Home » Apologies for everything » There’s no place like home

There’s no place like home

Get me out of here, I’m British

I’m particularly saddened to see so many Polish people packing up and leaving the UK because they feel no longer wanted in the wake of the crapulous Brexit vote.

No-one seems to mind that the Portuguese Mourinho has paid £92 million, or whatever, to hire a French man to hang around on a park for 90 minutes seemingly doing not a lot, and continues to pay him half a million pounds a week for it. It’s your money, you poor boobies: eyewateringly expensive season tickets, Sky Sport subscriptions, the monthly redesign of the famous red shirt to collect for the kids at £100 a pop; and you still go along with it.

But plenty of people seem to be prepared to put up nasty little stickers telling Polish ‘vermin’ to go home, for the crime of earning £6.50 an hour serving-up lattes in Starbucks for 12 hours a day. Jobs for which they themselves are so ignorant, foul-mouthed and ill-mannered, they are not qualified; no employer would hire them, although paradoxically it might make them ideal fodder for the Premier league.

I feel sure if the messed-up English exceptionalists who can manage to find the time to lever their flabby arses off their piss-stained sale-bargain sofas to shout at foreigners in the street knew anything about the common cultures of Britain and Poland, and understood that they were dealing with educated and dignified human beings with a long and distinguished history, and not just symbols of some unnamed tyranny keeping them in a state of perpetual disappointment, they might find a little more respect within the diseased matter that passes for their brains.

My late father-in-law being Polish, he celebrated my first birthday as a new member of his family by presenting me with an illustrated history book graphically depicting the horrendous war crimes committed against his people, both by the Russians and the Germans. It had perhaps not occurred to him, living among the workless ‘working-class’ slobs, their discarded sofas and partly dismantled vehicles littering the council estate where the family were settled after the war, that there existed elsewhere a more educated class of English people who needed no gruesome black and white images of mass murder to remind us of the history.

Lecek was a fervent nationalist, a punctilious and impeccably mannered anti-semite who nevertheless thoroughly approved of Sir James Goldsmith; his unlikely hero, a half-French, Anglo-Jewish, Mexican-resident billionaire corporate raider (the founder of the British Referendum Party) and environmentalist, having published virulent anti-European Community views on the grounds that it was all a German plot.

I always found my father-in-law’s position to be slightly tendentious, as Poland’s eventual admission to the EU might have been one more bulwark against either acquisitive neighbour harbouring further designs on their territory; while the EEC as then was stood as testimony to a new European determination never to allow another holocaust of the Jews and Slavs.

But Lecek was also bitterly anti-Communist – it was a constant source of disappointment to him that his four daughters had not married sturdy young Polish men who would return to fight for the Motherland, a theme that cropped up in the turgid sermons he had clearly primed the priest to deliver at the odd family wedding or funeral service I was obliged to attend. At the age of 15, a promising young pianist, he had nevertheless spent several months fighting the occupying Nazi troops in the ruins and underground sewers of Warsaw; at one time, being the only survivor of a tank shell that killed the other members of his unit.

Though he never alluded to it, the story of the uprising in the wake of the D-Day landings on the other side of the continent is less edifying for Churchill’s refusal to support it. To put it bluntly, Britain betrayed our Polish allies in their hour of maximum distress; the uprising was brutally put down with tens of thousands of dead on the Polish side; many summarily executed. For that reason, we guiltily welcomed those Poles who had been members of the Free Polish Army, many of whom had also fought courageously for the Allies in the Italian campaign at the Pyrrhic battle of Monte Cassino, and found them jobs and homes in Britain.

Much later on, we recognised the important role Poles had played, not only as resisters, but as covert agents – the Bletchley Park, Alan Turing/Enigma saga that now so engages us would not have been such a spectacular success had it not been for the Polish underground fighters who smuggled the original German ‘bombe’ to Britain. (Turing did not invent that crucial decoding machine, he merely brilliantly refined it.)

