I am old enough to have been brought up on tales of Polish heroism during the Second World War. Every small boy knew about Monte Cassino and the sacrifices of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain. The other night following the spraying of anti Polish graffiti on the doors of the Polish Cultural Centre in London, the TV showed a man, a little younger than myself, bringing a huge bouquet of flowers with a note saying the British have not forgotten Polish sacrifices during the war. His view is shared by most people over 60. Nor has there been a significant increase in physical attacks (normally minuscule in number) on Poles or their property since Brexit. Indeed both the London Metropolitan and Manchester City Police report attacks on all migrants have shown no increase. Nor is it true that after Brexit large numbers of Poles are to be asked to leave. The British have never enacted retrospective legislation on migrants, those who are legitimately resident in the UK will have that right in perpetuity.
And why not? Poles have been part of British life for decades. Until a few years ago there was a Polish Officers’ club not far from my house and as a little boy I remember passing a Polish church, wondering how they could pronounce a language with all the consonants in the wrong place. However unlike West Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, Poles are generally invisible. They look like us, believe the same sort of things we do, regard the state as a force for good, worship education, are extraordinarily law abiding and think the dole shameful.
The real discriminators against the Poles are Europe’s left. Around 2004, the great Polish immigration began in Britain. Unfortunately it was at about this time that because of a raft of well meaning anti race discrimination laws passed by Parliament, when it came to skin colour it was as if everybody had had his tongue torn out. Even to mention somebody’s colour could lose you your job, or even land you in prison. Poles however were white and you could, although it is just as illegal, say nasty things about them. They were too nice to complain. As a result the Poles, like the Irish, have taken a lot of verbal flak from the English, but they have their jokes about the English too, and secretly think they are better than them, which is all part of the dance. Polish migration (1.3 million) and a similar story, Irish migration (7 million) have been two of the most successful population movements in British history. Both nations saw huge numbers of their people sign up to fight the Nazis. This sort of thinking, that culture counts more than the Marxist artifice of diversity, is of course is far beyond the comprehension of the intellectual snobs of the left.
Which is why TV, which up to then had avoided any mention of immigration from Africa and Asia being the huge problem it was, seized the opportunity to bash a white minority, even provoking a row between the BBC and a British Polish MP. Stories began to appear featuring Poles crowding into our schools, filling our hospitals, queuing outside dole offices and stealing jobs and houses from the British. Almost overnight all the beds in our hospitals appeared to be occupied by either white English people or Poles, while the doctors and nurses were without exception beautiful, charming middle class women from Africa or the Middle East with perfect Oxford accents.
This cynical manipulation of the news is what the writer Tom Wolfe described in his satire on racism ‘Bonfire of the Vanities as the search for ‘The Great White Defendant.’ The endless search by the left for reasons to denounce their own ‘white’ culture. Most of it is vanity. The smartly dressed ‘Chelsea Marxists’ you see on the BBC lamenting the plight of African migrants wear their virtue and antiracism like a beautiful suit. But it is one they can take off at a moments notice. Which is why one day the Poles are seen as invaders, the next as victims of the wicked Brexiteers.
Yet Brexiteers are only restating a long held passion for parliamentary democracy shared by both Poles and English. What was a well intentioned trading block has become the EU, a cartel for big business whose leaders have been bought off and whose parliament has become a stalking ground for lobbyists. Its commissioners are not elected, have immunity from prosecution for life and cannot be dismissed. This is what really divides Britain; those who are wiling to give up their right to vote in return for cheaper and cheaper supermarket food courtesy of the EU and those who believe in democracy. Poles have unfortunately been caught in the cross fire. Few of them will have been fooled by the the false overtures of the left. © Salisbury Review.
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