bottom of the social hierarchy has been cleaved between them by fear, uncertainty of the future, feelings of abandonment and of being unwanted; control over the places they share together is their only hope of genuinely improving their collective fortunes. It is a trouble indeed, and not one with any answer currently available, that could be implemented with any great immediacy. The solution of devolving power from Westminster into local authorities is the foundation from which we could move forward, but it will never come, because no matter how could it could be if people realised what they could achieve, they’ll always be just a little bit too comfortable to bother.

As for those who are here to work, or are intending on coming, the answer should be a harsh one. Every few years or so there are this or that many million people out of work, already in this country. A million people and often more; a staggering amount which is yet almost impossible to add gravitas to. There will never be a million spare jobs in this country, all those people will never all be in work together, some may never work again, and while it may be aggressive, and even unethical or immoral, the only fair choice, or at least the fairest choice of all those available, is to favour those people whose effort across literal generations has provided the human fuel of blood and sweat that has created whatever prosperity this country has, does or should ever enjoy.
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