Dimitri writes to say he would like blog entries to be shorter and have a conclusion. Jane writes to ask just how it is that poetry decreases readership: surely people have already opened the blog before they discover that it contains poetry? She suggests that their computers may have a ‘Poetry warning light’. Another useful feature would be a ‘Bullshit detector’, but I fear it would be flashing all the time.
Today I want to talk about Bulgarians and Romanians. Journalists in such balanced and widely-respected British papers as the Daily Express and Daily Mail have, it seems, made a deep study of the cultures and languages of Bulgarians and Romanians, (let us call them ‘Bags’ for short) and have some alarming things to tell us.
Bags are not like other people. For one thing, they move around, all together and at high speed, in ‘hordes’ or ‘waves’ or ‘floods’. And Bags are all liars: they say they want to move around Europe in search of employment, but in fact they are all haring straight across Europe to get into England, where they have no intention of working; they are going to claim benefits. (Well at least then they won’t be ‘stealing our jobs’, as some people have feared.)
There have been hordes, waves, floods, whatever of immigrants to Britain before. Every time there have been warnings of dire results. Every time, the result has been an ‘Improvement in the economy’. (I’m never quite sure what that means, but apparently it’s a good thing.) Sure, some of them become ‘Benefit Scroungers’, just like many native Britons. Most want to work, and many, in spite of discrimination, succeed in finding work. Very often they do the jobs native Britons don’t want to do.
What about the ‘Benefit Scroungers’? It seems the government compiles statistics about people receiving Social Security benefits. The percentage of claimants who have come into the UK from other countries has never, not even just after another horde of foreigners has arrived, risen above two percent.