In the 1890s, some 120,000 East European Jews, many of them from Poland, settled in Britain; notably around Spitalfields in London’s East End. The BBC Legacies website records:

“The sheer numbers arriving prompted the first Aliens Act (1905), which restricted immigration into the country. Jews were accused of taking jobs from locals, of pushing up rents by accepting overcrowded conditions, and of aggravating the appalling working conditions in many of the local trades.”

Ring any bells? Yet within another two generations, with the exception of the most orthodox communities that fiercely resisted the allure of the C20th and remain defiantly of the stetl to this day, the Jews had become thoroughly assimilated; just as the Huguenots – Protestants fleeing the religious wars in France around the turn of the C18th – had done before them; more than 50,000 settled in Britain, but their legacy today lingers only in a few London street-names (and in names like ‘Farage’….). Twenty-seven thousand Hungarian refugees and a similar number of Ugandan Asians fled to Britain in the 1950s and 90s, and have become part of our long history of multiculturalism.

We can do it when we want to.

The current wave of Polish migration has its roots in the welcome we gave to our allies after the war. That generation who settled mostly in Northwest London – the memorial to their dead is on the A40 at Hangar Lane – and also in Wales, is all but passed away; but its many descendants remain, thoroughly naturalised. Are they to go ‘home’ too, taking with them their barbaric foreign names and sketchy knowledge of old Polish?

Postwar reconstruction was made possible only by large numbers of immigrants; particularly the Irish, but also Poles and Spanish and others, and later workers from the Commonwealth countries, who were made equally ‘welcome’ by boarding-house landladies and working-class racists; although they quite liked the music.

Our current economic growth has been possible in large part only because of the wave of migrant workers from Europe – there are thought to be around 850,000 Polish nationals resident in Britain, although most plan to return after a few years. If they all went back to Poland for Christmas (and maybe the 350,000 French citizens went home too, and the 300,000 Germans), many parts of the nation’s economy would, literally, cease to function normally.

Yet despite the uneducated and counterfactual beliefs of a small but vociferous mob of unloveable, tattooed slapheads in offensive shorts and stinking trainers, that their ambitions for economic advancement are being thwarted by cheap continental labour, there is no evidence whatever of ‘benefits tourism’ – have you ever tried applying for a State benefit? It’s almost impossible, even though your family may have been here for 50 generations – or that there are no jobs available to English workers, if they could be dissuaded from imagining themselves achieving instant fame and fortune as pop stars or footballers, and prised away from their Smartphones long enough to get a qualification.

At worst, the Government puts all benefits ‘cheating’, including home-grown, at 0.7% of the Welfare budget. And the definition of ‘cheating’ grows narrower by the year. Compare that with the tax advantages available to the wealthy.

All the economic and employment statistics point to EU migration as having been entirely supportive of the UK economy. Far from ‘stealing’ jobs, many more jobs have actually been created since the financial crash, and wages have been steadily increasing for two or three years now, as a direct result of the freedom of movement within the EU. To approach someone in the street and shout at them to ‘speak English’ is just grossly ignorant, loutish behaviour, which (despite his German now ex-wife) the cheeky opportunist and professional arsehole, Farage only encourages with remarks such as those he made about hearing a woman on the bus speaking a foreign language and ‘feeling uncomfortable’.

I doubt if he was ever actually on that or any bus, the fictitious woman could even have been a tourist –  but stoking up the insular Brits’ natural fear and loathing of foreigners and reviving their worst tribal instincts has been his best plan to achieve some sort of profitable notoriety . By saying inappropriate things he gets masses of free airtime for his noxious views, and those of his UKIP party; a squabbling, disorganised rabble of the deluded and disappointed. It’s the oldest trick in the political book.

Remind you of anyone else?

