Chuck ‘em out. Eat them! Chase them back to where they came from. Remember to shake hands on the way out.
Like in Australia, the immigration debate here is reaching new highs and lows. The latest wheeze in multicultural London is the campaign of trucks driving around the roads with giant billboards telling illegal migrants to Go Home, or face arrest. Disarmingly direct. Charming almost. How pleased our thronging communities of settled immigrants are that the Tory government is finally trialling bold moves to rid the streets of scroungers, bludgers and oiks – interlopers all. Sucking the state’s marrow like vampires.
And not only charming, but effective. Mobs of naughty overstayers and stowaways have seen the error of their actions, packed their picnic baskets and formed orderly lines at the Way Out gate at Dover. It’s enough to make you weep into your Union Jack.
What? – asks the government, lost at the public outcry – you think it sounds racist, or racialist, or racingsnakealist? You wanted us to do this! It’s not offensive. Look at the far right, at the National Front, at UKIP, at the polls. Look at the polls! Can’t you read English? Where are you from? Where are your papers?
This is the low frequency to-ing and fro-ing, the action and reaction, that politics is increasingly reduced to, with some aspects of credibility forever unredeemable. Many politicians will never reach a sufficiently righteous, never mind plain right, velocity to escape the popular notion that they are slightly mad.
UKIP, the UK Independence Party – our newest party, nationalist to its bareheaded roots – quite likes the Go Home billboards, although in official statements it professes disdain, cleverly letting the Tories take the rap.
But in case of doubt, and lest we think UKIP’s going soft, in the same week one of its high-profile talking heads, European Member of Parliament Godfrey Bloom, caused a media racket by describing aid payments Britain makes to third world countries as payments to ‘Bongo Bongo Land’. He was generalising of course, he said, whatever that means. And he later tried to educate us that Bongo was a type of antelope – which it is. That is what he must have been referring to: AntelopeAntelopeLand, a place we send aid money that is inappropriately squandered, as he put it, on ‘flats in Paris and Ferraris’.
I narrowly avoided an antelope in a Ferrari once that was driving the wrong way round the Arc de Triomphe. Bloody scary. Luckily, I’m British. My stiff upper lip contracted in a millisecond. I swerved to the pavement and the day was saved. Could be it was me going the wrong way – they do drive on the other side – but it was definitely an antelope.
The Go Home poster campaign is now the subject of a formal investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority. Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has jabbed his finger into the eye of the storm by declaring he is thinking of scrapping the Human Rights Act altogether, a lefty piece of legislation he believes makes border control too tough to manage properly in the first place.
Step by step down a slippery slope. Old, discarded us-and-them thinking rises again, worn-out concepts somehow being made to fit a new era. And yet, and yet. Few people are more protective of their turf than the descendants of immigrants who have ‘made it’, who fought their battles a generation or more ago to live in and love a new land.
This week, the Office for National Statistics announced Britain’s birth rate is now the highest in Europe. 48 babies per hour are popping out onto the island (nearly as fast as antelopes). As well as hordes of foreigners fancying a go here, we’re making more of us too.
By coincidence, in the year to March 2013, 28,000 illegal migrants left Britain voluntarily, which is almost exactly the same number as arrived in Australia. Is something going on?
Was a time people moved by foot and it took decades, and either they were welcome or they weren’t. But now everything is motorised and complicated. It’s all too much for this Pom. Let’s get back to the cricket!
Oh, did I mention the cricket.
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