As a British Citizen (nee Subject,) of Jamaican Parents, who ironically came from generations of Jamaicans who were Subjects of the British Crown, I find the ongoing, never ending (supposed,) debate about Immigration in the UK, somewhat boring if it wasn’t so irritating. As someone born within this Island Nation (Birmingham, (in then) Warwickshire to be precise,) I grew up being classed as a ‘Foreigner’ by many Anglo-Saxon English and other Caucasians in my own Country. So I sympathise with many ‘EU Migrants’ who are facing the same experience that mirrored those of my childhood. They are classed, stereotyped, judged and juried before they have had a chance to make something of themselves, let alone even arrived in the UK before they are being blamed for all the ills that plague Britain, none of which one should add, is of their making.
We should be wary, very wary of scapegoating people for what ills ail our Island Nation. The Nazis did this with ruthless efficiency by marginalizing and blaming ethnic and social/cultural groups like Jews, Romany, Gypsies, Black/mixed race people (whom they referred to as Rhineland Bastards,) not to mention Homosexuals and other groups whose lifestyles did not match the doctrine and ideology of the Nazi Regime.
I am not comparing David Cameron, Nigel Farage or Nick Griffin in the same light as the Nazis or any other fascist regime from History but blaming others for what is wrong with Britain, when they are in no way responsible is lazy, ignorant, not to mention racist and xenophobic. If anything is wrong with Britain it is the British attitude of complacency, our inability and laziness to engage with the political process and actually elect representatives that truly have Britain’s interests and future prospects at heart instead of Party Ideology. This is something the Scottish, Welsh and Ulster Nations have recognised and is reflected in the results of Devolution and the setting up of Parliaments in those British Nations. The real problem therefore is an English one. It is interesting to note that since Devolution under the previous Labour Government, there was no formation of an English Parliament to represent the interest of the English Provinces, Shires and Metropolitan areas. And I wonder if an English Parliament would have made much difference to the interests of the English Regions. The immigration ‘scare’ – one cannot describe it as a ‘concern’ seems to be coming from English Politicians. And as ever they rely on the ignorance of the British/English electorate to force home their prejudice. For example they never mention how many British/English émigré live in Bulgaria, Romania and other EU Countries. They enjoy and take advantage of the same right as any other EU National but do not get the same hassle in those countries that many foreign nationals get here. Despite many of whom, actually do work and don’t claim UK State Benefits. Again you won’t hear this from British or should I say English Politicians with a clear xenophobic agenda.
From my experience and history as a Brit with generations of British History in my veins but was unfortunate to have the wrong skin colour despite my clear British credentials, it is a case of more of the same. ‘The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same’. An interesting Paradox as always. The Conservative Party are still making the same old arguments about Immigration. The big difference is they are no longer using the old slogan: “If you want a black neighbour, vote Labour”. Labour’s stance today is no different than the Tory position of yesteryear. Strange bedfellows they make now. There is no difference between any of the main political parties in the 21st Century. Is that a good thing? I think not.
Speaking of the British not engaging with the political process Speaker of the UK Parliament John Bercow should be commended for drawing up plans for getting people to engage in the political process via Digital Age technology. As some have expressed caution given our current electoral process is the least problematic of all systems and not prone to corruption, as well as there being problems with postal voting, it something well worth looking into. I would also express a certain degree of caution in implementing any new system too quickly but it is certainly worth looking to the future and seeing if there are other ways of getting people to engage in politics. Even if I still think the best way is to go to a polling office and make your X with a pencil and put it in a box. It is still the best system but by all means look to other methods. It is worth noting Postal Voting has been a fixture of British General Elections for many years but the last Labour Government tried to foist it on the British Electorate in a big way that proved problematic to say the least.