Another part of the problem has also been the toxic lies spewed out by the rightwing press about refugees in Europe: a vast crowd of helpless victims of foreign wars in whose causes we are deeply implicated, yet for whom we are terrified to accept even temporary responsibility, who loom large in the diseased mindset of many British people as somehow less than human. Few seem capable of understanding that there are two separate issues here; and yet a third in the mass movement of young workers driven by Islamic extremists from the shrinking habitable areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Apart from knowing the word ‘sangria’, do our homegrown baboons speak Spanish on their package holiday in Spain? How were their French irregular verbs, while battling out the Euro 2016 tournament with Russian hoolies on the streets of Marseilles? Of course they can’t manage it – they don’t need to, the ‘fuckoffs’ just have to shout louder for the poor foreign idiots to understand them.

No wonder, then, that our cash-strapped sixth-form colleges are rapidly abandoning modern languages as an option. They’ll be entirely unnecessary in the new post-Brexit British Empire.

It will serve us right when the hardworking people who prop up our hospitals and care homes, our burgeoning service sector, the skilled tradesmen, the builders and plumbers, the ‘baristas’ and taxi-drivers, the shopworkers and office cleaners pack up and leave. In some ways, I wish they would. I’d happily go with them, I can find not a single comforting word to say for this fucking awful country we have let ourselves become.

But I don’t suppose they’d have me, old and poor as I am.

Anyway, to my great shame I don’t speak Polish.

Love it or hate it, you can’t afford it

By: Sterling Pound ©2016, BogPo Economics Correspondent @longliquidlunch

Brexit voters with a penchant for Marmite soldiers (that’ll be about 50% of them) have fucked themselves in the ass, haha, (Can you not possibly find a nicer metaphor? Ed.) as (following last week’s widely reported contest between the big chicken dinosaurs of Tesco and the soap-powder manufacturers Unilever, who also make Marmite, Heaven knows what from, which Tesco’s appeared temporarily to have won) Morrison’s, one of Britain’s other Top 4 supermarket groups, has buckled to a demand for a 12.5% price hike for the pungent yeasty brown gloop that so well defines the British character: left for years in the back of the cupboard, it has acquired a faint layer of mould on top.

It doesn’t surprise me, as Morrison’s is still my local supermarket of choice only because a kindhearted chatty checkout person donated her Family and Friends card to me, so I get 10% off at the till. That’s only right and proper, as I’ve shopped there pretty well every damned day when I’ve not been away, which is not often, for the past ten years, and must have spent in the region of £80,000 with them.

So I’m acutely conscious of grocery prices, and I have to tell all those London-based financial journalists and economists who pay cheap foreigners to shop for them, my daily spend has gone from about £12 to £15 a year ago, to £18 to £20 now. (In addition, the cost of the diesel I use to get there and back has jumped from 99.9p a litre on 22 June, to £1.18.9p a litre today, exactly mirroring the 18% fall in Sterling.)*

But if you say the rate of inflation is only 1%, you’re the experts.

In the week after the referendum, for instance, the price of a 50g pack of trimmed Kenyan stick beans in Morrison’s went up from 50p to 57p; exactly matching the 14% fall in the £ at that time. Pretty much everything else has increased in price lately, and what hasn’t increased in price has mysteriously shrunk in volume.

In sum, I’m not impressed with the press wankers at the Daily Express and other biassed and partisan rags who want me to believe Britain is going to be a paradise on earth for shoppers now we’ve seen the light and kicked out all the foreigners.

In actual fact, I’ll be pissing myself with laughter when their kids demand their new Apple-based products for Christmas, as the obviously cash-strapped Californian tech giant has just hiked the price of a Macbook Air from £850 to £950 and similarly made other minor adjustments to their entire range as a ‘natural response’ to the collapsed pound caused by the Brexwits.

It seems the overdue for an upgrade desktop Mac Pro is ‘only’ an extra £500! And they still won’t be paying any tax here.

Sell that one, Carphone WarehouseDixonsCurrys.

*25 Feb. 2019, a month to go until Brexit Night, and yesterday I paid £1.27.9 for a liter of diesel at the supermarket price. Where are the gilets jaunes when you need them?

