Speaking as a Br who Exited much, much more than fifteen years ago I suppose I have absolutely no right to comment on the horribly portmanteaued ‘Brexit', so here goes… Apart from the fact of having the referendum in the first place, the worst part of the whole thing is the “We-hate-the-immigrant-wogs-who-most-definitely-start-at-Calais-and-we-don’t-just-mean-in-the-refugee-camps” attitude it exposed and the mongering of fear based on it that the nastier politicians exploited.
If you think about it, immigration is what made the UK, and in fact it's what has made every single country in the world with the possible exception of a little bit of the Olduvai Gorge.
Consider, that some countries are like US where most of the people have ancestors who did ‘it' within the last couple of hundred years, where there are not that many whose ancestors snuck in thousands of years earlier; then there other places, like the British Isles, where the vast majority have ancestors who, while they were obviously undocumented, were undocumented thousands of years ago, with later-comers coming later in a wavery intermittent stream right down to the present.
All the Leave Lot were exploiting was an argument about exactly when the immigrants arrived. I mean look at the Leave Lot Leaders: “Farraaaage”, now there’s a French-sounding name if ever I heard one (in fact I think there is a Château de Ferage in Houyet, Belgium, where all that NHS money goes), and Boris wasn’t even born in the UK1 …but I would never stoop to ad hominem-inem, so I’ll forget Nigel’s Huguenot whatnots, and almost everything I know about Boris and then I'll take a broader brush:
There is evidence of early immigrants to what became the Island of Great Britain (Albion! That Sceptred Isle set in a septic sea!) just as soon as the Ice Age ice had melted enough to not mess with the balls of a brass monkey; immigrants who may well have been able to sneak past immigration control by just walking over the not-yet-channeled English Channel (a thing that couldn’t be done again until the Chunnel was opened in 1994). They were then followed by other folk (Beaker and otherwise); people who liked mucking about with big stones or wheeling things into barrows2. And Celts of various kinds (who of course minded their Ps and Qs, though being Celts fought amongst themselves most of the time and with Iron-Age fortitude). And then came the all-conquering (apart from that little unpleasantness with Boudicca) Romans who took over on behalf of the original EU. Though they, finally seeing the Romexit slogans on the wall,3 left the by-then-Britons, ignoring the groans of almost half of them4, to keep out illegals—I mean the Picts and the Irish, I mean Scots, no I do mean Irish, I mean who can tell the difference—all by themselves. Of course the Leave camp of the time immediately invited some of what were to become the English5 to come over and deal with the immigrant problem…. from an historical perspective this wasn’t the most effective way of dealing with the problem, since they immediately invited their friends who invited their friends which on the whole exacerbated things6.
In due course those Angles, not to mention the Saxons, became Englisc and had to face, in their turn, those damned Vikings, Norse and Danes who, after a bit, figured out that they could save all the time and effort of long journeys in longships by, quite illegally, settling in those parts of England that became the Danelaw. This led in time to some behaviour on the part of the Leave campaign that would make the most extreme modern Brexiter gasp! Just look up 'St. Brice's Day massacre’ if you want to see how Ethelred the Altogether-All-Too-Ready-If-You-Ask-Me dealt with his immigrant situation in a way that didn’t make it any better.
A couple-hundred years later the most English-way-of-life destroying immigrants till the arrival of Polish Plumbers and Slovakian wait-staff barged in from northern France: those once-upon-a-viking Normans under William the Bastard! And they were only French because the French just rolled over and made his ancestor Rollo the duke of the bits of France he’d illegal-ed into.
After that I admit immigration did rather calm down a bit, but there were Huguenots from France, Dutch (who settled in a part of England co-incidentaly now called ‘Holland’) and Flemish weavers and people from India (surprisingly starting in the 17th Century) and from Africa (starting in the 18th) and Germans and Russian Jews (starting in the 19th).
And of course a steady stream of Irish and Scots, though depending on the political situation at any given time they don’t, or sometimes do, count.
So I say ‘The Hell with mere Brexit, lets kick ALL the immigrants out, whenever their families arrived, and have a nice completely empty, animal friendly, right little, tight little island!’ ...So there…
Cheerio for now
1 Surely I wouldn't be so cynical as to suspect that he only gave up his US citizenship as a tax-avoidance scheme, especially since he did eventually pay his US tax bill?
2 And the odd Phoenician collecting tin cans.
3 Mainly variations on 'Romani ite domum’.
4 As the famous Gildas Sapiens called their groans at the time (sort of) the 'gemitus britannorum’ which were addressed Agitio ter consuli whoever he was.
5 Not to be confused with the Saxon hordes.
6 And added a rather modern sounding sex-scandal aspect, though Rowena did eventually become Mrs Vortigen and even more eventually, and a much nicer thing, gave me the idea for the name of my younger daughter.
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