Poland has generously allowed in over a million Ukrainian refugees, who can stay for 18 months. The British government are allowing the latest refugees in for three years, with all state benefits. They are asking cash strapped councils to provide, ‘Wrap around support.’ Charities, faith groups, named sponsors and communities will assist with access to benefits, registering with GPs and schools.
Their future looks rosy – but doesn’t accord convincingly with the country many of us know. News bulletins often show what looks like a Russian attack on pets. When they reach the UK clutching their cats, dogs and hamsters, refugees might be disappointed to find that in famously animal loving Britain, vets are now on a par with the most expensive private doctors, and most pet owners are now forced to take out insurance to cover the costs. If they need help with their own health, officially you get ten minutes with a GP, but many now only treat emergencies, by referral, and most consultations are by phone. Some of us have not seen a doctor since before the start of the pandemic. They will find that British dentistry is by no means a gleaming success, more on a par with the old Soviet style which involved using plaster repair filler at home or facing a pair of plyers. For wealthier customers dentists will go to extreme lengths to preserve a tooth, charging eye watering amounts of money; elderly women being particularly targeted. A friend recently told me that when she looked surprised at the amount her dentist was demanding for one implant, he said, ‘What are you worried about. You’ve got lots of money haven’t you?’
Refugees should perhaps not be too optimistic when they find a school place. The comprehensive school system is based on neighbourhood, as in the US. If you do not land in a leafy suburb your education may suffer, or worse. People should avoid the ‘Damilola Taylor Delusion,’ a mistaken and outdated optimism about UK state education. In August 2000 Damilola’s parents brought him here from Nigeria to get his sister treated for epilepsy on the NHS. They sent him to school in Peckham, south London, and three months later, ten days before his eleventh birthday, he was stabbed to death by children aged twelve and thirteen.
The first trial was dismissed as the judge was reluctant to convict. The police kept the case open and at a retrial in 2006, brothers, Danny and Ricky Preddie, of Peckham, were convicted of manslaughter. Both had been accused of committing multiple robberies. They were released after serving four and five years. (In February 2020 Ricky Preddie was jailed for driving his car at a police officer leaving her with serious injuries. He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving; driving whilst disqualified; failing to stop; and driving without insurance. For that little lot, he got four years.)
Last year, Damilola’s father Richard, 73, appealed for Boris Johnson to ‘Get a grip’ on teenage knife crime after thirty fatal stabbings in London. Ukrainian citizens, used to walking about their streets safely should realise that Boris has no intention of doing any such thing. Following his independent ‘Inclusive Britain,’ report last year, attacked by the Left and the BBC for not finding ‘Institutional Racism’ in Britain, the govt is behaving as if it had. They’re about to ‘increase scrutiny’ of Stop & Search because it overly annoys the black community. Mrs May did the same in 2014 after a sharp drop in recorded knife crime for the previous four years. The move immediately led to a sharp rise in violent offences in England and Wales, especially in knife crime, which rose 21 per cent to 37,443 incidents. Some refugees will find if unfathomable that a government will put the ‘cultural sensitivities,’ or the desire to bear arms of a small group above public safety.
Even if the refugee family is not put into a multiracial high crime area, they may find what schools teach and don’t teach, baffling. In an effort to end the racial inequality and racism not identified in its recent report, an updated History curriculum is coming in. Instead of just the Tudors and World War II, children will be able to learn about Britain’s colonial past. A patriotic Ukrainian might find it odd to hear people eviscerating their own country and culture, doing obeisance to immigrants from failing states and oppressive cultures who have chosen to live here. East Europe has a painfully poor attitude to racism in football and as Michael Gove’s fantasy of once again teaching children about, ‘Our Island Story,’ they will be perplexed to see educational ideas being led by Birmingham City footballer Troy Deeney who in February demanded the national curriculum included more history and experiences of black, Asian and ethnic minorities.
Deeney, a driving force behind Premier League players’ decision to take the knee before matches, commissioned a YouGov survey which found the majority of British teachers think the school system has a racial bias. The past no matter how distant must now be taught from the view point of present- day multiculturalism. British education as a whole will be astonishing for many hopeful refugee parents. ‘Jane, when do British children start to learn?’ A Polish friend once asked plaintively. Her daughter, arriving here aged twelve was quite pleased to find she was five years ahead of her class-mates at maths.
After their long journey, many migrants may no longer wish to travel much, which may be fortunate. The old religious festivals in the UK are now mainly ‘family times,’ for socialising which are gradually merging into one, but not successful if you need to travel to reach your loved ones. The railway system persistently and without penalty uses peak holidays to pack up its passenger services and get down to serious maintenance. This Easter five hundred and thirty engineering projects are due to be carried out with numerous train cancellations, leading to the kind of queues and platform crowding the new arrivals recently left behind. And those feisty freedom fighting Ukrainians may find the British unexpectedly cowed and supine in the face of public services which do not meet their needs.
Our new guests might do better to take to the roads where they’ll be surprised to see so many women drivers. A commentator from Ukraine recently explained that while men stayed to fight women had to leave, but found it difficult to do so as, ‘They needed someone to drive them.’ One woman got her fourteen-year-old son behind the wheel, all the way to Poland. In Ukraine men are still proudly masculine and no one sees it as toxic, as they head families which they are expected to rule and support.
Over a hundred thousand good woke folk have offered to welcome the new visitors into their homes and may find something that they recognise; their grandparents; conservative, well educated, religiously devout people who believe that white Christians are superior to any other group, not that they have seen many other varieties. Brought up to study and work hard, marry for life and strictly control their children. How their hosts are going to deal with that is unknown. It will be an enormous challenge and they’ll earn every penny trying to cope.