Wednesday 28 June 2017

The right sort of immigrant

Some years ago I met a charming and talented woman. I did not think much of her politics. She was a bit of a lefty. Over the years though, with a little encouragement, she has come to see the light and has come to see the left for what they are - particularly in respect of Jeremy Corbyn and the modern left. It would appear that just recently she has had her conservative awakening. Not wishing to be patronising but this is what we righties call "adulthood".

What makes this lady especially interesting is that she is very much a self-made woman, having made a tremendous success of her life, starting out as a Polish immigrant working in the fields. She is now a top HR consultant. Today she surprised me by pointing out that she is not in the least bit concerned for the extension of her EU citizenship.

When Britain voted to leave the EU, she was naturally concerned since she has build quite a life for herself here. This is not surprising when you have the likes of Ian Dunt publishing all manner of histrionics - adding further to the perception that rights are in peril and that somehow Britain is a more racist and unpleasant place.

I told her that there is no real reason to panic. As a resident of more than five years she has certain acquired rights and that there will be an accord of a type regardless of the mode of Brexit. Even if talks failed and we reverted to WTO rules, this would be one of the first issues to be brought back into consideration when rebuilding our relationship with the EU. With every passing day it would appear that there was no real reason to worry.

To be entirely intellectually honest, I must mention that the lady in question has experienced some harassment. Whether or not there is any direct causal link to Brexit is a matter for debate. I would surmise that prejudice is something that EU migrants will encounter regardless - largely because people are bastards wherever you go.

On the whole though, this lady made it clear that she accepts and respects the UK's decision to leave and she expects to live under the rules established - which are unlikely to be inferior to British citizenship - which is more than sufficient. She has chosen to make a life here and ultimately wishes to be a British citizen participating in British civic life come what may.

This lady to my mind is a model immigrant. She is basically the walking cliché Polish immigrant; - hard-working, motivated and successful. What makes her problematic for the remain inclined is that she refuses to see herself as a victim, she does not fall into the category of metro-left and her concept of citizenship is closer to Mrs May's "citizens of nowhere" speech than that of EU flag waving forelock-tuggers.

As it happens, she is particularly bewildered by by the staggering lack of patriotism from some in believing that losing EU citizenship in some way means going back to the dark ages. She remarked that to be a modern Brit one must self-deprecate and treat Britishness as a taboo. She asked me how this came to be. "People do not wait in camps in Calais because for your weather" she said. Quite.

She then asked me how it was that spoiled British youth could back a man like Jeremy Corbyn. To my surprise she expressed her "revulsion" at Labour voters. The simplest explanation is that collectively we have allowed the poison to spread.

Leftist thought and language has worked its way into the popular vernacular as an everyday social currency. People espouse that kind of politics for social convenience - much like our celebrity class. It is shallow, narcissistic and full of lazy assertions and assumptions based on a complete ignorance of economics. Unless people do stand up to it and speak out then it prospers. We have failed to confront it.

The fact that we have allowed ourselves to be censored through political correctness, and not pick fights or fall out in public is why it has taken root. Being conservative is somehow considered a social faux pas and something to apologise for.  

In this, the British education system has been corrupted by leftists where, through identity politics, conservatives have been silenced and marginalised - and that is why you have a cosseted and spoiled youth in thrall to a vile creature like Corbyn. A populist through and through. 

It has gained ground because we have failed to make the moral case for liberty, citizenship and conservatism. We have repeatedly caved into the left out of cowardice and continued to retreat from British conservative values of self-reliance, fiscal prudence and self-advancement. We have a youth who believe the answer to poverty is a bloated state rather than wealth creating policies. We have let left wing attitudes slide instead of treating it as antisocial behaviour. The absence of a conservative party is our downfall.

Not for the first time has an Eastern European lady in my life exhibited more conservatism and more Britishness than any of my compatriots. It was my great pleasure and privilege to have been friends with Helen Szamuely. Helen was never afraid to start an argument or be unpopular even in social situations - and was ever happy to make an enemy of stupid people. Helen was unapologetic - and for a Hungarian - she really showed British conservatives how to be conservative. 

Once again I find that it takes an immigrant to add moral clarity to the debate. That is the example we must follow - to never let a lazy or casual leftist assertion pass even out of social convenience or politeness. If we wish to remain the sort of place that hard working people want to come to, it is our values we must defend, not the baubles and trinkets of EU membership.

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