The trouble with listening to politicians who are not qualified to run a drinking riot in a brewery let alone a nation and its interests, is that you fall for their ideological follies, untruths and forget how to think for yourself. Many make sweeping arguments about leaving the European Union but what they fail to tells us is there is so much we can learn from our EU Partners. For example Sweden has far colder and severe winters than that of the United Kingdom but far more people die from the cold in Britain than they do in Sweden. Twenty-three percent more than our Swedish neighbours – Why? Well there are many reasons. Poorly insulated houses is one but that aside the Swedes pay twice as much for their fuel than we do and far less die in a Country where temperatures can plunge to as low as -20 Celsius(Centigrade). They also supposedly have the same amount of disposable income as we do. I doubt that somehow. The cost of living in Sweden is far higher than in Britain, the big difference in Britain is the cost of everything constantly rises but incomes seldom rise to take into the account of those rises in the cost of living. I very much doubt this is the case in Sweden or any other Country in Northern and Eastern Europe. The problem is a constant failure of Britain to take care of its own. We are still living with the Thatcher Doctrine of leave everything to the free market economy. The trouble with doing that is energy bills (not to mention everything else,) have risen far higher and faster than the income of John and Jane Public to the point that even if John and Jane works for a living, the salary they earn cannot cover the essentials so life is one of constant struggle to the point when winter comes, one has to decide, do they ‘Heat or Eat?’ And we have a Government only too happy to let the free market status quo stand as it is. One has to ask themselves ‘What kind of Country and Society do I want to live in?’ Is it a Society where no one dies needlessly of cold and/or hunger (as in Sweden,) or one where everything is left to the whims of the ‘Free Market’? You decide. I can’t think of a better reason for being part of the European Union, if only to see and observe how much our European Partners actually care about their citizen’s welfare and well-being.
Experts at the University of Minnesota confirm Money does not buy you happiness. This may be true for Walter White in ‘Breaking Bad’ but if one is or has been a penniless thespian without any kind of income, which results in no social mobility whatsoever, money does indeed buy happiness which probably compares favourably with being in the Kingdom of Heaven or El Dorado. One lives in the real world, unlike some academics.
If you sell yourself short, you have no one to blame but yourself. Unpaid graduate internships are on the rise and in many cases seen as mandatory. To my knowledge ‘Slavery’ was abolished in the Islands of ‘Great Britain and Ireland’ in 1833 but here in the 21st Century we see it in on the rise dressed up as ‘Internships’ or ‘Fringe Theatre Production’. I speak with some authority on the latter having being a ‘Nigger’ for one Fringe Theatre director. I was indentured for four years before I broke free and escaped. Work experience is vital when one finishes any course of academic study but I don’t think nor believe unpaid work is the way forward. Again, we have to ask ourselves in Britain ‘Just what kind of Society do we want for ourselves, our children and other people?’ People matter. ‘Every Man, Woman and Child matters’. You don’t get the best of people when you treat them like slaves. How do you pay your bus and rail fares to and from ‘work’? What’s for lunch? And more importantly, how do you live and pay one’s bills? We have charities that raise money to combat slavery in other parts of the world. Isn’t it time we started raising awareness and put a stop to the kind of slavery we are seeing within our shores by the systematic exploitation of people via unpaid labour and ‘Zero Hour Contracts’. A spade is a spade no matter how you dress it up. Slavery is no different. It is still slavery no matter the fancy and sophisticated names applied to it. A fair day’s pay for fair day’s work is what is required. Nothing less is will do nor acceptable. Again this is the results of laziness, indifference and complacency on the part of the British electorate to fight and campaign for real changes in Society. Again the question beckons: ‘What kind of Society do you want to live in?’
It is always sad when someone we know dies. It can be more so when that person appeared in our living rooms each week via Television and entertained us. This past week have seen the passing of Actors ‘Lewis Collins’ and ‘Paul Walker’. Both were classed as tough guy actors and proved their credentials on screens both big and small. Lewis Collins is better known for his role as ‘Bodie’ in the British Crime TV Series ‘The Professionals’ during the late 70 and early 80s. He initially found fame in the 70s British Sitcom called ‘The Cuckoo Waltz’ but moved on to the role that made him even more famous as a tough guy actor. After four years of playing Bodie he moved on to play SAS soldier types in such films as ‘Who Dares Wins’, ‘Commando Leopold’ and ‘Codename Wildgeese’. A role opposite Michael Caine in a TV miniseries about Jack the Ripper followed but the roles were few and far between before he relocated to Los Angeles where he ran a successful computer business by all accounts. He was a firm favourite by British film fans to take over from Roger Moore as James Bond. He died of cancer surrounded by his family. Paul Walker was a young actor with incredible screen presence and a definitely an original. He held his own against Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson in the Too Fast, Too Furious film franchise, no easy feat given who his co-stars were. A great film actor who was destined for even greater things. He died earlier at the time of writing in car crash where he was a passenger in Los Angeles. A sad loss on two fronts. That said:-
There is plenty more to see, read, and watch domestically and internationally throughout this edition of Digital World Wired.