Friday, 7 October 2016

Why Are They Afraid?

I normally keep this blog to share things that make me happy, but I had to say something about the story on Wales Online in which Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, replied to Theresa May's comments about immigration. One of the comments, by DillThomas, was:

"He doesn't realize that the EU referendum went the way it did because the ordinary British people were afraid of what uncontrolled immigration was going to do to the country long term."

Why are they afraid?

We can see what immigration has done to this country long term if we just look back into the past. How about 1950 to the present? That's pretty long term, and we should be able to judge how immigration has affected this country by the changes we have seen over that time. My view is that I'd rather live now than in 1950.

British culture has changed over that time, but things that are traditionally English, or Welsh or Scottish have not disappeared. There's a local Morris dancing side, I can drink a wide variety of real ales, and sing folk songs in a local pub, and watch cricket or football or rugby should I feel so inclined, or sing in a choir, or attend a Remembrance Day parade, or eat a traditional Sunday roast at a local pub.
But I can also go out for Indian or Nepali or Chinese food locally, or Spanish tapas - and Greek mezze if I go into Hereford. The pub that does the Sunday roast also does good pizza. A friend of mine plays in a samba band, and enjoys it, but traditional brass bands still exist.

Long term, the country has changed, but it would have changed even if there had been no immigration at all. Technology has changed the way we live almost out of recognition, but culture continues where people want it to - where they participate in activities, and learn to dance, or play an instrument, or join a sports team, or organise a St David's Day party, or go to a Shakespeare play.

Immigrants have enriched this country, bringing new businesses, different sorts of food, expertise in science, and law, in teaching - and in the NHS, which wouldn't be able to cope without foreign doctors and nurses.

Carwyn Jones says that: "The content and tone of the announcements made in the Tory Conference have been disturbing, sinister and beneath contempt."
He talks about an open and inclusive Wales, with "A bright future for our children and grandchildren, based on our values of fairness, internationalism and prosperity for all." and continues: "What a terrible message to suggest that some people in our NHS, in our communities, are worth more than others."

That's the sort of country I want to live in, not a country which is afraid of foreigners.

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