May 09, 2008

Oh to be in England

I was in London for a few days this past week, mostly to play chess, partly to remind myself how horrible it is to come into Liverpool Street, your first taste of England other than the airport and the train, and the first things you see are the rubbish strewn all over the street and the drunkards strewn all over the pavements.

On Monday evening I went to my old favourite pub in Brixton, the Trinity Arms: the first thing I heard after I got through the door was one woman saying to another: "don't you think we've been overrun by other nationalities?"

There was a time - a time lasting about twenty-five years - when I would have had something to say to somebody who said something like that. But these days I'm trying to cut down on the hopeless struggle against ignorance in order to make it easier to struggle against stress. So I went and sat in the corner of the pub furthest from the victim of oppression, took out a book and reflected that one advantage of being an immigrant is that usually, when people are mouthing off in bars, you don't know that they're doing it. Because you can't understand what they're saying.

4 Comments:

At May 15, 2008 12:04 am, Anonymous WorldbyStorm said...

A tricky one. It's unpleasant that such sentiments are being expressed so openly. A factor of the recent Assembly elections and the mainstreaming in part of BNP message?

 
At May 15, 2008 9:01 am, Blogger ejh said...

More like a factor of "what people say in pubs when they think nobody else is listening".

 
At May 16, 2008 12:21 am, Anonymous WorldbyStorm said...

Yeah. I guess. Still dispiriting...

 
At June 25, 2008 6:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't necessarily racist although at one time I would have thought it was. Under-investment, particularly in housing has created a sense amongst people that immigrants and asylum seekers are jumping the queue ahead of the indigenous population. The solution is not to condemn people as racist for stating these things but to resolve the problems that cause these feelings. This country needs immigrants, especially given our ageing population but people still need to be housed. If the government was prepared to invest in housing and other services to alleviate the strains on supply people would have less reason to complain.

 

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