Postscriptum

It’s the end of British life as we know it.

The Typhoo Tea company – the nation’s third favourite drink after Jägermeister bombs and a bucketful of any old Chardonnay – has just said it simply cannot absorb any more cost increases.

The plummeting pound has cost it its entire annual profit, and it is negotiating a price increase with the supermarkets.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
― Søren Kierkegaard (Goodread website)

Hooray for Karl Marx (he’s in ward 10)

From: BogPo Medical Correspondent ©2016 Hugh Sprain @&e

As a perfect example of the toxic xenophobia being spewed out daily like raw sewage by the rightwing toilet press, not content with having brainwashed 52% of the electorate into forcing the government at vast expense to have to bribe foreign companies to stay in the UK after Brexit, comes the following.

Healthcare in Britain is free to all at the point of delivery. You knew that, yah?

So, you’re an American visitor, you get run over by a quaint London red bus (you forgot we drive on the wrong side of the road). The NHS will send an ambulance, scrape you off the sidewalk (only we call it the pavement), take you to hospital (you may have a wait, we have to treat so many foreigners), where (if the junior doctors, many of them foreigners, aren’t on strike) you’ll be checked over, patched up, given a bed for the night, some discouraging British food, and sent on your way rejoicing.

And unlike back home, where we recently heard of a family being itemised forty bucks extra to have a nurse physically return a newborn baby to its mother after its standard checkover, you won’t have to pay a penny, it’s all funded by our public National Insurance paying-in scheme.

Not only free, but if you’re lucky enough to be seriously damaged in London it’s also first-class, state-of-the-art medicine – no, really, we lose very few patients here, although I could tell you some horror stories…. We do world-class EU-funded research; especially our foreign specialists. Hooray, then, for socialised medicine. Hooray for Karl Marx and the British taxpayer, crooked teeth an’ all.

What happens next will depend on the kind of reciprocal treaty arrangements we have with your government. There are lots and it’s a bit complicated, but the NHS is obliged to recover its modest costs somehow. We treat about £500 million-worth of non-British nationals every year, and according to the National Audit Office we do a pretty good job of reclaiming the dough, but not perfect.

So if you have some kind of health cover, eventually your scheme might have to payback our scheme. But much of the time our administrators have their hands full, the doctor who treated you may not have asked you where you come from (our doctors are value-neutral), check on your Social Security; they haven’t the time or the patience to followup your case for weeks and months after.

Besides, some idiot Brit might have gotten drunk and fallen downstairs on their stag night in Las Vegas and not have insurance and … well, you get the message, your lot has to bill our lot and it all pretty much evens out in the long run; besides all the staff and stuff are there, seven days a week, might as well use ’em.

The annual shortfall identified by the NAO – how do they do it? Count everything? – is about £150 million. Sounds a lot, but it’s really a drop in the ocean compared with the annual NHS budget of £110 billion. Plus we don’t really know, across the European Union, how much their health services are owed for treating our nationals.

But they do treat us. My father retired to France, he had bad arteries and spent years in and out of French hospitals having free cardiovascular procedures that would add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars if he’d gone to the US instead (which he could of ‘cos his mother was a US citizen). He lived to 83. I assume in the end the NHS paid for it as he was still technically a British citizen.

So what’s today’s headline in the rightwing Daily Telegraph, supposedly a serious broadsheet?

“£150 million NHS funds lost to foreigners”.

You see, the story that’s been running in these poisonous corporatist blatts for years is that, yes, foreigners come to the UK just to be treated on the NHS! That’s right, they deliberately make themselves ill and stab themselves in the eye and make complicated travel arrangements just to benefit from free healthcare they could get in their own countries. (Never mind that the British Medical Association says it’s bollocks – there is no measurable evidence of this Tory lie.)

That’s why you had to wait for hours to have your broken leg seen to, you’re held in a queue behind all those Catholic girls on special charter package abortion holidays.

So now we know, the balance of payments deficit is YOUR FAULT.

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