There was an interesting conversation over at waka waka waka, the site of my old e-pal, Malcolm Pollack, which began on the subject of Danny Boyle's production which opened the Olympic games but moved on rapidly to the subject of immigration and whether it is 'A Good Thing' or 'A Bad Thing'. Now I cannot get the damned subject out of my mind - not that I have managed to come to any definitive conclusion, mind you!
To start with, I'm not at all sure how, and with what, you measure the cost/benefits. There are obvious costs in schooling, in welfare benefits and in medical services for this fairly hefty influx of people. On the other hand, most of them work (in direct contrast to our own home-grown under-class), start businesses, pay taxes, raise families which, again in contrast to much of English society, are imbued with a strong family ethic. Looking back, I suppose the first modern influx were the Jews fleeing this or that European maniac. I don't think anyone could say that was anything other than a superb gift to this country. The contribution of the Jews to the scientific and artistic and indeed just about every aspect of our society has been tremendous.
After them came the Caribbean blacks in the '50s and '60s. They may not have contributed so much to the intellectual life of Britain but they have certainly raised the standards of sporting achievements. And again, most of them worked hard and contributed to society. It is perhaps an ironic commentary upon the success with which they have melded into the home-grown population that last year's riots were very definitely an 'equal opportunities' exercise with black and white 'youfs' and 'youfettes' working well together! That their young people have proved such a disappointment to their hard-working immigrant parents is, of course, entirely the fault of the white, well-meaning, infantile and utterly malignant influence of what I call the 'Polly Toynbee Tendency'! The fact that more and more Caribbean parents are sending their children to school back in their old Islands says it all.
Next along was the Asian invasion. This, I think, needs to be divided between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Hindus flocked in first when many of them were expelled from Uganda. Again, somewhat like the Jews, they have definitely been a major contributor to British life particularly in the world of business. By and large they keep themselves and their communities to themselves and I suspect, but cannot prove, that many (most?), whilst all too well aware of the bad things in British society, are simply grateful to be living in a sytem which is fairly stable, prosperous and with a rule of law.
Finally, we have the mass Muslim invasion. This has proved more difficult, not so much, I think, because of the immigrants themselves but because they 'represent', so to speak, troublesome, difficult countries which are very different from the UK. On top of that, they are imbued with a fairly militant religion which senses that it is under threat (which it is, in the long run) and is therefore all the more fierce. This has co-incided with international tensions between, using the shorthand, 'the west' and 'the Muslim east'. However, once again, it is a truly remarkable, one might say 'miraculous', fact that this influx has passed off so well. Of course, there are troubles and tensions and fights and occasional hard violence, but given the scale of the numbers involved it is quite extraordinary that it has been so peaceful! Even the terrorist influence has been minimal with just a few young men doing what all young men dream of doing, fighting for this or that cause.
What is often over-looked is the effect we are having on them! There is a case currently active in the courts in which a Muslim father and his wife are facing charges over the alleged murder of one of his daughters who failed to abide by paternal, male discipline. I have no idea if the man is guilty or not but his predicament moves me to pity. I really do not wish to use the old cliche that it resembles 'a Shakespearean tragedy' - except that it does! Here is an obviously proud, fierce man imbued with the traditions of his ethnicity and religion brought to a blazing rage by a daughter subverted (in his eyes) by western notions of individual liberty, a concept utterly foreign and repugnant to him. I repeat, I do not know whether he went as far as murder, but the end result is the same, his family and his life have been destroyed. He must wonder if he might not have been better off remaining in Pakistan!
All these musings, of course, like everything else on this blog, take us nowhere definite. Mass global shifts in populations will continue for exactly the same reason that dogs lick their bollocks, because they can! How they turn out in this or that particular country depends entirely on the nature of the host country concerned. For Britain, I suppose all that one can say, very tentatively, is so far so good!