Monday, 2 December 2013
Migration and alienation.
Here's a selection of quotes from pages 66 and 67 of Jeremy Paaxman's anecdotal account of "Great Britain's Great War".
The 1911 census showed there were 53 324 Germans living in Britain. . . At the outbreak of the war perhaps half the bakers in London were German. . . There were some 3 000 German waiters, nearly 4 000 German domestic servants and 2 000 German hairdressers.. when the fighting broke out these people were terrified . . .
Suddenly there were German spies everywhere. The MP for West Essex . . .demanded to know what was to be done about the foreigners who had been snooping abut Epping for the last two years, drawing sketches and taking photographs. The MP for Frome had wanted to pounce on the '66 000 trained German soldiers in England. . .'
. . .even Haldane (the Secretary of State for War) was suspect, for he spoke German, had attended a German university , and was an intellectual . . . The newspapers held forth on his unsuitability for high office, based on what The Times called his 'predilection for Germany'. . .
Over the next four years 30 000 aliens (were) interned . . . At weekends, Londoners could drive out to Frith Hill Detention Centre near Camberley to look at the blond barbarians caged behind barbed wire fences . . .Tatler's motoring correspondent said that a visit was 'the very last world nowadays.'
Well, at least they had the excuse of a war.
There can be no excuse of the hysteria surrounding the presence of existing (and mostly young, very hard working, making few demands on the health or welfare services) immigrants from the eastern EU, and the prospect of more after 1st January - unless it is the vacuum of positive comments about the value of immigration from the established parties, which has allowed free reign to the scaremongering press.
Former Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson has been a notable exception. Other Liberal Democrats with the ear of the media should take a leaf out of his book